About Carol Bowen Ball
Carol Bowen Ball is an established food writer with over 35 years experience in the food arena. A prolific author, she has written over 90 cookery books (mainly as Carol Bowen), on a variety of subjects from barbecue to range-style cooking, and a whole lot in between. She won the ‘Cookery Book of the Year Award’ for her ground-breaking book ‘Versatile Vegetables’ when bringing vegetables to the forefront of meal planning was in its infancy.
A former Household and Cookery Editor for ‘Homes & Gardens’ magazine she has always been on the look-out for new ideas, trends and chasing the latest advice on cooking and eating well. Her long association with the media, be it television, radio, magazines, newspapers, the internet or professional journals, means she is a popular and sought-after pundit on all things relating to food. It is for these same reasons that she has worked on ‘Masterchef’; with Keith Floyd in his hey day; and as an editorial food advisor to Nanette Newman and Diana Dors on food-related projects.
Carol is an active member of the HOOP (Helping Overcome Obesity Problems) Charity: a member of the British Obesity Surgery Patient Association (BOSPA): the National Obesity Forum: and the Guild of Food Writers.
RETURN TO SLENDER- a personal story
The interest I have in bariatric cookery didn’t come about by accident. After countless years struggling with my weight, yo-yoing between diets, I took the decision to explore weight-loss surgery. A meeting with bariatric surgeon, Shaw Somers (TV’s FAT DOCTOR), confirmed that I was a suitable candidate and a gastric bypass was recommended.
Now this wasn’t easy to take….I wasn’t a fat kid (indeed was skinny at University); have had successes (and failures) with diets so maybe there would be just another around the corner that would work for me long-term; and food is a major part of my life…it’s the way I express myself! Plus a gastric bypass is a one-way ticket, there is no turning the clock back. What I was seduced with however, was the chance to press the ‘reset’ button and have another go at getting things right. Weight-loss surgery is only a tool for that success – anyone who thinks it is a magic wand is sadly mistaken.
In my efforts to find out more about the surgery itself and eating pre and post op I explored websites, ordered books by the dozen, enrolled on forums and joined support groups. The conclusion I came to was that alright,there was a lot of advice out there, but little of it grouped in a constructive way. The biggest downfall for the patient was the lack of reliable advice and recipes geared to the UK market. Plenty for the Americans, but these had recipes that used unfamiliar and unavailable ingredients for the UK shopper; used cup and quart measures that again were confusing; and were geared and suited to the American palate. So my quest for a slimmer body quickly joined the desire to write the first UK book for weight-loss patients, it was long overdue.
I don’t believe you can write such a book unless you have travelled the weight-loss surgery journey yourself – and experienced the highs and lows of eating in a different way. Each day, after my surgery (because yes I did go ahead in November 2009), there has been a new challenge to eat wisely, cook well and nourish my body. It gets easier each day to ‘eat right with every bite’ and it is now my aim to pass on all that I have learnt and will continue to learn.
This website is a continuation of the book (now published), along with its companion follow-up one. It has food and meal plans for all stages of eating post surgery; recipes, food and preparation tips for seasonal and all-year-round eating; advice on the best products around, be they food, supplements or equipment; advice on exercise and getting moving; the latest on events of interest; a spotlight on press stories that make the headlines; and finally my blog on how I am getting on in this brave new world.
I hope you’ll join me!
A 2015 UPDATE!
2015 means I start my 6th year after a gastric bypass. What does it mean for me? Well a sustained 61/2 stone (92 lb) weight-loss which rarely changes from week to week…no more yo-yo dieting for me (I hope). I constantly strive to eat healthily and get variety into my diet and along the way have learnt so much…which I endeavour to pass on to others regardless of their pre- or post-op surgery stage. I have added a second book ‘Return 2 Slender…Second Helpings’ to my repertoire; a bariatric portion plate, which has been enthusiastically received; a bariatric bento box for food on the go; and this year I am looking to expand the website to offer even more bariatric products that I think are invaluable. The website now enjoys many, many visitors from all across the globe and my FREE newsletter goes out to some 6,000+ subscribers.
And, since every picture tells a story…here is my latest!
www.bariatriccookery.com is however not about me but about the wonderful bariatric community that I have been blessed to meet online, at support groups and also in person. We are a diverse group of people but have a common bond in trying to overcome our obesity issues. We all know the surgery in most cases works extremely well but know that the work continues in adapting to a new lifestyle. I enjoy meeting you all and some of the professionals that advise us all with this life-changing surgery.
I try to anticipate the needs of those considering surgery; those who have just undergone it; and those much further down the line. If there are any recipes, features or topics you would like to be covered for the first time or in more detail, then I hope you will leave a message on the website or send me a request firstname.lastname@example.org and I will look into it.
Best wishes to all of you for 2015!