Did you start 2021 harder than you would like to be? Do you feel sluggish and sleep poorly?
Join the club – after a difficult time, many people started the new year fatter, less fit and more stressed than ever before.
And while you’ve piled on the pounds, your blood sugar levels, blood pressure, and cholesterol have likely all gone up.
Your body may also be grappling with another hidden enemy, chronic inflammation, which has been linked to a variety of serious conditions including depression, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, dementia, and cancer, and an increased susceptibility to infections such as Covid becomes. 19th
The good news is that you can instantly undo this damage.
Throughout the week, the Mail will be posting delicious and easy-to-prepare recipes based on The Fast 800 Easy, a new book by my wife Dr. Clare Bailey, who has been a general practitioner for over 30 years.
While simple, The Fast 800 Easy is a product of many years of research, including a recent study Clare (who has extensive experience helping people cope with their health problems through diet) conducted with scientists at Oxford University.
Their research showed that patients who followed this low-carb, low-calorie approach could safely lose 20 pounds in two months – five times more than those given standard weight loss recommendations.
They also improved their blood sugar levels dramatically.
Not only are Clare’s recipes delicious (I speak from my own experience!), But the added bonus is that they are based on kitchen cabinet staples which are convenient, affordable and don’t require complicated preparation.
There is some evidence that whole milk is beneficial in moderation. A low-carb alternative to pizza uses a portobello mushroom as a base, topped with tomatoes and high-fat mozzarella cheese
Three simple tips for ultimate weight loss
Sticking to 800 calories a day for at least two weeks can boost weight loss and improve metabolic health.
As you near your goal weight – or when you struggle with the quick approach – switch to an intermittent fasting pattern and eat 800 calories (5: 2 approach) just a few days a week.
Your weight loss will be slower, but this is an effective way to lose weight and keep it off.
When you have reached your goal, move on to your healthy Mediterranean diet.
You can keep using these recipes, but add extra protein and a few tablespoons of high fiber, unrefined carbohydrates like beans, lentils, or whole grains.
A low-sugar and moderately starchy diet will prevent blood sugar from building up.
On this day of this week, I will be writing about the benefits of this approach to various health problems (with this day’s recipes having particular benefits for this condition).
Today I’m focusing on obesity and two of the diseases that are associated with it – type 2 diabetes and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Thanks to our growing waistline, more than four million people in the UK have type 2 diabetes and at least another eight million have prediabetes.
And while you may not have heard of alcohol-free fatty liver disease, it is estimated that up to one in three British adults is in its early stages. This is of concern as it can lead to severe liver damage, including cirrhosis and liver failure.
Not only can being severely overweight undermine your long-term health, but it can also be dangerous in the short term.
According to Public Health England, people with type 2 diabetes are twice as likely to be in intensive care when they receive Covid-19.
Another worrying finding is that younger people are usually at a much lower risk for Covid, but this is not the case if you are overweight.
A recent study in the United States, using data from more than 7,600 patients, found that overweight or obese patients, regardless of their age, were at greater risk of serious complications from Covid.
Why? In part, this is because too much fat in your gut often leads to type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure. Both diseases lead to worse results for Covid.
But it’s also because the coronavirus uses an enzyme called ACE2 to infect human cells, and there is much more of that enzyme in adipose tissue. To properly understand the threat posed by our growing waistlines, I need to go back to basics.
Even though we are talking about “getting fat,” the number of fat cells we have doesn’t increase, the cells just get bigger.
When the fat cells around your intestines become full, your body needs to store more excess fat in your liver and pancreas. Then your problems really begin.
Usually, your blood sugar levels rise after a meal, especially one that is high in carbohydrates.
Your pancreas reacts by making the hormone insulin, which lowers blood sugar levels by moving the excess glucose to your muscles and other cells.
But when your liver and pancreas are clogged with fat, that process gets upset.
Your muscle cells become resistant to insulin knocking on the door – so more and more glucose has to be stored as fat.
At some point, your body cannot make enough insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control, and you develop type 2 diabetes.
The buildup of fat in your liver can also lead to NAFLD.
THE JOY OF FULL FAT
You might be surprised to see that we include a fair amount of whole milk in our recipes.
We did this because the evidence suggests that full-fat dairy products are beneficial in moderation and, contrary to some reports, do not lead to type 2 diabetes.
