5:2 fasting day #11 – catering for many diets [5:2 recipe: creamy broccoli and garlic zoodles]

Yesterday’s fasting day came and went without much fuss. I had a late coffee (nearly midday), drank a heap of black and peppermint tea, and didn’t eat lunch until 4pm. For dinner I tried a new recipe, and it worked out really well. In my household at the moment we’ve got three different diets to cater for, depending on the: 500 calories, LCHF (low carb high fat), and “22 year old boy give me carbs and meat”. So cooking on low calorie days tends to be a fun experiment in creativity! Here’s what everyone at last night:

  • 500 calorie: roast broccoli and garlic zoodles with creamy carnation milk
  • LCHF: roast broccoli, garlic and chicken zoodles with cream-based sauce
  • 22 yr old boy: roast broccoli, garlic and chicken wheat past with cream-based sauce

Putting these meals together is pretty easy – firstly I prepare my own sauce in a different pan to everyone elses. I then pull out the required sauce for the pasta eater once it’s cooked, then add the zoodles to the pans of sauces to cook. I reckon it only adds 5 minutes to the total cooking time.

broccoli zoodles

Creamy Roast Broccoli and Garlic Zoodles

Ingredients

  • 200 grams broccoli (35 cal)
  • 3 tsp garlic (15 cal)
  • 100 ml Carnation Light and Creamy evaporated milk (98 cal)
  • 1/2 cup Campbell’s Real Chicken Stock (20 cal)
  • 250 g zucchini, spiralised (35 cal)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees (ish). Place broccoli florets on tray (give very light spray with oil if you have the extra calories available). Roast until soft, approx. 25 mins
  2. Fry garlic on a medium heat in a pan until fragrant and soft. Add cooked broccoli and stir through gently.
  3. Add Carnation milk and stock, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer gently for a few minutes until hot.
  4. Add zucchini into pan, stir through and cook until soft and hot
  5. Serve!

If you’re cooking for other diets:

LCHF: cook bite-sized pieces of chicken in the pan before cooking garlic. Remove the chicken and place aside, then cook the recipe as above. Use full-fat cream instead of Carnation milk. Add chicken back in when adding the cream and stock. Add a big handful of parmesan cheese at the end of the cook and stir through.

22 yr old boy: Cook required amount of pasta as per instructions on the packet. cook bite-sized pieces of chicken in the pan before cooking garlic. Remove the chicken and place aside, then cook the recipe as above. Use full-fat cream instead of Carnation milk. Add chicken back in when adding the cream and stock. Add a big handful of parmesan cheese at the end of the cook and stir through. Serve with sauce poured over the pasta in a bowl. Stir well.

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5:2 fasting day #10 – when calorie counting goes wrong

sad panda coffeeYesterday was my 10th (full) fasting day, which means I’m about to head into my sixth week of 5:2. Hooray! Yesterday was a great fasting day – I actually didn’t feel hungry, nor did my brain start to fade, until 4 pm – so I didn’t eat anything (besides a cup of coffee) until 4 pm. Unfortunately my morning didn’t start off so smoothly though. Yesterday, I learned what happens when calorie counting goes wrong.

When I first started considering 5:2, the very first food I checked on CalorieKing was coffee. After all, a day that starts with coffee is manageable no matter how few calories you can have. A day without coffee… not so much. So I distinctly remember looking up the calories of the coffee itself, and being surprised to find that there’s pretty much zero calories there, then looking up skim milk. A 220ml (small) coffee with skim milk is approximately 70 calories.

sad_coffeeUnfortunately for me this seems to be the point where I got myself confused. At home we always have Paul’s Pure Organic Unhomogenised Full Cream Milk in the fridge. It’s delicious, and from the start I assumed I couldn’t have it on fasting days- but I looked it up anyway. I think what I probably did at this point was get the 70 calories confused with the milliliters of milk in the drink, thus looking up 70 ml of milk and finding it had about the same number of calories. Which means for the last five weeks I’ve been consuming an extra 100 calories each fasting day, bringing my total to somewhere around 600 calories. Bugger.

