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Intermittent Fasting–A Brief “Skinny”

May 12th, 2020

Intermittent fasting has been proposed as an effective means of supporting weight loss and well as helping maintain ketosis. It involves fasting up to 14 hours per day with the goals of supporting ketosis and calorie restriction. In and of itself, intermittent fasting alone will not support weight loss. Nutrient intake, nutrient diversity, nutrient density, and caloric balance are still required. In other words, intermittent fasting while eating bon bons remains unhealthy and unlikely to support weight loss.

 

My general recommendation for intermittent fasting is to avoid eating after dinner, and preferably finish dinner by 7:00PM. Fast overnight at least 12 hours—late night snacking can really complicate our metabolism. I also recommend avoiding snacking between meals. Changes in meal content—including lots of vegetables (especially leafy greens!), healthy fats, and small portion of healthfully raised protein sources—can sustain us between meals. Since this may be especially difficult for those with reactive hypoglycemia—please schedule an appointment to discuss dietary and supplement support.

 

The science in a nutshell: When we eat (especially carbohydrates but proteins, too), insulin is released. Insulin is all about getting glucose out of our bloodstream and STORING energy (AKA, fat!). When all is working as designed, insulin is secreted after a meal, keeping blood glucose levels optimal. Then blood glucose starts to dip and the liver releases glucagon (another hormone). Glucagon REMOVES energy from storage in order to keep blood glucose optimal between meals and during our overnight fast. If we are constantly eating, snacking, throughout the day, insulin remains the required hormone. When insulin is elevated, weight loss is impossible. If you do have a snack, be sure that it includes a healthy fat (nuts, seeds, avocado, etc.) and avoid carbs (crackers, chips, cookies, etc.).

 

Some meal ideas!

 

  • Breakfast:
    • Ground turkey seasoned with rubbed sage, garlic salt, and a pinch of fennel and caraway seeds. Add chopped celery or fennel bulb, cubed golden beet, and red cabbage. Sauté until vegetables are done.
    • Paleo granola (lots of varieties to choose from—just watch serving size!) with 1 tsp melted coconut oil or butter.
    • Egg scramble—Sauté leafy greens (Swiss chard, kale, beet greens and stem, romaine) with chipped carrot, and mushrooms. When almost cooked, pour off water released from the mushrooms and add egg. Scramble it up and cook until egg is done.
    • Sauté fresh vegetables (try new combinations) and add tempeh or cooked leftover meat (chicken, pork, beef, salmon)
  • Lunch:
    • Well, my favorite is leftover breakfast!
    • Mixed greens with sardines and olive oil/balsamic vinegar combo. I like Navidi’s options!
    • Leftover dinner J
    • Whole-fat yogurt with nuts and berries
  • Dinner:
    • Chicken roasted in crockpot with side salad (greens, radishes, cooked and cooled beets, etc) and olive oil/vinegar.
    • Salmon curry—combine coconut milk with 1 – 2 tbsp curry paste, add vegetables (carrots, turmeric, water chestnuts, celery, etc) and simmer until almost done. Layer fish filet on top, cover, and poach fish until cooked through. I usually turn the filets after about 3 – 5 minutes.
    • Homemade meatloaf using ground turkey or ground beef or tempeh. Omit the bread crumbs but add an extra egg to help it stick together. I like to add chopped onions and bell peppers, oregano, a little tomato paste, garlic. Serve with steamed broccoli drizzled with olive oil.

 

I’ll admit I’m a lazy cook. I make mostly plain proteins and serve with sides of sautéed vegetables and/or salad. Give a lot of variety in combinations later!

Some other important tips if you are trying to lose weight: watch portion sizes, use a smaller plate to help your brain “understand” portion size, eat at your dining table, chew food thoroughly, put your fork down between bites, savor your repast!

Photo by Casey Lee on Unsplash