The Simple Guide To Intermittent Fasting
One of the hottest topics to date, no doubt, intermittent fasting may seem like a relatively new diet trend, but it has actually been around for thousands of years. Fasting is an ancient practice that our ancestors have known, instinctually, as a method for healing, vitality, anti-aging and overall longevity. And if you think about it, it makes perfect sense. When we feel sick, we have a loss of appetite; that is our body’s way of telling us that it needs to reserve that energy for healing rather than digesting. Intermittent fasting is essentially this same concept, only we must practice it as a preventative measure rather than only after we’ve already gotten sick.
Not only is fasting ancient practice, but it’s necessary for us at a biological level. By allowing our digestive system time to rest for periods of 12-16 hours, we allow that energy (30% of our daily output, to be exact) to be focused elsewhere, and particularly on detoxification. This is a process known as autophagy, which is deserving of its own blog post—nay, its own textbooks—so I won’t elaborate too much here. In short, autophagy is what enables our liver to cleanse our blood at an optimum level, in turn clearing the body of free radicals and toxins that otherwise cause us to be fat, sick, and tired. You know those last few pounds that just won’t seem to budge? Most likely, that’s toxic buildup, and no amount of kale or Soulcycle will fix that, my friend.
The good news is, intermittent fasting is extremely simple, and there are number of ways it can be done to suit your lifestyle. Personally, I do it on a daily basis; I’ve been doing it for years, actually, before I even knew what it was. I instinctually always fasted for 12-13 hours overnight. I simply eat dinner between 6:30-8:30pm, and don’t eat again until 6:30-8:30am respectively. Some mornings I will wait a bit longer even; I just listen to my body and internal hunger queues. I also make sure to leave at least 2 hours between eating and going to bed, though 3 hours is ideal. This has worked extremely well for me, as it allows for a much deeper sleep, boosted metabolism, regularity, and overall increased energy and vibrancy.
Others find that doing a longer, 15-16 hour fast once a week works well for them, choosing to have an early dinner around 5pm and not eating again until 8 or 9AM. I also know a handful of people who prefer to do juice fasts, having one large meal for dinner, and this is their daily lifestyle. While not entirely the same as fasting, drinking juices (the raw fruit and veggie kind, not your Sunkist or Tropicana BS (pardon my French)) requires little to no digestion while still offering nutrients.
Ultimately, how you fast is up to you, but my goal here is to let you know that it really isn’t as extreme or difficult as it sounds. Experiment, try it out a few different ways, and see what works for you. All this is to say, if you’re still eating processed foods, you can’t expect dramatic results. The very first step is eating a clean diet, and knowing how to always be prepared with delicious, wholesome meals. For tips on this, check out my posts on tackling the grocery store, roasting vegetables while you’re in the shower, and download my free pantry essentials by subscribing to my newsletter here!