Intermittent fasting, like the 18:6 method, can help you adopt healthier eating habits and increase your energy levels while lowering inflammation.
When it comes to intermittent fasting, the basic concept is refraining from eating for a set period, and setting a specific window in which you eat. The 18:6 is one of many fasting schedules, where you refrain from eating for 18 hours and only eat within a 6 hour period.
A good portion of the 18 hours of fasting is sleeping, but if you are like me after consuming zero calories for almost a whole day you are likely to get a bit hangry. You should carefully break your fast, and avoid rushing to eat whatever junk food is in front of you.
Anything over 50 calories would be considered "breaking" the fasting process, but generally speaking I'd recommend keeping your snack or meal under 500 calories. Below I'll break down the foods to eat and some to avoid when breaking your fast.
It's important to ease your digestive system back into food slowly, so start with small portions of easily digestible foods, such as soups or smoothies.
Drinking water is crucial during and for breaking a fast as it helps flush out toxins and rehydrate your body. Start by drinking plenty of water.
Stick to foods that are easy to digest, such as fruits, vegetables, and lean protein sources like chicken or fish. Avoid heavy, fatty, or fried foods, as these can be hard on your digestive system.
While it can be tempting to reach for sugary or processed foods after a fast, these can cause a rapid spike in blood sugar levels and may leave you feeling sluggish or tired.
When breaking a fast, you should almost always opt for simple, nutrient-dense foods.
This might come as a surprise, but bone broth is actually quite helpful for people who are breaking a fast: It is well-suited for this because it contains a lot of protein and is exceptionally easy to digest.
Your body will be craving protein even though it's generally quite difficult to process in the form of meat. Ideally, you should consume bone broth that does not have excessive salt, butter, cream, or fat. Homemade is best, of course, and will likely evoke a sense of comfort, but store-bought should suffice, especially if it is organic.
Generally speaking, you will want to choose foods that are easy for your body to digest when you are breaking your fast, and fish falls into this category. White fish, such as cod and haddock, is usually best.
Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods on the planet, so it's important to make sure you have one to break your fast: One hard-boiled egg contains about 78 calories on average, and that's on the larger end.
Believe it or not, quinoa is actually a complete protein, and it's generally quite efficient to prepare, so it is an excellent food to consume to break your fast, especially if you are tired and don't want to spend hours preparing a meal.
Fasting is hard for a lot of people because it takes so much willpower to resist delectable foods that you may be craving throughout the day. As a result, you could be ravenous by the time you are actually ready to break your fast, so you will want to be satiated without sacrificing your health. Avocados are quite good for you and contain a lot of fat. They are also extremely filling.
Fasting is not easy, but it can absolutely fit into your healthy lifestyle and may even help when it comes to reducing inflammation and improving conditions such as Alzheimer's, asthma, and arthritis.
The most important part of breaking a fast in a healthy way is to avoid foods that are extremely high in carbs, such as soft drinks, fries, and sweets. If you are really craving these, you might want to have them after the fish, the quinoa, or the bone broth, but, to be quite honest, it's best to avoid—or at least severely minimize—everything on this list aside from fruit juice if you want to maintain a healthy mind and body.
Fries are not only a poor choice healthwise, but they could actually lead to severe problems if used to break a fast, including heartburn and gastric issues. Quite frankly, you should avoid anything that is deep-fried or acidic.
Alcohol is never great for your body or mind, of course, but it's particularly horrible when used to break a fast: Your body absorbs alcohol faster on an empty stomach and does not have a chance to break it down as quickly as it is consumed. Drinking a beer after not eating for a long time, for instance, could actually lead to alcohol intoxication!
Carbonated drinks aren't ideal as part of a healthy diet, especially if they are being consumed consistently, but they are especially bad for you if you use them to break a fast: They can lead to bloating and increase the acidic condition of your stomach.
Sweets—or any kind of sugar for that matter—are not the best way to break a fast. This is because your body cannot produce enough insulin to maintain its normal blood levels after you haven't eaten for a while.
Drinking fruit juice to break your fast might seem like a good idea, but it actually isn't: It can lead to stomach pain, constipation, and acidity.
I'm a huge advocate for balance and sustainability when considering any lifestyle or diet changes. Maybe intermittent fasting will work for you, maybe your schedule won't allow it. Whatever routine you consider adding, ask yourself if you could really see yourself realistically making the difficult changes and truly sticking with them. I believe in you, Stay Driven my friends.
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