You’ve likely heard about the intermittent fasting craze, and you’re probably wondering if it’s right for you.
Intermittent fasting involves 12–16 hours of calorie reduction followed by periods of normal, healthy eating. While fasting can seem extreme, there are a few benefits to this method, and some pitfalls that are important to consider. A typical day’s eating with intermittent fasting might start at 11 am, and you’re finished consuming food by 7 pm. This routine sets the body on a 16-hour fast from 7 pm to 11 am. To set yourself up for success, take some time to educate yourself on the pros and cons of intermittent fasting, and create an actionable plan to break the fast in a sustainable, healthy way.
- Research links fasting to boosted immune function and reduced inflammation associated with chronic disease.
- Intermittent fasting assists the body’s natural cleansing process by allowing for more time between meals to digest food and to detoxify.
- Intermittent fasting can alter your hormones, causing your insulin levels to drop to facilitate the metabolism of body fat.
- Intermittent fasting can reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body, which promotes overall health and well-being.
- Depending on your body type, intermittent fasting can help you feel mentally clear and sharp.
- Intermittent fasting gives your digestive system a break, and can even improve gut function.
- There is a strong potential to overeat following the long fasting periods due to your appetite going into overdrive when you’ve been without food for extended periods of time.
- The diet can be difficult to sustain, especially if you’re not someone who likes rules and a lot of structure around eating.
- Intermittent fasting may inhibit your performance at work, and you can become irritable due to the restriction of calories during the morning fasting period.
- Intermittent fasting can cause people to become obsessive about food, which affects your overall relationship with eating, and yourself.
- The lack of food during the fasting period may cause you to rely on caffeine for more energy, which can cause adrenal stress and fatigue.
Being a naturopathic doctor and seeing patients in my own clinic, I am a firm believer that there is no one-size-fits-all diet for everyone, therefore if you will give intermittent fasting a try, I recommend paying attention to see how you feel throughout the process. Keep a journal and write down everything before you start. If you find intermittent fasting isn’t for you, it doesn’t mean you’re failing! It’s important to listen to your body.
One of the most common struggles with intermittent fasting is overeating when breaking the fast. Here are a few tips to ease your body into eating again after your fasting period. Plan out your meals – ensure you have healthy food on hand, cut up and ready to eat. As tempting as it may be to dive into beer and pizza after fasting for 16 hours, breaking the fast can influence how effectively your body can remove toxins. I recommend to my patients who choose this protocol to load up on fibre (veggies) and protein to satisfy and stay satiated. Hydrate – without adequate water for hydration, toxins cannot be eliminated properly during the fasting period and may re-accumulate in the body. Drink ample filtered water, cold-pressed juice or herbal teas to help curb cravings and stay hydrated. Breaking your fast with a protein smoothie can be of great benefit, especially if you add healthy ingredients. To avoid overeating immediately when breaking your fast, I recommend starting with a protein smoothie. A protein shake will help you stay full and ease your digestive system back into solid foods. Add healthy ingredients in your smoothie, such as almond or coconut milk, berries, organic kale, and choose a good protein powder, like Organic VegiDay All in One Nutritional Shake or VegiDay Plant-Based Protein. Sip on bone broth – a natural source of nutrients filled with collagen, gelatin, and anti-inflammatory amino acids, bone broth supports gut, skin, and joint health. Sipping on homemade bone broth during your fast and during periods of regular eating can help strengthen your digestion, help you feel energized, and keep you feeling full due to the protein content and essential nutrients.
© Karlene Karst
A good stock is a must. I usually prepare large batches of both vegetable and chicken stock, and then freeze to keep on hand. It can be used not only as a basis for soup, but also to add flavour to risotto or sauces. Bone broth has many nutritional and healing properties making it a nourishing addition to your diet. You will need a large stock pot for this recipe, so the vegetables have plenty of space to simmer. Sipping bone broth whether you choose to do intermittent fasting or not has impressive health benefits, and you can even buy organic bone broth at your grocery store. Adding bone broth is a healthy addition to any diet. Try this homemade bone broth recipe from @KarleneKarst to help you try intermittent fasting in a healthy, nourishing way.
Prep time: 10 mins | Cook time: 2 h+
- 2 lb bones (you can use chicken [leftover carcass is good], beef, lamb, etc. – ensure grass fed and free range) – you can roast the beef bones prior to adding to water for better flavour
- 2 tsp apple cider vinegar (this helps pull nutrients from the bones)
- 1 celery stick, along with leaves
- 2 carrots, clean but don’t peel
- 1 leek, remove tough outer layers
- 1 yellow or white onion
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 bunch parsley, tied with cooking string
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cloves garlic, peeled, and left whole
- 13 cups room temperature water
- Prep and clean vegetables.
- In a large stock pot, add bones and vegetables with water. Add salt.
- Bring to a boil, then turn to low heat and simmer with lid on for at least 8–12 hours.
- Continue to check broth and skim off the impurities that arise at the top of the pot.
- When bones and vegetables are soft and broth is lightly flavoured, remove all vegetables and strain broth until clear.
- Let cool before refrigerating.
- This freezes very well.
For more great recipes, get a copy of Karlene Karst’s new cookbook, This Kitchen Is for Dancing at natural health food stores, Chapters Indigo, and on Amazon.