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Is Intermittent Fasting For Me?
When to eat is nearly as important as what we eat. Why? This is because of how our digestion works and a concept called Agni in Ayurvedic terms or digestive fire. Everyone has a digestive type, which is part of the personal Ayurvedic profile I create for my clients so they understand what they’re working with. This is usually a big a-ha moment.
Before we start talking about Digestive Types, let’s loosely define intermittent fasting as eating only within a 6-8 hour period of the day, which means fasting for the rest of the time. Some skip breakfast and eat between 10 AM and 4 PM (or even 6 PM). Some have a hearty breakfast and lunch but skip dinner. The idea is to definitely not eat at night, which makes sense because some studies show that eating or snacking at night is associated with obesity and diabetes.
Ayurvedic wisdom speaks favorably of fasting like this but doesn’t recommend it for everyone and not for a long time. This is because it understands that not everyone’s Agni is the same so some will do better with this than others who need to take care not to deplete themselves. Vata body types have to be especially careful. People with a history of eating disorders need to avoid it altogether.
Your Digestive Type & Intermittent Fasting
Agni is our inherent ability to not only digest our food but to also break it down to transform it into fuel and then properly absorb and assimilate nutrients. Not so simple! In fact, I think it’s such an important subject that I did a whole webinar on this that you can access under the Resources tab.
Most of us will fall into three different categories of digestive types:
- variable, inconsistent
- fast and strong
- slow and low
Depending on your type, your diet will vary.
- If you are a variable type, you may do better sticking to regular meals
- If you are a fast and strong type, you may need to add snacks to regular meals
- If you have a slow and low type, you may do better skipping some meals
If you haven’t already, check out the full webinar on Agni. There’s a simple quiz to help you figure out what your Digestive Type is. Remember, your quiz answers must ring true for the entirety of your life. If there are more recent changes it does not reflect your true digestive type! If you’ve moved from one type to another, this means that an imbalance in your digestive system is brewing. You may already be aware of that! We should talk about how Ayurveda may support your digestion and return it to its original state.
A Scaled-Down Approach To Intermittent Fasting
My honest suggestion is that fasting isn’t for everyone. It’s not easy and if you have a busy and/or active schedule you may seriously deplete your energy and stamina. I’m a bigger fan of trying to avoid snacking too much in between meals (small, easy-to-digest snacks are best if they’re needed), and avoiding snacks or eating after dinner. It really can be that simple. I think it’s a great tool to use occasionally to balance the appetite, cravings, and metabolism (Agni) when you’re feeling sluggish from overeating or experiencing unhealthy cravings and eating habits.
Remember that if you’re unsure whether or not it’s safe for you, please talk to your doctor or primary care provider.
Don’t forget to listen to the full podcast for more information.