I have as I admitted this week somewhat fallen off the Paleo wagon. First there were the cream teas in Portmeirion last week. Part of the deal, included in the price, who would say no? And they were lovely. Afternoon tea always used to be my favourite meal; I remember my Gran taking me out for tea at what was the fabulous department store John Barnes on Finchley Road in north west London (part of the John Lewis Partnership it’s now a Waitrose).
That was such a treat. White tableclothes, waitresses wearing black dresses and starched white aprons with little hats. Tiny pots of jam, scones, cream, sandwiches, cakes. So afternoon tea has always stayed special for me because it reminds me of my Gran – I only ever had the one grandparent and she was it. Lost her more than 40 years ago but I don’t feel sad thinking about her. I’m glad I still do. It kind of keeps her alive for me; as does eating afternoon tea!
So anyway, not exactly a carb-free week last week. But this week hasn’t been much better. For a start, my cooker broke! Now if you’ve fairly recently got into cooking, especially of the grilling kind, that’s a bit of a disaster. My finances aren’t brilliant right now (are anyone’s?) so I couldn’t really afford a new cooker. The gas hob still works – I have an 80s-style split-level oven arrangement in my kitchen which I inherited when I bought the house. They went out of fashion then came back in! Just like everything else, hang around long enough and what was passé becomes in again.
Anyway, I priced up new cookers but my other half said, nah, let’s just buy a new element. Of course you can’t do this anymore in your local friendly cooker-selling store but… the wonders of the internet. We found one for just £11 and it works. Thankfully we are children of the make-do-and-mend generation. My Gran would be proud of me.
Carbs bad for mood
What this has meant is that I’ve been eating carbs. Had no choice. Been a hectic week anyway and haven’t really had time to do a proper shop and prepare. Called to the radio studio on Tuesday before I’d had a chance to prepare breakfast so I just grabbed toast. Not very happy about this but the problem with Paleo is that you need to be prepared. And toast is so easy. I did add protein to it – cheese and ham. But even so, I felt I’d let myself down and I worried about the ease with which I went back to toast.
Thing is, carbs are supposed to convert into serotonin in the body, the feelgood neurotransmitter that you get from anti depressants and Ecstasy (I’ve never taken either I hasten to add but understand this is how they work). They may have made me feel a bit happier but the comedown was worse than the up!
Protein smooths out moods
With no evidence whatever to support this, I think protein smooths out your moods in a way eating lots of carbs doesn’t. It makes sense. Carbs give you a lull, a nice soothing feeling and who doesn’t crave carbs now the weather has turned cold in the UK? But the mood doesn’t last. I can tell I’ve been moody, ratty, snappy. I tend to be moody anyway but the return to carbs has made it much more pronounced. The truth is, protein smooths out my moods, makes me feel better for longer and I can go longer without food.
Protein keeps you going and stops those highs and lows in your blood sugar. That’s probably what affects the moods. If you’re hungry, ie your blood sugar is a bit low, chances are you will feel a bit ratty and snappy. You don’t get those plunging lows on high protein, it’s a simple as that.
Good to be back
So now our cooker is fixed and much more to the point, the grill, I can return to Paleo. And go back to having smoother moods! I will celebrate I think with a mixed grill. Why did split-level cookers ever go out of fashion? Surely they’ve always made really good sense? Especially with an ageing population that finds it increasingly difficult to bend down? Even if you aren’t old or have a bad back, all that bending surely isn’t good for you? Forget fashion, go with what works. I’m so glad I never gave in to the fashion fascists and changed my kitchen to update it.
Green to repair not replace
And I’m so glad the generation that raised me knew how to make the most of things and make them last. My cooker is more than 25 years old, my washing machine nearly 20 and my microwave is 24 years old. ‘Fridge I’ve had since 1997. Sure it would be nice to buy new. To have all shiny shiny but the newer equipment is more complicated and so probably more likely to breakdown anyway. And it’s better for the environment to mend rather than replace. Sooner or later, we’re all going to have to accept that and start living a very different kind of life. Have a good Friday and a great weekend. Thanks for listening. See you next week.