The average American eats about 17-20 times a day. Wouldn’t you say that statement is ridiculous?! As ridiculous as it may sound, it is true! Let’s say you eat 3 big meals a day or for some people who believe it’s better to eat smaller meals, eat 5-6 meals a day. On top of that you have several snacks throughout the day like nuts, granola bars, fruits, and etc. Then you have to have a couple of drinks like soft drinks, juices, flavored water, alcohol and etc. Each time you put something in your mouth that requires digestion and a release of insulin, you are having a meal. It does not matter if it is small or big, it is still considered a meal. This type of eating is detrimental to your health!
When you eat your body has to perform many functions which takes a good amount of time depending on the contents. It has to assimilate food, digest food and process food starting from your mouth and eventually ending up in the colon. When you are constantly eating, your body is constantly working. There is no rest. There is no time for your body to repair and heal itself. The body is just trying to survive. When the body is not digesting food, it has all that time and energy to heal and do miracles in your body. Many studies show that more frequent snacking and eating speeds up aging, increases inflammation and doesn't work for long term weight loss. The only thing that works is eating less often!
Eating less often sounds like fasting. Fasting is a very old ritual to boost health that is found in religions all over the world and is rooted in natural ancestral cycles of feast and famine. Before we had grocery stores, restaurants, and even food delivery services, there were often times when there was very little to no food (famine). Other times after a successful harvest, forage, or hunt there was an abundance of food (feast). Even animal wisdom harnesses the power of fasting- like dogs, that will intuitively stop eating when they are sick. Fasting can have incredible benefits not only for health but also for longevity. Here are some incredible health and longevity benefits that are attained by fasting: Autophagy, a boost in Stem Cells, Hormone Optimization, Increased Insulin Sensitivity, Reset of Microbiome, Decrease in Inflammation and much more.
Intermittent Fasting (or IF) to boost health has gained popularity in more recent years. It is the art of restricted time eating. Instead of counting calories or restricting what types of foods you eat, the entire “diet” relies on when you eat or don’t eat. Its wisdom dates back to our ancestors from the stone age. Apart from periods of feast and famine, our ancestors’ lives were also heavily dictated by the rising and setting of the sun; activities like eating naturally happened during day time. Our exposure to light, food, and movement are the main tenets that inform and program our circadian rhythm. This internal rhythm influences everything from sleep-wake cycles, hormone release, eating habits and digestion, body temperature, and other important bodily functions.1 Intermittent fasting plays a role in giving the body an adequate period of rest from digestion, enabling it to not only heal, but to thrive.
There are many different styles of fasting that range from multiple days water-only fasts, to bone broth fasts, to alternate day fasting… but Intermittent Fasting itself is incredibly simple. Take part in a particular restricted eating window, preferably eat 2 meals (and no snacking). This is not starvation, nor deprivation. You’re not eating less, you’re eating less often. When you do eat, you eat delicious, healthy foods until you feel satisfied. You won’t have to fear healthy fats, grass-fed meats, organic vegetables, or strategic amounts of healthy carbs. You abstain from eating for a window of time (determined by you and your practitioner based on many factors) to allow your body to burn its own fat, and then eat until you are full.
It’s important to work with a trained practitioner to determine what diet strategies and what eating and fasting windows will work best for you.
Larisa Belote, INHC, AADP, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach is a strong believer that your body is a smart machine and can heal itself given a chance and the right set of tools. Contact Larisa to set up an appointment today to determine what Intermittent fasting windows and diet strategies will work best for you. Call 732.490.5770 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org; Website: www.stepbystep-wellness.com
This article appears in the March 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings Monmouth/Ocean edition. Click here to subscribe. Thanks :)