Update on Intermittent Fasting

Fasting

I was looking at my blog and noticed I had written a post called the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting and was surprised that it was posted April 2016. To my astonishment I have been doing some form of intermittent fasting on almost a daily basis for over 3 years. Since then I went on to post about one meal a day (OMAD) which can be found Giving OMAD a try – Day 1 and Giving OMAD a try – Day 2 both of these were written last year in February.

My fasting method is a 18/6 protocol where I stop eating around 6:00 p.m. at night, skip breakfast and eat lunch at about 12:00 p.m., which gives me anywhere from 16 to 18 hours without eating. I do this on a daily basis and try to add a 24+ hour fast once a week, typically on a Saturday.

The 18/6 protocol allows me to keep my weight within a 3 or 4 pound range, so for me that is anywhere between 162 and 166 pounds. While this is great for maintaining your weight I always felt that I was missing some of the benefits like pushing your body into ketosis and a greater level of autophagy (rebuilding of cells) in the body. One of the things I noticed is when I push the fast beyond 20 hours my body actually feels warmer, there is a slight tingling feeling, and I suspect I am beginning to make some inroads into burning fat instead of glucose for fuel.

If you are just looking to lose a few pounds and acquire some of the other benefits from fasting the 16/8 or 18/6 intermittent fasting protocols work just fine in my experience, but if you want to really start burning body fat and push yourself into autophagy throw in a 24 hour fast once a week or once a month. The question I often hear is how will I feel, especially during a 24 hour fast? I actually found I felt better in a fasted state then when I was eating. I won’t kid you for me I was pretty hungry at about 20 hours, but not in a ravenous state. One of the cool things is you can look forward to a pretty large meal after that 24 hour fast. You could do something like OMAD on a daily basis, but then you really aren’t doing a 24 hour fast and you also need to deal with social situations like declining lunch invitations, etc. Remember the longer you can stay in the fasted state the more body fat and cell regeneration is taking place, so pushing it from 24 to 36 hours once in a while can be a very good thing.

Well that’s my update for now. I continue to learn more everyday regarding the benefits of fasting and after 3 years I can unequivocally state that there are many positive benefits and the longer you do it, the easier it becomes.

Note: I am not a doctor and am not advocating that fasting is the only way to control your weight or be healthy. There may be some situations where fasting is not appropriate; for instance if you are pregnant or under weight. Do your own research and consult a physician if you have any concerns about trying some form of intermittent fasting.

If you want to know more about autophagy check out this article it goes into much greater detail than I have during this post:

Benefits of Autophagy, Plus How to Induce It

Namaste

 

Advertisements

Fiber and You

One Regular Guy Writing about Food, Exercise and Living Past 100

Unlike the weather, as in Mark Twain’s famous quote, “Everybody talks about it, but nobody does anything about it” fiber is different. Everybody talks about it and there is plenty we can do about it. Following is what the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has to say about it.

food salad healthy summer Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains all contain dietary fiber, a type of carbohydrate that provides minimal energy for the body. Although the body can’t use fiber efficiently for fuel, it’s an important part of a healthy eating plan and helps with a variety of health conditions.

  • Heart disease: Fiber may help prevent heart disease by helping reduce cholesterol.
  • Weight management: Fiber slows the speed at which food passes from the stomach to the rest of the digestive system – this can make us feel full longer. Foods that are higher in dietary fiber often…

View original post 220 more words

Giving OMAD a try – Day 2

OMAD 1

Actually yesterday was my second day of using the one meal a day (OMAD) intermittent fasting protocol. In two days I lost 4 pounds, had lots of energy, and ate a couple really big meals. So I was pretty determined that after I had fasted for 23 hours I was going to make sure I got in a lot of calories. The first day I ate just about anything without regard to the quality of the food, but the second day I was more selective having fish, lima beans, almonds, some high protein peanut butter, and a small plate of raw vegetables.

Well now it is Monday and I’m back to my 18:6 protocol, which is 18 hours of fasting and then eating lunch and dinner. The reason I did not continue with OMAD has more to do with being social and wanting to eat lunch with my co-workers than any real major downside to a 23 hour fast.

Overall I would rate my OMAD experience as a very positive experiment, one that I will probably do on weekends to stay trim and enhance the cleansing effect of fasting. To be honest I got pretty hungry after 20 hours or so, and I often felt cold, but my energy levels were high and my mood was very good. The only concern I would have and this may not be a big deal since my experiment only lasted two days is losing 4 pounds. I would worry that if I did this daily I might not be able to take in enough calories to maintain my weight.

