Intermittent fasting has been on the periphery of my attention as something getting buzz in the broader world of food and food marketing. In fact, intermittent fasting is among the most popular weight loss strategies as we roll through 2020. According to an annual survey by the International Food Information Council, about 10% of Americans tried intermittent fasting in 2019, second only to “Clean Eating.”
An app promoting intermittent fasting - DoFasting - broke through the onslaught of January diet marketing for me because fasting brings back poignant memories. Not because I’ve fasted to lose weight, but because fasting was an annual event in my family growing up. Breaking the fast is what I remember most and best. Food never tasted so good! And not just any food. Special food that did more than replenish your energy. A hearty, nourishing soup called harira (I give you my vegan version of it in this episode), figs, dates, eggs, and a special Moroccan sweet treat called chebakia.
This wave of interest in fasting got me wanting to revisit my experiences to better understand the potential of fasting, especially as something more than a way to lose weight. From my limited experience it seems like fasting can heighten the pleasure of eating and offer emotional, even spiritual rewards if it’s part of an overall approach to eating.
In this episode I talk to Liliya, who recently started a fasting Meetup group, about her experience and why she's a big proponent of IF. I also speak with Dr. Rachel Herz, a neuroscientist who specializes in perception and emotion, and author of "Why You Eat What You Eat." She tells me about some of the latest research into the health benefits of intermittent fasting related to managing insulin. Dr. Herz also talks about how we experience food after not eating for a long time, and speculates on the potential emotional benefits we derive from breaking the fast. Martina observes a vegan fast for weeks at a time, in addition to periodic 18-24 hour fasts. She describes the spiritual rewards of fasting.
Then we talk about food to break the fast with. Mehdi Menouar, owner of Meska Sweets, a Moroccan bakery/patisserie in Englewood, NJ, talks about his Moroccan Macaron and elaborates on chebakia, the heavenly cookie/pastry that is one of my favorite things in Moroccan cuisine, and a staple during the fasting month of Ramadan.
03/03/20 • 31 min
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There’s more to intermittent fasting than losing weight and physical health benefits. For some, fasting offers spiritual nourishment. And the pleasure of breaking the fast goes beyond the blood sugar rush. Just ask the more than one billion Moslems celebrating the end of the month-long fast today.
Awesome episode about intermittent fasting!
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