What to Eat

When you’re Fasting

These recipes are derived from the research of Valter Longo, but not endorsed or approved by Dr Longo or his lab.

Dr Longo’s research shows that a water fast of 4 or more days can trigger a reset of the immune system. As we get older, our blood contains too many memory T-cells, each programmed to combat a particular microbe, and not enough naive T-cells, which respond to new challenges. Fasting purges and rebuilds the immune cell population with naive T-cells.

There is also an enduring effect on insulin sensitivity, which is a primary driver of aging.

Many people find it difficult to sustain a zero-calorie fast for 4 days, and Dr Longo has developed a 5-day diet program that delivers much of the benefit with less hunger. It’s not exactly a free lunch, but at least to some extent you can have your fast and eat it, too.

Dr Longo endorses a program under medical supervision using a package of prepared vegan foods, including herbs and caffeine. His company is called L-Nutra and the packaged 5-day diet will be sold under the brand name ProLon. (not yet available as of 2015 August.)

The recipes below are satisfying vegan meals with the same calorie content and macronutrients as the ProLon diet. Each recipe has about 360 calories, in the form of 9% protein, 44% fat and 47% carbohydrate.

 

Instructions:

Each of the recipes below is sized for one meal. Choose 3 meals for the first day, 2 meals for each of the following 4 days.

This diet is not intended for weight loss, and is not appropriate as a long-term regime.

Introduction by Enid Kassner


Recipes

developed by Enid Kassner in consultation with JJM

 

Apple-Almond Salad


  • 8 oz apple
  • 8 oz lettuce
  • 5 oz cucumber
  • 1 tsp salad oil
  • 1 oz almonds
  • vinegar, salt and pepper to taste

Toss salad with oil and vinegar, adding herbs, spices, salt, garlic, etc. to taste.


Eggplant Paté with Vegetables
(Baba ganoush)


  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 4 oz cooked eggplant
  • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 8 oz fresh tomato
  • 4 oz cucumber
  • 2 oz cooked corn (fresh or frozen)

Blend tahini, eggplant, oil, and lemon juice in food processor, adding salt, cumin, and fresh garlic to taste. Serve with vegetables


Hearty Red Cabbage Slaw


  • 5 oz red cabbage
  • 2 oz carrot
  • 1.5 oz avocado
  • 1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1 oz apple (shredded for sweetness)
  • 3 oz cooked corn (fresh or frozen)
  • 3/4 oz crushed walnut

Shred cabbage, carrots, and apple in food processor. Cook corn lightly in microwave. Chop nuts. Blend avocado with lemon or lime, adding salt and pepper. Garlic optional. Toss all together.

Sesame Noodles
with Bok Choy


  • 3 oz bok choy
  • 3 oz red pepper
  • 2 oz cauliflower
  • 1.5 oz rice noodles (weight uncooked)
  • 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp lime or lemon juice
  • soy sauce and ginger to taste

Braise vegetables in water or vegetable broth. Cook noodles to directions on package. Mix vegetables and noodles and toss with the following dressing: sesame oil, tahini, soy sauce, grated ginger, lime juice.


Gazpacho


  • 12 oz tomatoes
    (canned, fresh or mixed)
  • 1 oz onion
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 oz black olives
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 3 oz snap peas
  • 3 oz cucumber
  • 2 oz avocado
  • 3 oz red pepper

Blend all ingredients in blender, adding garlic and salt to taste. Hint: leaving some ingredients to the end with just a quick buzz of the blender can add a chunky texture.

Aloo gobi
(Indian cauliflower & potatoes)


  • 7 oz cauliflower
  • 5 oz potatoes
  • 1 Tbsp peanut oil
  • 1/2 oz cashews
  • curry spices
  • ginger, garlic

Blend ginger, garlic, turmeric and curry powder (extra cayenne pepper, if desired) with a small amount of water in blender. Add oil to heavy pot and heat. Add the spice mixture, being careful not to splatter the oil. Add cauliflower and potatoes and cover, adding more water as needed to prevent burning. Salt to taste. Simmer covered about 20 minutes, until vegetables are cooked. Squeeze on a bit of lemon or lime and add fresh cilantro.

