The 5:2 Diet Recipe Ideas


A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

Yesterday I wrote about the 5:2 diet. Although I’m no expert on the subject, the Horizon documentary was really insightful and interesting and definitely worth writing about.

I’ve had a lot of requests for under 500 calorie meal ideas, so here are a few I’ve found so far:

–          Scrambled egg on toast (using brown bread and 1 medium egg) = 350 calories

–          These cranberry pancakes are only 189 calories per serving!

–          This Full English Frittata with Smoky Beans over at the Good Food website is just 268 calories per serving.

–          The Washington Post have suggested loads of great meals that are under 500 calories, such as Lemon-Oregano Pork Tenderloin With Lemon Jus, Andouille, Chicken, Red Bean and Rice Pilaf and Peppers Stuffed With Summer Vegetables.

This is not a strict ‘fast’…you can be inventive with what you eat on your low-calorie days and there are loads of delicious options out there.

Just to note, Michael Moseley who presented the TV programme suggested that on ‘fast’ days women should consume around 500 calories and men could consume about 600 calories.

The medical trials that took place used consecutive days for fasting, but Michael did his fasting on non-consecutive days. The 5:2 diet worked well for him, so I would suggest that personal preference is fine when it comes to when your two fasting days are.

I really urge anyone who would like to try this to seek medical advice from your GP before the diet.


148 responses »

  1. Trying this diet…….started with a good breakfast on day 1,feel it sets me up for the day.However,will be hungry at bedtime? can you drink marmite or is this too much salt?

  2. I find cup of soups (not slimmers) at around 100 calories are a god send. I have 2 a day, and the use my other calories on small bananas, pears, and apples

    • Have given this a go, would really like to get into it properly as I thought it made good sense. Although I was probably eating around 800-1000 cals on fasting days need to think of getting this down without being too painful. Will be having another go and think 5:2 Will suit me better.

      • Go to one of the Google websites for calorie counting and it gives you all calories for everything. Good luck!

    • I make my own vegetable soup with fresh veg and stock cubes – 7 cals each plus the calorie total of the veg. It takes about 20 minutes to chop the veg up for soup for two to three days, 20 minutes cooking, whizz it up with a hand held blender and away you go. No additives, just great fresh soup, mine average out at 50 calories a bowl. It is simple to do and I use up the veg at the end of the week that I wouldnt put with a meal, just a bit wilted if you see what I mean. I bought some great soup containers from poundland so they go in the fridge in those then off to the office with me, 3 mins in the microwave and jobs done!

      • Hi Judith, your soup sounds delicious and is the perfect kind of thing to eat when on fast days. It’s healthy, low-calorie and filling (I presume)…as well as being cheap! It’s much better to do something like this than eating unhealthy but low calorie food on your fast days 🙂 Keep it up!

  3. I’m giving this a go, and think I can cope with the not eating over 600 cals, but it’s the drinks I’m not sure of. I like a cup of tea, but I can’t drink it black, and with no sugar. What calories are there in a cup of tea with semi skimmed milk, and one sugar?

    • I have invested in a pot of sucralose based sweetener, which has all the benefits of low cal without the suspected health risks associated with aspartame. Replacing semi-skimmed with unsweetened soya milk cuts another 20% cals.

      • Ludo,
        There is evidence that so-called ‘diet’ drinks lead to weight gain! Apparently, consuming artificially sweetened drinks leads to subconscious snacking. This way, the body gets the calories it was ‘expecting’ as sugar when the drink was consumed. It seems likely that artificial sweeteners in hot beverages like tea and coffee have the same effect. It is probably better to learn to drink unsweetened drinks.

        Good luck.

    • There’s about 15 cals in 30g of semi-skimmed milk (see Time to lose the sugar – tea without milk & sugar really is a different drink, and should be taken much weaker. There are many interesting tea varieties that put Typhoo & PG Tips in the shade. I’ve moved on to green tea, which is much subtler and more delicate.

      • Hi Dave. Thanks for the info. I only ever drink green or peppermint tea now too. There are so many more health benefits to herbal teas – especially green – that make them very worthwile.

    • Just done my first day on this diet, was not too hard. I normally do not like tea without milk and sugar, but black Earl Grey with a slice of lemon did not taste bitter at all and did the trick. 2 Egg omelette with no cheese and plenty of salad leaves, Grilled chicken and couscous, finish off with a Misso soup later tonight. All in all just under 600 calories and not too hungry. BBC Good food guide has lots of recipes, but I think their Calorie counts are a bit optimistic, it is worth checking and weighing everything using a calorie counter online.

      • I have found the English way to drink tea is very Calorie rich (relatively) especially since I drink about 3 pots on a single fasting day. You can, however drink other teas drinkale withouth milk and sugar by making it less strong to begin with. Having a tea bag in a pot for about 10 seconds is plenty strong enough to make this ‘European’ tea.
        Hope it helps.

      • Thanks for your useful comment Mike! Good luck on your diet: it sounds like you’re doing so well already! Keep us updated on how you do 🙂 Heather

      • As mentioned above, diet drinks lead to weight gain. So your suggestion to ‘drink diet coke!!’, is at best an unhelpful suggestion, and an unwarranted commercial. The best advice is don’t drink sweetened beverages whether the sweetener are sugars or artificial. There are so many ingredients of questionable benefit in commercial carbonated beverages that these are best avoided. If one is attempting to stem weight-gain or lose weight, then the evidence is such that sweetened beverages comprise an unnecessary obstacle to a calorie controlled diet.

    • According to My Fitness Pal (great App if you have an iPhone) tea with SKIMMED milk & 1 sugar is 31 calories so it’d be less than that I guess. We’ve both been on the 5:2 since the programme aired and have lost at least a stone & a half each. Feel great now.

    • I allocate about 30 calories on my fasting days for milk to use in tea and coffee throughout the day. I don’t know if that is OK or not? Is this counter productive between meals?

  4. Hey can anyone tell me if you can chew gum on the fasting days….. thought it might help to distract me? also does the fasting days have to be on consecutive days?

    • It is all about calories, given there are next to no calories in Gum that would work fine. However, chewing Gum will make your salivary glands work and your stomach churn more expecting food, so I don’t think it will make it easier. Just drink plenty of fluid and stick a couple of carrots into your calorie count to eat between meals. It isn’t that hard. I am at the end of day 2 and feel fine. Day 2 was easier than 1 actually.