As I mentioned my energy levels were high, allowing me to do yoga in the morning, weight training in the afternoon, and I even got in a 3 mile walk the first day when the weather permitted. Remember this doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition, like me you might decide it just doesn’t fit into your lifestyle during the week to skip lunch with your friends or co-workers. Don’t agonize over it; you can always go back to OMAD on the weekend. I just might try something a bit more radical next weekend like a 48 hour fast and see what happens.

Sorry I can’t help myself.

Namaste

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

About 6 weeks ago I discovered something called intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting can take various forms, but the most common are a 16 x 8, or a sporadic 24 hour fast. The 16 x 8 method is when you fast for 16 hours and have an 8 hour eating window. For people that work during the daytime, it makes sense to have your last meal at 7:00 or 8:00 p.m. and then not eat again until noon or lunch time. This provides you with a 16 or 17 hour fast, essentially skipping breakfast. I have been using the 16 hour fast method on a daily basis for about 6 weeks now, and found it to be fairly easy to accomplish. The first week is probably the hardest, but fortunately it becomes easier with time. Most of the fast is spent sleeping so depending on when you get up you may only go without food for 5 or 6 hours. I personally lost 5 pounds in the first 4 weeks, and this weight loss was in body fat. Here are some reasons you might want to adopt an intermittent fasting routine:

  • Changes The Function of Cells, Genes and Hormones
    • Insulin levels: Blood levels of insulin drop significantly, which facilitates fat burning
    • Human growth hormone: The blood levels of growth hormone may increase as much as 5-fold. Higher levels of this hormone facilitate fat burning and muscle gain, and have numerous other benefits.
    • Cellular repair: The body induces important cellular repair processes, such as removing waste material from cells.
  • Can Help You Lose Weight and Belly Fat
    • Lower insulin levels, an increase in metabolism, and higher growth hormone levels, are combined to use fat as an energy source. This occurs because you have no carbohydrates in your system to burn, so your body turns to the next available source of energy body fat.
  • Can Reduce Insulin Resistance, Lowering Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes
    • Intermittent fasting has been shown to improve insulin resistance and lead to an impressive reduction in blood sugar levels
    • In human studies on intermittent fasting, fasting blood sugar has been reduced by 3-6%, while fasting insulin has been reduced by 20-31%
  • Induces Various Cellular Repair Processes
    • Fasting causes the cells in the body initiate a cellular “waste removal” process called autophagy
    • This involves the cells breaking down and metabolizing broken and dysfunctional proteins that build up inside cells over time.
    • Increased autophagy may provide protection against several diseases, including cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.

Other benefits may include:

  • Helping to prevent cancer
  • Intermittent fasting is good for your brain
  • May protect against Alzheimer’s Disease
  • May extend your lifespan

With so with so many benefits that have been attributed to intermittent fasting, it is worth researching. In fact I have not been able to find any research that indicates any negative effects. The only caution here is if you are someone with an unusually low percent of body fat or an anorexic.

My advice is that unless you are doing this strictly as some form of dieting, make sure you are getting those calories in during your eating window. I personally like the 16 x 8 method versus a 24 hour fast. I’ve tried the 24 hour fast and while it is a great way to cleanse your body, it is much more difficult and in most cases you will be very hungry during those additional 8 hours of fasting that you have added on.

To make the fasting period a bit easier you will need to consume some liquids like coffee, tea, or water. This helps by providing something in your stomach, making it easier to endure the fast. Do not consume liquids that contain calories, so no sugar in your coffee or tea and avoid any other liquid that contains sugar like soft drinks.

The YouTube video below provides a great overview of the benefits and different types of intermittent fasting methods. I highly recommend you spend the 10 minutes to view this as part of your own research.

 

I personally don’t view intermittent fasting as a diet, but more of a way of enhancing your health. It is entirely possible that you will not lose any weight at all if you continue to have an unhealthy diet, but if you combine intermittent fasting with a healthy diet there is a good chance that you will lose fat and improve your body composition. Do your own research, and let me know what you think.

Namaste

 

References: https://authoritynutrition.com/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting/

 

Fundamental Post Post Workout Supplements

When I refer to workout in the title of this post, I am specifically focused on strength training. There are many supplements you can take after a strength training workout, but I am going to focus on 5 that can help boost your recovery and increase testosterone levels.  After working out your muscles are needing some carbohydrates and amino acids to start the muscle building recovery process.

Update to my original post: There is some evidence to suggest that you might want to wait 60 – 90 minutes after a workout before consuming post workout supplements. It appears that if you worked out in a fasted state that after your workout your body will actually increase the amount of human growth hormone (HGH) and testosterone as long as you don’t consume anything other than water right after your workout. So my updated advice is to wait about an hour after your workout before taking the supplements mentioned below. This will give you the opportunity to take advantage of spiking HGH and testosterone levels, thus maximizing your gains. 

