Benefits of Intermittent Fasting


Have you heard about Intermittent fasting or tried it yourself? I discuss this with many of my patients as it is an effective tool for preventing and reversing disease, as well as help with weight loss and digestion. To implement should be considered carefully however. 

What is Intermittent Fasting:

Simply put intermittent fasting is a pattern of eating and not eating, lasting from short term fasts to longer daily fasts. When you are in a fasted state your body is focused on recovery instead of digesting food, however we have been taught over the years to eat frequent small meals, never allowing our bodies to get into the fasted (and recovery) state, except for overnight. There are a variety of approaches to fasting but I usually suggest starting with the 16:8 method as I find this to be easiest to implement for beginner “fasters.” You can still have your coffee in the morning, try it with a little collagen and/or MCT oil, and lots of water. 

  • 16:8 Method - aka time-restricted feeding. Eating for 8 hours and fasting for 16 hours. Just skip your breakfast and ensure you break your fast with a whole foods, nutritious lunch. You can implement the 16:8 method up to 7 days a week. It helps to create a habit of not-snacking too late in the evening since the later you eat, the later you have to wait for food in the morning. 🙂 

  • 24 Hour Fast - This is a daily fast where you only eat 500-600 calories. This may be necessary for more advanced conditions to reset the body or those that need to jump start weight loss. You would do this 1-2x/week or 1-2x/months. 

  • Fasting Mimicking Diet - This is a 4-5 day fasting period with very low calories mimicking fasting in your body, allowing the body to enter a full ketogenic state. You would implement this method 1x/month for more deteriorating health, and only 1-2x/year when you are fairly healthy. This method is more about longevity and cellular repair. 

Reasons To Implement IF:

  • Decreases body fat and weight while maintaining muscle. It allows a favourable shift in metabolism to preserve muscle. During a fast (usually 18-24 hours) cells shift from using glucose to fat as fuel. 

  • Improves cardiovascular disease risk profile. A decrease in cholesterol up to 20% can occur. A decrease in LDL by about 25% after 8 weeks on alternate daily fast have been shown. A decrease in triglycerides by 32% has been shown, all with no change in HDL levels. 

  • Decreases overall inflammation. As I have mentioned you body focuses on recovery during the fasting time. 

  • Improves brain health by decreasing oxidative stress in the body.

  • Improves blood glucose levels and therefore improves insulin sensitivity. This is important for those with metabolism syndrome, pre-diabetes or diabetes. 

  • Improves digestion by helping promote a normal migrating motility complex (most active overnight). It also favourably influences the balance of beneficial bacteria in the gut. 

When To Avoid:

  • Best to avoid during pregnancy and breastfeeding when you are supporting both you and baby. 

  • Avoid during times of increased stress. Your brain uses many calories so when you are overwhelmed intermittent fasting may negatively impact you. Please talk to your ND about this. 

  • Caution for those with low blood sugar issues. 

  • Caution for those with a history of an eating disorder. 

  • Caution for those on certain medications. Please speak to and ND. 

Think about fasting like rebooting your computer. Sometimes you just have to turn it off and reboot for it to work properly again. Our body is very similar! 

Come talk to me if you have any questions.

In health & happiness,

Dr. Karen

Food Friday: Creamy Simple Zucchini & Leek Soup

Zucchini galore! This soup takes full advantage of all the beautiful summer zucchini available now. This soup is super simple, yet so delicious and actually from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook. A good blender is helpful to ensure it is nice and creamy, even without having to add milk or coconut milk. Serve this on its own for a light meal on a hot day, as a appetizer or along side some grilled chicken and salad. Yum!

Zucchini is part of the summer squash family, along with yellow zucchini and patty pan squash. These are rich in antioxidants including vitamin C and manganese, as well as carotenoids especially good for the eyes. It provides 2.5 grams of fibre per cup and rich in nutrients to help control blood sugar. It is best to eat the entire squash including the skin and seeds, therefore it is best to buy your zucchini from the farmers market or organic. 


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 large or 4 small leeks, white and light green parts only, cleaned and thinly sliced
  • 3 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/8-in half-moons
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
  • a pinch of child flakes


  1. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil and leeks over medium heat and sauté, stirring occasionally for 10 minutes, or until soft.
  2. Add the garlic, zucchini, salt and chilli flakes, cover the pan, and steam over medium-low heat for 10 minutes, or until the zucchini is just tender.
  3. Transfer the mixture to a high-powered blender with 2 cups water and blend until very smooth. Taste for seasoning and serve hot or cold. 

I have eaten this both hot and cold and both ways are delicious! 

Let me know what you think. 

In health & happiness, 

Dr. Karen

(Photo credit: www.bonappetit.com)