After watching Horizon, a programme on TV  last week about alternate day fasting, called Eat Fast and Live Longer, I have decided to give it a try.

Here is the Horizon programme “Eat, Fast And Live Longer”

As a middle aged man, I struggle sometimes to keep weight off my midriff.

The programme was presented by Michael Mosley and he met several dieters and researchers who claim that fasting can actually be good for your health and can help prevent the onset of age related diseases like alzheimer’s, cancer and dementia.

Apparently, calorie restriction in animal tests have revealed that the animals subjected to the restrictions live significantly longer than animals without any restrictions, significantly longer.

Washington University is at the heart of this new science. Professor Luigi Fontana has studied a group of people over the last 10 years who restrict calories every day. Professor Luigi also claims that abdominal fat is particularly bad and can lead to cardiovascular related diseases.

Dr Valtor Longo is the director of the longevity institute in California and is studying ageing. He demonstrated how mice, that have been genetically modified with a low IGF1 growth hormone, live  on average 40% longer than normal mice and are less susceptible to diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases.

When the body is subjected to calorie restriction, the growth hormone IGF1 is lowered and the body starts to repair its own cells and DNA damage is more likely to get fixed.

To lower IGF1, calories and protein must be restricted and one of the best ways to accomplish this is by fasting.

Dr Valtor Longo claims that just a few days of fasting can jolt the body into self repairing cells.

One of the main problems with fasting is that it is an extremely difficult thing to do – it’s not easy to stop eating for a few days.

Cue Dr Krista A Varady from Chicago who is studying ageing and has come up with a way of making fasting more palatable called Alternate Day Fasting.

Alternate day fasting involves restricting calories on alternate days to 400 – 500 calories for women and 500 – 600 calories for men – these days are called “Fast days”. On the days in between fast days you can eat anything that you like.

However caution is needed especially amongst pregnant women and people with medical conditions.

Finally in the TV programme, Professor Mark Mattson from Baltimore, who is a leading expert on the ageing brain, said that intermittent fasting or energy restriction can delay the onset of alzeimers, dementia and memory loss.

He demonstrated that in the brains of fasting mice, new brain cells were actually created.

Michael Mosley opted to replace the alternate day fasting with a 5/2  diet, which is eat anything for 5 days and fast using the low calorie diet of approximately 500 calories for 2 days. The 5/2 diet was recommended by Professor Mark Mattson.

Note – the fasting days should not be consecutive days, but spread apart for example Monday and Wednesday.

So armed with this new information, I intend to give the 5/2 alternate day fasting a try and see how it affects my health and well being.

Reports and diet information to follow.

See the guide below to find out how many calories are in the foods listed – see item packets for more accurate figures.

