The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Originally published on on June 15, 2018 By Katie Heaney

The Ultimate Guide to Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent fasting is having a moment. The first thing you should know is that it’s an umbrella term for a variety of eating patterns that cycle between eating and … not. Silicon Valley is interested, and new companies shilling fast-aiding supplements, like HVMN (pronounced “human,” of course) have popped up as a result. A forum called WeFast, organized by HVMN, boasts thousands of intermittently fasting members, who meet in Facebook and Slack chats to share tips and, presumably, to complain about being hungry.

There are a lot of ways to do intermittent fasting, and a lot of self-proclaimed experts attempting to brand their specific formulations: there’s the 18/6 model (18 hours of fasting to a six-hour window in which you can eat normally), and the 16/8; there’s the 5/2 model espoused by Jimmy Kimmel, in which fasters eat normally for five days of the week and eat only 500 to 600 calories a day on the other two; and there’s alternate-day fasting, which is mostly what it sounds like: one day, you eat normally, and the next, you eat very little, or nothing. As to why anyone would do this, motives vary, from weight loss to better cognitive function to enhanced creativity.

As is the case with most trendy diets, there’s a lot of information online about intermittent fasting, and it’s not all good. Here you can find a solid, science-backed beginner’s guide to the practice, a few different ways to do it, and the health benefits supported by evidence thus far.

So what is intermittent fasting?

According to Dorothy Sears, the associate director of the Center for Circadian Biology at UCSD, intermittent fasting can mean a lot of things. The one thing all forms of intermittent fasting have in common is the cycling pattern between eating, and not eating. But, says Sears, even what is meant by “not eating” can vary — for some people it’s very literal, as in water only, and for some people it might mean only a certain, low number of calories. There are a variety of approaches to intermittent fasting, each with their own supporters and detractors.

Sears suggests a practical model called time-restricted eating. While some studies have shown promising results in participants who eat only during short time frames, like six hours a day, Sears fears such a small window wouldn’t be sustainable over the long term, and might make fasters more miserable than it’s worth. If, for instance, you experience work stress during a fasting period, you’re likely to be less able to handle it than you would be if you’d eaten recently.

“We have these fight-or-flight hormones, like epinephrine and norepinephrine, that get secreted when you have a stressful experience, and then you can get a very quick drop in the blood glucose, where you feel a little shaky. Some people call it hanger,” says Sears. “I think that happening a lot over a long period of time is probably not good for us.”

Instead, Sears suggests a 14/10 fasting-to-eating ratio — meaning you’d eat over a ten-hour period (say, between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m.), and fast the rest of the time, for example. That way you can still have a social life, and still function at work, while getting all the benefits time-restricted eating provides.

Does intermittent fasting work?

In short: all signs point to yes.

Dr. Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging, has been studying intermittent fasting for decades, predominantly in mice. In the late ’80s, says Mattson, there were a couple of studies that found that alternate-day fasting in mice extended their life spans by 30 percent. That finding made researchers wonder if there might be a connection between alternate-day fasting and brain function. So in studies published in the late ’90s and early aughts, Mattson tested this hypothesis, and found strong support for it. “Over two decades, essentially, we found that the intermittent fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to cope with and resist stress, the kinds of stress that we think are leading to degeneration of nerve cells,” he says. The way this seems to work, says Mattson, is that intermittent fasting aids in the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, which is known to be critical for learning and memory.

Now, an important caveat: Most, though not all, of the conclusive research done on intermittent fasting thus far has been on mice. Very few such studies exist for humans, and those that do often rely on very small sample groups. According to Sears, at the time of the review she published last year, there were only 17 studies done on intermittent fasting in humans, and most were very small. “Humans are just so different from one another that you really need to do studies on men and women, and you need to do people of different ages, and people of different disease states,” says Sears. “To do really rigorous testing of health benefits in populations you need to do large studies of lots of kinds of people.”

Part of the problem so far, Sears says, is that the NIH hasn’t funded many of the larger studies on the subject. But she hopes that will change. “When they are funded, and the studies are done, then I feel very strongly that we will start to see strong support of the health benefits of intermittent fasting.”

Mattson agrees that more support can only be forthcoming. He, along with Dr. Michelle Harvie, published a study that found that overweight women assigned to the 5/2 fasting diet lost more belly fat and had greater improvements in glucose regulation than their counterparts, who ate meals as usual but reduced their calorie intake by 20 percent. (Both groups lost equivalent amounts of weight.)

