This was my first interview..In this article all of my feelings before the beginning of this amazing adventure.

Alessandro, my boyfriend, is a journalist and whe he suggested this story to his editor, she loved the story.. my story.In this article all of my feelings before the beginning of this amazing adventure.

Now many things happened and many will happen, but this was the beginning of this amazing adventure.

I’m still here, and I’m still fighting:)

Finally, we do have the English translation.

 

PRESS REVIEW: GIOIA! – Lead Italian Weekly Female Magazine – November 2016

MY LIFE WITHOUT SUGAR

On World Diabetes Day, which is held on the 14th November, we are telling you the story of Francesca Sofia Allegra, an Italian woman who lives in London and has been diagnosed with insulin resistance, the gateway to diabetes. See in this article how a low glycemic index diet has changed her life.

A low glycemic index diet helps delaying the hunger stimulus, to reduce the accumulation of fat and to lose weight. I have been living in London for two years, where it is difficult to follow a balanced diet.
I came to the United Kingdom with my girlfriend and I have started to follow a low glycemic index diet for/with her. I have lost ten kilos, my health check results are similar to a twenty year old’s and I am in superb form. All thanks to her.

Chronicle of a battle against nervous hunger

My partner, Francesca Sofia Allegra, is a very capable woman. She is a film editor and has worked on various documentaries, which have been nominated in many world festivals; she is one of the best movie trailer editors in Italy. She is only 31 years old, but she has lived most of her life hating one thing: her body. “I have been concealing it since adolescence. I was wearing men clothes, three sizes bigger and I did not look at myself in the mirror”, she says. “I was born in a context within which food meant conviviality but also was an obligation, without worrying about what and how much I was eating. I only started to do so when I moved to Rome, only eating when I was hungry or thought I was. I hated my body and as others were looking at it, I then started to destroy it. I fasted for days, and then in one night I would empty the entire fridge and vomit. Bulimic, with nervous craving, a classic textbook case. In ten years, I have changed at least 40 times of diets without any conclusive results. In the end, I lost 10kg by fasting. I weighted 45kilos and everyone was worried about me, whilst I finally was feeling beautiful”.

During the one year and a half that we were together, I have watched Francesca change diets so many times that I have lost count; she was always looking for the best formula that would make her feel good with herself and with the world. There was nothing for it. Then, one day, she took a decision that changed her life. “I was smoking 40 cigarettes per day and I took the decision of quitting: the first step towards a new life.

I have succeeded: I have not touched a cigarette in three years and a half. I have put on 15 kilos within the first few months, but it was worth it as for the first time, I was not bothered about the weight shown on the scale. I wanted to get thinner without obsessing about it, but it was not working, even if I was only eating salad. Hence, I decided to have a full blood check and they diagnosed me with insulin resistance, the gateway to diabetes. Thousands of diets have destroyed my health but now I am convinced it was the best thing that could have happened to me.”

What does Low Glycemic Index mean?

Following a new diet now became a necessity, it was essential to find the right one. In agreement with the doctors who were taking care of Francesca Sofia, it seemed that a low glycemic index diet would be the most appropriate, even more so as it required a particular discipline and tenacity which meant having to cook everything at home with researched aliments. Furthermore, eliminating completely some categories of carbohydrates and sugars cancels almost entirely the nervous hunger. This is something we have immediately decided to do together, with enthusiasm, enjoying cooking together and inventing new recipes and combinations, whilst respecting the low glycemic index table of each ingredient used, which was always on hand.

What does it mean exactly? The low glycemic index indicates the speed at which the glycemia increases after the intake of a particular ailment. The lower the index, the less it impacts the glycemia. The glycemic load, on the other hand, is the formula, which enables us to determine the impact of a dish on glycemia. The calculation is very easy: the glycemic index of an ailment multiplied by the quantity of carbohydrates, divided by 100. The results are subjective but to try to calculate it is worth it. You can then enjoy eating, only paying attention to how it is cooked rather than worrying about the calories. It is certain that the main problem of a diet usually does not rely on the amount of calories absorbed but the quantity of sugars (refined and added), carbohydrates (especially the 00 flour) and saturated ”bad” fats. These are the main culprits responsible of the accumulation of the five kilos that are hard to lose or even, in some severe cases, type II diabetes and obesity.

