9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2013
Ok, so I am on the 5:2 diet. I have soon got fed up with diet readymeals, though they are convenient as they have the calories easily available to see. I've also got bored of steamed fish and rice (its depressing how many calories are in rice, too), so I wanted inspiration, and bought this book.
What a waste of time! A big chunk of the book explained what the 5:2 diet was. I already knew this, I wanted recipes. I already had a book that explained that. I wanted recipes. That is why I bought a recipe book.
Then, when you get to the actual recipes, comes the real bummer: most of them are for 4 or more people!
What is the point of that? I want recipes for 1 or 2 people. I can scale them up if needs be. You cannot necessarily scale down recipes.
And you may say just cook the meal for four and freeze eat it over two fasting days, but that would be really, really boring. I bought a diet book because I wanted a variety of meals. I definately did not want to cook a meal for 4 people then eat it over the course of a few days.
I sent this book back, even though it only cost a couple of quid. It just wasn't worth it.
62 of 67 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2013
Am loving the recipes in this book and the way they principles of 5:2 are explained so well at the front too. My partner is doing the fast days with me so it's worth cooking something a bit special and different and these fit the bill. I'll probably halve the recipe that are for 4, or just save leftovers for my second fast day two days later. I think this is a well written and well researched book - it's got lots or tips and tricks to keep you going and answered a lot of questions I had about how best to do it. Check out the look inside bit to get a flavour.
34 of 37 people found the following review helpful
on 7 March 2013
This is the best book I could find on 5:2. It is informative and easy to follow, with loads of different ideas. I am yet to find a recipe I don't like, so far they have all been really tasty. Can't recommend enough!
41 of 47 people found the following review helpful
I've been using the 5:2 system now for nearly five months with great results, but am keen to explore new recipe ideas as I'm getting a little bored of the ones I've already picked up from other books/websites that have jumped on the fast diet bandwagon.
The information at the start of this book is easy to follow, motivational and I like the bulleted tips on each page, but it all feels like someone has read the original book by Michael Mosley and just rewritten it to cash in. This was bound to happen given it's success so at the very least I was hoping for some inspiring new recipes. However - the main problem with most of these recipes is that many of them are for large servings. This is okay if you want to freeze up to eight portions in to batches or you share a house with a large number of 5:2'ers but I'd really like to see someone write a 5:2 recipe book with recipes for one serving - using ingredients I can find easily in my local supermarket, that doesn't involve marinating for several hours and (more importantly) with each ingredient including a calorie count so I can customise the recipe to suit and take out all the guess work.
The list of snacks is a good idea but is in such a random order it's hard to use if you can't look something up quickly.
If you're thinking of starting the 5:2 I'd recommend getting Michael Mosley's book before this.
The 5:2 cookbook gives you a quick overview of the 'science' surrounding 5:2 diet plan, which is basically eat healthily for 5 days and cut down to 500 calories a day twice a week. There is advice on how to deal with your fast days and what helps to control your hunger, you also get tips on managing the rest of your diet week. There is a 4 week fast day meal planner, and then you get 100 recipes for 100, 200 and 300 calories. I must say don't expect any colour photos of the recipes as there are none.
Each recipe gives you how many it will serve, preparation time and the calories per serving. There are some nice little recipes in this book, the tahini hummus (88 calories per serving), the mushroom and pea bhaji (90 calories per serving) inspired me. There is a nice mix of meat, fish, vegetable and sweet dishes, as you can imagine if there's meat or fish in the recipe, there are more calories and you don't actually get alot of either per serving, for example seared steak with parmesan and rocket - you use 1lb of steak for 4 people, so the serving are small.
