Michael van Straten
Michael van Straten

The Real Womans Beach Diet

The Real Woman’s Diet to Get In Good Shape for the Beach

It’s that time of the year when you wake up from the winter dreams of sunshine holidays to the nightmare reality that you’ve got to squeeze into your bikini in the next few weeks. Don’t panic. Don’t waste your money on magic pills, potions and patches – none of them work – and most important of all don’t embark on the latest thousand calorie a day crash diet, as that won’t work either.

For real success follow the Sunday Express Nine and a Half Day Real Woman’s Diet that provides you with the nutrients you need to be healthy, the calories essential for energy and the balance of foods that guarantee you’ll shed surplus pounds if you want to. This isn’t a regime for the rich and famous or the pampered and lazy but a practical eating plan of delicious meals that can be followed whether you’re a busy mum, a working woman or the most difficult combination of all – wife, mother and worker. Losing the weight is one thing but keeping it off is another and this plan won’t leave you in the lurch. In part 2 next week you’ll find all you need to know to maintain the new you and to lose a little more if necessary. There’ll also be another selection of simple, quick and delicious recipes and some great little exercises which will make sure that you’re not a beach bum but that you do end up with a bum you’re happy to show on the beach.


The first two and a half days will kick start your metabolism and stimulate the body’s eliminating processes to help get rid of excess fluid. You should lose 3-4 pounds/1.5-2 kilos. During the next seven days, in spite of eating more food than you probably do normally, you’ll drop another 7 pounds/3.5 kilos, yet still get all your essential nutrients, have boundless energy and feel absolutely terrific. I always advise my patients to start the first half day after lunch on Saturday so they can do day one on Sunday and take life a bit more easily.

Half Day:

Mid-afternoon snack: A glass of hot water with a thick slice of unwaxed lemon. A handful of Californian ready to eat prunes and a handful of fresh, unsalted peanuts.

Evening meal: Large mixed salad with extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. Lettuce, tomato, watercress, onion, garlic, beetroot, celeriac, fresh mint and any herbs you like.
A large glass of unsweetened fruit juice or unsalted vegetable juice.

During the evening, one cup of weak tea or herb tea without milk and one large glass of water.

Day 1:

Breakfast: a large glass of hot water, a thick slice of lemon, a dessertspoon of honey. A carton of natural low fat live yogurt

Mid morning: A large glass of vegetable juice, a handful each of raisins, dried apricots and fresh nuts.

Lunch: A salad of grated carrot, red cabbage, apple with sliced red pepper, tomato, radishes, celery, a sprinkle of sunflower seeds, lemon juice and olive oil. A cup of herb or weak Indian tea with honey, no milk.

Mid-afternoon: A glass of fruit juice and a banana.

Evening meal: Any three cooked vegetables (not potatoes) with olive oil, nutmeg and lemon juice, herb tea or weak Indian tea.

During the evening: a mixture of dried fruits and unsalted nuts and as much fresh fruit as you like.

DAY 2:

Breakfast: fresh fruit salad of apple, pear, grapes, mango and pineapple, with a carton of live yoghurt and a tablespoon of unsweetened muesli. Weak tea or herb tea.

Mid-morning: 6 dried apricots. A glass of fruit or vegetable juice.

Lunch: Lettuce soup and a chunk of crusty wholemeal bread, no butter. Herb or weak Indian tea.

Mid-afternoon: an apple and a pear.

Evening: Pasta with lettuce pesto - use the rest of the Iceberg processed with a handful of pine nuts, a little olive oil, one clove of garlic and a carton of low-fat fromage frais. Tomato, onion and yellow pepper salad. Herb or weak Indian tea.

DAY 3:

Breakfast: half a grapefruit, one poached egg and two poached tomatoes.

Light meal: avocado, tomato and mushroom salad plus 4 ounces low fat cottage cheese and a large bunch of grapes.

Main meal: a large bowl of thinly sliced cucumber with lots of black pepper, cider vinegar and a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil, a generous portion of mixed stir-fried vegetables served on a bed of plain boiled rice.

Day 4:

Breakfast: a large fresh peach and six ripe strawberries.

Light meal: a large green salad and a mixture of lots of steamed vegetables – carrots, courgettes, new potatoes, peas, runner beans, sweetcorn – tossed in a mean teaspoon of butter and sprinkled with fresh chopped mint and parsley.

Main meal: a bowl of vegetable soup, grilled spiced chicken with lightly cooked mixed vegetables – frozen packets of chopped or chunks are ideal.

