Food Attitudes

Andrew and I were having a conversation this morning about our relationships with food. We are VERY different when it comes to what and why we eat what we do. I asked him who he thought had a better relationship with food, and he answered that I did. But I countered and said that I thought HE did. This is clearly an example of something we both tend to do, seeing our own flaws more readily than we see our successes or positive attributes.

I love food and I love eating. I look forward to every meal and food is very emotional to me. When I cook and eat a wonderful, filling, healthy, meal, I feel a great sense of happiness and satisfaction. I haven't always been this way, but once I really embraced the paleo lifestyle and left all processed foods behind (and didn't have to eat to support the Iroman training anymore) I gained a new appreciation for food as one of life's great pleasures. I could go on and on about this, but I will keep it short and say that doing paleo and intermittent fasting totally changed the way I approached food. It stopped being my enemy and became a dear friend instead.

I eat whole foods. I eat eggs and bacon almost every day. I eat a ton of veggies (many of my veggies come from my local farm CSA share that I pick up every Sunday which makes me feel even MORE engaged with my food). I eat a lot of raw nuts, chicken, fish, shellfish, beef, and bison. I eat a ton of fat and protein and limit my carbs but not to the point of driving myself crazy when I am out at a restaurant. I try to eat grass fed, organic, free range, or pastured meat and eggs and raw, organic dairy whenver possible.

Now, Andrew is way different. He doesn't love food. He eats mostly because he has to. He never seems to care where we go to eat or to crave certain things. I believe the way he described all this the other day was that he has a "bland palate", which maybe has some merit. I wonder, though, if passion for food is inter-related with passion in general. Andrew enjoys lots of things but there aren't many things he totally loves and gets excited (outwardly) about. So to him, the next meal is more of a business arrangement than a chance to have some fun. He doesn't get worked up about nutrition either. He has single digit body fat even though he eats plenty (I would easily say excessive) of carbs and a moderate amount of processed foods (carbs again...granola bars, breads, crackers, cereals). He is triathlon training so he also frequently consumes sports drinks.

He is a creature of habit and he eats the same thing for lunch every day. Turkey sandwhich, carrots, yogurt. He eats double protein bread but I don't think it's whole wheat. He uses Kraft "cheese" and mustard and tries to eat lower sugar yogurt. His breakfast and dinner routines vary but not very much. He avoids eating out when he can and he does cook for himself frequently. He likes cereal for breakfast, or perhaps a protein smoothie with frozen strawberries and milk. Dinner is most often a burrito with frozen, pre-cooked chicken, shredded cheese, rice, and salsa. When he does eat out (1-2 times a week), he goes for the gold and eats whatever he wants (burgers, fries, chicken wings, sushi, etc.).

So who do you think has a healthier relationship with food? I envy him for his nonchalance. Even though I do find pleasure in food, I stress out a lot about nutrition. I talk about my food choices and my weight too much, and I talk about OTHER people's food choices and weight too much! He eats what is put in front of him and doesn't seem to suffer any ill effects. He doesn't seem to feel any lasting guilt about his nutrition like I do. Of course he thought that I had a better relationship with food because I like it and I eat a greater variety of food and perhaps make more intentional choices than he does.

When it comes to food, what does a healthy relationship look like? Is it not caring about food in a society that worships eating or is it maximizing nutition and enjoyment of food in a society flooded with frankenfood?

A (Boring) Week of Food In Pictures

I thought it would be fun to take pictures of the food I ate for a week so people can SEE what a paleo diet looks like.
Standard disclaimers: I make exceptions to the Paleo doctrine. I use a small amount of dairy, mostly as butter and heavy cream, and for this week (due to health issues) kefir and greek yogurt. 

I started this on a Tuesday afternoon, so I don't have a picture of my breakfast. It was 2 eggs over medium, 3 slices of bacon, and sauteed kale, spinach, and green onion (all veggies from my CSA share). That's my daily breakfast on most days. About 1.5 hours after I ate, I went for a 5 mile run and did a 10 minute high intensity bodyweight routine.
Tuesday Lunch: 2 bison polish sausages (Whole Foods), ketchup, and beet greens sauteed in bacon fat. Beet greens are my favorite green, but I have to buy the beets to get them, so I roasted 3 beets to get my beet greens.

