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Psychology & Diet

Testimonial – I’ve tried it: fasting and hiking

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Fasting courses have developed a lot in recent years, sometimes giving rise to controversy. Is it justified? To find out, our reporter went fasting and hiking in the Vercors. This is the story of a difficult but rewarding week.

Saturday: another planet

Arrival, installation in the rooms, presentation of the group… In this rural house in the Vercors, thirteen people look at each other with discreet curiosity. Dominique and Pierre Juveneton, therapist and naturopath respectively, have been welcoming the fasters for six years. Our group is heterogeneous: ages vary (from 30 to 60 years old), as do the motivations. Two or three women are there to take a break, some are regulars who fast every year, others have come out of curiosity. I have always been torn between dieting and resignation, and I announce my desire to return to a healthier nutritional base. Dominique explains that each person will find, at their own pace, the answers and the keys they are missing. Fasting, she explains, is a detox parenthesis. By not giving food, we force our body to draw on its reserves and to carry out a major internal cleansing. Walking accelerates this process. We do not wait: a first very gentle walk of six kilometers, followed by a purge. Do not fast with a full intestine. Half a liter of water in which I have diluted magnesium citrate empties mine very effectively.

18:30: start of the fast. Last hearty dish (so to speak): a cellulosic soup of infamous taste (cabbage, celery, leek, turnip, cooked three times to remove vitamins and minerals and leave only the fibers), intended to cleanse the intestines. In comparison, the tasteless vegetable broth that follows is almost good. Starting tomorrow, it will be our only meal. Around the bowls, the “veterans” talk about their experiences, the “newbies” detail the diet they have imposed on themselves to be able to fast in the best conditions. I am not very proud of my pizza the day before yesterday, nor of the chocolate bar I ate at the Valencia station…. I feel like I’ve landed on another planet, the one where people talk about food instead of eating it.

Sunday: grumpy

Getting up at 7:30 in the morning, shower. The bravest ones – I will never be one of them – follow Dominique’s advice: “chew”, for ten minutes, a spoonful of olive or sesame oil, to eliminate oral toxins. At the mere thought of it, my empty stomach rebels and I rush to take an infusion. This is followed by twenty minutes of meditation and half an hour of yoga. Oddly enough, I am not hungry.

10 o’clock in the morning: Dominique brings us organic apple juice. A small glass each to dilute in a liter of water, which we will carry with us during our hikes. Wearing simple canvas slippers, I see with concern that all the participants are equipped like real hikers: slippers, large backpack, ground sheet, insulated water bottle…. I realize that I have mistaken a walk for a hike. We set off for a five-hour hike (twelve kilometers) in the middle of the mountains. For me, the Parisian who considers it a feat to climb the Butte aux Cailles every day (sixty meters of elevation gain), the test is unexpected. And very difficult.

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3:00 pm: Return to the gîte and free afternoon. Treatments are offered (colon hydrotherapy, massages, naturopathy consultation…). I start to feel weak, with a vague headache that disconcerts me. A bit grumpy too. I drink liters of herbal tea, go out and go to bed early.

Monday: my body struggles

Pleasant wake-up call, I feel energized. The yoga session is replaced by qi gong: I endure. The same goes for the hike, although I suffer on the climbs. The group is united. Discreetly, the stronger ones support the weaker ones: a joke, a few words of comfort, a massage on the sore calves…. The gestures of support never wane.

The darkness of the evening I am not hungry, my spirits are low. I go to bed immediately after my broth, and there my body launches all its armies against me: I feel nauseous, my heart hits the hype, my legs seize up under cramps and a terrible headache explodes in my head. It’s normal,” Pierre Juveneton assures me, “the expulsion of toxins provokes these violent reactions. Following his advice, I try to visualize the expulsion of toxins, but the migraine takes up all the space.

The instructions are clear: no drugs, we will have to make do. Or rather without. I call home, on the verge of tears. My man offers to come and get me. I refuse: I want to continue the experience. A matter of pride, no doubt. I fall asleep, a heavy sleep, for ten hours straight.

Tuesday: rebellion

A harsh wake-up call. The headache is gone, I feel less nauseous, but I still feel very weak. Ten minutes of meditation and an hour of gentle exercise overcame the aches and pains and general weakness. One thing is for sure: I won’t do the whole hike. Four of us have to give up after two and a half hours of walking.

