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the fast diet

Issue 10

May 2015

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A message from Michael

Dear All

We’re now well into 2015, and all those New Year’s Resolutions have probably been given a good test over the past few months. It’s certainly not unusual at any time to feel as if you have hit something of a roadblock in any new lifestyle plan you might have undertaken – and when it comes to weight loss, initial successes can sometimes hit a bit of a slowdown.

Recent research in the USA on intermittent fasting with the a 5:2 programme might encourage you if you reach a plateau in your weight loss. They have shown that there are significant cellular benefits to fasting even if you don't lose weight. In this study people doing 5:2 were allowed to catch up on the missed calories the following day (so their overall calorie intake remained the same).

They found that the 'stress' intermittent fasting puts on your cells makes them work harder and become more 'resilient'. This is likely to be one of the mechanisms leading to the wider health benefits of fasting such as reduced risk of heart disease, diabetes, dementia and some forms of cancer.

This report in the Daily Mail takes a look at the results.

So even if you are not losing weight, don't be discouraged if you hit a plateau, there are still likely to be hidden benefits!

And to get back on track with the weight loss, you can always kick start it again by adding an extra Fast Day for a while by swapping to the 4:3. Although you don't need to count calories on your non-Fast Days, it is still worth reviewing your refined carbohydrate intake. You may benefit from reducing the amount of white carbs you eat – which include bread, pasta, potatoes and rice. These are converted into sugars in your blood, and tend to result in weight gain...

Finally, well done to all those intermittent fasters who have updated their tracking details – we are hoping to compile more information on how much weight you are losing and how waistlines are shrinking so we can share the results with the community soon.

Best, Michael

Stuffed mushroom with spinach, chilli and cheese

173 calories per portion
Serves 1

Eating mushrooms in place of red meat can significantly slash your calorie intake, so swap them when you can. A big field mushroom works well as transport for veggies and punchy flavours, and this idea from Fast Cook will make a filling midweek supper. If you can’t get a big field mushroom, two smaller Portobello mushrooms would work just as well.

Cooking oil spray
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely chopped
Pinch of chilli flakes
100g (3.5oz) baby spinach leaves
1 large field mushroom, cleaned and trimmed
1 tsp olive oil
1 tbsp breadcrumbs
1 tbsp grated Parmesan

Preheat oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Heat a small pan, spray with oil and gently fry the red onion, garlic and chill flakes until softened. Add spinach, stir and cook gently until wilted. Drizzle mushroom with olive oil and season well. Spoon spinach mixture into the caps. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and Parmesan, then bake for 15-20 minutes and serve.


Deb’s monkfish with roasted peppers and tomatoes

289 calories per portion
Serves 2

If you’d like to inject a bit of flair into your Fast Day to help keep things exciting, you can try out this recipe that featured in Mimi’s Fast Beach Diet book. Monkfish tends to be fairly expensive, but this is one of those dishes with a bit of drama and delight. A Fast Day Special…

2 monkfish fillets (approx. 200g / 7 oz each)
4 ripe summer tomatoes – the best you can get
2 tsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Sea salt and black pepper
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2 red peppers, left whole
Handful of fresh basil leaves
4 slices of Parma ham, fat removed

Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF). Cut tomatoes around their equator and place on a baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar, season and dot with chopped garlic. Place whole peppers in the pan alongside tomatoes. Roast for 30 minutes until softened and slightly charred. Set tomatoes aside, and place cooked peppers in a bowl. Cover with clingfilm and allow to steam. Once cooled, ease off the skin and deseed, then cut into wide strips.

Clean the monkfish fillets, removing any membrane, and dry well. Gently season them. Place 4-5 strips of roasted pepper on one fillet, and top with 4 or 5 basil leaves. Lay the remaining fillet on top and wrap the parcel firmly in Parma ham, securing with toothpicks if necessary.

Cook in the hot oven for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through (this will depend on size and thickness of the fish; check after 20 minutes). Leave it to rest for 5-10 minutes. Meanwhile, purée remaining peppers in a blender, together with the roasted tomatoes and more fresh basil. Either serve at room temperature, or warm the purée in a small saucepan on a low heat; season to taste. Slice fish into four medallions and serve drizzled with pepper purée. A salad of soft leaves would be nice too.

Don't feel like cooking?


Don't forget, if you live in the UK you can make your Fast Days even easier by giving The Fast Diet Kitchen a go. Simply choose the menu plan that works for you and get your delicious, calorie-controlled meals and soups delivered to your door. The Fast Diet Kitchen is still offering a great discount to Fast Dieters: for 50% off your first 3-week plan, quote code “FAST50” at checkout.

If you want to know more, why not order a free sample of one of the delicious soups on offer. And be sure to check out the Fast Diet Kitchen blog here for tips and testimonials.

All the books

Check out the Fast books for all the information on getting on with the diet, including more great recipes from Fast Cook.

More inspiration

Find ideas from fellow Fast Dieters on the forum – help for whatever stage you’ve reached in your programme.

Tracker results

See how the community as a whole was getting along earlier in the year in our last tracker results update.

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