    • And for the reason Mike points out below, chewing gum on an empty stomach can also provoke an ulcer so should be avoided.

      • If this were the case, then I should have several ulcers. This advice is opinion and not germain or a tenet of the diet discussed.

      • I haven’t posted on here for a while, so I thought I’d check in. I’m still going strong after 12 weeks or so and have not had difficulties or ill effects.

        I’ve noticed that people seem to be over-thinking this and are in danger of turning a simple principal into a fad diet.

        Remember, this is not a calorie controlled diet aimed at weight loss (although that is a side effect), its to reduce IGF1 levels and bad cholesterol in order to reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes and cancer in later years and to avoid prescription drug dependence. i.e. to stay active and independent for longer into your old age. Stop obsessing about weight.

        Personally, I have found that the most effective routine (for me) is to try to have 2 or 3 fasting days per week and never to make them consecutive – I see no additional benefit of starving yourself for 2 days over just 1. 2 days separately is easier and more effective (especially for weight loss) than consecutive days and I suspect that if you fast for too long, you run a greater risk of muscle mass loss. I tend to have one evening meal on my fasting days because I don’t eat breakfast anyway and therefore this regime is easy for me BUT IT DOESN’T MATTER when you eat or how often as long as you limit to 500-600 calories.

        If you want to chew gum then do so – again, it doesn’t matter! Chewing gum will cause a certain amount of bloating and belching from the air you swallow in your saliva as you chew but if that doesn’t bother you, then carry on. It certainly doesn’t cause ulcers. When have you seen a warning on a pack of gum saying “not to be chewed on an empty stomach”? Never.

        One pleasant effect that I have noticed is that despite suffering from chronic acid reflux for the last 20 years, I now rarely have an issue with it an require almost no medication other than the occasional antacid or Zantac OC. I can only put this down to the fact that I give my digestive tract a rest every couple of days instead of being constantly full or grazing.

        I have read that “Nutritionists” think that this regime will lead to eating disorders and I even read one so called expert saying that “in her day”, eating on one day and not on another was called Bulimia. I’m no expert but I know thats not what Bulimia is. Utter rubbish. What they are really afraid of is that it challenges their core beliefs about how the body processes food and it challenges their authority on the subject. Lets face it Nutrition is a very poorly understood science and we know this because idiots like Gillian McKeith are able to make millions from talking tripe. (Eating white bread causes Thrush you know. Really? Of course it doesn’t!). The more open minded Nutritionists will be watching what happens and hoping to learn something new. My hope is that the results are not blurred too much by those simply looking for a new miracle cure for obesity.

        So, follow the basic rules and don’t obsess about pointless details. If it feels wrong or you don’t feel well, don’t do it. Most of all remember that this is not a “diet”.

  5. Are you able to eat protein on your fasting days 2:5 ? or is it okay as long as your callories on these days are below 500?

  6. Am sure it won’t be long until a recipe book/idiot’s guide to the diet will be available! Personally I have only just heard about it from a friend – will be watching playback of the Horizon programme today/tomorrow and probably then get stuck in!

  7. Hi correct me if I’m wrong but the way I see it is you are supposed to have all the calories in one meal on the fasting days. The idea is that the body is not working so hard for most of the fast day. So splitting the calories over the day would counter act this.

  8. Hi, I thought the point is that you only eat a quarter of the calories you need on the fasting days. When you eat them did not seem important in the programme. Myself and my wife are trying this. On my fasting day I typically eat a bowl of Special K with skimmed milk for breakfast (178 calories), a ham salad sandwich for lunch (215 calories) and Salmon or chicken with veg or salad for dinner (210 calories).

    • I am starting day 2 of my fast but have had a harsh headache since yesterday evening. Paracetemol didn’t budge it. Just eaten my breakfast and feel a little better. Hoping this is a temporary problem. I’m also wondering if this is related to my being a carbohydrate junky and choosing to have mainly protein and veg/fruit yesterday so as to get bigger portions.

      • Didn’t have a headache, maybe you are drinking too much or too little water? Probably best to check the guidelines on that.

      • Apparently, it’s not advisable to go on fasting that only consists of water. An all-water fast releases toxins too quickly, causing headaches. Hope this helps 🙂

      • Caffeine withdrawal will do that to me, I keep up the tea and coffee (about 50 cals of milk). The real help I find is carrot sticks to nibble throughout the day

    • Hi Steve. I got that impression too – it seems like as long as you eat that amount of calories in the day, then it doesn’t matter if it’s in one meal or spread across a few light meals or snacks. I would prefer spreading it throughout the day as it seems more sustainable 🙂

  9. Hi I have done 2 fasting days now not to difficult, but have found that I don’t sleep to well and I have to go to the toilet a lot 2/3 times in the night. Is anyone else having this problem ?

    • I slept OK maybe a little lighter than normal. Yes I did find I had to go to the loo a lot more, probably twice a night, I am probably increasing my hydration to account for the loss of food, I certainly drink more water. I think this is a good thing, I certainly seem better hydrated during these days, and am flushing my system out. I think like anything once your body acclimatises things will settle down.

      • Hi Mike, I agree – a transition period like this sounds normal, but your body will get used to it and (hopefull) calm down after a couple of weeks 🙂

  10. Hi. I’m a moderately overweight (BMI 28) 40 yr old and I have been doing the 5:2 plan since I saw the Horizon program a couple of weeks ago. It has been interesting reading everyone’s very different experiences, so I thought I’d add mine to the mix as they seem to be a little different.
    My personal rules are: 1) No fasting on consecutive days – any 2 days out of every 7 are fine. 2) On my fasting days, I eat only one meal in the evening. 3) I exercise when I want to and don’t pay any attention as to whether its a fasting day or not. 4) No alcohol on fasting days, only red tea (the most tolerable without milk, not for any other reason) and water/zero cal cordial.
    So far, after 2 weeks I am on my 4th fasting day and I’m finding it very easy to stick to. I’ve lost a few pounds and my face is less bloated but I’m not obsessing about my weight (I’d like to lose about 10 lb but thats not the main aim) – most importantly, I feel great. I haven’t had any headaches, I’ve had far less acid indigestion/reflux and I sleep like a baby on my fasting nights (I think that eating in the evening and lightly helps i.e. not going to bed starving but also not on a full stomach). I’ve also had no issues with low energy; in fact quite the opposite and my squash game hasn’t suffered so far. I feel really sharp on fasting days and more of the day on normal days too.
    One unexpected benefit is that I also find that on normal days, I don’t feel like overeating as much as I would have done before.
    So far a very positive experience for me and really easy to stick with. I like my dirty food far too much to be on a diet for more than 3 or 4 days so this is a breath of fresh air for me. 🙂

    One question I keep seeing is whether or not protein should be restricted. Just my opinion but I really wouldn’t stress about that – eat what you want. Besides, its very difficult to make a satisfying meal out of 600 calories if you include too much carbohydrate – higher protein helps you to feel full and its got to be impossible to OD on protein with only 600 cals.

