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Clean Intermittent Fasting
One of the questions I see from people that have decided to try intermittent fasting is
“what can a person consume during the fasting hours?”
There are several different opinions out there. But, I believe the best option to model your fasting is from the book Fast. Feast. Repeat. by Gin Stephens. I will share just what I have learned from Gin Stephens and her book and podcasts on clean intermittent fasting.
This way of fasting is what Gin has coined the ‘clean fast’. And it really is quite simple.
Clean fasting just means that you will only consume beverages that are calorie and flavor-free. Below I will list the foods/drinks you can consume.
Clean Fasting Foods
Actually, there are no ‘clean fasting’ foods. When you are fasting, you are fasting! No food is allowed – period.
You are safe to consume water of any desired temperature and with or without carbonation.
Side note: I drank mugs of hot water when I gave up coffee for Lent. Now let’s be honest, water is not anywhere close to coffee, but I wanted something warm on the cold mornings and hot water got me through. And some people love a mug of hot water.
Iced water is also ok. I make sure I drink plenty of it throughout the day. I usually end up drinking a gallon, especially during my fasting hours. The water you consume can be sparkling water, but only the ‘no flavor’ variety, or just straight-up plain water. No fruit infusions or squirting in fruit flavors of any kind are allowed.
Black coffee is another option. It can be hot, cold, or even decaf. But, it has to be black – with no creamer or flavor whatsoever. You also have to make sure that it is just plain coffee grinds or beans that you are using to brew your coffee. No flavored coffee beans are allowed during the fast.
If you want flavored coffee in your eating window, that’s fine. But, not within your fasting hours.
You are also able to drink brewed plain tea from leaves. No flavors. You can have green or black. Just make sure there is no flavoring from fruit or extracts. Again, you can have this iced also.
Clean Fasting Benefits
Because you are restricting flavors, your body can naturally deplete your glycogen stores, begin to burn fat and use up all the unhealthy and unwanted proteins and cellular waste within your body. This is what really ramps up the fasting benefits including healing inflammation, etc.
If you are consuming food, flavors, gum, mints, or any other substance that is not permitted in the ‘clean fast’ then you are taking a huge chance of not really getting all of the benefits of the fasting hours. I know when I fast I want all the benefits! I can’t even begin to list all of the benefits here – but if you read Gin’s book you will be convinced!
Clean Is Best – Avoid The Struggle
I have experience fasting clean and not so clean aka dirty fasting. When you add in things not recommended like flavors, you will experience hunger during the fasting hours and it will make the fast more difficult. I thought that I could get away with chewing sugarless gum within my fasting hours and this made it very hard. Just the taste, even without the “sugar” would cause me to experience hunger and I would have to really ‘white-knuckle’ it for the rest of my fasting time. There are studies that prove this is exactly what happens.
Your body tastes the sweetness and releases insulin in response to the taste. And insulin is a ‘fat-storage’ hormone. Necessary for our bodies yes, but not helpful when the goal is fasting for the benefits.
Now, that I always fast clean, I have no more problems struggling with hunger and I am reaping all the benefits that I was looking for and more.
Let me know and questions or thoughts in the comments. 😊
A Catholic mom of 10 & a Deacon’s wife.
A Christian who lives an intermittent fasting lifestyle, my days faithfully begin with prayer & black coffee.
I want to encourage women to realize their life’s purpose, share their faith, embrace God’s Word, grow in confidence, and commit daily to reclaiming overall health while living a life dedicated to their vocation.