How to Maximize the Benefits of Fasting}

How to Maximize the Benefits of Fasting

You’ve heard about fasting and want to give it a try, but don’t want to feel starving all day! Being hangry and uncomfortable is one of people’s biggest concerns when it comes to fasting for the first time, and the good news is that you can get the benefits of fasting without those discomforts.  

Before you start fasting, it’s important to know when the best time is to complete a fast, what you can and can’t eat, as well as tips to avoid headaches and hunger pains. Spoiler alert – our ferments are the key to avoiding some of the common discomforts people experience when fasting! We’ll break all of that down in this article, along with some recipe and snack ideas to help you really maximize the benefits of fasting.  

If you haven’t already, be sure to read part one of this fasting series to understand the different fasting methods and how to choose the right one! 

Related: Difference in Fasting Times: Which One is Right for You? and The Truth About Sodium in Pickles and Fermented Foods

Tips for maximizing the benefits of fasting including LiveBrine pickle juice

Practical Tips for Effective Fasting 

Once you get the hang of it, fasting can be almost effortless and easy to fit into any lifestyle. We know it can be intimidating to think about not eating for 12, 24, 36+ hours. To help with that, we have some tips and basic information to make the experience pleasant and to ensure that you are taking full advantage of all the benefits of fasting. 

Fasting for Men and Women 

Women, particularly, need to approach fasting with care to align with their hormonal cycles. While men have a 24-hour hormone cycle and can fast any day of the month, women should align their fasts with four specific times within their monthly cycle: 

  • Days 1 – 10: Estrogen is building, you may have a better outlook on life and able to handle stressful events with ease. Estrogen loves when you fast, at the beginning of the cycle while estrogen is low, any of the fasting lengths will work well and fasting will feel easier. 
  • Days 11 – 15: During the ovulation period estrogen continues to build with the addition of testosterone which can make you feel powerful and strong during this five-day window. During this period when testosterone is present, intermittent fasting no longer than 15 hours is best. 
  • Days 16 – 19: hormones start to dip and the body is preparing to make progesterone. There is a dip in energy and mental clarity, but with hormone levels decreasing it is also a good time for any of the fasting methods. 
  • Days 20 – Bleed: Progesterone is being produced which is the calming hormone. You will often feel less irritable and want to chill. Progesterone thrives when cortisol is low, so it’s a time to avoid any stressors, including exercise and fasting. Don’t fast the week before your period. 
menstrual cycle chart

 

What to Eat and What to Avoid While Fasting 

In a nutshell, anything that causes a spike in glucose will break a fast, since it will switch the body’s metabolic state from burning fat to burning glucose. Avoid any food or drink that contains calories, especially sugars and artificial sweeteners, as these will immediately halt the benefits of fasting.  

Water, herbal teas, some electrolyte drinks, and black coffee are fasting-approved! These help maintain hydration and can ease some of the mild discomforts associated with fasting. Everyone’s body is different, so some people can even consume small fat-based snacks without breaking a fast. More on that and other fasting hacks next! 

Hacks to Maximize the Benefits of Fasting 

Nobody likes feeling hungry, and nobody wants to be around a hangry person! If you’re new to fasting, we have some hacks that can help you get through your fast or even prolong it to increase the benefits of fasting. The more experience your body has switching metabolic states (fasting), the less you may need to rely on some of these. 

#1: Electrolytes 

If you feel tired, sluggish, or have a headache you may just be low on essential minerals. After 24-48 hours of fasting your body can completely deplete its stored electrolytes, resulting in headaches, fatigue, irregular heartbeat, muscle cramps, nausea and just generally feeling unwell. 

Our LiveBrine Pickle Juice works wonders to replenish electrolytes without breaking the fast, supporting overall hydration. 

six Olive My Pickle LiveBrine Pickle Juice flavors

 

#2: Coffee and Tea 

Don’t hold the cream! Coffee and tea can give you that little caffeine boost to take the edge off, and the extra perk of that cozy feeling you get from sipping on a warm beverage.  

Organic coffee can also support autophagy, the body’s detox process. We touched on this in part one of our fasting series, Difference in Fasting Times: Which One is Right for You? For most people, a splash of full-fat milk or cream won’t take you out of a fasted state. 

#3: Fasted Snacks 

The more you can stay in a fasted state, the benefits of fasting increase. Sometimes it is worth having a small fat-based snack to hold you over a few more hours! Remember, glucose spike equals breaking a fast. If your snack is small and full fat, then it shouldn’t cause your body to switch from burning ketones to glucose. Here’s a few of our favorites: 

  • Coffee with ¼ c grass-fed cream 
  • Coffee with 1 tbsp of MCT oil or grass-fed butter 
  • 2 tablespoons of nut butter 
  • Fat Bombs like our LiveBrine Fat Bomb 
  • Bone broth 

#4: Prebiotics 

If all you can hear is your brain yelling Hello? We need food! – it could just be the good bacteria in your gut letting you know they’re hungry. They love to eat prebiotics (fiber), so a quick way to remedy this hunger signal is adding some prebiotic powder into your water, tea or coffee. 

Our fermented pickles, sauerkraut, kimchi and olives are also great sources of prebiotics and a small serving is unlikely to break your fast.  

OMP bundle including Kosher Dill Pickles, Carrot and Dill Sauerkraut and Butter Olives

Breaking a Fast: The Bottom Line 

Depending on what method of fasting you do, and which benefits of fasting you want to target, the specific protocol for what to eat when breaking a fast will vary. 

The most important thing is that you focus on as many whole, nutrient-dense foods as possible with an emphasis on healthy fats and quality proteins. It’s also a great time to inoculate the gut with probiotics and digestive enzymes. We’ve got you covered in that department with over 40 probiotic-rich, fermented foods to choose from. 

Six Olive My Pickle fermented food packages

 

Time to Get Fasting 

Now that you’re armed with the information needed to maximize the benefits of fasting, we hope it feels attainable! If you need a refresh on the different types of fasts and the health benefits of fasting you can read part one of this series, Difference in Fasting Times: Which One is Right for You? 

For a good read, we recommend checking out Fast Like a Girl by Dr. Mindy Pelz. She’s a wealth of knowledge and also has several helpful articles on her blog. 

With a little coordination in timing and ensuring you have electrolytes and prebiotics, we know you can have a great experience and enjoy all the benefits of fasting. Take a look at your calendar to plan your fast and be sure to stock your fridge with Olive My Pickle’s LiveBrine Pickle Juice and our other prebiotic and probiotic fermented foods. Good luck! 

 

DISCLAIMER: THIS WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE 

The content on this website is for informational or educational purposes only and does not substitute professional medical advice or consultations with healthcare professionals. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider(s) with any questions you have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen.