'Intermittent fasting is among the latest trends in dieting. Originating in the UK, it has quickly been taken up around the world. Based on solid research, its effectiveness has been scientifically proven, unlike many other fashionable diets. The basic principle is eat less, which allows you to lose weight and offers numerous health benefits'.
Certainly in my own case, I've found there to be merit in the principles of the 5:2 diet and this sensible eating plan has worked for both Peter and me. So, when this new title by British nutritionist, Charlotte Debeugny, and her colleague, Delphine de Montalier, author of ten cookbooks, arrived in my mailbox, I was keen to read the advice offered and road test the recipes (and interesting new concept).
Researchers and nutritionists alike have touted the lasting health benefits of the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet. Its growing popularity can be attributed to its sustainable and flexible approach to weight loss and well-being. Unlike many other diets that require you to limit your calorie intake everyday, the 5:2 diet allows you to choose which two days of the week are your “fast” days and encourages a normal, balanced diet for the other five days of the week. With over 100 tasty low-calorie recipes, 5:2 Lifestyle is packed with nutrients, tips and strategies to help you integrate the 5:2 diet into your busy life.
In 5:2 Lifestyle, authors Charlotte and Delphine explain how to maximise the benefits of the 5:2 intermittent fasting diet to help you lose weight, keep it off and improve overall health and wellbeing: The 5:2 diet, they remind readers, is not about eliminating certain food groups, eating diet foods or taking expensive supplements.
Adapted to French-style cuisine with plenty of recipe swaps, the book demonstrates how we can eat fresh, flavoursome meals on both fast days and non-fast days. 5:2 Lifestyle provides four weeks of sample menus and 'Golden Rules' for non-fast days, as well as comprehensive calorie tables. The authors have also pioneered a unique concept called the 'Super 500', that is, 30 specialised recipes that are 500 calories and under and contain the maximum amount of vitamins and minerals needed for Fast Days. Composed of protein and wholegrain fibre to slow digestion, the 500-calorie meals feature healthy fats and fresh vegetables to ensure all your food is full of texture, colour and taste.
There are sage reminders about how 'eating like a sparrow for two days and then gorging on junk food on the other five is far from healthy'. The authors also point out that the 5:2 diet is not recommended for certain groups, such as children and adolescents, people with diabetes, digestive disorders, depression, pregnant or breastfeeding women and those with an eating disorder. And we are reminded not to forget the most important thing: 'enjoy what you eat!'.
The recipes are achievable and simple to follow, and include delights such as fish with a Thai jus; blinis and smoked salmon; scallops with pesto; fruity grated carrots; Indian style spinach and minestrone (one of our favourites!). For non-fast days, there's salmon chirashi; pot luck salad with smoked mackerel; Thai style pork and Sunday roast chicken.
5:2 Lifestyle by Delphine de Montalier and Charlotte Debeugny, Murdoch Books, $35. Thank you to the publicity team at Murdoch Books for giving me the opportunity to showcase this title.
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