Intermittent Fasting Step by Step Guide for Optimal Health

Intermittent fasting (IF) should be a lifestyle, not a fad diet. It is regaining popularity lately especially for its anti-aging and health benefits as well as for those wanting to lose weight. This is a healthy lifestyle change to get you to optimal health. There is much evidence supporting the hypothesis that eating patterns that reduce or eliminate nighttime eating and prolonged nightly fasting intervals may result in sustained improvements in human health. For example, when stored glucose is used up, the body will begin to burn fat as a source of energy, resulting in weight loss.

Here is how to go about intermittent fasting, but first the benefits.

Note: Do not do intermittent fasting if you are pregnant or nursing and do not let children fast.

It will take over 12 hours of fasting before benefits kick in. Most people sleep a good stretch at night so taking that initial 8 hours and adding to it is easier than you think. The longer you can fast the more benefits that you will experience. Going 14 hours, 16 hours, or even 18 hours will greatly change what is happening in the body. However, the benefits are there even after a minimum of 14 hours fasting.

Listed below are all the wonderful benefits to IF.

  1. Increases energy
  2. Reduces inflammation
  3. Improves heart health
  4. Lowers bad cholesterol
  5. Lowers blood pressure
  6. Stimulates cell regeneration
  7. Better cognition, more clarity
  8. Increases your metabolic rate
  9. Lose weight
  10. Mini detox
  11. Increases muscle mass (especially if strength training)
  12. Improves insulin sensitivity
  13. Improves gut health
  14. Improves mood
  15. Burns stored body fat
  16. Reduces hunger
  17. Reduces calories
  18. Increases autophagy (reduces effects of aging and disease)

For your fasting window,  use the hours you sleep and add to those hours to get at least 16 hours of total fasting time. This seems to be the most common because it is the simplest and most sustainable. While fasting it’s best to choose the feeding window you want to be eating in and stick to that pattern. Some people prefer to eat soon after waking up in the morning, while others are okay with waiting until lunch to eat. You could do 10:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m., or 12:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m., or 11:00 a.m.-7:00 p.m., or even a 1:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Breaking your fast at your lunchtime is optimal, but making sure you are stopping a few hours before going to bed is best. You’ll want to be careful about what you eat and how you do the IF otherwise, you will not reap the best results.

While you are fasting it is important that you only consume water, lemon water (½ to 1 TBS lemon), green tea/tea (no sugar or cream or chunks of fruit in it), or coffee (black ONLY)

While it may seem unimportant to think about the way you will break your fast, it is very important. Ideally, you will want to start with clean eating, high quality, nutrient-dense foods because these foods are easy on the digestive system and high in fiber. The following is your guide on how to best come out of your fast.

  1. Start with a tall glass of water with 1-2 Tbsp of ACV (apple cider vinegar)
    1. This helps stimulate and prepare your digestive system for food
    2. Promotes fat burning
    3. Helps you feel full after you eat, avoiding overeating
    4. Stabilize blood sugar levels to increase insulin sensitivity, stabilize energy, and mood
  2. Next, have a cup of bone broth with some Equalizer Concentrate
    1. It provides lots of minerals and nutrients
      1. Potassium, sodium, magnesium, calcium
    2. It replaces electrolytes you lost during fasting
    3. Collagen helps bones, hair, teeth, and nails
      1. Contains anti-inflammatory properties
  3. Your first full meal-what to eat?
    1. Protein option that is easy to digest and keeps you fuller longer
      1. Farm-raised eggs (as tolerated)
      2. Quinoa (a complete protein)
      3. Lentils or lentil soup (excellent choice at 16-18 grams protein)
      4. Chickpeas/hummus
      5. Sweet potatoes
    2. Dark leafy greens (add to a smoothie)
      1. Dark leafy greens
        1. Kale or spinach
          1. Protein-rich and packed with fiber, minerals, and nutrients
    3. Nuts (especially almonds) and chia seeds
      1. Healthy fats
      2. Fiber-rich
      3. Protein-rich
    4. Cruciferous vegetables
      1. Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, broccoli
      2. High in fiber and easy to digest
    5. Avocado
      1. High in Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids
      2. High fiber and rich in nutrients
      3. Higher in potassium than a banana
    6. Fermented foods
      1. Unsweetened yogurt or sauerkraut
      2. Easy to digest and very filling
      3. Great for gut bacteria (probiotics)
  4. For your next meal of the day, you may include your preferred high-quality meats or beans
    1. Organic chicken, turkey, beef, or wild-caught salmon are the preferred protein options. Choose clean non-hormone ladened meats.
    2. Vegetables, crucial for every meal, with a portion size of twice as much as the protein source. Use a 2:1 ratio on your plate of vegetables vs. meat. (non-carb vegetables)
    3. Black (15 grams of protein), pinto, or white are high in protein