    Anyone else have a similar experience?

    • Hi Dom, I also do not worry about fasting on consecutive days, any 2 days in every 7 are ok for me. I find this makes it easy to stick with the diet. I’m also a bit overweight (5 foot 8, 12st 6), I’m 47 years old and am relatively fit with the exception of high blood pressure, although this is not particularly much above normal and is very well controlled with medication.

      I could do with losing about a stone, but I am primarily not on this diet to lose weight. I am hoping this can get my BP within the normal range without the need for medication. I also have been on this diet for a couple of weeks now. I have lost 4 pounds and feel fine. I am defiantly eating less on the non fasting days, I just don’t feel as hungry.

      I have not had any headaches and I do get hungry on fasting days, this seems come on around mid afternoon on the fasting day and last until before lunch the day after a fasting day. I think this is because my normal breakfast is not very different to my fasting day breakfast and I don’t get a hit of calories until lunchtime. I also don’t sleep as well on fasting days and like others I seem to need the toilet more during the night. As others have said above this no doubt due to the amount of water I consume on fasting days.

      I’m watching this blog with great interest and am looking forward to reading the guest bloggers and others account of their experiences with this diet.

      • Hi Steve just to be on the safe side take an early morning sample of urine to your GP just to get it tested, nocturnal passing of urine should really be checked out although I’m sure your right that it is due to your increased hydration during these days but better safe than sorry

    • Im on week 2 and am splitting my fasting days throughout the week. I did have headaches on my fast days in week 1 but so far none today and today is my 2nd fast day in this 7 day cycle. I am however drinking lots of water, I usually do, but perhaps I’ve increased my normal intake partly to keep my arm and mouth occupied. I agree totally though with Dom in that I’ve started to notice that I don’t want to eat as much quantity or as much fatty foods on my normal days. Maybe it’s the thought that it’ll slow progress I don’t know, that said I don’t feel inclined to analyse it so will just go with the flow.

      I’m still using my gym (cross trainer) and even on fast day mornings I’ve noticed no difference to my fitness when I do my usual programmed routine, by this I mean I don’t feel any negative effects.

      Like most doing this I’m doing it partly for some weight loss although I’m probably just in the average envelope, I’m doing it to assist with my blood pressure and cholesterol, which last December spiked.

      One final comment us that above all I really feel energised at the thought I can actually work this (5:2) regime into my diary without too much effort and the thought I might actually be improving my health is giving me wings, no Red Bull required! 😉 good luck to all on here who’s doing this.

    • Dom, I don’t know what my BMI is, but fear it is more that yours! The Horizon programme has really caught my imagination (a big step for someone who has never wanted to, or has, dieted ever). Following on from the BBC TV show, I did a one day fast last week (see; they call it the Trial Fast) which is called a 24 hour fast, but is really not eating from the time you get up till dinner time. It really wasn’t too hard, and i have to say I really impressed myself, even if I got very little sympathy at home! As I write this (from the office!) I am in the midst of doing it again. If I can make a go of this I am going to try the 2:5 day fast. I thought you points above make a great deal of sense, so thanks for sharing. Cheers

    • Hi Dom

      Thanks for your comments. I find your attitude intelligent and refreshing in comparison to all the obsessives :-). I too am too much of a foody to fast more than 2 out of 7 and am hoping this way of life will keep my weight down/stable while allowing me to enjoy meals out and social occasions without feeling guilty like I do at the moment. I start on Monday – wish me luck x

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  12. I’m fat, fifty and female and on week two. So far I’ve lost 5lbs, but more important is the fact that I’ve finally found a way to live my life without constantly thinking about blasted diets. With fasting, I actually look forward to the fast days with a sense of relief and have stopped obsessing about food on the feast days. On my feast day yesterday I went to an all you can eat Chinese and found myself full after my first plate, never-the-less, had a second, but in the past I could’ve easily gorged my way through five! I started at 15 and half stone so have plenty to loose, but more important, I need to improve my bodies functions as I’m at stage 3 kidney failure. Am intending to have another blood test in a month to see if its made any difference to the triglycerides – which are alarmingly high. Heres hoping for a healthier future. Good luck everyone!

    • Hi Tina,
      Well done so far – it sounds like you’re doing really good already. I’ve heard a few people say that they have not needed to eat so much on the ‘feast’ days, after a couple of days fasting. I guess your stomach shrinks so you get full more easily. Good luck with the diet and keep us all posted 🙂

  13. 17=08=2012 Hi Michael.
    Am a 83 years old male @ i found your programme very interesting and at my own thoughts have had a go, just finishrd the first the 2 days fasting!!!.
    The reason i am having a go is the old bug of Cholestrol,all the tabs nearly made me ILL !!!!!!,SO WHAT HAVE i TO LOSE???????. Have tried them all.
    Mabe you could write a book with all these low Calories foods on fasting days.

    • Hi Austin, thanks for your comment. How did the two days of fasting go for you? Would love to write a book on this – maybe I will soon, as I think a lot of people would find it extremely useful 🙂

    • Hi Again Austin, I forgot to mention: I am not Michael Moseley from the TV programme – I am just a writer who has decided to post lots of articles about this diet! Speak soon, Heather

  14. Thanks to Steve, Perry and Shiv for replying – good to hear your experiences. Seems that there are similarities amongst everyone doing this and you know what the main one is? Everyone is really up-beat and positive about it – even those with the odd headache etc. I wonder if this energy will pass as the novelty wears off but at the moment, I don’t feel like that will happen. Weirdly, I’m on normal day today but I almost wish it was a fast day – I’m actually enjoying the sharpness and lightness of being on those days. Here’s a thought – is this regime mood altering, in a positive way, for some? I think it is for me.

