For me, fasting and veggie food work in perfect harmony – whether you’re a committed veggie, a flexitarian – or you still need a little convincing to eat more greens.
5:2 is a powerful way to boost your health and stay the ideal weight. And eating a vegetarian diet has proven benefits for the body too.
Together, they can super-power your fast days…
I’ve been a vegetarian for three decades now, but despite my healthy diet I always struggled with my weight – until five years ago, when I started intermittent fasting.
I lost over two stone (31lbs/14 kg) in six months and, more importantly, I’ve kept the weight off. I still fast at least once a week for the health benefits: not just the extra energy and focus that it brings me, but also for the potential it offers to reduce my chances of developing Type 2 diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
And of course, you don’t have to be veggie or vegan all the time to enjoy the advantages – even just eating more vegetable-based foods on your fast days will make a positive difference. Fibre-rich fresh produce offers a great range of phytonutrients, is filling and low in calories.
Plant-based eating can reduce your risk of heart disease and cancer, lower your shopping bills and lessen your impact on the environment. Avoiding meat or eating less of it, has less impact on the environment, as well as reducing animal suffering.
But the best bit?
Veggie and vegan food tastes fantastic. I’ve been working on this new book that combines the two, developing recipes from Indian breakfast pancakes, sweet potato and chilli soup and chestnut mushroom sausage rolls to saucy miso aubergine, veggie tikka masala, one-pot pea and white wine spaghetti, and margarita fruit salad, this lifestyle will keep your taste buds very happy.
Just to be clear – I’m not a clean-eating extremist – I just think vegetables make the best base for great meals and good health.
Easy tips for fitting veggie food into your fast days:
- Observe the seasons: for ingredients and also for meals. Salads in summer, soups and veggie stews & chillies in winter.
- Replace or reduce the carbs – chips, bread, rice – with more vegetables, from cauliflower rice to steamed broccoli, roast peppers or grilled mushrooms
- Experiment with beans/pulses, tofu, exotic veg – all really tasty if you cook them well – as well as sauces and spices from other countries that make veggies the star.
My new book, 5:2 Veggie & Vegan, has over 80 great recipes, a menu planner, and 10 fantastic stories of people who combine veggie or vegan dishes with fasting and have had brilliant results.
PS: if you love eating out, my top veggie choices for my hometown of Brighton are over here – it’s veggie nirvana.