Fasting might not be the first thing you think of with a name like Vegans with Appetites. But intermittent fasting on a vegan diet has had such a profound effect on our lives that we had to share our experience.
There are many amazing benefits of this lifestyle, and we personally think intermittent fasting is a whole lot easier to incorporate into your daily life than longer periods of fasting.
If weight loss, increased energy and mental clarity sound good to you, you'll definitely want to give intermittent fasting a try. These are just a few of the many benefits we've experienced.
Read on to learn more about our vegan intermittent fasting results, how we stick to the lifestyle, and what we eat.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Before we get into the details about our experience, we wanted to share a quick summary of what intermittent fasting really is. The idea behind this concept is that one avoids eating for the majority of the day.
There are different versions of this, but the most common and the one we usually stick with is the vegan intermittent fasting 16/8 method.
This means that we don’t eat for 16 hours a day and instead get all of our nutritional intake during the remaining 8-hour window. For example, if we finish dinner at 8 pm, we won’t eat the next meal until noon the day after.
During the 8 hours window, it’s important that you eat everything you would during a regular day. It’s also important that you eat well-balanced meals.
Some people eat two bigger meals every day, while we tend to have two large regular meals and one smaller meal, usually a smoothie bowl or a light snack.
Others take the fasting a step further and avoid eating for 18 hours a day. And even though we stretch it some days, we have found that the 16/8 method works best for us.
And let’s not forget that we love to eat so staying away from food for 18 hours every day just sounds miserable.
How We Got Started With Vegan Intermittent Fasting
We never planned to start intermittent fasting, it just kind of happened to fit our lifestyles better.
We’ve both had unusual eating habits for as long as we can remember. Instead of eating when social norms tell us to, we eat when we are hungry. Breakfast at 1 pm? Sure. Lunch at 4 pm? Why not!
You probably get the picture.
In addition to this, we have developed very strict morning routines where Victoria begins each day with tea meditation which involves enjoying a few cups of jasmine green tea. Meanwhile, Adam tries to squeeze in some work and exercise before eating.
So our introduction to intermittent fasting sort of happened automatically, and the more we read about the benefits of letting your body rest between meals, the more intrigued and dedicated we became.
Our Vegan Intermittent Fasting Results
The proclaimed health benefits of an eating pattern with periods of fasting are many including weight loss and more energy as well as higher mental stability and the rebuilding of brain cells.
Intermittent fasting has also been proven to lower cholesterol, improve insulin resistance as well as lower blood sugar levels. Additionally, it can help reduce inflammation in the body.
Most scientists with an insight into the topic agree on the benefits of putting your body through light stress by not eating. However, it seems like everyone experiences different results from intermittent fasting, including us.
There is also evidence showing that the body reacts better to regular but shorter fasting periods then it does to extended and infrequent fasting, diets, and juicing programs.
But the question still remains, why do we do it?
Well, we’ve experienced countless benefits from fasting for 16 hour time periods, and we’ll try and break down our results for you.
Weight Loss and Toning
The main reason most people start intermittent fasting is to lose weight and become more toned, and even though that wasn’t our original goal, we have seen results.
We have both noticed that when we follow our vegan intermittent fasting 16/8 schedule for a long period of time, we seem to shred unnecessary fat. Sometimes it feels like we're naturally burning more calories even though we don’t move around more.
Adam has also noticed that he recovers much faster from workouts when he restricts his eating schedule, but more about that in a bit.
All in all, the reason intermittent fasting has become a huge trend in the last couple of years has to do with the fact that it helps people lose weight. This is something that many people that have tried fasting seem to agree on.
And without getting too technical, scientists have proven that a person's metabolism reaches peak performance after the body has been without food for at least 12-14 hours.
Optimal Performance and Increased Energy
Another popular benefit with vegan intermittent fasting, as well as our main reason for sticking with it, has to do with performance.
We both feel like we perform better both mentally and physically when intermittent fasting, especially in the mornings before we eat. It feels like when your body isn’t working to digest food, it allocates more energy to other parts of the body.
Both of us are much more productive before the first meal of the day and our overall energy levels are much higher. In fact, much of the brain fog and sluggishness we've occasionally felt is pretty much gone.
