How I Survived Day One, Phase One, of The Harcombe Diet.

Butternut Squash Curry with Brown Rice

Yes, I am dieting AGAIN.

I haven't 'properly' drunk alcohol since New Year's Eve - I am not claiming to be holier than holy having embarked on an alcohol detox, no, more like I drank so much that I now can't face it.

Everyone tells you that giving up alcohol will help you shed all the pounds that the empty-calorie devil has made you put on.......nooooooo...... since 3/1/2020 (the last time I recorded my weight) I have gained 8lbs - so that's that theory out the window.

According to my BMI, I am on the borderline of being obese, so maybe it is time I did something about it.

Naturally, being one of the laziest people on the planet, I want to lose the weight - but I don't want to put in any effort - well, not too much, a little is ok,

Having embarked on almost every diet known to man, or woman, I decided to re-visit

The Harcombe Diet® which came about as the result of twenty years’ worth of research into diets, diet advice, the characteristics of a ‘workable’ diet, obesity, eating disorders, food cravings and what causes them and Zoe Harcombe's own experience of dieting, eating disorders, unworkable diets and food cravings.

I remember being able to eat quite a lot when I did it before and that gives it immediate appeal.

The only drawback is that there is no vegan option, there is a vegetarian option, but should I wish to follow it to the letter than some tweaking is in order.

Basically, and I recommend you buy the book for all the details, the diet is in three phases and Zoe's research has identified three common medical conditions that cause food cravings:

Candida albicans

Food intolerance


and this diet plan aims at identifying whether you are affected by all or any of these conditions and helps you sort it.

Phase One:

  • Unless specified, eat as much as you like so that you don't start to feel hungry - honestly!!! It says that in the book (smiley face)

  • If not vegan/veggie you're allowed to eat unlimited unprocessed meat, fish, eggs, salads and vegetables, apart from potatoes and mushrooms. Mushrooms feed Candida albicans, while potatoes are very high in carbohydrate so they encourage Candida albicans and hypoglycaemia. Olives and tomatoes are also allowed, as is olive oil for cooking and dressings.

  • You can have 50g brown rice or rice pasta per day or 75g porridge oats vegans/veggies are allowed 150g dry brown rice/quinoa/porridge oats.

  • No caffeine is allowed. But you should drink about 1.5 litres of water, herbal tea, decaffeinated tea or coffee (without milk) a day.

  • No sweeteners or sugar-free drinks - as they can stimulate the insulin mechanism in a similar way to sugar and just make you want for sweet things.

  • Unless specified, all foods can be cooked in any way - roasted, fried, grilled, baked, poached etc.

  • You can snack between meals on vegetable crudités (mmmm) or natural live yoghurt, (not if you are vegan) but you are advised to try and get used to eating just three big main meals a day so your body has time to digest them properly. Also by making meals as regular as possible, your body will feel no need to store food.

As you can see, although it is restrictive in as much as I'm not allowed crisps, pies and chocolate, it isn't too bad and Phase 1 only lasts for five days (or more if you want to speed up weight loss)

Ok, so what did I eat today, Day One??

Breakfast: er oats, I couldn't manage anything more imaginative and it's only five days so porridge it is then.

Lunch: homemade vegetable soup; various organic vegetables from my Riverford Veg Box slammed in the soup maker without stock cube but with the addition of some Herbes de Provence and Cook's Companion courtesy of The Seasonist.

Supper: butternut squash curry with brown rice and more vegetables thrown in.

Snacks: I DIDN'T HAVE ANY (gasps from the crowd)

It's bedtime and how do I feel? Did I survive? Actually I'm feeling pretty good, I did feast on the curry to ensure there were no hunger pangs during an evening of bell ringing and I've come home without raiding the biscuit tin/crisp stash/bread bin.

Hooray for me.......But have I lost any weight yet?

(I also committed to a 30-day yoga challenge on YouTube but that is another story, I am giving myself a little pat on the back for completing one day!!)



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