Beauty, Wellness, Recipes, Food
Q & A: Do i have to fast
Thank you for sharing your burning questions with me! One question that came up a lot was regarding intermittent fasting. I wanted to give you the broad stroke answer on fasting ahead of the opening of the Weight Loss Success course to sign up. Here we go.
Do I have to fast?
The short answer is no. You don’t have to practice intermittent fasting, but you DO need windows of not eating.
Observational studies have found that small frequent meals do not produce the results we expect. This outdated model of eating 5-6 times a day increases hunger, food consumption, and does not help reduce weight gain. (For a recent client, she was able to lose weight with this one step.). But, at the same time, you don’t need 16-18 hours of fasting - particularly as a woman - on a daily basis.
What is a non-eating window?
Time when you're not eating or consuming caloric fluids. Non-eating windows are highly beneficial. The non-eating window gives you time to, one, burn off the foods you consume and, two, to switch into fat burning mode to burn off stored energy found in your muscles, fat cells, and organs. A non-eating window can last anywhere from 5-12 hours.
In non eating windows you
1. Create metabolic flexibility - teaching your body to burn both glucose and fat. This decreases hunger, cravings, and energy dips. It also trains your body to not go to hangry when you miss a meal - you will have greater stamina and less food dependence.
2. You give your gut time to repair and your microbes a chance to feast. Your gut naturally is equipped to repair itself, but it needs time not involved in digestion. If once digestion is over, you refill, your gut doesn’t get a chance to repair.
Digestion takes 6-8 hours from mouth to large intestines. Eating every 3-4 hours keeps this process in continual motion. Having a period of 5+ hours between meals and 12 hours of rest at night gives the digestive track repair time. This will benefit you with less sickness, fewer allergies, and more regular bowels.
Prolonged fasting (3-5 days) is a tool to:
1. Reset your weight set point. Your weight set point is an interesting mechanism which keeps your weight basically the same despite occasional overeating or under eating. This is also the bane of weight loss because it pushes you to regain. To not regain without continual dieting - you must reset your set point. Fasting is a tool for this.
2. Feel younger. Prolonged fasting is a tool for rejuvenation. Longer periods of fasting that happen monthly, seasonally, or yearly helps your entire body renew itself on a cell level. We use this in the Deep Reset and in juice cleanses.
To learn more about fasting, stay tuned. It is a wonderful tool and not as onerous as you may have thought or experienced.
P.S. If you didn't get to submit your burning questions - do so here.
Cravings sabotage our nutrition programs, efforts to reverse chronic disease, and weight loss plans. Cravings make us feel out of control, defeat us, and can mentally make us feel like we are not fixable.
I acknowledge all those feelings that cravings create, AND, I offer you an alternate view and path to use to make you healthier.
First off - cravings have a biological root. They are not the result of your weakness, lack of self control, or self sabotaging. The body actually becomes addicted to foods: sugar and bread are two common examples.
Interestingly, foods that are inflammation inducers prompt the body to create antibodies to them as part of your immune response. Knowing that dairy, for example, inflames you, you avoid dairy. But the presence of these dairy antibodies circulating in your body actually triggers a desire for the enemy, so your cravings for ice cream, lattes, and cheese increase.
Understanding the biological root of cravings is important for two reasons. Firstly, it underscores that there is nothing wrong with you, your body is functioning well and correctly. Secondly, it guides us in addressing cravings.
Realizing that they are basically well worn food pathways that your body has come to expect, the most successful approach is to create new pathways and walk down the well-worn path less and less frequently until it all but disappears.
Here is a quick outline of how to get started in unhooking cravings that are not supportive of your wellbeing.
One month of wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) and using an app called Levels gave me an inside view of how food is metabolized in my body.
Everyone should use one for at least 2 weeks to see how what they eat is affecting blood sugar levels. Our blood sugar levels greatly influence the likelihood of disease, weight gain, hormonal stability, alertness, and stamina.
When you see a graph of your blood sugar levels throughout the day, you want the range of fluctuation to be tight so that it looks more like slow, gentle rises and gentle dips. If it looks like an EKG, it’s trouble.
The opportunity to get continual information provided me many insights and confirmations. I learned that stress caused sharp spikes. The order I ate made a significant difference as well as the fasting windows (periods of no eating or snacking) between meals. When meals were glucose stable, snacks were unnecessary. FYI, snacking keeps glucose levels elevated throughout the day - bad for weight loss, pre-diabetes, and above normal A1C.
Here are the takeaways that you can use to further customize your daily eating to bring down A1C levels, reduce insulin responses, reverse pre-diabetes and diabetes, and to lose weight.
How did Jolie perform?
