Fasting almost always is associated with starvation. There are different fasting methods that people have used for centuries, sometimes not of desire but because they have been forced due to scarcity of food.
Intermittent fasting is an eating plan where you cycle between eating and fasting, and it is important to understand that intermittent fasting is not categorized as starving. There are many different intermittent fasting methods but they all mostly tell you when to eat and when to rest, and less about what to eat.
During your fasting time you are only allowed to consume foods that are zero calories. With that in mind, we all know that every food has at least some sort of caloric value therefore the only thing left is to just drink water. You can also drink unsweetened, no milk, or creamer added to your coffee and tea. Tea is especially great if you get to the extreme hunger state during the fasting cycle.
During the eating period you are allowed to eat anything you want. There are no guidelines or restrictions when it comes to the type of foods you are allowed to consume. Keep in mind that most people do fast for health reasons, eating healthy during the eating cycle would of course make the most sense.
Some of the foods that could be a good choice for the eating cycle include the following: Lean chicken and meats, turkey, fish (not farmed), oatmeal, brown rice, beans (all kinds), legumes, broccoli, nut butters, healthy oils and lots of greens.
Fasting can last anywhere from 12 to 20 hours per 24 period. Some people ease into it and start out with only 12 hours, and this is especially easy if you start your 12-hour period in the evening and do it over the course of the night while sleeping. 24 hours are much harder to do for those that have never done it. The first time you are able to go to the full 24 hours without eating, might bring different sensations and the taste might even be stronger. Eating the same amount of food as before will be difficult and the feeling of fullness will come much quicker.
There are many benefit of fasting for less than 24 hours, as you can still reap the desired benefits, and you do not have to give up your social or family dinner time. Let’s say you have dinner at 6 pm. You can fast until the next day’s lunch time and still get most of the benefits that 24-hour fasting would give you. It is important to note that prolonged fasting can have short and long term side effects.
Can make improvements in rheumatoid arthritis patients
Can increase life span
Can help regulate moods
Helps to keep energy levels at an even rate
Helps to build a healthier relationship with food
Rest the digestive system
Allow for cleansing and detoxification of the body
Create a break in eating patterns, while shining a spotlight on them
Promote greater mental clarity
Help to feel lighter physically and mentally
There have not been conclusive studies done yet but so far many of the studies show evidence that intermittent fasting increases BNDF (brain derived neurotrophic factor), which means that it helps to build more neurons and can in turn help reduce the risk of degenerative diseases.
Get a physical examination and consult your primary care physician to see if he thinks this type of eating is good for you. Starting out slowly is highly recommended. Try a 16 hours of fast followed by 8 hours of eating. The first few days might be difficult and you might experience sluggishness, feel tired during the fasting period, all because your body is used to being replenished with carbs every few hours. This usually goes away within the first week. Focus on making better food choices when eating. Implement strength training exercise at least 2-3 times a week. Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated. Remember this is not a starvation or deprivation of calories, this is a creation of a longer period of time between the eating time and “resting” your body time. Make sure to go back to your doctor for a follow up check up to see if your body is reacting well to this new kind of eating pattern.
Here is a sample menu of what to eat during the eating period:
*Please keep in mind that with any diet or weight loss program, individual results will vary.
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