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Fasting And Plant Based Diet

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Who Should Try Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting and plant based nutrition – Andreas Michalsen

I believe that most people can benefit from some form of intermittent fasting, and that some people seem to really thrive with it.

If youre an all or nothing person who finds moderation challenging then intermittent fasting may be perfect for you. That is one of the many reasons I myself love it.

It just makes eating and meal planning and snacking simpler. Youll need to organize and prepare fewer snacks and meals and that reduces decisions and time spent in the kitchen.

And who knows, you might just save some cash too.

A Reduced Risk For Type 2 Diabetes

In a review published in July 2018 in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers found that following a plant-based diet was associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes. The nine studies involved about 307,100 participants, and were adjusted for factors such as smoking status and exercise frequency that otherwise could have affected the results. Researchers therefore deduced that the lower risk was due to participants diet choices.

The reason for this lower risk of type 2 diabetes may be improved function of beta cells, which help produce insulin . Past research has noted that as type 2 diabetes progresses, beta cell function declines and this can cause dangerous fluctuations in blood sugar levels. But a randomized trial found that after just 16 weeks following a plant-based diet, participants had better beta cell function and insulin sensitivity compared with the control group not to mention improved body mass indexes and less belly fat. Manaker agrees that a plant-based diet can help you manage your weight, and may even lead to weight loss if you follow it in a healthy way. Most people also start to feel like they have more energy, she adds.

What To Avoid On A Plant

When choosing to eat a plant-based diet, youll want to focus mainly on fresh, whole foods. In a grocery store, that means primarily shopping the outer aisles. If possible, choose organic foods as much as possible to avoid exposure to GMOs and pesticides.

For more information on pesticides in produce, guidance on the most important foods to buy organic, and how to wash fruits and vegetables, see our article here.

However, the main foods to avoid on a plant-based diet are:

  • Most or all animal products
  • Highly processed vegetable oils

Youll also want to pay special attention to nutrition labels. By reading labels, you can avoid ultra-processed and harmful ingredients. Packaged foods should have as few ingredients as possible. As a general rule, if you cant pronounce an ingredient, or dont know what it is, put the food back.

Many packaged foods are full of health claims like all-natural or non-GMO. But most of these phrases are branding tactics meant to mislead consumers into thinking a product is healthy. This is called greenwashing. To learn more about greenwashing and what seals and certifications you can actually trust, read our article here.

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Experts On Intermittent Fasting

A study recently carried out by a major United States University, confirms that a 24-hour fasting increases the bodys resistance. Furthermore, it consumes more bad cholesterol, it reduces the number of fat cells. Last but not least, it reduces the risk of diabetes and heart disease.

Dr. Paul Jaminet about fasting claims:

Daily intermittent fasting helps kill many autophagy pathogens and probably increases longevity and improves health. Fasting is an effective way of improving immunity against intracellular pathogens. But fasts should be short and should not exceed 24 hours. It is better to fast often, but for a short time. Long fasts promote intracellular infections through the suppression of autophagy during refueling periods. Long fasts can also interfere with the circadian rhythms that are supported by daily food consumption.

The research carried out shows the positive effects on the cardiovascular level, even reducing the risk of heart diseases by about 60% and the development of diabetes by 50%.

It is sufficient to abstain from food for 24 hours for new neurons to form in the brain.

Spending time without eating also reduces inflammation. It improves the performance of the immune system and improves the ability of cells to get rid of toxins.

A team of researchers from the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore says short and cyclical periods of fasting, would protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimers and Parkinsons.

My Top 3 Tips For Success

The plant

1. Dont be afraid of a little hunger. Hunger tends to come in waves, and even if you are feeling very hungry now, you might not in 30 minutes if you can keep busy and take your mind off of food.

Many of us have become accustomed to continual snacking, and that is a habit that we need to break if we are to become successful at intermittent fasting. We can use our energy stores to support our activities when we are not fueling, and that will help us burn fat.

Of course if you are feeling lightheaded or cant concentrate, its time to break your fast.

2. Stay hydrated. You will find fasting much easier if you drink lots of water or herbal tea. People often mistake the feeling of thirst for hunger, and drinking will keep your hands busy and help you feel fuller.

3. Once you know the rules, you can break em a little. One of the great things about intermittent fasting is its flexibility. If you are following 16:8 and your usual eating window is between 11:00 am to 7:00 pm, and you know you are going to a party in the evening and you would like eat and drink at that party, then you can adjust your window to later in the day: say 2pm to 10pm.

You could also try for a less restrictive window that day, like an eating window of 10 or even 12 hours. Finally, you could just take a day off from fasting. If you were faced with the same situation and you follow the 5:2 pattern, just move your fasting days around so they dont fall on the day of the party.

Also Check: What Can You Have To Drink During Intermittent Fasting

Choline Rich Foods Enhances Your Performance

Choline is a vital nutrient for the liver, brain, and nervous system. A minimal amount of it is produced in our bodies. Hence, it is essential to include it in our diet. Choline is found in a variety of fruits, legumes, whole grains, and nuts. It is present in large amounts in soymilk, cauliflower, broccoli, and quinoa.