I finally have time to sit and listen to the messages and complaints of my poor body, assaulted by this fast. I am not surprised by its reaction: as soon as food is involved, my unconscious, scalded by years of dieting and rejection of my body, tends to reject the obstacle. I’m still not hungry, yet all I can think about is what I’m going to eat when I get back. It’s as if I have to avenge the deprivations I accept here. This form of rebellion against authority is familiar to me, but I realize that it happens even when the authority…. is me!

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When I hear other trainees talk about flaxseed concoctions and the taste of tofu, I smile (inwardly) and tell myself that there is nothing better than a good slice of cheesy bread.

Wednesday and Thursday: business as usual

The days follow one another with a slow crescendo toward well-being. I wake up very early, the great sleeper, but without fatigue. My inner vitality has returned, though I still feel weak. One walk follows another. Each time I am surprised by the capacity of my body, which has been drained of all energy. We all suffer: pain in the joints, back, calves, thighs.

For relief, we are offered herbal teas, essential oils, massages. Nothing helps: climbing the stairs to my room always seems insurmountable. Paradoxically, my morale continues to rise. I acquire a curious “lightness”. I had planned to work, but I don’t open the computer and that doesn’t make me anxious. To begin with, I sleep a lot. Then, the body in slow motion imposes a slow rhythm: wakeful naps on a deckchair in the sun, baths in the jacuzzi.

By releasing the inner stuffing, would I have put an end to my activity bulimia? Another change: I, the reticent one in the early days, the devourer of sugars and fats, now greedily point to the recipes of vegetarians. Pilpil, gomasio, soya? In the evening, lectures on dietetics or naturopathy introduce me to the benefits of these new products.

Friday: two plums and compote

First breakfast, eagerly awaited because it marks the end of the fast, the end of something. At a candlelit table decorated with bouquets of Japanese flowers, Dominique brings each person two glass yogurt pots. The first contains two prunes, the second applesauce. Each spoonful should be savored very slowly to allow the digestive enzymes to recover. It’s a real treat, even if the first ones make me sick.

Last walk and return to the gîte: at a nice table on the terrace under the sun, Dominique has prepared us a real “feast”: sauerkraut sweetened with chestnuts, carrot puree with cumin, steamed potatoes, lamb’s lettuce, sprouted seeds…. We eat in silence. I chew each bite as if it was going to “make my day”. Dominique and Pierre then give us very strict recommendations on how to get back on track.

As I’m leaving, I can’t understand my feelings. I feel like I’ve been on a roller coaster, literally and figuratively. It’s been a rough week. In all its excesses. But the warmth and solidarity of the group was always with me: I was never alone on this sometimes difficult road. As far as my body is concerned, I have the impression of having finally found the “delete” button of my “old memories”. I still have to change my software. Which is not the easiest thing to do. A surprise: my appetite, which had completely disappeared, came back very quickly. On the TGV that takes me back to Paris, I am hungry.

Two months later: vitality

When I reread this diary two months later, I realize that not only have the bad memories disappeared, but that I am living every day the positive consequences of this fast: a real vitality, a more restful sleep, the disappearance of joint pain, radically different nutritional tastes (I no longer crave quick sugars, but vegetables, fresh produce, cereals…), one pant size less.

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Another lasting benefit: I am more attentive to my desires, my body and its needs. I enjoy three squares of chocolate without frustration, whereas before one bar was not enough. Of course, as time goes by, the “old memories” try to resurface. But now I know the antidote to my old demons. And I know I won’t hesitate to fast again.

The questions we ask ourselves

We interviewed a specialist in the field: Françoise Wilhelmi de Toledo is a nutritionist and director of the Buchinger clinics, named after the founder of the oldest and most reliable method, which is used in courses combining fasting and hiking. She is the author of The Art of Fasting.

Psychology: When is fasting recommended?
Françoise Wilhelmi de Toledo : When one feels the need to distance oneself from one’s life, when faced with a difficult choice or when one wants to take stock. It is very effective in calming certain chronic diseases: allergies, migraines, rheumatism, asthma. Also in the preventive treatment of “overflow diseases”: obesity, diabetes, hypercholesterolemia, hypertension…. On the other hand, it is strongly discouraged in case of eating disorders.

Is fasting a method of weight loss?
Of course, you lose weight when you live on fat reserves. For overweight people, fasting can be a first step towards an optimal weight, provided that they change their eating habits, do more sport and acquire a good emotional balance that reduces the need to compensate with food. During fasting, one is motivated to change something in one’s life, one is guided in the discovery of a thousand sources of happiness outside of food. It is the learning of new habits.

