Processed Foods That Are Okay On A Whole Food Diet
Many brands of cereals are fortified with B vitamins, which can be hard to come by on a plant-based diet.
For example, vitamin B12 , is largely found in animal sources. It is something that those on a plant-based diet need to keep an eye on, as studies show that around 20% of us are deficient. And we also know that 65% of vegans and vegetarians dont take a B vitamin supplement.
So in that case, choosing a cereal fortified with B vitamins would be a good option, if done wisely. By that I mean use your discretion and check the labels, as many brands of cereals are packed with sugar and additives. But you can strategically choose minimally processed foods using a whole foods mentality.
As a rule of thumb, if there are any ingredients that you cant pronounce, dont understand, or sound artificial, they probably are best avoided.
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A Brief Guide To Fasting
Fasting is fairly simple. You just have to follow three rules:
- Choose a fasting window. As you read, the stages of intermittent fasting each come with different benefits. Pick a window of time fast and stick to it. for example, if youre doing an 18-hour fast, maybe you stop eating at 8 PM today and dont break your fast until 2 PM tomorrow.
- No calories. A true fast includes zero calories during the fasting period. Water, coffee, tea, and other zero-calorie beverages are fine during water fasting, but anything with calories will break your fast.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water during your fast. make sure you also get your electrolytes by adding sea salt to the water and/or taking an electrolyte supplement.
For more details about different fasting schedules and how to use fasting as part of a healthy lifestyle, you may want to take a more in-depth look at fasting.
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What Are The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Weight loss isnt the only benefit of IF. Fasting is a practice that dates back to ancient times, and in some cultures is still practiced regularly.
Health benefits are a pleasant side effect of IF, and many of those perks can affect womens health specifically.
Musculoskeletal health. This includes conditions like osteoporosis, arthritis, and lower back pain. Fasting has been shown to promote hormone secretion from the thyroid. This can promote bone health and help prevent bone fractures.
Metabolic health. Some women go through menopause in their 50s. Menopause can cause changes in your body that increase belly fat, insulin, and glucose. Fasting can help you decrease your blood pressure, cholesterol, and belly fat, which can improve insulin sensitivity. Fasting can also keep your metabolism on track as you age.
Mental health. Fasting has been shown to promote mental health. It may reduce anxiety, depression, and the emotional roller coaster that can go hand-in-hand with menopause. Fasting has also been proven to improve self-esteem and reduce stress.
Other proven benefits of IF include:
- Improved memory
- Heart health
Why Might Changing Timing Help
But why does simply changing the timing of our meals to allow for fasting make a difference in our body? An in-depth review of the science of IF recently published in New England Journal of Medicine sheds some light. Fasting is evolutionarily embedded within our physiology, triggering several essential cellular functions. Flipping the switch from a fed to fasting state does more than help us burn calories and lose weight. The researchers combed through dozens of animal and human studies to explain how simple fasting improves metabolism, lowering blood sugar lessens inflammation, which improves a range of health issues from arthritic pain to asthma and even helps clear out toxins and damaged cells, which lowers risk for cancer and enhances brain function. The article is deep, but worth a read!
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How Does Intermittent Fasting Work
To understand how intermittent fasting leads to fat loss we first need to understand the difference between the fed state and the fasted state.
Your body is in the fed state when it is digesting and absorbing food. Typically, the fed state starts when you begin eating and lasts for three to five hours as your body digests and absorbs the food you just ate. When you are in the fed state, it’s very hard for your body to burn fat because your insulin levels are high.
After that timespan, your body goes into what is known as the postabsorptive state, which is just a fancy way of saying that your body isnt processing a meal. The postabsorptive state lasts until 8 to 12 hours after your last meal, which is when you enter the fasted state. It is much easier for you body to burn fat in the fasted state because your insulin levels are low.
When you’re in the fasted state your body can burn fat that has been inaccessible during the fed state.
Because we don’t enter the fasted state until 12 hours after our last meal, it’s rare that our bodies are in this fat burning state. This is one of the reasons why many people who start intermittent fasting will lose fat without changing what they eat, how much they eat, or how often they exercise. Fasting puts your body in a fat burning state that you rarely make it to during a normal eating schedule.
Isnt It Important To Have Breakfast Every Morning
Not necessarily. This appears to be an old misconception, based on speculation and statistics, and it does not hold up when its tested.57 Skipping your morning meal gives your body more time to burn fat for energy. Since hunger is lowest in the morning, it may be easiest to skip it and break your fast later in the day.58
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Heres The Bottom Line
Its possible that intermittent fasting is not for you, and thats okay. At some point, if youve tried different variations and youre still feeling hungry or sluggish, it might be time to ditch the effort and just focus on healthy eating in general, but that doesnt mean it will be a total loss, Fung says.
