The hot, beautiful sun, dips in the pool, driving with the top down… Yep, it’s summertime! Can’t you feel it bursting out everywhere? Of course, you want to put your best foot forward, feel great all summer long and have no worries about INDULGENCE over the coming months. After all, the last thing you want is to be deep into the swing of summer things like pool parties, awesome vacations, and BBQs feeling dragged out, depleted and totally in the doldrums.
Summer Health? How to Remain Healthy All Summer Long
As with everything, we need balance in our lives. If we INDULGE, it’s important to balance it with DISCIPLINE. Too much of a good thing becomes simply, too much of a good thing. You know it, you’ve been there, and I’m sure you’ve felt it after having too much wine or too many beers by the pool. So let’s work together to AVOID that feeling over the summer and make the most of it!
This week I want to talk to you about one of my favorite health practices to keep you FEELING GREAT all summer long.
Fasting for Health
Fasting, or intermittent fasting as it’s commonly referred to, is basically restricting your eating to a certain time of the day and only drinking water or tea for the rest of the time. It is typically done by skipping breakfast and eating all your food for the day in an 8-hour window.
Why I LOVE Fasting for Wellness (almost as much as I love my castor oil packs!)
Recent mind-blowing research discusses the awesome benefits of fasting1 being a non-drug, non-supplement way to enhance your health (love that!). It improves your metabolism via balancing your day-night cycle, or circadian rhythm. It balances the good and bad bugs in your gut (a.k.a. the microbiome) and so much more! Here is why I love it so dearly:
1. Is breakfast the most important meal of the day? No.
I have found this NOT to be true. Many of us don’t crave breakfast in the morning, we just eat it because it is what we were told we have to. Do you know that you have a self-regulating system in your body that TELLS YOU when you are hungry or not?
Throughout naturopathic school I found myself forcing down smoothies or oatmeal for breakfast when I wasn’t hungry, but it was the ‘right’ thing to do and I wanted to be right. The result was I was making my body feel really wrong.
2. Overnight as you sleep your body is cleansing and healing.
This is the most optimized time of the day for your body to do this. The minute you BREAK-the-FAST and put food into your mouth, you turn off the healing and the cleaning. Our bodies need a lot of cleaning since we have so much exposure to environmental and emotional toxins. Both have the same impact on our systems, they damage it2. Give your body a break and wait to BREAK-the-FAST.
And don’t forget to wear your castor oil pack overnight, every night if you can!! It supports your body’s natural cleansing and detox processes via improving antioxidant status3 4 and regulating the bowels5. It also helps you fall asleep easier as it calms your body and eases it into the relaxed state6 7. It also helps to reduce bloating for flat tummy.
Another amazing tool for a great night’s sleep is to wear an eye mask like the one included in the Queen of the Thrones™ Beauty Sleep Kit, as it helps to naturally increase the production of our body’s sleep-regulating hormone, melatonin8!
3. It’s easy!… I like things simple, don’t you?
I have so much complication in my life, I don’t need my food to be complicated too. I find it much simpler to eat larger meals 2 times per day, rather than to have to worry about multiple small, balanced meals.
4. What kind of tea should you drink? I’ve gotten accustomed to green tea and rooibos tea.
If I can do it, you can do it. In my early twenties, I would literally drink POTS of coffee–1, maybe 2 pots a day. I cannot believe it. But that was normal back then. I also smoked a pack of cigarettes a day! Gratefully, now green tea before 4 pm is my go-to, and rooibos tea any time, all the time.
There is some caffeine in green tea so it’s best to avoid it in the evening so as not to disrupt your beauty sleep! Both green tea and rooibos tea help promote glutathione production in our bodies, our powerhouse detoxifying agent that helps with removing toxins and heavy metals from our bodies.
5. Fasting helps to improve your memory and reduce neurological inflammation9.
With an ever-increasing aging population, dementia, Alzheimer’s and all types of neurological conditions can be difficult to treat. Small lifestyle changes, like fasting, can be a major help.
