As we outlined in the first installment of the Holiday Metabolic Health Series, feast-famine cycling is key to both metabolic health and longevity! While we covered the numerous benefits that come from variation of the “fasting window” last time, we focus today on the other pole of metabolism — feasting!
Metabolic health, also known as metabolic flexibility, comes from the ability to appropriately utilize both fat-burning and sugar-burning metabolism. Longevity comes from the interplay between the pathways of autophagy (cleaning up old, diseased, or dysfunctional cells) and mTOR (building up muscle and immune system cells) leading to repair and renewal. While many individuals who experience the benefits of fasting often want to jump “all in,” fasting repetitively without variation and intermittently feasting on high-quality, “slow” food can eventually do damage to the body…
“Slow” food is clean (grown without the use of hormones, antibiotics, or pesticides/herbicides), seasonal and locally produced by regenerative practices. It is maximizing micronutrients and minimizing anti-nutrients through traditional cooking methods of soaking, sprouting, and fermenting (to be covered in a future article).
GOALS OF FEASTING
Feasting on high-quality, “slow” food provides energy and protein building blocks for remodeling skeletal muscle and connective tissues (e.g. tendons, ligaments, cartilage, bones, etc.) as well as vitamin and mineral substrates that the body’s natural repair mechanisms rely on. Feasting even allows the body to become more efficient at fat-burning when we are fasting by balancing our hormones!
According to Dr. Mindy Pelz,
We should feast with two aims in mind — 1) to build hormones necessary for optimal metabolic functioning and 2) to build up our muscles/connective tissue/organs (the basis of extending our “health span”).
FEASTING FOR HORMONES
Hormone building revolves around supporting the production of progesterone (which also serves as a precursor for testosterone)!
Foods That Boost Progesterone:
- Grass-fed beef (especially organs!) + Shellfish
- Egg yolks
- Seasonal fruits like Citrus
- Squash/Pumpkin (as well as their seeds!)
- Dark chocolate
- Honey (raw, unfiltered & local)
- Cruciferous veggies (including the dark leafy greens like kale as well as cabbage, brussel sprouts, romanesco, cauliflower and broccoli) cooked or consumed as sprouts (i.e. broccoli or radish sprouts) serve double duty by lowering estrogen levels -> preventing estrogen dominance!
These foods, paired with healthy fats from Cold-water fish (wild-caught), Raw dairy (preferably from goats, sheep or grass-fed A2/A2 cows), Olive oil and Avocados, are our essentials for a diet that supports the maintenance of optimal hormonal balance!
FEASTING FOR PROTEIN
Protein stimulates the mTOR pathway to build muscle and is essential for fueling energy production by mitochondria found in every cell of the body. Top choices to include: Organ meats, which contain 100 times more nutrients than muscle meat (all the vitamins, minerals, peptides, proteins, and growth factors the body needs), as well as a collagen source, like Bone broth, for optimal skin/hair/nails, joint and gut health!
PROTEIN CYCLING & DAILY RECOMMENDATIONS
Focusing on organs and collagen sources becomes especially important as we realize that most people are consuming much more protein than they actually need. According to Ben Greenfield,
Eating too much protein (even on a low-carb diet), too often leads to an mTOR pathway that runs rampant resulting in difficulty burning fat along with signs of accelerated aging.
Daily recommended allowance (for nitrogen balance) is 0.8 g/kg lean body mass among the average population and up to 1.2 g/kg in very active individuals. Athletes with the goal of gaining a significant amount of muscle may increase their consumption up to 1.5 g/kg but shouldn’t exceed 2 g/kg. Protein cycling can be practiced most effectively to aid autophagy by creating a nitrogen deficit (consuming less than 0.8 g/kg) on “Low protein” days when carbohydrates are kept “low” as well (not exceeding 20% of caloric intake). Replace protein and carbohydrates with extra healthy fats to satiety. A couple “Low protein” days per week should be cycled with several days of adequate protein intake, and one or two “High protein” days (with carbohydrates increased to 30-40%) if training at a high intensity. ***
For a woman this might mean:
- Less than 45 g (even 20 g) protein on a “Low” day
- Between 45-65 g protein on an average day
- Up to 80 g (even 110 g) protein on a “High” day
For a man this might mean:
- Less than 65 g (even 20 g) protein on a “Low” day
- Between 65-100 g protein on an average day
- Up to 125 g (even 165 g) protein on a “High” day
*** Learn more here about Functional Nutrition Counseling and get a personalized plan to meet your metabolic needs!
TAMPING DOWN ON INFLAMMATION
Decreasing inflammation is a key benefit of feasting on clean, “slow” food. According to Dr. Paul Saladino, eliminating seed oils and refined sugars may be the single most powerful way to decrease overall inflammation to restore hormonal balance for lasting metabolic health and longevity!
Stay tuned for our next article on understanding the circadian rhythm to easily optimize your metabolic health! 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