Spice Up 2023 With an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle
Intermittent Fasting has become a popular way for those of us who want to be healthier and improve mental clarity (and is not just for losing weight).
It’s something I’m embracing in 2023. And I’m sharing my points with you in this jam-packed post that also includes 15 great spices I love… for good food inspo you can appreciate on feasting days if you’re on a fasting lifestyle.
But first, let me back up two points as you may not be familiar with Intermittent Fasting.
#1. Fasting or Intermittent Fasting (within time windows) is becoming uber popular these days as a way to lose weight sustainably. It’s the opposite of a fad diet that I’m opposed to because the long-term effects can backfire.
#2. Weight loss for a healthy body mass index or waist circumference is one great benefit that shouldn’t be downplayed… and has side benefits that are even greater. Losing weight also reduces the risk of cardiovascular and metabolic breakdowns and developing adult-onset type-2 Diabetes that’s soaring in our modern world. T2D oftentimes can be better managed, prevented, and restored with healthy lifestyle choices.
And another point… is if you know me, you know I’m not doing IF for weight loss. It’s the sustainable, healthy lifestyle and side health benefits that I’m super excited about on my end!
…So I hope the information here gives you some insight and can help you decide if IF is right for you. There’s no shame or awkward feelings like “being on a diet” can have because Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a sustainable lifestyle.
…And actually, no one during your day will be able to note when you’re IF fasting or feasting if you want to keep it to yourself (as your choice). Drinking water and coffee is pretty normal stuff for most of us.
And I use sleep time for almost half of the 16 hours I’m fasting these days. But the schedule you decide is completely flexible and changeable from season to season… and actually is better when you mix it up if you get stuck e.g. not losing more weight or you’re on your cycle for women (that’s different than).
There are so many health benefits from switching in and out of glucose and ketones. I list a few below, but I can’t get into all of them here as the list is long (and this article is already pretty long)… but, if you want to seriously learn more about this, just fill out the 2-minute body balance quiz and mention your IF interest in the optional notes area, and I’ll pass on some good resources.
And in case this is your first time visiting my weekly blog, I’ve been into preventative health my entire adult life that started when I was marketing high-end nutritional supplements in my early 20s. Lowering fat calories (where even “nuts are bad”) was part of the zeitgeist I grew up in. …and, well, these days that macro-talk has switched to carbs.
Personally, I like to focus on the macro positives like increasing healthy proteins and veggie-forward carbs.
But today, we’re on the brink of health research that’ll help us live longer optimally by biohacking our bodies. I think we need this to offset the toxins and global warming effects that we daily intake (and didn’t experience decades ago).
And I believe Intermittent Fasting will help our individual healthy e-missions as our world advances. More women and men are looking at IF as a healthy lifestyle choice. Here is a good reason why:
Because IF is good for chronic cardiovascular-related prevention (heart disease is still the leading cause of death, along with certain cancers, and now cognitive decline and T2D)…
So this is why IF is good for all of us (Vatas, Pittas, and Kaphas). All our bodies perform autophagy cell clean up, and efficiently better with IF. And that helps us to reduce oxidative stress that leads to the chronic stresses that lead to chronic diseases. And if you get into a 24-hour fast, you can optimize this one benefit.
You can also look up autophagy: a new kind of recycling we can do, but with our bodies.
…that benefit alone should raise an eyebrow! And is good news.
As a health and wellness freelance writer having spent countless hours consuming IF facts, benefits, and science-backed expert advice, Intermittent Fasting is aligned with my current healthy ways.
So, I’ve added this to my 2023 health and wellness plans.
And in my weekly Intermittent Fasting, what I eat and drink complements my anti-inflammatory diet and balancing Ayurvedic-lifestyle (from yoga to spices)… below, I share some of my fave Ayurvedic spices-and-everything-nice list that helps to enhance self-awareness by appreciating the foods put in the body.
On my “fasting days,” I eat from 8-4. I know that sounds like an “on the clock” job, but that’s hardly the way it feels. It’s so easy and actually makes my daily life easier.
…In my case, it keeps me from snacking all day and night, like so many of us. And even though my snacks are usually simple and healthy, like carrots, nuts, popcorn, and dark chocolate, my body rewards me for not snacking at all.
That includes giving up the habit of chewing gum that I stopped a few years ago.
All gum, sweet mints, cough drops, creamers, and flavored drinks all count as part of the calories that can unintentionally swing the “napping” fasting body back into work mode, and easily break a fast.
Breaking a Fast
The snack elephant in the room (on feasting days) for me is a few soft Twizzlers (strawberry, cherry, and black licorice). I was so going to say fresh Twizzlers, but you’d laugh at me because there are few if any fresh foods coming from a packaging manufacturing plant.
…And just so we’re clear, that’s not a Twizzler endorsement for any of my weekly healthy food lists and plans (anti-inflam, Ayurvedic, or IF). I’m not trying to steer you down a Twizzler diet path (…lol).