    One more thought I’ll throw into the mix for discussion (again just my opinion, not scientific fact): I think this is easier to follow because not eating at all for an 8 hour period is not difficult. What is difficult is the act of will required to stop eating once you start! Hence, most long term dieters fail because they have occasional lapses which then become frequent lapses and then just revert back to normal habits of constant eating – you convince yourself that you’ve been good if you had a low fat yoghurt but in reality, the difference is negligible. With the 5:2 plan, you just have to psyche yourself up for a single effort each time. I rationalise it to myself that a series of single “one-off” efforts is easier than a constant sustained deprivation. And if I can’t manage it today, I can do it tomorrow and not feel like I failed.

    Agree? Disagree?

    • I am hope I am not jinxing myself here, but a combination of not eating and staying off the booze really made feel a lot better at work the next day – so totally agree on that point. Having just come off the 24 hour fast (slightly different from the 5:2 one) I worked out at gym for 40 mins this evening, and whilst I felt a little more tired I felt a lot more virtuous!

      I have one question – where’s a good place to look for easy to make (and yet enjoyable!) meals which don’t bust the 600 calorie limit for the 2 fast days. I am planning on dinner being my main meal, and am looking for ideas of meals for about 300 calories. Having never EVER counted calories, I am not quite sure where/how to start. Ta much, Shiv

      • Your meals on fasting days are supposed to be 600 cals not 300 i.e. its not 600 in total for the 2 days of fasting, its each!

        As far as recipes are concerned, I think there are links on this blog higher up the page but to be honest, I wouldn’t obsess about it too much. I tend to have a relatively normal meal – if you keep the carbs down i.e. pasta, you can eat more. If you like pasta then I hope you’re satisfied with about 4 strands…:-)…although I find that half a pack of Waitrose capiletti with a little passata is a good meal.

        One example of a meal I had this week was a 3 egg omelette with smoked haddock flaked into it. 1 egg is approx 108 cals and the fish was about 220 cals. I had an apple to make up the difference and I was full. If I feel lazy, I have a bowl of meusli – weigh it out if you like but 600 calories worth is quite a lot.

        Quick tip – to eke out your calories and feel fuller, try eating celery and about a teaspoons worth of peanut butter to dip it in as a side dish. Sounds rank but is actually nice. You can eat celery until you drop (but limit the peanut butter obviously).

  15. I’m a 43 year old man and I too watched the horizon episode like everyone else on here and just like everyone else decided to give it a go.
    I fasted on Monday and Tuesday this week and managed much better than i’d anticipated. I did experience a mild headache on the second day and don’t normally suffer from them so I’m hoping it was just a one off occurence.
    Like others have commented it seems so much easier to follow if you’re only restricting yourself for a couple of days, rather trying to live your life on a constant diet.It’s quite refreshing to know that for 5 days you can totally forget about what you can or can’t eat.
    Whilst i too am hoping to see some weight loss, like others it’s the thought that i’m helping my body to defeat any possible cancer,parkinsons,ageing type diseases that we can’t see that spurs me on.
    I weighed myself on Monday and was 95.83kg. To avoid obsessing about the weight I’m not going to weigh myself again until 1st October when i will have completed 7 weeks on the regime.
    Hopefully by then i will have lost some weight and will also hopefully feel better in myself.
    I’m going to try and do my fasting always on a Monday and Tuesday as i feel that giving the body a detox after the weekend , when we traditionally overdo it with drinking and possible take aways serves an even greater benefit.
    Michael Moseley does some great shows for Horizon aand if this simple advice proves to be as successful as i hope then i definately see myself being able to incorporate it into my lifestyle and more importantly maintain it.

    • I’ll be interested to see how it works out for you given that you are going for consecutive days. I’m deliberately avoiding consecutive days as I feel that spreading it out a bit will have a better effect but in all honesty, I have no science to back that up. Lets see!

  16. Help! Can anyone tell me where I can view this amazing tv programme please? I thought it might be on iPlayer but I can’t find it. Is it being repeated ? Many thanks.

  17. You’ll find it on You Tube. Just search for Eat, Fast & Live Longer, click on the video that shows it’ll run for 58.00 minutes. Good luck!

  18. Dom, thanks for your note about the number of calories. The reason I mentioned 300 for dinner is because I have assumed I will spread out the 600 through the day, and hence the point about meal options for 300 calories. As usual, very good advice – so thanks! Cheers, Shiv

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  20. My husband and I watched the BBC fasting documentary and were very inspired by this. We are both knowledgable about health and medical matters but this was an “eye opener”.
    We have starting this regime and now into second week. Previously I had lost a stone from the Dukan diet but was worried that the fast metabolic burning effect would be damaging.
    I am by no way over weight but want to get down to my pre children weight of 10 stone 7 pounds.
    On the Dukan diet I did not watch calories but stuck rigidly to the regime. The fasting I consume on average 1300 calories a day taking into account aeorobic exercises and dog walking subtracted to give the latter calorie count.
    In spite of this I cannot seem to get past the 11stone amount even with effort to adhere to diet and not sure what is going on. Am I not eating enough and the body has lowered its metabolism?
    I would like to hear from anybody if possible to help me achieve my goal.
    Otherwise it is doing me no harm and I am trying to get into the habit of feeling hungry and just trying to keep my mind of it.

    • I think that adding in calories used in exercise is a mistake, perhaps you just need to stick to the original prescribed amount?

      • Hi. You may be right. I try to keep to 1700 calories a day, 7 days a week. If I fast for two days then I use 1000 for those two days. I try to calculate how many approximate calories I use a week when exercising. I take those off and then redivide by 7 to get estimate of 1300 I am consuming hoping that I will lose weight.
        I read somewhere that if you consume less calories that your body “fights back” and utilises calories more efficiently, if your resting heart rate is lower. I wondered if anybody had been dieting and fasting and came upon this as I have done?
        Thank you for your reply.

  21. Hi All

    Am on second week just completed 3rd fast. Have lost 4lbs and 1″ off waist. It’s great and so easy. Have great soup recipe. Butternut Squash 2 pints 432 cals.

    Onion 238g (large)
    Squash 472g (small)
    Red pepper 142g (large)
    Red Chilli 11g (1/2) this is optional it makes it quite spicy
    Garlic 10g (3 smallish cloves)
    OXO vegetable 4 melted in 2 pints of warm water

    Cut up in small bits, put in pan bring to boil, simmer for 30 mins then blend with hand blender. Hope you like it.

