However, the caffeine in coffee is addictive and triggers the release of the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline when consumed in excessive amounts (more than four cups a day). What’s more, when caffeine is consumed on an empty stomach it triggers the release of sugars from your liver. That causes a sugar rush followed by a dip later on when you might feel the need to reach for something sweet. So if you like to start your day with a black coffee, drink it after breakfast and have only a cou-ple of cups a day.
Eat whatever you like on one day a week (cake included)
None of my clients would survive on a severe regimen in which their entire week was about fasting. This is where the “magic” day comes in. On thesdays they are allowed to eat what they like. I’m talking a long Sunday lunch with a lot of wine and a pudding at the end. Obviously, if you gorge and over-eat you are going to feel nauseous, even more so after eating healthily all week, so that is not on the cards. But do eat some cake or crumble and allow yourself that roast beef dinner.
Not all carbs are bad
Sweet fizzy drinks, processed foods and refined carbs such as sliced white bread and pastries are not a friend of the dieter. But carbs are not all bad. In fact, carbohydrates are the body’s most crucial source of energy and you can consume them and still lose weight. The key is to avoid white carbs because they don’t fill you up, they send blood sugar soaring and trigger hunger pangs soon after.
So instead of fluffy white bread, look for varieties that are darker and require you to chew more — a sign they contain beneficial fibre — such as rye bread. Sourdough is also an excellent choice because it has been fermented, and that process aids digestion.
If you are gluten intolerant, remember that you can get your carbs from gluten-free grains including buckwheat, brown rice, and quinoa.
Do not cut out chocolate
Life would be very dull without some sweet treats, and on non-fasting days there is nothing wrong with nibbling a few squares of dark chocolate. Because the cacao it contains is rich in flavonoids (plant antioxidants), dark chocolate can actually help to tackle the oxidative stress that threatens to reduce brain function as we age. It also benefits the liver and supports sleep, so in my mind chocolate is a must.
There’s no need to be vegan — but eat red meat only twice a week
If you are a red-meat lover, there is no need to cut it out completely and it can play a valuable role in the diet, being a rich provider of iron and vitamin B12. However, you should aim to eat it sparingly — no more than twice a week ideally — and it’s worth selecting the highest-quality meat you can afford.
I would recommend always seeking out organic meat because non-organic reared animals tend to be given hormones to grow fast, and what they have been fed will get into our bodies. We don’t really know the full extent of the adverse effects. so it’s best not to eat huge amounts of red meat.
I’m a big fan of eggs and recommend that my clients consume them weekly. They are high in protein, which makes them very filling, and as a sulphurous food they support natural detoxification of the body. Eggs also contain amino acids that contribute to the production of glutathione, an antioxidant that protects the body’s cells against the potential damage of free radicals and, in doing so, prevents accelerated ageing.
Again, opt for organic, free-range eggs rather than those that are battery-produced for optimum nutrition.
No need to avoid dairy
Despite its reputation for causing intolerances and sensitivities, dairy doesn’t have to be avoided by everyone. It is true that the proteins in cow’s milk are larger and harder to digest than sheep’s and goat’s milk, which is why it causes problems for some people. But many find that fermented dairy foods — kefir, yoghurt, cheeses such as parmesan — can be better tolerated because the fermentation process has effectively pre-digested the product for you. Go for good-quality dairy in small amounts.