Potatoes and Veggies
with Kale Pesto


  • 1/2 oz pine nuts
  • 1 oz fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2.5 oz kale
  • 5.5 oz summer squash
  • 4.5 oz potatoes
  • garlic, salt and pepper to taste

Make a pesto with basil, kale, pine nuts, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper by blending in food processor. Steam squash (or other vegetable); boil potatoes, and dress with pesto.

Spinach Hummus
with Veggies



  • 2 oz spinach
  • 1 Tbsp tahini
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 oz dry chick peas
    (or 3 oz canned)
  • 2.5 oz avocado
  • 4 oz carrots

Boil dried chick peas in pressure cooker 1 hr, or without pressure 4 hrs, or use canned. Drain and blend chick peas with tahini, spinach, lemon juice, garlic, cumin, and salt in food processor. Eat with carrots and avocado.

Spinach-Strawberry Salad
with Rice Cakes


  • 5 oz spinach
  • 6 oz strawberries
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 oz pecans
  • 1 oz rice cakes

Toss spinach, strawberries and nuts with olive oil/lemon dressing, adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve with rice cakes.

Summer Vegetables
with Pesto and Rice Cakes


  • 7 oz summer squash or zucchini
  • 3 oz carrots
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1/2 oz pine nutss
  • 3/4 oz fresh basil leaves
  • 1Tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 oz rice cakes
  • 1 oz corn (fresh or frozen)

Make pesto in food processor using basil, olive oil, garlic, pine nuts, salt, and pepper. Steam summer squash and carrots; cook corn in microwave or boil. Toss with pesto and serve with rice cakes.

Summer Vegetable Salad
with Rice Cakes


  • 6 oz fresh tomatoes
  • 4 oz green beans
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 6 oz cucumber
  • 2 oz avocado
  • 3 oz spinach
  • 3/4 oz rice cake

Cook green beans or other green vegetable, such as broccoli. Toss with spinach, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, avocado, and dressing of olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and any fresh herbs. Serve with rice cakes.

Coconut Curry
with Tofu and Vegetables


  • 2 oz tofu
  • 4 oz carrots
  • 5 oz butternut squash
  • 6 oz coconut milk
  • 1 oz onions
  • 3 oz red pepper
  • 2 oz broccoli
  • 2 tsp peanut oil
  • curry powder, ginger

Sauté peppers and onions in oil (can also add fresh garlic), then add carrots and squash with coconut milk, curry powder, and grated ginger. Simmer until veggies and about half cooked (about seven minutes) and then add broccoli and tofu. Cook until desired crispness.

(In the picture at left, cauliflower has been substituted for broccoli.)

Ginger Carrot Soup


  • 11 oz carrots
  • 2 tsp vegetable oil
  • 7 oz unsweetened coconut milk*
  • 1 oz onions
  • 1/2 oz almonds
  • 8 oz water or vegetable stock
    or bouillon
  • grated ginger, pressed garlic, ground coriander seeds

Sauté onions, grated ginger, (coriander and garlic, if desired), and chopped almonds in oil. Add chopped carrots and water or vegetable broth, seasoning with salt. Cook about 20 minutes and then puree in blender. Return to pot and swirl in coconut milk and heat till warm.

* A note about coconut milk. There are many products labeled "coconut milk," some of which are closer to coconut cream: very high in fat and calories. The product used in this (and other) recipes is the Trader Joe's brand of unsweetened coconut beverage—sold by the quart—which contains 60 calories per cup.

Saag Aloo
(Indian spianch with potatoes)


  • 8 oz spinach
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz potato
  • 4 oz tomato
  • 1 oz avocado
  • ginger, garlic
  • garam masala

Sauté ginger and garlic in oil. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add a bit of water, if necessary and cover and cook on low heat until totally cooked. Boil potatoes separately. When spinach is cooked, puree in food processor or with immersion blender. Add potatoes and garam masala (a toasted curry power). Serve with fresh tomato and avocado.