For example, a tasty, low-carbohydrate alternative to pizza uses a portobello mushroom as a base, topped with tomatoes and full-fat mozzarella cheese (as shown above).
Fermented dairy products are best (they also contain probiotics, the “good” bacteria that improve digestive health and immunity), and full-fat products are less processed: Greek-style full-fat yogurt rarely contains sugars, thickeners, or low-added sweeteners become fat products.
The good news is that both conditions can be reversed through rapid weight loss, as Roy Taylor, professor of medicine and metabolism at Newcastle University, first demonstrated ten years ago.
With type 2 diabetes, you only need to lose a gram of fat from the pancreas to make changes. However, to do this you need to lose at least 10 percent of your body weight.
The DiRECT study, conducted by Professor Taylor along with Professor Mike Lean of the University of Glasgow, showed that patients with type 2 diabetes on a diet of 800 calories a day were able to lose an average of 22 pounds and nearly 22 pounds and stay off the Half were able to put their diabetes into remission.
Even more impressive, Professor Taylor recently showed that the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas are usually brought back to life when you lower your weight.
I tried this approach myself after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2012. I am 5 feet 11 inches tall and was 13 pounds at the time.
I didn’t look particularly fat, but that was because a lot of the fat I was wearing was internal.
I managed to get my blood sugar levels back to normal by quickly losing about 20 pounds in eight weeks.
Crucially, I lost nearly two inches around my waist, which indicated that I had cleared fat from my liver and pancreas.
We know a lot more about the science of weight loss than we did in 2012 – so if you are fit, I recommend starting my rapid weight loss program (where you eat 800 to 850 calories a day for anything in between two and 12 weeks) before you go move on to the new 5: 2, a less intense phase of intermittent fasting in which you eat 800 calories a few days a week.
In the final phase of maintaining that weight loss, you move on to the delicious, healthy, Mediterranean way of eating, exercising portion control but not counting calories.
This is where Clare’s recipes come in.
These type of recipes have inspired and helped their patients lose weight, and now they can help you too.
Avocado, bacon and white bean salad
Pictured: avocado, bacon and white beans salad
One key to treating type 2 diabetes is eating low-carb and high-fat meals. This salad contains nearly 36g of healthy fats, making it a great addition to your recipe arsenal.
For 2 l preparation boil 10 minutes l 5 minutes
PER SERVING 467 cals
PROTEIN 16g CARVES 16g
FAT 35.5 g FIBER 10 g
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 bacon smoked bacon (approx. 75 g), thinly sliced
- 2 tbsp pine nuts
- 2 small gemstone salads, cut and leaves separated
- ½ × 400 g can drain cannellini or haricot beans and rinse off (123 g drained weight)
- ½ small avocado, peeled, stoned and sliced (approx. 60 g prepared weight)
- 10 cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- freshly ground black pepper
Heat 1 teaspoon of oil in a small non-stick pan, add the bacon and pine nuts and fry over a medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring regularly, or until lightly browned and crispy.
In the meantime, tear up the lettuce and divide it into two flat bowls. Scatter beans, avocado and tomatoes on top.
Season with some ground black pepper. Take the pan off the heat, stir in the other teaspoon of oil and balsamic vinegar.
Let it bubble for a few seconds and then pour it over the salad.
Soy and sesame seeds stir fried vegetables
Pictured: stir-fried soy and sesame seeds
As a side dish, these vegetables are all low-carb and non-starchy – perfect for people with diabetes and for keeping blood sugar under control. Combine these pepped vegetables with a protein for a balanced meal.
Served 2 l prepare for 5 minutes l cook for 5 minutes
PER SERVING 104cal
PROTEIN 4g CARVES 3g
FAT 8g FIBER 3.5g
- 2 teaspoons of olive or rapeseed oil
- 75 g fine green beans, cut
- 50 g long-handled broccoli (approx. 3–4 spears), halved or quartered lengthways depending on the thickness
- 50 g fine asparagus, cut
- 1 tbsp sesame seeds (approx. 10 g)
- 1 tsp dark soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Lemon or lime wedges for serving (optional)
Heat the oil in a pan or wok. Add beans, broccoli, and asparagus, sauté over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until tenderly crispy. Stir and toss.
Add sesame seeds, fry for 1 minute.
Remove from heat, add soy sauce and sesame oil and stir with a pinch of lemon or lime before serving.
