Today marks the end of our sixth full week of following the 5:2 way of eating. At the weekend I’ll update our progress in terms of weight loss on the ‘Does it work?’ page so you can see how we’re doing (barring being overtaken by an enormous urge to binge between now and then, I’m thinking it will be good news!). After a bit of experimentation, we seem to have settled on a good way of measuring out the limited calorie allowance of the fasting days: a bowl of nourishing but low-calorie soup for lunch and a more substantial meal with some carbohydrates, a little protein and a lot of vegetables in the evening.

The trick seems to be to delay lunch for as long as possible and then try to do the same with the evening meal in order to avoid going to bed feeling hungry. There’s just something really miserable about trying to sleep on an empty stomach. A year or two ago I interviewed a lady who lived through the Great Depression here and she said that her mother made it a point to feed the children some toast before they went to bed so that they never had to go to sleep hungry. They were often hungry during the day – and the ‘Eat, Fast, Live Longer’ programme noted that life expectancy rates actually rose during the Depression, partly due to people having to live on fewer calories.

Anyway, Day 13. Here’s the recipe for the soup I made today. We had it at 1pm.

Recipe for roasted tomato and summer vegetable soup (serves 4)

Finished soup800g tomatoes, cut into evenly sized pieces
240g courgettes, sliced
2 small red onions, quartered
60g Hungarian hot wax peppers (or jalapenos), halved and de-seeded
½ teaspoon smoked paprika (I put a whole teaspoon in and it was a bit too hot!)
freshly ground black pepper
4 cups/1 litre stock

Total calories per serving: 70

Method: Put the sliced vegetables onto a baking sheet with a few grinds of black pepper and roast at 350°F/180°C for 30 minutes. After that time they looked like this:

Roasted vegetables

(and smelt amazing).

Blend them in a food processor or blender, then stir in the smoked paprika and stock. Heat until warmed through, taste and adjust the seasoning and serve.