the 5:2 fast diet, and why I'm on it

As someone who essentially eats as a job, I’ve never been a dieter. The fruitlessness of suffering a mere smear of quark on a quinoa chip for breakfast and then turning up for lunch at the new Bennelong, then a drink with some up-and-comer chef, followed by fried chicken at Mary's just because, doesn’t evade me. For real food lovers it’s incredibly difficult to stick to Michael Pollan’s wise mantra, even if it's exactly the kind of diet I can get behind: “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” Because ramen, because Colin Fassnidge’s bone marrow, because Matt Moran’s bombe Alaska and Neil Perry’s kimchi burger. It’s just not practical, let alone fun.

But in the month or so before I became pregnant (week 31 now, more on that coming...) I lost two kilograms, I had more energy and I felt sharp and lean. I am the latest convert to a way of eating that means you can eat the same reasonably healthy, sometimes virtuous (but sometimes an almond croissant) food you always have – five days a week. On the remaining two days, I’m reduced to the calorie counting of my wanna-be-slender compatriots (at 500 calories a day for women, 600 for men). It’s the 5:2 fast diet, and you can read all about it somewhere else. I call it alternate fasting, or, two days a week of skipping breakfast and just eating vegetables and protein for the remaining two meals a day, and zero snacking.

what is the 5:2 fast?

The punchy proposition that 5:2 will reduce bad cholesterol, prevent obesity, protect us against some cancers and keep us healthier through a longer life is the impetus for many. But the offshoot is something powerful that I am going to say may change the world. We are discovering something we’ve not felt for a while, as humans: hunger. On fast days and normal days alike, every mouthful is a delicious, valuable commodity.

5:2 fast recipes, right here

As I continue this new way of eating, assuming it continues to impact my health and waistline in a positive way, I'm going to start posting 5:2 fast diet recipes up right here for you. You can already start searching the recipes - each will have about 200-250 calories, because with 5:2 fast diet you only eat two meals a day. I'll estimate calories in each recipe, but it's only a rough guide.

a modern way to eat

Fasting might just be the answer for our food obsessive culture, a bi-weekly reboot that proves a little hunger is no bad thing. We are currently bombarded with food. There’s the onslaught of breakfast, lunch and snack after snack, but also the advertising, the supermarkets, the rows of chocolates and bags of jellies at the petrol station, the wrappers on the floor of the car, the kids’ canteens selling finger buns and packets of chips, the eternal Instagramming of food on a plate. Part of me just wants it all to stop, to not contemplate the no-I-shouldn’t, to just use my brain and yearnings for something else for once. Even just two days a week.

Please excuse the rant; I haven’t had breakfast.

This is a very edited extract of an article I wrote for Sunday Style magazine, my column Fine Foodie. Download it for free on your iPad or tablet here.

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