6. All religious groups have some sort of fasting practice.
Fasting is very common and integral to human evolution. In the animal queendom, they do it too. Ramadan and Lent are two such examples, so is fasting for Buddhist monks. The saying goes, “cleanliness is next to godliness.” Everyone gets an epiphany when they feel clean. Your body is simply cleaner when you are eating less food.
7. I was doing it anyway!
I gave up forcing myself to eat breakfast just because I thought it was the ‘right’ thing to do. I began listening to my body and I started to only eat when I was hungry. Makes total sense, doesn’t it?
How to Intermittent Fast | Five Best Fasting Practices
So what’s the best way to implement fasting in your daily practice? Here are my 5 Best Fasting Practices to take your health to the next level this summer:
Ever wonder where the word breakfast comes from? It’s because it is the first meal of the day, after breaking your nightly fast. You want to BREAK-the-FAST only after observing 12-16 hours without food from the last time you ate the night before.
If you are the type of person who is very hungry in the morning and functions better this way, then the other way to do this is to invert it. Eat breakfast, and then within an 8 hour period eat another meal. Then stay free from food for 12-16 hours (skipping dinner).
What can I drink when fasting?
During the free-from-food time, make sure to drink your green tea, rooibos tea and lots of water to fill you up and flush your body.
Whether you fast at night or in the morning is up to you, this just depends on if you’re a morning glory or a night owl. Do this every day, 5 days a week, or 2-3 days a week. It all depends on your goals. If you want BIG changes then you need to make BIG commitments. Small changes, small commitments.
2. Meals and Snacking
This is what everyone wants to know with fasting. I say, eat a healthy, balanced, NATURAL diet. Ideally less to no grains, mainly vegetables, hearty protein, and healthy fats. Keep fruits to a minimum and especially avoid combining them with protein. Don’t restrict your portion sizes of the healthy vegetables, have as many as you like. Try to avoid snacking as it is best to simply eat your meals and take time in between to digest.
3. Drink Green Tea
Enjoy as much green tea as you like before 4 pm. I suggest 2-4 cups, more if you can handle it. Intersperse with WATER, as it does contain some caffeine and can be dehydrating. After 4 pm, or any time of the day, drink rooibos tea. Both rooibos and green tea help with increasing natural glutathione in the body10, our master detoxification agent.
Green tea has anti-stress effects via the component L-theanine11. It helps to calm you down, yet still keeps you alert and improves concentration12. During the fasting state, green tea helps to keep your blood sugar balanced and improves your metabolic profile13. It also improves your gut health and prevents bad gut bacteria14 15! It’s really a no-brainer!
Check out my short 1-minute YouTube video on green tea here!
4. Movement in the A.M. on Waking
After gulping down your glorious green tea, go do a workout. 1 hour, 10 minutes, just get your body moving!
Tabata, pilates, yoga, running, or like one of my patients (which I think is the best example of making the most of it) simply running fast up and down your stairs (you know who you are, shout out to you)! The goal is to get your blood flowing, your muscles moving and your diaphragm pumping!
Studies show that exercising during the fasting state will help to reduce hunger, make you feel more satiated and full, and will help you become more disciplined with your eating habits versus excessively indulgent16.
Fast First, Fluids Second, Food third!
and of course…..
5. Say ‘Yes!’ to Castor Oil Packs!!
How could I end this without reminding you about the Queen of the Thrones™ Castor Oil Pack practice? The biggest reason why I’m always talking about castor oil packs is that when you undertake any strategy for your health if you combine it with the regular practice of castor oil packs, everything just works that much better. It’s the old school way to 10x enhance your treatment.
So there you have it, folks! Fasting is one of the easiest ways to supercharge your health over this summer season. Summertime is quite often a time for INDULGENCE, and sometimes these indulgences might not have the best effect on your beautiful temple. So sprinkle in some DISCIPLINE with a fasting practice using these 5 tips and it’ll be smooth sailing, all summer long.