  22. Hi fellow fasters. I am seventy over weight with raised cholesterol and would like to see a reduction in both areas but particularly the latter .The two plus five works for me oddly enough do not find it a struggle in fact I feel I feel quite energised .Agree with others with regards extra visits to toilet at night thus poor sleep see this as a result of drinking more water on fasting days. Have not weighed myself since I started but just feel so much better in just two weeks .Jean

  23. Missed the programme sadly but sounds great and plan to try it. What about black ground filter coffee – is this alllowed?

  24. Jasmine tea bags are available in most supermarkets and you can use one teabag throughout the day. I just top up my cup or teapot with boiled water, it’s lovely, it’s not as strong as pure green tea. I am gonna start my fast days on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s. I have just done the holy month of Ramadam, so I think it’s a great time to start as my stomach has shrunk for the past 4 weeks so hope it won’t be too hard, at least I can drink, not like during Ramadam which I find not being able to drink the hardest, you don’t actually get hungry, just thirsty. Good luck to everyone. Btw, great blog, you’ve been bookmarked.

    • Hi Naima,

      Thanks for your kind comments. Yeah, sounds like the perfect time to start, right after Ramadam 🙂 I love green tea but it’s hard to get used to (not the most delicious drink in the world). I will give Jasmine tea bags a go. Keep us all posted on how yo get on. Speak soon, Heather 🙂

      • I admit green tea is an acquired taste, not being a great fan of it on its own myself. But it does lend itself particularly well to flavouring (mint, citrus fruit, cranberry, etc). Having a cup of Twinings mango and lychee green tea as I’m typing this (bought in Morrison’s, with similar choices available from all the main supermarkets), you might find you like it better this way too….

  25. Hiya all, I’m also giving this a go after watching the documentary. My main aim is losing weight but the other health benefits make it a great thing to try and it takes out some of the stigma when discussing with friends. Male friends love to dig you about being on a diet so being able to say your on it for other reasons is great. My typical day fasting is a low fat yogurt 87 cals, a miso soup 111 cals and then a dinner of chicken breast and some asparagus spears. To date finding it easy and enjoyable.. Keep fasting!!

  26. I am going to try this, I have been on a diet mainly low carb but not high fat, as healthy as I can, I have a feeling this is the one for me. Can I still drink my beloved Wine ????

    • Margaret only abstain on fasting days but enjoy your normal diet the other five days.I weighed myself today and find to my delight I have lost ten pounds since commencing this eating regime. Enjoy your wine I do ! Jean

  27. Does it take a few weeks for the weight to start to come off? Just about to start week two but was really disappointed not to lose any weight at all in the first week. I did two consecutive days, weighed everything and counted all the calories. Will keep going as like others it was the additional health benefits that really impressed me but I really do need to lose weight as well.

    • You will, I am a male – 5’11” was 13 stone, need to lose at least 1 stone.
      I’m on my 2nd day of my 2nd week and I’ve lost 7 lb. Good luck and stick with it.

    • Hi,

      I’m loving this as it only needs will power 2 days a weej but they should NOT be 2 consecutive days. It mentions that on the program. Even if you have good enough will power the idea of only fasting one day at a time is your body won’t go into starvation mode as soon as you eat & store everything as fat. Also your metabolism won’t be affected. Try 2 separate days & be really careful to count your calories. Dont guess. There are lots of useful things online nowadays so long as you have some weighing scales.

      Hope it works. Best of luck.

      • Hi All I have down loaded a free aps to my iPad called “My fitness pal” which counts the calories for you and measures any exercise you perform . Heve found it a useful tool but seems to get concerned on my fasting days !

  28. Hiya, I started my 5:2 today and on my fast day today, it’s a breeze compared to Ramadam. It’s 7.15pm and I have 267 calories to go. I have bought some weight watchers ready meals in case I get stuck on what to eat, they have quite a variety of meals. Also, whilst searching for non or low calorie breakfast, dinner, lunch ideas I came across ‘Negative Calorie Foods’ lots of articles and websites, google and read, it’s fab, you can get a list of these NCF’s if you are stuck on what to eat. My next fast day will be Thursday. I also recommend when you weigh yourself, do so at the same time everytime as we all get heavier in the evening. Feel really good, bring on Thursday x

    • Glad it’s going well for you 😀 I’m starting next week – can’t wait!! I always weigh myself when I get out of bed in the morning (this is probably also the lightest time too). Heather x

  29. I am going to start this diet after next Bank Holiday,and going to spend the next few days watching the programme on YouTube…and planning my meals for next week.
    Thanks for all your links and ideas etc….they have spurred me on no end.
    Will keep you informed of my progress.

  30. I am on my second fast day of week 1 on the 5:2 diet, and here are some of my initial thoughts

    1. As someone who has never counted calories, or weighed myself, I am doing quite a lot of both! I am amazed how much I have learnt about calories in less than a fortnight.
    2. Having done two 24 hour fasts before I started the 5:2 diet (not a per-requisite, by any means) the single biggest revelation for me was that I am not afraid to be hungry. It REALLY is in the mind.
    3. The thing I am enjoying most about the 5:2 diet is that even on the 5 days that I am able to “eat normally” I am much more aware of what I am eating, and that alone is remarkable for someone who has spent hisentire adult life blissfully unaware of the calorific worth of food (and drink). I was out for drinks last evening, and had three G&Ts (yes, three!) instead of wine or beer, which is what I may have otherwise drunk. Reason: less calories in gin than in wine or beer
    4. I exercise for 45 mins at the gym on my fast days (just before eating dinner, which is usually half of the 600 calories allowed for the fast day), and guess what, I am really enjoying it. May not work for everyone, but works for me.

    So, here is what I don’t know —

    1. Is this is all terribly exciting, and will I get bored of it soon enough?
    2. I know I have started to lose some weight, but after getting rid of the “easy weight”, will I continue to lose weight? Someone please say yes.
    3. Am In becoming the insufferable bore at work constantly talking about how much I am enjoying doing the 5:2 diet. Dear god, I hope not!

    It is almost 12.45 pm, and I am off for lunch — two bowls of miso soup, which I am really looking forward to!

