Five Foods That Every Female Athlete Should Eat Part 4: Carbs!

It sounds obvious doesn’t it. You train hard, you burn energy (glucose), you refuel so that your mucle glycogen stores top up and the next day you go in feeling STRONG! Yeah!

You would be surprised how many women I speak to who don’t do this. Or they have some carbohydrate but they don’t have enough.

Carbohydrates have been demonised for several years now which has led to many women suffering from “carb phobia”. Carb phobia, defined as the belief that you will immediately gain weight as soon as you introduce carbs into your diet, has been the down fall of many.

Carbohydrates are fantastic when eaten in a balance that is right for you. You recover better, you have more energy throughout the day, your mood is more stable, your hormones more balanced, your stress levels reduced and your sleep levels better.

If someone offered you all these things on a plate you would take it wouldn’t you? But if someone offered you a bowl of rice you might say “No thanks, I’m trying not to eat too many carbs at the moment.”

So what is going on here? What is it all about?



Carbohydrates in excess cause problems. Refined carbohydrates can be particularly damaging to health.

I often show people this graph.



What it shows is that when we exercise we use sugars more as a fuel, especially as intensity increases (Weight Lifting, CrossFit, Bootcamp, Sprints). So if we are inactive, a lower carbohydrate is better as we have a reduced requirement for carbohydrates as a fuel source and an increased requirement for fat, as we prefer this energy system when activity levels are lower in intensity.

So it is not carbohydrates generally that are an issue. It is carbohydrate in excess of our need. When we consume carbohydrates in excess of what our body can use, there is an increased likelihood that we store it as fat (This is also true if we consume calories in excess). This is typically associated with increased insulin resistance, as the body “blocks” carbohydrate entry into the cell for burning and encourages partitioning into fat storage sites.

So when someone who has been in this situation and starts to exercise, their carbohydrate need increases, they may lose some weight. This is one of the reasons some people can lose weight with exercise without changing their diet. Exercise makes us more insulin sensitive and better able to use carbohydrate as a fuel, it also means the we expend more calories each day, so provided we do not eat more, we create a deficit for weight loss.

If we do exercise, we are better able to utilise sugars and burn them off. We don’t need to restrict carbohydrate as much as a sedentary person.

If the sedentary person reduces their carbohydrate intake. They probably will reduce their calorie intake too. A calorie deficit and less carbohydrate “overspill” means that they are able to burn fats, including stored fats, for energy and they lose weight.

But what happens if we increase exercise and restrict carbohydrates at the same time? We create a greater energy deficit and we can lose EVEN MORE WEIGHT? Right?

Well, sort of.

This does work. I have seen it work on many people. But I have also seen it fail miserably.

The problem is when we train at high intensity we ramp up the stress hormone cortisol. When we do this in the absence of carbohydrate, we ramp up cortisol even more and it stays elevated for longer. In the short term this can facilitate fat loss.

In the longer term a low carb diet can down regulate the thyroid, imbalance female sex hormones, lead to water retention and poor sleep. You also put your body at risk for an adrenal imbalance which may compromise the immune system (you get sick all the time), inflammation (you get injured or just ache all the time), mood (you feel depressed) and energy (you struggle to get out of bed in the morning).  I am sure you would agree that none of the above makes for an athlete who cannot wait to jump out of bed in the morning and train her little socks off to be an awesome strong machine!



This is an adrenal stress test of a client of mine who was training hard, cycling to work daily and eating a low carb diet. You can see that her adrenal glands were burnt out but it was only exercise (sample 2), that could get any cortisol response (exercise made her feel good but she struggled with energy otherwise). A few months of increased carbs and adrenal support and her test results were normal, she felt better AND she was leaner, especially around her abs. You can see in the figure below that her 2nd and 3rd samples were elevated although morning cortisol and DHEA were normal. This was because she didn’t have carbs after training that day!

post exercise carbs


So what do we do?

Food is fuel. We are meant to eat carbohydrate. We are meant to eat fat. We are meant to eat protein. We also need to eat enough calories each day so we can fuel our bodies and all it’s functions so that we can remain healthy (including a healthy body weight) and perform to the best of our abilities.

So we need to know what are calorie requirements are. Make sure we meet them. Maybe go a little over if we need some muscle growth, maybe a little under if we want to shed a little extra fat. (But also remember, sometimes increasing calories and carbohydrates can give your body a massive “kick up the *ss” and get your metabolism going).

Then we need to workout what works best for us.

I pretty much say this in every blog post/webinar but WE ARE ALL DIFFERENT. I would never put the ladies below all on the same plan.

body type nutrition

Some of us will need more carbs than others, some will need less. This could be because of our gene’s, our body fat percentage (leaner may utilise carbs better than a more voluptuous body type), our current training program (a CrossFitter will probably use more than a yoga bunny) and our goals (what are you training for!?).

