The 5:2 Diet – Another Fad?

Well due to surgery and then getting an infection I have now been restricted to the sofa for coming up two weeks   – apart from being bored, and missing being active I have gained 3 lbs. Not a big deal, but if this continues for much longer my currently healthy BMI will become an unhealthy one – again not a big deal, unless like me you are Insulin Resistant and suffer from Poly Cystic Ovary Syndrome where the slightest weight gain can have a profound impact on your body and the necessity to increase your medications – so having weighed myself this morning and knowing that my weight was creeping back up my mind turned to ‘dieting’.

Now I have tried many a diet, some like the South Beach and Atkins being way to restrictive for me,  The Dukan Diet, again too faffy and faddy. The only one I have ever had real success with was the original Weight Watchers Points System, however, I felt restricted with that too as I was always on a diet and always thinking about food, and the things that I couldn’t have were always on my mind. Through exercise and everything in moderation I have managed to lose weight and to keep it off, if I have a day of overeating I compensate by having a ‘spa’ day the day after, where I will really limit my calorie intake to a yoghurt, an apple, a banana and water. For my recent operation, I wanted to lose a few extra pounds and basically starved myself for a week before my pre-op and for the first time in a very long time I registered as a normal BMI – OK right on the limit of being overweight, but still normal and I want to keep a normal BMI and get into the middle of the range so need to lose around a stone – it will be better for my general health and fitness and may mean I can get off some of the medications I take.

So, with diet on my mind the Daily Mail splash headline “Free Inside – Your Brilliant Diary Planner for the 2-day Diet”. “Clinically proven to help you lose weight” caught my eye. A friend had recently told me about the 5:2 Diet Book by Kate Harrison (available on Amazon) and I had got as far as searching for 250 calorie recipes, brunch and supper, as more often than not I don’t eat until 11am and then not again until supper time with the boys, and had bookmarked a few – so seeing this in the Daily Mail, and thinking that a few newspapers would be cheaper than the book, I decided to take a closer look.

I skimmed over the main article, “The Two Day Diet Could have saved me from Breast Cancer’ by Jenni Murray with key statements jumping out at me  especially “proven to balance hormones”, “proven to reduce insulin resistance”  as these are symptoms of PCOS that I have to deal with on a daily basis and have to take medication for. Feeling a little bit excited, sad I know, I immediately dived into the accompanying booklet (which is a couple of pages of blurb, an essentials shopping list and 8 week personal planner) to read more, and found the following claims:

  • The pounds are clinically proven to come off – and stay off
  • You need never go hungry
  • From cancer to diabetes this diet is designed by doctors to reduce your risk off disease.

All great things in themselves, but I have read this before with diets and then found out that the diet itself is so restrictive there is no way in the world I, as an undisciplined foodie, would ever manage to make them a life change, so they became a ‘fad’ for me, and in truth I did not even manage some of them for a week. I had to cut out way to many if not all of my ‘in moderation’ foods and treats and then being undisciplined would binge on them, breaking my diet, and ending up as a yo-yo dieter – not great for your body or your self-esteem.

So why could this one be different for me? Well it works on the principle that you eat normally for 5 days and then have 2 diet days and as I already do regular ‘spa days’ I know that I can survive on a limited calorie intake for at least one day, so why not two, and if I actually sit down and work it out I can find some filling recipes that will be 500 calories per day and healthier than a yoghurt, banana and apple. The following also mean that I am more likely to stick to it.

  • On your diet days you can eat Pesto and Mayonnaise
  • You can have up to seven units of alcohol a week (not on diet days)
  • You can still enjoy Tea and Coffee
  • Extensive list of food you can enjoy on diet days
  • You can eat Camembert and mozzarella on your diet days
  • You can eat chocolate (not on diet days)
  • Diet drinks and sugar free squash are allowed

Yeah, my favourite 3 C’s are allowed – Coffee, Chocolate and Cheese, and I find that mayonnaise with a few herbs can cheer up a boring salad (chicken breast, lettuce, and home made ranch dressing is one of my normal day favourites).

So for the next week I will (if I remember) pick up a copy of the Daily Mail for the related articles and recipes, and the book itself will be out on the 14th February – available on Amazon –  I am not sure yet  if I will buy it as the principles of the diet seem quite simple and I would only want it for  the recipes and there are a wealth of them available on Google just search 5:2 Recipes. I may change my mind and buy it after reading the news articles though, or if I forget to buy the paper.

So my next step is to ‘plan ahead’,  I am still under medical supervision so cannot start a diet plan just yet, so this will give me some time to do some research, check out recipes and come up with a realistic ‘diet day’ meal plan that will keep me full and will also be suitable for  DH and Little C.

If /when I try this diet I plan on using the personal planner  from the paper to keep a log  of diet and non-diet day foods and any weight loss, and  I will share the results, recipes I use, and any other useful information I pick up along the way here on my blog.

Find me on Facebook.



Harissa chicken traybake recipe – Recipes – BBC Good Food

Browsing for some new recipes to try in 2013 – preferably low calorie after all my Christmas excess.  This one looks tempting.

Harissa chicken traybake recipe – Recipes – BBC Good Food.

