Living the 5-2 Way – Healthier, Food Aware Eating
A side effect of fasting for some people, including me, seems to be a heightened set of senses. Particularly taste and smell. Perhaps there’s a biological trigger? It seems logical that if your body needs food, your senses ‘wake-up’ to try and find that food. And, that in turn makes me particularly aware of the food I cook and eat on a 5-2 fast day and then on the day following a fast when my body is adapting back to normal meals.
As an example, since I started the fast I haven’t bought or eaten chocolate biscuits, ready made cakes, Danish pastries or croissants. When I’ve tried eating a shop bought chocolate biscuit I’ve found it unbearably sweet (brands I used to know and love too!). Danish Pastries and croissants just seem ‘fatty’ and ready-made cakes dry, over sweet and lacking in flavour. I have made and eaten ‘naughty’ food, like the rum and roast banana chocolate muffins. But, I’ve cut the amount of sugar in the recipe! I’m sure that what is happening is that my palate is adjusting – and I will find suitable ready-made biscuits that work for me. But for now, it’s helping on my non-fast days to ensure I DON’T overeat. And I’ve rather enjoyed messing around in the kitchen cooking up meals for 5-2 diet fast days like the ones below
Then there are certain habits which 5:2 have helped me change, hopefully for the better.
Smaller Portion Size: Even on non-fast days I am eating less. I suspect it is partly being aware of the calories in a plate of food. And partly because my appetite has reduced.
A Healthy Cooking Style: I’m definitely eating less red meat and more fish and vegetables. And, reduced the amount of fat (olive oil and butter) I use to cook. I’m steaming and baking more, frying less.
Using Healthier Ingredients: By necessity I am trying ‘healthy’ ingredients that I used to avoid! Things like quinoa and wholewheat grains. Vegetable alternatives for potatoes (celeriac and squash for example). And I’m cooking with things like clams and mussels because they add interest to a dish without too many calories. I’m rather enjoying my food explorer phase.
Making my Dentist a Happy Man: I do seem to have lost my sweet tooth. Yes I still love good chocolate, but I don’t eat much at a time. Yes, I enjoy the odd scone with jam and cream. But, I find everything ‘sweeter’ than before so I don’t have such a desire to gorge myself.
I’m not posting as many recipes for the 5:2 diet because a lot of the time now I am simply varying dishes I’ve already made. This very simple chicory, haddock and lemon dish with pancetta almost doesn’t need a recipe. But, in case anyone DOES need a little inspiration here it is.
- 150 g Haddock Fillet
- 1 head Chicory
- 1 piece Pancetta
- 1/2 Medium Lemon
- 1 glass Dry white wine
- 100 ml Stock Chicken, fish or vegetable bouillon
- 3-4 shots 1cal spray
Grill the pancetta till crispy and drain on a piece of kitchen towel
half the chicory
Zest and juice the lemon
Spray a heavy duty flat pan with a lid with 1cal and heat over a medium temperature
Gently soften the chicory for 2-3 minutes on each side till the edges start to go brown
Pour over the wine and bouillon and lemon juice, cover and place in an oven at 170c for 10-15 minutes to braise
After 10-15 minutes the chicory should be nearly cooked - quite soft and tender. At this point, test the seasoning of the sauce and adjust as necessary. Place the fillet of haddock on top of the chicory and sprinkle the lemon zest and the pancetta over the haddock. Return to the oven and cook for a further 8-10 minutes until the fish is cooked through.
If you prefer, you could make this with fennel rather than chicory, which can be bitter. Once again, I’ve been using some of the fabulous haddock I was sent by DelishFish. I think the recipe would work nicely with hake or cod too. Or even salmon, though the calories in a piece of salmon are quite a lot higher than in white fish. If you haven’t already done so, do pop over and enter my fish giveaway – you could win a whole case of lovely fresh fish!