To some of my clients I will probably say “you probably need to eat less carbs” but most of them I tell to increase their carbs.

These are a few things they notice…

  1. Better energy
  2. Better hormonal balance (return of periods after years, more regular cycles, fertility) & better skin (See Pictures!)

nutrition and skin


  1. Fat loss / Weight Loss
  2. Increased strength / PB’s in the gym
  3. Loss of inches
  4. Loss of Belly Fat
  5. Better sleep
  6. Better Mood
  7. Clothes fitting better
  8. Enjoyment of food and less guilt!

I absolutely love the story of my client/good friend aka “the headless lady”. We first met when she was a client of mine and soon became good friends. She had tried many a diet and did not lose any weight on a low carb diet. We did a gut protocol together and she did lose some weight and most importantly, her hormones and gut improved. We spoke a little bit about tracking macro’s and due to a bad experience with weight watchers she was not really up for calorie counting. Over time, she came around to the idea and started tracking her macro’s –  214 days later she sent me this:

headless lady

“for the past 3 weeks I have been tracking between 1800 -2200 calories, 200g-300g of carbs. I have more energy, I’ve stopped seeing exercise as something I have to do for punishment for overeating and dislike of my body. Now I love food, love moving and I love my body (imperfectly perfect).”

high carb diet

If that doesn’t convince you then I don’t know what will :) You can also listen to Vanessa’s interview here

Do you want these results!? I would love to hear your story and work with you. Complete the following application form if you would like to have a chat about how to move forward.

7 Questions to Ask When the Scales Won’t Budge

Most of the women I speak with daily want to lose weight. I like to divide them into categories in terms of their needs.

  1. There is the woman who doesn’t exercise, doesn’t really eat well. She needs to change and that’s why we are speaking. Physiologically this is an easy fix. Fix the diet and fix the exercise. Mentally, this is a tough one as building better habits from the ground up is hard.
  2. There is the woman who is likely an athlete. Keen on her training and her nutrition. She just needs to be pointed in the right direction and there you go.
  3. There is the women who has hit a plateau. She’s convinced she is doing everything, tried everything and failing to see results. This could be the athletic type, self sabotaging by knowing too much and trying to implement everything all at once. Or it could be the lady who has seen some results and now hit a plateau and not sure how to break through.This blog is for person number 3 today (although, person 1 and 2, don’t worry, I will write something for you soon)…

QUESTION 1: What have I been doing?

It seems like a silly question. Surely you know what you have been doing for the past few weeks or months? But you would be surprised by how many people I speak to who know they have been dieting (by their definition) and exercising (by their definition) for weeks, months or even years, but they aren’t tracking their progress. They don’t keep a food diary or write down their workouts.

This can mean a few things.

We can often forget that actually half the month we missed the gym because we had to work late and actually, when we think about it, we only worked out on average twice a week the past month, not the 4 times we thought. Yes, you’ve been eating low carb, but if you add in the wine, the slice of cake and the packet of dates you ate on the weekend, perhaps maybe you are not doing what you actually think you are doing.

Tip: Keep a training log. Write down your workouts, the weights you used, the reps and sets completed and the rest breaks. This will allow you to perform better than you did each week. It will also allow you to see how many times you actually train each week. Keep a food diary. Not forever, but for a little while. It will allow you to see what you REALLY are eating and also you can start to link your food intake to your mood, cravings and physical performance.

food journal


QUESTION 2: Have I been consistent?

Is the approach you have chosen consistent? Are you making it a commitment to hit a certain number of exercise sessions each week. Do you have a meal plan or macro plan that you stick to each week? I notice with many clients that the weekends are a struggle. They can be really dedicated Monday to Friday and then from brunch on Saturday it starts to become a slippery slope of a little bit extra here and there.

I am by no means pointing the finger of blame. I struggle with this myself. I’ve noticed that sometimes social events do put temptation in the way, but also there is a much more “relaxed” attitude that comes with the weekend when, even if there is healthy food in the fridge, there is an inclination to just make choices which aren’t as good.

Tip: I find having a structure helps. A structured training plan which is progressive so I know that I have to complete all the workouts within the week so I am ready to move up to the next progression the following week. Identify your weekend dietary weak points and then write down solutions. Maybe it’s a case of having some healthy finger food ready to go in the fridge, dining out with friends at places that serve your type of food and looking at creative ways to cut back on alcohol.

QUESTION 3: Am I doing too much?



For every person who isn’t being consistent and doesn’t know what they are doing there is a person who knows too much and does too much. You might hear something like this:

“I am doing low carb paleo and I’m doing 5 CrossFit sessions a week and I’ve just entered a triathlon so I have just started training for that. Sometimes I throw in intermittent fasting to give me a boost!”

