Diet blogs are usually as interesting as reading about homemade enemas, organic childbirth or wounded baby animals. No one gives a shit about how fat or how thin you are and no one wants to look at pictures of injured fluffy pigeons.

We just don’t care about the biochemical meat paste you’ve been ingesting in your secret pagan moonlit weight-loss rituals and we definitely don’t want to see pictorial evidence. Diets suck. Who wants to read the ugly truth about the tedious daily grind of starving yourself in your bid to fit into your skinny jeans? People really only want to hear about miracle cures and then look at pictures of cats dressed as humans.

This makes me a terrible hypocrite because, for the next few hundred words, I’m going to wow you all with the tale of One pitta one pot. In my defence, I’ve got sod all else to write about right now because I’ve been working really hard and it’s winter. Look away if dietary tips don’t shake your tail feather. At least I’m not posting pictures of dead sparrows.

Not to be confused with Two girls one cup, One pitta one pot is the sexy new diet that has inadvertently changed my life. Okay that’s a total lie. But it has affected me enough to persuade me to write a whole blog about it. It must be really sexy.


Sexy food

 I loathe people that go on about fat loss and I try really hard not to read magazines that encourage us all to agonise about our weight every month. I like people of all shapes and sizes and I really don’t give a shit about the size of your ass.

But the fact is I am much happier when I am not fat. I feel good about myself, my clothes fit better, I look hotter naked and I get laid more. My eternal pursuit of not being fat makes good business sense. Being a short-ass with a stubborn metabolism, I gain weight if I so much as sniff a chip, so staying slim has always been a bit of a challenge. This is why running is so important to me. Not being able to run cocks everything up. Death to the evil IT band and its all-consuming powers.

I’ve been plagued by my recurring leg injury for months now and haven’t been doing very much running. Combine that with riding my new scooter everywhere, having to squeeze all of my flesh into a pathetic 5 foot 3 inch frame, and being in a relatively new relationship which always comes with additional weight, and I was slowly morphing into a little fat girl.

Nine months into my new country life (NINE! That’s nearly a year off soul-geldingly evil fashion magazines, sweaty tube journeys and £8 pints of lager, Rhalelujah) and my transformation into ultra fit country girl was long overdue.

Step in Ultraboy and his obsessive approach to pretty much every area of his life. It comes with the territory; you have to be a bit fanatical to run ultra marathons. He’s recently been recovering from shoulder surgery and has also started to get a little bigger round the middle. I think he’s still sexy as all hell, but I understand the motivation to keep fit.

In his words: “You just can’t do any of the sports I enjoy and be fat.”

Along with running, kayaking and rock climbing are his two favourite pastimes, so he does kind of have a point. So when Ultraboy decided to inadvertently put me on a diet, because basically I eat what he eats, I was forced to stick to the rigidity of his routine.

Ultraboy does nothing by halves. When he runs, it’s a 100 miles across the dessert, when he kayaks, it’s grade 5 waterfalls, and when he diets, it’s lentils and thin air all the way. Fortunately his latest fanatical project has actually worked, so I’ve decided to share it with you all. I haven’t been this happy about my body since discovering the rave scene back in 1995. Oh those halcyon days.

One pitta one pot is pretty straightforward. Basically, every night for dinner we only eat food that fits inside a wholemeal pitta and is cooked using one single pot. Theoretically you could squeeze whatever the hell you like in there, but we happen to be vegetarian (me 100%, Ultraboy 96%) and we actually like healthy shit, so our diet has mainly consisted of vegetables, beans, pulses, quinoa and some eggs and cheese.


Rhalou looks really good in a bikini since starting the One pitta one pot diet

We follow this routine to the letter every night from Monday to Friday and then come the weekend, we eat whatever the hell we like. Apparently the rest days are integral to the diet, as that way your body doesn’t grow accustomed to the reduced calorie intake and start adjusting. This might be bollocks though, I’m no expert. I couldn’t see how I could lose weight and still eat pizza and cake for two days a week, but the extra pounds I grew on my ass have disappeared and I haven’t once felt hungry or even thought much about food for weeks now.

It helps that Ultraboy does most of the cooking. It’s easier to eat what’s in front of you if you don’t have to think about it. So I recommend followers of the One pitta one pot diet find a willing love slave or fanatical extreme sports enthusiast to produce your pitta-sized dinners for you.

Admittedly this diet might suck if you were running a lot, which we’re not currently, but otherwise it is brilliant and everyone in our house looks well sexy with their clothes off.

Please note: Rhalou is not a dietician or a miracle worker. If you follow the One pitta one pot diet and do not achieve the desired results, sorry about that.

