Thinking about trying to shift a few lb for the summer? Everyone has heard of the 5:2 diet where you eat anything you like five days a week and stick to 500/600 calories for two, but do you know about the 16:8? Lee Holmes new book Fast Your Way to Wellness offers a sustainable weight-loss programme designed for busy mums and dads who don’t want to go hungry. We caught up with the certified health coach to find out more…
We all know how it is looking after the kids, you barely have time to eat and when you do, you end up snacking on convenience food within an arms reach rather than eating something nourishing. Lee Holmes Fast Your Way to Wellness takes the principle of the 5:2 diet and extends it to the 16:8, limiting eating to an eight-hour window three times a week. The key to the 16:8 is that you largely fast whilst you’re asleep, which is great for those of you who are tempted to reach for the biscuit tin when your stomach starts to rumble.
“Eating within an eight-hour window is the easiest way to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting”, says Lee, going on to explain that 16:8 helps to heal your digestive system at the same time as moving your body into fat-burning mode. “16:8 is a simple way to lose extra-weight without depriving your body”. And the bonus? “As for skipping breakfast, there’s no need to restrict your calorie intake each day. Increasing your fasting time will do the work for you.”
But are there any negative health benefits of fasting as it has often gained a bad reputation?
Lee confirms, “I think fasting has gained the negative reputation that it has because people aren’t doing it correctly. I advocate people eating whole foods on fasting days, not low-fat and processed junk food and I advocate eating clean, wholesome food especially during fasting days, to optimise the health benefits. Intermittent fasting is not about deprivation or starvation. It’s about eating quality food in smaller amounts to get the body into fat burning mode and homeostasis.”
But surely fastening would not be a recommendation for children? Lee adds, “No, however I think parents are one of the biggest influencers on their children’s eating habits. The fact that a parent has decided to turn over a new leaf and start intermittent fasting to improve their health just proves to their child that they value their health and wellbeing. Doing something to improve your living standard is setting the perfect example for children when it comes to living a healthy life. All the recipes included my new book are filling, delicious and nutritious. They are perfect for the whole family to enjoy and full of valuable nutrients. That’s the whole philosophy behind fasting with WholeFoods and kids love the recipes too. You can always add extra for kids’ servings.”
salmon and coriander fishcakes
210 g (71/2 oz) tinned salmon (or use fresh chopped salmon)
1 medium egg, lightly whisked
1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped coriander (cilantro)
2 teaspoons chopped chives, plus extra to serve
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 teaspoons sugar-free mustard
Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon coconut oil
lime slices, to serve
Drain the salmon and put in a medium bowl. Remove the bones (or leave them in if you prefer), then mash the flesh with a fork. Add the egg, onion, herbs, chilli flakes, mustard, salt and pepper. Mix well. Roll the mixture into one big ball, then cover and chill in the freezer for 30 minutes. When you’re ready to cook the fishcakes, take the mixture out of the freezer and divide into four. Shape each portion into a fishcake and sprinkle both sides with flour. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium heat, then cook the fishcakes for 7–10 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Serve immediately, with chives scattered over and lime slices on the side.
Supercharged tip – Try to select sustainable wild-caught salmon, as farmed salmon isn’t fed the same diet, giving it a less favourable fatty-acid profile.
simple saag chicken curry
Spinach has been smoothied way too much. The time has arrived to return this superstar ingredient to its cooked form, gently softened, so its many vitamins and minerals can be easily absorbed through your digestive system. This curry will do just the trick.
1 teaspoon extra virgin
400 g (14 oz) skinless chicken breast fillets, cut into strips
1 brown onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
400 g (14 oz) tinned diced tomatoes
250 g (9 oz/) baby English spinach leaves
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon grated fresh turmeric or ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
pinch of ground cinnamon
6 curry leaves
150 ml (5 fl oz) almond milk
2 tablespoons coconut flour
2 tablespoons chopped coriander (cilantro), to serve (optional)
Heat a few drops of the oil in a medium frying pan over high heat, add the chicken, onion and garlic, then cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients except the coriander, stir well, then cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. Remove the lid and simmer for a further 2–3 minutes, to let the curry thicken. Serve topped with the coriander (if using).
chia, berry and yoghurt dessert in a jar
You’ll need a 475 ml (161/2 fl oz) mason jar or similar to carry and serve this scrumptious healthy treat.
200 ml (7 fl oz) coconut water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or alcohol-free vanilla extract
pinch of Celtic sea salt
1 teaspoon rice malt (brown rice) syrup
2 tablespoons chia seeds
80 g (23/4 oz/1/2 cup) berries of your choice
70 g (21/2 oz/1/4 cup) full-fat plain yoghurt or coconut yoghurt
Combine the coconut water, vanilla, salt and rice malt syrup in a small bowl, mixing well. Put the chia seeds in your jar, then pour in the coconut water mixture and stir well with a fork. Put the lid on the jar and refrigerate for 30 minutes or overnight.
Once the chia seeds have absorbed all the liquid, top with a layer of berries and another of yoghurt and take to work with you. Refrigerate until lunchtime.
Fast Your Way to Wellness by Lee Holmes (Murdoch Books, £14.99). Photography by Steve Brown.