5-2 Diet makes you wake up younger!
OK, it’s a headline! But today is a 5:2 diet fast day and I need to keep myself feeling good I am definitely losing weight and inches on the 5-2 Diet, and this morning according to my scales I am also getting younger:). And actually the point of the Horizon programme was not about losing weight, it was about living longer! So maybe it’s working, this idea of Eat, Fast and Live Longer. Obviously, I just needed to make some ultra healthy green soup! Honestly, I do really like broccoli soup – and it is quick to make and works very well for a weight loss diet.
My new Tanita scales measure things like body fat and hydration levels – and this morning, for the first time, my body fat reading went under 35% and all of a sudden I was also 4 years younger – cool eh? Now, in addition to doing the 5:2 diet I am also training at the gym. The programme I am following is a mix of aerobic and resistance work – nothing really tough, but fairly regular (I’m aiming to go four times a week). I do ten minutes on the power plate of squats, step-ups, lunges and little jumpy things (heaven knows what it looks like) and then 10-20 minutes of cross trainer, usually broken up into two sessions, with 5-10 minutes of weights and 5 minutes of what my trainer used to call core, but I prefer the term ‘bastard tummy things’. Then I have a few minutes of stretching back on the power plate. So, all in, I am spending 30-50 minutes each time I go, but it’s broken up into different things so I can’t get too bored. The theory is that doing some kind of training is important to maintain muscle and ensure you are burning fat. If you don’t exercise (so my trainer has told me), it’s possible to lose muscle instead of fat – which then lowers your metabolic rate and means you can’t eat so much. On my last visit I asked her about 5:2 fasting days and whether I should exercise…and she told me that although I might not be able to exercise at full power (I’m not sure I ever do that), the benefit was that I would go into fat burning mode faster if I exercised on an empty stomach. So, I’m off in an hour or so for my daily torture. After that I am planning a large bowl of fresh, comforting diet broccoli soup.
Meanwhile, here’s another really simple 5:2 diet menu for those of you who think that making a homemade soup takes too long. This time I’ve used broccoli, but the same method works just as well with cauliflower and spinach. I’ve also experimented with low-fat quark – one of those ultra-healthy things that, if you are like me, you tend to avoid when you go shopping. It’s a very low-fat cheese that you can use for cooking to replace cream.
For me there are three real benefits to making your own soup: Firstly, the cost – this is about a quarter of the cost of the equivalent quantity of carton soup. Secondly the fact you don’t end up with too much salt. If you check the packaging, you will see that a lot of shops bought soups are really high in salt – which can cause water retention as well as potentially exacerbating a range of medical conditions like high blood pressure. Finally, by making the soup myself, I know how fresh the vegetables are and how long I am cooking them, and I can try to keep the cooking time to a minimum to ensure the vitamins are not destroyed by overcooking. And – it’s SO easy.
So this is my 5:2 diet cream (or not) of Broccoli Soup
An easy and very low-calorie broccoli soup that works on 5:2 diet fast days - but also is nice enough to have if you are not dieting.
- 350 g Broccoli
- 500 ml Vegetable Stock Made up with water and a teaspoon of bouillon
- 1 tablespoon Quark
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Cut or break the broccoli into smallish florettes. You can use the stalk and any leaves, but cut any pieces of stalk down to about half the size of the broccoli florets
- Add the broccoli to the stock and cook on the hob at a gentle simmer till the broccoli is tender (this takes about 10 minutes)
- Blitz with a stick blender or in a liquidizer.
- Stir through the quark and heat gently, then add salt and pepper to taste
If you prefer a stronger broccoli flavour, then leave out the quark.
If you don’t want to add the quark, the soup will taste more strongly of broccoli, but obviously won’t have that ‘creaminess’. The calories in this broccoli soup are really low – 60 calories if you don’t add the quark and 80 with low-fat quark. If I was making this when I wasn’t doing the 5:2 diet, I’d probably use a glug of cream to really add a luxurious finish, and if I was doing it for a special occasion I’d use fresh chicken stock. I also quite like this kind of soup with a shaving of nutmeg. It is the sort of dish that you can experiment a bit with and make your own. And, as I’ve said before, liquidising your food does help you to stay feeling full for longer. So, perfect for the 5:2 diet, or any other kind of weight loss programme.
I don’t believe the 5:2 diet is a miracle diet, but I do believe it helps you lose weight and eat more healthily. Why? well on a 5:2 diet fast day you will find that you really need to think what you can eat. And on the regular days, thanks to the 5:2 diet fast, you may find like me, that your appetite decreases, along with your cravings for chocolate, sugar and fats. It’s the only form of dieting that works for someone like me, so I am still (3 months on) following the 5:2 diet.
Here are a few more options if you are looking for some low-calorie recipes to help your diet along a bit.
Tomato Soup with Roasted Garlic for 5:2 – this is a summer/autumn soup, best made when tomatoes are fresh!
5:2 Diet Chilli Beef – the chilli is a great way to raise your metabolic rate and burn even more calories
5:2 Diet and Celeriac – Watercress and Celeriac Soup Celeriac – a secret ingredient for the 5:2 diet
Livorno Fish Stew for the 5:2 Diet – more fish – it’s one of the easiest ways to keep to a low-calorie diet!
Tarragon Chicken Parcels for 5:2 Diet simple, tasty and something you can serve to the whole family – 5:2 diet friendly
Galician Hake the Low Calorie 5:2 diet way! A lovely warming dish that I could eat whether or not on a diet
Fish and chips for 5:2 Diet Fish and Chips low-calorie low-fat recipe for the 5:2 diet
Lemon and Coriander chicken for the 5:2 diet low fat, low-calorie chicken Curry recipe for the 5:2 diet
Tuna, Courgette and Aubergine Sicilian style Sicilian Tuna with Aubergine and Mint for the 5:2 Diet – low calorie, low fat and lots of flavour.