Intermittent fasting (IF) is one of the most popular patterns of eating in modern day culture, not to mention a tool that has been used by our ancestors for generations. Intermittent fasting is a practice that is easily adaptable to your lifestyle and filled with a variety of potential health benefits.
If you are looking to explore the health benefits of fasting, intermittent fasting offers the perfect place to start. At the Sanctuary, intermittent fasting is something that our guests effortlessly engage in. We rise with the sun and sleep with the moon, allowing us to naturally cultivate an intermittent fasting practice.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is not a diet, but a pattern of eating. Intermittent fasting (IF) is a popular eating strategy where you alternate between set periods of eating with set periods of completely abstaining from food. At the sanctuary we follow the schedule of 16/8. This means that we eat during an 8-hour window and fast for 16 hours.
How does intermittent fasting work?
Intermittent fasting works by prolonging the period when your body has burned through the calories consumed during your last meal and begins burning fat. When we are constantly digesting food, our bodies are using energy. When we give our body a break from digesting, it allows our bodies to direct energy to cellular regeneration and repair.
Johns Hopkins neuroscientist Mark Mattson has studied intermittent fasting for 25 years, he explains that our bodies have evolved to be able to go without food for many hours, or even several days or longer. In prehistoric times, before humans learned to farm, they were hunters and gatherers who evolved to survive — and thrive — for long periods without eating.
At the Sanctuary this way of eating is inspired by nature and our ancestors. The purpose is not to view this as a diet or restriction, but as a way of connecting to a natural circadian rhythm.
Reduced Inflammation: Several human studies demonstrate fasting’s effectiveness at fighting oxidative stress and inflammation—two drivers of aging and chronic disease.
Improved heart health: fasting individuals also experienced a drop in homocysteine levels—a major cardiovascular disease risk factor—and improvements in their total cholesterol to HDL cholesterol ratio.
Improved gut health and diversity: researchers say intermittent fasting may elicit changes in the gut that are protective against metabolic syndrome.
Improved brain health: Anecdotal claims abound regarding intermittent fasting’s ability to boost mental energy, focus, and cognitive function.
Beyond physical benefits, intermittent fasting has immense mental benefits. When we eliminate the energy that it takes to plan meals, prepare meals, and so on, we free energy to implement in much more profound areas.
How to Intermittent Fast at home:
- Begin with a 12-hour eating period and 12-hour fast. Perhaps you have your first meal at 8am, and finish your last by 8pm. Gradually increase your fast as you feel comfortable.
- Tap into energy sources outside of food: Ask yourself, what other modalities energize me? Meditation offers an incredibly energizing outlet.
- Food for thought- have you ever had an experience where you were so joyous that food was the last thing on your mind? Find ways to tap into this energy in your daily life.
Intermittent fasting is a very accessible and customizable way to improve the quality of your wellbeing. Intermittent fasting allows you to become more in-tune with your body alongside welcoming many physical and mental benefits. Join us at the Sanctuary to share this practice of intermittent fasting, or practice in the peace of your own home.