Tag Archives: vitamin D

Feast and Famine, and the Fast Diet

It seems as if half the population of the developed (and therefore obese) world is currently reading The Fast Diet, otherwise known as the 5:2 Diet, or Intermittent Fasting.  The author, Michael Mosley, is a BBC journalist with a medical degree, and his documentary and book (co-authored by Mimi Spencer) seem interesting.

The rules are simple: for 5 days of the week, eat as you normally do, but twice a week, limit your food to 500 calories (for women) or 600 (for men).  Someone I know tried it and found it worked.  She even fasted a few times during a holiday in France – how’s that for dedication?

As Mosley points out, many religions include periods of fasting.  During Yom Kipper, Lent, and Ramadan, the aim is similar in each case: to concentrate on spiritual rather than material things and – in extreme cases – to mortify the flesh.  All require self-discipline, but they use quite different strategies.

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Fast Foods

Last Wednesday marked the beginning of Lent, the 40-day fasting period that leads up to Easter.

Fasting can take many forms.   Muslims fast during the holy month of Ramadan by abstaining from all food and drink during daylight hours; Christians fast by abstaining from particular foodstuffs – definitely meat, sometimes other animal products such as dairy products and eggs.  The rest of us may use Lent as the occasion for a detox of some sort, giving up wine or tobacco or chocolate.

There is a spiritual dimension to going without, but the Lenten fast was once also a grim reality in temperate Europe, coming at the end of winter when food stocks were exhausted and the first fruits of the new year were yet to ripen. Continue reading