Fear not folks, my profound ramblings about my rock star life disguised as a running blog are not about to veer off into the culinary realm. I might start to post the occasional recipe because I want to seem like a grown-up lady, but I solemnly promise not to attempt to metamorphose into a food blogger. Although I eat food regularly, sometimes even six times a day, and I’ve even been known to write articles about it, I’m not going to pretend to know what the hell to do with it.

I like food. It tastes nice (sometimes), and I enjoy the sense of occasion associated with eating. I love lolling over dinner in dimly lit restaurants, slugging red wine and casting provocative eyes at my beloved (although that’s quite tricky in our local strip-lit Chinese). But if left to my own devices, I confess I will happily eat Tescos 24p bean soup, pitta bread and hummus, every single day. I’ve been known to survive off this very same meal contentedly every night for months. Sometimes I jazz it up with a raw carrot, but only on special occasions. This is not a sadistic weight-loss initiative; it’s because I’m lazy and joyless.

If the scientists invented a robot that could press a button and inject bean soup and hummus straight into my veins so I didn’t have to bother heating it up, I’d opt in. I’m not sure why I’m such a killjoy. I was raised on delicious vegetarian whole food by my mum and had a healthy attitude to eating as a kid. But when I’m on my own I really couldn’t give a toss about cooking. I’d rather stare at a wall than prepare a tasty feast for one. Conversely, give me some mouths to feed and I love nothing more than cooking up a (meat-free) storm in the kitchen. I will merrily spend hours baking pie, roasting vegetables, and concocting obscure frittata parodies, but only if there’s someone there to feed it to. Otherwise it’s ding dinners all the way. (Microwave. Ding!)

So anyway, since my recent exile to the Scottish wilderness, as I now share my life with a red-blooded male, I’ve taken up cooking again. Although he’s a big braw tattooed Scotsman who looks like he eats his meat straight off the bone, Ultraboy is for the most part vegetarian, which makes life a fuck of a lot easier. Any veggie who’s ever dated a hardcore carnivore will know that despite your best efforts, your relationship is doomed. If you favour plant-based food, you just can’t share your life with a man who considers meat and two meat a staple diet and refuses to accept any form of vegetable as a viable alternative. You’ll only succeed if you’re rich enough to employ two chefs and own a Smeg fridge big enough to fit all the opposing food in (I always wanted a red Smeg fridge).

Despite routinely pushing his body to its limits, Ultraboy thrives on a predominantly plant-based diet and makes really good curry and all sorts of cool strange things to do with celeriac. (A weird alien-like root vegetable that tastes a bit like parsnip, which for some reason unbeknownst to me Ultraboy is singularly obsessed with). So we share cooking and take it in turns to make big sexy meals for each other that we usually devour in front of True Blood, Walking Dead, or Falling Skies. Basically stick me in front of anything gruesome featuring supernatural beasts feasting on each other’s brains and I’m happy. This is probably weird behaviour for a vegetarian. Don’t judge me.

As we’re the proud parents of 10 eccentric fluffy chickens, you’d think more of our meals would involve eggs, but the ladies have been off the lay of late. Aside from the odd Chinese, all of our banquets are based on beans, pulses and happy green vegetables. (Except for when Ultraboy’s out of town that is. Then it’s cheap soup and bumper-sized hummus all the way baby). Not because we’re compulsive dieters. We both just prefer whole food. I was raised that way and Ultraboy swears by it for fuelling him up mountains. I’d secretly love to be whippet thin, but God built me this way and she knew what she was doing in the design room. I eat well and exercise shit loads and I still have a big round bum, so who am I to argue? In order to shave inches off that booty I’d need to live off air and then I’d be a grumpy bitch.

There is one exception to our healthy eating regime, and it comes in the form of what I like to call ‘stress baking’. Since moving to the country, when the pressure rises, in true farmer’s wife fashion I’ve started taking to the kitchen to ease the tension. Weirdly, if I’m in a hellabitch mood, a good hour of baking makes me feel infinitely better. Pretending to be Nigella by licking raw ingredients off my fingertips provocatively adds to the enjoyment. The woman is the essence of sexual Zen.

The problem with stress baking is the stress eating associated with all the sugary goods you’ve just produced. So to save my ass from getting any bigger (I get fat just sniffing muffins) I’ve been experimenting with healthy cakes. This is secretly bollocks, there’s no such thing as healthy cakes and anyone who says so is lying. But sprinkle a bit of hippy shit in your cake mix and it mysteriously removes all the guilt. So without further ado, I would like to introduce my first ‘healthy’ recipe to you…

Banana Badass
Stick badass on the end of anything and it implies it will make you run like a wild cat. It really won’t. But the addition of flaxseed will make your eyes bright and your blood flow like a horny vampire. Honest.

