In winter, I plot and plan. In spring, I move
– Henry Rollins
Spring is here! and although I a writing this post from the Alps catching the last week of skiing season from Zermatt Switzerland, I can’t wait for some sunshine, heat and lighter clothes annnddd it is time for our recommended seasonal foods for this spring as well as the benefits of fasting as a way to detox and shed a few pounds!
Once again if you if you don’t know the benefits of a seasonal diet please refer to my previous post ‘Seasonal Foods– Autumn’
March , April and May :
Apricot, Banana, Beef, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Chicken, Cod, Crab, Grapefruit, Halibut, Lamb, Leek, Lemon, Mussels, Onion, Orange, Oyster, Pak Choi, Parsnip, Pepper, Pomegranate, Potato, Purple sprouting broccoli, Radicchio, Rhubarb, Salmon, Sorrel, Spinach, Spring greens, Spring Lamb, Spring Onion, Sweet potato, Tuna and Watercress.
The primarily act of willing abstinence and reduction from certain/all food, drink, or both, for a period of time is not a new concept and is present in most, if not all world beliefs.
Although the primary outcome of fasting is more of a spiritual kind, I will be highlighting its effects on the mind and body and how you can integrate it as a lifestyle! with of course (as always) a few references on the latest studies suggesting the potential benefits of a properly-conducted fasting.
is an umbrella term for various diets or dietary restrictions that cycle between a period of fasting and non-fasting. Below are the most common
1- Time restricted feeding: it’s not just what we eat but when we eat it that matters to our health! according to a latest study published in the journal Cell Metabolism the tested mice had a less than ideal diet but still managed to improve insulin/leptin sensitivity, reversed obesity and related metabolic dysfunction as long as they ate within an 8- to 12-hour period. So lets say you have your breakfast at 8am, ideally your lunch should be between 12 and 1pm and dinner between 4pm and 7pm (in theory) which makes it the easiest adopted lifestyle modifications out there to reduce weight and probably reverse diabetes! keeping in mind nutritionist Adelle Davis popularised mantra “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper.”
2- Alternate day fasting (ADF): involves a 24-hour fast followed by a 24-hour non-fasting for a short time period, thus eating what you want one day, then a very restricted diet (fewer than 600 calories for men 500 for women) the next day.
Studies have shown that ADF may prolong life span by delaying the onset of age-related diseases including Alzheimer’s, heart disease and diabetes. Scientists at the National Institute on Ageing, led by the decidedly slender professor of neuroscience Mark Mattson states ‘One of the only ways to slow down the progression of ageing that involves disease or organ malfunctions is to reduce energy intake’ he adds ‘What we’ve discovered in both animal and human studies is that it’s good to submit your brain to challenges, especially in the short term, fasting imposes an increase in adaptive stress responses when people intermittently fast that is good for maintaining the brain’
This is perhaps one of the reasons why the population of Okinawa in Japan eat 20% less than the Japanese national average and have many more centenarians in their midst!
3- The 5:2 plan (or FAST diet) : In the featured documentary ‘Eat, Fast, and Live Longer’ (check out the video below) British author and Dr. Michael Mosley documented his journey as he decided to investigate alternative health strategies for his diagnosis to see if it might improve his health! This is when he tested ‘fasting’.
The fasting schedule he ultimately suggests is to eat normally for five days a week, and fast for two. Once again on fasting days one should eat a very restricted diet (fewer than 600 calories for men 500 for women) along with plenty of water and tea. Not only did this diet take Hollywood by storm but a study found that when overweight women followed a 5:2 approach, they lost more weight and body fat and improved their insulin resistance compared with women who followed a more traditional diet of limiting calories seven days per week .
What do I recommend?
Everyone is different and perhaps you need to try all 3 fasting methods to see what works best for you! But the ‘Time restricted Feeding’ is the most sustainable one and the easiest fasting schedule to implement. In addition, I personally fast one month a year for religious reasons but I also integrate the ‘5:2 plan’ during the year when I need it or feel sluggish, it is an excellent way to detox without going hardcore!
Who should avoid fasting?
if you’re hypoglycemic, diabetic, if you are living with chronic stress, have adrenal fatigue or cortisol dysregulation. Naturally, pregnant or nursing mothers should also avoid fasting. Please consult you GP before any drastic health plans and always read my disclaimer before any Science & Wellness post!
Books To Read
- Transformational Power of Fasting: The Way to Spiritual, Physical, and Emotional Rejuvenation by Stephen Harrod Buhner
- The Alternate-Day Diet: The Original Fasting Diet by James B. Johnson M.D and Donald R. Laub Sr. MD
Websites to See