Food Measure Calories Per Serving
Chopped tomatoes 100g                                22
Boiled egg                                70
Brocolli 1/2 cup boiled                                37
Apple red delicious – average                              127
Banana                              172
Tin of Baked Beans – Heinz 415g Full Tin                              303
Red Kidney Beans In Water, Tesco 1 Can/420g                              391
Potatoes, Baked, Flesh & Skin 1 Med/180g                              245
Banana Fresh, Weighed Without Skin 1 Med/150g                              143
Sweet Corn, Green Giant 1 Can/200g                              140
Apricots, Dried, Sundora 1 Serving/50g                                83
Pear, Average, Raw 1 Med/170g                                68
Orange 1 Med/160g                                59
Garden Peas, Bird’s Eye 1 Serving/85g                                53
Sweet Potatoes, Boiled in Water 100g                                87
Potatoes, New, Boiled in Salted Water 100g                                53
Cherries, Black, Raw 100g                                51
Apples, Eating, Raw 1 Med/112g                                53
Mango, Raw 225g                                60
Blueberries, Raw 100g                                60
Kiwi Fruit 100g                                49
Onions, Raw 100g                                36
Peach, Raw 1 Med/110g                                36
Plums 100g 36
Satsumas 100g 36
Cauliflower, Raw 100g 34
Broccoli, Green, Raw 100g 33
Peppers, Capsicum, Red Raw 100g 32
Carrots, Young, Raw 100g 30
Broccoli, Raw 100g 30
Strawberries, Raw 100g 27
Melon, Average 100g 24
Green Beans, French Beans Boiled in Unsalted Water 100g 22
Courgette, Raw 100g 18
Grapes, Average 100g 17
Tomato, Raw 1 Med/85g 14
Tomatoes – tinned 100g 22
Lettuce, Average, Raw 100g 13
Mushrooms, Common, Raw 100g 13
Cucumber, Raw 100g 10
Green Cabbage 100g 21
White Cabbage 100g 27
Savoy Cabbage 100g 26
Scampi, Breaded, Average 1 Serving/255g 565
Mackerel Fillets Smoked Average 1 Serving/60g 200
Salmon Fillet, Aldi 1 Fillet/100g 198
Cod Fillet, Battered, Average 1 Fillet/90g 158
Sardines Grilled 3 Sardines/75g 146
Fishcakes, Frozen, Average 1 Cake/85g 112
Tuna Chunks, in Brine, Sainsbury’s ½ Tin/93g 105
Shark, Raw 1 Serving/100g 102
Haddock Fillet, Smoked, Youngs 1 Fillet/100g 98
Langoustine, Raw, Average 1 Serving/100g 90
Lobster, Boiled 2 Tbsp Meat/85g 88
Shrimp, Boiled, Average 1 Serving/60g 70
Prawns, Boiled 20 Prawns/60g 59
Crab, Sticks, Tesco 3 Sticks/45g 45
Mussels, Boiled, Average 5 Mussels/35g 36
Back Bacon 100g 304
Beaf Sausage 100g 252
Chicken Breast Roasted 100g 171
Chicken Breast Skinless Fillet 100g 117
Fillet Steak Cooked 100g 191
Sainsbury’s Beef Gravy 100g 56
Cooked Sliced Ham – Tesco’s 100g 115
Lamb Kebab – Sainsbury’s Greek Style 100g 255
Lamb Chop – Asda 100g 246
Pork Chop – Asda 100g 260
Pork Sausage 100g 304
Sliced Roast Beef 100g 136
Roast Lamb – Leg 100g 237

Day 1 – fast day.

Having well stocked myself up last night with a fish and chip supper, I am going to start the first fast day today.

My thinking is that I would like to last the day as long as possible without any food and when I begin to feel hungry, I will use up some of my 500 calorie daily allowance.

It’s now 14.15 in the afternoon and so far I haven’t eaten anything. I feel quite hungry, so I am going to have a boiled egg and 100 grams of seedless black grapes – total calories 89 + 66 = 155. Please bear in mind that the calorie chart above is only a general indicator – for exact calories see the individual packets of items purchased.


My first lunch on this diet

This small snack has just taken the edge of my hunger and I only have to wait 3.5 hours until my evening meal, when I will have almost 350 calories to play with – bring it on!

One tip here is to invest in some scales similar to the image shown below  – that way you will be able to measure out 100 grams exactly, so that you can keep a tally of your daily calories.


These scales are great for counting the calories

For my evening meal, I opted for grilled mackerel and steamed cabbage and carrots – total calories 272 for the mackerel, 21 for the cabbage and 30 for the carrots giving a grand total of 323 calories.

This takes my total calorie intake for today to 478 calories. I also have had some black tea and a black coffee, so I’m still under the target of 500 calories.

For the first day, I feel ok and the second meal again, just took the edge off the hunger, so I”m fine.

Mackeral meal

My second meal of the day – mackerel and vege

Day 2 – fast day. I made the mistake of fasting two days consecutively :-), but the fast days should be spread apart ie Tuesday and Thursday.

