New Year’s Eve

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Will you be entertaining for New Year’s Eve? Or will you be the guest at someone else’s party? Will you be over-indulging on December 31?  Or are you wondering how to celebrate 2019 without spoiling your progress as a Faster?   Lots of questions — here is some help with the answers.                                                                                                                                                     1] If it is your party, make sure that all the foods you serve are healthy.  That way you can have a serving and not feel guilty. How about a big pot of Red Beans and Rice [posted November 6, 2016] or

Jambalaya: 275 calories  5 g fat  4 g fiber  14.8 g protein  39 g carbs  81 mg Calcium  PB GF  What else would you eat for New Year’s? Or any other time you want delicious Cajun comfort food: jambalaya, of course. For a party, triple or quadruple the recipe. Just make sure that you limit yourself to one serving = one cup.

Jambalaya w: broc

2/3 cup onion, chopped                                                                                                                                           2 cloves garlic, chopped                                                                                                                                           2 tsp cajun seasoning                                                                                                                                               ½ cup green pepper, chopped                                                                                                                           1/3 cup celery, chopped                                                                                                                                           2 oz andouille sausage [or sweet Italian], sliced                                                                                                 3 oz chicken breast, cubed                                                                                                                                    2 oz [½ cup] ham, cubed                                                                                                                                        12 oz crushed tomatoes                                                                                                                                         1/3 tsp crushed red pepper +  1/3 tsp black pepper  + 2/3 tsp salt                                                                      ½ tsp Tabasco sauce   +  1.5 tsp Worcestershire sauce                                                                                 ¾ tsp file powder                                                                                                                                                       ¾ cup brown rice                                                                                                                                                    1.5 cups chicken broth                                                                                                                                                   Per serving:  2 oz broccoli

Cook the onion in a little water and a dash of olive oil until translucent. Add the garlic and cajun seasoning and cook until fragrant. Stir in the green pepper and celery and then add the meats. Pour in the tomatoes, seasonings and sauces, the rice, and broth. Cover and simmer for 25-40 minutes, stirring every once in a while to prevent sticking. The mixture will not be soupy, as the rice will have absorbed the liquids. Cook uncovered if too much liquid remains. Prepare the broccoli and plate.

Each of the above-mentioned meals are less than 300 calories/serving.                                                          2] Alcohol has lots of calories, but some are lower than others. Go to the party with a small bottle of sparkling wine, such as Spanish Cava or Italian Prosecco, and a large bottle of sparkling water.  Start off with a glass of the water, then a glass of the wine.  Then some more water. Finish the last bit of wine at midnight, then drink some more water. You will feel much better the next morning and you will avoid dehydration. Also the water will help to fill you up.                                                                                                                       3] Put off having breakfast as long as you can and then eat a meal high in protein but low in carbs, like eggs.                                                                                                                                     4] If you are not hosting, find something on the buffet that is low in calories, carbs, and fat.  Shrimp would be a great choice, as are fruit and raw vegetables.  Fill up on them and there won’t be room for lousier options.                                                                                               5] Make some sensible resolutions for 2019.  Not “I wanna lose weight” because that is too general.  Not “I wanna loose 50 pounds by February” because that is too unrealistic.  Try: “I will eat 600-800 calories of high-quality food on two days each week for 2 months.”  This goal is specific and achievable.  It limits you to 2 months and then you can see if you want to continue. No pressure. You could do that.                                                     Happy New Year.

Traveling While Fasting

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Can’t tell you how often people say, “Well I’m off on holiday and of course that means I won’t be Fasting, since that would be impossible.”  And I think, “Why would you say that?”  Having been at this for 5 years, perhaps it is easier for me to see the possibilities on a menu and do a mental calculation of calories.  But even without that, if one sticks to lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables at meals on Fast Days, then one might even allow the odd glass of wine! Other days, enjoy whatever local fare is offered. The bottom line is this: Fasting on vacation does not mean ruining your trip or spoiling the fun. Rather, it gives you a framework which enables you to partake of local foods sensibly without the groans of disappointment when you read the scales upon your return.