Anyway, the fix to this is easy – switch the full cream milk for skim in my morning coffee on fasting days. Done! That’s an easy 100 calorie swap, and without even noticing it (I normally order skim lattes when I’m buying them anyway) I’ll have dropped down to 500. The interesting thing will be to see what effect taking that extra 100 calories out has in terms of weight loss. The 5:2 is definitely having an effect, although it’s very slow. Don’t get me wrong, slow and steady is great, especially because it’s sustainable, but I did think there might be some faster changes at the very beginning. Maybe this change of 100 calories will make the difference!

5:2 fasting day 9.5 – my day on a plate

After I wrote my blog post on Friday, my fasting day took a bit of a change of path. By change of path, I mean I decided to go out for dinner, halt the fasting day, and recommence (re-do) the following day. I was completely fine with the decision – it meant I’d still done a solid portion of the day with minimal calories and no refined carbs or sugars (just a coffee and some raw veg), on top of my full fasting day the next day.

That meant that yesterday was my first attempt at a weekend fasting day. I wasn’t nervous about it, but I also wasn’t sure how I’d go. Turns out, if I have a (reasonably) busy day, the weekends are a great time to fast. I got to eat different food to my normal fasting lunch, I didn’t get hungry, and at the end of the day I still had leftover calories for some fruit. Here’s my Saturday Fasting Day on a plate:

lunch

Lunch: chilli tomato and mushroom zoodles

dinner

Dinner: green veg stirfry with soy and red onion sauce

pearblueberries

Dessert: a medium pear and a punnet of blueberries

At this point in time I’m still triple checking my maths to make sure everything I’m eating is actually keeping me on track – I find it hard to believe sometimes that I can eat this much food for only 500 calories. The pear and the blueberries last night felt like a treat – it’s the first time I’ve had fruit on a fasting day, and I could only have them because I skipped the morning coffee. Given that that’s something I can do on weekends and can’t do on weekdays, it’s a good incentive to keep trying weekend fasting! Another plus was the massive plate of zoodles I had for lunch – well worth it, and much more satisfying than my normal ‘grazing box’ of raw veg at work.

5:2 fasting day 6 – and my best dinner recipe yet

I’ve reached the end of my sixth fasting day (I didn’t blog on day five, oops). Today something weird happened – I didn’t eat all of the food I’d allocated myself. I’m yet to eat my allocated apple on any fasting day, so that’s not surprising, but today I found myself arrive at dinner time having not eaten my cherry tomatoes at lunch or my cottage cheese in the afternoon either. That, combined with the apple, left me with an uneaten 188 allocated calories. Yippee!!

I also decided to give a new dinner recipe a go tonight- I’d planned another stirfry, but decided I don’t want to eat that too much, lest I burn myself out and never want to eat it again. So tonight’s dinner experiment was a creamy lemon tuna pasta (zoodle pasta), and it was GOOD!!! Like really good. Not good for a fasting day- good for any day! It comes in at about 270 calories.

Creamy Lemon Tuna Zoodles

Ingredients

  • 250 grams zucchini, spiralised – 35 cal
  • 50 g onion, diced – 14 cal
  • 1 tsp garlic – 5 cal
  • Small can of tuna in springwater, drained – 78 cal
  • Juice of half a lemon – 13 cal (ish)
  • 1 tsp French mustard – 6 cal
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • 50 g Jalna natural greek yoghurt – 65 cal
  • 1 tsp veggie stock paste (calories unknown)
  • edit: paprika, to taste

Method

  1. Fry the onion until soft. Add garlic and cook for a few minutes until soft
  2. Add tuna, mustard, lemon juice, water, stock and simmer for a couple of minutes, stirring well.
  3. Add yoghurt and stir through
  4. Add zoodles and stir through the sauce. Keep on a medium heat and cook, stirring, until the zoodles are softened and hot
  5. Taste, and add paprika and additional pepper to taste
  6. Serve!

fasting day 6

I forgot to take a photo – oops! So here’s my day’s calories instead 😛

A day in the life of a 5:2 faster – my third fasting day

A fasting day on a stressful and busy day at work is a funny thing. In some respects it’s  lot easier – the more time I spend thinking about my work, or stressing about deadlines, or muddling over what my manager’s email might have meant, the less time I spend thinking about the food I’m not eating. Equally, the busier I am, the quicker my morning goes which means I start the ‘eating’ portion of my day later. On the other hand, the things I’d normally turn to for stress relief or to break up a busy day (chocolate, coffee, anything from a vending machine) aren’t available to me on fasting days. But then again, I suppose that’s a good thing. So on the balance of things, fasting day + busy work day = positive.