Day 5:

Breakfast: a large bowl of cherries and a low fat live yoghurt.

Light meal: mixed green salad and a generous portion of your favourite pasta drizzled with olive oil, crushed garlic, sprinkled with fresh chopped parsley.

Main meal: a carton of low fat live yoghurt mixed with chopped cucumber, lots of fresh mint, garlic, black pepper, a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil. Vegetable and cheese casserole.

Day 6:

Breakfast: muesli, Shredded Wheat, Weetabix or other wholegrain cereal, with semi-skimmed milk, and a banana.

Light meal: a sliced hard boiled egg with chunks of tomato, cucumber, fennel and lettuce in a wholemeal pitta bread.

Main meal: Celery, apple and walnut salad, grilled trout with cauliflower and runner beans tossed in a teaspoon of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice, sprinkled with lots of parsley.

********BOX COPY ONE ******

Must Do:

At the beginning of each day add one measure of herbal Pure Plan (from health stores and chemists) to a litre bottle of still mineral water and make sure you drink it all by bedtime. This mixture of birch, meadowsweet and dandelion for fluid elimination, artichoke to stimulate the liver, burdock and wild pansy for the skin, fennel and fucus to stimulate metabolism, and tamarind and prune for the digestive system, will help you to that ten pound weight loss by the time you’ve finished the diet.

Take one teaspoon, three times every day, of BioStrath Elixir, the Swiss herbal tonic which boosts resistance and improves absorption of essential nutrients (from health stores and chemists).

******* END OF BOX ONE ********

******* BOX COPY TWO **********

Supplements that help:

Coenzyme Q improves the conversion of starches into energy.
Guarana, the Brazilian rain forest herb, which provides slow release extra energy.
Beneflora granules for essential bacteria that live in the upper part of the digestive system.
Yakult Japanese fermented milk with essential bacteria for the lower end of the digestive tract.

******* END OF BOX TWO **********

******* BOX COPY THREE **********

Vital Fluids:

In addition to the drinks specified in the diet you may drink weak Indian, China or herb teas without milk and with a slice of unwaxed lemon if you like. You must also drink at least five large glasses of water each day. This keeps your body and skin well hydrated and stimulates kidney function to improve the elimination of waste products.

If you are a heavy coffee drinker – more than four cups a day – you’re almost certain to get a headache after the first 24 hours without caffeine. This will stop by day three and is helped by drinking the water. Try not to resort to pain killers unless you’re desperate.

******* END OF BOX THREE **********



1 medium onion, chopped
Half a clove of garlic, chopped
2 tbspns olive oil
1 litres of vegetable stock
Half an iceberg lettuce, shredded
225 ml / 8 fl oz bio yoghurt
1 handful of fennel leaves

• Soften onion and garlic in oil
• Add the stock and bring to the boil
• Stir in the lettuce and simmer gently for 10 minutes
• Add the yoghurt
• Serve hot or cold sprinkled with the snipped fennel leaves

Grilled Spiced Chicken

Allow one skinned chicken breast per person and cook extra as it will be delicious cold tomorrow as an alternative for lunch instead of the pasta. You’ll get extra calcium from the yoghurt, protein and B vitamins from the chicken and your metabolism will enjoy a real boost from the chill, cumin and coriander.

1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
small carton of natural bio yoghurt
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
Half a teaspoon chilli powder
4 skinned chicken breasts

• Chop onion and garlic and put into a bowl with natural yogurt
• Heat coriander seed and cumin seed for 2 minutes. Crush and add to yogurt mix with chilli powder.
• Pour mixture over chicken and leave to marinate for a hour.
• Grill chicken for 10 minutes each side, basting with marinade, until all juices run clear.

Vegetable and cheese casserole:

Veggies will love this but even devout carnivores will enjoy the filling flavours of this vitamin and mineral rich meat free recipe.

1 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
4 courgettes
4 tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
3 teaspoons chopped parsley
a handful torn basil leaves
2 tablespoons grated parmesan

• Wash and slice peppers, courgettes and tomatoes.
• Rub a deep casserole dish with olive oil
• Add vegetables in alternate layers, sprinkling each with a little garlic, olive oil and chopped parsley and basil
• Cover with foil and bake at 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 45 minutes
• Remove foil, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and return to oven until cheese is golden – about 10 minutes

Stuffed Grilled Trout

This recipe combines all the heart, joint and nervous system benefits of oily fish with skin nourishing betacarotene from the spinach, together with nutrients essential for healthy eyes. The cleansing oils in lemon make this a plate full of slimmers’ nutrition.

