Feast-famine cycling is one of the most powerful tools for achieving and maintaining metabolic health! This is what our metabolism was built for and continues to thrive on when given the opportunity.
Put simply, feasting (on high quality, “slow” food) tells the body that there is an abundance of nutrient resources and that it is in a safe environment to build muscle and burn fat. Fasting, on the other hand, gives the body a much needed rest from digestion so that it can focus energy on its natural repair mechanisms — priming our systems for improved metabolic health and longevity! However, the environment of modern living provides little opportunity for fasting unless cultivated with intent…
Variation of the “fasting window” is key. Outlined below are six styles of fasting based on the large body of work compiled by fasting expert Dr. Mindy Pelz.
The benefits of fasting are cumulative as the length of fast increases:
- Intermittent fasting for 12-16 hours (IF) reduces inflammation and improves energy + focus via ketone production
- Fasting for more than 16 hours leads to cellular detoxification + repair and improved immune function via the process of autophagy
- Fasting for 24 hours provides a gut “reset” and can even aid in healing of the brain (via the production of BDNF)
- Fasting for 36 hours provides potent anti-aging + fat burning results as well as prevention of autoimmune disorders
- Fasting for 48 hours has been demonstrated to increase human growth hormone (hGH) by 500%, produce endogenous antioxidants and can be used as a powerful tool to reset dopamine receptors + reduce anxiety/depression
- Fasting for 72 hours or longer takes us to the peak of autophagy where musculoskeletal, immune and intestinal stem cells are activated for accelerated healing
Women should pay special attention to avoid repetitive fasting and instead employ a variation of fasting styles coupled with feast days to support hormonal needs and create metabolic health!
INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR METABOLIC FLEXIBILITY
Intermittent fasting for 12-16 hours (IF) remains one of the most approachable introductions to fasting. This can alternately also be viewed as simply restricting your eating window to 12 or 8 hours during the day and could look like consuming all of your calories between 9:00 AM and 5:00 PM or 6:00 AM and 2:00 PM when performing a 16-hour nighttime fast. Break your fast with protein or alternatively with fat (if prolonged fat burning metabolism is desired) and make sure to not eat within the first hour of waking. Additional best eating practices include: not eating anything during the three hours before bed time, generally removing any vegetable/seed oils from your diet, and planning fasting especially around times of feasting!
Unfortunately, even feasting is a rare event in modern times as the majority of the population almost exclusively consumes nutrient-depleted “food” items. High-quality, “slow” food is clean (grown without the use of hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides/herbicides), seasonal and locally produced by regenerative practices. At its best, “slow” food is cooked with intention and served in a social setting to be savored in small bites between conversation!
Stay tuned for our next article dedicated to “Slow” Food. Join our mailing list to have it sent straight to your inbox!
Wishing you a bounty of health and wellness this season!
The Vibrance Family