Tuesday Dinner: Taco salad on lettuce leaves. Grass fed ground sirloin (Whole Foods although it's usually from the Farmer's Market), taco seasoning mix (Trader Joes, has sugar but it's otherwise "clean"), grated zucchini, scallion, avocado, dollop of full fat plain greek yogurt (Whole Foods is the ONLY place I can find full fat greek yogurt), and the roasted beets I cooked earlier. Yes, it sounds gross but the beets tasted good mixed in with everything else.

Tuesday Carb Count: 67g (had beets, yogurt, chocolate, and pom. seeds)
Tuesday Exercise: 5 mile run and a 10 minute HIIT session

Wednesday Breakfast (10:30AM): 2 eggs, 3 pieces bacon, kale.

Wednesday Dinner (wasn't hungry until dinner at 6:45): leftover taco meat on lettuce with avocado, full fat greek yogurt, and a yellow bell pepper. 

Wednesday Carb Count: 39g (from pepper, chocolate, avocado, and kale)
Wednesday Exercise:1 mile walk, 3 mile run, .5 mile walk. Then a 20 minute HIIT session with one of my classes. Then some kettlebell swing rounds with another class with walking in between.

Thursday Breakfast (11AM): 2 eggs cooked in microwave with about 1/2Tbs pastured butter, 2 slices bacon, heavy cream and blueberries. I ate the heavy cream and blueberries first (I had just bought the blueberries and HAD to have some), and then I was still hungry so I had a smaller than normal breakfast.

Thursday Dinner (6PM): Ribeye steak (Trader Joes, not grass fed), organic squash with pastured butter. I ate some greek yogurt right before dinner, so I wasn't hungry for a big meal.

Thursday Exercise: Ran 1 mile, walked .85 miles
Thursday Carbs: 40.5g, mostly from the foods I ate between meals (blueberries, 1/2 lara bar, and the greek yogurt and squash)

Friday Breakfast (1PM): 3 egg omelet with raw cheddar cheese, kale and spinach. Three pieces of bacon.

Friday Dinner (7:30PM): Mahi Mahi from Trader Joe's. Pre-seasoned with olive oil and spices, 12 minutes in the oven. Salad with all my remaining lettuce from the farm since I will get a new batch tomorrow, plus avocado, bacon, pecans, and red bell pepper. I didn't finish dinner...wasn't very hungry.

Friday Exercise: 1 mile walk, 3 mile run, .62 mile walk. 40 minute boot camp with my clients.
Friday Carb Count:39, from blueberries, strawberries, pecans, chocolate, kale, and cheese

Saturday I wasn't feeling good and had no desire to eat, despite being very active. I didn't consider any of the things I ate to be meals, so I didn't take any pictures.
Saturday Breakfast: heavy cream and blueberries.
Saturday Lunch: deli turkey, avocado, and lettuce
Saturday Exercise: early morning easy jog with a friend, 2.5 miles. Afternoon rock climbing, 2 hours. Evening walk, 1 hour.
Saturday Carb Count: 32g from chocolate, avocado, lettuce, and blueberries

On Sunday I still wasn't feeling good, but I forced myself to cook.
Sunday Breakfast: Crustless Quiche made with eggs, heavy cream, bacon, kale, and scallions.

Sunday Lunch: After church restaurant meal, but I wasn't very hungry. It was more for the company. I had a salad with not much but some cheese, lettuce, and chicken. No dressing.

Sunday Dinner: Pulled pork that I cooked in the crock pot all day. Leftover squash.

Sunday Exercise: 45 minute kettlebell workout, 30 minute easy spin on bike
Sunday Carb Count: 26g from chocolate, salsa, lettuce, and cheese

Monday, still not too into food. It's a reaction to some stress occurring this week.
Monday Breakfast: One slice of leftover quiche, 2 pieces bacon, sauteed swiss chard. Couldn't finish this meal.

Monday Lunch: Leftover Pulled Pork. Yummy
Monday Exercise: 48  minute walk. Very sore in the hamstrings from kettlebells.
Monday Carb Count: 47g from chocolate mousse with blueberries (chocolate mousse is made with better, eggs, and 70% or 85% dark chocolate), 1 slice of apple, 6 sun drop candies, and swiss chard

So, as you can see, I usually only eat two meals a day. That's all I'm hungry for. I do snack between, usually things like some nuts, heavy cream and fruit, sardines, or chocolate. I also have black coffee every morning. Nothing exciting, but it's my real-life diet. I like it. 
This week I am doing a "survival week", which to me means:
1. no dairy
2. carbs under 50g every day
3. no food shopping
4. fast 14-16 hours every day unless extremely hungry
5. no sugar or chocolate or sugar substitutes

I have only done a survival week twice before, as they usually cause me to rebound and eat badly when I am done, but I was feeling up for a challenge, and I want to challenge myself to eat what I have in the house already. That's the fun part!