Breakfast the Hotel: Most hotels serve a Breakfast Buffet,   Fasting breakfast in Rome                                                                     often of grandiose proportions. If you view it                                                                                 with a Faster’s eye, you will spot some                                                                                                offerings which exactly fill the bill.   On Slow Days, one can sample more freely from the other tempting treats.                                                                                  Breakfasting from the buffet in Rome looked like this: It was the perfect prelude to a day at the Colosseum and the Church of San Clemente, with its 5 levels of historic interest.

 

 

Dinner at the Restaurant:  If your     Fasting dinner in the Azores                                                                         accommodations are not of the self-                                                                                            catering type, you will find yourself                                                                                             dining in a restaurant on a Fast Day.                                                                                            Seafood to the rescue!  At Botequim Açoriano in Rabo de Peixe, Sao Miguel, Azores,                                                                                                                                                                                               grilled fish with a side salad was a great meal. Enough for two, it just what we needed.

Acores 2

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.                                                                       Welcome to Reshma B who is now Following.

We will remain on the beautiful island of Sao Miguel, Açores for another day to point out more about how we Fast whilst traveling.  We enjoy cooking and eating our own food at a self-catering accommodation [such as Pico do Refugio], but we do like to dine out too.  At any restaurant on Sao Miguel, the first thing you are offered is local cheese as a starter. The most simple version of this is “Queijo Fresco” [aka Queso Fresco or Queso Blanco or ‘farmer’s cheese’] which is always served with the hot sauce “Pimenta do Queijo.” Spicy “Choriço Paste” is also popular and available at the meat section of the supermarket. Those flavors together made for a fine dish of eggs for a Fast Day breakfast, along with the locally-grown pineapple.  Dinner at a favorite restaurant on a Slow Day would usually involve seafood, and then left-overs would make a another appearance on a Fast Day at home.  On Slow Days, we ‘went native’ and sampled local restaurants and wines and enjoyed ourselves thoroughly. “And does this work?” you ask. “Can one enjoy a vacation and without a huge weight gain?” Yes. After 11 days of vacation, my weight was still at my Target Level. Travel should broaden the mind but it doesn’t have to broaden the waistline.

Azorean Queso Egg:  249 calories   10 g fat   0.8 g fiber   15.7 g protein   16.4 g carbs  [8 g Complex]  271.5 mg Calcium   PB GF  Two of the favorite flavors of the Azores combine for this egg dish, and the pineapple ices the cake.Azorean-flavor Eggs w: pineapple          1 two-oz egg                                                                                                                                                              1.5 tsp Queso Fresco                                                                                                                                                 1 tsp Chorizo Paste                                                                                                                                                               2 oz pineapple                                                                                                                                                 blackish coffee or tea or lemon in hot water

Whisk the egg, cheese, and chorizo paste, then bake in an oven-proof dish or cook in a saute pan. Slice the pineapple and sip some Brazilian coffee for a delicious, low-calorie meal.

Dinner at a Restaurant: Seafood is usually a safe choice  Azores Cod w: Veg @ Restaurant                                                                                     for a low-calorie meal in a restaurant, unless it is drowned in a fatty sauce. And since  the Açores are in the middle of the Atlantic, it wasn’t hard to find top-notch seafood.  Here, at the Restaurant of the Agricultural Association, cod was grilled and served with boiled vegetables. If you skip the potatoes, you are more virtuous.  [You can see the Queijo Fresco with Pimenta in the upper right corner.]

Cod w: Veg Left-over For another meal, what could be more easy than this food a second time around?  There is an ample amount of both the fish and the vegetables to be very satisfying on a Fast Day.  We liked the food at the Agricultural Association so well that we dined there twice. Their speciality is beef and it is not for a Fast Day!                                                                                                                                                              .