Bodybuilding-Supplements

These are the 5 supplements I take after a workout:

  1. Branch Chained Amino Acids (BCCA) – There are three BCAAs: leucine, isoleucine and valine. The BCAAs are among the nine essential amino acids for humans, accounting for 35% of the essential amino acids in muscle proteins and 40% of the preformed amino acids required by mammals. BCAAs not only increase the rate of protein synthesis, but they also increase the cell’s capacity for protein synthesis. BCAAs also work in your favor by reducing the rate of protein breakdown. They might also help improve workout intensity, that is why BCCA’s can be used as a pre workout and post workout supplement.
  2. Creatine Monohydrate – is a natural substance that turns into creatine phosphate in the body. Creatine phosphate helps make a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP). ATP provides the energy for muscle contractions.  Creatine will pull water into the muscle cells, and effects the ability for your body to use fast twitch muscles. Note: your body can only store so much ATP so taking more creatine than advised will not be effective.  The ideal dose is around 5 grams (1 heaping teaspoon).  Creatine can be used as a pre-workout and/or post-workout supplement.
  3. L-Arginine – is a naturally occurring amino acid that may help to increase blood flow (in some populations) and anabolic growth-hormone secretion. This helps increase lean muscle mass/strength/power, promotes faster recovery from exercise, and improves the work capacity of active muscles. L-arginine also improves the process of clearing waste products from your muscles. This may result in a reduced sense of fatigue. I like to use about 2.5 to 3 grams after a workout.
  4. L-Glutamine – is the most abundant inessential amino acid in the human body and makes up the majority of the amino acids in skeletal muscle. Despite being involved in many crucial roles in our daily health and function, it’s considered “inessential” because the body is capable of producing it on its own. L-Glutamine plays a big role in supporting workout and muscle recovery, enhances immune function, and improves intestinal health. For me it seems to assist in helping my muscles recover and I have less next day soreness.  I would use about 5 grams after a workout.
  5. Tribulus terrestris –  is a flowering plant that grows in temperate and tropical areas. The compound is rich in saponins, the active ingredient claimed to increase the body’s natural testosterone levels and helps to build muscle. The primary point of the tribulus terrestris extract is that it will increase testosterone levels. It does this in a very secure method – by no means exceeding the physique`s natural upper limits. I have read that it is best to take on an empty stomach after your workout. I usually take about 1 to 1.5 grams after a workout.

My method for post workout supplementation is as follows:

Either use a fruit drink or some powdered post workout drink (even Gatorade would do) to mix with the powdered BCCA’s, Creatine Monohydrate and powered L-Glutamine.  Once mixed, drink and swallow your Tribulus Terrestris and L-Arginine capsules.  Wait 20 to 30 minutes before eating.  This gives the post workout supplements some time to digest and get into your blood stream before you consume anything else.  The reason I advocate that you use a fruit drink or something like Gatorade is that following a workout is the best time to consume sugar. When you train, your body burns glycogen, or sugar. Both blood sugar and muscle glycogen are consumed during a workout, and to recover, as well as progress, you need to restore depleted glycogen levels as quickly as possible. My next step is to follow the post supplementation with a meal that contains a decent amount of protein and some complex carbohydrates.

The only warning might apply to women taking Tribulus terrestris. I would do some additional research on the effects it may have on women before adding it to your post workout supplements.

I would love to hear what kind of post workout supplements you advocate taking.

Sunflower Seeds

Even before I entertained the idea that my diet should move in a more healthy direction, I always liked Sunflower seeds.  I was wondering what the nutritional profile of those little kernels that tasted so good would be, so I decided to do a little research. Beyond just the nutritional profile I wondered what the health benefits might include.  Here is the basic nutritional data:

Sunflower seeds dry roasted

Sunflower seeds nutrional profile

As you can see Sunflower seeds are relatively high in fat, but also include a generous amount of protein and some fiber.
Well beyond the basic nutritional data we need to look a little deeper into some of the benefits of the sunflower seed:
  • Low in Cholesterol and Sodium.
  • good source of Thiamin and Vitamin B6.
  • High in Magnesium which studies have shown that magnesium helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • Also contains Phosphorus, Copper, and Manganese.
  • High amounts of Selenium. Selenium has been shown to induce DNA repair and synthesis in damaged cells, to inhibit the proliferation of cancer cells, and to induce their apoptosis, the self-destruct sequence the body uses to eliminate worn out or abnormal cells.
  • A very good source of Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol).  Vitamin E has been shown to be good for your hair and skin, and contains antioxidants that remove free radicals that damage cells.
  • A good source of protein.

Now while the sunflower seed has a substantial fat content and is fairly high in calories, its many health benefits make it a great addition to just about anyone’s diet.

Namaste