I mentioned waiting until later in the day before I start eating- this is really, really important for me. Once I start eating, I think about eating a lot. I guess this goes for fasting and non-fasting days. And once I start thinking about eating, I eat more (duh). My fasting days so far have all looked pretty similar:

  • 9 am – small coffee (latte)
  • 1 pm(ish) – pull out my massive container of chopped veggies and start chomping
  • 3 pm (ish) – finish chomping through massive container of veggies
  • 3:10 pm – start thinking about eating. Tell self that I’ve just finished lunch, and don’t need food right now
  • 3:20 pm – tell self that I should hold off until 4 pm to eat my cottage cheese
  • 3:30 pm – decide that I CAN hold off until 4 pm to eat my cottage cheese
  • 3:40 pm – ponder that if I hold off eating my cottage cheese util 4 pm, then I won’t eat my apple at work – I can save it for dessert!
  • 4 pm – consider getting cottage cheese out of fridge
  • 4:10 pm – decide to hold off on the cottage cheese until 4:30 pm. I’ve got to be at work until 6, after all.
  • 4:30 pm – begin to eat cottage cheese, veeeeeery slowly
  • 5:15 pm – finish cottage cheese (yes, really. I can make 100g of cottage cheese last 45 minutes)
  • 6:30 pm – get home. Weigh and chop up veggies for dinner, so I know exactly how much food I can look forward to for dinner. Marvel over the amount.
  • 7:00 pm – consider cooking dinner, after tummy rumbles. Have a cup of tea. Muse that if I can hold off on dinner I might not need the apple, and that would save me 50 calories!
  • 7:15 pm – decide to cook at 7:30. After all, the later I cook the less time I have to try and resist food post-dinner
  • 7:30 pm – cook dinner, eat straight away
  • 7:45 pm – have second bowl of dinner (I told you there was a lot)
  • 8 pm – decide I definitely don’t need the apple. Feel awesome about not eating the apple, and therefore being closer to 500 cal than 600 cal in my day.

So there you go. You can probably see from that run-down why it’s important that I hold off eating lunch as long as possible, because it’s definitely all down-hill after that point! And that’s ok, it’s not supposed to be easier, and it could definitely be a lot harder too.

It’s 4:17 pm currently, so you can see what my inner dialogue’s got planned for the rest of the evening- a lot of self-negotiation! I’m trying a new low-cal dinner tonight- if it works, I’ll put it up here. Actually, I’ll put up my stirfry recipe at some stage too. Hopefully someone will find it useful!

It’s 4 pm, day 2

So, it’s 4 pm on my second low calorie day. I’ve had my morning coffee, and eaten my way through a carrot, half a capsicum, large handful of beans and most of a punnet of cherry tomatoes. I’m sitting at my desk, and in the fridge is a container of cottage cheese and an apple- they’re waiting for me, when I’m ready. I’m playing the game of ‘wait….. wait….. wait….’ before I have those, mostly because I have a 6:30 pm meeting tonight, and I know pizza will be served. I can’t cook and eat dinner until I get home from that meeting, and I don’t want my stomach to be rumbling while there’s pizza sitting in front of me. So I’ll wait until a little later to eat the cottage cheese and the apple.

My brain’s fading a bit- I don’t know if it’s what I’ve eaten (or haven’t eaten) today, or if I’m just tired on a Monday afternoon. It’s ok, I’ll get through the afternoon, although it’s not ideal that I have an evening meeting on a low calorie day. Lesson learned.

I’m currently contemplating whether a diet coke is ok on days like this. It’s got no calories, it should be fine. But it does have nasty chemicals. I messaged J to see what he thought- he advised to avoid it if I can. I think I’m likely to end up with one in hand when the pizza rolls around- something to put in my mouth and distract me a bit. After all, while I enjoyed my veggie stirfry last week, it’s definitely not pizza. But then again, the cool thing with 5:2 is that I know tomorrow I don’t need to say no to food (although there’s very minimal chance that I’ll eat pizza!). So as long as I say no today, tomorrow’s ok. And I think the longer I have the ‘no’ low calorie days, the great the chance of me saying no on teh other days.

So there you go, that’s my 4 pm thoughts. I think I might go eat some cottage cheese.