 

 

Acores I

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Monday, eat the meals that will be posted on Sunday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

The first time I ever heard about the Azores [‘Açores’ in Portuguese] was in a poem by Joaquin Miller which praised the glories of Christopher Columbus and begins, “Behind him lay the gray Azores…”  Miller was a good-enough poet, but he was wrong about several things: Columbus was no saint; Columbus would never have heard of the Azores, since they had not yet been discovered; and the Azores are definitely NOT ‘grey.’  We visited the island of Sao Miguel in early May and found a riot of flowers covering steep, verdant volcanic mountains, herds of placid cows, and fruits of all sorts, surrounded by a thundering ocean.  It was marvelous, which means ‘a thing of marvels.’  When we travel, we like a self-catering accommodation, so we can have some say about what we eat and so we can cook with local foods. We did a lot of touring, some hiking, and enjoyed some very satisfactory dinners.  Portions were large, so there were leftovers and we enjoyed them too. The cheeses, the native wines, and specialties like ‘chorizo paste‘ and Pimenta da Queijo were great.  Want to go to a beautiful location that is off the beaten track?  The Açores are for you!

Azorean Omelette:  250 calories   10.7 g fat   0.9 g fiber   17 g protein   13.5 g carbs [6 g Complex] 276 mg Calcium PB GF  When on vacation in the Azores, these local ingredients made for a wonderful breakfast.Azorean Cheese ScrOmelette

1-1/2 two-oz eggs  HINT: If you are serving one person, crack three 2-oz eggs into a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Whip up those eggs and pour half of their volume into a jar with a lid and put it in the ‘fridge for next week.                                                                                    1/2 oz Azorean cheese OR Gouda                                                                                                                       1/2 oz Pimenta da Queijo                                                                               2 oz kiwi fruit                                                                                                                                                     blackish coffee [Portugese or Brazilian] or blackish tea [from the Gorreana Tea Plantation] or lemon in hot water

Grate/shred the cheese. Whisk the eggs with the pepper sauce and turn into a lightly-oiled nonstick pan. Sprinkle the eggs with the cheese and cook as you would an omelette. Plate with the fruit and serve one of those delicious beverages. Excellent.

Cozido Soup: Cozido do Furnas is a specialty of the Azores island of Sao Miguel. Some of the dormant volcanoes still have warm magma and send steam out through vents and fissures. Locals lower cauldrons of meats and vegetables into steaming wells, then serve the cooked meal at restaurants. The serving for two at O Miroma in Furnas consists of vast quantities of: beef, pork knuckles, blood sausage, carrots, potatoes, collards, cabbage, and turnips. Like a New England Boiled Dinner, but cooked in a volcano! We took the remainders from our meal home.Cozido Soup

The next day, I put the bones, sausage, and juices in a pot with water and Piment da Queijo. While that simmered, I cut up the vegetables and meat into bite-sized pieces [discarding the blood sausage to which I have an aversion]. Combined, it provided a hearty, nourishing, and low-calorie soup for a Fast Day.

Ingredients for next week: breakfast, single portion

1 two-oz egg 1.5 two-oz eggs
 queso fresco  mushrooms
 chorico paste  bleu cheese
 pineapple  leeks
Whatever you need for your smoothie Whatever you need for your hot beverage
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your smoothie

Dinner, single portion:

 cod  cooked pork tenderloin
 carrots  lettuce   +   tomatoes
 broccoli  fresh cranberries
 cauliflower  zucchini  + red bell peppers
 green + black olivesÇ  balsamic vinegar + olive oil
 excellent mustard
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Sunny Italy

How this Fast Diet Lifestyle works: Eat these meals tomorrow. On Thursday, eat the meals that will be posted on Wednesday.  Eat sensibly the other days of the week.  That’s it.  Simple way to lose weight and be healthier.

Last Spring, I went on a package tour of Italy to revisit some favorite places and to see some new sights.  Major binge, you are thinking?  A chance to depart from the Fasting Lifestyle and eat myself silly?  Nope.  I’ll show you how to eat from the hotel buffet, still maintain the 5:2 pattern, AND return home without gaining a pound.  I’ll assume that you will be doing a lot of walking when you go on vacation, just as I did. That helps to mitigate the effects of the occasional gelato stand.