Felt a bit peckish this morning and couldn’t have really started the day without at least something to eat, so I decided on a boiled egg and cup of green tea – approx 90 calories.

I also had a cup of black coffee with a smidgeon of sugar to keep my caffeine levels up – coming off caffeine as well as calorie restricting would be too much for me.

For lunch I had a tin of plum tomatoes, which I mashed in a pan with a potato masher and added 1 teaspoon of vegetable bouillon and one teaspoon of mixed dried italian herbs – approx 90 calories.

I heated the mixture up and made a sort of tomato soup, which I must admit was really tasty. My energy levels are still good and I have been quite active today. I still have 300 calories left for today, which I intend to use up.

A little thought, which is keeping me going is that tomorrow I can eat what the hell I want for the next 5 days! – I have been conjoring up some delicious ideas in my head.

Home made tomato soup

Home made tomato soup

For my final meal of the 2nd fast day, I opted for a tin of albacore tuna (147 calories) and salad, which comprised of a tomato, spring onions, cress, a little gem lettuce and a good squirt of 70% reduced calorie salad cream. This comes in well below my remaining 300 calories for today, which is great.

I must admit this meal really raised my spirits and I certainly don’t feel hungry or like I’ve been fasting.

All in all, I have found this diet very manageable so far, and the great thing is for the next 5 days there will be no dieting – yea hah!

Albacore tuna salad

My final meal of the two day fast – albacore tuna salad

Week 2 – fast day one

Well here we are again for another two days of fasting!

I’ve been doing a bit of research into low calorie foods that make you feel full, however I haven’t put any of them into practice yet.

Generally, I find the first fast day relatively easy until the end of the day, when I start to feel hungry.

I also added some rice cakes to my daily fast day (29 calories each) – these make excellent snacks especially with a cup of tea or coffee.

Rice cakes make an excellent snack

Rice cakes make an excellent snack

I started my my first fast day with a rice cake and cup of black tea.

For lunch I went for my tried and tested tomato soup, which is quite filling. Apparently soups are renowned by dieters for making you feel full. It’s got something to do with the bulk and volume of them.

For my evening meal I had boiled egg with a tuna salad, similar to the one I did last week – with lashings of low cal salad cream.

Some good low calorie foods to make you feel full are fat free popcorn, apples, sweet potato, fresh green vegetables, peanut butter (teaspoon), soups and beans.

Apples apparently are a great appetite suppressant – the bulky fibre fills up your stomach and turns off the appetite control hormones. Will try this tomorrow by having one for breakfast!

Update 30th August 2012

Things were a bit hectic today, so I couldn’t spend too much time preparing food.

I opted for a boiled egg for breakfast and another one for lunch.

For my evening meal I had a tin of albacore tuna, a small tin of mussels in garlic sauce and some steamed vegetables – carrot, broccoli and green cabbage.

Tuna and vegetables

Simple and fast – tuna, mussels and steamed vege

Total calories for today approx 500 calories.

I found the diet today relatively easy – there were a few hunger points just before meal times, but the small meals just took the edge of the pain. It’s reassuring to know that tomorrow is a feed day, so that’s something to look forward to.

Update 23/09/12

It’s been a few weeks now since I started on this diet and to be honest the last couple of weeks, I have only managed one fast day per week due to circumstances beyond my control.

However, even with only one fast day per week, I have noticed an improvement in my weight and general sense of well being. Last week I overdid my fast day and only had one meal of tuna and steamed vegetables, which I won’t be repeating – 300 calories in total for that day!  It’s ok to spread out the 500 calories throughout the day, so tomorrow I will have two boiled eggs for breakfast then some fish and steamed vegetables in the evening.

I also find that on my fast day I get some really good greens into my system – you can eat lots of greens and fresh vegetables because there are virtually no calories them. Obviously potatoes and some other vege can have more calories than others, but generally green vegetables and carrots are low in calories.