Serves 4

Prep 15 mins

Cook 35 mins



3 tbsp harissa

½ x 500g pot low-fat natural


4 skinless chicken breasts ,


1 small butternut squash , peeled,

deseeded and cut into long


2 red onions , cut into wedges


303 kcalories, protein 36g,

carbohydrate 21g, fat 9 g,

saturated fat 2g, fibre 4g, sugar

15g, salt 0.5 g

Harissa chicken traybake

1. Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/ gas 6. Mix 2 tbsp of the harissa

with 3 tbsp of the yogurt. Rub all over the chicken breasts and

set aside to marinate while you start the veg.

2. Toss the squash and the onions with remaining harissa, mixed

with 2 tbsp oil (sunflower, vegetable or olive is fine), and some

seasoning in a large roasting tin. Roast for 10 mins.

3. Remove veg from the oven, add the chicken to the tin, then

roast for a further 20-25 mins until the chicken and veg are

cooked through. Serve with the remaining yogurt on the side,

and a big bowl of couscous or rice.

Real Food That Kids Will Eat

Well  this week I have been searching for REAL food recipes that kids will eat – and after seeing numerous images of non-healthy snacks served in muffin tins as kids food I resorted to a good old fashioned cook book (BBC Good Food 101 Recipes for Kids) and Google – and have started my own board – REAL foods that KIDS will love Check it out here.

I am not saying that little man dived in and ate it all … after all it is introducing new foods which can take a few attempts. However he did eat something and Mummy and Daddy enjoyed these enough to eat them again without feeling like we are on a ‘kids food diet.

So here you are, some tried and tested recipes for KIDS that I have picked up on Pinterest or pinned from my favourite sites.

First up was a Spicy Sausage Pilaf (source and method)



  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4-6 sausages, cut into 1cm pieces
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 red chilli, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp curry powder
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 225 g basmati or long grain rice
  • 125 ml white wine, optional
  • 600 ml strong chicken stock
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped

As there are only two adults and 1 child I did half quantities, and there was just enough for one hungry daddy, one not so hungry mummy and little man. I left out the Chilli and the white wine as I can be quite heavy handed and did not want a tiddly toddler with a burning mouth. I made the mistake of using skinless sausages (little one loves them) and they stuck as not great for frying and will use skin on sausages next time, I also added a little extra stock as hubby does not like ‘dry’ food so wanted so moisture left.


This was really tasty and really simple (not much washing up) – hubby said it was like a ‘curry gumbo’ – because of the extra liquid and gave it the thumbs up.

Simple Sunday – English Muffin Pizza (source link)also called Baby Pizza



  • 3 English Muffins split
  • 1 Small can of pasta/marinara/tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese (sticks or ball)
  • Oregano to taste
  • Desired toppings

We are rarely home on a Sunday so have a traditional roast in the week if we are having one. I always try and do a simple supper on a Sunday and found this recipe on pinterest. I used a jar of pizza topping instead of the passata, and had grated cheddar and mozzarella in the fridge so used that instead of the sticks/balls.  For a topping I defrosted a 100% beef burger and chopped this up into small cubes.

The great thing about this recipe is that little hands can help – and if ‘C’ makes it, he tends to eat it.

I don’t know whether American English Muffins are different from breakfast ‘Muffins’ but I found that oven cooking made the bases go quite hard so next time I would just grill them to keep the bases nice and soft .. and/or I may try using a puff pastry base instead of the muffin and then oven cooking them.

I don’t like to waste food and am left with 3 muffins and half a jar of pizza sauce that I have no other use for so next time I make these I am going to build some and freeze them uncooked and see how well they thaw and cook.


Hubby tucked into 4 of these – with french fries and a salad and loved the non peppery pepperoni on the top (burger), and because these are not dissimilar to the occasional pizza slice ‘C’ has he was happy to tuck in with little encouragement.

Eggs and Bacon Chinese Style – Egg Fried Rice (source)



  • a mug full of American long grain rice
  • a cupful of frozen peas
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 2 back bacon rashers, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red pepper , chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , thinly sliced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 heaped tsp Chinese five-spice powder

‘C’ is great with fruit and vegetables, getting him to eat meat or any other form of protein (eggs, tuna etc) is a different matter. I saw a kids fried rice recipe on pinterest but did not have a couple of the ingredients – ho hum, wouldn’t be making that then. It was time to turn of the laptop and I still had yet to decide what to make for supper. As I was looking for food for kids I grabbed my BBC Good Food ‘101 recipes for kids’ book of the shelf and guess what, it had a recipe for Chinese Egg-Fried Rice … Yippee!

All the good food books are tried and tested and I have not tried a recipe yet that has let me down.  This was really easy to prep, minimal washing up and it tasted great so when we had done eating I checked of the BBC Good Food Website and found the same recipe under a different name – so I pinned it onto my Food Glorious Food Board.

OK I realise now that I forgot the garlic, and I used 2 medium eggs as no large in the pantry. I also substituted the american long grain rice for Basmati (lower GI).


This is a winner, nice and light and fresh, and the five spice gives it a great flavour – hubby covered his in soy sauce and then had some of mine naked and couldn’t decide which he liked best. C picked out all the peppers and had some of the rice .. but for once with a new dish he did not push it away and say ‘yucky’. Hubby is a meat and two vedge kinda guy and he would have like more meat … so next time I am going to add some chicken and maybe some prawns and make it more of a ‘special fried rice’ or half the recipe and serve with a rack of ribs.

Thanks for reading and if you want to follow me on pinterest or check our my other boards you will find me here

Originally published: August 2012

facebooklogo follow me on facebook:-