I loved testing out the jolie meals at the cafe and for the food delivery programs. I know the science, but there is always a chance that when you see the data things don’t measure up. Sign of relief - the jolie meals provided stable blood sugar: minimal, very gentle rise and fall. This is great news if you are pre-diabetic, diabetic, lowering A1C, losing weight, or on your longevity journey like me.
I did do some head to head comparisons of jolie versions of juices and smoothies versus other places. Jolie juices and smoothies, won by a landslide in the competition for not raising blood glucose.
As to the delivery programs all stars were the Soup Cleanse, 10 Day Reset, and Broth Cleanse. The Optimized and Paleo programs kept blood sugar lowest; in the jolielife and vegan programs blood sugar was kept low and stable by eating the veggies first and beans, rice, quinoa, oats last.
For eating at the cafe:
For breakfast or a snack your best choices are the energy bowl, frittata, smoked salmon toast on glow Bread, avocado toast on glow bread, the bunny muffin, and the chocolate love bar.
Salads, no surprise, are great lunch choices with our no sugar housemade dressing. The bunless jolie burger and garden tacos are good choices too.
Keeping glucose low in your blood will reduce A1C levels, improve liver function, curb energy crashes, speed weight loss, and reverse diabetic conditions. Eating jolie will make it easy for you to do all that.
Skin & longevity
You can increase longevity by improving the health of your skin. It’s your largest organ and the cellular age of your skin affects vitality and, in fact, once you are over 60 the condition of your skin is of life and death importance.
Feeding our skin is not just about beauty. Skin protects you against a myriad of allergens, pathogens, infection, and foot ulcers. Skin thinning is a major problem as we age that weakens the skin barrier leading to tears in the skin, abrasions, easy bruising, and foot ulcers. The incidents of foot ulcers in those 65 and older is growing. Foot ulcers can lead to death within 5 years even when treated.
Bioage determination is a growing field of research which is finding that bioage of our skin correlates with longevity - mainly because of senescent cells and what is good for our skin is good for our overall body and what harms the skin, harms other cells in our body.
Senescent cells are cells that are damaged to the point that they no longer replicate, but do not die. Senescent cells exist throughout the body, but accumulate more densely in the skin due to sun damage, environmental stressors, and nutritional oversights.
These cells inhibit the healing of the skin and are implicated in cancer, diabetes, dementia, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, stroke, and decline in eyesight, Senescent cells secrete cytokines, pro-inflammatory factors that not only damage nearby cells, but also pass into the bloodstream contributing to systemic inflammation and cell dysfunction.
Eating for skin health and practicing skin care is less cosmetic, but is deeply connected to your overall health. You can strengthen your body by lowering the age of your skin.
Specifically to decrease senescent cells:
The bonus here is the more you nurture your glow the better you feel, the more confidently you face your world, and the more you improve every aspect of health.
Eat to share
Eat to share is a wonderful phrase I came across which epitomizes how we should approach nourishing our gut. It is simple and clear. Eat for you and your good gut bacteria.
Your gut is a source and generator of health through the activity of the organisms that live in your gut. When you eat, you either nurture that symbiotic relationship with your gut flora or you clog it up by underfeeding your gut organisms. That is why the concept of eating to share is so important in creating balance in your diet.
So how do we eat to share:
Eat enough for you and your microbiome, but not too much. When you have a meal - make sure there are fiber rich foods or prebiotic foods for your digestive “partners.” (veggies, fruit, sweet potato, sunchokes). When we eat large meals, however, digestion is backed up and foods begin to ferment which is not a good environment for your gut flora.
Eat on a schedule that allows for regular eating times and rest times. You give your digestive microbiome members a chance to process what they eat and time to rest. If you are beginning, start with no snacking between breakfast and lunch, then move onto creating an evening eating cut off, then look at any grazing between lunch and dinner.
Eat for you. Each individual's microbiome is different - so what you need is not that same as what someone else needs. This is where listening to our own body and being aware of how it is functioning is most important. Above dietary philosophy is your individual GPS.
Eat more plants and less meat. A meat heavy and processed grain diet is typical in America and has health effects. If you look back on your last few days of eating and you see mainly meat, dairy, wheat products, white potatoes, rice, and beans you're out of balance. Adding in vegetables and fruits will help bring you into balance and mitigate the ill effects of the above mentioned imbalance.
The principle of eat to share is to eat for your body - brain, movement, living - and for your gut microbiota. You’ll feel the change quicker than you think. The microbiome is extremely responsive - in just a day of eating to share, the composition and activity level of your gut builds and diversifies. You will feel the difference.
herbs & Spices for digestion
Digestion is an interplay between your body and your food. The food you eat directly impacts your digestive health. This means that every bite is an opportunity to heal, protect, and support digestion.
Adding flavor to your food at home with herbs and spices is an easy add that will make a huge impact on bloating, indigestion, GRD, intestinal churning, and intestinal gas.
Here are the top five that we use at jolie for maximum health impact and flavor.