If you are an athlete, you must increase the amount of choline nutrient intake as it enhances your performance during your workouts and improves your stamina. Choline helps in the fast recovery of muscles as well.

Cardiovascular Disease And Risk Factors

Esselstyn, et al., examined the effects of making dietary changes alone, without other lifestyle interventions, on patients with established cardiovascular disease. The authors reported that in 11 patients with severe coronary artery disease who were compliant with a low-fat plant-based diet, 8 had documented regression of coronary artery disease on repeat angiogram after five years on the diet. In a subsequent review, outcomes were reported on 198 consecutive patients with cardiovascular disease who voluntarily came to the Esselstyn program. A total of 89% were adherent to the diet, consuming a whole-foods, plant-based diet without any meat , dairy, eggs, or added oils. The cardiovascular event rate was extraordinarily low: 0.6% among the adherent patients versus 62% among the non-adherent group.

A literature review of plasma lipids and plant-based diets found that among different plant-based diets , populations following vegan diets had the lowest cholesterol concentrations. This review also found that plant-based diets are associated with up to a 35% reduction in serum LDL cholesterol, whereas interventions allowing small amounts of lean meat demonstrated less dramatic reductions in total cholesterol and LDL levels. In the EPIC-Oxford cohort, those following vegan diets had lower levels of apolipoprotein B, reflecting lower levels of circulating atherogenic particles.

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Can Being Vegan Help With Weight Loss

It can.

A study published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition compared a whole food plant-based diet with the Mediterranean diet that is so commonly thought of as being optimal for weight loss. The study found that within 16 weeks:

  • Participants lost an average of 6 kilograms on the vegan diet, compared with no mean change on the Mediterranean diet
  • Participants lost 3.4 kg more fat mass on the vegan diet
  • The vegan diet decreased total and LDL cholesterol levels by 18.7 mg/dL and 15.3 mg/dL, respectively, while there were no significant cholesterol changes on the Mediterranean diet

Communicate When Eating Outside Your Home

PLANT-BASED OMAD | A Day of Early Intermittent Fasting

Eating out at restaurants, or when visiting friends and family, presents its own set of challenges.

Unless youre going to a restaurant that specializes in vegan, vegetarian, or plant-based food, you may struggle with finding completely plant-based options. Let whomever youre dining with know your dietary preferences and see if you can find someplace that suits you both. Use apps and websites like Yelp or Happy Cow to find plant-based eateries.

Looking at menus ahead of time can also help. And when at a restaurant, ask questions about food preparation methods and substitutions. Most restaurants will do their best to accommodate your request. For more on how to navigate plant-based eating at restaurants, .

Similarly, when going to parties and dinners with family and friends, let your host know your dietary needs ahead of time. In extreme circumstances, you could also offer to bring your own food or even to eat beforehand. Or for additional ideas on how to stick to your diet at social gatherings.

Also Check: Fasting Blood Glucose Levels For Type 2 Diabetes

What Is A Whole Food Plant

This prioritizes whole grains over refined grains, and fresh produce over processed foods. It limits sugar and, of course, contains no animal products at all. This may sound limiting but we think you would be surprised at the range of foods available. Pasta, burgers, burritos, curries and thousands more everyday dishes can be made from whole foods. Lots of people find that by starting with one small change, such as choosing brown rice instead of white, or soy milk instead of milk taken from cows, they can start along the path to a whole foods plant-based diet, building in good habits as they go.

Improves Period Pain In Women

So if a plant-based diet can improve arthritis pain, could it also perhaps improve other types of pain? Some research suggests it could help with period pain in women.

For this study, women swapped to a low-fat vegan diet for two menstrual cycles, and then back to their usual omnivorous diet for their next two. Pain duration and intensity and pre-menstrual symptoms were recorded and levels of a hormone affecting estrogen levels were measured.

On the low-fat vegan diet, women reported less pain duration and intensity, shorter duration of premenstrual symptoms, and tests showed a lower level of estrogen. People are often surprised to hear that diet can impact hormone levels in the body. This study shows exactly that, and how lower estrogen levels can benefit womens health in a number of ways.

Recommended Reading: How To Lose Belly Fat Intermittent Fasting

Hot Water Coffee Or Tea

Next up is heading to the kitchen to prepare a hot drink.

Sometimes I drink plain hot water with lemon in it.

Other times, Ill make a pot of tea for myself and my husband to share

Other times Ill make a coffee and put a splash of almond milk and artificial sweetener.

I know some people say a splash of almond milk or artificial sweeteners would break a fast, but you have to do whats right for you!

If you are fasting for weight loss benefits, your primary concern is going to be calories.

So, anything less than fifty calories or so will likely not prevent weight loss.

Should you choose to add sweeteners or almond milk to your beverages, this is called dirty fasting.

I love it, and I will never give it up!

Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

How to Eat Plant


The benefits of fasting are only achieved when fasting is performed in a healthy and safe way. There is a plethora of misinformation being circulated around the internet and by word-of-mouth. One of the most important aspects to remember is that intermittent fasting doesnt replace healthy eating and regular exercise habits. Fasting doesnt equal a free ticket to gluttony.