Adam has also noticed that he performs better when working out on an empty stomach, only fueled by black coffee. He can run greater distances in shorter times with fewer cramps and feels less fatigue and discomfort when doing yoga. He also recovers much quicker and is ready to work out again the next day.
Better Eating Habits
One great benefit of vegan intermittent fasting that we think many overlook are the improved eating habits.
You see after you’ve gone 16+ hours without food, your body will be craving nutrients and not junk. It’s like your body is asking you to refuel and not just eat. Therefore, we often eat the healthiest on the days when we’re strict with fasting.
The time restriction itself also helps. Since we only have 8 hours or less to get all the nutrients we need, we’re forced to plan what we eat better.
Better yet, an 8-hour eating window with 2-3 meals leaves little to no room for snacks. In other words, you won’t have time to eat all the unnecessary and often unhealthy snacks that most of us rely on otherwise.
How To Avoid Getting Hangry
At this point, you’re probably wondering if we’re always hungry or how to maintain your fast.
But the truth is that we feel less hungry now than we did before we started intermittent fasting.
Many times your body is programmed to expect 3 big meals a day because of habit not necessarily because you're hungry. In fact, this is something we've especially found to be true with our own experience.
Also, you are still allowed to consume low-calorie drinks during your fasting periods which means we usually drink tea at night after dinner.
In the mornings, a cup of black coffee or antioxidant-packed tea, such as a glass of cold brewed hibiscus tea, as well as a few glasses of water is all we need to wake up. An added benefit is that the beverages help keep us full.
Obviously, if it happens that we wake up one morning and feel extra hungry or we don’t feel like pushing ourselves to the 16-hour mark, we eat.
There is no need to ever starve yourself or restrict yourself behind what you feel comfortable.
That is what makes intermittent fasting such a sustainable form of fasting. You can also choose to follow a vegan intermittent fasting diet every day or just certain days of the week.
Based on our experience, it gets easier to go without food for longer periods of time, and the more you do it, the less hungry you are. Whenever we fall off the bandwagon, we usually feel extra hungry during the first days of fasting again.
What Do We Eat on A Vegan Intermittent Fasting Diet?
Due to our nomadic lifestyle, our eating habits are constantly changing and we are constantly adapting to new food cultures.
Obviously, we only eat 100% vegan, and we try to eat as clean as possible with mostly whole foods. However, the quality and variety of the food we eat constantly changes depending on where in the world we are.
In the United States, where we have access to a complete kitchen and well-stocked grocery stores, we eat mostly a whole foods plant-based diet and cook almost everything at home.
During summer and spring we typically break our fast with a smoothie bowl. In fact, we find raw vegan intermittent fasting really supercharges weight loss, and we usually try to eat at least one raw meal a day.
However, when it is colder, we break our fast with a scrambled tofu breakfast burrito. This meal is super easy to make. With some homemade guacamole and a whole wheat tortilla, you have yourself a protein-packed high fiber meal.
In Bali, we eat out a lot so we can’t really control the cooking process or the ingredients, although we do compensate that with a lot of raw food and tropical fruits. During our last stay in Ubud, we ate smoothie bowls at home in the morning and then we usually went to restaurants for lunch and dinner, or we cooked a simple meal at home.
In Italy, we always splurge when it comes to eating. The beauty of eating vegan in Italy is that you have access to plenty of amazing vegetables and legumes. In fact, Italy has probably the best seasonal high-quality produce of any country we've ever been to.
So...Is Vegan Intermittent Fasting Worth It?
Yes, a resounding yes! By fasting for a big part of every day, we allow ourselves to live at our optimal physical and mental performance while still indulging in all of our favorite foods.
Better yet, vegan intermittent fasting goes hand in hand with the way we live our lives, and we have found techniques that help us adapt and stay on schedule even when traveling.
For us, intermittent fasting was never something we set out to start with. However, after learning about time restricted diets, we became dedicated to the lifestyle, and today we enjoy all the great benefits intermittent fasting offers on a daily basis.
If you feel like trying this out as well, we suggest you start slowly and ease into it. Many experts recommend starting with 12-14 hour fasting periods and then gradually increasing the time.
Another good way of getting started with vegan intermittent fasting is to only do it on certain days of the week and alternate the length of the fasting periods.
Just remember not to push yourself beyond your limits, and you will soon reap the benefits of time restricted eating!