Tastes better than it looks

2 large or 3 medium very ripe bananas that have been festering in your handbag/fruit bowl all week.
4oz butter.
4oz Demerara sugar.
6oz self raising flour.
2oz oats.
2 chicken eggs or one duck egg (sounds creepy, but duck eggs are creamy and fun).
2oz milled flaxseed (available in all good hairy hippy supermarkets).
2 handfuls of crushed nuts.
1 handful of mixed dried fruit.

Heat the oven to gas mark 4; 180C.
Grease a loaf tin.
Mash the bananas until they’re sort of mushy but still chunky.
Cream the butter and sugar together and mix in the eggs.
Mix in the bananas. Add the flour, oats and flaxseed, followed by nuts, fruit and anything else vaguely healthy looking lying around the kitchen.
Scrape into the loaf tin and bake for 40 minutes. Then lower the temperature to gas mark 2; 150C and cook for a further 30 minutes.

Eat hot or cold with big mugs of tea and experience an unparalleled running Zen that’ll make you praise the day you stumbled across my blog.

Please note: If your Banana Badass tastes disgusting, makes you ill, or provokes vampiric urges, The House of Rhalou accepts no responsibility.

I’ve been an impoverished magazine journalist for the best part of a decade. Despite working for a variety of magazines, the most valuable lesson I ever learned about writing actually came from my beloved grandmother Verily Anderson. Not the sprinter, the other granny, whose name I have tattooed across my back to remind me to be more badass. (It’s freaking huge, I know. It wasn’t supposed to be that big, but a well-tattooed gentleman friend influenced me somewhat on ink day).

Verily badass

Verily means truly. Verily truly was the distilled essence of badass. In the 1950s she’d waltz into any public bar and order a pint of ale long before it was considered socially acceptable for women to drink alone. She also had five kids, travelled the world aged 85 with her youngest granddaughter (me) and wrote books for a living. She finished her last book the day before she died aged 95.

The only literary advice she ever gave me was ‘never start anything with I’ as apparently it sets a self-indulgent tone. Oops. Oh well, maybe it’s okay to be a little bit self-indulgent every once in a while. Considering Granny Verily’s other stock saying was, ‘When things get bad, go to the pub. When things get really bad, throw a party’ I don’t think she’d have disapproved of the occasional moment of self-indulgence all that much.

So to that end, I’m going to unashamedly boast about my latest article in Women’s Running magazine. You’d think I’d get used to seeing my name in print, but I still get completely overexcited on press day. It’s a fantastic feeling to see my words on a big shiny page (minus all the fucks. Magazine editors always edit out the F word if you try and sneak it in) and know that at least a couple of people in the world will read it.

This month feels exceptionally exciting because, although I was on staff at Women’s Running for nearly three years, this is my first published article since becoming a FREELANCE JOURNALIST (sorry for shouting but it’s well grown up and scary) so it feels like a big deal.

Read me baby

My latest article is also about a very newsworthy subject, vegetarian running! Everyone should go veggie. Not because I give a shit about the baby animals or environmental impact (although I really do) but because it would make eating out and dinner parties much easier for those of us that choose to eschew animalia. I always feel like such a loser in restaurants when I have to ask if there’s anything on the menu without a mum or a face. Plus my brother-in-law Jay Scrimshaw is a head chef who specialises in offal, which sucks balls as I never get to taste his cooking. Christmas day is a logistical nightmare. If only they all liked quinoa and alfalfa sprouts as much as I do.

It’s also nice to have it in print that being a vegetarian will have absolutely no bearing whatsoever on your ability to run a marathon. True story. But I won’t ruin the plot, go and buy the sexy running mag now so they commission me to write loads more, sales pitch over. Who fancies a quick pint of ale?

After recently travelling north for The Edinburgh Festival and then south for a Norfolk wedding, something strange has happened to me. Against the odds, I have inadvertently fallen hopelessly in love with the Scottish countryside. That one snuck up on me unexpectedly. I always thought it was nice in a, ‘Ooh look at the pretty view’ sort of way. I even liked it enough to move here. But the strange, passionate, all-consuming love affair type feelings didn’t kick in until I actually left my little Scottish retreat for a few days.

Volcanic love

I’ve always been a die-hard city girl and the move to Scotland was a huge leap of faith. Although the stint in Edinburgh city and fun weekend in the fens were certainly enjoyable, they had an odd effect on me (and not just because I drank my body weight in booze). Being away for a bit really made me appreciate what I have at home, and I’ve since gone and fallen madly in love with Scotland.

I could just sit and gaze lovingly at the hills all day long. I love the way the beautiful fields change colour hourly, and the trees hold stories in their leaves. I feel like I could spend a thousand years wandering through the woods and never get bored. I would even go out the back door and give the view a big fat hug if I could fit the fuck-off great big volcano in my arms. I must remember this next time I’m out of milk and can’t face the six-mile round trip cycle ride to the shops.