Licorice is the happy food in my life. And you have your non-negotiable faves. Hopefully, they’re worth it!
…So, swinging the needle back to the healthy (and happy) body, here are some ways I use spices.
I like to go into my spice cabinet regularly and open up the small containers to cook and bake with. It’s an Ayurvedic balancing practice (not usually practiced when fasting).
Spices heighten the senses. And are a good way to develop recipes and come up with spiced-up! new meals. I’m a free-pour type of gal so rarely do I use teaspoons to measure spices. And sometimes being heavy-handed makes for a better dish or bake anyway.
Balancing the Body with Spices
And not only are spices a good way to appreciate your sense of taste and smell, they’re also a good indicator of where you’re balanced and off-balance. I mentioned the Body Balance Quiz earlier which uses this same concept.
This is body-mind self-awareness from the mind-body’s perspective.
Here’s how it works: whether you’re anxious/worried, irritated/angry, feeling critical, or feeling lazy, these emotions and moods all show up in your spice preferences!
This is one of the fun experiences I had when I learned Ayurveda in 2008. And then years later hadn’t forgotten, so I thought would be fun to give “the spice test” to my office-mate catering colleagues. It made for a nice break when we were all swamped and I had up to 7 events going on in a day.
…And somehow I found time to help out and work at one of The WeddingWire HQ catered events in those imbalanced hour days.
…So when I gave my officemates their personalized results, I think they felt like I magically knew them better than themselves that season (…and just with a few everyday seasonings I brought in!). Of course, I provided the counterbalancing solutions they specifically needed.
And these ordinary ones are some of the faves that can make an EXTRAORDINARY dish.
Star anise. A spice blend with star anise as the star is Ras el hanout. You also get some punchy notes with cloves, balancing fennel, and mild-spicy black pepper.
Curry. Surprisingly I used to think this exotic spice smelled like an old shop full of food knick-knacks. And then grew into this sweet spice. It goes really well with chicken or potato dishes.
Sumac. This is not as common a spice. You would know if it was in your cabinet because it stands out with a dark purple color. It has the quintessential bitter taste along the same lines as dry mustard.
And bitter spices would probably not spike insulin on a fast (aka Intermittent Fasting), but the foods that went with it definitely would!
Ginger. Freshly grated ginger is great for everything. It has a calming effect even though it has a distinctive spice kick at the end. And of course, ginger spice is great for gingerbread in the gingerbread house in the winter holiday seasons.
Cardamom. This takes a sophisticated taste. You either like it, are neutral, or detest. Most younger tastes go for the latter perspective. Maybe that’s why it has “mom” at the end because it’s meant for more mature tastes.
Black pepper. And there are studies that indicate if black pepper is added to cardamom, there are synergistic anti-inflammatory benefits. It’s not just good with salt. And you can take that for what it’s worth. I personally like waving black pepper around for opening up nasal congestion.
Cloves. This is a versatile pungent spice. Unlike ginger which gets spicier, clove is a subtle spice. And maybe why a dark brown color to blend in. And cloves are off the charts when it comes to anti-inflammatory, meaning it’s super good for you.
It’s one of those hidden spices in the cabinet that should be brought out. And it’s often in the middle of the list of ingredients in a spice blend. It doesn’t get the glory recognition it deserves like bright orange turmeric news headlines these days.
And just a few more spice notes , and then we’re done. Btw, thanks for sticking with me!… Your dishes will thank me.
Garlic – good for adding a 3rd dimension and a good prebiotic we can always use more of.
Thyme – similar to oregano that’s generally more common.
Oregano – good for any Italian dishes, pizza, pasta, and red sauce.
Tarragon – for any savory dish you want to add a sweet herb and create a French bistro in-the-mouth vibe. This is great for savory breakfast foods like potatoes and eggs. They can also be part of your break the fast foods if you’re Intermittent Fasting.
Saffron – great for any seafood dishes and stews. And even sweets paired with honey, like baklava. Saffron is a Vata favorite because it has a very balanced, sweet, and distinct scent and taste. You can’t miss it in a paella seafood dish.
Dill – is lovely with any cold appetizers that need a ‘lil fresh pep. It also has a distinct green pine needle look, so it makes for a great last-minute dish dash (or final touch to top off).
Unlike rosemary which also has a needle-like appearance, dill is easy to chew. Dried rosemary… not so much, and since it’s prickly is better as an exterior skin flavoring or on a roast.
Mint – Not the candy mint no-no I mentioned earlier when I was talking about fasting, but the plant that’s actually an herb. Peppermint leaves are great for tea and baking extracts. Tea leaves are great for garnishes and also pair well with fruits.
Spearmint – always reminds me of Wrigley’s spearmint gum (another fasting faux pas) from my childhood years and is good in a tea blend. Also, good with dishes such as mint peas.
So, that’s what I have for spicy news this week until next week.
This post was previously published on Healthy Happy Life Secrets Blog.
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