5 Ways Paleo Complements Intermittent Fasting

Paleo is simply eating in accordance with our genetics, nourishing the body in the way nature intended. A diet based on traditional, hunter-gatherer foods maximizes health, healing and wellbeing…and benefits all aspects of the body, not just digestion!

Eating within a Paleo template alleviates and remedies chronic aches and pain, weight-gain, poor energy levels, fluid retention, hormonal imbalance and other conditions aggravated by chronic inflammation, while simultaneously supporting heart health, bone & joint integrity, stable moods, immune function, sound sleep, mental clarity and much more.

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Historically, the Next Meal Was never Guaranteed

Intermittent fasting* replicates the unpredictable food patterns of our ancestors and forces the body to initiate its internal survival mechanism:  autophagy. This is the body’s method of preserving energy and nutrients during food scarcity.

When nutrient intake is limited, the body saves energy by repairing existing cells instead of building new cells. To unlock nutrients necessary for rebuilding, the body identifies and removes damaged cells and recycles their building blocks for other body functions. Autophagy effectively terminates worn out cells and preserves the youthful ones.

The science is in – conscientious fasting is an exceptional tool to restore health! Short periods of not-eating (including sleep time) reinforce fat-burning metabolism, reduce inflammation, regulate hormonal balance, recalibrate insulin sensitivity and awaken the body’s natural ability to remove damaged cells while safeguarding youthful, efficient cells.

Fasting Sporadically Stimulates the Anti-Aging Benefits of Autophagy.

Fasting is a Natural Fountain of Youth!

 

*Note: Individuals who are underweight, pregnant, have a history of eating disorders or certain medical conditions (such as blood sugar imbalances) must consult a knowledgeable medical provider before fasting, if at all.

 
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How Paleo Helps...

The #1 reason individuals avoid fasting is that they don’t like feeling hungry! Surprisingly, Paleo-eating dismantles the debilitating effects of ravenous hunger.

Here are 5 specific ways the Paleo Diet and Lifestyle prepare you for successful fasting. Further information is thoroughly detailed in The Paleovation Workbook (specific section book locations are noted in parentheses; supplemental topic info is accessible here)

1.  Paleo Staple Foods Establish Fat-Burning Metabolism (Prep Section G, Day 2)

Becoming ‘fat-adapted’ is key to reducing the effects of raging hunger. When the body relies on carbs for energy, it’s like sustaining a campfire only with quick-burning kindling, an ineffective way to fuel a fire (and your body!). However, if a big “fat” log is burning at the base of the fire, it will burn efficiently for an extended time. The same is true for metabolism - by reducing modern carb-heavy foods such as grains and sugars, the body relearns to prioritize fat-burning from both diet and body reserves. These fat fuels burn low and slow, providing energy that is not dependent on meals or constant snacking. When fat-burners experience hunger, it is just a tolerable sensation of emptiness or a stomach growl…but, no accompanying light-headedness, nausea, crankiness, anger, headache or other debilitating symptoms of hunger from blood sugar crashes. Because the body has plenty of fat fuel to burn, blood sugar levels are preserved.

2.  Paleo Foods Satisfy Hunger and Curb Cravings (Prep Section F, Days 2, 3 & 6)

Carbohydrate-heavy modern foods wreak havoc on the body’s blood sugar levels. When blood sugar raises after eating sugar or starchy carbs, insulin is released to shuttle glucose out of the blood and into cells. But when large amounts of carbs are eaten (a sugar surge), the body responds with a hefty dose of insulin which can over-react and cause blood sugar to plummet (and stimulate hunger to bring in more energy). When individuals are hungry shortly after meals, they’re more likely to crave more carb-heavy foods and reinforce the sugar-insulin roller coaster. The Paleo Diet breaks this cycle - healthy fats, quality proteins and slow-burning veggie carbs provide filling meals which do not trigger the sugar-insulin cycle or sugar-induced carb cravings. This substantial decrease in hunger symptoms and cravings improves tolerance to fasting. (See our Sugar UnMerry-go-Round and Effects of Insulin graphics)

3.  Reduces Overall Stress-Load (Prep Section E, Days 3 & 4)

The Paleo Diet drastically reduces digestive stress. Surprisingly, many foods touted as ‘heart-healthy’ injure the intestinal wall and cellular structures through the entire body. Grains (especially whole grains) contain anti-nutrients which harm the gut lining as well as inhibit digestive processes (such as neutralizing digestive enzymes or blocking absorption of nutrients). Highly inflammatory omega-6 oils (made from grain seeds or legumes), such as canola or soybean, are often oxidized/damaged even prior to ingestion; but the body must still use them to build cell membranes. Paleo avoids these highly damaging foods which reduces digestive stress and gives the body a chance to restore integrity to cellular function. When overall stress is reduced, the body is better equipped to respond favorably to a fast.
Note: Additional info in the blog post 5 Ways Paleo Improves Stress Response

