I. F.

I.F. could describe the “Laconic answer”. [Back Story: The Greek city-state of Laconia, famous for the citizens’ terseness of speech, was besieged by an invading army. Their general sent a message: “If we take your city, we will kill every man, woman, and child. You had better surrender now.” Answered the head man of the city: “IF.” Laconia was not defeated.] Or, in this modern era, it could stand for “Intermittent Fasting.” What is that, you ask…. There are several ways to answer that.

Over-all, intermittent fasting is a way to become more healthy by losing weight and giving your body time to restore itself in a sort of resting phase that occurs during a time of limited calorie intake. Version 1: You abstain from all eating, but are free to consume all the water you want, for two to four days each and every month. Sometimes an electrolyte liquid is consumed during the fast. Version 2: You abstain from all eating, but are free to consume all the water you want for one full day — from the time you wake up to the time you go to sleep again. This is done once or twice within a week. Version 3: You do all of your eating within an 8-hour window — say, 8 am to 4 pm. Before and after than, you may consume only water. Version 4: Every other day, you consume a limited number of calories — from 500 to 1000 — while on the alternate days you eat as you please. Also called “Alternative Day Fasting.”

Version 5: Two days each week, you consume 500-600 calories, eating as you please [but wisely] on the other days. Also called “5:2 Diet,” as developed by Dr. Michael Mosley. This is the eating plan that Dear Husband and I have followed for 6+ years.

Whichever method you choose, the goal is to train yourself to eat more moderately. If you never learn that, you will go off the diet and your weight will zoom up again. What’s the point of that?? People who do not get a handle on their over-eating are doomed to diet-and-gain over and over again. We view our eating plan as a Lifestyle, something that fits into the way we live and that we are happy to continue every week for the rest of our lives. Following are some of the meals we eat on a Fast Day.

B-T-O Bake: 127 calories 6 g fat 1.2 g fiber 9.3 g protein 8.6 g carbs [7.5 g Complex] 66 mg Calcium  NB: The food values shown are for the egg bake and the fruit, not for the optional beverages.  PB GF  This bake has flavor and to spare. Delicious way to use left-over broccoli.

1 two-oz egg 1 Tbsp low-fat cottage cheese 1 oz diced tomato, drained ¾ tsp Parmesan cheese ½ oz cooked broccoli 1 Kalamata olive 1 plum OR 4 cherries OR 4 oz strawberries Optional: blackish coffee [53 calories] or blackish tea or mocha cafe au lait [65 calories] or lemon in hot water  Optional: 5-6 oz fruit smoothie or berry-yogurt smoothie  [88 calories]

Set the toaster oven at 350 F. Dice the broccoli and the olive. Stir the cheeses together. Spritz an oven-safe container with non-stick spray. Whisk the egg, then whisk in the cheeses. Distribute the tomato, olive, and broccoli over the bottom of the baking dish. Whisk the eggs once more and pour into the baking dish. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Portion the fruit and prepare the beverages of your choice. Now that’s a breakfast!

Tortellini w/ Black Kale:  209 calories 9 g fat 3.5 g fiber 10 g protein 24 g carbs [7.4 g Complex] 231 mg Calcium PB Packaged, dried tortellini is a handy item to have in the pantry. It makes for a fine Tuscan meal when pared with Black Kale. The recipe is from ‘thekitchn‘  NB: I used the recipe below for the kale as two servings, when paired with the pasta. But the calories are so low that you could use it as one serving. 

27 g dried cheese/spinach tortellini [Barilla brand is good] 3 oz diced tomato 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese PLUS ingredients shown below for the kale.

For the Kale:

3 oz black kaleUse your hands to pull the kale leaves from their stems. Coarsely chop the leaves. Rinse them, but do not dry.
1 tsp olive oil 2 cloves garlic pinch red pepper flakesHeat the oil in large, wide, high-sided sauté pan over medium heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute (do not let the garlic brown).
¼ tsp kosher salt pinch ground pepperAdd the kale, stirring as it starts to wilt. Stir in the salt and pepper. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the kale is just tender, about 5 minutes.
2 tsp Lemon juiceRemove from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, and serve.

For the meal: Cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 9-11 minutes, then drain. Combine with the diced tomatoes and Parmesan. Plate the pasta surrounded by the kale.

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