After completing intermittent fasting, it is a great beginning of healthier habits. You will notice you feel much better overall by reducing your inflammation with just these new diet changes.

As with anything, there can be factors that cause intermittent fasting to not work well for you. You may fail to succeed at IF or you may be unable to benefit from the good things that come from IF, so keep these common mistakes in mind as you are learning to effectively IF.

  1. Starting too drastically, i.e. going from 6 meals to 3 meals a day
  2. Not having a good plan before starting
  3. Eating whatever you want
  4. Binge eating as much as you want, too many calories
  5. Eating too little calories
  6. Thinking a small bite or portion of food is okay in fasting mode
  7. Accidentally breaking your fast, stopping the health benefits of IF
  8. Not exercising while fasting, working out is VERY beneficial
  9. Don’t beat yourself up if you make a mistake, we are human
  10. Don’t let IF rule your life, if you mess up try again the next day

Intermittent fasting is certainly not for everyone. If you’re underweight or have a history of eating disorders, you should not fast without consulting with a health professional first. In these cases, it can be downright harmful. Here are safety tips and possible side effects you may experience. Common, especially in the beginning.  Your body is adjusting to this new pattern of fasting/food consumption.

  1. Hunger is the main side effect
  2. You may feel weak, your brain may be sluggish but in many cases, mental clarity is the result of IF
  3. Dehydration-you must drink lots of water
  4. Women can experience amenorrhea when doing IF

Make sure this is right for you and start slowly, a great option if you are used to having 3 meals a day, plus snacks. There are no rules saying jump in full force and fast for 16 hours, but some do. You can start by extending the time between meals until you are eating breakfast and lunch together (brunch).  You will end your food consumption early in the evening.


Who should NOT do Intermittent Fasting?

  • If you have a medical condition, consult your doctor, especially if you:
    • Have diabetes
    • Have problems with blood sugar regulation
    • Have low blood pressure
    • Take medications
    • Are underweight
    • Have a history of eating disorders
    • Are a woman who is trying to conceive
  • Children and teens under 18
  • People with diabetes

Can I take Equalizer in my water when fasting, what about supplements? Equalizer Concentrate is acceptable during fasting. Yes. However, keep in mind that some supplements like fat-soluble vitamins may work better when taken with meals.

Can intermittent fasting help with detox? Yes, by reducing the amount of food the digestive system has to digest, it is free to focus on cleaning and healing itself.

Can intermittent fasting help boost metabolism? Yes. Short term fasting helps boost your metabolism. It is good for weight loss because it controls calorie intake. It also helps with increasing insulin sensitivity, which helps with appetite and blood sugar control. When used in conjunction with a metabolism-boosting nutritional protocol, Intermittent fasting supports a healthy metabolism.

How does intermittent fasting reduce inflammation? Consistently over-fueling leads to inflammatory pathways. Time-restricted eating minimizes that. By reducing the constant consumption of food that could be irritating the body.  This reduces the triggering of inflammatory response and assists with detoxification.

I heard that IF can support healthy testosterone production, is this true? How? Testosterone production can improve when one is calorie restricting. This is a protective response by the body in an attempt to preserve as much of that precious muscle that your body has grown. The testosterone helps to maintain muscle mass while the total calories taken in may not be sufficient to maintain muscle mass.

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