The upside to my newfound love affair is it makes enjoying country life that little bit easier. For the first few weeks I felt a bit lost and out of place. But I now have the urge to be outdoors all the time, lapping up the lovely country air (sunshine helps). This fits in quite nicely with my next goal, to master the art of forefoot running.

Scotland = sexy

I say forefoot as opposed to barefoot running because I have no desire to wear those funny finger toe shoes (they give me the willies) plus there’s way too much cow shit around here to actually run barefoot. My grandmother was a sprint champion in the 50s and my Dad was also a keen sprinter in his youth, and both advocated the forefoot running technique long before it became fashionable. Although I’m no sprinter, I’ve always liked the idea, but up until now it just seemed like one more thing to think about in a sea of obstacles trying to stop me getting out the door. If I just plod mindlessly without thinking or worrying, I can (or could, pre-injury) keep going for miles. The idea of focusing on form detracted from the fun of running. But then a few months ago I went and fucked my knee up and my attitude has since changed.

Although I’ve been doing bits and pieces in the hills, I haven’t had a decent run since May. (I’m almost at the spontaneous combustion/mass killing spree phase). It occurred to me that as I have to effectively start from scratch, now is also a great time to try out a whole new style. And frankly, my plodding method may have got me there eventually, but I was still erring on the side of tortoise.

As luck would have it, I still have a couple of pairs of minimal trainers from my days at Women’s Running magazine that I never got around to testing, so I’m well-equipped for my new venture. And curiously, despite a slow start, I’ve found the forefoot running technique certainly takes the pressure off the offending knee. It hurts my calves like hell afterwards and I feel like a daft fairy when I’m doing it, but we all have to start somewhere.

Running in six-inch leopard print platforms: bad idea

The bad news is despite being back on my feet I’m just not race ready, so I’ve had to drop out of The Great Scottish Run. I’m a bit gutted about this as it’s the anniversary run of my first date with Ultraboy, but there’s no point in irrevocably buggering up my knee for sentimental purposes, so I’m doing the sensible thing and dropping out.

Maybe he’ll take pity on me and whisk me off to Paris instead like he did for our second date (oh those halcyon days). But considering Ultraboy’s off to Chamonix this Friday to take on the TDS, I doubt it. 60-odd miles in The Alps will probably put him off France for life. Fortunately I have another lover to keep me occupied while he’s away, my beloved Scotland…

Forget groupies. There’s a new type of extreme girlfriending in town. Behold the rise of the ultra widow… Worried you might be one? Follow these tips to find out.

When your boyfriend nips out for a quick jog, he turns up 10 hours later with wolf shit in his hair and a strange faraway expression that suggests he’s either been freebasing crack in the bushes, or reached a higher plane of consciousness from running endlessly for 50 miles.

Nothing, I repeat nothing, comes between your boyfriend and race day. Birthday? Christening? Wedding anniversary? Funeral? Forget it. Running 100 miles in a 30-man race across wet fields with nothing to eat but nettles is far more important and will always come first.

Your boyfriend has more shoes than you do. Times 100.

You’ve forgotten what male toes look like and assume all men have black stumps for feet and their ankles are meant to be a strange greeny blue hue. You grow so used to his malformed rotting tootsies, that normal healthy feet start to look odd.

You don’t have a single glass in your kitchen cupboard. Not even a stray champagne flute. The entire house drinks out of designated plastic drip-free water bottles, designed for trekking through the desert. But you don’t really mind because this way, no one can tell how much gin you drink.

Your kitchen cupboard consists almost entirely of freeze-dried space food.

When your boyfriend offers to bonk you, he actually means starve you of food and drink for six hours while making you run endlessly round the block to build your tolerance for malnutrition.

When he actually does suggest sexy time, you call a babysitter, book the week off work, and invest in a vat of lube, because you’re in for the looong haul, with breaks for carbo loading.

To relax between races, on rest days your boyfriend runs 15 miles instead of 50. Or if he’s really winding down, he climbs a mountain, jumps out of a plane, or has a quick kayak down a gorge, leaving you to do the weekly food shop in peace.

Your laundry room, cupboards, wardrobes and drawers are stuffed with so much running gear, that you can tune in to Radio 4 off the static.

Your idea of a mini break involves sitting in a car in the Lake District in the pissing rain reading Heat magazine while your boyfriend drops off reconstituted rice pudding at designated mile markers for his mate Dave.

You discover that the only thing worse than an absent ultra runner, is an injured one. One week of a wounded ultra runner moaning about his sore foot and you’ll be begging him to bugger off to The Sahara.

You are seriously considering taking up ultra running and training for a gruelling 55-mile race which will probably leave you permanently damaged and put you off exercise for life, because you’ve been hypnotised by ultra voodoo magic and have come to believe ultra running is perfectly normal behaviour.