Tag Archives: Recipes

The 5:2 Diet: Shiv’s Journey – All Change


Same me, different me

Hello, if you are reading this it means you are already on 5:2, are thinking about it, or have just stumbled on to We Eat Things and are wondering what all the fuss is about. Well, six months ago, I was all of the above, with the “only” difference being I was 30 lbs. heavier than I am today. I am still 46 years old, am still 5’7″, still doing much the same sort of stuff that I was doing in the past – and yet something feels very different.

In future blogs I will share with you some of my experiences of this remarkable period in my life, and how I hope it is going to fundamentally change the way I feel about myself, the control I now have over what I eat, and when, and how I have been able to do things that I just didn’t think I was able to do.

Sounds a little evangelical and with the zeal of a convert? Yes, and you’d be absolutely right, and hopefully for those of you about to start 5:2, or intermittent fasting (IF) more generally, my relatively short experience with 5:2 may echo with your own experiences, or maybe it will not. I am certainly not trying to compete with the mighty Michael Moseley (who got many of us started down this path), but one of the great things about IF is that there are very few rules (there are some basic ones) and the experiences of other guest bloggers on We Eat Things over the past several months (Heather, thanks for reinstating the blog!) was a source of inspiration and ideas for me. Hopefully my experiences will give some of you the impetus to give it a go.

So where shall we start? While the now seminal Horizon programme on BBC was what got me interested in the idea of giving the 5:2 a go, what really got me off the blocks was some research I read on conquering your fear about fasting. One piece of research (more details can be found here – http://www.precisionnutrition.com/intermittent-fasting) suggests that before starting any version of IF, you need to try fasting for a 24 hour period, just to get the hang of the experience of what it is like to feel hunger; let’s face it, going hungry for long periods of time isn’t fun, and not something many of us have experienced in our everyday lives. Also be sure, fasting is not for everyone and doing a trail fast is a great way to decide if this is something that is for you – or not.

So I did it. I came home one Friday evening in the dog days of summer last year, and decided on the spur of the moment that the next day was going to be my trial fast day. I had dinner at about 8 pm, went to bed per usual, and spent a lot of the following day watching the Olympics on telly (a very pleasant distraction, as many will testify to). During the day, I pretty much did all the things I would do on a Saturday (walk the dog etc), with one exception: I didn’t eat anything. Sure, I drank lots of water, lots of green tea, and some black coffee but not a morsel of food passed my very surprised lips till 8 pm on Saturday, and what an astonishing 24 hours it was!

Sure I felt hungry, but I learnt that hunger comes in waves rather than building incessantly. I learnt that hunger is more about dealing with it in your head than in your stomach, and most of all I realised that at the end of 24 hours I wasn’t going to pass out, or worse, die! In fact, I felt rather good, and better still dinner that night Saturday night tasted the best ever. Yet, best of all the confidence I now had in my ability to start on IF was remarkably strong.

In future iterations of this blog, I will talk about why exercising on the fast days is a real bonus for me, why weighing yourself incessantly is not a good idea (but when to, if you must!), how I learnt to count calories from not knowing the difference between proteins and carbohydrates (really, no exaggeration!), and anything else you would like to chat about. As I said above, this blog is about my experiences. I hope you will share yours with me, and we can get something of a conversation started to our collective benefit.

Finally, I don’t want you all think of me as some miserable git who is all about weight loss and nothing else, so if you happen to be in the Holborn area in London, pop into the Holborn Whippet, my local boozer near work – they really have some fabulous beers on tap and not a shabby selection of wines either. Slightly further afield, having just returned from a business trip to Switzerland, I cannot recommend the Le Relais de l’Entrecote in Geneva highly enough. No bookings, no menus, just the best steaks in the business – and best of all you get two helpings, which I exactly what the doctor  ordered after you have been on 5:2 – because you can afford to!

Till next time.


Shiv – Guest Blogger

© Shiv Taneja

Peas: An Often Overlooked Treasure



You’ll be ecstatic to know that I am now back in the game as a writer after a short time away from words. During my time working in advertising (6 months ago) I seemed to have plenty of time to write. I then moved on and worked in Recruitment until December. This, as you would expect, left me with around 0 days spare time per week and approximately 0g of energy to type. After getting screwed over by what/who can only be described as a ‘con-man’, I was jobless. A couple of days later I bounced back and got a job as a Barista in a lovely coffee shop. This all ended last week when I was thrown across the kitchen of said coffee shop via electric shock. Needless to say I am not returning to an environment that poses such lovely surprises. So it’s back to writing!