Will intermittent fasting help me lose weight?


As with any other form of calorie restriction, evidence suggests that intermittent fasting will lead to weight loss — but again, there are some important caveats: most of the research on humans was done on those who were severely overweight or obese, and most measured weight loss over a period of a few months or less. To date, there aren’t any longitudinal studies on humans who fast intermittently, and we know that most people who lose weight eventually gain it back. This, suggests Sears, is all the more reason to pick a fasting model that you’re able to maintain.

Should I skip breakfast as part of my fast?

The verdict is still out.

While Mattson is in favor of the skipped breakfast (he claims he hasn’t eaten one in 35 years), there’s some reason to believe it really is the most important meal of the day, says Sears. “When you eat a meal, you have what’s called a thermogenic response, where your body produces a little bit of heat. You do that more readily in the morning than you do at night, so when you eat at night, you’re not liberating some of the fuels or energy that you’re eating as heat. You’re keeping all that energy in and storing it as fat,” she explains.

“We have a special hormone system in our bodies that helps us clear the sugar out of the blood, and that hormone is called insulin,” Sears says. “Insulin works really really well in the morning, and then it starts to not work so well in the afternoon, and it doesn’t work so well at night.” In other words, our bodies seem set up to process food more favorably in the morning than they are at night. “When we eat a large meal at breakfast, our bodies can handle it really well. So when it comes to intermittent-fasting regimens, I think the ones that are going to show the most promise moving forward are the ones where the food consumption is in the daytime.”

Is it okay to exercise while intermittently fasting?

Yes — in fact, it’s even better for you.

Most people work out when they can, so it might depend on where you can fit things in, but the ideal fasting and exercise setup might be to fast overnight — i.e., from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. for a 12-hour fast, or 8 p.m. to 10 a.m. if you’re going for a 14-hour fast — and exercise first thing in the morning, before you eat, says Mattson. “When you’re sleeping you’re not using as much energy, so when you’re sleeping, the rate of depletion of your energy stores is slower than if you’re active,” he says. “So if you exercise in the morning, then you’re definitely going to start burning fat during the exercise. This is one thing we’ve been studying in animals, and there’s some indirect evidence in humans, that exercising while in the fasted state may amplify or enhance the beneficial effects of exercise on health.”

What am I allowed to eat or drink while I’m fasting?

Again, that depends on your fasting model.

Importantly, both Mattson and Sears say that their research suggests that animals and humans benefit from intermittent fasting even when it’s only done most of the time — whether that means doing the 5/2 model, or only doing time restricted eating during the week. “We think you don’t have to have a perfect adherence to the regimen, you just need to practice it for the most part. Five out of seven days is probably enough to see a long-term benefit,” says Sears.

So, while you’re fasting, you can have water, but you can also chew gum, or have coffee, if you want — maybe even a Diet Coke, says Sears (though she wouldn’t encourage it, either). In a study she’s currently piloting, Sears says she told subjects, “When you’re waiting for your fast to end, and you have one more hour to go, and you want your coffee, have it, but just don’t put anything in it that has calories. So if a woman wanted to have a black coffee with an artificial sweetener, she could do that.” You don’t have to be a true ascetic to make intermittent fasting work for you.

6 benefits of perilla seed oil for skin

Originally Published on 

6 benefits of perilla seed oil for skin

Natural Skincare Ingredients

Today we are sharing with you a fabulous oil that you may not have heard of before – perilla seed oil. We’ll be delving into the benefits of perilla seed oil for skin and skincare, what it is and how to use it.

As a School we love keeping up to date with new and exciting natural ingredients and beauty trends. These more unusual ingredients enhance your products in so many ways: by adding many beneficial properties to them, helping your products stand out from others, and being a great talking point in your marketing.

What is perilla seed oil?

