Employees that fast together…

I interrupt my blogging rebellion to bring you this awesome news: there is a company — a whole company — that collectively fasts on Tuesdays! Unlike those gluttons at Google getting an endless supply of free gourmet catered food and snacks all hours of the day and night, this company — Nootrobox — has a fasting day once per week. It’s certainly a new take on “team building”. Another cool aspect is that they all break their fast together with breakfast on Wednesday. Wouldn’t we all love a work environment this supportive of our fasting days?!

A couple things to keep in mind before you go and get pissed at your uncooperative coworkers:

1 — It’s a biohacking company so the employees were already into unconventional health/science-y stuff.

2 — It’s really easy to get the whole company to fast when the whole company is made up of 4 people.

3 — We’re going to be seeing a lot more companies like this popping up because biohacking is apparently a movement in Silicon Valley. I can’t wait. 🙂

 

No Shame in Your Game

Sorry about posting like NOTHING last week. I was reeeeeallly busy.

And uninspired.

And lazy.

IMG_6449Even as I sit here writing this now (in the middle of another busy week), I’m trying to recover from all of those feelings. Writing is tough. I do it all day every day and sometimes I just need a break — a writing fast, if you will.

Busy and resistant as I was, I still got in a fasting day last week and this week, too. I was super lazy about them — a banana for breakfast and some scrambled eggs for dinner.

No fast-day ramen, or pretty salads, or hipster avocado toast.

Smart OnesWhen I have weeks like this, I try to make my most difficult tasks as easy as possible. Sometimes, that means eating really boring food or using frozen diet dinners. I used to feel like this was cheating. I used to worry about missing out on protein and nutrients and fiber and doing more harm than good for my body.

Calming the mind is the biggest challenge I face when fasting. If I’m not worried about eating too little, I’m worried about not eating the right things. Now I know all of that worrying was for nothing because here I am, 3 years later and I’m healthy and fine.

Sometimes, as I’m scrambling my dinner eggs or ripping open the box of 240 calorie fettuccine alfredo, I stand there all alone in my kitchen and say out lout “no shame in your game”.

If this is what I have to do to get my fasting day in, then there’s nothing wrong with it. Could I be eating something better? Sure, but isn’t that really true of every meal? If I asked myself that before I sat down to eat, I would have to replace most of my meals with salad.

Now that I don’t feel guilty about eating lame food on my fasting days, I can go back to feeling guilty about not updating my blog often enough — and we all know that’s really where I need to kick myself in the butt.

Ways to Fast

People have been asking me how to “do a fasting day.”

I say, “take your pick”.

My fasting days are very inconsistent. I try to stick to eating a small breakfast and a small dinner on Mondays, but sometimes I have to change it up.

While researching intermittent fasting, I found different fasting methods in The Fast Diet book and in others that gave me options. Some may be considered “an easy way out”, but remember: that doesn’t make them wrong or ineffective. Other methods are more restrictive with longer periods between meals, or no meals at all. It doesn’t mean they’re “advanced”. Whatever the case, having options made the diet flexible.

These are the method of fasting I’ve used:

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Brunch game strong at Cosme, NYC

1 – The 2 to 2 Method
Restricting my calories between 2PM one day and 2PM the next day counts as a fasting day. Most of my time fasting happens while I’m sleeping. It doesn’t get easier. I actually like to call this my “after-brunch fast” because brunch is usually a big enough meal eaten late enough in the day to keep me full until it’s time to go to bed. If I finish brunch around 2PM, I will only consume 500 calories (or less) until 2PM the next day. That’s 24 hours on only 500 calories. Boom: one fast down.

2 – The Fast Diet book Method
This is the method I use most often: consuming 500 calories between the time I wake up and the time I go to bed. The authors of The FastDiet book have different ways of approaching it:

2a – Mimi Spencer’s Method: She prefers to eat a small meal in the morning and a small meal in the evening with a snack in between.
2b – Dr. Michael Mosley’s Method: He has a meal in the morning and then another meal at the end of the day, with about 12 hours in between the two.
2c – They also mention another doctor in the book (page 68 in the old version of the book) who recommends having just one 500/600 calorie meal within your fasting day (usually for dinner).

I’ve tried it all of their ways. I usually use Dr. Mosley’s method and skip lunch so I don’t have to pack a lunch for work that day, but I can’t honestly say one way is easier, better, or more fun than another.