How to prepare for fasting?
It is important to reduce the diet before fasting to prepare the body. Five days before the start of the fast, it is recommended to stop smoking, alcohol and stimulants. Three days before, avoid or reduce animal proteins (meat, fish, eggs, etc.). The day before, you should satiate yourself with fruit and vegetables and drink plenty of water. Food intake is resumed over a number of days equivalent to that of the fast, during which foods are reintroduced one after the other. First fruit and vegetables, then cereals and then animal proteins.

To go further

Read more:

– The art of fasting by Françoise Wilhelmi de Toledo. The bible for all fasters, by one of the most renowned specialists in the world (Jouvence, 2005).
– The surprising virtues of fasting by Sophie Lacoste. A very accessible and informative book (Leduc.s éditions, 2007).

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Psychology & Diet

Three good reasons to eat a croissant first thing in the morning even if you are on a diet

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When it comes to breakfast pastries, croissants are definitely at the top of the list. Flaky, buttery, and delicious, it’s hard to resist, especially in the morning. However, if you’re trying to take care of your figure, you may be wondering if a croissant is really the best option. Here are three good reasons to continue enjoying your favorite breakfast, even if you’re on a diet.

A plain croissant is relatively low in calories.

A plain croissant only contains about 220 calories, which is lower than other breakfast options like muffins or bagels. Plus, croissants help you enjoy a gourmet breakfast that will fill you up all morning. This will help you avoid snacking later in the day.

There’s no shame in indulging once in a while.

Crossing the line and indulging your cravings for a day will only boost your metabolism. Think of your indulgence as a “cheat meal” that bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts make to boost their metabolism and make their bodies burn even more.

One study found that dieters who eat a 700-calorie breakfast lose more weight than those who skip that meal. So if you’re looking to rev up your metabolism, eating a croissant early in the morning might be just what you need. Just be sure to pair it with healthy ingredients, like eggs and avocado, to ensure you’re getting all the nutrients you need.

Depriving yourself to hold the line would only make you succumb to covetous desires.

For fear of derailing your diet, you deprive yourself of your favorite foods and this only affects your mood. You become more irritable and anxious, which is of little benefit to your mental or physical health. You can maintain your ideal weight or lose weight by controlling portions and eating your food. However, if you crave a croissant on a Sunday morning, grab one and balance out your subsequent meals or engage in some high-intensity activity. You deserve to take a break and treat yourself however you see fit.

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What other false enemies can we afford from time to time?

Starches:

When we try to lose weight, many of us immediately eliminate all starches from our diets. However, this can be detrimental to our health. Our bodies need carbohydrates for energy, and complex carbohydrates like starches are an important part of a balanced diet. The key is to choose the right starches and consume them in moderation. Whole wheat bread, pasta, and rice are good options. These foods are high in fiber and nutrients, and can help us feel full throughout the day. When we cut calories, it’s important to make sure we’re still getting the nutrients our bodies need. By including healthy starches in our diet, we can achieve this.

Fats :

Many people think that fat is taboo when it comes to losing weight, but that is not the case. In fact, our body needs fat to function properly. The key is to choose healthy fats that support our weight loss goals instead of sabotaging them. One way to do this is to cook with olive oil instead of butter. Olive oil is lower in saturated fat and contains heart-healthy monounsaturated fats.

Another option is to eat more fish. Fish like salmon and tuna are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to aid weight loss. Finally, nuts and seeds are also excellent sources of healthy fats. Just be sure to choose unsalted and unroasted varieties for best results. By incorporating these healthy fats into our diet, we can achieve our weight loss goals without sacrificing our nutritional needs.

* HealthKey strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a health professional.

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Psychology & Diet

Green leafy vegetables and tea protect against cognitive decline

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Presse Santé

Flavonols are a class of antioxidant compounds found in tea, red wine, broccoli, beans, tomatoes, and leeks that have anti-inflammatory properties.
The data, mostly from animal studies, suggest that higher intakes of flavonols may protect against Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.

A recent longitudinal study found that higher dietary intake of flavonols was associated with a slowing of age-related decline in general and specific areas of cognitive function.
A recent study published in Neurology shows that a higher intake of flavonols, a category of flavonoids found in fruits, vegetables, tea, and wine, was associated with slower cognitive decline in older adults. The study adds to limited but growing data showing an association between dietary flavonol intake and brain health.

A healthy diet containing a variety of fruits and vegetables is essential for good health, especially brain health. In general, it is known that the vitamins and minerals present in these foods are important. But we now understand that it is the entire composition of the food, including bioactives like flavonols, that makes these foods beneficial.

