Interview with Pascale Naessens, best-selling Belgian cookbook author
Diet Doctor: You originally came from the modelling world, where you naturally had a very different lifestyle to the one you have today. You struggled immensely with your eating habits, until one day things changed. What happened and how did you manage to get out of that unhealthy period?
Pascale Naessens: During my modelling days I wanted to be even thinner. No problem, I thought, I’ll just eat less and problem solved. But I had clearly underestimated my daily fight with my ‘hunger’. Starving myself resulted in irresistible binges. Like my thoughts had been completely disabled and my primordial body had taken over. I really struggled with my eating habits for a number of years. Until I discovered low-carb food.
Diet Doctor: When and how did you become interested in nutrition, healthy food and cooking?
Pascale: My biggest fear during my fight with my eating habits was that I would never be able to rid myself of these. I have naturally always been a cheerful person, but I had no control over this and it made me feel deeply unhappy. I started looking for answers to a number of questions during this period: what does nutrition do to your body? Where are things going wrong in my case? I went to see dieticians, doctors and psychologists, but none of them were able to give me usable tools to work on my problem, quite the opposite, in fact! I actually felt even worse, because it was all my fault. I didn’t have enough willpower and I really had to take back control of my life.
Fortunately, I didn’t give up and I continued searching for a solution. My life was far too fantastic to allow it to be ruined by an ‘addiction’. In the meantime, it became abundantly clear to me that conventionally educated experts couldn’t provide me with the solution I needed. By then I had fully realised I was suffering from a(n eating) disorder, but I couldn’t see the solution, quite the contrary. Someone addicted to alcohol can stop drinking alcohol, but surely someone can’t just stop eating? Plus I’m someone who loves long and cosy dinners. So how was I going to solve my problem?
At that point, I started reading, researching and experimenting with food. The emerging internet was a huge help here, as this helped me see there were several visions and I learnt ‘fat’ isn’t the major problem, but actually the excess of carbohydrates. My binges mainly consisted of carbohydrates, I never actually overate in ‘real whole foods’, such as fish, vegetables, eggs, even fruit never gave me that same satisfying binge kick. It was clearly something in those carbohydrates which resulted in that intoxicated feeling, something in bread, pasta, biscuits, cake, fries, pies, … So I started to gain a little insight into my problem, but how was I going to resolve it? How do you put your ideas into practice? That was the biggest challenge.
* These are a few excerpts from the article.You can read the full article here.
"I never actually overate in ‘real whole foods’, such as fish, vegetables, eggs, even fruit never gave me that same satisfying binge kick."