For many people, trying this leads to a greater understanding about the effects of what theyre eating, he says. Even if you decide time-restricted eating doesnt work for you, that awareness tends to remain.
What Can I Eat While Intermittent Fasting
During the times when youre not eating, water and zero-calorie beverages such as black coffee and tea are permitted.
And during your eating periods, eating normally does not mean going crazy. Youre not likely to lose weight or get healthier if you pack your feeding times with high-calorie junk food, super-sized fried items and treats.
But what Williams likes about intermittent fasting is that it allows for a range of different foods to be eaten and enjoyed. We want people to be mindful and take pleasure in eating good, nutritious food, she says. She adds that eating with others and sharing the mealtime experience adds satisfaction and supports good health.
Williams, like most nutrition experts, regards the Mediterranean diet as a good blueprint of what to eat, whether youre trying intermittent fasting or not. You can hardly go wrong when you pick complex, unrefined carbohydrates such as whole grains, leafy greens, healthy fats and lean protein.
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Rules For All Fasting Diets
- Cutting back on carbs and filling up on the right fats during your eating window can help you avoid the blood sugar crashes that come during fasting periods. Experiment with different fasting diet foods and see how you feel.
- Stay hydrated with regular water intake. Aim to drink more water than usual.
- If you want to exercise, time your eating window close to your workout. Some people prefer to hit the gym while theyre abstaining from eating. Do what works for you.
- When you break your fast, break it well. The best fasting diet foods are healthful whole foods like vegetables, quality fats and pasture-raised meat to maximize your nutrient intake.
- Stock up on go-to drinks to help carry you through your fast. Unless youre doing a strict water-only fast, you can sip plain tea and coffee on fasting days, like clean Bulletproof Coffee Beans.
- On non-fasting days, have high-fat, lower-carb snacks and drinks ready when your energy gets low, like a Bulletproof Collagen Protein Bar or Bulletproof Cold Brew Latte.
Tips And Tricks About Fasting
#1) Dont freak out! Stop wondering: can I fast 15 hours instead of 16? or what if I eat an apple during my fasted period, will that ruin everything? Relax. Your body is a complex piece of machinery and learns to adapt. Everything is not as cut and dry as you think.
If you want to eat breakfast one day but not another, thats okay. If you are going for optimal aesthetic or athletic performance, I can see the need to be more rigid in your discipline, but otherwisefreaking chill out and dont stress over minutiae!
Dont let perfect be the enemy of good when it comes to your intermittent fasting plan.
#2) Consider fasted walks in the morning. I found these to be very helpful in reducing body fat, and also gave my day a great start to clear my mind and prepare for the day.
Simply wake up and go for a mile walk. Maybe you could even start walking to Mordor?
#3) Listen to your body during your strength training workouts. If you get light headed, make sure you are consuming enough water.
If you notice a significant drop in performance, make sure you are eating enough calories during your feasting window.
And if you feel severely off, pause your workout. Give yourself permission to EASE into intermittent fasting and fasted workouts. This is especially true if you are an endurance athlete.
#4) Expect funny looks if you spend a lot of mornings with breakfast eaters.
#7) Track your results, listen to your body:
This is just one tool that can contribute to your success.
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Why Intermittent Fasting Could Work For You
Intermittent fasting is straightforward to follow without complex food and diet instructions,” says Dr Ruxton. “However, for some people it can be hard to follow. Many people report feeling hungry and lightheaded on fast days. Yet for others intermittent fasting may seem more achievable that eating less every day.
Enjoy Your Newfound Freedom From Food
Once you are properly fat adapted, intermittent fasting can be easy, fun, enjoyable, and liberatingwhile making you leaner and healthier in the process! Lets say you are following the Leangains protocol. Breakfast every day during the work week is now just black coffee, tea or water, how easy is that? No more worrying about what you are going to grab for breakfast as you rush around in the morning and struggle to get to work on time or get the kids ready for school.
This saves you time, work and effort and is literally a form of metabolic exercise! In the meantime, you are improving your insulin sensitivity and strengthening your fat adaptation. This is a win in many ways. It frees you to eat large and satisfying meals later without feeling the deprivation, without watching calories, and without restricting yourself.
And on days where you skip breakfast and lunch, you will be amazed at how much extra time you have not worrying about what to eat, where to get it, and when to find time to eat it. Your productivity will be higher and you will have more free time. .
