I had a pretty rude shock about six weeks when I pulled on my favourite pair of jeans and they didn’t do up easily. By this I mean they did up – barely – but then I couldn’t breathe. Or sit. Or eat. And I’m pretty sure the circulation to the lower half of my body would have stopped momentarily had I not quickly undone them.
It was time for action.
But not too much drastic action, given I write a food blog!
Last year I saw Dr Michael Mosley’s documentary, Eat, Fast and Live Longer, about intermittent fasting. While I was intrigued at the time, I didn’t do anything about it. Since then I’ve seen a lot of chatter about it on twitter and facebook, including a few of my fellow food bloggers who have had success.
It didn’t seem too hard.
While it’s called The Fast Diet, you don’t really fast. For two days a week women restrict their calorie intake to 500 and men to 600. The rest of the time you can eat what you like. As well as weight loss (which is the immediate short term benefit I’ve been seeking), it’s the longer term health benefits that really appeal. Studies have shown that intermittent fasting can have positive impacts on blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin sensitivity. This in turn can potentially reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and a whole heap of cancers.
So what am I eating on fast days? A whole heap of things. I normally have two meals and a couple of cups of tea or coffee (with milk, no sugar) and a heap of water and herbal tea.
I hate calorie counting, so I don’t count to the n-th calorie, but I do know the rough amount of a big bowl of veggies, chicken thigh fillet, egg etc. Mostly I eat a heap of veggies and an egg or some chicken or maybe a bit of lean beef so it’s not too hard to work out. I avoid anything with carbs or sugar or that’s too fatty on a fast day. Which the exception of the occasional piece of haloumi or blue cheese in cauliflower soup.
For the last few fast days I’ve been having a version of this soup which is full of flavour, nutrients, and very warming now that I’m pretending the weather is cooling down. It is April after all!
Mega thanks to the fabulous Jo Whitton who often shares pics on instagram and her blog of her broth with a poached egg. Never would I have thought to do that!
Chicken broth with veggies and an egg
by Mel Kettle
(approximately 160 cal)
What you need:
- 350ml of home made chicken broth (I make my own every week or two – super easy. Follow Alexx Stuart’s recipe)
- half a zucchini, cut into little pieces
- 100g mushrooms, sliced
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp Sriracha or other chilli sauce (optional)
- 1 egg
You can use whatever veggies you like – mushrooms are my fave, so always included, I’m also currently in a zucchini phase. You could also easily substitute some cooked chicken for the egg (which I often do).
What you do:
Place the broth, zucchini and mushrooms in a medium sized saucepan and bring to boil. Turn the heat down to a light simmer and add the sauces. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Stir. Crack in the egg, gently swirl the broth around with a spoon. After about 90 seconds carefully pour it all into a soup bowl, being careful not to break the egg yolk.
Are you doing the 5:2 diet? How are you finding it?
Oh yeah, my jeans are now comfy again. YAY!