If you decide to try intermittent fasting— fasting for less than a day— you have to be prepared. You have to be prepared with correct information about fasting— as in reading a good book about fasting such as The Complete Guide to Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung and Jimmy Moore. You also need to be prepared in other ways. You need the right foods for fasting— both in the few things you are allowed to consume while fasting, and the foods you need for good ketogenic diet meals afterwards.
You may feel, after reading the fasting book by Dr. Fung, that you can do it with fasting alone, eating carb-containing meals during your eating times. After all, he got started in recommending fasting because some of his patients were not following the rules for a ketogenic diet— they would give up bread but not flatbread or noodles.
This is the big temptation of the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle— you get through your fasting time— perhaps you get ready to break your fast at 2pm instead of noon. And then you get tempted. You’ve eaten nothing for a lot of hours— and so don’t you deserve a donut? A candy bar? A slice of pizza? And actually when you do IF, you can get away with it sometimes. I’ve had a carby meal on days when I only ate one meal, and the next morning had an OK blood sugar. And then I did the same thing the next day, and ate more carbs because I was so hungry, and had bad blood sugar the next morning.
IF and a ketogenic diet go together. If you are on a ketogenic diet, you are less hungry because you don’t have carbs shooting up your blood sugar and making you hungry for more carbs. Very often when I was doing the Atkins diet, I’d skip a meal because I just wasn’t hungry. This is how some people get into IF. They start skipping breakfast because they are unhungry on their ketogenic diet, they learn about IF and they just formalize their meal-skipping into intermittent fasting.
Fasting does not have to be water alone. You can drink unsweetened coffee or tea. You can also have some broth. When you are feeling bad on a fast— or even on starting a ketogenic diet like Atkins induction— drinking a cup of broth can help. Part of that is the salt in most broths. If you make your own bone broth, be sure to add an appropriate amount of salt. I add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon to a cup of bone broth.
Dr. Fung, in the fasting book, allows you to put a small amount of cream or oil in your coffee or tea. Kind of like bulletproof coffee, but with smaller amounts. You are allowed this once in every fasting day. This makes it less than a total fast, but some people really need this mini-bulletproof coffee or tea in order to make it through fasting, at least the first few times. It means you have to have coffee, tea and cream and/or oil in the house if you are starting a fast, also broth— either homemade bone broth, or the less-ideal commercial bouillon cubes or powder.
You also need to have the right foods in your house for a ketogenic friendly meal. I am in less than ideal health, and find that sometimes I just don’t have enough energy when the time comes to break the fast to cook a full ketogenic meal. I need to have some things that are easy to prepare or can be made ahead of time.
Right now, I’m making a lot of the chocolate milk recipe from Dana Carpender’s Fat Fast Cookbook (page 76). The original recipe calls for using canned full-fat coconut milk. I usually sub a little heavy whipping cream for some of the coconut milk, since I do eat dairy. But last time I used coconut milk alone and it was still good enough.
I also like to have cold cuts and cheese slices (not the wrapped-in-plastic American cheese) so I can make roll-ups— an easy low-carb answer to sandwiches. I always have cans of tuna in the house. I get the kind with olive oil as that is healthier.
My hope is to be well enough prepared to be able to eat ketogenic even when I’m tired or don’t feel like a lot of cooking. Last year I was sick for over a month and didn’t have any appetite— which was good because I couldn’t get out to the stores regularly and I couldn’t get people to drive me very often. I lost a lot of weight, but when my appetite started coming back I started buying bread and making myself sandwiches— which was a hard habit to kick.
My current fasting experience:
I’m trying to do Intermittent Fasting daily until at least 11am. I need to work more on quitting eating at a regular hour— I currently stop eating some time between 5pm and 8pm. Later eating gives me bad morning blood sugar. I tried a 24 hour fast one day when I had bad morning blood sugar. I went 26 hours, felt OK, and my blood sugar went down to a much more normal level. (I might point out that I am no longer on any blood sugar medications, which is why I don’t mention doctor visits before the fast to adjust meds.)