The 5-2 Diet – a Lifestyle Choice?
When Michael Mosley’s Horizon TV programme about the 5-2 Diet first aired, some months ago now I watched, fascinated. Many of the diet and nutrition ideas I’d grown up with, like eating three balanced meals a day and never eating less than 1000 calories a day, seemed to be thrown out of the window. And, if Michael Mosley could improve his health overall in addition to losing weight, just by being (very) careful on two days of the week, well why shouldn’t try and see if I could do the same by following the 5-2 diet? My mother had uncontrolled diabetes and died from some of the complications that arise from that condition. My grandfather had Alzheimer’s. I don’t really have a family history of good health. Both of these conditions are claimed to improve by following the 5-2 diet. And, my lifestyle doesn’t really help with most diets – I often eat out two or three nights of the week – with the result that I’ve put on weight and developed something of a taste for rich food. So, I thought, it would be really worth having a go at the 5:2 diet and seeing if it could work for me. And I’m rather enjoying working on some 5:2 diet recipes in the process.
The results? Well, I’ve lost about 12lbs since I started doing this in late August. And I’ve managed not to gain weight when I’ve been abroad, despite the focus of my trips being food and drink. I might have lost more weight over the 5 months but I’ve had a few breaks when I’ve been travelling or when I’ve had too many events to even manage two days of fasting. And, all in, I’m extremely pleased. I haven’t had to change my lifestyle – I can still eat out, I can still drink (except on fast days) and I even get to eat chocolate when I want to!
I don’t find I suffer greatly on the 5-2 diet and I do generally feel better on the day after a fast day. Those cravings for sweet things seem to go a bit and I find I don’t want to eat as much. I’m planning to modify the diet a little for 2013 and try three days a week of fasting where possible because I’ve found that works well if you are trying to lose weight.
- 50 g Cooked Turkey Breast
- 1 piece Lemon Grass
- 1 Birdseye Chill (more if you like spicy food)
- 1 oz Fresh Ginger
- 1 handful Fresh Coriander
- 1 Lime (or fresh/frozen lime leaves)
- 2 teaspoons Palm Sugar
- 500 ml Chicken/Turkey Stock Or water. Don't use too strong a stock.
- 1/8 teaspoon Fish Sauce
- Peel and chop the ginger and the bulb of the lemon grass. Remove the chilli seeds and slice finely. Chop the coriander, keeping a few leaves back to garnish
- Shred the turkey with your hands into matchstick sized pieces
- Zest the lime and squeeze the juice
- Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding more lime juice, more chilli or a little more sugar till you have a hot and sour soup that suits your palate
- Serve garnished with fresh coriander leaves
For a more substantial soup, add noodles and vegetables (pak choi, shitake mushrooms, peas, spinach or sugar snap)
I’ve really enjoyed creating low-calorie 5-2 diet-friendly dishes. For example, this Tom Yum soup is my attempt at using up some of my turkey left-overs. Although most of us put on weight over Christmas, there are things you can do with your leftover turkey that don’t involve vast quantities of cream or butter. And, it’s a very healthy meat with around 100 calories for 100g (that’s a normal portion). And this quick and easy soup will also work with prawns or chicken breast – and is about 80 calories for a bowl. So cooking low-calorie food for the 5-2 diet doesn’t have to be hard work. If you are still looking for inspiration, do check out the 5-2 diet recipe section of London Unattached. I’m updating it regularly with ideas!
And if you’d like to try this recipe at home, why not pin it and save it for later
For more Asian low-calorie dishes check my diet sweet and sour chicken recipe