Can You Intermittent Fast on a Plant-based Diet?
Plant-based diets, including vegetarianism and veganism, are lifestyle choices within themselves. In these diets, you focus primarily on foods derived from nature, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains, oils, legumes, and beans. Some vegetarians can eat select meat and dairy, while most vegans abstain from these foods.
Those on plant-based diets already see many health benefits, including reduced inflammation and cholesterol levels, improved kidney function and gut health, and lowered risk of diabetes and heart disease. Some studies suggest that plant-based diets may even reduce the risk of dementia down the line.
You can punch up the benefits of a plant-based diet with intermittent fasting.
How to Intermittent Fast on a Plant-based Diet?
You have to be strategic with your diet when intermittent fasting, just as you would if you are a vegetarian or vegan. When you’re eating, make sure to integrate foods that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. The good news is that most staples on a plant-based diet, like fruits, vegetables, and nuts, are already high in these nutrients, so you may not have to adjust your eating habits too much.
Drink plenty of water while fasting and during your eating windows to prevent dehydration. You can also drink coffee, tea, sparkling water, and other zero-calorie drinks, though you’ll want to pay attention to the ingredients. Some contain artificial sweeteners that will break your fast, even if they have zero calories – sorry, Diet Coke!
Fiber and water will be the most important nutrients in your diet. They will prevent any constipation and diarrhea that may occur after intermittent fasting. If you experience discomfort when intermittent fasting, it’s less about not eating than eating improperly during your windows.
How Do I Start Intermittent Fasting?
You’ll start intermittent fasting just as you started your plant-based diet: slowly and strategically. While there are many intermittent fasting programs, start at the beginner level by skipping meals, 12:12 or 16:8.
Pay close attention to the number of calories that you are eating. Plant-based diets may naturally eat fewer calories, so you want to make sure that you eat enough to fuel your body’s activities. Some intermittent fasting programs can reduce your calories to 500-600 per day, while others are less restrictive. Meal prepping can help you ensure you’re eating enough even with intermittent fasting.
Pick a plan that works best for your lifestyle. If you work long hours, you may not notice skipping meals. You can also time your fasting windows primarily when you’re sleeping, so you don’t miss your eating windows—experiment with what works best for you. As long as you’re following the rules, intermittent fasting can help you achieve your goals and live a healthier lifestyle.
Can I Work Out While Fasting?
While intermittent fasting, you can work out, but it may be more challenging. You may feel tired, so it can be hard to find the motivation to be active. On fasting days, you may want to focus on lower-intensity workouts to not exhaust your energy reserves. Typically, we have enough glucose in our livers to sustain 90 minutes of moderate activity or 30 to 60 minutes of high-intensity activity.
Is Intermittent Fasting Safe on a Plant-based Diet?
Yes, intermittent fasting is safe on a plant-based diet. You just need to be strategic about what you’re eating. Make sure to eat enough protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Unlike other diets, most plant-based diets already naturally revolve around these foods, so it’s an easier transition. It may be more difficult to be active during the fasting periods, so you’ll have to change your habits accordingly until your body adjusts to its new routine.
Don’t forget to check our best 10 intermittent fasting apps to make your intermittent fasting journey easier.