Intermittent fasting is a great tool if you’re in one of those foggy, lazy, lethargic funks. Giving your digestive system a break not only helps you shed (and keep off) a few extra lbs, it also helps with mental clarity, energy, and induces your cellular repair process. There’s a lot of different ways to fast, and different lengths you can fast for. But here’s what works for me:
The 16:8 Ratio
This is my favorite fast to do once or twice a week. (If you can do this Monday-Friday, even better!) The gist: eat for 8 hours, fast for 16. I like to do a 10am-6pm window. For digestion and weight purposes I like to cut dinner off early instead of skipping breakfast (as opposed to a 1pm-9pm schedule). The old saying goes: eat lunch like a king and dinner like a peasant. Your digestive system is at it’s highest peak around midday, so it’s ideal to eat your largest, most difficult to digest meal then. And keep dinner light.
The 12:12 Ratio
If the 16 hour fast is unrealistic or too difficult, try to stick to giving yourself 12 hours between dinner and breakfast to give your body time to naturally fast and self-cleanse.
4 Hours Between Meals
You may have heard that it’s good for your metabolism to eat small meals more often, but recent studies (and ancient texts) say otherwise. I recently began studying Ayurveda, which states that it takes the body about 4-6 hours to digest a meal. So try to avoid snacking when possible and give your body 4 hours between each meal. This will help your overall clarity and mood, and it also initiates your body’s natural detoxification process.
My secret weapon for bloating!!! I used to get bloated after EVERY meal. Like I’d go from a six pack to six months pregnant in an instant. Food combining has changed my life. The basic concept is that some foods pair well together, while others do not. I couldn’t tell you the exact science of what happens in your digestive system when you improperly pair foods. But I CAN tell you that when I combine my meals properly, I feel lighter and I am not bloated almost instantly.
Some basic food combining rules:
-fruit should be eaten on an empty stomach & first thing in the morning
(it takes 20 minutes to digest, so you can eat a second breakfast after your fruit)
-proteins and starches do not mix well
-when building a meal fill your plate with veggies, add a fat (avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, etc), and include either animal protein OR starch. Pick a side!
If you want to look more into it, I suggest you do some googling. There’s a lot of great articles and charts online that can help you. @kenzieburke on Instagram is also my food combining guru.
WHAT I EAT
I’ve gone through so many diet phases: vegan, paleo, keto, carb cycling, macro counting. You name is. But what I’ve come to, and what works best for me is this:
I eat organic plant based foods the majority of the time. And then when I’m out with friends or at a great restaurant, I eat…whatever the fuck I want. As long as it’s WORTH IT.
When you’re eating 80% plant based, your body will also metabolize “bad foods” easier. So since I’m pretty good on the weekdays, a couple slices of pizza and some chocolate cake on a Saturday really doesn’t affect me. I pick my battles. And when it’s worth it, I indulge. But if it’s a Tuesday and you need to grab lunch–opt for a salad or a veggie soup over a sandwich and chips. It’s that easy.