Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

5:2 diet - the 2014 update

Hmm, so it's almost the end of January and I finally get around to blogging my first, err, blog of the year. Pretty lazy, even by my rather languid standards.

Alright, here's what happened:

Putting my life back together, following an unsuccessful Christmas, I disguised myself as a trio of travelling Italian chefs and worked my passage Southwards, wearing only a series of edible loinclothes, until I reached the Andes, having ceded over a quarter of my bodyweight to the elements along the way...

Perfectly convincing story, yes?

You fucking have it your way then. I'm blogging away now, aren't I?

And I promise you, I will be sharing a bunch of new recipes and reviews over the next couple of months. In the meantime though, I thought I'd respond to some of the correspondence I receive occasionally - specifically, all you chaps and chapesses who ask me how the Intermittent Fasting ('5:2') diet is going.

Not that I actually get a lot of correspondence, mind. More would be welcome. Please write to me, please, please, please...

Less food for less thought

Not everyone believes me, but we've honestly stuck to it. Religiously. Even with holidays and Christmasses and whathaveyou, both Mrs B-V and I have manged to average two extreme fasting days every week for, ooh, almost 18 months now.

It feels like ages ago that we started this shit, but it's not that hard to stick to - we find the easiest way is just to keep a close eye on the calorie counts and stick to the lowest calorie options amongst the plethora of supermarket soups and salads and sandwiches.

Very dull, I know, and a disappointment to those of you who thought I'd have published a bestselling a 5:2 recipe book by now, but I find it frustratingly hard to cook anything that isn't highly calorific. Calorific = delicious, don't you know.

The new slimline me
(Even with a healthy meal, I'd feel cheated if I hate a portion that wasn't a lot more than 600 calories worth...)

Right, so have I actually lost a quarter of my bodyweight? No. Not even close. I didn't cleverly sneak in a morsel of truth into that lie, in case you were wondering.

Sometimes hear about people doing this diet who manage to drop stones and stones, and that hasn't really been the case with me. Crucially though, I don't watch what I eat on the other days, which are probably riddled with overeating and overdrinking. Judging by the 5:2 Facebook group, the people who lose masses and masses tend to be those who also stick to some sort of recommended calorie intake on their non-fast days too. For me that's just a less extreme version of a fast day, so there's no fucking way I'd ever consider it.

(And they're probably the sort of people who can actually stomach the abomination against God and nature that is miracle noodles.)

Rotunditude physique and Bacchanalian excess notwithstanding, I have actually dropped a trouser size (which means I wear the same size I did when I was 18) and while I may only have lost about a quarter of a pound per week or something, I'm at the sort of age where peoples weights (and trouser sizes) tend to be on a steady increase, so even if I just maintain the same size, I might actually be winning a battle against time and nature.

Yay! Go me!

Maybe I can even hold on until I reach the age where people naturally start getting thinner again?!?

More importantly, one thing that has happened is that my diabetes has almost completely reversed - my blood sugar levels seem to stay fairly sane over an extended period of time despite me forgetting to take my medication more often than not - and that's reason enough for sticking with the programme.

Having to eat only a small quantity of very dull food is a sacrifice, but I've found that if it's just for a couple of days a week, it's something I can live with, possibly forever.

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