 

(Note: a higher protein version of this dish can be prepared by using 4 ounces of tofu and just 2 ounces of potato...try it when you’re not fasting!)

Kale Risotto


  • 1.5 oz arborio rice
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 oz kale
  • 1/t oz onion
  • 1 oz avocado
  • 6 oz veg broth or stock

Sauté onion in oil and add rice, browning gently. Add kale and then add vegetable stock gradually, stirring constantly until absorbed – about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper and some grated lemon peel. Serve with sliced avocado. A small amount of lemon juice or vinegar can be added for tangy flavor.

Eggplant and Potatoes with Fenugreek and Tofu


  • 8 oz eggplant
  • 4 oz potatoes
  • 1.5 oz tofu
  • 1 Tbsp veg oil
  • lemon juice
  • Indian spices:
    turmeric, coriander, cardomon, cayenne, cumin, salt
  • fenugreek

Toss eggplant and potato chunks in a blend of turmeric, coriander, salt, and cayenne pepper. Heat oil in a heavy pot and add a small about (about ¼ teaspoon) fenugreek seeds. When they turn brown (about 10 seconds) add the coated vegetables and brown uncovered about 5 minutes. Then add enough water so veggies don’t stick, cover pot, and cook about 15-20 minutes. Gently stir in tofu chunks.

Indian Cabbage Salad


  • 9 oz green cabbage, finely shredded
  • 1.5 tsp peanut oil
  • 1 Tbsp flaked coconut
  • 4 tsp chopped almonds
  • 1 oz rice cakes
  • lemon juice, mustard seeds, and hot pepper

Heat oil and add 1 t mustard seeds, covering pan. When seeds stop popping, add hot pepper, almonds and cabbage. Toss together and turn off heat. Place in bowl and add coconut, salt, and lemon juice to taste. Serve with rice cakes.

Turnip and Potato Soup


  • 12 oz turnip
  • 2.5 oz potatoes
  • 7 oz unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp veg oil
  • 1 oz chopped onion
  • 1/2 oz chopped almonds (about 4 tsp)
    8 oz water or vegetable broth

Heat oil in pot and lightly saute onion. Add turnips and potatoes, cut in chunks, and almonds. Add water or broth and cover. Cook about 15 minutes. Puree with imersion blender, or transfer to blender to puree. Return to pot and add almond milk, heating soup but not bringing to a boil.

Morning Oatmeal


  • 1/2 C rolled oats
  • .5 oz walnuts
  • 1/2 C raspberries
  • 8 oz unsweetened coconut milk*

Cook the oats with 1C of water. Add nuts, fruit and coconut milk. A small (about 4 oz) apple may substitute for berries. * A note about coconut milk. There are many products labeled "coconut milk," some of which are closer to coconut cream: very high in fat and calories. The product used in this (and other) recipes is the Trader Joe's brand of unsweetened coconut beverage—sold by the quart—which contains 60 calories per cup.

Ratatouille with Walnuts


  • 2 oz red peppers
  • 7 oz summer squash
  • 6 oz eggplant
  • 8 oz fresh or canned tomatoesl
  • 2 oz chopped onion and fresh garlic, to taste
  • 2 tsp olive oil
    .5 oz walnuts

Cut eggplant in chunks and sprinkle with salt, letting it sit about 10 minutes. Heat oil in pot and lightly saute onion and garlic. Add peppers, squash and eggplant, cut in chunks. Saute about 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and cover. Cook about 15 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Add salt, pepper, and fresh or dried basil to taste. Serve with walnuts.

