SUSAN SMITH

MY STORY

Happy 2015! Primal Plate is my New Year’s resolution to share with others what I’ve learned from my ongoing research, testing, tasting and adaptation of low-carb ‘comfort’ foods that can not only transform your body from fat to slim but also radically improve every aspect of your health and well-being. 

Recently I celebrated my 66th birthday. For the past fifty-six years I’ve been passionate about cooking and good food. It’s true, I really did start thinking about food and cooking for my family at a very early age. Perhaps it was boarding school food, which never filled me up physically or emotionally. Or worse, during holidays our housekeepers offerings of chitterlings (pigs intestines) with malt vinegar for tea, boiled tripe (cow’s stomach lining) served up with an over-thickened onion gloop over lumpy mashed potatoes for lunch, black pudding (pigs blood dotted with solid lumps of animal fat) fried in lard and hailed as a delicacy for breakfast and pressure-cooked sheeps’ lungs (okay, this was the stinking pot of ‘delight’ that was only ever fed to our cats!) that incentivised me into learning how to cook sooner rather than later!

You don’t metamorphose yourself from child into gourmet cook without the risk of achieving gourmand status from eating too much of the good food you cook - even when that food is deemed healthy. Now a semi-vegetarian on compassionate grounds, or more precisely a pescetarian because aesthetically and digestively I can’t stand most restaurants’ ‘stodge & wodge’ version of vegetarian food when I’m eating out, I still believe that humans do best on a diet that includes grass-fed meat and wild fish. Meanwhile, the hedonist in me absolutely refuses to give up the daily Nespressos, single origin chocolate and a glass or two of wine. 

The older you get the more of a challenge maintaining health and fitness becomes. By most people’s standards, I am fit and healthy and look much younger that I am. However, that’s not the point. I’ve had to make daily foodie sacrifices to accommodate what I assumed was a slowing metabolism. Translated, that means over the past twenty or so years I’ve eaten increasingly smaller amounts of the same nutritionally dense ‘healthy’ foods whilst eschewing all processed crap, especially refined sugar. The result, up until one year ago, was a gently expanding waistline (bum and thigh lines don’t bear mentioning - even less baring!), debilitating aches and pains, ‘crackling’ knees, chronic headaches, indigestion, eczema, cellulite, constipation, haemorrhoids, varicose veins, night cramps, insomnia and more. That said, I never got properly poorly and I can’t even remember the last time I caught a cold. At the time, I hadn’t seen a doctor for more than seven years.

Then, just after my 65th birthday (see photo) lucky me got struck down with suspected shingles. I say “lucky” because it was the unrelenting pain and suffering of a skin rash that refused to go away that turned out to be a major milestone in my foodie focused lifestyle.

I’ve long believed that we are what we eat, so it’s been an obsession for me to get to the root cause of what it is I’m doing or not doing that means I’m not fully alive and kicking the ceiling when I wake up each morning. I’m no expert, save for the fact that I test out recipes experientially and know what works on every level - practically, emotionally and physically. The result? My painful skin rash retreated within two weeks  Other symptoms listed above disappeared within months and I am now two dress sizes smaller, which is the size I was in my mid-twenties. 

Nevertheless, the hedonist in me, not the purist, still wins! Food has to look good, taste good and do you good. I do not subscribe to the theory ‘no pain, no gain’ - I actually want my cake and to eat it too!

I look forward to sharing my journey of delightful foodie ideas with you. I aim to take the hard work out of finding recipes and providing menu suggestions so that you can feel inspired to make low carb eating your first choice, both for long term health and for the pure pleasure of eating.