Flavonoids and brain health

Flavonoids are a class of compounds produced by plants that possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Flavonoids are found in commonly eaten fruits and vegetables, including berries, cherries, leafy greens, tomatoes, onions, apples, citrus fruits, and beans. Beverages such as tea and red wine are also important sources of dietary flavonoids.

Previous studies have shown that higher dietary intake of flavonoids is associated with slower cognitive decline that normally occurs with aging and also due to Alzheimer’s disease. These effects of flavonoids have been attributed to their ability to reduce oxidative stress, decrease inflammation in the brain, and increase brain plasticity.

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There are six main subclasses of flavonoids, namely flavonols, flavan-3-ols, flavanones, flavones, isoflavones, and anthocyanins. Additionally, several compounds make up each subclass of flavonoids. For example, flavonols include compounds such as quercetin, kaempferol, isorhamnetin, and myricetin. Although animal studies suggest a beneficial impact of certain flavonols and their individual components on cognition, similar data from human studies is limited.

Does the intake of flavonols affect cognitive function?

The present study includes data from 961 participants who reside in Chicago retirement communities and public housing for the elderly and are enrolled in the Rush Memory and Aging Project. The Rush Memory and Aging Project is a longitudinal study whose objective is to identify the factors associated with the deterioration of cognitive and motor functions caused by aging and Alzheimer’s disease. Participants were between the ages of 58 and 100 and had not been diagnosed with dementia at the time of enrollment. The researchers annually assessed the participants’ cognitive function and risk factors associated with cognitive decline.

To assess cognitive function, a trained technician administered a battery of 19 tests spanning five different cognitive domains. These five areas were:

episodic memory: a form of long-term memory that encompasses memories of events and experiences
semantic memory: a form of long-term memory that encompasses factual and conceptual knowledge
working memory: a form of short-term memory that temporarily stores and manipulates information
perceptual speed: the ability to quickly process visual information
Visuospatial Ability: Ability to perceive spatial relationships and manipulate images mentally.

Based on overall performance on the 19 cognitive tests, the researchers quantified each participant’s overall cognitive function.

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To assess dietary intake of flavonols and individual flavonol components, the researchers used a standardized questionnaire to estimate the frequency of consumption of flavonol-containing foods in the past year. The researchers then examined the association between dietary flavonol intake and cognitive function after adjusting for factors associated with cognitive decline, including age, gender, education level, smoking status, physical activity level, and participation in activities that enhance cognition. The analyzes suggested that a higher intake of flavonols was associated with a slower decline in general cognitive function.

In this study population, people who ate the most flavonols (an average of 7 servings of dark green leafy vegetables per week) compared to people who ate the least had a 32% decrease in their rate of deterioration cognitive.

2 Antioxidants Linked to Slower Decrease

Furthermore, higher consumption of flavonols (kaempferol and quercetin), but not isorhamnetin or myricetin, was associated with a slower decline in general cognitive function. Looking at changes in specific cognitive domains, the researchers found that higher flavonol intake was associated with slower declines in episodic memory, semantic memory, perceptual speed, and working memory, but not visuospatial ability.

Among individual flavonol components, higher kaempferol intake was associated with a slower rate of decline in all five cognitive domains. By contrast, myricetin was not associated with a change in cognitive abilities, but was suggestive for working memory. Quercetin consumption was associated with a more gradual decline in episodic and semantic memory, whereas isorhamnetin consumption was correlated with a more gradual decline in episodic and suggestive memory for visuospatial memory.

Leafy vegetables are the richest source of kaempferol. Tea, onions, leeks, broccoli, beans, tomatoes, and berries are some of the other main sources of other flavanols.

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In addition to having beneficial effects on brain health, another recent study reported an association between increased intake of flavonoids, including flavonols, and a marker of subclinical atherosclerosis. This further highlights the potential protective effects of flavonoids on not only brain health but also cardiovascular health.

* HealthKey strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a health professional.

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Psychology & Diet

Eat eggs to lose weight, this is how

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Presse Santé

As part of a balanced diet, eggs can have many health benefits. A growing body of research suggests that eating eggs may also promote weight loss. Eggs are high in protein, low in calories, and can boost metabolism. In this article, we describe how to use eggs to aid weight loss, including when to eat them and how to prepare them.

Why are eggs good for weight loss?