4 trout
4 large handfuls of baby spinach
2 unwaxed lemons, thinly sliced
1 tbsp olive oil

Make sure your fishmonger has gutted and cleaned the fish, wash thoroughly and pat dry. Wash the spinach well – even if the package says ready washed.
Fill the fish with a layer of lemon topped by the spinach.
Place on a grill pan, brush the top with olive oil.
Cook under a moderate grill for 15 minutes, turning halfway through and brushing with a little more oil.


It’ll help you – or your partner – get rid of the bits that bulge out of your bikini or over the top of his trunks.

********BOX COPY ONE ******

Must Do:

At the beginning of each day add one measure of herbal Pure Plan (from health stores and chemists) to a litre bottle of still mineral water and make sure you drink it all by bedtime. This mixture of birch, meadowsweet and dandelion for fluid elimination, artichoke to stimulate the liver, burdock and wild pansy for the skin, fennel and fucus to stimulate metabolism, and tamarind and prune for the digestive system, will help you to that ten pound weight loss by the time you’ve finished the diet.

Take one teaspoon, three times every day, of BioStrath Elixir, the Swiss herbal tonic which boosts resistance and improves absorption of essential nutrients (from health stores and chemists).

******* END OF BOX ONE ********

Day 7

Breakfast: a large bunch of grapes.

Light meal: crudite of olives, radishes, carrot, fennel and celery, any vegetable soup – preferably make your own or buy a carton, if you’re desperate use a good quality can, but NEVER use dried packets as they’re mostly full of salt and chemicals - a wholewheat roll and a pear.

Main meal: generous portion of mixed curried vegetables – potato, onion, cauliflower, broccoli, carrot, peas, mushrooms – tomato and onion salad, plain boiled rice. If you don’t want to make your own go to your local Indian restaurant or get a take-away, but don’t be tempted by the naan bread or poppadoms.

Day 8

Breakfast: mixed summer fruits – strawberries, raspberries, currants, apricots, peach.

Light meal: a large tomato stuffed with mixed tuna and low fat cottage cheese, plenty of black pepper and a green salad.

Main meal: Stir-fried cubes of chicken, lamb, prawns or tofu, with mixed stir fried vegetables and noodles. Mixed fresh berries with low fat live yoghurt flavoured with the zest of a lemon, quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of honey and two fresh mint leaves.

Day 9

Breakfast: a boiled egg and one slice of wholemeal toast very thinly scraped with butter, a glass of fresh unsweetened juice.

Light meal: salad of red radicchio and chicory leaves with grilled mushrooms and a wholemeal roll, an apple and a pear.

Main meal: a salad of pink grapefruit and sliced peach with low fat fromage frais.Fish Provencale with boiled potatoes and any green vegetable, a matchbox sized portion of cheese with a stick of celery and a few radishes.

Make sure you continue drinking your water and teas, by the end of the Real Woman’s diet you’ll be around ten pounds lighter and in much better shape for the beach. You’ll be delighted with your clear skin, bright eyes and huge amounts of energy. These are your rewards for sticking to the Real Woman’s diet, now keep it off and stay well by using the Wheel of Health guide.


Fish Provencale

This is great with cod, hake, or any firm white fish. The garlic and tomatoes are both great for the heart and circulation but tomatoes also contain lycopene which helps prevent breast and prostate cancer. The fish is a rich source of iodine which keeps your thyroid gland working to help weight loss.

2 medium onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 x 400 g / 14 oz can chopped tomatoes
4 fish steaks

Mix onions, garlic and tomatoes. Cut 4 squares of foil big enough to loosely wrap the fish. Put some tomato mixture in the centre of the foil, place a fish steak on top and cover with more of the tomato mixture. Season with black pepper, fold each parcel carefully to make it airtight, then bake in the oven at 200C / 400 F / Gas mark 6 for 20 minutes.

Stir Fry – chicken, lamb, prawns or tofu.

This is an easy, filling, dish in which the vegetables retain nearly all their nutrients. If you don’t want the trouble of preparing your own veg, buy a stir-fry pack from the supermarket.

2 tbsp rape seed oil
750 g / 1lb 10 oz of lamb, chicken, prawns or tofu – cut into bite size pieces
500 g / 18 oz stir fry vegetables – carrots, green beans, celery, mushrooms, sweetcorn, Chinese cabbage
light soy sauce

Put the oil into a wok or deep frying pan over a high heat. When it begins to smoke cook meat, prawns or tofu, stirring continuously for 3-5 minutes until sealed. Add the vegetables, cook for another 5 minutes until just tender but still crunchy. Sprinkle with soy sauce, serve at once.