Attention Triathletes! MUST take the time to listen to this interview on Rockstar Triathlete with Robb Wolf. If you have ever considered trying a paleo diet or are just curious about it, LISTEN. If you want some info on why athletes should avoid grains, LISTEN. If you want to know how to improve your performance through diet, LISTEN! And if you have questions, like what Robb means when he recommends medium chain triglycerides or what kinds of oils are inflammatory, or anything else related to the paleo diet, leave me a comment or send me a note on Facebook.

Paleo Diet For Athletes, Two Approaches

I have recently started working with a few endurance athletes who want to improve body composition while training for Ironmans.  My approach in a nutshell: paleo diet with a focus on adequate fat intake and carbs under 100g a day, although I prefer 50g a day. The key is to get people to REPLACE carb calories with fat and protein calories, rather than eating more protein, less carbs, and becoming calorie restricted and hungry all the time because the fat intake is low.  It's hard for many people to do, as they are trying to let go of the "fat is bad" mentality that we have grown up with. I find it much easier to convince people they should eat lower carb than it is to get those same people to replace those carbs with fat. But the evidence is there: eating a low carb, high fat, and moderate protein diet is very effective for losing body fat. 

When I want to drop a few pounds, I make sure 65-75% of my calories come from fat, and I eat less than 50g of carbs a day so I get into mild ketosis. But, I am not doing any kind of endurance training and haven't done any for the last year. Because of that, I have had some ideological struggles about what to prescribe for my clients that are endurance athletes, as I want to make sure that I am addressing their nutritional needs while also minimizing the deleterious effects of excessive exercise on their health and body fat levels. 

What I have been struggling with the most is my recommendations for carbohydrate levels for these athletes. I really believe that under 50g a day is optimal for losing body fat, improving cardiovascular health, reducing inflammation, and minimizing hunger. However, I worried that it wasn't "enough" carbs to fuel workouts. I also struggled with this personally, as I would like train for a triathlon again but do not want to increase carbs, as I really love being lean and I believe that a low carb diet is best for optimal health and longevity. 

The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Joe Friel and Loren Cordain is NOT necessarily low carb. They take the position that carbohydrate needs are higher for endurance athletes, but that you should get those additional carbs from paleo foods (yams, fruit) rather than neolithic foods (grains).  This definitely works from and athletic performance angle, and also reduces inflammation and helps counter oxidative damage through high consumption of vegetables and fruits high in antioxidants, but what about people that want to lose body fat? Will a higher carb paleo diet work for them? I am not sure. 

Yesterday I re-read this article in Nutrition and Metabolism that discusses the use of VLCKDs (Very Low Carb Ketogenic Diet) in athletes. The author reviewed previous research and reported on two studies he had conducted. In his review of previous studies, he found that the most common result was that a VLCKD reduced athletic performance, but that those studies were only a few days-1 week in length. His own studies were 5-6 weeks in length and showed that there IS a decrease in performance in the first week of a ketogenic diet in athletes and sedentary people, but that all markers return to previous levels after that short period of adaptation. Here is a chart from a 5 week study the author performed on elite cyclists:

Exercise parameters of MIT EKD study [15]

VO2max (LPM) Exercise VO2(LPM) Exercise RQ Endurance time (min)

Baseline 5.1 3.18 0.83* 147
EKD-4 5.0 3.21 0.72* 151

LPM, liter per minute * P < 0.01
Phinney Nutrition & Metabolism 2004 1:2   doi:10.1186/1743-7075-1-2

After I re-read the article, I started to think that there was a better way to use the Paleo Diet with athletes. If an athlete wants to see improvements in body composition, or at least not GAIN body fat while training for endurance events (very common, especially in female athletes), then utilizing a VLCKD may be appropriate. 
I unexpectedly found more information on this topic today while looking through the textbook I am using to study for my International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSA) certification exam. I have had the book for weeks, but was not at all inclined to open it as I was certain in contained the traditional low-fat/high carb dietary advice you get from most sports nutritionists and dieticians. For some reason, I chose this morning as a good time to crack it open, and too my surprise, it contains an entire chapter on VLCKD for athletes! Even more surprising, it looked upon this diet FAVORABLY and provided a good amount of information on how a VLCKD can improve body composition, cardiovascular disease risk factors, cholesterol numbers (they even talked about large, puffy LDL versus small, dense LDL), fasting and postprandial (fed state) triglyceride levels, and inflammatory markers while of course also reducing the risk of Metabolic Syndrome, Diabetes, and obesity. Here are two quotes from the summary paragraph:

The dramatic change in macronutrient distribution associated with restriction of carbohydrates results in robust and powerful metabolic adaptation that improves a person's ability to mobilize and utilize noncarbohydrate energy sources. 

In conclusion, studies support the notion that short-term VLCKDs are safe and effective in terms of promoting weight/fat loss, improving metabolic and cardiovascular risk factors, and are compatible with a physically active lifestyle.

I jumped up and down and clapped my hands like a little girl getting a pony for her birthday when I read that! It has greatly reinforced my position that there are two ways to use the Paleo Diet for athletes: one for sports performance and one that encourages positive changes in body composition. Any athlete can use either approach, depending on what their goals are and where they are in the season. For my athletes that are in the early part of their training for summer Ironmans, I feel more confident in prescribing 50g or lower of carbohydrate per day. That would be the time to use a VLCKD and allow time for adaptation. Once adapted, the athlete should see a loss of body fat. When their desired weight has been reached, they can experiment with adding in more carbohydrates from paleo sources while noting any positive or negative change in how they "look, feel, and perform" (as Robb Wolf would say!). 

I will personally take this to heart as I begin to formulate a plan to train for either a sprint or Olympic distance triathlon this summer, and will continue with my current VLCKD as I ramp up the training volume. The only concern I have is that the one thing that does seem to suffer when using a VLCKD is sprinting and short, high intensity effort. As that will be my primary training approach, I wonder how that will affect me. High intensity training is miserable enough, without doing them all while feeling like you don't have any energy. It's a giant experiment, and I am willing to take it on! I will report back as things develop. 

Being A Food Adult

I had an interesting thought yesterday about food. I think it's because of the book I got in the mail yesterday, The Vegetarian Myth. We have lost cooking as a skill-set in our culture. We have become a society of adults that don't know where our food comes from, how it is made, or even what is in it. It's almost like we have all been infantilized by the food industry, like we are still babies being fed by a big hand without any knowledge of the food itself. Just open your mouth and take it in.
How many people do you know that say they are too busy to cook? How many people do you know that cook meals for their family every day that involve more than heating up a frozen entree? How many of you don't know how to cook a pork chop or a steak or a loaf of bread from scratch? How many of you know how to deglaze a pan?
I spent 20 years as a vegetarian and it kept me from accepting some basic ADULT truths about the nature of life and food. We kill things and eat them. It's much harder to accept that and have reverence for the life that ends to keep your going when you are hiding under a rock and ignoring the true nature of the food in front of you - the blood and tendons and muscles and organs, etc. When you don't cook your own food, it's much easier to be "grossed out" by meat because you can pretend it's not the blood and muscles that it is. It comes to your table from the restaurant kitchen covered in sauce and breadcrumbs and cooked till it doesn't resemble anything close to a dead animal. Babies...we are just a bunch of babies that can't handle the truth about the food chain.
Anyway, I was a vegetarian for a long time so in the last couple of years I have had to learn how to cook meat. The process of learning how to cook is a big part of what changed my relationship to food FOR GOOD. It's led to more moments of satisfaction and joy than I can recall. It's the same feeling I had when I stopped paying someone to clean my house and started taking pride in doing it myself. It sucks, but when I look around my home I know that I am behind what I see.
Being an adult requires that I know how to cook and know where my food comes from and what it is. It's a lot more effort and responsibility that going out to eat all the time or buying processed food but it's worth it. Because it it is fulfilling.
Yesterday I bought a tin of sardines. I was determined to try them even though they have always seemed so revolting to me. I came home, opened the tin, and saw all those little fishies still with their scales and tails on! Wow! And then I ate one. It was fishy, but not too bad. So I ate some more. And I was PROUD that I ate something new, tried something different, took a chance on something. I do not want to be a food baby! I am an adult! And I want to eat sardines because they are so good for me. So I tried it. There is no hiding the fact that you are eating a dead fish when you eat a sardine. GOOD! I want to know and accept it and be thankful to the fish that fed me yesterday! And to the cow that lived 10 miles down the road and spent her life at a small farm eating grass...thank you her, too. And to the farmer for taking care of her and killing her as humanely as possible.
It's all part of my "metamorphosis" and it's all interconnected. I have trouble putting my finger on this principle, of articulating what I want to say. It's about connection and work and community.  Being closer to my food has changed my attitude toward eating as much as learning WHAT to eat and why has. It's all connected and I wish I could convey that in a way that resonated with my clients more. I want them to know the same joy that I know, of not being a food baby all time.
I know this may have come across as a rant and maybe pompous. I do eat out. I like eating out. And I am NO Martha Stewart. I simply want to convey that there is more to food than taste. Much more.

