My breakfast is either full-fat live/Greek yoghurt with some berries, maybe a spoonful of apple sauce, some bee pollen plus my “sprinkles” which are usually chia, hemp and flax seeds. But on days that I am fasting (usually 24 hour fasts) then I have filtered coffee with a splash of cream. Yes. Cream. That knocks the edge of hunger and coupled with lots of herbal teas throughout the day, I can happily keep working and moving until dinner, which is usually vegetable-centric with some good quality protein. That could mean a fritatta with lots of grated courgettes, mushrooms and tomatoes with a big spinach salad or a super-quick tomato, mussel and fennel stew (see recipe below). Think about the variety of vegetables – preferably non starchy ones – and eggs or fish or meat depending on your tastes and good quality fat. Sticking some anchovies into tomato based sauces is a nifty trick, as is adding chicken livers into some sort of spag bol type sauce. I bulk out kids food with things like toasted chickpeas or roast sweet potatoes, roast parsnip and carrots. That way we can all share the veg, eat the protein bit and they get more whole-food carbs, which I don’t need.
During the day, a green vegetable juice or vegetable soup (without bread), but maybe a small hunk of cheese and a few nuts works well. Olives are great to snack on. I try to drink green tea during the day although I do adore coffee. If I’m hungry, then some sort of salad with lots of veggies and some good quality protein is great. But it can all go arseways depending on work. For example, yesterday I tasted four different types of scones, five new starters and five mains for new menus. The problem with this kind of day is that it’s eating food on the run – what many nutritionists would call “mindless” eating. I finished work at about 11pm and when I came home, the temptation to “eat” something was there… but it wasn’t actually based on hunger, rather the feeling that I had missed out because I hadn’t actually sat down and enjoyed a meal. It was a day of professional picking; but by acknowledging that (and not eating late at night, when not even hungry), is how you avoid spiking insulin late at night, storing fat and disrupting sleep.
If I am out for dinner or at a friend’s home and they have bread or pasta, I will certainly eat and enjoy it. I adore all food. But I do find one or two nights of indulgence means I have to be mindful of eating lighter over the next few days. That’s just a fact of life for many of us as we get older. And that’s where the intermittent fasting works so well.
At home, I try to eat dinner as early as possible and often enjoy a cup of chicory with a little bit of chaga, cinnamon and coconut milk at night (party on!) I like a square of 92% dark chocolate (the Vivani range is great – no lecithin and very low sugar) as anything lower percentage wise has more sugar in it and is easy to over-eat. 100% dark chocolate tastes like bark. Truly vile, but the 92% is very do-able.
If you are giving up booze, then consider the non-alcoholic beers to get you over the hump when you’d like a glass of wine. One bottle of beer works a treat for me and although I absolutely adore good wine with delicious food, I really do enjoy not drinking. As one of my good friends says, it’s like discovering a new “Superpower”.
Quick Mussel, Fennel & Tomato Stew
4 tbsp. olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
100g diced bacon
1-2 bulbs fennel, chopped
4 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
2 tins chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp. nudja or good pinch chili flakes
In a large saucepan (with a lid) sweat the onion in the olive oil. Add the bacon, then add the fennel and garlic. Season. Sauté for a good 5 minutes. Add the tinned tomatoes. Rinse the mussels in a colander. Discard any that are “open” and that won’t close when you squeeze them closed or any that have been crushed or smashed. Add the mussels to the saucepan, turn up the heat and cook for about 5 minutes until the shells are opened. Discard/don’t eat any mussels that have not opened.