We have talked about the benefits of fasting and how self-discipline is such an overlooked quality that is required in our everyday lives to help us achieve more than just good health.
The fast itself is defiantly a practice that helps apply these principles, however, the fruits of this training are reaped not just within the choice of abstaining from food during fasting hours but arguably more so in the choice of nourishment after the fast has been completed.
Too many times we see people absolutely pigging out after a long day of fasting, choosing all the wrong foods, and often playing catch-up on all the missed meals that were skipped throughout the day. This approach is at best counterproductive and goes against the very principles of self-discipline that the fast itself is there to teach.
Why is it that we can completely forego food in its entirety but when presented with a platter of options when breaking the fast, we have no ability to stop ourselves from over-indulgence and selecting the wrong foods?
There is much to be said on this topic and a good start would be planning ahead to ensure that the right nutrition is available at the time of breaking the fast and that the wrong nutrition is not. As I often say at the clinic, this is something that is often decided while shopping at the store, rather than in the kitchen or at the dining table. A clear game plan of what your nutritional inclinations are from the start helps a great deal in this department and it is incumbent upon every person who possesses a physical body to learn and understand the basics of nutritional science if they wish to maintain health.
What is right and wrong in the field of nutrition can be a matter of deep discussion and even debate, however, as a general rule I will add that the more synthetic and processed a food is, the less likely it is to be conducive to health.
There are also two main sources of fuel for the body, the first being sugar and the second being fats. Depending on the school of thought you follow in your own nutritional journey, you may find yourself dependent on one, the other or both forms of fuel. If you do not follow any structure or guidance in this respect, now would be a good time to start learning.
If you use a dietary protocol that does include regular consumption of carbs, which will be the majority of people, there is a very important concept you must know:
Eating carbs (and/or sugars) is like putting fuel in your car. If you are going on a journey, you want to make sure you are fuelled up. If you are already fuelled up and are yet to travel then it's not a good idea to put another tank of fuel in the boot (in the form of a jerry can) as you are simply adding on extra weight which you will need to use up at a later time. If you have emptied the tank by running your mileage then it's fair to say that you can fuel up again.
As simple as that may sound, this is all you need to know about your carbohydrate consumption habits. If you are due to exercise, then it is not a bad idea to carb up, but if you are not doing much exercise and already have a full tank of carbs- then it's not. If you already have a collection of filled up jerry cans in the boot (extra weight) from over-eating in the past it wouldn't be a bad idea to use this up before adding any more.
This is a purposefully over-simplified model meant to give you a simple framework for conducting yourself in the meals outside of your fast (and outside of your fasting days).
We live in a world where nutrition is unnecessarily over-complicated, leading to people giving up in their attempts to understand it. But when explained in a simple way, it is a fairly easy concept for the everyday person to grasp.
Below I have included some quick make-shift recipes that I have used on days in which I am not using too much energy and hence have a lower carb content to my meals. Feel free to give these a try and let me know how you got on.