I've got to admit, the 5:2 diet/fast diet/2-day diet are all the same, you fast for 2 days and eat healthily for the other 5, these are clearly the Atkins diet of 2013 and I'm sure there will be another fad diet knocking on our doors very shortly. What we all need to do is to eat healthily, watch our calories and don't eat ready made meals. So would I recommend this, if you are following any of the fast diets, this is a handy book to have in the kitchen it has got some nice ideas in which will help you on the 500 calorie days.
on 27 June 2013
I would be a mistake to pick up `The 5:2 Diet Cook Book' by Angela Dowden and think you are getting a recipe book you will actually want to use, you probably won't. This is a diet book through and through, but is it a healthy book for healthy people - or a boring book, for boring people? The main concept behind the 5:2 diet is that you eat normally for 5 days of the week and for 2 days you fast; only allowing yourself 500 calories. `5:2 Diet' is a useful book at explaining some of the `science' behind why people think fasting works, but it is very dry. The FAQ cover subjects as wholesome as; will fasting make you infertile and how to convince yourself you are not hungry. Is this a diet, or torture regime?
For people adamant with going on the 5:2 diet, Dowden does a very good job of giving information in a matter of fact way. She explains in detail why it is safe and what it should do to your body. Personally, I am not one for fad dieting (and let's face it, this is exactly what this is), but if I was, I would like to be well informed.
With your brain full `o' facts how can you cope on 500 calories? Dowden has included some extremely low calorie dishes to try. The food on offer is a little bland, but that is nothing in comparison to the boring picture free pages and limited recipe details. It feels like a cook book from the 50s, but without all the lard and butter. As a tool for understanding what the 5:2 diet Dowden does a good job. As a tool to actually inspire you to undertake it, I fear I was put off.
I had, of course, heard of the eat for five days fast for two, but I thought when they say fast you just didn't eat. That isn't the case. You eat normally for five days and then limit the calories you eat for two days. And those two days don't have to be consecutive, they could be any two days of the week.
The book takes you through what the `diet' is all about. And also who shouldn't try it: if you're pregnant, trying to get pregnant or breastfeeding; you are at the bottom end of your healthy weight (if you have a BMI of 20 or less you shouldn't try it); you are an elite athlete or in training for a marathon or other big stamina event; if you're diabetic; have irritable bowel syndrome; or have been diagnosed with an eating disorder recently or in the past.
Now, on a fasting day if you are a woman you can have no more than 500 calories, and 600 if you're a man. Now that is throughout the day, the recipes in the book are split into different calorie counts. Unfortunately, the recipes are not in single servings, they either serve 4 or 6. I know you can divide it by the relevant number, but it should have been easy enough just to make single servings. You are encouraged to eat plenty of fruit and vegetables though, as these will fill you up and are lower in calories.
The book also comes with a four week eating plan for your two `on' or fasting days. Most of the recipes take no more than half an hour to cook, and like I said before are split into calories per serving, so you can control what you eat better. And there is nothing to stop you eating these on your `off' days too.
I'll need to take some measurements of my waist etc first before I start on the eating plan, but it looks easily enough to follow.
Well, here I am, over three stone lighter than I was ten months ago and wanting it to stay that way. Maintenance of weight loss is now my aim and ambition and the quest is to find a selection of recipe books that will give me calorie counted recipes in interesting variety, because variety is what is keeping me going. I am very interested, too, in the 5:2 diet plan: eat what you like within reason for five days of the week but fast on the other two days of the week. Fasting doesn't mean not eating at all; it means eating no more than 600 calories if you're a man or 500 calories if you're a woman. Calorie counting is a bore but to achieve success I think it is necessary as it's so easy to be bamboozled into believing that some foods are low calorie only to find that they are not! This book helps to do just that. It begins with a substantial section on how to operate this eating pattern (let's not call it a "diet" because that's off-putting right at the start and, anyway, for five of the seven days you won't be dieting!) on your "on-fast" days and, yes, even on your "off-fast" days. You will find a four-week, fast day meal planner and, best of all, recipes that have been calorie counted for you: 100 calories and under, 200 calories and under and 300 calories and under, and these take all the headache out of calorie counting. Be aware, though, that the recipes are for more than one person, sometimes as many as 16 people, so portioning your serving is important - "portion distortion" is an issue here as we are all tending to eat more than during the 1930s with supersized portions of everything being common. Serving food on smaller plates can rectify portion distortion (cf. "Watch those portions!", pg. 27). Now I'm off to buy the ingredients for a watermelon and feta cheese salad with dry-fried sesame seeds and an olive oil and lemon juice dressing - only 99 calories per serving! Will you join me?
