Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting
Heather Nicholds, C.H.N.

Intermittent fasting is a pretty popular “diet” going around right now. I normally steer clear of anything extreme, and some approaches to intermittent fasting are extreme and not something I would recommend.

However, if you take intermittent fasting in the direction of syncing up with our circadian rhythm (i.e. not eating overnight), it can certainly be done in a healthy way! And can definitely be done with a healthy plant-based diet.

It’s generally safe, most of us don’t need to eat in the middle of the night, but for anyone who is pregnant, breastfeeding, diabetic, underweight, taking medications, or has low blood pressure or any medical condition – you should consult with your doctor to make sure the composition and timing of your meals is safe and appropriate.

Anyone with a history of disordered eating should probably not follow this as it could easily trigger a mindset of restriction.

To be clear – I don’t think of intermittent fasting as needing to skip any meals. Just giving your body time between dinner and breakfast to reduce blood sugar and insulin levels enough to get the benefits shown in research (which we don’t know exactly yet, but seems like 12 hours is a safe place to start).

So I would set it up as:
– wholesome breakfast
– plant-protein-rich lunch
afternoon snack if needed
– wholesome complex-carb-rich dinner

And I’d probably time it with breakfast at 8/9am, and dinner about 6/7pm (or at least before 8pm), and then enjoy some herbal tea in the evening. The timing obviously depends on your body, your activity level, your work schedule, and a lot of other factors.

We can give it a fancy name, but essentially it boils down to eating wholesome, plant-based foods, in the right balance, and within a reasonable time of day.

Further Reading:

» Annual Review of Nutrition: Metabolic Effects of Intermittent Fasting

» WebMD

» Harvard Health Diet Review

» Harvard Health Blog Intermittent fasting: Surprising update

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