Your home for exploring philosophy with an emphasis on Buddhism and Stoicism. Part of this exploration will be taking on some of the more important issues that we are facing and providing alternatives to this Orwellian society.
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.
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.
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
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.
A 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.
Last time I posted on the topic of nutrition I spent a little time talking about how spinach is a good choice for a vegetable, but I can’t eat spinach all the time. Another big favorite vegetable of mine is the Lima Bean. So again pulling out my Nutrition Data app and it says that 100 grams of Lima beans has the following nutritional makeup:
Total Fat 0.3g
Saturated Fat 0.1g
Total Carbs 19.4g
I guess for me another revelation is how much protein you can get from some of these vegetables. There is almost as much protein in 100 grams of Lima beans as there is fiber. So if we convert grams to ounces and assume I ate about 7 ounces (200 grams) of Lima beans we find that I consumed 13.4 grams of fiber and 13.2 grams of protein. Not bad for some baby Lima beans and very little sugar. Yes I did throw in a little butter, salt, and pepper to make it all palatable. I guess one could recommend Lima beans as a decent source of fiber and protein, and this is what continues to amaze me. My quest to discover the fat, sugar, fiber, and protein content of vegetables will continue. Something all you nutrition experts already knew, but including some veggies can boost your protein intake like I never would have imagined.
Sure it took me a few days to start interjecting some vegetables into my diet, as old habits die-hard. So last night after I worked out I decided not to eat a pizza, but instead had a few ounces of tuna fish (no bread), and about 8 ounces of frozen cut leaf spinach cooked of course. Strangely enough I felt better than usual, more energy and not as bloated as when I consumed the better part of a pizza myself, or as in my dinner the day before of 4 hot dogs and baked beans. I like spinach and have made some assumptions about it being a pretty decent vegetable to consume, but a bit of research was in order. Pulling out my handy HTC One Android phone I checked my Nutrition Data app and it says that 100 grams of spinach has the following nutritional makeup:
Total Fat 0.9g
Saturated Fat 0.0 g
Total Carbs 4.8g
So without getting to technical I learned that frozen cut leaf spinach is low in fat, high in fiber, and contains a surprisingly high amount of protein. Figuring I must have consumed at least 8 ounces I converted this to grams which means I consumed about 250 of them. So the spinach I ate contained about 85 calories, 9.25 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein. So next time you go shopping pick out some high fiber, low-calorie, high protein spinach to go along with the rest of your meal. Maybe Popeye knew what he was doing. Next we will analyze another of my favorite vegetables the Lima Bean, now that should be nothing short of fascinating.
You workout every day, doing strength training, cardio, yoga, pilates, you are reading motivational works, you take all the right supplements, spend time meditating, and still you feel like crap. Maybe just maybe your diet needs some analysis. This is exactly what I’ve been asking myself lately and I’m sure most of you are saying Joe come on your diet is at least 50% of the equation and you didn’t know that. Well I think I realized that what I was consuming was not optimal, and in my own warped way I thought if I took the right vitamins and supplements it would fill in all the gaps and I would feel great. Seriously there are days where I don’t consume a single vegetable or fruit, and I’m not sure that slice of tomato or pickle on my hamburger or that bag of fries counts. Maybe that pepperoni pizza with a bit of tomato sauce and mushrooms counts as my daily allowance for vegetables; who am I kidding?
Sure I throw in an occasional salad in every week, but that can’t overcome the other 6 days of the week where vegetables and fruits have been omitted from my diet. Just last week I was at a Mediterranean restaurant and ordered the vegetarian feast, basically a buffet filled with various salads, bean dishes, humus, bread, pastas, etc. and after consuming a large plate of this good stuff I thought I was going to explode. I’m not sure if my body was revolting against the foreign substances, but for the next 6 hours the gas was trying to escape from all orifices. And while I try to limit sugar and simple carbs from my diet as much as possible I am in need of a diet overhaul. So I am on a quest of start this diet overhaul and I mean now. So I plan on putting together some future posts on how I have overhauled my diet, and what it does to my energy levels and overall well being. I am open to any suggestions you may have.