    Cheers, for now. Shiv

  31. Pingback: The 5:2 Diet: Meal and Snack Ideas « We Eat Things

  32. Years ago I was really fit and healthy but nowadays I’m a wheelchair user and can’t exercise. I eat healthily (usually!) but the weight has really crept on with a vengeance over the years. I’m on tons of medication – some of it for high cholestrol – and I’ve been absolutely desperate for ages to find some way to get my body more healthy.

    I watched the Horizon programme and was really impressed at the scientific evidence. The 5:2 was something I knew I could do, and the very next day I started. I had my 5th fasting day yesterday and I am really feeling better for doing it. On the normal days I haven’t found myself extra hungry at all, in fact I’ve just seemed to want fresh healthy food (except when dear hubby bought me an ice cream!) . On one ‘fast day’ he suggested we go out for dinner, but I just chose from their ‘light options’ menu and had a large diet coke and I was full up and still within the limit for that day (I had a couple of pieces of fruit during the day).

    I think the 5:2 regime will be especially helpful at Christmas – if I can fast on Christmas Eve and then the day after Boxing day, i might break the yearly cycle of stuffing myself for a fortnight just because all that food is there!

    I can’t weigh myself, so can’t say if there have been any benefits there, but hopefully in time I will find my waistbands are looser. Whether or not I lose some weight I’m going to keep this up as anything that makes your body healthier has got to be good.

    • Hi Jax, thanks for the comment. I agree – whether it’s about weight loss or not, if it makes your body more healthy then that’s definitely a good thing! Let me know how you get on – I’d love to hear 🙂 Heather

  33. I notice lots of people are eating miso soup….I have never heard of this soup…where can you get it….or does anyone have a recipe for it please….

  34. Thank you for that link.I have just watched the Horizon programme on YouTube,and intend to start my fast on Tuesday,after the Bank Holiday.
    Can anyone give me any tips on what to have on my fast days,so at least I can stock up on what I need….for example what do you have on your fast days?…..that will help me plan what I am going to eat.
    Thank you.

    • Hi Kim. I like to wait for evening for my main meal, and my favourite meal is a simple omelette with lots of fresh herbs out of the garden and mushrooms. I usually have a salad or roasted vegetables with it, sprinkled with balsamic vinegar. Earlier in the day I have a couple of pieces of fruit at lunchtime, and drink lots of weak green tea throughout the day.

      I used to hate green tea, but Tetley have brought out a more mellow one which is really nice (not bitter!). My treat is a lovely mug of low fat hot chocolate before bedtime(Sainsbury’s own is my favourite one). I’m going to try the miso soup too.

      • Thanx Jax,thats really helpful……
        Im off to Sainsburys in a mo to hunt down miso soup….and get green tea and hot chocolate..will let you know if I find the soup…..

  35. Well I have tracked down miso soup at Sainsburys….and what a price to pay.
    As I am going back to work on 3rd September,after 6 glorious weeks off,have decided to make my own soups,and take them in with me,saving me some pennies.
    I have bought some Tetley Honey Green Tea,and low fat hot chocolate as recommended by Jax.
    I have also decided NOT to tell my work colleagues what I am doing,as when they are on diets ,I am sick and tired of hearing how many points ,calories etc,they have left to play with….I have NEVER been a diet bore!
    Although I could become one on this forum…lol

    I am TRULY excited about starting this regime….and please dont let it wear off!
    I will spend the weekend planning my meals….I need a plan…or I might fall off the wagon…

    So Tuesday is the day I start,so watch this space for my journey…..

  36. As a lady of 80 years of age ,I have been very impressed with all I have read about the 5 : 2 diet and I am now on the second week of fasting for two non consecutive days and finding it comparatively easy.
    As with all older folks gravity sets in but I am still (even if I say it myself) a young looking grandmother and not in any way obese.

    The greatest thing for me is the fact that I can eat normally again tomorrow . Psychologically this has a very positive reaction.
    I just wonder what happens when I feel I have reached a comfortable weight, perhaps a maintenance regime of fasting just once a week would suffice.
    Has anyone discussed this point. ?

    • Hi Dot

      I don’t think I’ve seen anything on the internet about maintaining weight once you’ve lost it, but hopefully you will get a reply from someone on here who knows more about it.

      From what I remember from the Horizon programme it’s the actual act of fasting that brings all the health benefits, so if you get to the weight you want to be, perhaps one way of maintaining your weight while still getting all the other health benefits might be to carry on fasting on two days and then eat more calorific food on the non-fasting days.

      I do remember a while ago on TV, someone who was adamant he had been following a very restricted (600) calorie for years, being called a liar by the interviewer because he wasn’t severely underweight . . . so it might just that as long as we eat generally healthily our body will just stabilise at its own ideal weight?

      • I am now on my 3rd week of fasting on two non consecutive days, and the results are not encouraging ……..basically no weight loss!!!!

      • I have just completed my fifth week and and lost a total of 13lbs.My concern is my cholesterol results which I will get tomorrow. I find that since I started this regime my evenings of nibbling after dinner have stopped and I plan my meals/shopping more carefully. Keep trucking. Jean

  37. Hi everyone

    You dont have to do both the diet days together you can split them up. This is what Dr Michael Mosley’s has done according to information I have found on the internet. You will find doing this will make it easier to stick to the diet. Also remember the 5:2 diet is experimental. There is not that much evidence that it works, but I am trying it out because the of the potential heath benefits.

    Good luck eveyone


  38. Just finished my first month on the 5:2 and still going well. The fact that I can choose any day I like to fast keeps this regime easy for me.

    So far I’ve lost approx 8lbs and BMI is now 26.3 (from a shade under 28 – see post on 16th Aug above). The weight loss has slowed down but I expected that. I’m theorising that you probably lose the softer/newer fat deposits quite easily but the more established ones around the chest and gut will take several months to start moving. We’ll see!

    At the end of the day, I feel better and thats what its all about. Still a big reduction in acid reflux too – anyone else notice that?

    I keep seeing a lot of posts about fasting on consecutive days and I have to say that I wouldn’t recommend it. I think that if you underfeed for too long, your body will go into starvation mode and start to conserve fat and slow your metabolism. There is also a danger that any weight loss will be due to consumption of muscle mass. The point of the alternate day fasting regime is to prevent this from happening…Besides, wouldn’t it be called “consecutive day fasting”, rather than “alternate day fasting” otherwise?? 🙂

    All the best.


