It is no coincidence that fasting is practiced around the world and by spiritual and religious traditions. Spiritually and physically it’s a pause, a reset, a renewal, a shift in awareness.
Fasting has many benefits which are backed by scientific evidence. Experiments on rats have shown an increase in life expectancy of 83% for rats experiencing fasting periods as compared to rats consuming the same amount of food without fasting periods.
Fasting promotes blood sugar control by reducing insulin resistance. Decreasing sugar consumption increases your body’s sensitivity to insulin, allowing it to process sugar more efficiently. Fasting has been shown to decrease inflammation. Fasting is a great way to determine food sensitivities, your body's digestive health, and its reaction to certain foods.
My main purpose in fasting is mainly to give myself a reset. Every year, I renew my awareness around food, snacking and portion control. This year, I have become better aware that I need to eat more slowly and, no matter how healthy the food in my stomach is, I can’t deal with too much food at the same time. Snacking is something I struggle with when it gets colder outside. A glass of water doesn’t seem as appealing as it does on hot summer days.
In September, I try to be mindful of the change of each season. Our bodies need to acclimate to cooler weather. Appetite can increase and veer towards heavier foods. The extra calories consumed to keep your body warm, triggers a reaction in your body to increase consumption of calories, that means hunger. As soon as calories are spent to keep the body warm, you will notice changes.
Be mindful of your current weight! If you’re like me and at your ideal weight right now, our goal will be to maintain it throughout fall, winter and spring. Of course, this is easier said than done but it’s good to set an intention early on.
Start thinking about a fall reset cleanse.* Many people think about cleanses in the spring, but that has never felt right for me. I feel best physically at this time of year. I have a few months of accumulating Vitamin D behind me. I’m eating freshly picked vegetables and fruit. I’m exercising and spending time outside. But I think about the next few months, and I know that is all about to change.
In the spring my energy is low, and I feel nutritionally low. I have never been able to consider a cleanse reset at that time. In the early fall, I actually get excited about doing a reset. Doing so helps bring to mind our eating habits in general.
A cleanse is also a way to analyze how we deal with certain foods that are allergens. As we grow older, we can develop food sensitivities that we didn’t have before. Removing foods from our diet helps us make sure that the foods we eat still serve us nutritionally.
I start adapting my diet to begin an elimination cleanse by early- to mid-October. It helps delay the heavier diet of colder months.
Weekly intermittent fasting is a way to incorporate fasting into your life. This is a question of style. I like my yearly reset, and I rely on the French anti-snacking culture to limit snacking between meals. If you like weekly fasting, go for it, but use caution and pay close attention to how you feel physically and emotionally. This is especially relevant as you get older. Depriving your body of proteins and minerals can have a quick and lasting effect on muscle tone and bone strength. When depleted of protein, your muscles’ size and strength can be affected. When depleted of minerals the same can happen to your bones. Long term, this could have an impact on your overall health. At 52, with a family history of osteoporosis, low muscle strength and low food absorption, I will not go without a meal that includes absorbable protein and mineral-dense foods. For this reason, I focus more on cleansing, than all out fasting.
During a fast, consuming liquid food is a way to give your digestive tract a break. Liquid is easier to digest. Think baby food. I use a vegan protein powder because of dairy intolerance, but a good whey protein from grass-fed cows is a great source of protein. For minerals, a green powder with mineral drops is my go-to. You can also make a vegetable broth to drink to keep your minerals up during a cleanse.
Liquid Chlorophyll versus a multi green drink? Dark green vegetables and algae and a great way to absorb much needed minerals. Chlorophyll is the pigment taken from these vegetables or algae, it accelerated detoxification. Some people, including myself, find chlorophyll to be too intense for daily use, in fact it makes me feel extremely tired.
Minerals are best absorbed from green foods. For this reason, Vitamineral Green from Healthforce is my go-to for boosting mineral consumption.
You will find product details at the end of this article.
My fast lasts 15 days, but foods are added every three days.
The first three days are very strict: No sugar foods.
1) No refined sugar at all, including all sweeteners, honey, stevia and all artificial sweeteners.
2) No Fruits and cooked vegetables.
3) No carbs.
Breakfast is typically a protein shake with one and a half hard-boiled eggs. Lunch and dinner will be a half-cup of lean protein such as chicken, fish, lean turkey, or lean ground beef. Vegetarians, use tofu or a vegetarian substitute with 2 cups of raw vegetables, and small amounts of non-dairy dressing. Between meals, drink plenty of water, mineral broth or powder, and protein shakes to help with hunger. After three days, I add a little fruit only in the morning and cooked vegetables. Homemade soups are great.
After six days, I add nuts and seeds. After nine days, reintroduce dairy. I use yogurt (non-dairy for me) in soups and dressings. During days 10-15, I experiment with different kinds of carbohydrates. I try small quantities for breakfast and lunch, but not for dinner. I look for digestive issues, like gas and aches with gluten for example. Use one grain at a time and look for any differences in digestion, mood and mobility. Do the same for beans and lentils, one at a time.
After the 15 days, I keep sugar and carbs low, especially at the end of the day. When you eat low or no sugar for dinner you are sugar fasting for 18 hours every day, which is not bad. Stay safe, hydrated and exercised.
Protein shakes: There are so many out there, If you have questions, I would love to talk to anyone individually about protein shakes. New Chapter https://www.newchapter.com/products/plant-protein-original/ is my go-to now for two reasons: The protein is sourced from mung beans, which is very digestible (in fact, in India it is made into mush for digestive issues); and protein from mung bean has the protease enzyme, which helps break down protein. Mung beans also have great antioxidants and electrolytes.
Vegetable Broth recipe: Making your own broth is a great way to stick with foods instead of supplements. It takes more time, but you can make enough to last a few days.
1 cup each of
¾ cup sea vegetables
a little garlic, ginger and cayenne pepper
Slow boil for 20 minutes with a cover. Let it cool before straining and composting vegetables. Drink broth between meals.
More information on intermittent fasting: