What is Intermittent Fasting?
What if you could lose weight without worrying about counting calories? How would you like to live a longer life while still remaining vital and active? These are just some of the benefits of intermittent fasting according to its proponents.
Fasting has been part of the human experience for at least as long as recorded history. It has been used as part of religious and spiritual practices, as a form of protest, and for health purposes.
Intermittent fasting, or IF, is not about completely abstaining from food for prolonged periods of time, but rather an eating pattern which alternates periods of eating and fasting. The eating takes during a “window”, which can vary in duration or remain consistent.
It has become extremely popular trend in health and fitness circles because studies have found that intermittent fasting offers numerous health benefits. It’s also a convenient way to simplify your life. By preparing fewer meals, you save a lot of time which would have otherwise been spent in food prep, cooking, and cleaning up.
Some intermittent plans involve skipping food entirely for up 36 hours at a time. Other plans allow you to consume some food, but you only eat a portion of your regular calories.
Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
There is research which shows that people who follow an intermittent fasting plan can lose weight and lower systemic inflammation. Other studies have found that intermittent fasting can help lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and triglycerides.
Scientists believe that the secret behind the plan’s health benefits lies in the stress which fasting places on the body’s cells. The process of responding to this stress may strengthen your cells’ ability to fight off certain diseases and may supercharge your body’s immune system.
What You Can Eat and What You Can’t
The general consensus is that you can eat what you want during your feasting window. But is that realistic? While the health benefits appear to be related to the fasting not the type of food consumed, eating processed foods high in fat, sodium and chemicals will undoubtedly cause health problems.
And nutritionists stress that for weight loss, you need to limit your calories to see results.
It only makes sense that the optimal benefits will be achieved by following a well-balanced diet plan which includes ample amounts of fruits and vegetables.
Remember to drink enough on fasting days to prevent dehydration. And you’ll need to eat a healthy diet on days that you don’t fast.
There is interesting research on longevity which has been conducted on rats which shows that extreme calorie restriction increases their lifespan. Recently, it’s been discovered that intermittent fasting produces the same effect. Does this translate to humans? We don’t know yet, but many people are willing to bet that it does.
Other research suggests that intermittent fasting can protect against heart disease, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease. Some research shows that it may reduce asthma symptoms.
By combining juicing with intermittent fasting, you are fast-tracking your desired results, whether you want to lose weight or detox your system.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
There are several different approaches to intermittent fasting which makes it easy for you to choose the method which will work best for you and your lifestyle.
16/8 intermittent fasting involves consuming nothing except calorie free beverages during a period of 16 hours, and limiting the consumption of food to an eating “window” of 8 hours per day. The cycle can be repeated as frequently as desired, in fact some people practice this type of intermittent fasting on a regular, continuous basis.
This is currently the most popular type of intermittent fasting because it is easy to follow and provides results with minimal effort. It’s less restrictive and more flexible than many diet plans and can be made to fit into most lifestyles.
Bingeing on junk food during your window can undermine your efforts and stall your results. 18/6 should be combined with a nutritious diet such as juicing in order to improve and maintain your health.
This plan was developed by weight-loss expert Brad Pilon, and it focuses when you eat instead of what you eat or restrict. Pilon has a background in nutrition and the sports supplement industry states that scientific evidence supports the idea that fasting regularly for brief periods of time, promote weight loss far more effectively than diets which cut the number of daily calories consumed. As an added benefit, intermittent fasting may lower your risk of certain diseases.
The plan involves fasting up to twice a week without giving up any specific foods.
It’s a simple plan to follow: you fast once or twice a week for 24 hours at a time. For example, if you stop eating at 7 p.m. on a Saturday night, you will fast until 7 p.m. Sunday. Although 24 hours is ideal, Pilon claims that 20 to 24 hours can also work. Eat approximately 2,000 calories a day for women and 2,500 calories for men until your next fast. You should never fast on consecutive days and do not exceed two fasts in one week.
On your fasting days, you should limit your intake to water, coffee, tea, and other non-caloric liquids. You can eat whatever you like when you break your fast, but again staying within the suggested daily calories. You don’t have to avoid any specific types of food, although obviously it’s ideal to eat clean.
Why count calories if there’s a way you can eat anything you want? That’s what the 5:2 intermittent fasting plan is about – for five days anyway. The catch is that you have to fast for the other days of the week.
It’s not as restrictive as other types of fasts, you can eat some food on your fast days, about 25 percent of what you’d normally have. That works out to about 500 calories for women and 600 calories for men.
While you could technically eat anything as long as you stay within those parameters, most experts recommend that you load up on plenty of vegetables, and small portions of lean meat, fish, or eggs. This plan combines really well with juicing because they tend to be filling and are so nutrient-dense.
Is this plan feasible long term? It depends on you. Some people find it difficult to limit themselves to only 500-600 calories, even if it’s only for two days. It also causes some people to overeat on their non-fasting days, ruining the progress they made while fasting.
The Good and the Bad About Intermittent Fasting:
Several research studies have been conducted on intermittent fasting. A recent study, published in 2018, in the International Journal of Obesity found that men on an intermittent fasting plan lost more weight and gained more muscle than men
There may be additional health benefits as well. A study published in 2007, in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, discovered that fasting on alternate days reduced the risk of chronic disease in animals.
Intermittent fasting may be easier to follow for some people since you don’t have to eliminate an entire food group like fats or carbs.
Intermittent fasting is not recommended for anyone who has suffered from an eating disorder, as the pattern mimics anorexia and bingeing.
It may be difficult for some people to follow an intermittent fasting plan because it interferes with social events. Even Brad Pilon suggests that plan be done privately so it doesn’t conflict with activities.
The fact that intermittent fasting plans don’t make specific meal recommendations for non-fasting days or “windows”, means it may be difficult for some people to exercise self-control or judge what they should eat.
How to Get Started?
It doesn’t take much to start an intermittent fasting plan because it’s so flexible. So, let’s go over what you need to do.
Decide Which Type of Intermittent Fasting Schedule To Follow:
Whether it’s 18/6, Eat-Stop-Eat, or the 5:2 schedule doesn’t really matter. Choose the plan which fits your lifestyle, and which seems easiest for you to follow. You can always make a course correction if you find that it’s not working well for you.
Clear Your Home of Unhealthy Foods
You’re juicing to get healthy and combining it with intermittent fasting to reap even greater benefits. Now’s the time to remove temptation from the equation in order to ensure you stick to your plan.
While you can certainly go ahead and shop for your juicing staples without planning ahead, it may be less stressful and more effective if you decide ahead of time which juices you’ll be preparing.
If you’re aiming for weight loss or detox, then you’ll want to stock up on green vegetables, fruits with lower sugar content, and herbs which will assist with the process. If you are hoping to control or prevent a medical condition, then find out which types of fruits and vegetables contain the nutrients you need to achieve this result.
Now It’s Time to Shop!
Head to your local farmer’s market, supermarket, or health food store and stock up on the organic fruits and vegetables which fit your wellness plan.
If you can’t afford organic produce or it’s not available, make sure to be thorough when you clean your fruits and vegetables.
Some fruits and vegetables are more toxic than others. They have been heavily chemically treated with pesticides and fertilizers. These must-have organics are:
4. Bell Peppers