    • Hi Dom I agree I could not manage two consecutive days .I had my cholesterol levels done just before I commenced this regime of eating . Knowing it was high and not wanting to go on statins I decided to try this and after four weeks I had my bloods re taken and am pleased to say a drop of 1.2 and with a drop of 13lbs I am very very pleased. Jean

      • Hi Jean keep up the good work, I am on Statins, and wish I wasn’t. Thou, I suffer from no side affects etc. I am a firm believer, the good Lord never meant us to live by popping pills.

  39. I would like to do this for the health benefits ie lower cholestrol but I don’t need to lose much weight. Should I carry on once I’ve lost a few pounds or not?

  40. Hi all, I started this regime today, had 2 satsumas for breakfast with water, using 100ml of milk for 2 coffees later, 50 cals, cup a soup for lunch 56 cals and im having salmon with carrots and asparagus for tea, I will carry on drinking water throughout the day, I feel as long as i have something at breakfast lunch and tea It will be easy to cope with and only for 2 days a week, I have glucose intolerance so this is my main reason for doing this, keep the posts coming as it is comforting to know that others are seeing good results, good luck all:)))))))

    • Hi Lisa wishing you well on this regime.I have noticed lots of response during August and very little during September. It would be good to know how everyone is getting on Jean

  41. I have just done my first week of this diet and agree with what everyone has said so far. I have lost about 1 kilo and only need to lose another 3. I have managed to have 3 meals a day and come in just under 500 calories. Breakfast was 4 vita weat biscuits with low fat cottage cheese and green tea. Lunch was a salad with 60 grams of canned chickpeas, 2 cups salad greens, 1/2 tomato , half a lebanese cucumber and about 2 tablespoons of the low fat cottage cheese, with a squeeze of lemon juice. Dinner was a vege curry made with half an onion, 2 cloves of garlic cooked in the fry pan with water, a zucchini, 4 large mushrooms and a potato weighing 130 grams – it made quite a large serving too. Dessert was a small tub of diet yoghurt an a couple of strawberries. Really that was plenty of of food and I get a kick out of trying to work out how I can get as much as possible out of the 500 calories allowed. I also found that I eat less on the feast days. I want to try and keep doing this as a life style change and see if I can finally keep the weight off and not continue to yo dieting. Amanda from down under.

    • Hi Amanda I watched the Horizon program late last night and feel all fired up about the benefits of 5:2, I have been reading this blog for hours and I am feeling very excited to give this a go. I am also from down under and think in kilos and kgs so I will be looking at a conversion site. Well done on losing 1 kilo and I will be watching this site with great interest. I also will be starting this new way of eating this week.

      • Can anyone point me to a calorie tracker that allows you to put in your daily rate of 500 (or 600 if you are a male) and not the amount it calculates you need to consume per day to lose weight?
        Also I started this diet last week and dropped a kilo but as soon as I did my feast days (which i was still carefule on) my weight immediately returned.
        I am starting week 2 today but do feel a little disheartened.

      • Hi Amanda, I have started today on my first fast day and my next one will be on Friday as i feel it may be easier if I am not at work. That would be confusing for you if your weight has gone back up, keep persevering and let us all know how you go after you weigh in when you have done your 2nd fast day, it will be interesting. All the best

  42. I have a lemon verbena plant and one leaf added to hot water makes a lovely drink. It gives a really lemony flavour but without the acidity of lemon so no need for sweeteners.
    It works better for me to save most of the 500 calories till the early evening.
    Interesting and helpful to read your experiences and ideas for recipes.
    I am weighing ingredients and calorie counting to make my own recipes and have put the first one on my blog

  43. At the end of week 2 of the 5:2 diet having never dieted before. My daughter had recorded the programme for me as she claimed I was just like Mosely. It was indeed feeling so many personal similarities with Dr Mosely which prompted me to start: I’m 5,11”, data rational, a bit overweight (BMI c.26), aged 49, and highly sceptical of cranky fads and extremes of anything. I wish I was also as good as he is at making great programmes… Focus is the wider, long term, health benefits to avoid dying of heart disease like my father at 75.

    Have fasted on consecutive days so far but expect will depend on what’s happening at work whether I spread the days around. I found it bizarre I wasn’t feeling hungry after 2 days. Clearly my eating is habit much more than need. I’m lucky I’m not someone that notices my body sugar dropping during the day, and I normally consume 80% plus of my calarie intake in the evening (just what you shouldn’t do).

    Had to stop myself trying a third fasting day just to see what would happen on the basis that I drive 67 miles each way to work and wanted to avoid passing out on the M4. howver, I did feel faint enough I had to lie down after getting up in the night after the first 2 days so had a banana at 3am and a bowl of muesli for breakfast before driving. On fast days I’m having a peice of fruit and a glass of skimmed milk for breakfast, a small sandwich at lunchtime and nothing to eat in the evening at all. Doing my normal exercise of 1 hour at the gym in mid week and a 9k run at the weekend.

    Lost 2 lbs week one and will weigh in tomorrow am. I believe there is something in what Dot said above with respect to the psychological benefits of knowing you can eat normally on the other 5 days. It’s similar to the approach I’ve taken to alcohol for some time: avoid it completely for 2-3 days a week: at least covinces me I’m not yet an alcoholic when we break open our second bottle of wine on a Friday and Saturday night. Real test as I see it is whether I can keep it up for 2 months plus.

  44. Its like you learn my thoughts! You seem to
    know so much approximately this, like you wrote the guide in it or something.
    I think that you just can do with some % to drive the message house a little bit, however instead of that, that is excellent blog. A fantastic read. I’ll definitely be back.

  45. Hi there, has anyone binge eaten on non fast days? I managed the fast days fine but have just binged (mainly due to company cakes everywhere). I know it says you can eat whatever you want but surely if I’ve eaten enough calories for both days it will cancel out?

  46. Now in week 9 and still keeping the 5:2 diet up every week, including a week’s vacation (fasted on the travel days so avoided a lot of unnecessary snacks on flights/ at the airport). Mostly keeping to a Monday and Tuesday consecutive fasting profile as seems in keeping with ‘getting it over with’ pyschology early in the week and fewer temptations to lapse on those days. Not felt faint since first couple of weeks (body has got used to it?).

    Not obsessively counting calories, just eating nothing 2 evenings a week and just a piece of fruit for breakfast and a modest sandwich plus a piece of fruit for lunch on those days.

    I’m sure its the fact you can do anything for just 2 days that makes it achievable.