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What Are Fasting Diets
Though theres no one-size-fits-all approach to fasting diets, they typically include a period of time when youre fastingabstaining from eating or drinking anything with caloriesand a period of time when youre eating, sometimes focused on specific food groups.
With this type of dieting, you might skip breakfast a few times per week, or you might limit your eating window every day. It all depends on what works for you.
Everyone responds differently to fasting diets, but this style of eating may help you feel more like yourself. Fasting diets can help improve your mood and better manage your weight. Other benefits range from improved memory and alertness to autophagy, which is your bodys natural way of cleaning out damaged cells and toxins to make way for fresh, healthy cells.
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More About Intermittent Fasting
Ive been a dietitian now for a long time , and if theres one thing I know for sure, its that fad diets are best avoided. This is why Im so pleased that whole food diets are being talked about more and more.
Rather than a diet, I prefer to think of a whole food diet as a way of life. Eating this way is balanced, and it is a great way to support your all-around body health and longevity. Plus, its delicious andin my opinionnot limiting either, which is a massive bonus.
A well-balanced diet follows some fairly basic principles and, in essence, consists of plenty of the following:
The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Fat loss is great, but it isn’t the only benefit of fasting.
1. Intermittent fasting makes your day simpler.
I’m big on behavior change, simplicity, and reducing stress. Intermittent fasting provides additional simplicity to my life that I really enjoy. When I wake up, I don’t worry about breakfast. I just grab a glass of water and start my day.
I enjoy eating and I don’t mind cooking, so eating three meals a day was never a hassle for me. However, intermittent fasting allows me to eat one less meal, which also means planning one less meal, cooking one less meal, and stressing about one less meal. It makes life a bit simpler and I like that.
2. Intermittent fasting helps you live longer.
Scientists have long known that restricting calories is a way of lengthening life. From a logical standpoint, this makes sense. When youre starving, your body finds ways to extend your life.
Theres just one problem: who wants to starve themselves in the name of living longer?
I dont know about you, but Im interested in enjoying a long life. Starving myself doesnt sound that appetizing.
The good news is that intermittent fasting activates many of the same mechanisms for extending life as calorie restriction. In other words, you get the benefits of a longer life without the hassle of starving.
Way back in 1945 it was discovered that intermittent fasting extended life in mice. More recently, this study found that alternate day intermittent fasting led to longer lifespans.
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Leangains Also Called 1: 8
Leangains, as popularized by bodybuilder Martin Berkhan, is by far the most popular method of fasting intermittently. This form of fasting consists of skipping breakfast every morning and pushing the first meal of the day to lunch, eating within an eight hour window. The idea is to fast for 16 hours , then eat all your calories in an 8 hour window.
For example, lets say you get up at 6:00 a.m. You would skip breakfast and eat nothing for six hours, then lunch at noon and dinner at 8:00 p.m. Snacking inside your eating window is allowed . This 16:8 split is recommended every single day.
If you had one day off from this protocol and followed this the other six days of the week, that would amount to an additional 4 hours of fasting per day compared to the standard 12:12 split that we are assuming to be baseline . Four hours per day times six days per week equals about 24 hours of total additional fasting per week.
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What Can You Eat
When you’re not fasting, you can eat the food you normally would. Of course, you shouldn’t load up on lots of french fries and doughnuts. But studies seem to show that your health changes for the better when you fast, even if your diet does not. You should still add more fruits, veggies, and whole grains, too, if you don’t already eat enough of them.
Pros Of Intermittent Fasting For Women
“There is substantial research to support the therapeutic benefits of fasting,” says Jillian Greaves M.P.H., R.D., L.D.N. Integrative Functional Dietitian at Prevention Pantry Nutrition. “Some potential health benefits include improved cellular health, improved metabolic markers, and weight loss.”Studies show that intermittent fasting leads to weight loss in women, but doesn’t lead to any more weight loss than a calorie deficit overall. However, the structure of IF makes it easier for some to reduce caloric intake.
Intermittent fasting can boost fat burn too. When we eat, blood sugar rises and insulin is released to take glucose to our cells for energy. Extra glucose is stored as fast. If you don’t eat for 10-16 hours, your body will start to use its fat stores for energy.
A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that in a fasted state, cellular repair occurs, which is linked to increased longevity, reduced risk of cancer, lower inflammation and improved metabolism. However, many of the studies are in animals and more studies in women are needed.
There’s also emerging research that eating in sync with circadian rhythm keeps chronic diseases at bay. In other words, eating during a 6-10 hour window during the day, when it’s light outside, and reducing nighttime eating.
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