Metabolic Syndrome, Fasting, and Exercise

I spent most of the day yesterday trying to read this article on metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and oxidative stress. I found it an incredibly interesting although very challenging read.

I am fascinated with how our bodies cope with the food we feed it and how we can maximize health and longevity through working within the systems our bodies have evolved into over millions of years. Our modern society is so wonderful but when it comes to food we have literally started down a path that is killing us and we need to change this. Look at the people around you. Look around at all the fat children and fat parents. Look around at all the people eating McDonalds or all the people eating "healthy" food like low-fat yogurt full of sugar or whole wheat bread full of high fructose corn syrup.

How crazy is it that I went to a restaurant yesterday that now has a whole separate menu of "Healthy Choices", including sandwiches with processed meat (but low fat, sigh), egg white omelets (again, low fat), mini muffins (crap in a smaller package), and salmon with a sweet and sour glaze on it. Um, no. I ordered off the regular menu (shrimp and asparagus) because it was HEALTHIER than the stuff on the healthy menu! Fat is not the enemy! When was the last time you craved something that was JUST fattening and didn't also have sugar in it?

Anyway, I am ranting. Let's talk about this article I read. I copied some of the best thoughts from it here, and there is some stuff I also don't write understand or agree with that I will talk about, mostly regarding FAT again!! (If you don't know what metabolic syndrome is, start here. It's basically a pre-cursor to Type 2 Diabetes and it's becoming incredibly common in our country. We are broken!)

The article's premise is that our bodies are designed to operate at optimal health and efficiency when they are moderately stressed. Mild stressors ( they call them hormetic stimuli) help strengthen our cell's ability to clean themselves up and become more efficient. It illustrates a very simple, common sense approach that isn't very exciting and won't help exercise and fitness experts sell their products: everything in moderation. Too much of any of the stressors will cause poor health, while eliminating the stressors (which may seem like a good idea) will also lead to poor health. Your cells need the right level of challenge, just like your brain does, in order to maintain top health.

The metabolic syndrome may have its origins in thriftiness, insulin resistance and one of the most ancient of all signalling systems, redox. Thriftiness results from an evolutionarily-driven propensity to minimise energy expenditure. This has to be balanced with the need to resist the oxidative stress from cellular signalling and pathogen resistance, giving rise to something we call 'redox-thriftiness' Ultimately, thriftiness is good for us as long as we have hormetic stimuli; unfortunately, mankind is attempting to remove all hormetic (stressful) stimuli from his environment.

In other words, our culture of overeating and lack of mild physical stressors (fasting, exercise, and temperature extremes are some examples they gave) have led to a system failure: metabolic syndrome and Type 2 Diabetes among a large percentage of the population.

The ultimate conclusion from this may be that 'thriftiness' is only bad for us without hormetic stimuli; a situation that very rarely occurred in prehistoric times – until humans made their environment almost totally risk and hormetic stress free. It is likely that any level of hormesis is better than none: this may be critical in reintroducing 'postive hormetic stressors' into a modern lifestyle.
The metabolic syndrome is a continuum and may sit at the opposite end of the oxidative stress spectrum to the long-lived phenotype induced by calorie restriction.
Physical activity is probably one of the strongest positive stressors, as is fasting: alternate day calorie restriction (fasting) can invoke many of the beneficial effects of calorie restriction in both animals and humans

What does this mean? That we could probably all benefit from SOME exercise and some intermittent fasting but that too much will have a negative effect. Also, this is all about how our bodies process the food we eat and how much of it. What should we eat? How much of it should we eat? According to the article:

excessive calorie intake, especially of high glycaemic index carbohydrate, might induce the anorexic circuit to fail or down regulate to protect itself, leaving the orexigenic one intact, as it has better oxidative stress resistance; it would also be more likely to function during starvation, when lipids become the predominant fuel in the body. It would also support the use of low carbohydrate diets, which can often reverse many symptoms of the metabolic syndrome.