Many 5:2 recipe books have been dashed out to meet the current demand. The virtue of this one is that it is cheap and has 100 low-calorie recipes. The book begins with a 50 page explanation of the 5:2 diet which I found helpful since all I have read is a couple of articles about it. There is also a useful section entitled Snacks and Treats listing 50 snacks which come to up to 100 caleries, 50 snacks which come to up to 50 calories and 10 guilt free treats.
If, like me, you have become sick of the sight of mushroom omelette, the book does have plenty of good ideas for low-calorie meals such as honey glazed tuna, crab and coriander cakes, and chicken satay. Quite a few of the recipes are vegetarian which is a bonus for vegetarians but not much consolation to dedicated meat eaters. It is pretty much common sense that vegetables are low in calories. There are even a few puddings, such as baked peaches, although I would have thought puddings were best confined to the fast-free days. The rhubarb and ginger parfait gets away with being low-calorie due to the addition of six tablespoons of granulated sweetener.
The downside is that because it is a low budget book, there are no photos and therefore, if you are not familiar with rhubarb and ginger parfait, you cannot see if you might fancy eating it and cannot judge whether what you have produced bears any resemblance to how it is supposed to look.
The other drawback is that, although the recipe tells you how many calories per serving, the ingredients list states quantities for six servings of parfait. You certainly should not be eating six of them in swift succession on a low-calorie diet.
It mentions in the book that if you must tell your children you on this diet, explain to them about it. With such large quantity recipes I should imagine they are having to eat the stuff too, which does not seem wise since putting kids on low-calorie diets when they are not overweight could be detrimental since they need the calories for growth and probably shouldn't be consuming sweetener in any event. Nothing about the unsuitability of the diet for children is mentioned in the book.
That said, I am finding the book useful to flick through and find inspiration for alternatives to mushroom omelette. There are plenty of recipes but the portion sizes are a headache to scale down and I should think there are better books out there.
I must admit that I found starting out on the 5:2 diet (eating plan?) quite difficult at first. I wish this book had been around a year ago, and my life would have been so much easier. Like many others I was inspired to try this method of eating control by seeing the documentary on TV, and hearing about other people's success on the internet.
The first part of the book details exactly what the 5:2 eating plan is, where it comes from, how it has been tested, etc. There is also some salutary advice about what to expect when you start on the plan and when it would be appropriate to check with a doctor before starting it.
The rest of the book is then divided up into 100 calorie meals, 200 calorie meals and 300 calorie meals.
This is the bit I really found most useful, because up till now I have been trying to estimate (or, more honestly, guess) how to take a favourite meal and "de-calorie" it down to a point when I can still have it in my 5:2 meal plan.
This book gives the recipes I need, and someone else has done all the maths for me. Great!
Some reviewers have criticized the book for offering recipes for larger numbers, but most of them are for 4 people, which suits me as I can cook for my family and simply add to the meals of those not on the 5:2 eating plan to bring their meals up to the required number of calories for them. A portion of potatoes or garlic bread for the non 5:2 people at the table is easy enough to do, and takes the 'diet' element out of the meal.
The main reason I am following this eating method is because, like so many other people, I have tried and failed on many other restrictive diets, but I find that restricting my food intake two days a week is perfectly do-able for me, and allows me to eat like everyone else the rest of the week but without compromising on the food I feed to the rest of the family as well.
(There is nothing worse than serving up a 'proper' meal to to rest of the family whilst nursing your low calorie milkshake!)
Where there are larger servings given (10 or 12 for example) these are usually for things like drop scones, cereal bars, cakes, muffins and so on - none of which you are going to eat 10 of at a single sitting, so I personally don't have a problem with this. The items cooked in larger batches are also often much lower in calories, so you could serve 3 or 4 of them with a meal.
Overall I think this is a very good introduction to this interesting eating plan, and I recommend it.
For a 5th star I would like to see this bound in a ring binder so that I can actually have it open when I need it - when I'm in the kitchen and cooking!