Lent can be an important time of year to many, and as a practicing Catholic, the days leading up to Easter are filled with adding things or giving things up, abstaining from meat, and fasting. Growing up, in my family, fasting was talked about, but wasn’t practiced very much. The Catholic Church’s rule on fasting was that you can have three meals, but the combined amount from the first two should not equal the amount of the third. My way around this, was to try and skip breakfast and lunch, and then, having a combined food total of zero, I felt justified in eating as much dinner as my stomach could hold.
Intermittent fasting has become popular in recent years, but what does that really mean and what does it do? Intermittent fasting simply means that there are periods of time where you are eating and periods of time when you aren’t. So technically, the fasting I did as a kid was considered intermittent fasting, but it really wasn’t healthy, and it didn’t offer me much of the benefits that can come from fasting properly. It wasn’t until more recently that I began to learn about fasting from a health standpoint and why it can be an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
When I recommend fasting in my practice, it is typically a 18:6 schedule. This means that there are six hours of eating time and 18 hours of fasting. The way I usually suggest doing this is by cutting out a meal, usually breakfast, and only eating lunch and dinner. Unlike when I was child, I also recommend controlling portion sizes at those meals by weighing out food.
This seems to work well and provide benefits for most patients.
The three biggest reasons I recommend intermittent fasting to my patients are for:
1. Weight management
2. Blood Sugar Control
3. Toxicity Reduction
I suggest fasting to help support and create a healthy body. During eating times our bodies are busy digesting food. It is during fasting periods that our bodies clean, detoxify and heal. If we don’t give our bodies adequate time to perform the necessary housekeeping tasks, we can become toxic.
Some examples of excess toxicity are irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune conditions, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis, chronic yeast infections, Eczema, Psoriasis, and other skin issues. Poor healing in just about any area of the body can usually be improved with fasting.
The thought of fasting and drastic changes to a diet and food regime can seem very daunting. Many of us were raised with the idea that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” and cutting out that meal or snacks throughout the day seem counter intuitive. That is where having an expert in digestive health becomes so important.
When my patients begin a new regimen, it often includes digestive enzymes to ensure the proper breakdown of the food they are eating. This helps them absorb what they really need, in an individual and specific, supportive way. Having the right support, both nutritionally and from your healthcare professional helps with a new habit like fasting so that between success.
We can help you take those steps toward your full, healthful potential. Visit us today for a complimentary consultation!