    Lost over 9 pounds so far and has taken me to the 25.0 BMI overweight threshhold for the first time in decades. Only looking to lose another 7 pounds which at this rate will hit in January (christmas permittng…)

  47. Hi all
    I would like comments please on how I propose to approach this 5:2 eating system. My understanding of the system is that you fast for 2 non consecutive days, and eat normally for the other 5 – however no one has mentioned at what time they actuall start a “fast day”. My thinking is that I had my dinner this evening at 5;30pm and was finished for 6;00pm.

    So if I start my fast from 6;00pm tonight, and dont eat anything else between 6;00pm and going to bed, by the time I get up tomorrow at 7;00am, I will be 13hrs into my fast – over 1/2 way. If I then skip breakfast, and “graze” 600 calories over the course of the day till tea time – hey presto I’m there! evening meal will be as normal, as will the following days meals. Can it really be that easy, or am I missing something?

    It seems as though all I am really doing differently is missing out breakfast on fasting days – granted my normal breakfast consists of porridge, semiskimmed milk, a sqeeze of honey and 10-15 grapes, all coming in at 600 calories.

    I am driving a taxi all day and my normal daily intake (after breakfast) consists of 2 slices of wholemeal bread with about 150g of sliced chicken breast and some Lurpack spreadable (Lighter of course!), along with more grapes, a banana, an apple and a satsuma. I’m not sure what that adds up to, possibly 700 calories, so not much more than the 600 calories allowed on a fasting day!

    Hence my confusion – what am I missing. Help!!

    best regards


    • Yes, you are missing something. You have your dinner the night before as usual. Once you wake up the next day you are restricted to 600 calories for 24 hours start
      ing then. Therefore, you only eat again normally from breakfast the next day…not so easy. Regards Amanda

      • Ah.. I see.
        Ok, not as easy as I first thought then, but here goes.

        Many thanks for your comments.


  48. Does anyone use protein drinks or meal replacement shakes on the fasting days? I found a variation of the diet where you drink 7-9 glasses of protein drink (the kind you use for sport that you make up with water) throughout the day. This seemed like an easy solution to avoid calorie counting? it adds up to about 320 calories a day if you use water which is not as much as the food but is heavy on the protein so should fill you up?

  49. Hi everyone! Have not watched the programme but will do – totally interested in this after reading Dom’s story in newspaper – looked in internet lots too and am starting today! I have struggled with my weight since having baby number 2 (now 16 months old) – I enjoy exercise and have joined a local gym and swim twice a week, spin for an hour and attend a boxercise class – I also teach dancing – trouble is being a busy mum I snack on all the wrong foods and then de-stress on a few glasses of wine! Love the health beneifits of this and see it as a bonus to lose weight – will put 100% into this – just wanted to ask – I am looking at fasting alternate days in the week so Mon, Wed and Fri and the Tues, Thurs, Sat and Sun feasting – having some treats on a Sat too! So fasting for 3 days and feasting for 4 – is this the right way to do it? Looking forward to fasting days so I can relax and not worry about what to eat – just need to feed family! Thinking fruit for breakfast, soup for lunch and chicken breast/fish with veg for dinner – any tips or pointers gratefully received!

    • Hi Liz, I have been doing alternate day fasting (ie 500 calories per day) for the past 8 weeks but only 2 days per week (Tuesdays and Thursdays). Any more than that would be too hard. However, I found that this alone will not lead to weight loss so I try to stick to 1200 calories per day on the other 5 days (but indulge a little more on the weekends) . I have now lost 7 kilos and I was not too big to start with (previously 65 kilos and 159 cm). I work full time and sometimes find the 500 days a bit of a struggle but the 1200 days after that are a breeze when you have restrained yourself the day prior – it seems like so much to eat! Not sure how much longer I will do it but it is a good way of limiting your overall weekly calorie intake if you have indulged a day or 2.

  50. I note many here are saying that the fast days can (or even should) be non-consecutive. On the programme however, Michael made it clear that they should be consecutive. (Transcript here @ )

    Describing his own fasting regime he stated – “I managed to fit in two 600 calorie fast days a week but they tended to be scattered around.” I’m guessing that many interpreted this as meaning he scattered the 2 days non-consecutively.
    Whilst that could be the case, I think it is more likely he meant that his block of 2 consecutive fasting days was moveable from week to week.

    Wherever else the 5:2 diet was mentioned in the broadcast, it was always made clear that the days had to be consecutive. Maybe it requires this to ensure the necessary drop in IGF-1 levels and the associated health benefits?


    • On the BBC News recently Dr Mosley said that he did his fast days on Monday and Thursday – assuming he’s been doing this all along, there’s your answer! 🙂

      I’ve just started this diet in order to lose weight – today is my first day and so far I’m doing the self-invented all-Weetabix diet to try to keep myself full BUT not tempted over the 500 calorie mark (I wish I were male just for the extra 100!!)… we’ll see how it goes! Wonderful to read all the success stories on here. Especially people who have found they can easily continue exercising as I’d really like to keep that up.

      Another thing which I’ve found that is (so far!) really helpful if you have an iPhone or iPad is the app called Myfitnesspal. It has pretty much an encyclopedia of almost any common brand of food or drink you care to name, you can enter in your exercise on it, chart your progress and generally use it to count calories – it’s the figuring out how many you’re eating in X portion of Y brand of food that’s seemed most daunting for me. Also, it was free!

      Hope that helps you.


  51. Pingback: 2 Foods You Really Should Eat At Breakfast But Probably Dont -

  52. I think the transcript is wrong – there’s several other obvious errors. His book says non- consecutive days and I heard him on BBC R5 saying that too.

  53. You really need to read Dr Mosely’s book. You want to eat 0.8g of protein per kg of body weight, which isn’t much. you want to lower your IGF-1, blood glucose and raise insulin tolerance. Weight loss is just a bonus!!

    And is there really any need to be rude and condescending to the person that suggested diet coke? We are all learning, no need to be rude about it.

  54. I am a 65 year old female weighing in at 82kgs and am 175cm tall. I keep good health, have a sedentary job and do little to no real exercise. I started the 2:5 plan last week and on my only fast day so far, I had 2 hard boiled eggs and salad for lunch and 2 hard boiled eggs with steamed vegetables for dinner; breakfast that day was low fat yoghurt and 4 drained lychees. Am I on the right track? I love eggs but is having four on one fast day too much? What are some other breakfast ideas?

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