1. Lemon. Technically not an herb, but in cooking it is used as one. Many digestive and absorption issues begin in the stomach. Low digestive enzymes prevent adequate breakdown of food prior to emptying into the small intestine leading to painful digestion and malabsorption. Adding lemon naturally increases digestive enzymes allowing food to be more completely digested.
2. Parsley is in many jolie dishes - finely chopped so the flavor does not become too strong. Parsley helps reduce intestinal gas and maintain regularity. We prefer flat leaf parsley for texture and flavor.
3. Cumin enhances the activity of digestive enzymes and aids in the production of bile which you need to digest fats - both plant and animal based fats. Using ground cumin is easiest. Add it when you are cooking the onion and garlic base of a dish or a sprinkle before roasting vegetables.
4. Ginger you know as an anti-inflammatory, but it also soothes the stomach, reduces nausea, gas, bloating, and intestinal spasms. We prefer to use fresh ginger in sauces and cooked dishes. You receive maximum benefit this way and can more easily control the flavor by how finely you chop or grate the ginger.
5. Coriander is an herb and spice. We use both. The fresh herb is added to a dish raw. The spice is used in the initial stages of cooking. Coriander is great for speeding up recovery from stomach illnesses and diarrhea. It is also being research as an plant medicine for colitis and ulcers.
6. Here is your + 1 - Turmeric helps the stomach by reducing bloating, heartburn, and gas. It too is an anti-inflammatory that also benefits digestion. Turmeric we use fresh and powdered. I prefer fresh turmeric for flavor, however, at home it is easier to incorporate a sprinkle of turmeric in your dishes.
Many of these you can benefit from in a tea form. Our Digestive Tea (soon to be renamed Happy Belly) contains all the herbs above except parsley. It also has other spices that benefit digestion that we didn't mention.
Another way to integrate these spices is with the jolie Digestive Spice blend which contains cumin, cardamom, coriander, ginger, turmeric, and a pinch of black pepper. You can also make your own by blending the above spices. Use 1/4 teaspoon per 2 person serving - if you want the spices to be more faint, use less.
Just like we were forced to yield to the hormonal changes of our teenage years, in this other part of our life we also must surrender to and find new ways to take care of our bodies.
mindset & salad
A big salad at lunch is a game changer for health. I remember reading The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes and her confession that, “what happened is, is that you change what your palate wants. I'm suddenly craving fish and salad."
A huge part of jolie is The Salad. It is also one of the most challenging for clients. Somehow - I think it was the iceberg salads of the 80s - salads are seen as the quintessential diet, deprivation food. But, it’s all in your mindset.
Let’s talk about mindset. The mindset that gets me to eating another salad, to actually craving my salad, is first, I look forward to it. As 11 rolls around I start anticipating my salad. I look forward to sitting down, taking a break, and enjoying my lunch. I look forward to seeing the beautiful colors, to all the crunchiness, to the taste of olive oil, the creaminess of avocado or sweetness of fruit. I look forward to the nuts or seeds. I look forward to the variety of lettuce, herbs, and veggies. I look forward to what is seasonal in the salad that I can only have at that time.
I also have a ritual around my salad. I get out a large silver bowl. I dump the salad in and pour the seeds, nuts, and dressing over it and toss with two spoons. Then I sprinkle a pinch of sea salt and pile it on to my favorite white (great color contrast), shallow salad bowl. I sit down. I take a moment of gratitude and enjoy.
I love how full, but light I feel afterwards. I love the variety of flavors. I love how clean my palate feels. Ummm.
You can look at your salad like that. Or, you can say to yourself, “Another salad. I know it’s good for me. It’s going to make me healthier. It helps my digestion. I know my skin loves it. It will help me get these pounds off. They say it will bring down my inflammation.” That too is a mindset.
Choose to cultivate a mindset that makes you feel good and excited about the choices you make. Choose to look at your food in a way that supports your choice to give yourself the best. When you set down to your next salad, think about how awesome it is that you are gifting yourself this bowl of amazingness that is going to energize you and make you feel great.
Learning to take on a mindset that supports you is a tool you can use over and over - whether it is making financial changes so you can switch jobs, training for a marathon, or going back to school. Mindset and self talk is a power tool we can use FOR us!
relaxing without food or alcohol
On the road to health transformation, our food rituals sometimes need to be reframed. One ritual common to many is using food or drink to relax, release frustration, or as an end of the day reward. Often, however, these habits don’t support our health goals or add a few unwanted pounds.
One of my “relearns” when losing weight after Eli was learning to relax without food or wine. Learning to uncouple food and relaxation allowed me to reach health goals faster, grow as a person as I learned new ways to nurture myself, and I began to relax in ways that I didn’t regret later.
