Intermittent fasting - my approach


Intermittent fasting - my approach

Hi love

I wrote to you a few weeks ago to tell you about how I eat - a moderate keto diet, and why - because it stabilises my weight, gives me loads of energy and has pretty much obliterated my polycystic ovary syndrome.

It's not just about the type of food i'm eating though, it's also about how much and when, and that's where intermittent fasting comes in.

Fasting diets have become really popular recently because they've been researched extensively now and in many cases give really good tangible health results. Herbalists and natural health practitioners have been recommending fasting for years as it's always been understood that when you take away the burden of digestive process and insulin production that goes along with eating, your body can and will focus on healing itself. This is why Cleanses like our Ayurvedic Detox work well, because you are basically giving your digestion a rest by mono-mealing with very easy to digest food, allowing your body to do what it naturally does when it's not constantly in digestion mode - heal.

There are different ways you can bring fasting into your life. At the most extreme some undertake a 5 day fast either with no food or very small amounts of food so low in calorie that you body stays in the fasted state. Some people like the 5-2 diet popularised by Dr Michael Mosley. The most gentle approach is to have an overnight fast of 12 hours, so if you finish eating at 8pm you don't eat again until 8am.

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My approach is fairly moderate and especially recommended for women as we can actually harm our hormones with sustained periods of fasting. I like to finish eating by 6pm and then not eat again until 11am the next day this allows a 17 hour fast. I do this no more than three times a week. A regular 17 hour fast allows for all the main benefits of fasting to take place 
  • Metabolic Health - weight loss or stabilisation
  • Digestive rest - releasing the body from the job of digestion and insulin production 
  • Autophagy - cell regeneration, the body's way of cleaning out damaged cell

What can I eat or drink when I'm fasting?


When you start fasting the first thing we all ask is what can I eat or drink? Surely I can have tea? What about a splash of milk?

The answer depends on why you're fasting. If you're fasting for metabolic health or to keep your body in ketosis (fat burning mode) you may be able to eat a small amount of calories during your fast, some people estimate under 50 calories is ok but really, you'd have to check your ketones to see if that was true for you.

If you're fasting for digestive rest pretty much anything you eat or drink will require some digestion, even some herbal teas, but if the food or drink is very digestible the work required is minimal so you still get lots of benefit.

If you're fasting for autophagy and trying to facilitate healing, the answer isn't entirely straightforward because scientists are still researching this now but the position looks as though even a minimal amount of calories will break a fast. However it's worth noting that black coffee and green tea have been shown to stimulate and support autophagy. I personally always have a cup of black coffee or green tea before 11am for this reason. 

If I get really hungry before 11am I'll have a bulletproof coffee made with reishi mushroom coffee. Recipe coming soon. This will disrupt autophagy but I still get the other benefits.

If you've Three Day Cleansed with me you might be wondering if I keep up the same schedule during our seasonal Cleanses and how that it all fits in with the kitchari and blue keto smoothie. The answer is yes and I've just done it this round so I'll give you some more information on that and also some recipes and products I think you may find useful next week.

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If you're thinking about fasting for the health and or weight benefits you'll definitely want to be on our New Year's Cleanse list for January 2021. It's such an beautiful way of releasing toxins, weight that wants to go, resting your digestion and getting on track with your health goals. 2020 has been a hell of year lets start 2021 strong - join the wait list here.

“Enjoyed the food on the cleanse - I could happily live on that! Felt clear headed by Tuesday pm and lost 2.5 kg. Will definitely do it again. Thank you!”

Dr Ridge, GP


If you have any questions about intermittent fasting or want to chat about your experience just reply to this or message me on instagram and I'll be back next Wednesday with some recipes for you.

Love 
Emma-Louise
Medical Herbalist at Eat Live

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