Ever get paralyzed by the blossoming multiplicity of health trends out there? Paleo, ketogenic, raw, high-carb-low-fat, low-carb-high-fat, we must try it all and we must try it now! It can get pretty overwhelming, especially on the internet, where conflicting advice is never hard to find. Which hype? What to eat? When to eat? Should I even eat at all? One of the high rising waves of late in this spectrum, actually does not require a lot of drastic flipping-your-life-around, and more and more scientists and doctors are recommending it for a very wide range of purposes. We're talking Intermittent Fasting.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent Fasting involves cycling betweens periods of eating and periods of fasting, where nothing else but water or low-calorie drinks are consumed, and should help balance out body and mind. Typical is to limit eating times to a frame of 8 hours, for example between 10 and 6, but it could also be as simple as making sure there’s at least a 12-hour window between dinner and breakfast (which according to Ayurveda is something we should all be doing).
Why does it work?
In the abundant world where we live in, where food is fast and supplements are plenty, there is a lot of ‘overdoing it’. Intermittent Fasting is refreshing because it makes us take a step back. Similar to the paleo-diet, IF kind of mimics the rhythm of the way our ancestors used to live in. They didn’t roll out of their caves in the morning to open the fridge and see what's for breakfast, or reached for their lunchbox to munch on a matcha-ball when they felt a little peckish. They had to hunt, or harvest, for hours, until they could feed themselves. That was the norm for so long, our genes must still somewhat be accostumed to this pattern. IF reconnects us with our natural instinct and the way the world used to be, before it became snack-city.
How does it work?
Our bodies use glucose for energy, which is obtained from the food we eat. Because we eat so often (sorry not sorry), we are more than provided with a readily available source of glucose in the bloodstream. Through IF, we give our bodies the opportunity to reach for glucose stored in muscles and liver, and once those are exhausted, to switch to its own fat stores. It is like a self sufficient time-out so that your digestive tract and organs get to have a break, and your cells can clean themselves up.
What’s in it for you?
A common misconception is that Intermittent Fasting is just the highway to losing weight, which of course could be one of the benefits (you will train your metabolism to become more flexible), but there are way more and exciting ones;
1. Boosts brain function.
2. Balances out hormones such as insulin (regulating blood sugar).
3. Decreases the risk of cancer, heart disease, and inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
4. Reduces inflammation.
5. Has a positive effect on the overall composition of your gut-bacteria.
6. Improves longevity.
Is it a fad?
When you are starting to get sick, every noticed your appetite leaving you? That’s your hormones surging and your blood glucose lowering to fight infection, which is only one of many examples that shows there is a lot of intelligence present in our bodies own mechanisms. Through IF we provide space to tap into that internal wisdom, and in stead of this being a hype, it seems like something deeply natural, that's been in our system since the beginning of times.
Intermittent Fasting is nice because it is so multi-applicable, so it's very easy to combine with your own preferences. We love transforming this to a baby-juice-cleanse. Juicing in between cycles can prevent crashing - especially for women, who are a more sensitive to hormonal imbalances. This will provide your body with enough energy through all the vitamins and minerals cold pressed juice has to offer, while still being low calorie. Be mindful of not taking it too far, as it could sometimes trigger unhealthy eating habits. But in general, after your body is accustomed to this new flow, you should notice an increase in energy, stamina and cognition. As with any specific eating-regime, it's not for every one, but it's definitely worth the try.