Gently cleansing and consciously nourishing body, mind and our emotions are cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle. Vitality is a measure of our quality of life and is dependent on attentive self care. Intermittent Fasting helps us get there.
Caution: When you are troubled it’s not a good time to fast or cleanse, when stress and daily problems inundate you, it is best to eat mindfully and focus on whole, low inflammatory foods. When there is negative self talk, stress release methods would be the first step. Every cell in our body listens to what we believe, how we talk in our heads, listens to our reactions to daily events and resonates or reacts accordingly. We do know the effects of circle jerk thinking. Our cells react and respond to the energy we emit, to negativity, which over time leads to a more dense, less responsive energy. This knowing deserves a central place on our healing journey. Singing, laughing, joking and simply saying Thank You to whatever is inside of you works wonders. It’s just the right distraction from the old habitual thoughts that saves us.
Begin with Intermittent Fasting: When you have time and attention on this topic, gather the resources you may need. Whether that’s more research before making a clear schedule and menu plan or when you already know what you want to eat, intermittent fasting is a healing tool. At first it’s simply a matter of eating maybe less and also less frequently. You choose to eat only within 8-10 hours of the day. Be aware of your schedule; know when you’e most likely to want to eat, when you think you need energy and when you know you can leave out eating. At first that’s all you need to think about. This is an excellent time to get to know your body’s food clock to find if what you had in the previous meal made you tired or didn’t sufficiently nourish you, whether you ate too fast or took your time, chewed your food at least 20 times and didn’t flush it down with liquids. We drink before and between meals not while eating. These tips promote digestive healing and regularity whether you’re fasting or not.
Example: Have your last meal of the day at 6pm, and your first meal the next morning at 10am. That’s a fasting time of 16 hours. After rising, generally around 6 or 7 am, drink at least 16 ounces of clean fresh room temperature water over the next two hours. You can add the juice of a fresh lemon or lime or on alternate days Apple Cider Vinegar 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces. They both help to flush your system and eliminate waste from the body’s natural overnight cleansing. Drink only organically raised and processed coffee or choose green tea to lower caffein excitation. Herbal teas, home made, sugar free lemonades, Kombucha, fresh vegetable juices are morning options. Liquids are absorbed and utilized very quickly, for this reason we avoid sweeteners.
What works for me: Personally, I drink around 8-12 ounces of clean water when I get up. A bit later, 1 Tablespoon of ACV in 8 oz. of fresh water. Home made Kombucha is great a bit later. By 11-12 I find that having more of a keto type smoothie (fats and proteins) with a handful of nuts and a large tablespoon of coconut oil. This cuts down on cravings or food lust later in the day. I’m not hungry when I wake up. Early mornings are my creative time, my mind at its best so food doesn’t come into this. My smoothie often consists of a vegetable based protein to which I add coconut oil, chia and hemp seeds, some fresh berries and a handful of spinach or Moringa powder topped with Hemp milk. Alternatively, I may have some water melon (“Watermelon’s red pulpy flesh contains glutathione, the “mother of all antioxidants,” Dr. Oz.)
My next meal is generally between 1-3pm. A fresh green salad, sliced fresh seasonal root vegetables (it’s early Summer at this writing), pumpkin seeds or cashew nuts, a scoop of cooked black beans in a dressing of lime/lemon, coconut liquid aminos and olive oil. Topping this with fresh cilantro or basil, rosemary or parsley adds even more flavor.
At around 5 pm I’m onto my last meal. This often involves some quinoa, maybe a bit of wild salmon, more cut up vegetables and greens or, if I’m not needing more, a repeat of the lunch meal with a side of dry roasted almonds or walnuts. My body teaches me what it wants and for me reducing quantities is a good idea. During the cold season, I make soups and stews and add fresh ingredients as desired. I ask my body what it feels like having, imagine eating the food and go through the options with my body’s feedback until I find my meal by inner tastebuds.
When my emotions are imbalanced I tend to crave bread and cheese, maybe a sliced apple to go with as these foods remind me of my childhood. In this way, I connect to my emotions and am consciously able to release old pain while also aware that I am no longer ‘eating in the past’. It’s both a comfort and a letting go. Our triggers, whether strictly emotional or with added food cravings, are called forth in memory of the past and in defensive reaction to what we experience this day. Astute self awareness and attentive watchfulness bring these into harmony. We are the masters of our thoughts, we can heal ourselves.
What foods to choose for you: My example is a good basic start. If you are an omnivore, you could add grilled chicken, beef or a boiled egg to lunch or dinner. A piece of cooked deep water fish, canned sardines deliver good essential fatty acids.
And if you’re in a rush, slicing an avocado in half, lime juice and Celtic sea salt added make for a delicious and quick meal that you scoop up with a spoon. Avocados are both high in fat and protein, highly beneficial nutrients for energy without weighing us down. This should take about 5 minutes.
Your dinner is up to you, remember that most likely you are done with the work day so you require less energy through food. Find where you place your workout, mine tends to be in the morning, after my meditation, which puts it squarely into my fasting timeframe. As long as you fast between 14 -16 hours a day, and make this as regular as possible, your body will get used to this and adjust. Your digestion will change as well; you may experience more frequent bowel movements, which is natural and healthy. Remember that hunger means your stomach is now empty and it’s just a signal to let you know that. Drinking a bit of water with a diluted stevia drop or two takes care of that. When I’m hungry I know my body craves fat - a small spoonful of ghee or a tablespoon or two of Coconut oil usually do the trick. So if weight loss is a side goal of your fasting efforts, this could work for you.
During changes in diet and lifestyle we often encounter the release of old emotions. Even cravings may show up as your microbiome is getting hip to your intentions and your new way of eating. If you find yourself a touch grumpy for a day or two, please don’t be discouraged. It’s natural that the microbes will send up their own signals as they have to get used to this new way of getting their supplies, too. On balance our own friendly bacteria take great care of us. Sauerkraut, Kimchi, other fermented raw foods are ideal at this time. It’s all about balancing the microbiome and offering it diversity. This way of learning to eat - adjusts our microbiome to becoming healthier and more vital. As this also affects our brain chemicals, we become happier and more satisfied, need less food and are able to sleep deeper.
As you will find out, every body makes its own decisions, and for some people it works to eat the same things daily or weekly, while others require more variety. It goes without saying that during this time of getting used to intermittent fasting, you might want to avoid alcohol, any type of sugar, gluten, heavy animal proteins, and excess carbs as these may destroy your efforts by unbalancing your digestive system. Once you are familiar with all the responses, dinner out with wine or beer won’t hurt as long as you keep it infrequent. You will know how yo counteract by returning to your usual foods and eating times. Each of us during these changes makes her own experiences and so I wish you successful outcomes and a better, more aligned diet for your beautiful body.
Bon Appétit - just you wait till your taste buds catch up with your new way of eating - flavor bursts galore.
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