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- Habib Yaribeygi,1 Yunes Panahi,*,2 Hedayat Sahraei,1 Thomas P. Johnston,3 andAmirhossein Sahebkar4 The impact of stress on body function: A review Published online 2017 Jul 21. doi: 10.17179/excli2017-480 PMID: 28900385
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- Arslan GG, Eşer I. An examination of the effect of castor oil packs on constipation in the elderly. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2011 Feb;17(1):58-62. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2010.04.004. Epub 2010 May 18.
- Walker SC1, Trotter PD2, Swaney WT2, Marshall A3, Mcglone FP4. C-tactile afferents: Cutaneous mediators of oxytocin release during affiliative tactile interactions? Neuropeptides. 2017 Aug;64:27-38. doi: 10.1016/j.npep.2017.01.001. Epub 2017 Jan 19.
- Rolls ET et all. Representations of pleasant and painful touch in the human orbitofrontal and cingulate cortices. Cereb Cortex. 2003 Mar;13(3):308-17. ( Dopamine release, Limbic System of brain- Fatty Meal Satisfaction)
- Rong-fang Hu, Xiao-ying Jiang, Yi-ming Zeng, Xiao-yang Chen, You-hua Zhang. Effects of earplugs and eye masks on nocturnal sleep, melatonin and cortisol in a simulated intensive care unit environment. Published online 2010 Apr 18. doi: 10.1186/cc8965
- Vasconcelos AR, Yshii LM, Viel TA, et al. Intermittent fasting attenuates lipopolysaccharide-induced neuroinflammation and memory impairment. J Neuroinflammation. 2014 May 6;11:85.
- Arpita Basu,* Nancy M. Betts,* Afework Mulugeta,* Capella Tong,* Emily Newman,* and Timothy J. Lyons. Green tea supplementation increases glutathione and plasma antioxidant capacity in adults with the metabolic syndrome Nutr Res. 2013 Mar; 33(3): 180–187.
- Unno K1,2, Yamada H3, Iguchi K1, Ishida H4, Iwao Y5, Morita A6, Nakamura Y2. Anti-stress Effect of Green Tea with Lowered Caffeine on Humans: A Pilot Study. Biol Pharm Bull. 2017;40(6):902-909. doi: 10.1248/bpb.b17-00141.
- Giesbrecht T1, Rycroft JA, Rowson MJ, De Bruin EA. The combination of L-theanine and caffeine improves cognitive performance and increases subjective alertness. Nutr Neurosci. 2010 Dec;13(6):283-90. doi: 10.1179/147683010X1261146076484
- Dostal AM1, Arikawa A2, Espejo L3, Bedell S3, Kurzer MS3, Stendell-Hollis NR4. Green tea extract and catechol-O-methyltransferase genotype modify the post-prandial serum insulin response in a randomised trial of overweight and obese post-menopausal women. J Hum Nutr Diet. 2017 Apr;30(2):166-176. doi: 10.1111/jhn.12408. Epub 2016 Sep 7.
- Singh DP1, Singh J2, Boparai RK3, Zhu J4, Mantri S2, Khare P1, Khardori R5, Kondepudi KK6, Chopra K7, Bishnoi M8. Isomalto-oligosaccharides, a prebiotic, functionally augment green tea effects against high fat diet-induced metabolic alterations via preventing gut dysbacteriosis in mice. Pharmacol Res. 2017 Jun 28;123:103-113. doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2017.06.015. [Epub ahead of print]
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- Surabhi Bhutani,1 Monica C Klempel,1 Cynthia M Kroeger,1 Eleanor Aggour,1 Yolian Calvo,1 John F Trepanowski,1 Kristin K Hoddy,1 and Krista A Varady1 Effect of exercising while fasting on eating behaviors and food intake. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013; 10: 50.