When we want to relax, we are looking for relief -from the day, a feeling, or tiredness. I looked at how I felt toward the end of the day from both the cause and effect level. By 7 I was exhausted, so I looked for ways to make my day less exhausting, stressful, and draining. Then I looked at what was available to me as other ways to relax.
Out of the first inquiry came the ever changing list I wrote about last week, “How to Make My Life Easier.” If you missed it, you can find it on our blog. Hopefully, you made your own list and are on the road to making your life easier.
I also made a Pleasure List for new ways to unwind. These are things that give me joy, that are easily accessible (like food), make me feel good (like food), and have no potential downside (unlike relaxation snacking).
Some of the items on the Pleasure List are:
Now write your own Pleasure List of easily accessible ways to relax.
Actively use your two lists. As the day winds down today choose a new way to relax and reward yourself for all your efforts today. Learning new ways to nourish yourself and stay aligned to your goals will build your momentum of showing up for yourself and trusting your ability to nurture yourself.
discomfort vs. deprivation
Being uncomfortable is a quality of change in progress. I work with many clients who are healing their bodies through food. Most come with the expectation of deprivation - needing to cut out tasty food and their favorite foods.
The knee jerk reaction we have when our doctor says our cholesterol is out of whack, or we get pre-diabetic numbers, or the scale goes into scary territory is to cut, eliminate, and forbid certain foods. Our actions are the equivalent to slash and burn agriculture. Unfortunately, the results are similar too. We end up in a cycle in unsustainability where our willpower is depleted, and like the used up land, we abandon our goals.
I want you to know you don’t have to go into deprivation.
Deprivation is not a sustainable way to live. There is no joy there. It leaves us seeking cheat days, binge weekends, and eventually we get close enough to our goal that the pain of continuing our diet of deprivation is worse than the angst that started us off. When that happens, we stop and end up back where we started.
I want you to be willing to be uncomfortable. But here is the key, the discomfort that needs to come and be worked through is mental - you will have to change your mindset.
My most successful clients are willing to take the dietary changes that need to be made slowly. The pace allows them to do the mental work that reteaches them how to eat, changes the relationship they have with themselves, and gives them a way of eating they can commit to for the rest of their lives.
If you are reading this, you probably have a health goal right now. I am going to help you see some small changes you can make now. Think of all the foods you eat that are not aligned with your health goals. Make a list of them. These are your yellow light foods.
Now think of all the foods you eat that are aligned with your health goals. Make a list of those - these are your green light foods. From a place of love, decide what you are eating tomorrow. What can you decide to eat tomorrow that will support you in moving closer to your goal?
Write down all your meals and your snacks that you are choosing for yourself. You can include as many green light foods as you want to eat tomorrow; then choose something from the yellow light list that you choose to eat tomorrow.
Tomorrow you will eat your pre-decided foods. The list is not one of deprivation, but of choice. Now, we get uncomfortable There will be things you want to eat tomorrow that are not on your plan. But, we are going to show up for ourselves. The next day we can include them if we want.
Food is tied with emotions. So, as you sit in discomfort know that it is okay, it is normal, and you are being there for yourself. Frustration, tiredness, exhaustion, restlessness may all come. It’s okay. You will gently hold yourself through it.
Taking each day as described above will create lasting change.
Eat Your Plants First
In my body transformation, my first commitment was to exercise daily for 20 minutes. My second commitment was to eat the plants first. Every time I sat down for a meal, I first had to eat all the vegetables and fruits and then I could enjoy everything else.
This goal was twofold. First, I found that I was attracted to the meat or carb on the plate first. When I finished those, I had little desire for the plants and usually left them on the plate. So by eating the plants first, I was ensuring that I get the “good for my body” stuff first. The plants contain the immune fortifying, age defying, and gut nourishing substance you need.
The second benefit was that I filled up first on the nutritionally dense, but calorically low foods. .So after having my vegetables, I always ended up eating less high calorie food such as meat, fats, and carbs. The end result was that I lost weight and ensured my body was getting everything It needed nutritionally.
Eating, Reading, Doing
As the weather cools, they become less bitter, but still are great support for your digestive flora and help detoxify the liver. I use dandelion sprouts for me and my clients because they are more nutritionally potent and have a softer texture. I also use them in salads chopped finely. This year I grew an Italian variety in the garden for a steady supply.
Heart Opener is my favorite yoga pose. It allows you to clear your head, release stress, and to feel more open to the light and love which surround you. 10-15 minutes a day is transformative. I am focusing on my ability to receive more, so I wish to increase my energetic openness to the love and support of the universe.
To do it place a yoga block on a cushion. Gently lower yourself with the lower edge of the block hitting where your bra strap comes across.your back. Relax for 10-15 minutes.
Words to Live By
I am not a heroine, but I have chosen the person I want to be.
12 Village Road,
New Vernon, New Jersey
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