Capers with kale and other stories

So, this Sirtfood Diet I have been following is going OK, if you ignore the fact that I had a minor slip-up on Saturday (that fine wine) followed by a major falling off on Sunday (roast beef and lashings of beer). To be honest, I didn’t so much fall off, as jump off, feet first shouting ‘Wheeeeeee!’.

See, the problem I have with diets is weekends. Weekends equal treats in my book. If you can’t relax and enjoy yourself at the weekend then what’s the point? It may as well be Tuesday. I also like to have a day off cooking at the weekend, but if your diet is so prescriptive that no meal out or takeaway can fulfill its brief then you won’t have much choice but to cook. Moreover, as no other member of my family will stomach my ‘lamo diet’ food, I will either end up spending twice as long in the kitchen, catering for both myself and them, or I will get an extreme bitch-face sulk on as I watch them chow down on dhansak while I nibble on a bit of celery. This does not for a happy weekend/family make.

So, I said balls to it all, went to the pub and had a jolly nice time. OK I haven’t lost the advertised half stone, but hey, what’s the rush? It’s not like I have to be in a bikini next week (or any time soon). I have lost three pounds which I’m quite pleased about given the weekend’s aberration and the fact that I have done absolutely no exercise. To be honest, I didn’t lose as much when I caught norovirus from the kids a couple of years ago (the horror) and was too busy puking to eat for a whole week, so I reckon there might be something to these sirt foods.

Here’s the science bit (actually there’s so much science in the book that I switched off  – I don’t care how it works just so long as it does – but this is the general gist). Apparently we have a family of genes called sirtuins which control our ability to burn fat and stay healthy. By eating a diet rich in certain foods – or should I say sirtain foods (sorry!) – we can mimic the health and weight loss benefits of fasting and exercise, while not actually fasting or exercising. Happy days.


The top 20 sirtfoods are:

  • Buckwheat
  • Capers
  • Celery
  • Chilli
  • Chocolate
  • Coffee
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Green tea (preferably matcha)
  • Kale
  • Lovage
  • Medjool dates
  • Parsley
  • Red chicory
  • Red onion
  • Red wine
  • Rocket
  • Soy
  • Strawberries
  • Turmeric
  • Walnuts

I’m not going to bore you with all the details because if there’s one thing more tiresome than actually being on a diet, it’s someone banging on about the one they’re on. But, if you are interested in following this regime, here’s a quick summary.

The pros

  • The food is quick to prepare and pretty decent – rather like what you would expect from a wholefood cafe in some sleepy backwater, that has almost, but not quite forged a connection between healthy and delicious.
  • The portion sizes are generous. Even in the most Nazi phase (days 1-3) you are allowed 1,000 calories, which will seem like a flippin feast for anyone who has ever done 5:2.
  • You are allowed to drink coffee/tea and eat 15-20g dark chocolate (min 85% cocoa) per day. I am a bit of a baby about my chocolate – the creamier and cheaper the better. However, in the early stages, you won’t care and this will be the highlight of your day.
  • Buckwheat. In flake or puff form, this is reminiscent of the stuff I used to have to scrape off the bottom of my gerbil’s cage.(9yo: ‘A bit like sawdust with an aftertaste of cardboard.’ Me: ‘Have you actually eaten cardboard?’ 9yo: ‘Only once.’) However, in wholegrain form, cooked al dente, I think it beats cous cous, bulgar or quinoa. Definitely becoming a regular feature in my (normal) diet.
  • It’s gluten free if that’s your gig.
  • Two to three glasses of red wine per week are allowed after the first week (sold yet? hang on…).

The cons

  • Green juice. This forms the basis of the diet. Made by juicing quite literally a shed load of kale (seriously, you won’t have a fridge big enough to house all the kale you will need, because, in case you hadn’t noticed, kale is NOT JUICY, so a 300g bag will yield about 20ml of juice), rocket (ditto), parsley, lovage (qué?), celery, green apple, lemon juice and matcha green tea powder. You might start off saying, ‘mmm, not bad, grassy, fresh, quite palatable actually’ but after three hours days of the stuff, all you can taste is the sulphur – it’s like drinking liquid farts. 9yo: ‘Mum, does this stuff turn your poo green?’ Me: ‘I couldn’t possibly comment.’ (But between you and me, it’s a bit like meconium. Sorry. Again.)
  • You will need a juicer. A pain to use, a bastard to clean. And when you discard all the leftover fibres, your bin will immediately smell like a halitotic rat has crawled in there to die.
  • Along with the kale, you have to like spice – a lot of the food is HOT – and turmeric, which in and by itself, is not a flavour that lends itself to the description ‘moreish’. That rules out about 50% of people I know.
  • You have to like capers (there go the other 50%).

Right, I’m bored of this post now so can’t imagine how you’re feeling. I will, however, share with you a couple of my favourite sirt recipes tomorrow. Bet you can’t wait.




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