Coconut Curry with Butternut Squash, Broccoli, and Cashews


  • 8 oz butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 6 oz fresh broccoli florets
  • 8 oz unsweetened coconut milk*
  • 1 oz onions
  • 1/2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 oz roasted cashews
  • curry powder and salt, to taste

Sauté onions in hot oil, and add curry powder. Add coconut milk gradually, stirring. Add squash and cook, covered, about 7 minutes. Add broccoli and cook an additional 5 minutes, or until vegetables are desired tenderness.Add salt to taste and serve garnished with cashews.

* A note about coconut milk. There are many products labeled "coconut milk," some of which are closer to coconut cream: very high in fat and calories. The product used in this (and other) recipes is the Trader Joe's brand of unsweetened coconut beverage - sold by the quart - which contains 60 calories per cup.

(Note similar curries can be prepared in the same manner. For example, instead of squash, broccoli, and cashews, the recipe works with 9 oz okra; 3 oz corn; 3 oz onions; and a scant Tbsp of oil.)

Coconut-Creamy Corn-Kale-Potato Soup


  • 4 oz fresh kale, chopped
  • 1/2 Tbsp oil
  • 2.5 oz potato
  • 2 oz corn - fresh or frozen
  • 2.5 oz rich coconut milk or light coconut cream: about 100 calories per 1/4 cup*
  • 12 oz water or vegetable broth
  • salt and garlic to taste

Sauté onion and garlic, if desired in hot oil. Add water or broth and potatoes, cooking about 5-7 minutes. Add kale and continue cooking, mixing as kale wiltsspinach and cook until wilted. Add corn and cook another minute or two. Gently stir in rich coconut milk and heat until warm, but not boiling. Add salt to taste.

 

*Note: unlike many recipes on this page, this recipe calls for a higher fat, richer coconut milk. There are many types of canned coconut milk available. Look for one that has about 25 calories per Tbsp.)

Tamarind Eggplant with Peanuts


  • 2 tsp tamarind concentrate, dissolved in 1/4 C boiling water (available in Asian grocery stores)
  • 2 tsp peanut oil
  • 8 oz eggplant, cubed and salted
  • 1 oz onion, chopped and chopped garlic, to taste
  • 1/2 oz chopped red or green pepper
  • 1 Tbsp shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 2 Tbsp roasted peanuts
  • salt, cayenne pepper, to taste
  • 9 oz fresh or canned tomatoes, chopped

Heat oil and saute garlic and onion 2-3 minutes. Add peppers and eggplant and continue to saute until wilted. Add tomatoes and cook, covered, about 20 minutes until eggplant is very soft. Add more liquid if needed. Add tamarind, coconut, salt and cayenne papper and cook an additional 5 minutes to blend flavors. Serve with peanuts sprinkled on top.

Kale and Corn Salad


  • 4 oz fresh kale, chopped, large stems removed
  • 3 oz fresh or frozen corn, cooked about 1 minute in microwave
  • 2.5 tsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp golden raisins
  • 1.5 Tbsp chopped walnuts
  • juice of 1/2 lemon or lime

Place chopped kale in a large bowl and sprinkle with salt and lemon or lime juice. "Massage" the kale, squeezing it with your hands until it wilts. It will considerably diminish in volume. Add all remaining ingredients and mix. If desired, fresh garlic can be added.

Miso Soup with Soba Noodles and Vegetables


  • 1 oz bok choy, chopped
  • 1 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • 1.5 oz turnips, peeled and cubed
  • 1 oz scallions, sliced
  • 1 oz wakame (seaweed)
  • 1.5 oz soba noodles
  • 1.5 tsp miso
  • 2.5 C water
  • 2.5 tsp toasted sesame oil
  • soy sauce, ginger, and hot sauce, to taste
  • 1.5 oz avocado

Heat water and dissolve miso in it. Add turnips, bok choy, and mushrooms, simmering, covered, about 5 minutes. Add wakame and scallions for the last minute. Cook noodles separately, according to package instructions, and drain. Assemble soup in a large bowl: add drained noodles and toss with sesame oil. Then add the broth with veggies, seasoning to taste with soy sauce, grated fresh ginger &/or hot sauce. Serve with sliced avocado.