This is the part that I don't fully agree with:

It is therefore of interest that a high fat diet can induce a pro-inflammatory response in the hypothalamus and insulin resistance [71], while chronically elevated levels of leptin can also induce leptin resistance – which may be part of an obesity-driven vicious cycle [72]. These observations could be partly explained by FOXO activity.
Altogether, this does suggest that a diet high in saturated fat is more likely to induce insulin resistance. Data does tend to support the notion that reverting to diet more like that of our ancestors by reducing saturated fat, but increasing unsaturated fats, with a high omega-3/omega-6 ratio may improve insulin sensitivity. Certainly, a diet high in saturated fat can lead to obesity, while epidemiological data does imply that replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fat can improve many symptoms of the metabolic syndrome, including insulin sensitivity. The above suggest that excessive saturated fat may be non-hormetic and inflammatory.
I think saturated fat has a bad reputation that is doesn't really deserve. It's also debatable how much saturated fats our ancestors ate. I am researching this further but for now I will say that perhaps it goes back to what I said earlier: there are no clear good guys and bad guys. Some staturated fat is vital to a healthy diet. Maybe there is a tipping point with SF just like there is with other mild stressors (too much exercise, too much fasting or starvation, too much heat or cold, etc). We have to stop looking for answers in absolutes. Like it says above, EXCESSIVE amounts of some things may have the opposite effect that mild amounts have. It's like a flu shot...a little dose (vaccine) will strengthen you, while a big dose will make you sick.
What we are battling is our body's survival mechanisms through insulin resistance:
We propose that temporal and tissue specific insulin resistance is a friend as long as you live within your hormetic zone, but it may become your enemy in a modern sedentary environment.
fasting would improve resistance to oxidative stress and the ability to store fat safely (more, smaller adipocytes), whereas both physical activity and cold would induce mechanisms to burn fat safely (e.g. mitochondrial biogenesis), as well as also improving the potential to store energy. Under normal circumstances, all of these would combine to ensure optimum adaptability. However, without these, continual calorie intake would exceed the ability of the organism to deal with the extra lipids beyond its hormetic adaptability zone, resulting in excessive oxidative stress and inflammation.

What all this means to me personally is that I will continue to exercise moderately (about 3 hours per week of kettlebell and bodyweight circuits) and I will continue intermittent fasting (14-20 hours 5 days a week). Both of these things help me lose weight, which is GREAT, but what is really motivating me to continue with this lifestyle is the health benefits. Can you say that about your diet and/or lifestyle? Is it helping you optimize your health while also allowing for weight loss? I realized this week that for the first time in my life I am losing weight on "accident", not because of any intentional dieting. I am losing weight as a result of my lifestyle rather than trying to create a lifestyle that focusing on weight loss. It's a huge difference in focus and it makes sense to me. Being healthy doesn't require hours in the gym or unpleasant food choices. Being healthy is about making rational decisions, enjoying things in moderation, and foregoing extremism for a more long-term lifestyle approach.

An Interesting Read on IF

I honestly can't remember where I found this, but I think someone put in up on twitter. It's about Intermittent Fasting and calorie restriction and their affects on glucose metabolism and protection from damage to the brain.

The part I want to emphasize most if that IF is not simply a weight loss is a way to improve you health and longevity. In fact, the study points out that IF mice did not weigh less than mice that ate a regular diet. They ate the same amount of average calories as the regular diet mice but received the benefits of calorie restriction. IF seems to offer more protection from neuronal damage than calorie restriction and also has a greater positive effect on insulin levels and IGF-1 concentrations.

There are so many benefits of IF that it's hard for me to understand why I had never heard of it until about 6 months ago. In our food-obsessed culture, anything that can change our addiction to food and eating is a GREAT thing. IF has made a big difference in my life. I no longer feel like I am tethered to the refrigerator all the time. I no longer feel I have to eat every few hours even if the choices are poor. I can choose NOT TO EAT and that is OK! It is such a relief to not always be thinking about my next meal, and the fact that IF can do that while ALSO offering so many other benefits to my health is awesome!
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