With that said, when intermittent fasting is done correctly, the benefits are worth the work.

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Risks Of Vegan Intermittent Fasting

A vegan diet offers you many health benefits. But while following a strict plant-based diet, you might be at risk of nutrient deficiency. Vegans generally are more prone to experience nutritional deficiency of iron, zinc, calcium, vitamin B12, and vitamin D. This deficiency can affect your digestion, bone growth, and brain health. Also, a plant-based diet requires less time to digest hence you may feel hungry more often during your vegan intermittent fasting.

Best Podcast For Those Interested In A Plant

This podcast from Rip Esselstyn is focused on promoting plant-based living. Each episode features a well-informed guest usually someone in the health realm or a plant-based advocate to further that goal. The show has a backlog of more than 150 episodes, so theres plenty of content to keep you learning.

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The Terminology Of Intermittent Fasting


Fasting is the willing abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both for a period of time. There are different categories of fasting depending on the reason for abstaining from food and/or liquids. Absolute or dry fasts refer to abstaining from all food and liquids, while water fasts allow only water and no food. Intermittent fasting allows for more flexibility by abstaining from food and liquid for a designated period of time.

Intermittent fasting is when you rotate between periods of time that you eat and periods of time where you dont. The most popular type of intermittent fasting is called the 16/8 where youre technically fasting for 16 hours every day, and restricting your eating to an eight-hour eating window. Yet, intermittent fasting doesnt have to be this drastic. Many people opt for a 13-hour eating window instead.

While this may seem challenging, the process is simplified by your bodys natural circadian rhythm.

Circadian rhythm, also known as the sleep-wake cycle, refers to a 24-hour internal clock that is running in the background of your brain and cycles between sleepiness and alertness at regular intervals. The internal clock is controlled by your hypothalamus and influenced by environmental factors such as sunlight and night. The circadian rhythm of your body is essentially a built-in shut off switch for at least six to eight hours every 24-hour period.

How Do You Get Started

Plant-Based Intermittent Fasting | How to Get Best Result

I suggest you start with the 16:8 protocol. Of all the options this is the most intuitive and can yield excellent results.

Step 1: An easy way to get started, is to take note of the time you had your last meal or snack before going to bed. Try to finish your dinner between 6 pm and 7 pm, and dont snack in the evening.

Step 2: When you wake up in the morning skip your usual breakfast or prolong your breakfast depending on the time you had your last meal. For example, if you finished eating dinner at 6:00 pm, then wait to have breakfast until 10:00 am. That would be a 16-hour fast. Adjust the time to break your fast depending on when you had your last meal.

Step 3: During your 8-hour eating window, enjoy healthy well-balanced meals that include protein, fat, vegetables, and high fiber carbohydrates.

Step 4: Finish your last meal between 6-7 pm. Then repeat the process.

Read Also: When Should I Eat During Intermittent Fasting

Invest In A Few Good Plant

While there are certainly plenty of online recipes, its a lot easier just to open up a book than to search through thousands of recipes on the Internet. Cookbooks are a great way to have a library of recipes at your fingertips whenever you need them. And having a good cookbook on hand can provide guidance on pantry staples to have, along with tools you may need, common substitutions for animal products, or even further ways to modify a recipe if you have food allergies.

Weve created a list of cookbook recommendations to get you rolling on your plant-based journey. Check them out here.

Food And Nutrient Components Of Plant

A whole-foods, plant-based eating pattern generally includes legumes, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and nuts, and is high in fiber. All of these elements have been found to be protective against diabetes. Whole grains, including whole-grain bread, whole-grain cereals, and brown rice, have been associated with reduced risk of developing diabetes , a recent systematic review and meta-analysis of 16 cohort studies found a summary relative risk of 0.68 for three daily servings of whole grains. Specific fruits and vegetables, including root vegetables, green leafy vegetables, blueberries, grapes, and apples, have been linked to lower diabetes rates., Legumes have also been shown to ameliorate insulin resistance and protect against metabolic syndrome, and greater nut consumption has been associated with lower diabetes risk. Cereal fiber appears to be especially protective against type 2 diabetes.

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Are There Any Disadvantages To A Plant

Simply sticking with plant-based foods likely isnt going to cut it youll need to pay attention to the quality of the foods youre consuming, because there are plenty of unhealthy foods that qualify as plant-based, such as potato chips and french fries. Unhealthy plant-based foods will increase your risk of weight gain and health conditions such as heart disease.

Another thing you should be aware of: When you first switch to a plant-based diet, you may notice an uptick in bowel movements, diarrhea, or constipation. Thats because many plant-based foods are loaded with fiber, Manaker says, and fiber normalizes bowel movements, according to the Mayo Clinic. Consider gradually incorporating plant-based foods in your diet to give your body time to adjust, and be sure to drink plenty of fluids while you’re making the switch to eating more plants and afterward.

For the most part, eating a plant-based diet will check the boxes of all the major nutrients. A well-planned plant-based diet can be nutritionally adequate and particularly rich in fiber, vitamin A, vitamin C, and potassium because of all the fruits and vegetables that are typically eaten, Yule says.

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