Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, famously said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Hippocrates and many of his contemporaries were proponents of long term fasting as a powerful way of healing the body, heightening mental acuity, enhancing spiritual connection and promoting longevity.
Fasting is currently gaining a buzz in the media, but this ancient therapy has been used for thousands of years to reverse health conditions and reset the body and mind. The question is, does one have to do a long and difficult fast in order to reap the benefits of this amazing therapy.
The answer is No. Science is showing the increasingly popular lifestyle of Intermittent Fasting to be just as effective as long term fasting in receiving the myriad health benefits. Intermittent fasting or “IF” is easy to fit into your busy modern schedule and it promotes healthy and sustainable body composition by stabilizing blood sugars and burning fat while improving energy levels, mental clarity, muscle and skin tone and helping people reach their health goals much quicker.
The secret lies in taking an insulin and digestion break for 12-20 hours at a time so that the body can become insulin sensitive once again and tap into fat reserves as fuel as well as allowing the body to go into repair mode, which can only happen when not digesting food.
There are a few different methods of IF, one of the most popular being the “16:8” ratio. The faster typically stops eating after 8:00pm, fasts while sleeping, skips breakfast, then has lunch around noon when they begin their 8 hour “eating window” from noon until 8:00pm achieving a 16 hour fast. The point of IF is NOT calorie restriction, but rather, to shorten the “window” of eating so that the body can flip from digestion mode into repair mode. You may find you will naturally eat less, yet feel very satisfied. This is due to the stabilization of blood glucose levels and the restoration of proper singling of the hunger satiety hormones.
“The HOW”: during the day…
It is recommended to first begin by consulting a health care practitioner to decide if IF is right for you and then to begin by slowly increasing your fasting window each day until you are at the desired ratio of hours spent fasting versus eating. When fasting, drink plenty of spring or mineral water, and even some tea or black coffee if you choose. I recommend using “Fasting Days” by Innotech Nutrition, as a supportive supplement made in Canada which is a doctor formulated, nutrient complex powdered drink mix specifically designed for intermittent fasting that acts as an all-natural low calorie drink to prevent hunger while maintaining your electrolytic balance. (read to the end of this article for a PROMO CODE for this supplementing option).
At Noon Eat a healthy lunch with a balance of protein, complex carbohydrate and fats. My favorite choice to gently break the fast is to consume a blended protein smoothie with a scoop of high-quality protein powder, coconut milk, a cup of frozen berries and a big handful of greens or a greens powder.
At 4pm Snack on a handful of trail mix, veggies and hummus or a piece of fruit with almond butter.
At 6pm Have a satisfying dinner with a serving of protein, plenty of leafy green salad and/or steamed veggies with healthy fats such as grass-fed butter, coconut oil or avocado, avoiding excess grains, starches and sugars.
7pm Another healthy snack if you’re feeling hungry.
8pm Stop eating and begin your fast.
“The WHY”: Some of the benefits of this “insulin and digestion break”:
- Autophagy – when insulin production is turned off a mechanism called Autophagy gets turned on. Autophagy means, “self-devouring”. Your body searches out and consumes “bad cells” and recycles the materials to produce new and healthy cells. This is showing promise in reducing the risk of many types of cancer and to slow cellular aging.
- Stem Cell Production – fasting stimulates stem cell production which allows for self-renewal and reversal of many cellular and mitochondrial diseases. Studies are showing an increase in longevity and reduction of inflammation with IF.
- Human Growth Hormone (HGH) Production – studies show that fasting triggers the youth hormone known as “HGH” which improves sleep, increases muscle mass, improves skin tone and joint strength, as well as energy metabolism and fat burning.
- Healthy Sustainable Weight Loss – IF is much different than calorie restriction diets. Calorie restriction shuts down then spikes glucose making the dieter feel deprived and fatigued causing a rebound effect and the inevitable “falling off the wagon”. Fasting however, uses up stored glucose and shuts down insulin production thereby allowing us to become sensitive to insulin once again, stabilizing blood sugar levels, and gaining more energy without the crashes. With fasting we become “fat-adapted” or fat burning, which is the body’s preferred source of fuel because it is stable, plentiful and sustainable.
- Digestive system and gut microbiome rest and reset: studies show that IF restores microbe diversity in the gut, increases our tolerance to “bad” bacteria, and restores the integrity of the epithelial lining allowing us to absorb nutrients better, all of which has a beneficial outcome for our immune system which is 80% or more found in our gut. This in turn can elevate our mood due to the Gut-Brain Axis and the fact that our neurochemicals are mostly produced in the gut.
In summary, intermitting fasting is a modern take on the ancient therapy that is an extremely beneficial and sustainable lifestyle for both your body, your wallet and the planet. Imagine that the simple answer to our health woes was not found in the pursuit of what we needed to do more, but in what we need to do less. And as we allow the inner physician to do its work, we are also allowing this natural force of well-being to aid the planet in healing too.
About Natalie Reimer Anderson, our Guest Blogger!
Natalie Reimer Anderson was a former professional athlete and high school teacher before being sidelined by a debilitating autoimmune condition that caused her to pursue recovering her health full time. She is now known for her inspirational personal story of overcoming her
illness through cultivating the mind-body-spirit connection to optimal health. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, Fitness Trainer and Life Coach for over a decade, she combines her expertise of intermittent fasting, cellular nutrition, and fitness hacks along with mindset training and cognitive therapies to transform lives from cell to soul.
If you would like guidance to properly begin your Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle contact Natalie today! Use this Innotech Nutrition Coupon Code to receive 10% off Fasting Days or any of their products: Nat10