Baked fish with a seed crust
Pictured: Baked fish with a seed crust
Satisfy those whipped fish cravings by choosing a nutritiously packaged nut-seed coating instead of a clumsy, high-carb batter with this low-carb, high-fat recipe. Pair it with toasted celeriac chips for a healthy meal that feels like you’re cheating.
Served 2 l Prepare for 15 minutes l Cook for 15 minutes
Per serving 411 cal
PROTEIN 30 g CARVES 3 g
FAT 31g FIBER 1.5g
- 2 tbsp mixed seeds
- 2 tbsp almond flakes
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 × 120 g thick, skinless white fish fillets such as cod or haddock
- Lemon wedges for serving
- For the lemon mayo
- finely grated peel of ½ a small lemon
- 1½ tbsp good quality mayonnaise (approx. 20 g)
- 2 tbsp full-fat live Greek yogurt
Preheat the oven to 200c / 180c fan / gas 6 and line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper.
Mix the lemon mayo ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.
Put the seeds and almonds in a pestle and mortar, add a good pinch of salt and plenty of ground black pepper and pounds to a coarse powder.
You can also do this in a spice grinder or hand blender.
Scatter the powder over a plate.
Drizzle the oil over a second plate.
Place each piece of fish in the oil and apply to coat. Then transfer it into the seed mixture and press on both sides.
Place the fillets on the tray and bake for about 15 minutes until the fish has flaked off and the seeds are lightly browned.
Divide between two warm plates and serve with mayo, lemon wedges to squeeze and plenty of vegetables or salad.
Pictured: Simple Frittata
Perfect for breakfast, lunch or dinner, this low-carb, higher-fat recipe will keep you full longer and balance your blood sugar as well.
For 4 liters of preparation boil 10 minutes l 30 minutes
294 cal. Per serving
PROTEIN 22.5 g CARVES 4 g
FAT 20.5 g FIBER 2 g
- l 1 teaspoon olive oil for greasing
- l 6 spring onions, sliced and finely chopped
- 125 g roasted red peppers from a glass, drained and cut into thick slices
- 125 g artichoke hearts from a glass or can, drained and quartered
- 100 g cheddar, coarsely grated
- 8 medium-sized eggs
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 200 c / 180 c fan / gas 6 and grease and line the bottom of a 20 cm square cake pan (not on a loose basis) with non-stick baking paper.
Put the spring onions, bell pepper, artichoke hearts and grated cheese in the tin and stir gently.
Whisk the eggs in a bowl and season with salt and black pepper.
Pour over the vegetables and cheese and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the eggs are set and the frittata is slightly puffy and golden brown.
Test it by inserting the tip of the knife into the center – there should be no more liquid.
Cut the frittata into squares and serve warm or cold with a salad or green vegetables.
Pictured: single moussaka
Eggplants contain antioxidants and are believed to lower blood sugar and aid weight loss. Enjoy them roasted and stuffed for a low-carbohydrate, high-fat meal.
Served 4 l preparation time 10 min l Cooking time 40 minutes
PER SERVING 437 cals
PROTEIN 27 g CARVES 10 g
FAT 30g FIBER 5g
- 2 medium-sized eggplants (approx. 240 g each)
- 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- 400 g minced lamb (approx. 20 percent fat)
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon dried mint
- 400g can be chopped tomatoes
- 1 lamb or beef stock cube
- 1 tbsp tomato puree
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 150 g feta
Preheat the oven to 200c / 180c fan / gas. 6. Cut the aubergines in half lengthways and cut across the pulp without cutting through to the skin.
Place them in a shallow baking dish, cut them with the side up, and brush them with the oil. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until soft and lightly browned.
In the meantime, place the minced meat with the onion in a large non-stick pan and fry over medium heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or stir and chop the meat until the onion has softened.
Sprinkle over the garlic, oregano and mint and cook for a few more seconds.
Add the tomatoes, crumbled stock cube and tomato puree and bring to a boil. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring regularly. Season to taste.
Take the eggplants out of the oven and spoon the minced meat mixture onto them. Sprinkle the feta over the ground beef and return to the oven for 10 minutes or until the feta is soft and lightly browned.
Take out of the oven and serve with a large green salad.
Pictured: Thai mussels
Mussels can be such a quick and tasty dish – they’re also a great ingredient for people with type 2 diabetes as a low-carb, healthy fat meal. Remember to skip the bread!
