A night away doesn’t have to scare you anymore. 19 October 2015.

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I spent Saturday night away with friends. It was wonderful. We stayed in Knightsbrook Hotel in Trim Co Meath and I was very impressed with the hotel and the staff there in particular.

Because it was an early meetup I had three meals to contend with, lunch, dinner and then breakfast the next morning. There was also the alcohol.

Banting does not say you should not drink but it does warn against excessive consumption for two reasons – both really good ones dammit – the first being that drinking can make the best of resolutions fly out the window, and the second is the number of “dead” calories consumed.

I am not one for depriving myself – on arrival three of us went to the lounge in the hotel and ordered barfood. I have to say the staff were incredibly helpful I got a salad and asked if I could get a little goat’s cheese  on top. It arrived with two very generous rounds of goat’s cheese which I couldn’t actually finish. They charged me nothing extra for the cheese which was really decent of them. The other thing which most impressed me was the list of allergans on the menus – every possible allergan was listed – except for sugar!

Then it was over to the guesthouse in which we were staying to have a few glasses of champagne. What a find! This champagne came from Tesco and was delicious. The best part of the champagne was finding out how low in carbs it is – about half the number that is in red or white wine – it must be the dryness of the taste – whatever – it was a beautiful bottle of champagne!

You can see what my main was – sirloin steak with a creamy peppercorn sauce, wilted spinach and buttery mushrooms. I had a crab salad for starter but asked that the dressing not be put on – no problem.

For dessert although I was far from hungry I had a cheese board. That’s where I had a moment – I ate all the grapes from the cheese board – about 16 in all – at 1gm of carb for grapes they pack a fair carb punch! Those, along with the champagne, a touch of prosecco and some fine Rioja added up to about 47 gms of carbs for the day – no cheating – I stayed with green foods all the while, apart from those grapes – and they were worth it!The cheese was disappointing – a tiny piece of brie which I ate, and then four different types of coloured cheddar. They did have very posh crackers – but they weren’t for me!

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I couldn’t have eaten another bite after that – which is most unusual for me – girlie nights away always involve chocolate and crisps. I had some macadamias with me, most of which I brought home again – and I had two squares of chocolate – there is only one square left now!

When I went down for breakfast I was happy to see the allergan signs up again so I asked if they had gluten free sausages – I wouldn’t go that route again – they were very small, only tasted okay – and I’m sure the sausages had sugar in as well – I’m becoming quite the expert at tasting it now!

The rest of the breakfast couldn’t be faulted – this was mine – and yes I ate every bite!

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That was enough though to keep me going until tea time at home.

The very best part of this night out was undoubtedly the feeling of control I had over food cravings. I didn’t once feel either hungry or deprived. I ate my fill – no chips – but that is no sacrifice when the veg is so tasty – and why wouldn’t it be when it’s slathered in butter half the time!

I left the hotel on a high yesterday – I had managed to have a great night away with my friends, not look like a sad dieter, and easily find plenty to eat from the standard menu. It was a revelation!

I will post a couple of recipes next time – I must try and see if I can set up a little recipe section on the page so you don’t have to trawl through everything to get to them.

Heavenly Himalayan Rock Salt. October 19 2015.

Rock salt

I told you all I would post a bit of information about this new salt that has taken the country by storm in the past year. I found it in my local butcher’s and because we love all things pink in this house I threw it into the shopping without much thought. When I started banting suddenly Pink salt was everywhere.

Basically Himalayan Pink Salt is considered the most natural salt in the world – it is mined in Pakistan and has 84 minerals contained in its crystals. Not just a pretty face then!

I started using it while banting because it is claimed that the magnesium contained in it can prevent sugar cravings. It is also good for muscle cramps, and the reality is that when you stop eating processed foods your salt intake naturally plummets. I love salt – always did so you can imagine how happy I am about the whole salt business!

Here are some of the claims made about the salt –

  • Detoxifies the body by balancing systemic pH
  • Improves hydration by providing trace minerals
  • Improves mineral status of the body
  • Reduces muscle cramps by improving minerals and hydration
  • Helps balance blood sugar
  • Supports hormone balance for everyone, no matter what hormonal issues you face
  • Helps balance blood pressure because it provides unrefined, mineral-rich salt in an ionic solution
  • Improves sleep by supporting blood sugar and hormone balance
  • Acts as a powerful antihistamine
  • Supports weight loss by balancing hormones and improving energy
  • Supports thyroid and adrenal function

I find the antihistamine one fascinating – my husband is a sufferer – and in eight weeks he hasn’t had any issues.

If you google the subject you will find as many negative comments as positive ones disclaiming all the health benefitsof this particular salt. The fact that the crystals are much larger when ground than the more refined table salt means that you in fact eat less of it than regular salt – a plus of course.

All I can tell you is that we love this salt in our house – my children use it every day and because there’s no salt in anything we are eating we have a new appreciation for the flavour of our food. The pink salt only enhances this.

I’ll shoot off a quick post about hotel living and surviving on a banting diet next.