Back in the (Fast Diet) Saddle Again

A few years ago I wrote here about the ease and virtue of the Fast Diet.

Following this plan helped me to drop twenty pounds in about six months with minimal suffering. Dr. Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer have published an updated book explaining the diet and the science behind it. I also recommend The Fast Diet Cookbook by Mimi Spencer and Sarah Schenker, which offers tasty, low-calorie recipes, from simple to fancy, and would be useful to anyone who wants to cook low-calorie meals.

The Fast Diet        The Fast Diet Cookbook

Of course, you can buy both of these on Amazon.

I must admit, once we arrived in the U.S. last summer, I slid out of my previous good habits. I figured that continuing the Fast Diet would be too difficult here; I no longer have my job to distract me from my hunger pangs, and now—well, my office is just across from the kitchen. Besides, I spend so much time at the gym.

Well, I have toned arms and legs, but a rather round belly from all this sitting—and snacking. (Writing is just so much easier with Triscuits and cheese.) Exercise alone obviously isn’t going to cut it, so I’m back on the Fast Diet. Actually, two weeks into the program, I’m feeling good and have dropped a few pounds. Hey, if I can endure discomfort at the gym, I can put up with the discomfort of feeling hungry twice a week. I am Woman, hear me (and my stomach) roar!

Yesterday was fast day. That means no starch (crackers, bread, noodles, potatoes, rice), no sugar, no alcohol, and very little fat. My favorite eating schedule on fast days is to skip breakfast, have a light lunch after spending the morning at the gym, and then have a light dinner around 7 P.M. OK—I might go slightly over my 500 calorie recommended allowance for the fast day, but not much.

Today for lunch I made skinny kale with eggs.

I know, I know—kale is trendy, and you’re probably sick of hearing about kale. But we all know it’s really good for us, has plenty of fiber, and helps keep us full. For my fast day, I wanted to keep the calories down, so I chopped up about a quarter of a sweet onion (maybe 3 Tbs.) and a small clove of garlic. I sprayed a non-stick pan with PAM and stirred that around a bit for 2-3 minutes, then threw in about three cups of chopped curly kale, minus the tough stems, of course. I stirred this a bit to blend, then added lots of freshly-ground black pepper, a squirt of lemon juice, about half a cup of water, and half a teaspoon of chicken broth base—the stuff that comes in a jar. I continued to sauté until the water was mostly gone, about five more minutes. The lemon and chicken broth really added a marvelous, bright flavor. On top of this I plopped two eggs “fried” in a non-stick pan with a spray of PAM. Oh my! The runny egg yolk oozing onto the tender kale…pretty damn good for a diet day meal. The highly unscientific calorie count, based on some quick internet research, would be 276 calories. Not bad!

Fast Day Kale and Eggs

I decided to make dinner right away while I was still full from breakfast. The weather was finally cooling off, and I felt like something soup-ish. I adapted my recipe for chicken chili, omitting the oil (for sautéing the veg.), the corn, the sour cream and cheese. No tortilla chips either, alas. But that’s the beauty of the Fast Diet—I can eat chips again tomorrow, if I wish. Here are the ingredients that I used:

Ingredients for Fast Day Chicken Chili

  • four skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized chunks
  • half a large onion, diced
  • a red bell pepper, diced
  • four cloves of garlic, minced
  • a jalapeño chile, minced
  • a can of diced tomatoes
  • a can of diced mild green chiles
  • a jar of tomatillo and cilantro cooking sauce
  • water to cover all the ingredients
  • 2 tsp. of chicken broth base
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 tsp. chipotle chili powder
  • 1 Tbs. dried oregano
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

I dumped all that into the slow cooker and let it cook on high for four hours, then turned it down to low and dumped in a can of white beans, mostly drained. By the time we were ready to eat, the house smelled heavenly. I topped each serving with sliced radishes, sliced green onions, and fresh cilantro. Marvelous! This recipe makes four generous servings, leaving me some to freeze for future fast days. There are 140 calories in a boneless, skinless chicken breast, so I’m sure this comes out to fewer than 300 calories per serving.

¡Buen provecho!

¡Buen provecho!

What’s your favorite low-calorie recipe?


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