From a young age, I’ve enjoyed food. Being raised in the South, we gathered around food, and food was something that brought people together. We cook as a token of appreciation, a way to show our neighbor we care. We cook for people in times of need. Much of my life has revolved around food. After graduating from college, I was interested in seeing food differently. Most of it probably stemmed from my love of food getting in the way of weighing what I really wanted to, but we have to have a driving force sometimes. When I got married and had my own kitchen, I began researching ways to cook these comfort foods I knew and loved in a healthier way. I grew a garden, and made my own salsa, pickles, salad dressings and more. I am STILL fascinated by the thought of foods being healing, and also VV fascinated by the thought of our body being able to heal itself, if given the proper tools. The journey to where I am now hasn’t happened overnight, but it’s one that has brought me to where I am today. Full disclosure, I’m still VERY VERY much a work in progress, always striving to do better, but I feel like I’m getting closer to being the woman I want to be. It’s truly a total package kind of thing. Meaning mind, body and soul. It’s all gotta be right for me to feel my best. Eating is a shared human experience, and one that I feel connects me to my family and friends. Intermittent fasting allows me to eat more of the foods I enjoy with the people I love, while still maintaining a healthy weight and overall outlook on life.
Intermittent Fasting was first introduced to me in March 2014 by a friend. She’s one that I’ve always messaged about her latest and greatest health tips, and how she’s looking fabulous. When she said she ate whatever she wanted within a certain window of time, I couldn’t believe it. Going 16+ hours without food seemed impossible to me. I decided to dig deeper into what this truly meant, and how it could improve, not hinder my health. Fast forward to today, not looking ahead to another pregnancy and one more year of breast feeding, I’ve finally hit a point in my life where I know those sacrifices won’t be made again (we decided to close the door to more babies this past January). Intermittent fasting has become my regular way of living five to six days a week, and it’s helped me keep 15 extra pounds away from those trouble areas, but most of all, I feel like a more supercharged version of myself. IF is more than just “skipping a meal” or creating a calorie deficit. IF is putting your body in a “stress-response mode. Stressing your cells is a natural way to turn on autophagy.” (Naomi Whittel, Glow15) Autophagy is a key player in why I ultimately choose intermittent fasting on a regular basis.
What Is autophagy? When I first read this word, I had to say it to myself a couple of times! Finally hearing it on podcasts helped me greatly. Autophagy “cleans up the mess left behind from your overwhelming day and repairs any damage, restoring and rejuvenating your cells. Your cells function better, your body runs better, you look and feel better. Autophagy, a little known but fundamental process, is the key to antiaging and the foundation of Glow15. While you can’t completely avoid the causes of aging, you do have control over how your body ages.” (Naomi Whittel, Glow15) Autophagy is activated by two things, intermittent fasting and exercise. I strive each day to fast for no more than 16 hours (remember most of this I am sleeping) essentially, I’ll break my fast between noon and one o’clock each day, and try my best not to eat past seven. If it’s a regular school night, not eating past seven is easy. If we have a later dinner planned, I’ll tweak my eating window, and bank some time by breaking my fast later that day.
Here’s what a “perfect” day of intermittent fasting looks like for me. I used to use fatty oils like MCT, coconut or even a power creamer in my coffee to extend my fast in the monrings. After trial and error, I’ve stopped doing that and truly just fasting, enjoying my coffee the way I really like it which is black. Primal Kitchen founder Mark Sisson (if you haven’t discovered Primal Kitchen, you must!) will argue that “cheating the fast” isn’t truly fasting, but some days I need to do it! I love to break my fast with a huge smoothie or big a** salad! Whatever the choice, I always make sure they each contain a healthy fat. These fats shouldn’t scare you. Gone are the days of fat-free being the best way to live. These fats FUEL us. These fats FEED OUR BRAIN. My best friend is an avocado, and not because it’s trendy. I’m also a huge proponent of fiber and adding it to any food I can. I don’t get fancy here, but always keep a supply of Benefiber in my cabinet. It’s easy to mix in my shakes, and dissolves easily in foods. It’s tasteless and odorless, and you won’t even know it’s there. I then will finish the day with a salad, plant based meal, or very whole30 keto inspired dinner if it’s the weekend. Some of the regular dinners in my rotation are warm salads, lots of “fried” cauliflower rice dinners and spaghetti with squash noodles. In the summer we love to grill white meats and vegetables, and in the winter, I’m obsessed with throwing together healthy crock pot dinners.
Something I’m excited to explore next, and possibly combining with my IF schedule is the 80×20 lifestyle. I’m a lover of Bravo’s Southern Charm (big surprise, I know) and Naomi practices this lifestyle herself. She eats a plant-based diet 80 percent of her week, and the other 20 percent she enjoys eating whatever she wants. The founder of BlenderBombs, a Charleston, SC based company offers some excellent PDF printables with recipes and methods on how to achieve this. BlenderBombs are also the perfect addition to your “breaking fast” smoothie, and even perfect for keeping in your purse for on-the-go days.
When I have these “good days,” I’m a better wife, Mom and person. I think what it boils down to is I feel like I’ve done something good for myself that day. I’ve done something for my body that will make it stronger tomorrow. There are many things in life that are out of our control, but what we feed our bodies is in our control. The flip side of that is, I also don’t want food to CONTROL my life either. Intermittent fasting isn’t any kind of an elimination diet. When I go to Thanksgiving dinner, I don’t have to avoid the turkey and dressing. When I make a spaghetti dinner for my family, I don’t have to eat a salad while they’re enjoying something else. When my girlfriend says, “Hey, lets go grab Mexican!” I can graciously accept the invitation without a second thought. When I just want unwind at the end of the day with a glass of red wine and some cheese with David, I’m going to do it without feeling guilty! Living a healthy lifestyle but still LIVING is a total balancing act for me. Intermittent fasting has given me the freedom to do both, and if that’s something you’re trying to achieve, it might be worth looking into! Below are some great takeaway tools for digging deeper into the topic.
**I’m not a registered dietician of medical professional. I’m simply sharing my opinions and what works for me**
The Skinny Confidential Him and Her Podcast
- Episode 208 – The Real Keto Diet, Intermittent Fasting, & Longevity with Primal Kitchen’s Founder Mark Sisson
- Episode 179 – Jorge Cruise on how to Intermittent Fast, The Myths and Truths Behind IF, Diet, Fitness and Weight Management
The Cruise Control Podcast by Jorge Cruise
Glow 15 by Naomi Whittel
Body Love By Kelly LeVeque – Fab Four Smoothies
80×20 PDF’s and Blender Bombs Website