Fasting in Florence Fasting in FlorenceThe breakfast buffet was tempting and since it was the same day after day, I could promise myself a treat tomorrow if I wanted it.  On a Fast Day, I could choose hard-boiled egg, ham, cheese, fruit, blood orange juice, and even a cappuccino. [Without the fancy coffee, this is the breakfast that I call Dutch Breakfast [Nov 9, ’16]  That breakfast gave me the fuel to tour all day and skip lunch.

The Dinner Buffetbuffet dinner

The hotel or cruise ship buffet may be your down-fall unless you are strategic. Remember: this is a Fast Day. Tomorrow you can eat more liberally.  Step one, eat a big salad with no dressing.  Salt, pepper, lemon juice — those are fine but avoid the creamy or prepared dressings.  Step two, half a plate of vegetables, the other half is meat or seafood.  Those are sirloin tips and shrimp on my plate.  Step three, don’t go back for seconds.  Step four, avoid the dessert table and drink lots of water.

Ingredients for next week’s meals:  breakfast

One slice whole-grain 70-calories bread 1.5 two-oz eggs
1 two-oz egg 2 Tbsp crab meat, canned or frozen
strawberries, fresh or frozen Leek
buttermilk Soy sauce sugar
Whatever you need for your smoothie Whatever you need for your hot beverage
Whatever you need for your hot beverage Whatever you need for your smoothie

dinner

1 slice whole-grain 70-calories bread Cabbage     carrot       scallion
Onions celery celery seed Soy sauce oyster sauce
5-0z can of water-packed tuna Roast beef, 1.75 oz
Tomato lemon juice olive oil Olive oil
1-oz slice or Swiss cheese or Gruyere Ground ginger
Lettuce Three 7” spring roll wrappers
Made with olive oil mayonnaise asparagus
Sparkling water Sparkling water

Canadian Thanksgiving

This event occurs on the second Monday of October, roughly around Columbus Day in the USA. Can you Fast and still Feast?  Let’s live it up with our Canadian neighbors while keeping our calories down. Here’s how:

French Toast   294 calories   6.7 g fat   3.2 g fiber   13.5 g protein   31 g carbs   260 mg Calcium HINT: This recipe makes French Toast for 2 people or two breakfasts. If serving one, prepare all the toast, but put the rest in a bag in the freezer for a really fast breakfast later.french-toast-maple-leafs

4+ slices 70-cal whole grain bread — When the bread has been cut to shape, there should be 4 ounces of bread      For today, I cut them out with a maple leaf cookie cutter                                                    one 2-oz egg                                                                                                                                                                    2 Tbsp fat-free milk                                                                                                                                                 per person: 1 oz strawberries, fresh or unsweetened frozen                                                                        1 and ½ tsp maple syrup         [the REAL kind]                                                                                                                                        one 60-cal sausage I like Al Fresco brand chicken sage breakfast links                                       nearly black coffee or tea or lemon in hot water                                                                                          3 oz green or fruit smoothie or natural apple cider

THE NIGHT BEFORE: Whisk the egg and milk together. Cut the pieces of bread into appropriate shapes using a cookie cutter. [This step is important for the calorie count to come out right, so don’t skip it even if it seems too much like ‘crafty food.’ The bread that is left over can be fed to the birds or saved to make Stuffed Clams] Put the bread into a pan with a rim which is just big enough for the bread pieces. Pour the egg/milk mixture over the bread, making sure it is all wetted. Let stand OVERNIGHT. Also combine the strawberries and syrup.                                                                                                                                                               THE NEXT MORNING, cook the batter-soaked bread in a hot non-stick pan with a spritz of non-stick spray. Cook until browned on both sides. NOW PUT 1/2 OF THE PIECES ASIDE TO COOL. PUT INTO A BAG AND FREEZE THEM FOR A LATER DATE. Cook the sausage, too. Mash the berries a bit and add the maple syrup. Warm the mixture a little and smear onto the plated toast. Enjoy with the sausage, hot beverage of choice, and smoothie.

