5:2 Diet Recipe – Smoked Haddock Rarebit:
As I mentioned in my first post about following the 5:2 diet, this concept has been popularised by a recent BBC horizon programme. If you want to read more about Michael Mosley’s experience there’s an article here
The appeal of this form of dieting is that it enables us to lead normal lives on five days of the week and appears to be quite flexible in how you use it. I am guessing that many of us have done variations on a theme around this diet, I know I have soup only days when I want to lose weight quickly and I can remember my parents having fruit only days for the same reason. What was interesting about the 5:2 diet TV programme was that not only do you lose weight, you also potentially improve your overall health. And, although we are all calling it a diet at the moment, I suspect it is actually a life eating plan. Now, I’m not a doctor and nor am I having the IGF-1 marker monitoring that Michael Mosely followed. I do have one minor ongoing health problem, a slow acting thyroid (for which I take a low dose of thyroxine), and for that reason I will check with my doctor in the next few days that this diet is not harmful to me. But, in principle I don’t see why it should be as it is not a total fast, nor are you forbidden to eat any particular food type. I’m also curious about how the results of this form of diet management might be linked to the recent research into a ‘cure’ for diabetes which involves a very low calorie diet over a longer term.
Today’s 5:2 diet recipe and meal is smoked haddock rarebit. I love rarebit on toast and I’ve made enough of the mixture for lunch later in the week. But, adding haddock makes a very special dish that I was introduced to by James Martin. He made his rarebit rather differently, pre-cooking it on the hob, chilling the paste and then cutting out slices to lay on top of the fish. I’ve done a simpler version, using the rarebit mix I’ve made since I was a student that I would generally put on bread. I added a few chives for extra flavour and I served this with steamed spinach, which is a lovely contrast to the smokey, salty fish. I’m very lucky because I was sent the smoked haddock by Delish Fish and it is incredibly well flavoured and tender. I’m also using low fat cheddar, where I’d normally use the full blown variety, to cut the calories and my very rough calorie count for the meal works out like this.
½ egg 35cal
50g low fat cheddar 130cal
Pepper, mustard, Worcester sauce Chives negligible calories
20 ml 1% milk 10cal
100g fresh spinach 30cal
150g smoked haddock 150cal
That’s a total of 355 calories for what feels like quite a substantial 5:2 diet meal, helped a lot by the haddock which is a very low calorie fish.
My dieting history is a bit piecemeal. I’ve tried a few diet plans but I never manage to do them for long. I am not a great fan of ketosis inducing diets like Atkins. I’m concerned that anything where you have to put a huge pressure on one or two of your body’s vital organs (in this case the kidneys and liver). And in any case, it’s very difficult to write restaurant reviews and limit your food to the Atkins diet. For me, low carb, low fat diets DO work, but are very, very hard to stick to because on certain days I eat out, sometimes twice. And I get a fair amount of food (chocolate) to review at home too. Probably my biggest failing is wine, I enjoy drinking with a meal and I cook quite a lot with wine, so there’s often the good part of the bottle left for me to finish! But, I have no problem avoiding wine on two or three days a week…and the advantage of doing that on a ‘5:2 fasting’ day is it stops me picking at chocolates and drinking lovely but calorific fruit cocktails instead of the wine. I also think having a couple of days of eating very little cuts your appetite overall.
So – my aim over the next month is to lose 4-5kg (8-10lbs). At the moment, for my age and height (I’m 155cm) I am at the top end of overweight, though not yet into the category called obese. I’m away on holiday from the 15th September to 22nd and I’d really like to drop a dress size by then so that my pretty summer clothes fit without stretching at the seams. I currently weigh 65kg and when I first started doing this I was 66kg, so I DID lose a whole kilo in the first few days. Once I get to 60kg I will be happy, if I can reach my target weight of 57kg I will be thrilled (I’m 155cm).
I exercise regularly (usually 4 times a week) and I’m changing my routine to include more resistance training because I understand that muscle wastage is one of the potential issues of this diet. Over the last week, my gym routine has been 10 minutes of power plate (squats, lunges, steps, plank) followed by 15 minutes of interval based aerobic exercise, followed by 10 minutes of weights/resistance exercise followed by 5 minutes of power plate relaxation. That seems to work in terms of toning and my tummy feels a bit flatter! On fast days I’m not currently exercising, but I am trying to make sure I take a 20-30 minute walk. I might change that, when and if I get more used to the routine but as things stand I find exercise makes me feel very hungry and I suspect I’d cheat on the basis of calories burnt at the gym!
Day 2 of fasting for the 5:2 diet has gone OK so far. I’ve discovered that drinking a lot of water is important and when all else fails, zero coke is quite good at filling me up! Good luck to everyone else trying the 5:2 Diet to lose weight. Do let me know your own ideas!
Here are my recipe ideas so far:-
5:2 Diet Celery and Spinach soup