You may be less ecstatic to learn my return post is about peas. I’d say 60% of people I know would happily pick peas out of a pea dish – despite it being a tedious activity.

Peas are often overlooked. I mean, really, who LOVES peas? They aren’t as fashionable as the sweet potato and they don’t sit so nicely on a pizza as their cousin, The Sweetcorn.

There are, however, some exceptional benefits of eating peas:

  • They are high in most things EXCEPT for fat. They contain micronutrients, fibre and protein but contain very few calories.
  • They contain lots of something called coumestrol which is said to help prevent stomach cancer.
  • The antioxidants in them give you energy, can boost your immune system and make you look younger.
  • Peas contain phytonutrients that are anti-inflammatory (preventing wrinkles, arthritis and bronchitis). Their anti-inflammatory properties also help maintain healthy blood vessels.

If you’d like some delicious recipes for peas, visit this interesting site.

A Short History of Houmous


Houmous can also be spelt: hummus, hamos, hummus, hommos, hommus, hummous and is the Arabic word for chickpea.

I ate lots in Cyprus and it got me thinking…where was it born? How was it born? And how could I make lots more of it at home?

The main ingredients for houmous are chickpeas, olive oil, tahini and lemon juice. It’s said to be Levantine …a cuisine from ‘Levant’ which covered Israel, Lebanon, Southern Turkey, Syria, North Iraq, Jordan and Palestine. Chickpeas have, however, been a staple of the Egyptian diet since ancient times and been around since prehistoric times. As far back as 400 B.C., Socrates and Plato were writing about the benefits of chickpeas in their diet!

Apparently, the chickpea is native to an area in Persia around the Caucasus Mountains. It was possibly first made in the 12th century by the Sultan of Egypt, Saladin – although some people believe that chickpeas originated in Turkey.

Chickpeas grow in tropical or subtropical climates and must have more than 400 centimeters per year (a lot)! Although it’s hard to track the exact birthplace of houmous, we do know that it has been a part of the Middle Eastern and Mediterranean diet for thousands of years.

If you’d like to make it yourself at home, here’s how:

1 16 oz can of chickpeas
1/4 cup liquid from can of chickpeas
4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 cloves of crushed garlic
2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil

Drain chickpeas and keep the liquid from the can. Mix the other ingredients in blender or food processor. Add 1/4 cup of liquid from the chickpeas. Blend for 3-4 minutes on low until thoroughly mixed and smooth. Place in serving bowl, and create a little well in the center of the hummus. Add a small dribble of olive oil in the well…one tablespoon should be enough.

I like to eat mine with bread, carrots, crisps or celery sticks (depending on how healthy I’m feeling).

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.

Homemade Pork & Roasted Vegetable Pockets


Yesterday I created these pita breads stuffed with pork, roasted aubergines, mushrooms, peppers and courgette. I roasted each type of vegetable seperately in the oven for a couple of hours (if you roast them together they tend to become mushy). I then cut up the pork loin into chunks, pan fried in olive oil and added fajita seasoning. After lightly toasting the pitas, I stuffed them with the veg, pork and some salad leaves. So easy to make and really, really delicious!

Haddock, Spinach & White Wine Flan


Tried Sainsbury’s Haddock quiche (‘flan’) out tonight. Was delicious with a spinach, rocket & watercress salad, along with a few tomatoes. It originally cost £1.99, but I found it looking lonely in the ‘reduced’ fridge for only 99p. Perfect quick and easy meal after a day at the office.

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A Healthy Alternative to a Chinese Takeaway


Here’s the Sweet & Sour Turkey and Rice dish I made this evening.

I used 50g of rice per person and one turkey breast per person. Sometimes it’s easier to cheat – so this time I used Uncle Ben’s Sweet and Sour sauce, which was really tasty.

I really recommend this meal as a cheaper, tastier version of a sweet and sour Chinese takeaway meal.

Happy eating, Foodlings!