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the fast diet

Issue 9

March 2015

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A message from Michael

Dear All

I hope your new year Fast Diet plans are going well.  For those of you looking for a little more encouragement, here are a couple of positive messages from some fellow Fast Dieters:

“I am a 44 year-old fitness instructor who has always been fit but really struggled weight wise. I was sick of seeing people being vilified for being overweight when they have tried everything – I was doing 15hrs of exercise a week and still couldn’t lose weight! I’d also become very frustrated with the diet industry as I knew that diets don’t work and in the end make you fatter. Then I discovered the 5:2 way of life. I immediately understood the concept of fasting and started on my journey. I have lost three stone. I truly believe fasting is a massive breakthrough and the answer.” – Tracy Griffiths (been on the Fast Diet for 2 years)

“I would definitely recommend the Fast Diet to others. I still can't believe how much weight I've lost. Once you’ve chosen what you are going to eat on a Fast Day, be meticulous by weighing the foods & controlling portion sizes. For me it has rewired my mind on how to eat and what to eat, and to eat when genuinely hungry not just because food is so readily available.” – Julie Garbutt (been on the Fast Diet for 1 year)

Don't forget to keep your tracker up to date with your latest weight – it's a great way to keep motivated on the diet, and we'll be updating you all on how the community as a whole is doing. Click here to access your tracker, and be sure to take a look at our last tracker update from January.

Last year I covered a number  of food and health stories for the BBC. One of the most interesting was Should I Eat Meat. I mention this because recently there was yet another story about how red meat gives you cancer, and yet there is very little evidence that this is true. You can get a flavour of it from this article I wrote for BBC News online.

What the research points to is that eating chicken is fine; red meat (beef, pork) is OK if it is grass fed; eating processed meat (bacon, sausages etc) puts you at slightly greater risk of cancer and heart disease.

I think the biggest surprise for me is that eating moderate amounts of red meat (i.e. up to 4oz a day; 120 gms) is bad for you if you are American but not if you are European or Japanese (they are the groups on which most of the research has been done). It is likely that this is because American cattle tend to spend at least part of their lives in feed lots, where they are fed on corn, antibiotics and growth promoters. European and Japanese beef is almost all grass fed.

Sadly, for European carnivores, eating processed meat (bacon, sausages, salami etc) seems to increase your overall risk of death by about 20%. Or as one professor told me, every bacon sandwich you eat knocks about 30 minutes off your life. On the other hand drinking two cups of coffee or doing 20 minutes of exercise will add 30 minutes to life, so put it in perspective. I still eat processed meat, but try to do so mindfully.

best, Michael

Goan Aubergine Curry

173 calories per portion (250 with basmati rice)
Serves 2

This vegetarian-friendly curry is one of the “greatest hits” recipes from the Fast Diet books, which featured first in Mimi’s Fast Beach Diet and is included in the revised and updated edition of the Fast Diet. Something wholesome if you want to steer clear of meat for for one of your meals, but also if you’re looking to warm up your winter:

1 tsp cumin seeds, dry-fried and ground
2 tsp coriander seeds, dry-fried and ground
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 green chilli, deseeded and finely sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
3cm (just over 1 inch) fresh root ginger, grated
200ml (3/4 cup) water
300ml (1 1/4 cups) half-fat coconut milk
1 tbsp tamarind paste
1 large aubergine (eggplant), cut lengthways into 5mm (1/4 inch) slices
Salt and pepper

Place ground roasted cumin and coriander seeds in a large saucepan along with the cayenne, turmeric, chilli, garlic, ginger and add the water. Bring to a simmer, then add the coconut milk and tamarind paste. Cook on a low heat stirring occasionally, until the sauce has slightly thickened – around 10 mins. Heat grill to medium-high. Place aubergine slices on a foil-lined baking tray and brush with a little of the curried sauce. Grill until they are soft and cooked through, turning once and brushing the other side with the sauce – about 10-15 minutes in total. Arrange the aubergine in a serving dish, and spoon over the rest of the hot curry sauce. Serve with 50g (1 3/4 oz) brown basmati rice per person.

Need motivation?


If you're looking for more inspiration on your Fast Days, remember to check out the forum, where lots of wonderful people are sharing ideas and support. Some good recipes can be found on this thread:

Tired of cooking?

Fast Diet Kitchen

And for those of you in the UK who would rather not have to cook on your Fast Days, check out The Fast Diet Kitchen, where you can order all sorts of delicious, calorie-controlled meals and have them delivered to your door. Quote code "FAST50" at the checkout for 50% off your first 3-week plan - that works out at only £3 per Fast Day.

The right diet?

Here's what Michael had to say on last month's Horizon special on finding the right diet for you, in case you missed it.

Track your progress

One of the best ways to see results is to chart your stats. Keep your diet tracker up to date and help realise your goals.

Know the numbers

If you're just getting started, take a look at our BMI/TDEE calculator to get your head around dieting by the numbers.

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