The Fast Diet

Asian breakfast eggs 175 calories per portion

After spending much of my teenage life on one diet or another, I gave it all up in my 20s. I love food; both the flavour and sensation of eating and all the social rituals that surround it. Exercise however, I can take or leave. I’m definitely built for comfort, not for speed. PE was a traumatic experience at school as it is for anyone that can’t run fast, catch or throw. Since then the only exercise I tolerate is swimming, walking and dancing. For this reason I’m quite surprised to find myself on day one of the 5:2 diet, aka The Fast Diet.

I blame it on a combination of factors: a week of overindulgence in Cornwall was followed by a weekend with two very foodie friends that have been trialling the plan with great success. Sam is also a medical consultant, so I know she’ll have done her research and won’t have rushed into one of those damaging fad diets. I think it was the part about lowering your risk of diabetes that really swung it for me – I don’t mind being curvy, but the thought of one day being forced to cut things permanently out of my diet scares me. At least with the 5 and 2 diet you only need to cut them out for 2 days a week – they’ll still be there tomorrow.

The main issue I have with diets is that you’re normally encouraged to replace proper food with fake food: artificial sweeteners, low fat spread, nondescript spray oils, mass-produced over-packaged snacks and ready meals…. That’s a deal-breaker for me. Part of the joy of cooking is making things from scratch, from real ingredients, but that makes it rather harder to calorie-count. Add in the further complications of trying to buy seasonally and locally on a tight budget and it starts to look rather insurmountable.

So, here’s the deal. For the next few weeks (or however long I can stick to it!) I’m going to record the 5:2 diet recipes I’m writing and eating. I’m going to make them as seasonal and satisfying as I can without breaking the bank. I work in my kitchen, not a science lab, so the calorific content will be based on the consensus from the websites that specialise in that sort of thing. If you’re on the Fast Diet and fancy trying any of them, I’d love to know how you get on!

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