4.  Provides Ample Nutrients during Non-Fasting Times (Prep Sections D & E, Days 1-3, 23)

Basic Paleo meals combine abundant vegetables with select animal products and healthy fats to provide quality, easily-absorbed nutrition:

a.       Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and trace nutrients
b. Healthy fats essential for energy and fat-soluble vitamin absorption
c. Quality, bioavailable proteins
d. Building blocks for hormones, digestive enzymes, DNA, bone density, neurotransmitters and more

Paleo foods provide complete nutrition without anti-nutrients found in grain-based foods (which encase minerals and interfere with digestive enzyme action) or consequences of too little fat to absorb fat-soluble vitamins (complication of a low-fat diet). The proportions of nutrients within a Paleo Template encourage nutrient utilization…and a well-nourished body is more capable of tapping into stored energy and nutrients during a fast.

5.  Paleo-Eaters often Fast Spontaneously (Day 27)

Fasts do not need to be long, drawn out, cumbersome events…they might just happen “by accident.” When hunger is no longer a driving force, it is easy to get caught up in the day’s activities (it IS possible to forget to eat!). Fat-burners might start the day with an unsweetened coffee or tea, begin their errands/activities and not even slow down to take their first meal until late afternoon! Successful completion of shorter fasts encourages individuals to experiment with longer, planned fasts.

Fasting Options for Beginners

Fasts for beginners can be relatively simple:  just shortening the eating window to 8 hours per day provides a 16-hr fast including sleep time. Other strategies include spontaneous meal skipping, one hearty meal per day, 5:2 fasting or single day fasts (details on these fasting techniques are in Day 27 of The Paleovation Workbook). Excellent articles and supporting information can be found in the book references for Day 27; please consider consulting The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jason Fung, MD.

 

There Is No Catch! Simply Eating Paleo Naturally Induces Proper Body Function.

 

Just 2-3 weeks eating Paleo is enough to clearly realize vast improvement in hunger response, health and vitality. All is takes is conscientious food choices:  eliminate inflammatory foods and emphasize restorative, traditional foods. There are no expensive powders, special-formulated products or endless exercise routines necessary.

 

The body already has the innate ability to heal – Paleo simply creates the ideal set of circumstances to foster and sustain this natural healing.

 

How Do I Start?

Individuals new to Paleo often appreciate assistance identifying typical inflammatory foods, sifting through abundant Paleo resources, finding easy-to-understand information and staying prepared. This is the basis of The Paleovation Workbook:  It’s like having a trusted mentor support the reader each day.   

The Paleovation Workbook details the Why's and How's for healthy, long-term diet change

This workbook is arranged in easy-to-read, daily sections designed to keep the reader informed and organized. Each day reinforces the commitment to dietary change by explaining specifically why these diet changes improve health as well as how to implement them, loaded with ideas for snacks, recipes, socializing, practical planning assistance.

Substantial information is compiled in an easy-to-read “bottom-line” format with charts, checklists, templates and practice exercises. Additionally, to build a balanced approach to lifestyle modification, information includes other pillars of health such as stress management, sleep tips, sensible exercise and more:

Informative Topics:     

  • Destructive nature of sugar and starch

  • Fat facts – the good, bad and ugly

  • Problems with modern foods

  • Chronic inflammation and its complications

  • Cholesterol and heart disease

  • Autoimmune support

  • Gut health and probiotics

  • Detrimental effects of stress

  • Smart nutritional supplementation

How-To Topics:

  • Stock a Paleo kitchen

  • Generate meal ideas and recipe resources

  • Manage food cravings

  • Enhance fat-burning metabolism

  • Substitute non-Paleo foods

  • Devise strategies for social situations

  • Promote deep sleep

  • Break through a weight loss plateau

  • Solidify long-term dietary success

 

The advantage of this workbook is it teaches the reader what to do AND how to do it, ultimately increasing odds of lasting success.

 

Develop a Personalized Dietary Template

Elimination diets are commonly used to test for food allergies or sensitivities. The method is simple, just avoid specific irritating foods for a set period of time, then carefully reinstate them to observe personal tolerance levels. Participants learn to connect the dots between their trigger foods and symptoms of inflammation within their bodies.

The Paleovation Workbook walks the reader through a 4-week elimination diet and reintroduction period. The beauty is that there are no cookie-cutter results – each person reveals a customized list of well-tolerated foods. In the long run, this knowledge is used to formulate a personalized, flexible approach to dietary success.

The Paleovation Workbook provides the framework to stay informed, motivated and accountable during the Paleo transition and beyond.

Cheers to your renewed health and vitality!

The Paleovation Team