The wheel is divided into three equal segments, one of which is then split into two smaller equal segments and a third much smaller still.

Segment A

All fruits, vegetables and salads, so get your five portions daily. Fruit or vegetable juice counts as a portion. An apple, pear, orange, small bunch of grapes, an average serving of any cooked or raw vegetable, or a small bowl of salad, are each one portion. So, a glass of orange juice with breakfast, an apple midmorning, a pitta bread stuffed with hummus and mixed salad at lunchtime, broccoli and carrots with your evening meal, and a bunch of grapes and a pear during the evening, gets you up to seven!

Segment B

The starchy foods that should provide half your daily calories. Plenty of wholemeal bread, rolls, chapatis, breakfast cereals, particularly muesli, porridge, Shredded Wheat, Weetabix and others low in added salt and sugar. Pasta, rice, noodles, potatoes – steamed, boiled or baked and sweet potatoes. Lots of beans, chickpeas and lentils – canned are fine but rinse well to remove salt.

Segment C1

Protein: meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas, fresh unsalted nuts and seeds are all sources of protein. These, like the dairy foods in segment C2, should be taken in modest quantities.

Segment C2

Milk, cheese, yoghurt, fromage frais are all available in low and very low fat versions but it’s worth remembering that full fat milk is just under 4% fat - a pork sausage is 32% fat. These are all a vital source of calcium.

Segment C3

This is by far the smallest group and should represent the lowest contribution to your total daily calories. These are the high fat, high sugar foods and often represent the treats we all enjoy. Normally you shouldn’t cut them out, you’ll be miserable, just be a bit mean. But while you’re on the Real Woman’s Diet be brave and ignore them for nine and a half days. Butter, margarine, low fat spreads, cooking oils, mayonnaise, and other oily salad dressings, should all be used sparingly.


Here is an instant guide to making better choices, wherever you’re eating.

Out for breakfast – instead of the greasy spoon fry up or burger bar bacon and sausage muffin, have two poached eggs on wholemeal toast with baked beans and grilled tomatoes – half the fat and half the calories. Add a fresh orange juice and you’ve already lost your first pound.

The sandwich shop – instead of cheese and pickle – you have to swim for half an hour to burn the calories – choose wholemeal pitta with hummus and salad. Two thirds of the calories, one third of the fat, half the salt, no sugar and twice as much iron.

The burger bar – burger, fries, apple pie and cola is half your calories for a whole day - six hours of fast walking to burn them up, with a whole day’s fat and salt. Choose fish burger, hold the tartare sauce, a small portion of fries and a piece of fruit. Half the fat, none of which is saturated, lots of iodine and vitamin C.

The restaurant – instead of pate, something with a wonderful sauce, and ice cream, have a plain grilled steak, any sort of roast or casseroled game, lots of vegetables and plain boiled potatoes. Have melon to start and don’t even look at the dessert menu. You’ll get a third of the fat and half the calories.

Going to a party? Most finger food is death to your diet as it’s high in fat and salt. Sausage rolls, salty nuts and nibbles, fried chicken wings, it’s amazing how soon you can munch your way through a thousand calories and huge amounts of fat. It’s best to eat before you go but keep your eyes peeled for unsalted nuts, olives, crudités with hummus, guacamole or tsatsiki dips – avoid the garlic mayo and cream cheese.


The combination of eating less and exercising more is the perfect way to lose those unwanted pounds. But you don’t have to join the gym or pound the pavements.

Anyone who eats two slices of bread and butter a day less and walks for 15 minutes a day more will lose a pound a week.

Standing needs much more muscle effort than sitting. If you always stand up when you talk on the telephone you could lose 10 pounds a year.

The easiest way to lose 5 pounds a year – leave the zapper on top of the TV so you have to get up every time you want to change channels.

Buy a skipping rope – 10 minutes a day will burn up two cream cakes. Skip the cream cakes and you’ll lose 2 pounds a week.

Do the penny bum – put an old penny (if you haven’t got one use a 2p or 50p coin) between the cheeks of your bottom, grip tightly and walk around the bedroom. Keep practising till you can do it for 10 minutes without dropping the coin. Do it every day and by the time you go on holiday you’ll have the best butt on the beach. You’ll never have to ask again the dreaded question – ‘does my bum look big in this’.


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