Every “keto for women” forum abounds with stories about menstrual cycles gone haywire in the first few months of keto. Common complaints include:
Irregular menstrual cycles
Sudden changes in menstrual cycle length, especially periods lasting much longer than normal
Keto critics love to cite these stories as evidence that keto isn’t good for women. After all, for premenopausal women, menstrual cycle activity acts as a barometer for overall health. Menstrual cycle disruptions are usually a sign that your body is under some kind of stress.
So, you overdid it…or just ate something that doesn’t work with your body. Maybe you didn’t binge per se but you abandoned the original plan and now you’re feeling the pain. You ate, maybe more than you intended, maybe differently than you intended.
Non-Primal foods were consumed – perhaps many of them or just a few in larger than planned quantities. Non-Primal and sub-Primal drinks were imbibed beyond the point of intention. And now the consequences are playing out. You’re stuck in a bloated, sloth-like, catatonic state. You’re nursing a major headache with every shade shut and the covers over your head wishing in a rather non-seasonal mindset that your children would take the noise to some distant corner of the neighborhood. Maybe you’ve taken up residence in the bathroom.
In a less dramatic scenario, perhaps you’re just pushing yourself through the day because you notice your energy is off, your digestion not up to full speed, your mood not quite as equanimous as usual. Whether you feel it was worth it or not, who wouldn’t want to reverse the course of misery itself after the fact?
Think of it this way: with health comes sensitivity to what’s unhealthy.
Intermittent fasting has taken the world by storm. No longer is it the province of fitness freaks. No longer do you get weird looks because you skipped the break room donuts. Now you’ve got grandmothers trying it and doctors recommending it. It’s here, the benefits are legion, and you’re interested. But how should you do it? Are there different types of intermittent fasting? Are there different benefits associated with the various flavors of IF? Thinking about fasting, reading about fasting, and reciting the benefits of fasting are all pointless if you don’t know how to go about doing it. First, the most fundamental concept central to all the flavors of intermittent fasting is not eating. Skipping meals, skipping entire days of meals, letting yourself get a little hungry. There’s no getting around that. It will happen. let’s go over the different variations of fasting. I’ll give a quick rundown. Each involves not eating for a period of time, unsurprisingly. A couple other rules that apply to all the given methods: Sleeping hours (provided you don’t sleep-eat) count as fasting hours. Eat well regardless. While some fasting plans tout their adherents’ ability to eat crappy food and still lose weight, I’m not interested in fasting solely as a weight loss method. Keep your food Primal as possible. Okay, on to the variations. Stay on track, no matter where you are! Instantly download your Guide to Dining Out 12:12, 16:8, 18:6, or 20:4 Intermittent Fasting As the names suggest, these breakdowns of intermittent fasting involves fasting for either 12, 16, 18, or 20 hours and taking in all of your food for the day over the remaining window of hours. How to find out which fasting length is the the best one for you? There’s only one way. You have to experiment. You can start with a 12:12 intermittent fast, which comes with the benefits of intermittent fasting and is easy to do for most people. You stop eating a couple of hours before bedtime, and delay breakfast a couple of hours after waking. If that works well, extend your fasting period the next day, and repeat until you find the eating and fasting pattern that feels good. Lots of diets have added more detail to the intermittent fasting model, but bare-bones intermittent fasting is simply a shorter feeding period. If you’ve heard of Leangains, Martin Berkhan’s incredibly popular fasting protocol, you’ve heard of 16:8 intermittent fasting. How does it work? A daily 16 hour fast during which you eat nothing containing calories. Coffee, tea, and other non-caloric fluids are fine. Some people get away with a little cream in their drink. A daily 8 hour eating window. Three days of weight training, ideally performed at the tail end of the fasting period. To improve performance and muscle protein synthesis, you have the option of consuming 10 grams of branched chain amino acids 10 minutes before the workout. Always eat high protein. On training days, eat more carbs and less fat. On rest days, eat … Continue reading “How to Intermittent Fast and Which Type of Fasting Is Right For You”
At this point, intermittent fasting isn’t a new concept, nor is it a difficult one. You take in all of your calories for the day within a limited window of time, and the rest of the day, you stick with water, maybe a cup of coffee, or tea in the morning if you feel so inclined. The idea is that giving your body a period of time “off” from digesting food allows your cells to heal and renew in other ways.
A Practice Born Because Calorie Restriction is Unpleasant
Intermittent fasting became popular because calorie restriction was found to contribute to healthy aging. A few mouse and worm studies seem to show that drastic reductions in food intake over a long period of time could prolong your life.
There’s a ton of talk about intermittent fasting in the ancestral heath sphere for general health and wellness as well as weight loss, but little indication of specific applications for the practice. Anytime you attempt a “radical” health practice like not eating, it helps to have a good reason to do it. That will not only give you something to aim for, but it will ensure you actually have a physiological justification for your experiment. Never go in blind.
What are some of the specific scenarios and conditions where fasting makes the most sense?
For today’s edition of Dear Mark, I’m answering five questions taken from this Twitter thread. First, does collagen offer anything special above and beyond glycine? Second, what’s the relationship between keto and gallstones? Third, do I recommend eating raw liver, and why or why not? Fourth, why does one reader’s scalp itch when eating stevia? And finally, what’s the best way to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time?