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Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fasting & Calories

For all of you who chose to do a 2011 fast, hats off!  Great job!  Fasting is such a break for your body.  Think of all those enzymes and cells that constantly work for you 24/7 breaking down foods, storing, and then creating energy for you. Even your liver needs a break from processing all that fat, protein, vitamins, minerals, and possible medicines you take regularly.  I've had a few friends ask me, what about calories, carbs, and protein needed during a fast, such as the Daniel fast.  So I want to answer a few common questions.  First, a fast is just like the word explains, you are limiting yourself in order to achieve a health benefit or spiritual benefit.  If you are a Christian, a fast can get God's attention for a needed break through.  Hallelujah, there is a way to get God's attention more that praying alone. Try fasting and praying and just see how much more quickly your break through comes.  I believe, even a partial fast, such as giving up processed sugar or meat, can get God's attention too.  Keep in mind, doing a fast requires a goal.  Set your goals high!  Tom and I chose to write down all our 2011 goals, needs, and wants for the year, then we fasted sugar (21 days) and meat (7 days).  Each time we craved a food, it reminded us of our goals and to pray for them.  We even wrote down on our list goals for people we know.  Plus, fasting meat forced us to think outside the "meat=protein" box that we so easily get caught up in.  We started eating lots of beans and felt great!
So back to how many calories do I really need.  I recently finished the amazing book, Breaking the Food Seduction, by Dr. Neal Barnard, and he has a great rule of 10 that I believe is easy to follow.  He states that you take your current weight (say 150lbs) and multiply by 10X (150lbs x 10 = 1500 calories).  This gives you the least amount of calories you want to consume in order to keep your metabolism working correctly.  In other words, you would not eat less than 1500 calories because if you did, then your body might think you are starving and slow your metabolic rate down.  All the calorie calculators out there on the internet are not completely accurate.  Every person is different based on factors such as age, genetics, lean muscle mass, fat mass, etc...  We learned in school that the most accurate way to know how many calories your body uses daily is to use this thing called a bod pod.  The only problem is these contraptions are thousands of dollars and usually owned only by athletic departments.  Georgia Tech has one that is used for it's athletes. My advice is to not focus on calories, but more on quality of the foods your are eating and how you feel.  Do you have energy?  Are you sleeping well?  Do you get sick often?  Are you constipated? Everything you put into your body affects so many aspects of your life.  Personally, I take a probiotic (New Chapter Organics) in the morning first thing on an empty stomach.  This helps keep me regular and increases my immunity.  Also, I don't have to think about getting my yogurt.  Most yogurts have way too much sugar anyway.  Then I eat breakfast, usually oatmeal with dates and pecans or some other non-processed grain (stay away from cereals).  Then take a whole foods based multi-vitamin (New Chapter Organics), 2500mcg of biotin (for my skin, hair, and nails), and fish oil (costco brand).  At lunch I try to get a protein and vegetable in.  I'll have a few snacks such as dried apricots and apples, then a protein and vegetable for dinner.
If you are having lowered energy, drink more water, get more rest, decrease your stress, and increase your carbs.  I challenge you all to fast that food that your feel like you have to eat or cannot live without!
I would always love to hear your questions and feedback, so feel free to leave your comments.  It might help someone else too!

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