15 Minutes with Lisa Robinson

15 Minutes with Lisa Robinson

Lisa Robinson is an American HR consultant of many talents – from throwing scary Halloween parties, crafting children’s costumes, finding hard-to-find things in Bogor and Jakarta, to cooking and baking in an overheated kitchen. Generous and free-spirited, we couldn’t think of a better person to interview for our first blog post.

You’ve been in Bogor for nearly 3 years, what’s your favorite part about living here?
Living in Taman Kencana; for a lot of reasons. First, nearly everything we need on a daily basis is close by; either a short walk or an easy 10-minute drive away. Even if traffic is bad, you know you won’t be stuck in the car for too long. Second, we have a great community of friends for our kids and ourselves, within walking distance, and this is not only rare but nearly impossible to find when you work in the contract driven, international development/research field that we do.

Everybody’s talking about how you’ve gone “low-carb”. Can you talk a bit about how you discovered the diet and what made you decide to take it on?
After my second child, Veronica, was born, I had a really hard time getting back to my pre-“pre-pregnancy” weight and low fat diets and lots of exercise had never worked for me. Either I was always hungry or I could never get to the gym enough to be true to the diet. I had heard a lot about low carb diets from colleagues of mine so I went online and bought Dana Carpenter’s 1001 Low Carb Recipes. The food was so good and so easy to make, and it kept me full for such a long time, that it was easy to lose the weight. And the kids and my husband liked the food too, so I didn’t have to make two meals for dinner, or be stuck just eating salads!!

My cook must have thought I had gone crazy when I threw out all the wheat and sugar, but I think I have now converted him!! He makes a mean wheat-free pizza and excellent sugar-free and wheat-free chocolate chip cookies!!

Most people have tried diets that never work yet you’re walking proof that going low carb really works. How is this “diet” different?
I suppose this diet is different because it became a lifestyle so quickly for us. We felt so much better in all aspects of our health after just one week. If we “cheated” for one day, eating sugar and wheat again, we didn’t like the way we felt and ran right back for our low-carb “diet”.

It helped too that I dropped 12 kilos in three months. At first I wasn’t even going to the gym, and even at the height of my working out, I was only in the gym two times a week for 30 minutes. It just felt like my body was finding its own balance with food!

What are some of the main staples of a low-carb diet?
A lot of fresh foods, which you can find easily in Bogor and Jakarta, such as meat, poultry, fish, veggies (no potatoes and not too many carrots or tomato–yes technically a fruit), nuts, oil and dairy (sugar-free yogurt only). I throw in fruit from time to time, mostly berries as they are the lowest in carbs of all the fruits. And there is a great sugar-free chocolate company–ChocoElf–from Singapore. I would not have survived the first months without a stock of ChocoElf  Green Tea Chocolate.

Going low-carb is fun but challenging because it requires turning your pantry upside down. What’s your advice for folks wanting to get on the low-carb bandwagon?
Get some great recipes and start cooking them. This food tastes great and fills you up and you won’t miss the sugar, potatoes, pasta, rice, and bread! And keep some great sugar-free chocolate around the house for those moments when you really need something decadent. Here’s another great thing – Baskin Robin’s in Botani Square Mall now carries a sugar-free chocolate ice cream. It’s DELICIOUS and you wouldn’t even know the difference!!

What are your favorite low-carb resources (books, shops)?
I can’t live without Dana Carpenter’s 1001 Low Carb Recipes, the Dr William Davis’ Wheat-Belly Cookbook, Yoek’s – Toko Kue (behind Hotel Salak – find complete address here), SteviaLeaf (available at KemChicks), or Nitrate Free Bacon (available at KemChicks) or ChocoElf Sugar-free Chocolate.

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