How to eat with a low glycemic Index

In the Anglo-Saxons countries, the newest trend, which is also picking up in Italy, is to see how many free from there could be in the aliments. Gluten Free, Lactose Free, egg Free…but it is still difficult to find sugar free products because sugar is presented in many different forms (dextrose, maltose amongst many others). Fortunately, Francesca Sofia and I have found ourselves a new past-time: read the ingredients and composition of all the products we buy.

For instance, by doing this, we discovered that there are added sugars in smoked salmon to prolong its conservation or that it is impossible to find a hamburger with no starch, potato starch, sugars and others. “One of the most enjoyable sides of a Low GI diet is that it stimulates your creativity in order to combine all the ingredients tastefully”, Francesca Sofia says. “It made us rediscover the pleasure to be at home; also, cooking together is very romantic. The downside is that each time that I eat out, with people, there is a risk of deviating from the diet but it is more important to live and enjoy serenely”.

 

In London, where the percentage of obesity and diabetes is close to 50%, Francesca has started to organize Low GI dinners to sensitize, above all others, the women who are confronted W this alimentary culture. “The first event will be on World Diabetes Day, which falls on the 14th November and will be held during two weeks in London, at a Genovese focaccia bakery in Dalston, named Dona Fugassa. It is a small café which is run by two beautiful Italian women ( Dalston Square, donnafugassa.co.uk) where we will produce a special focaccia, using a flour with a low glycemic index, by Fiber Pasta and which is the only white flour of its type, in the world. (info: fiberpasta.it). The next step will be the supper clubs, which are now very popular in London and ours will be a dinner exclusively Low GI.

Francesca Sofia baptized her new concept: Lowgin (now LOWSTERIA), a name connected to the Low GI style of the dinners that will be held. She has made it and now she will help others to succeed too.

A low Glycemic Index diet: what to eat and what to avoid
Following a low glycemic index diet mostly means paying attention to the ailments one chooses. Some are to ban completely, such as durum wheat pasta that luckily you can replace: orienting yourself towards wholemeal flours or towards a type of pasta which is made of white flour without sugar and with a high content of fiber. Vegetables are almost all permitted and it is advised to use them as starters, to lower the glycemic load of the entire meal. However, as far as meat is concerned, there are problems, even if the glycemic index varies according to the type, the cut and the cooking. Be also careful with fruits, which you can never eat in excess. Cheeses, preferably goat’s cheese are concessions which have limitations. But fortunately, for those who do not want to deprive themselves of a good glass, there is no problem: wines and spirits have a non-existent GI. Enough restrictions!

Furthermore, ginger and red onions to season the plates, avocados and cucumber in mixed salads, to hydrate and bring healthy nutrients and even grapefruits, which are full of vitamin C and Fennel, precious for its diuretic properties. These are some of the many vegetable based dishes which are allowed in a Low GI diet: healthy, genuine and tasty.

A healthy daily menu
Here are a few examples of low glycemic index dishes that Francesca and Alessandro love to cook

and eat together: at breakfast, a slice of rye bread with a high fibre content and a spoon of light yogurt with zero fats and a sugar-free homemade jam (it is prepared using only fruits). For lunch, a bed of rocket, ‘mâche’ and spinach with smoked salmon that is sugar-free (you only need to read the label!), tomatoes and grated raw cauliflower.

Not the usual pasta

One of the perfect plates to replace the “usual” Italian starter: instead of bucatini (spaghetti-like pasta with a hole running through the centre), Francesca Sofia favours the black beans spaghetti (50grams are more than enough to feel satiated) seasoned with a cream made of a mix of courgettes with ginger, A bit of onions, laurel, pepper, chilli and a spoon of raw oil then the whole dish is garnished with red peppers.”

 

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