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the fast diet

Issue 13

December 2015

Season's Greetings from The Fast Diet

Christmas on a Fast Day? It doesn’t sound great. Then again, would it really be so bad? A nice cup of black coffee when opening stockings, some smoked salmon and poached eggs for brunch, then settling down to watch a bit of telly – and before you know it, it will be time for supper: turkey breast, no skin obviously, and some delicious steamed vegetables. All washed down with a glass of champagne (small).

Just kidding. You won’t be fasting on the 25th December. Nor the 26th. Nor, I imagine, on New Year’s Eve. But there should be plenty of downtime over the Christmas period – and a couple of Fast Days slotted into the otherwise indulgent fortnight between Christmas and the 6th Jan will do not just your health but your morale no end of good.

The downside of the Christmas party season is, of course, that it takes its toll on any good habits we may have adopted. And this can lead to some negative thinking. Your diet can be won and lost in the mind – one too many mince pies and you feel you’re a lost cause. But as Mimi has put it, “Remember that even if you are dieting seriously, one or two days won’t make too much difference. Just get back on track when the party is over.”

As always, check out the forum for stories and suggestions from fellow dieters. Sharing your concerns or reading other people’s ideas can really help you stay positive – and find realistic ways to enjoy the celebrations without forgoing your longer-term health plans. The Fast Diet community is full of supportive people, and everyone would love to hear how you’ve found combining the 5:2 with the festive season.

When looking to get back on track and dispel that nay-saying voice inside, remind yourself of why you want to do the Fast Diet. Perhaps, like Michael, you turned to the 5:2 to improve some of your less visible vital statistics, such as your blood sugar levels. Maybe friends have told you of their successes, and you want to feel the same about yourself. Reminding yourself of what you’re hoping to achieve can help focus the mind.

The same goes if you are new to the diet, and it is set to become your New Year’s resolution. You’ve heard about it, maybe you’ve already read about it. Now it’s just a matter of trying it. Set yourself some specific goals, be ambitious, and above all look forward to a healthy 2016.

Bloody Mary soup

Calorie count: 70 or 100 with vodka
Serves four

If you want to spice up your diet with a cheeky tipple, this Blood Mary soup will certainly add the party element to your Fast Day. It is rocks-off tomato soup – packed with spiky flavour and (if you want) a jolt of vodka. It is served hot, with the usual Bloody Mary accompaniments of lemon, celery, Tabasco and Lea & Perrins. Ditch the vodka, of course, to cut back on Fast Day calories.

1kg (2.2 lbs) ripe tomatoes, skinned and halved
2 red chillies, halved and deseeded
salt and pepper
½ tsp caster sugar
1½ tsps olive oil
1 litre (4¼ cups) vegetable stock
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp horseradish sauce
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
4 tbsps vodka (optional)
4 celery stalks, and leaves
Tabasco, cracked black pepper, celery salt and lemon slices to serve

Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Place tomato halves and chillies, sprinkled with seasoning and sugar, in a roasting pan. Drizzle with oil and bake till softened, about 20 minutes. Purée in a blender, adding a little stock to loosen. Transfer to a saucepan, adding remaining stock and tomato purée. Heat through without boiling. Add horseradish, Worcestershire sauce, sherry and vodka (if using). Check seasoning and serve in thick glasses, with Tabasco, cracked black pepper, celery salt, celery stalks and lemon slices. This also works as a cold soup.


Jumbo porridge with jewel fruits

Calorie count: 284
Serves 1

Berries, cherries and cinnamon add a bit of festive flair to this winter warming porridge breakfast. Use jumbo oats as they promise to keep you fuller longer than the more processed varieties.

300ml (1¼ cups) skimmed milk
30g (½ cup) jumbo porridge oats
½ tsp ground cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
50g (1¾ ounces) fruit of choice, but stick to the lower
GI fruits such as berries, cherries and pomegranate seeds
1 tsp pomegranate molasses

Heat milk, oats, cinnamon and salt in a pan, stirring well until the porridge is thickened – around 4-5 minutes (you can do this in a microwave, stirring halfway through the 5-minute cooking time). Leave to stand for a minute before adding berries, cherries, pomegranate seeds and molasses.

A diet plan to manage your blood sugar


Dr Michael Mosley has been busy recently, researching the work of Professor Roy Taylor and his team at Newcastle University, who have carried out extensive research on dietary methods of reducing blood sugar levels and even reversing type 2 diabetes.The results are groundbreaking, and in his new book, The 8-week Blood Sugar Diet, Michael reveals a game-changing approach to one of the greatest silent epidemics of our time.

Enter to win delicious miso from Miso Tasty

Take a look at our Facebook page for details of a winter competition we are running with our friends at Miso Tasty – a chance to win duo sets of their delicious miso.

Read what Mimi and Michael had to say to the Telegraph about 5:2 at Christmas.

Remember to keep tabs on your progress on the diet using our Fast Diet tracker.

If you’re starting out the diet anew in 2016, be sure to discover all you need to know from the books.

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The Fast Diet, c/o Short Books, Unit 316, ScreenWorks, 22 Highbury Grove, London N5 2EF