Barley Risotto with Butternut Squash and Mushrooms


  • 1.3 oz hulled or pearled barley (about 3 Tbsp)
  • 3 oz sliced mushrooms
  • 4 oz butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/2 oz onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 5 oz vegetable broth (more if needed)
  • 4 tsp chopped walnuts

Heat oil in a heavy pot and saute onions about 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and continue cooking 4-5 minutes, adding some broth if pan is sticking. Add barley, squash, and broth and cook, covered until barley is tender. Check and add more liquid as needed. Depending on the type of barley, cook time may be anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours. The recipe can also be prepared in a slow cooker on low - requiring 3-5 hours, depending on whether pearled or hulled barley is used. When finished, add salt and pepper to taste. Fresh or dried rosemary is a nice addition and lemon juice can be squeezed on for a more tangy flavor. Serve with walnuts.

Spanish Beets in Romescu Sauce


  • 13.5 oz beets
  • 4 oz fresh tomatoes
  • scant Tbsp salad oil
  • 1/2 oz almonds
  • garlic, dried chili pepper, wine vinegar, salt and pepper

Cut fresh tomato in half and roast in non-stick pan with almonds and 2 cloves of fresh garlic, peeled and halved, for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. While tomato is roasting, peel, cube, and boil fresh beets until tender – about 10-15 minutes. Blend roasted tomato, garlic, and almonds with about 1.5 Tbsp wine vinegar, a scant Tbsp olive oil, and ¼ tsp dried chili flakes or powder. Add enough water to blend into a sauce (about 2 Tbsp), adding salt and pepper to taste. Combine beets and sauce and garnish with chopped parsley.

Enid’s Vegetarian Lao Crispy Rice Salad


  • 1 cup white rice (Jasmine or medium-grain; or brown)
  • 3T Thai red curry paste (about half a small can – I used Panang curry)
  • coconut or other oil spray
  • ½ - ¾ block of extra firm tofu
  • 1T peanut oil (or other light vegetable oil)
  • 1T soy sauce
  • 1t salt
  • 1T sugar or brown sugar
  • ½ cup flaked coconut
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced shallots (could use scallions or onions)
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanuts, chopped
  • ½ cup chopped fresh mint
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro (also can add ½ cup chopped fresh basil)
  • 1 tsp red chili flakes (optional – depends on how hot the curry paste is)
  • 1 whole lime, juiced (more if desired)
  • whole lettuce leaves/optional additional vegetables – raw and/or cooked

Cook the rice with 1 cup of water (more if using brown rice). Mix cooked rice with the curry paste. Take a large nonstick roasting pan and spray with coconut (or other) oil. Spread the rice/curry mixture in a thin layer to cover the bottom of the pan. Spray a little more oil on top. Bake in the oven at about 325 degrees until the rice is dried out and crunchy. May take about 30-40 minutes – more or less depending on oven temperature and wetness of rice. You can flip chunks of it over as it’s getting dry. When done, remove from oven and let cool.

Cut the block of tofu into four thin slices. Use a kitchen towel to squeeze out excess water. Then place the slices on a dry towel on a plate and lightly salt the top with coarse salt. Microwave for 3 minutes, flip slices, re-salt, and microwave another 2 minutes. The tofu will become drier and firmer. When they’re cool enough to handle, chop the tofu into small cubes. Heat the peanut oil in a nonstick or cast iron pan and lightly fry the cubes, tossing them about to get all surfaces fried. Set aside when done.

In a large bowl, mix together soy sauce, salt, sugar, coconut, shallots, peanuts, mint, cilantro, and chili flakes. Break the crisped rice into chunks and add to salad, along with the tofu. Squeeze lime juice over everything and mix well, adding more lime, salt, chili, sugar, or other ingredients to taste.

Add cooked vegetables if you like – such as green beans or broccoli. Also can add raw cucumbers and/or sweet peppers.

Serve with lettuce leaves, placing a big spoonful or two on each leaf, rolling up the salad in the lettuce leaf and eating.

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