Are you curious about Intermittent fasting and thinking about giving it a fair shot? Before you jump right in, grab your copy of “Intermittent Fasting for Dummies” by Dr. Janet Brill. So you know how it’s done and also what to expect as you adopt a new lifestyle.
Here’s what Dr. Janet Brill shared about her newly released book and personal experience with Intermittent Fasting as a way of life.
Dr. Janet Brill, how would you explain what Intermittent Fasting is to someone who thinks it’s only for fitness fanatics?
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of short-term fasting and eating. There are multiple intermittent fasting diet plans circulating. All of them dictate when you should eat rather than what specific foods you should eat. One popular version, called the 16:8 method, means you fast for 16 hours every day and eat during your chosen 8 hour eating window. You repeat this pattern of eating every day. However, for long-term health benefits, it is highly recommended that you don’t ignore the “what to eat” part of this eating regimen. As a nutritionist, it is suggested that you combine a plant-based, Mediterranean style of eating with your intermittent fasting plan of choice.
Intermittent fasting is a lifestyle, not a fad diet. Intermittent fasting is for all individuals seeking to improve their health (and who do not fall into the category of people who should NOT follow such a plan), not just health and fitness fanatics. Numerous scientific studies have shown that intermittent fasting programs can have powerful benefits for your body and brain. In fact, intermittent fasting appears to be a veritable fountain of youth, lowering body weight, blood pressure and cholesterol levels, improving glucose control, reducing inflammation and even fighting aging and boosting mental acuity.
Oftentimes, people want to know how long you can stay on a program of intermittent fasting. If you are eating nutritious food and can maintain a healthy weight, you can eat this way indefinitely.
When did you get the idea to write “Intermittent Fasting for Dummies”? How long did the research take?
The New England Journal of Medicine came out with a review article on intermittent fasting on December 26, 2019. In early 2020, I read the article and became fascinated with the conclusion: intermittent-fasting interventions can effectively treat obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and inflammation. In fact, intermittent fasting was shown to confer health benefits to a greater extent than that attributed just to just weight loss. Serendipitously, my literary agent contacted me and said Wiley was looking for a writer for just that topic—would I be interested? The research took me six months.
What is one of the most astonishing case-studies you’ve come across during your research?
Although not a single case study, I am probably most astonished by the conclusions of a scientific review article published in 2014 in the journal Translational Research and titled: “Intermittent fasting vs daily calorie restriction for type 2 diabetes prevention: a review of human findings.” The review showed that intermittent fasting programs over 3–24-week periods can cause weight loss of between 3–8% weight. Furthermore, the review showed that intermittent fasting regimens target harmful belly fat, with data showing loss of 4–7% of their waist circumference—which is truly extraordinary.
As the title suggests, is “Intermittent Fasting for Dummies” just for the beginners or can it also benefit those who are already on a plan?
Yes, those already on the plan should read my book as a primer for how to follow this lifestyle in a safe and healthy way. My book differs from most other books or internet recommendations on how to follow a program of intermittent fasting. Many of them dictate when you should eat rather than what specific foods you should eat. Others pair an extremely unhealthy keto diet with the program. As a health and wellness professional, I give dietary recommendations for pairing the plan with the healthiest diet, a green, plant-based Mediterranean eating regimen. I also give safe exercise recommendations as well as dictate who should NOT follow a program of intermittent fasting. I also give lots of helpful tips and tricks to keep people motivated and to help them adhere to this new healthy lifestyle.
Intermittent fasting is safe for most people, but it’s not for everyone. If you have a medical condition, you must get medical clearance to follow a program of intermittent fasting, especially if you have:
diabetes or problems with blood sugar regulation; have high or low blood pressure; take prescription medications (people who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease may be more prone to electrolyte abnormalities from fasting); or are underweight. Intermittent fasting should NOT be practiced by children; people with a history of eating disorders; women who are trying to conceive; women who are pregnant or breastfeeding and uncontrolled diabetics.
What is the best comment you have received about your book so far?
☆☆☆☆☆ 5 out of 5 stars.
Absolute One-Stop Guide To Intermittent Fasting
The absolute one-stop guide to intermittent fasting. I have been curious about this newest eating craze and wondering if it might be right for me. I love how this guide breaks it all down into multiple sections for easy reference. It gives the rationale and science behind fasting. It provides cautions and things to consider before starting. So many questions are covered and answered, I felt like I was able to just reach out and ask and I would find the answer somewhere in the pages. I especially appreciated the section that broke down the different types of intermittent fasting plans. Knowing how to incorporate exercise into this eating plan is crucial and due justice is given to this topic. If you are considering this way of eating, or are just curious about the premise, this is the book you are looking for!
We hear that you practice Intermittent Fasting. What are the three things that helped you the most when you were starting off?
Black coffee, water and staying busy writing and researching this book!
What is your guilty pleasure?
Red wine and chocolate (during my eating periods—of course!).
Post COVID-19, how do we keep on track with our diet as we travel?
The most wonderful aspect of intermittent fasting is the freedom to eat during the feasting periods without counting calories or feeling like you must sacrifice taste (just be sure not to overdo it and have crazy junk food calorie-laden eat–fests during your eating periods or you will not get results and will negate the health benefits!). Traveling will be easy, just eat during your eating windows.
What is your favorite recipe from the book?
Lentil soup. All of us needs to eat a plant-based diet for better health. Lentils have been part of the culinary culture of the Mediterranean throughout the ages. These seeds may be petite, but they are nutrition giants, loaded with the heart healthiest of ingredients including fiber, antioxidants, plant protein, vitamins, minerals, and iron—and all this for just pennies on the dollar. What’s more, eating legumes such as lentils might just be the dietary secret to longevity. Studies show that people who eat a diet rich in legumes live longer. Lentils and other legumes are nutritional powerhouses loaded with plant protein—as legumes are Mother Nature’s healthy version of meat—you get a nice dose of plant protein but without any of the artery-clogging excess baggage that goes along with animal protein (saturated fat and cholesterol). Plus, you get fiber, vitamins, minerals, and strong antioxidants as a bonus. The fact is that Americans eat too much animal protein, which tends to be at the center of our plate at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Try this delicious lentil soup with a loaf of crusty whole grain bread (for dipping)–a spectacularly delicious and nutritious meal!