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.
Possible Short Term Side Effects
- Low blood pressure
- Abnormal heart rhythm
Possible Long Term Side Effects
- Compromised immune system
- Damage to liver
- Damage to kidneys
- Death (extreme prolonged fasting)
Intermittent Fasting Benefits
- Can increase HDL and decrease triglycerides
- Fasting before exercise increases fat utilization
- 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
How to Get Started
Greek Style Yogurt