Eggs can promote weight loss for three reasons:

1. Eggs are nutritious and low in calories.

Eggs are low in calories and high in protein.
One large hard-boiled egg contains 78 calories and several important nutrients, including:

lutein and zeaxanthin, which are antioxidants that promote good eyesight.
vitamin D, which promotes bone health and immune function
choline, which stimulates metabolism and contributes to fetal brain development.
The easiest way to lose weight is to reduce your calorie intake, and adding eggs to your diet can help with this.

For example, a lunch or dinner of two hard-boiled eggs and a cup of mixed vegetables is only 274 calories. However, cooking eggs with oil or butter significantly increases their caloric and fat content. A tablespoon of olive oil, for example, contains 119 calories.

2. Eggs are rich in protein

Protein helps with weight loss because it is extremely filling. Eggs are a good source of protein, with a large egg providing around 6 grams (g). The dietary reference intake for protein is 0.8 g per kilogram of body weight.

That means :

the average sedentary man needs 56 g of protein per day.
an average sedentary woman needs 46 g of protein per day.
Therefore, two large eggs provide more than 25% of the daily protein needs of the average sedentary woman and more than 20% of the needs of the average sedentary man.
Some research indicates that eating a high-protein breakfast increases a person’s satiety, or feelings of fullness. The results also suggest that a high-protein breakfast reduces calorie intake for the rest of the day. A 2012 study, published in the British Journal of Nutrition, suggests that dietary protein helps treat obesity and metabolic syndrome, in part because it makes you feel fuller.

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3. Eggs can speed up metabolism

A high-protein diet can improve metabolism through a process called the thermic effect of food. This happens because the body has to use extra calories to digest and process the nutrients in food. Carbohydrates and fats also stimulate metabolism, but to a lesser extent than protein.

According to the results of a 2014 study:

Protein increases a person’s metabolic rate by 15-30%.
Carbohydrates increase metabolic rate by 5 to 10 percent.
Fat only increases metabolic rate by 3%.
Therefore, eating eggs and other protein-rich foods can help people burn more calories than eating carbohydrates or fat.

when to eat eggs

Research suggests that someone who eats an egg-based breakfast may consume less food throughout the day. Eggs can be especially helpful for weight loss if a person eats them for breakfast. In 2005, researchers compared the effects of eating an egg-based breakfast and a baked breakfast in overweight female participants. Both breakfasts had the same number of calories, but the participants who ate eggs ate significantly less food the rest of the day. In a 2013 study, adult men who ate eggs for breakfast needed smaller breakfasts and seemed to feel fuller than those who ate high-carb breakfasts.

However, it is still important to monitor your calorie intake. A 2008 study indicated that an egg-based breakfast promoted weight loss in overweight or obese participants, but only as part of a calorie-controlled diet.

How to eat eggs to lose weight

The key is to incorporate them into a healthy diet. It seems that eating eggs for breakfast is the best approach, as it can reduce the number of calories a person consumes for the rest of the day.

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Eggs are nutritious and easy to prepare. People often like:

I weighed
in omelette
scrambled
poached
Serve them with vegetables for breakfast for a filling, fiber-rich meal, or add hard-boiled eggs to a salad for lunch. For a hearty dinner, top a salad of quinoa and sautéed vegetables with a poached egg.

How many eggs should a person eat?

Incorporating a moderate amount of eggs into a balanced diet may have health benefits. Recent research suggests that eating one egg a day may reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. The researchers tracked the effects in nearly half a million adults living in China over a 9-year period.

However, it is important to note that the people in this study were not following the standard American diet. The authors of a 2018 study reported that eating at least 12 eggs a week for 3 months did not increase cardiovascular risk factors in participants with diabetes or prediabetes.

It is important to note that these participants followed a diet designed to lose weight. These results suggest that consuming a moderate amount of eggs can be beneficial for health, as long as the person incorporates them into a balanced diet. However, since egg yolks are high in cholesterol, people at risk for heart disease may want to limit themselves to one or two egg whites a day. You should also avoid adding animal fats, such as butter or bacon grease, to your egg meals.

Summary

Eggs are a low-calorie food rich in protein and other nutrients. Eating eggs can promote weight loss, especially if the person incorporates them into a low-calorie diet. Research suggests that eggs stimulate metabolic activity and increase feelings of satiety. Eating an egg-based breakfast can keep a person from consuming extra calories throughout the day. To promote weight loss, avoid preparing eggs by adding too much fat, butter or oils, for example.

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If a person is at risk of cardiovascular disease, they should eat only egg whites and carefully monitor their cholesterol intake.

* HealthKey strives to convey health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO EVENT can the information provided replace the opinion of a health professional.

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