program and tips for …
For some, the month of February is an opportunity to review lifestyle habits and regulate the body after the excesses of the end of the year holidays. It is in this context that some eaters are trying intermittent fasting. If its usefulness and its benefits remain disputed within the scientific community, culinary asceticism continues to seduce, with its “intermittent” version in particular. “This is part of the therapeutic arsenal of a healthy lifestyle, in the same way as diet and physical activity”, estimates Sarah Merran (1), general practitioner specializing in nutritional and functional medicine. His interest ? Putting the digestive system to rest, says the doctor, and “allow the body to” recycle “, teach it again to destock, which it cannot do if it is given food regularly”. According to Sarah Merran, intermittent fasting would allow even top athletes to improve their performance.
Unlike classic fasting, which involves at least three consecutive days without ingesting solid food, the intermittent option consists of eating nothing during a defined time slot. Less frightening, less restrictive. There are several variations: fasting every other day, one day a week, the “5: 2 diet” (five days of a balanced diet and two days of caloric restriction), or the “night” fast, i.e. sixteen hours. without eating. This last alternative is the most accessible (between dinner and breakfast, we already fast an average of eight to ten hours). How to do it? Manual.
A sixteen hour fast
This method consists of either eating very early and not eating until breakfast the next day, or not having supper and resuming eating for breakfast. “It’s important not to experience it as a frustration, but to keep the goal of well-being in mind. It is better to avoid saying to yourself “I am skipping a meal”, but rather to see it as a resting of your digestive system “, underlines Dr Sarah Merran. Those for whom it is impossible to do without the evening meal can have a very light and rather vegetal supper, favoring vegetables over fruits, less caloric and easier to digest.
If you do not ingest anything solid, it is essential to hydrate yourself by consuming fluids throughout the fast. On the menu, no exciting drink but water, broths, infusions, “based on milk thistle to stimulate the liver for example”, illustrates Sarah Merran. “You can also use the cooking broth from your vegetables, which have been washed and peeled beforehand. We season it with fresh herbs with digestive properties such as thyme, antiseptic with sage, or digestive with anise, ”advises Éléonore Guérard, specialist in fasting and creator of the Fasting and Detox Sources retreats.
Once or twice a week
At breakfast, you will of course have to draw a line on the scrambled eggs with feta and instead opt for an infusion, a painful instruction for some (s). Hence the interest in taking care of the moment and making it attractive. “You can decorate the infusion of pressed fruit (with orange slices), small pieces of turmeric or ginger, sage or rosemary”, mentions Éléonore Guérard. The latter recommends sweetening everything with honey or coconut sugar, with a very low glycemic index. When resuming food at dinner, Sarah Merran recommends listening to your body and its desires, eating little if the feeling of hunger is not important and, of course, avoiding menus that are too heavy, too fat.
What about the regularity of intermittent fasting? You can practice it once or twice a week, and indulge in it on weekends if the practice seems easier. You can also fast after a few days of excess. If some panic at the idea of not eating for sixteen hours, the doctor Sarah Merran reassures and recalls that “the body has reserves to hold on average 40 days”.
Ophélie Ostermann / Le Figaro
(1) Sarah Merran is the co-author with Thierry Thomas of “Ma bible du jeûne, the essential complete guide for a safe practice” (Ed. Leduc.s) to be published in February, 456 p ..
Intermittent fasting cannot be practiced by:
- people with diabetes or taking treatment for diabetes
- those on anticoagulant treatment
- epilepsy patients
- people with eating disorders or severe mental disorders
- people in a state of intense fatigue