Served 2 l Prepare for 15 minutes l Cook for 10 minutes
PER SERVING 368 cals
PROTEIN 28g CARVES 9g
FAT 24g FIBER 2g
- 1 kg of fresh live mussels
- 2 teaspoons of coconut or rapeseed oil
- 6 spring onions, sliced and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
- 15 g fresh root ginger, peeled and very finely chopped
- 2 tbsp red or green Thai curry paste
- 4 fresh kaffir lime leaves or
- 6 dry leaves
- 200 ml coconut milk
- 2 teaspoons of Thai fish sauce
- ground black pepper
- 20 g bunch of fresh coriander, leaves roughly chopped
Scrub the seashells, remove feathery beards, and discard damaged or not tightly closed beards whenever you pat on the side.
Rinse in cold water and set aside.
Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying or frying pan with a lid. Add the onions, garlic, and ginger and sauté gently over medium heat for 1 minute or until soft but not colored, stirring regularly.
Stir in curry paste and lime leaves and cook for 1 minute.
Pour in coconut milk and stir in fish sauce.
Bring to a simmer and let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until the coconut milk has thickened slightly, stirring occasionally. Season with ground black pepper.
Turn up the heat, add the mussels and coriander, cover the pan with a lid and cook for 3 minutes.
Remove the lid, stir, cover, and cook for another 3 minutes or until all of the clams have opened and cooked thoroughly.
Take the pan off the heat and discard any mussels that haven’t opened before serving in bowls of steamed vegetables.
Why a daily dose of rest is the best medicine
Meditation is known to be useful for reducing stress and improving mental health – but did you realize that it can also help you overcome disease?
Mindfulness is a way to focus your attention on being in the moment – being aware of your thoughts and fears, but not preoccupying yourself with them.
Both Clare and I practice mindful meditation and my sister Susie teaches her at the Oxford Mindfulness Center so we are a family of believers!
And there is plenty of scientific evidence to show that it can have a huge impact on your physical and mental health – especially by lowering blood sugar levels and the inflammation that are the root of many diseases.
So, I recommend trying mindfulness meditation as part of the Fast 800 program.
Mindfulness is a way of focusing your attention on being in the moment through meditation – being aware of your thoughts and fears, but not preoccupying yourself with them
So let’s see how a quick morning meditation can help you in your quest for a healthier, happier 2021 year.
Today more than ever, many of us live in a state of stress.
Being physically or emotionally stressed triggers the so-called “struggle”
or flight response, which causes your body to release stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
These pull glucose into the blood and help you stay alert and energetic – vital as our caveman ancestors discovered.
But the low current of stress that many of us encounter in modern life can mean our bodies are continually releasing adrenaline or cortisol – hormones that can cause problems for blood sugar levels and people with type 2 diabetes.
This is because adrenaline and cortisol make it difficult for insulin, another hormone, to do its job and lower blood sugar levels.
Over time, you can develop insulin resistance when your cells stop responding to it, causing your pancreas to produce larger and larger amounts of insulin.
Constantly high insulin levels not only make you hungry and increase your risk of type 2 diabetes, but it is also linked to an increased risk of cancer.
Other symptoms of stress – like an increased heart rate – cause further damage to blood vessels and arteries, increase blood pressure, and increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
By taking steps to manage stress, you lower the risk of serious health problems.
And if you already have health problems, meditation can help.
For example, it has been shown to lower blood pressure and slow heart rate.
Here are some of our favorite ways to incorporate some mindful moments into your new life.
Take 20 minutes of guided meditation in the morning
(The Fast 800 online program offers a collection of meditation and mindfulness guides for members, see thefast800.com. Free apps are available online.)
Sit with your eyes closed – Notice the sensation of breath through your nostrils, fill your chest, widen your diaphragm, and then gently exhale again. When your thoughts wander, gently pull your thoughts back into your breath.
You may find it difficult at first, but persist. Try to keep it up for three to five minutes.
To go for a walk – If possible, at least 20 minutes outdoors (in the morning) to take advantage of the daylight, which regulates your internal clock and helps you sleep better at night.
Leave your phone at home so you can focus on what you see, smell, hear and feel around you.
Science has found that walking can reduce anxiety and the physical symptoms associated with stress.
The Fast 800 Easy from Dr. Clare Bailey and Justine Pattison, published by Short Books, £ 16.99.