Category Archives: book review

Book Review: The Fast Diet

I learned of The Fast Diet when a client told me about a BBC special done by Dr Mike Mosley on the health benefits of fasting. Due to my prodigious internet skills, I was unable to watch even clips of the video, so I bought the book and read it. I read a fair amount of diet books in order to answer questions from clients intelligently.

The Fast Diet is one of the more scientifically and psychologically sound diet plans I have read. The premise is simple: fasting by eating 500-600 calories 2 days per week is conducive to weight loss, an improved insulin response and reduced risk of age related diseases. If you do not have much weight to lose, fasting for a day at occasionally can still offer the same health benefits.

Intermittent fasting is based on the premise that you can give your body a ‘break’ from the constant work of digesting food and essentially reset your hormonal response. The author of the Fast Diet points out that the eating pattern they suggest mimics that of a naturally thin person. A person’s appetite can vary from day to day, so their caloric intake can vary on a daily basis, and comes to a steady average over time.

I have not tried the 2 days per week of fasting that is suggested in The Fast Diet. However, I do notice I eat less if I’m not hungry, so I am naturally inclined to fast a little, very occasionally. In addition to the rare occasions that I have little appetite, I try to eat very lightly when I take long flights, as it helps me minimize jet lag. Airport food can be so unappealing that I choose to not eat and prefer to wait for a decent meal at my destination.

The Fast Diet is well worth reading if you want to learn more about intermittent fasting and/or try a doable eating program for health benefits and weight loss. If you don’t read the book, you can always try to listen to your body and eat according to your appetite, which most likely will vary. Eating less for just one day is doable for most of us.

Longevity: Where People Forget to Die…

Here is a great article on longevity that was kindly passed onto me yesterday:

The author also wrote the Blue Zones, which is a great book that details various pockets in the world where people have great longevity by living a more traditional lifestyle.

For most urban, city dwelling people, living in the country or an island on a self sufficient garden/farm community seems foreign. However, there are many lifestyle ideas that we could apply to our daily life that could help us be happier and healthier. Some lifestyle concepts we could apply to our daily lives for more enjoyment and health include:

-physical activity, which means taking a walk, walking to places you need to go, doing a workout you enjoy

-enjoy the outdoors daily, if possible

-spend time with family and friends daily, if possible

-enjoy high quality, natural whole foods everyday

-take time to drink tea, coffee with family and friends

-drink in moderation

-sleep and nap well

-manage your activities, not time, as time is actually beyond our control

Generally, it seems to me that taking time to enjoy the present moment of your life is a way to be well. I most certainly love to make life good.


Dessert Inspiration: Miette Cookbook

I had the pleasure of going to both locations of Miette in San Francisco last November. The Ferry Building location is more of a counter and display table of goodies while the store in Hayes Valley is a special experience in charm. Hence, the subtitle of their cookbook is recipes from San Francisco’s most charming pastry shop, how true.

I had read about the gingerbread cupcake in Fodor’s, so I had it pretty much for breakfast at the Ferry Building and ordered a macaron and salted caramels for later consumption. The cupcake was visually charming and tasted even better. The macaron was good, but not my favourite, as the best ones that I have had so far are from Petite Thuet in Toronto. The salted caramel was a wonderful treat that came home with me.
I enjoyed the gingerbread cupcake so much that I had to visit their store in Hayes Valley for a second tasting. The store was beautiful with much attention to every detail. I got gingersnaps to take home, they were the best ever. Crisp, spicy and rich tasting.
Imagine my delight in discovering that there was a Miette cookbook. I read through it the past few days and what a great story from Meg Ray. The amazing treats I tasted were amazing because a lot of passion and care went into the selection of the finest ingredients and the execution of detail. Their standard of finest ingredients are organic and locally sourced as much as possible. That will be more of a challenge here in Toronto, but I am ready to try.
The book was a great inspiration, so I tried the buttermilk panna cotta recipe with some mini mousse glasses that I got last week. Yummy!!
I am all for desserts as a healthy part of enjoyment of life and food. I love them and eat them regularly. Nutritionally, they are not the best, but fun and enjoyment is a really important component to eating well and life in general.
The Miette philosophy is to make things small for presentation, balance and economics. Portion control is a great effect of this concept as well. The panna cotta recipe was so delicious and rich tasting that the mini mousse glass, which was around 5 tablespoons was very satisfying. Eating small portions of foods you love that are made with care sure is a great way to enjoy life all the time!