Spring ideas

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  • Spring ideas

    It’s entirely possible that this is my favourite time of year. Looking out of the window now, the garden is still kissed with early morning frost – but I can see bright green shoots, unfurling leaves, the first golden crocuses, and the hyacinths just starting to show. It always feels like a relief. Spring. We’ve made it!

    Like many of you, I have never fasted in warm weather; we’ve been hammering away through snow and sleet and torrential rain, so it will be great to try it with the sun on our backs, on days that have more energy and bounce than the short grey days winter. I’m guessing we’ll naturally want to eat lighter meals as the weather warms – salads, raw veg, grilled fish, the kind of things that hold little appeal when it’s below zero outside and the central heating is on indoors.

    We’re not there yet, though. But early spring is full of promise and potential, a time, I think, that calls for a subtle shift in our idea of how a Fast Day might go. We’re unfurling too. This is a moment, perhaps, for a clean, clear veggie soup: still warming, still filling, but fresh and feisty, like the season.

    Spring vegetable soup

    • 1 small onion, finely chopped
    • 1 stick celery, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp olive oil
    • 1 bay leaf
    • I250ml vegetable stock – homemade will give the best flavour, though a stock cube will do
    • 150g peas, fresh or frozen
    • 150g broccoli, cut into little florets
    • 100g mange tout
    • Generous handful of herbs – mint, coriander, parsley
    • 2 spring onions, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp soy sauce
    • Squeeze of lemon
    • Chilli flakes to taste
    • S&P

    Gently sweat celery and chopped onion in a pan with the olive oil. Once translucent, add stock and bay leaf and bring to a gentle simmer. Add vegetables. Cook for 2-3 minutes until tender. Remove pan from heat and add herbs, spring onion, soy and lemon juice (plus chilli flakes if using). Season and serve. This makes enough for four and has a calorie count of around 100 calories a portion.

    Hi Mimi – I have just completed day 3 of the 5:2 diet and its going well so far – I have lost 2lbs. I suppose that doesnt sound very much, but i am quite a pig on my feast days and dont have an awful lot to lose – so I guess it is steady.

    I just wanted to ask you about the fasting – are we more likely to suffer from stomach ulcers and related issues by fasting? Is it not bad for our stomachs to be expecting food and producing acids, only to not be fed? Just wondering?

    Thank you

    Tried out the advice re skipping to dislodge hunger pangs last night and it seemed to work, although no skipping rope and my knees demanded I did a sort of high jog. Been doing a bit of on the on the spot HIT jogging so will now incorporate that into fast days. Every little helps.

    Hi Mimi

    I am Greek Orthodox and as you probably know from the programme and the book we ” fast”
    about half the year anyway. In our fasting days we are encouraged to possibly eat slightly
    less but the main emphasis is on not eating meat, fish, dairy, alchohol or olive oil on these days.
    I’m 51, generally healthy but have put on about a stone over the last 18 months due to a change of job which means I’m mainly sitting all day. I want to combine your fast plans with our religious fasts to lose weight and get healthy. We fast anyway ever Wednesday and Friday. Can you pont me in the right direction with some vegan meal plans for fast days?
    Thank you.

    Thanks for the recipe! Reading from the US so not sure of some of the ingredients. What is mange tout??

    Hello PinkPenguin, and welcome! Mange tout are called snow peas in the US. Such a lovely name. Sugar snap peas would work just as well.
    Hi Ellie67 – yes, the Greek Orthodox Church has a long tradition of fasting, and combined with a general Mediterranean diet, it makes for a superbly healthy way of life. My Recipe Book comes out next month, and will include plenty of vegan and veggie recipes (relying on ‘Mostly plants and Protein’, which is our Fast Day mantra) – you can preorder it from this site. I will also post a couple of recipes over the next day or so which fit the bill. Enjoy.

    Hi Mimi
    Your recipe book sounds great. I will definitely order it.
    I’m a reasonable cook and love making Mediterranean/ Greek dishes
    BUT I am just no good at working out calories!

    Hi MImi,
    I’amjust wondering cos am finding on my feast days i can sometimes overeat and feel loosey and i’am defeating the purpose.
    I Just started the5 2 about five weeks ago and i am hoping this will change.
    REgards, Clare

    Just a dumb American but can you put US measure equivalents in your recipes. I know we could figure it out but … Just a thought, Thanks

    hi please can you advise how much is ok for non fast days. also some people are referring to forums in the comments how do i get onto a forum i could do with some support.

    @Ellie677 – try myfitnesspal.com very helpful for calorie ccounting and it’s free.

    I love the sound of this spring soup. I’ll have to blend as disabled and have to use straw but love veggie soups. Looking forward to a recipe book too.

    I’ve just started, find the book very helpful as lots of pointers in there and info on which tsts to have done eg fasting blood sugar one etc before you start. My doctor was somewhat sceptical but happy for me to get ahead despite a miriad of health problems.

    Looking forward to safe and sensible weight loss. Thanks to Michael and Mimi for a great diet which you can work into life.

    Hi Mimi,

    Is it 250 ml of vegetable stock you use for this recipe or 1250 ml because I’m not quite sure? Also, if I understand correctly, if I don’t use home made stock, I can use 1 cube for 250 ml (or 1250 ml) of water?
    Thanks for informing me about this.

    It must be 1250ml because 250ml is the size of one mug of coffee and I don’t think – even for us fasters on this forum – that one quarter of a mug is enough soup!
    I don’t use vegetable stock cubes – I use Swiss Vegetable Bouillon
    Working out as best I can, you’d need 5 tsps of powder to make 1250ml of stock. That equates to 25g of powder which is 60 calories (taken from the back of the container).

    Hope this helps

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