Update March 2017

In March this year the rules of the diet were relaxed a little by DR Michael Mosley, who now says that the 600 calories for men and 500 calories for women can be changed to 800 calories. This allows an extra mid-day or mid-afternoon snack, which helps dieters to  get through the day hunger free. However DR Mosley states that the extra calories must not be used for unhealthy snacks such as a burger or crisps. The fast days should only include healthy food.

Having been on this diet for a few years now, I have fine tuned what I eat on fast days to some really tasty and healthy food.

One of my favourite and simple meals is salmon with anchovies, spinach and spicy tomato sauce – see below.

Anchovies, Spinach and Spicy Tomato Sauce Recipe

For the sauce, simply chop some ripe tomatoes into some hot olive olive, add garlic, chilli peppers, salt and pepper to taste. Fry until the tomatoes become soft and use a potato masher to pulverise the tomatoes into a sauce. Add the chopped anchovies to the sauce after about 10 minutes just before serving. Meanwhile steam some spinach or kale or other green vegetable of choice. Grill some salmon or use a George Foreman type grill for about 6 minutes – 3 minutes each side.

Cook the salmon, the sauce and the spinach at the same time then combine all the ingredients and serve. This is a really tasty and satisfying meal and it’s super healthy as well.

Update Oct 2019

Keeping up the one day per week fast and it’s still managing to keep off those extra pounds. One more addition is that on the fast day I am trying out Sunray Fat Burn Formula natural diet pills which contain Glucomannan (Konjac Fibre), a natural appetite suppressant. It helps to keep those hunger pains to a minimum, making it easier to cope with limited calories on the fast day.

Overall if you are looking to lose weight in a healthy way then the alternate day fast program could be the diet for you. Good luck



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What is Forex Trading?

April 27, 2017

What is forex tradingMany years ago I stumbled upon trading using technical analysis. It was when computers were just becoming mainstream about 25 years ago. I bought a copy of Metastock and took a few courses on how to read charts and how to interpret indicators and trendlines. In those days, chart data feeds were slow and expensive and computers were prone to crashing at regular intervals.

Twenty five years on, I would like to say that I am living in the Bahamas and have made billions from astute financial decisions. This is not the case however, but I still haven’t given up! Some would say that playing the markets is an addiction and I would agree with them.

These days I prefer to stick with forex markets, or currency markets to the uninitiated. Forex markets trade 24/7 except for Sundays and bank holidays, so they can be traded in the evenings as well as during the day, which is handy if you work.

You don’t need a lot of money to trade forex and to be honest I never have more than a couple of hundred UK pounds in my account at any one time. It’s like playing the most addictive game you’ve ever played. You can trade dummy accounts with no money, but many people advise against this because you will not get the feelings of fear and greed that comes from trading with real money.

Forex is traded in pairs for example GBP/USD, EUR/USD, AUD/USD, USD/JPY and USD/CAD – these are known as the major pairs and are the most traded pairs. GBP = Great Britain Pound, USD = US Dollar, AUD = Australian Dollar, JPY = Japanese Yen, CAD = Canadian Dollar.

There are an infinite amount of influences that can cause a market to move, but ultimately if there are more buyers than sellers a market will move up and if there are more sellers than buyers a market will move down. Financial news items and announcements occur throughout the day. These news items may include financial data, speeches by financial ministers or unexpected general news items. For monitoring the news, websites such as and are worth taking a look at. News can move markets in a big way, so it’s worth taking a look at the financial calendars on either of the websites mentioned above. One News event worth making a note of is the Non Farm Payroll, which comes out on the first Friday of every month. The data from the Non Farm Payroll will usually move the forex markets massively, so you may not want to be in the markets when this happens.

Here is a handy tool showing the ratio of buyers and sellers of the main currency pairs.

To start trading forex you will need to open an account with a broker and there are many out there, but the one I have used for years and recommend is ETX Capital in London

ETX charts and indicators are very clear and easy to use and understand. Overall, they have a good reputation.


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