3 – 24-hour Fast

This a whole 24-hour period with no calories. It starts after the evening meal the night before the fast day and ends after a full 24 hours. So, if I stop eating around 7pm Monday, I get to break my fast after 7pm the next day.

4 -Bragg Fast

You may have heard of the Bragg family and seen their products at health food stores. They also wrote a book about fasting. They fast once per week, eating nothing between the time they wake up the time they go to bed. I did this once. I wanted to see what it was like and it turned out to be fine, but I didn’t feel any better or worse than the days when I have small meals except I had to deal with feeling hungry longer that day.

The Braggs also go on 7-10 day fasts several times per year…but I’ll pass on that. I barely made it through my 3-day fast.

As you can see, there’s no “right” way to do a fasting day. Even these days, I’m not committed to one particular method. I usually leave it up to my stomach to decide.

Dr. Mosley on Low-Fat Diets

Hey, y’all!

I’m a little busy this week, but I wanted to share with you this article that Dr. Mosley wrote about low-fat diets and why he thinks they don’t work. It’s an interesting and informative read. It also supports the phrase: “if it’s not one thing, it’s another.” He talks about how he got his dad to stop eating fatty foods, so instead his dad ate starchy foods and became diabetic.

I believe all things are okay in moderation. I started intermittent fasting because I didn’t want to have to give up anything completely. Why spend your whole life worry about one thing or just a few things? There are a whole bunch of other things you’re not worrying about that could be creeping up on you while your focus is elsewhere. I don’t think worrying about anything is a good plan or even a worthy use of my time. Life’s too short!

Anyway, check it out and let me know what you think!

5:2 AUTHOR MICHAEL MOSLEY: ‘I’M PROOF LOW-FAT DIETS DON’T WORK’

<3 Mara

Fast Day Ramen!

img_6538.jpgWelcome to all my new readers!! Great news: I can have noodles on fasting days now!

I was watching an episode of the Dr. Oz show about “Zero Calorie Foods”. While most of the stuff they showed was pre-packaged, chemical-laden crap that the doc and his health expert guest denounced, but they did recommend one zero-calorie food. Behold: shiratake noodles.

I never heard of them before, but I found them on Fresh Direct (and Amazon if you don’t live in a FD area). They only have 10 calories per serving!

I love ramen, but the fat content of just one bowl will put me over a normal day’s recommended calorie intake, so I can forget about visiting a ramen shop on a Monday. Here’s what happened when I tried to fashion my own bowl of low-calorie ramen for a fasting day…

img_6542.jpgIngredients: (Makes  2 servings)
Shiratake noodles, 1 package: 20 calories
Vegetable stock, 3 cups: 75 calories
Bok choy, 100 grams: 15 calories
Mushrooms (I used baby portobellos), 100 grams: 13 calories
Garlic, 1 clove: n/a
Eggs, 2: 180 calories

The noodles were easy to prepare. The directions say to rinse, then boil them for 2 minutes to get rid of the “authentic aroma”. That’s just a gentle way of saying that they smell awful, but boiling did the trick. I let them dry for a while and then started to make the broth.

img_6543.jpg img_6547.jpg

I brought the stock, 1 cup of water, and a crushed garlic clove to a boil in a pot. Then I added the chopped vegetables and let them cook while I prepared the egg. I watched a video about how to make the perfect soft boiled egg and it said to bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil, drop in the egg and cook for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. The white inside wasn’t completely set, as I like it. I will let it cook for another minute next time. When time was up, I ran the egg under cool water so it would be easier to handle.

img_6550.jpgWhile the egg was cooling, I put the noodles in the broth and turned the heat off. I stirred to incorporate them and marinate a little while I peeled the egg.

Ramen…assemble! I discarded the garlic clove, poured half of the soup pot into a bowl, cut the egg in half and voila: homemade, fasting day-worthy ramen! Total for this bowl: 152 calories!

img_6558.jpgThe noodles didn’t have a discernible taste and were chewier than real pasta. They also don’t have much to offer in nutritional value, so the egg and veggies give the dish some needed protein and fiber. I saved half the soup for my next fasting day. 152 calories is light even for a fast day dinner. I could have added more veggies or even some chicken…or cooked up that second egg and ate the whole pot of soup! 304 calories is reasonable on a Monday.

The taste? Not as great as the bowl of authentic ramen I had last week, but that’s not fair. Pork makes everything taste better.