Yes, I am sure you are nodding your head because you are either this person or you probably know someone who is like this.

In the game of fat loss less can be more. Too much exercise, calorie and carb restriction is not a successful or sustainable weight loss strategy.

I like to think of it as a tool box. In your tool box you have many tools of different shapes and sizes, for example:

Exercise: HIT tool, resistance tool, cardio tool

Nutrition: low carb tool, carb cycling tool, fasting tool, low fat tool, refeed tool, timing tool

If you want to hang a picture you use a hammer and a nail. You don’t get all the tools out of your tool box at once. Then you just end up with a mess. In this case, a metabolic mess, where there is so much going on your body doesn’t know what to do. So it does nothing. It just holds on to body fat, maybe adds a bit more (especially around the stomach), it also might mess with your hormones, your mood, your energy and your sleep. You get the idea…



Tip: Keep it simple. Four training sessions a week with decent calorie intake and good sleep is a great place to start. Make little changes and track progress.


QUESTION 4: How long have I been in a calorie deficit?

A sensible calorie deficit (about 10%-15%) may be necessary to bring about fat loss results.  But extreme calorie deficits in the long term can slow down thyroid function and reduce metabolic rate. I speak to many women each week who are eating 1500 calories and below, some even as low as 800-1000 calories per day. In addition to this they may be doing at least 4 exercise sessions per week.

In addition to slowing metabolic rate, extreme calorie and carbohydrate restriction also increases the likelihood of binge eating behaviour and disordered eating. It is not sustainable and even if you do reach your weight loss goal, there is no strategy to rebuild metabolism back up to a healthy level so that you are no longer stuck eating 800 calories for the rest of your life.

Tip: A really nice quote I read in a blog once was that if you can’t get any leaner, shift your focus to building muscle. I thought it was excellent. To build muscle we need fuel, if we fuel our body right and it builds muscle, it means we increase our metabolism and enhance body shape. Not only that, but we shift our focus away from calorie control and onto our performance (look what my cool body can do!)


QUESTION 5: How long have I been eating low carb?

Low carbohydrate diets have become increasingly popular over the last 10 years or so.  But guess what, not everyone needs to be on a low carb diet to lose weight.

I truly believe that carbohydrate intake should be personalised. There will be some people who (at least in the short term) would benefit from eating 50g to 100g of carbohydrate a day.  Most of my clients start between 100g and 150g and still lose weight. You can read this blog about how it works.

Just like calories, if we drop carbohydrate intake too low for too long, this can have a negative impact on thyroid hormone and ultimately suppress metabolic rate.

Additionally, as a compensation for a low carb diet I often see over consumption of fatty foods; butter, cream, whole jars of nut butter, dark chocolate, coconut products and fatty meats like eggs, bacon and oily fish. All these food, although healthy in small amounts, soon sky rocket calories which means that the calorie deficit required for weight loss is longer.

Eating low carb can also be a trigger for carbohydrate binges. I used to eat low carb and then when I exercised I’d get really hungry and then eat a chocolate bar or a cup cake because my sugar cravings were insane. I thought I could get away with it because “I ate low carb” but really I was just kidding myself.

Tip: Find the right balance of macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) for your body and exercise levels.


QUESTIION 6: When was the last time I changed my training?

This is a massive one for many.  Bootcamps, studio classes and steady state cardio are very often not progressive. You move your body and get your  sweat on for 60 minutes and then you go home and you can tick off your 1 hour of exercise for that day. Then the next day you go and do the same thing, again and again and again.

This definitely works in the short term. If you weren’t exercising and now you are doing more, you are burning calories and you are definitely getting the cardiovascular benefits of exercise. It gets easier doesn’t it? As it gets easier, you are essentially not working as hard anymore and the body soon adapts.

At this point it’s time to shake things up and do something new. Maybe try another class or a different approach. But very few people do.

This is one of the reasons why I love weight lifting. There are many variables we can manipulate to keep the body guessing. We have a variety of different exercises, we have the number of reps we do, the number of sets we do, how heavy we go and the rest breaks between each one.  There are so many variables that we can play with to keep the body adapting.

Tip: I follow a structured and progressive resistance program 3 to 4 days a week and I change this program every 4 to 6 weeks. Then I add in other skills like yoga (also progressive), swimming, kayaking and running for fun and time outdoors.


QUESTION 7: Am I being honest with myself?

So now you know a little about what could be holding you back. Have you been honest with yourself?

Have you really tried everything? Or are you stuck in a rut or stuck in your ways of doing something. Maybe even thinking your know your body best, you should be able to do this yourself, but actually you just stay in the same place too scared to try something new.

One of the biggest things I aim to get across to my clients is often its not finding the right diet and the exercise plan that holds us back. It’s us. Our mindset. Our ability to take that leap, get uncomfortable and take action to do something different.