Perilla seed oil is a member of the mint family and is native to Eastern Asia. This oil is a great source of omega-3 essential fatty acids, from which many of its health and skin therapeutic benefits are derived. Perilla oil is extracted from the plant called Perilla frutescens, which also happens to be the botanical or INCI name. It is also known as:

  • Japanese mint
  • Chinese basil
  • Shiso

Benefits of perilla seed oil for skin

Here are 6 reasons to include perilla seed oil in your formulations:

This potent oil demonstrates excellent antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities due to the abundance of linoleic acid. This makes it a great choice for problematic skin types.
Excellent for treating aging skin – it is rich in omega-3, soothing, repairing and providing powerful antioxidant protection for mature and aging skin.
Rich in flavones, it offers potent antioxidant activity thus helping to prevent free-radical-induced damage to the skin cells, which can result in premature aging.
It also contains a compound which acts as a natural precursor for ceramides, which plays a role in maintaining the skin barrier to protect against water loss. This makes it very suitable in dry skin body oils and face products for drier complexions
The oil is naturally rich in polyphenols (particularly rosmarinic acid) and triterpenoids (particularly ursolic acid), natural molecules that demonstrate anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-oxidant and anti-allergic qualities.
This oil is a fine, ‘dry’ oil which is easily absorbed into the skin. It is non-greasy and useful for a wide variety of products.

Composition of perilla seed oil

Perilla oil contains very high levels of n-3 linolenic acid (over 50%), an essential fatty acid that plays a major role in regulating inflammation in the body as well as the skin. Perilla oil also contains high amounts of the skin-loving omega-3 essential fatty acid and alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Rich in flavones (plant compounds), which are heavily present in this botanical, it offers potent antioxidant activity thus helping to prevent free-radical-induced damage to the skin cells which can result in premature aging. Perilla oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial,antioxidant, and anti-allergic qualities due to being naturally rich in polyphenols (particularly rosmarinic acid) and triterpenoids (particularly ursolic acid).

Which skin types benefit from perilla seed oil?

As mentioned above it is useful for many skin types, including:

aging and mature skin
problematic skin types and acne
dry skin.

The use of perilla oil for treating acne and aging skin conditions is well known. It is rich in omega-3, which soothes, repairs and provides powerful antioxidant protection for mature and aging skin. With regular use of this oil, the skin can become clearer, calmer and toned with a refreshed look.

In addition, it also contains a compound which acts as a natural precursor for ceramides, which plays a role in maintaining the skin barrier to protect against water loss. This makes it very suitable for drier complexions.

Creating products with perilla seed oil

A fine, ‘dry’ oil, Perilla seed oil is easily absorbed into the skin. This lesser known oil can make a great addition to your skincare oils and creams.

Perilla seed oil is a wonderful addition to facial oil and serum formulations for aging skin and problematic skin.

It is also excellent in body oils and face products for drier complexions.

Free Skincare Formulation Challenge
Design a facial serum (that flies off the shelves) in 5 days!

Learn how to to formulate natural and organic skincare products that people need, want and love

– and keep coming back to buy more!

It’s FUN, FREE and starts 26th March 2018
In this FREE challenge you’ll:

  • Learn our 5 steps to creating products customers need, want and love – and keep
  • coming back to buy more
  • Design your own unique & gorgeous facial serum – with our help
  • Know how to create products for different skin types
  • Learn how to choose which ingredients to use
  • Join our tutors and your peers for a fun, interactive experience

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PLUS be in with a chance of winning a place on our Diploma in Natural Skincare Formulation!

This is for you if:

  • You have some experience or no experience
  • You want to start creating your own recipes rather than follow others
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This training is usually reserved for paid students only. For a limited time we’re inviting you too!  Go here for more info: School of Natural Skincare

How To Smell Fresh the Healthy Way

pexels-photo-207518.jpegI get it that we all want to smell good.  We want to cover up any evidence that we are human and that we sweat and sometimes get stinky.  This discussion is about antiperspirants and deodorant that is sold in many drug stores across the United States and world-wide.  I do not use anti-perspirant because there are so many toxic ingredients.

So what is the first reason that I don’t like it? That is because it has aluminum in the ingredients.  Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer’s.  So this article is not about that.  But there has been research done and I am not going to gamble on my life just so I can not sweat and also take the risk of Alzheimers.  So if you want to take that risk.  Knock yourself out.  We all have this wonderful thing called free will.  And you get to decide how you live your life and if that’s how you want to do it.  That’s your choice.  But I’m making a different decision.

The second reason is that it stops you from sweating.  What is the reason to sweat?  To rid our body of toxins. (more here on that subject).  We must be able to release this from our body and if our under arms are clogged, it can’t get out.  So where does it go?  Gee maybe to your lymph nodes which contributes to breast cancer.  So not only does it contribute to Alzheimer’s but also breast cancer.

