Wednesday, 24 October 2012

A wealth of information.....

Hi NITC readers, Zen Dog here for the last couple of blogs this week.....
Even though I am not a trained Nutritionist I try to stay on top of food news and views and have some blog/FB feeds setup to my phone to be able to catch-up with the latest health information from all over the world.  As a student of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine, food is one of the key components in health and potential illness.  Someones diet can tell us alot about the symptoms they are experiencing and how an illness has progressed, so I always try to be watchful of my own food intake.
Out of all the new nutrition and health information out there though, today I wanted to talk about the new concept of the 5:2 fasting plan (note: I hate the word diet as it has so many negative connotations for people so I have chosen the word plan)
After watching Eat, Fast, Live Longer (BBC2) I trialled the 2 days fasting and 5 days usual eating plan for 6 weeks and I am still doing it to some degree depending on what is going on in my life.  If you are interested in this new concept then I would recommend watching the programme and doing some research first (some links at the bottom of the blog). 
The main points are that by cutting calorie intake, the bodies fat stores can be accessed and burned for fuel.  Scientific research has also shown the body can go into a 'growth' and 'repair' mode when dealing with less calories and also can switch down some reactions in the body which disturb the balance of health. 
Personally, I certainly noticed benefits such as weightloss and more specifically a change in my shape (I hold alot of my weight on my thighs).  I was more alert and had more energy.  On days I fasted I would just do gentle yoga and also try to not be doing anything stressful.  These are the important things to be mindful of as overexcising or having to give a stressful presentation at work can have a counterproductive effect during the fasting times. 
After the 6 weeks I had a week off when I had abit of a cold (which I nipped in the bud with some timely acupuncture) and also when I was juggling alot with my work and study.  Even when not fasting though, I have noticed it has somewhat changed my eating habits as it has brought extra awareness to what I am putting in my mouth and the biggest question - 'do I really need this?' 
I always hated the thought of counting calories (after lots of Weight Watcher experiences in my 20's!) and I know Emilie is not a fan but for 2 days a week when you make sure you only eat 500-600 calories it again brings focus onto your food and becoming more of a conscious eater.  Another major point is to make sure your 500-600 is from highly nutritious foods like green veg, pea protein, green juice, fresh vege soups, beans and pulse etc.  These will provide you with the energy you need and not spike your blood sugar which will take you into hunger!  This 5:2 concept does need a certain amount of organisation so you know what you will be eating.
From my Chinese Medicine training we know everyone is different and everyone needs to be treated as such - there is never a one certain treatment for one condition, it always depends on the individuals' symptoms.  So I take this and relate it to food too.  The 5:2 concept is not for everyone and I am not recommending as such.  But I would advise my patients - take responsiblity for your health and be open to new information.
Everyone can find their optimum health in different ways and if something isn't working for you then change it.  Be empowered by food and trial things in the knowledge that it doesn't have to be set in stone.  Make health work for you and be excited by all the accessible information out there that can help you to help yourself and get your body functioning well.
Zen Dog

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