When I first heard of the latest diet going around where you ate according to a 500 calorie intermittent fasting diet plan, I thought that it would only end in tears; surely you couldn’t eat 500 calories and still manage to function. Not only that but eating 500 calories two days a week and then on the other five being able to eat your normal calories – and still lose weight? Was this really worth considering?
Of course, not much information about this form of intermittent fasting was explained in any kind of depth in the media so it wasn’t until Dr Michael Mosley’s documentary Eat Fast Live that I really took notice of the 5:2 diet as it is now commonly known.
I will start by saying if you haven’t caught Dr Mosley’s documentary and you are thinking about following a 5:2 diet plan, do yourself a favor and watch it (click here to watch the video); it really explains how intermittent fasting works on the body to achieve results such as weight loss (and fat loss) as well as the other health benefits that can be gained from eating this way.
Now one of the great things about Dr Mosley’s documentary on intermittent fasting (just like any of his documentaries) is that as well as being trained in the medical field, he is a journalist and is able to explain the information clearly for those of us out there who really don’t understand anything science-y.
The Fast Diet Cookbook
This then transposes into The Fast Diet Cookbook which Dr Mosley has written with journalist and author Mimi Spencer and Dr Sarah Schenker, a dietitian and nutritionist. There is certainly a lot of knowledge being shared in The Fast Diet Cookbook including how the documentary (and book) came about, easy ways to fill your belly on fasting days, the best kitchen equipment and utensils to have for fast and easy cooking on the two fasting days, when to eat, how to eat and much more. This is all before you reach the 150 recipes which have been designed to help you get through a 500 calorie / 600 calorie day.
But The Fast Diet Cookbook isn’t just for fasting days.
On your first fasting day you will probably be hanging out for the next day you can eat your normal amount of calories; but after a while of following the 5.2 diet guidelines you will likely notice something strange – all of a sudden you don’t want those high calorie meals, you start craving healthy food that is easy to prepare and that is actually good for you.
This is where having the cookbook comes in handy – you can eat a couple of the higher calorie meals or combine some of the lower calories meals to give you a healthy mix of satisfying foods.
It isn’t just the recipes that are so great though; Dr Mosley, Mimi Spencer and Dr Schenker have provided information about the meals including facts such as the vitamins included in certain foods and why foods like tomatoes and mushrooms are so good for you.
‘Fast Food’ Alternatives
So if you’ve flicked through the book before you might have wondered about some of the meals, like fish for breakfast? However that is the advantage of having this book on hand when following the 5:2 fasting diet plan – just because something is listed as a breakfast meal or a dinner meal, it doesn’t mean you have to have it for that meal. Some of the more delicious meals that are suitable for any time of the day include poached eggs with portobello mushrooms and vine tomatoes, shakshouka, Japanese breakfast, veggie chilli and more.
You are also provided with a great alternatives list. Mosley, Spencer and Schenker provide tips such as swapping bread for thin rye crispbread, what spices to use instead of bad fats and sugars to flavor a meal, and what ‘smart’ fats to use in place of bad fats. You’ll also find a list of ‘no cook, no effort fast day meals’ for when you really don’t want to get in the kitchen.
I’ve been reading some other reviews about this book and many people say the ingredients are just too exotic or the meals aren’t what the average person would cook.
Which may be true in some instances but when you are trying to be healthy; then you need to be open to trying a new way of cooking and a new way of eating.
So this may take a little getting used to at first; just until you get the hang of substituting ‘normal foods’ for something of similar calorie count, or for something that may be a little outside your comfort zone, but can easily been found in your supermarket.
Upon looking at the book I can see what people might mean but it really isn’t that hard to swap; as an example of this is in one of the recipes they refer to puy lentils as one of the ingredients but you could just as easily use green lentils; or in another recipe they refer to pecorino cheese, but if you can’t find that why not just use parmesan; it’s a similar kind of cheese just with a fancier name.
There are a number of healthy diets for men and women on the market but not many will help you lose weight and fat while helping to repair common health problems such as blood pressure, cholesterol levels and insulin sensitivity. Intermittent fasting for weight loss is really one of the most effective diets you can follow while still getting to enjoy your favorite foods over the course of a week.
If you are interested in fasting for weight loss or the 5:2 fasting diet plan and want to find out more, be sure to check out The Fast Diet book also by Dr Mosley and Mimi Spencer; this book goes hand in hand with The Fast Diet Cookbook and explains more about the science behind intermittent fasting and the 5:2 diet.
Would I recommend The Fast Diet Cookbook and the Eat Fast Live documentary if you are looking for more information on intermittent fasting for weight loss? Absolutely!