Don’t worry dear ones you don’t have to  have to just suffer with the funk?  To be perfectly honest, I use this natural blend I came up with.  It’s actually this natural toothpaste.  I guess it has multiple uses.  I was on vacation and I had forgotten my deodorant at home so I used the toothpaste and it worked great.  I did not smell.

But I do have an actual spray on recipe, if that would make you feel better.  But I have not tried this.  The tooth paste does work but you have to try for you.wild-flowers-flowers-plant-macro-40797.jpeg

Also remember when you make your own products, you are being super eco-friendly.  Because you put it in your own jar and didn’t buy a plastic container. So you are not only saving yourself $$ big time.  But you’re saving the planet.  And that makes you a Super Hero.  And you are sticking up for yourself and refusing to use something that is harmful to your welfare.


So before you put it all over do a little patch test.  Put a small amount on the inside of your forearm to test for a reaction.  If after a couple of hours you don’t see anything then you are golden to use it.

So here is the recipe for the spray on deodorant:

  • 4 ounces witch hazel
  • 20 drops therapeutic-grade tea tree essential oil
  • 20 drops therapeutic-grade lavender essential oil
  • 2 teaspoons organic coconut oil melted
  • glass spray bottle
  1. Boil a cup of hot water and put the hot water in a bowl.
  2. In a smaller cup or bowl (espresso mug) put the witch hazel in the bowl to warm up slightly.  Pour in glass bottle
  3. melt the coconut oil and pour in glass bottle (use a funnel)
  4. Add the essential oils, shake up and you are done.

I know it’s so much easier to just go shopping and buy it.  So there are natural alternatives to antiperspirants that you can purchase.  Here are some good suggestions for you to consider.  Just try to see the possibility of staying healthy.  You really have to be your own best advocate.  If you don’t look out for yourself, who else will do it?

If you take a shower at night, you can put it on before bed because you never know what can happen after the lights go out.

Valerie is a Health and Wellness Coach and a Yoga Instructor.  She is passionate about the environment and knowing that as you heal yourself, you heal the planet.  Valerie is a dancer and is documenting her journey.  She also is recovering from a 26 year career in law enforcement.

Go Outside and Trim a Bush Already

My family has a history of having green thumbs.  My grandmother, Lupe, God Bless her soul, had a very green thumb.  She had a beautiful garden.  She could plant something from a twig and it would flourish.  My mother had the same gift.

Now my gardening skills are on a whole other level.  I subscribe to the Darwinian theory of survival of the fittest.  My plants need to be able to survive with very little water and lots of neglect.  This was not really my fault.  I mean I was working full time and also being a fitness instructor and a mom and those plants were like so back burner.  I am pretty sure the only reason they really stayed alive was because my ex-boyfriend used to water them when he came over.  The plants used to sing songs when he came around.

Well I am happy to report that I have now matured to the level of actually watering my own plants and I’m trying to maintain them.  I think they are still a little mad at me over the years of neglect from me.  My lemon tree likes me because it gives me plenty of lemons.  My succulents don’t like a lot of water, so we’re cool too.  I do have some geraniums that are actually quite sturdy but are basically holding on by their roots.  I’ve been watering and trimming them and they are hanging on.  I think I need to move them.  It’s just too much sun.

I used to think of gardening as some form of punishment left over from when I was a kid.  But now I actually like going out there and it’s quite peaceful.  I actually started mowing my own lawn too because I was paying for it and I just decided to buy my own push lawn mower and do it myself.  I mean why pay for something I can do myself.  So I’ve found that it doesn’t take very long to do it.  About 30 minutes.  I’m not all into my lawn like some people.  I mean it’s green enough.  And if I miss certain parts get missed (or my daughter misses certain parts) who cares?  I’ll just do it the next time.  I mean there’s no lawn police coming over anytime soon.

 This is how I felt as a kid, but not anymore.

But it’s really cool being outside and trimming those bushes and the lawn feels therapeutic.  It’s like seeing someone with really long straggly hair and you want nothing more than to go up to them with a pair of scissors and trim it up.  Well that’s the sense of gratification you can get, trimming stuff.  And again if it’s not perfectly straight, who cares?  And you didn’t risk your life from cutting some random person’s straggly beard or hair.

 Imagine how great it would feel to trim this hair.  Now that’s pure satisfaction guaranteed.  Maybe not for the boyfriend though.

Also fringe benefit is getting some fresh air, sunshine, physical exercise and your pocket book is happy too.  But I usually find something else to blow my money on anyway.