Turkey Dinner:   Go to the holiday table armed with the facts. I’m not going to tell you what to eat, but I will provide you with some nutritional facts for common foods:chicken-dinner-for-2

4 oz turkey breast, roasted, skinless: 153 calories                                                                                           ½ cup green beans:        21 calories                                                                                                                            ½ cup breadcrumb stuffing:       176 calories                                                                                                                                    ½ cup peas:         62 calories                                                                                                                                          ¼ cup mashed potatoes:         59 calories                                                                                                              2 Tbsp gravy:        16 calories                                                                                                                     pumpkin pie, 1/8th of a 9” pie:       316 calories                                                                                                                             The meal on the left in the photo has 206 calories.   The meal on the right, with stuffing, has 382 calories.  Eat as your conscience tells you, or have a real Fast Day tomorrow.

 

Fasting While Traveling

Traveling is when dieting gets difficult and all the rationalizations start.  “Couldn’t do my own cooking, so what could I do but eat?”  Last month I spent 12 days in Italy as part of a tour. When I returned, I weighed 1/2 a pound less than I did before. How?

Departure day was on a Thursday, so I ate a high-protein typical Fast Day Breakfast and Fasted the rest of the day. On the air plane I ate what was served and went to sleep.  The following days I ate and drank as I wished. Next Fast Day was a Monday, and the breakfast buffet offered just what I needed: eggs, fruit, meat or cheese.Fasting in Venice

Dinner was at a restaurant, so no chance to Fast, although I was careful not to go wild. Same on the following Fast Days which fell during the trip. Calorie restriction on some days, eat-as-you-wish on the other days. It works.  You can do it.

Every Fast Day I chose carefully from the breakfast buffet in Venice, Florence, and Rome.  Did I starve myself every day? No. Did I eat gelato every day? Yes. Did I walk 6-9 miles every day while sight-seeing? Yes. Did I find that one can fit the Fasting Lifestyle into traveling?  Coming back with no weight gain says ‘Yes you can!’

The Dreaded Buffet

You are on a trip or at a professional dinner meeting or at a party and there it is, the nemesis of the dieter: The Buffet Table. An invitation to over-eat if ever there was one!  In the name of science, I have conducted an experiment with buffets.  So far the ‘n’ = 2, which means that I’ve done this twice, but I will persevere in collecting these data.

The setting is a semi-annual professional meeting which I attend.  The dinner is buffet-style, preceded by happy hour.  The day of the week is Thursday.  Fasting Lifestyle must continue.

Breakfast:  any of the usual Thursday breakfasts would apply here, since they are omelettes which means lots of protein and few carbs.      300 calories max

Lunch: I drink 8 oz skimmed milk in the early afternoon, so dinner doesn’t see me so hungry that I misbehave.  No snacking!                                  90 calories

Dinner: One glass red wine purchased at happy hour and sipped all through dinner. The wine could be omitted, but this is for science, right?  Salad and bread are served. Pass on the bread and pass on the creamy, gooey, fat-filled salad dressings. I eat the entire salad with salt and pepper. I made sure to drink a lot of water throughout the meal.buffet salad

At the buffet, I pass on the potatoes and the rice pilaf. In the trade, those are called ‘plate-fillers’ and that’s why they are presented first.  I fill 1/3 of the plate with the mixed vegetables. Of the 3 entrees, I skip the deep-fried chicken and choose instead the seafood casserole and the sirloin tips.                                       calories: unknownbuffet dinner

A dessert of apple crisp is served.  This could have been waved away, but I ate it.

Results: 1st time I did this, I my weight did not change at all the next day!  The second time, my weight dropped the next day by 0.4 pounds.  My conclusion is that if you are serious about your commitment to proper eating, you can face the buffet with common sense and confidence.