If what you are doing isn’t working, change it. Make as many mistakes as possible because you will learn from them.

It can be tough if you have been doing such a good job at controlling your calories (despite no results) and you get told to eat more. It can also be hard when you’ve given up so much time to get your training done and someone says, I want you to train less or train differently. Its scary.

On the flip side, it can be hard being told we need to do more and eat better when we really believe all the stories in our head about why we can’t, won’t or don’t deserve to.

Changing your health for the better is an opportunity. It is not something you do to punish yourself. It is a gift that you give yourself. How amazing is that!?

So sit down, be totally honest. Take action. Make a change.

Want to work with me-

A perspective on fasting

Intermittent fasting, where one eats all their food within a 8 to 10 hour window meaning that 14 to 16 hours of the day is fasted, has been “on the scene” for several years now. It has become popular due to promising research that it may offer health benefits an event potentially extend lifespan…

  • Research has shown that animals that eat every other day in a laboratory environment live 30% longer and show resistance against diabetes and neuro-degeneration.
  • Fasting can also act as a spring clean for cells, cleaning up molecular “garbage” in a process called autophagy. Autophagy may also be important for the maintenance of muscle mass, which means, if done properly, fasting can promote fat loss whilst maintaining muscle mass.
  • Periods of fasting may reduce inflammation and blood pressure and improve circulating glucose, lipids and immune molecules. Metabolism is altered for greater efficiency and reduced oxidative stress.

It all sounds very convincing and therefore it is not uncommon that I come across clients who have used fasting strategies or I get asked about my views on fasting.

I must admit I have often been pretty “anti-fasting”. I’ve had two experiences with fasting, one bad, and one actually pretty good.


The bad one was when I was doing CrossFit as my main weekly activity and I was also pretty run down. Prior to trying it out I had just had mouth ulcers for the first time ever. On reflection it all seems a bit silly now but often its difficult to see these things without an outsiders perspective. It probably not the best time to start adding in the stress of food restriction.

The second time was last year on a 7 day yoga retreat where, by default, we were doing a 14 hour fast. Each morning we did a 2.5 hour yoga practise until about 10am after which we would have breakfast. Dinner was usually around 7:30pm/8ish so it worked out to about 14 hours without food. This fasting experience was the opposite of my previous experiment; each day all I was doing included yoga, meditation, reading, swimming and just relaxing. No intensive exercise and a complete digital detox, so no technology or social media.


Interestingly, before said yoga retreat I had literally just completed my Masters thesis. The thesis was looking at Mitochondrial DNA and Sports Performance, specifically diet and supplements that would upregulate mitochondrial genes to make us more efficient at burning fat as a fuel source.

This is the diagram I produced as part of my research. Probably mumble jumble for anyone without a background in Biochemistry but I thought it would be nice to break up the text ;)

This is the diagram I produced as part of my research. Probably mumble jumble for anyone without a background in Biochemistry but I thought it would be nice to break up the text ;)


While researching for the project I had to read a lot of papers, papers which looked at what happens in cells, what happens in animals (mice) and what happens in humans.

It is obviously much easier to do experiments on cells in petri dishes and mice in cages than it is on humans. All the same, the animal research especially seemed to produce a pretty convincing argument for the metabolic effects of fasting. It just becomes difficult when you carry it across to humans with the complexity of the lives we lead.

One of my reasons for being anti-fasting was based on my fasting experience number one and also some of the (yet again, animal) research I had read about fasting in female rats. Female mice showed increased food seeking behaviour, disrupted menstrual cycle and increase in stress levels when subjected to every other day feeding.

To be honest, this probably close to what I was probably experiencing the first time I tried fasting. I didn’t give it enough time to experience any disruption to my menstrual cycle. But it just didn’t feel good.


Much of the research that looks into fasting mostly uses fasting alongside calorie restriction and this is also how it is often applied in practise. So if someone is exercising intensely (like CrossFit) and is perhaps just eating enough calories or not enough (as I often see) and then they introduce fasting, they may naturally restrict calories further, creating a greater energy deficit.

I have seen quite a few clients who are causing negative symptoms by under-eating. Low energy, low food, failure to thrive in the gym, poor sleep, joint aches, stagnant weight. It is amazing how much better one can feel and how quickly one can feel it, when you start to eat appropriately for your needs.

This most likely explaining fasting experience number 1.

When I first tried fasting I wasn’t where I am now, both nutritionally and with my health. I mentioned the mouth ulcers and being run down. I also wasn’t tracking macro’s. I thought I was eating healthy but to be honest, I don’t really think I was. Of course I was eating healthy foods, but I didn’t have my balance right. So I had probably been putting my body under some stress doing high intensity CrossFit and not eating optimally, not to mention this was when I still lived in London, my lifestyle was very different, stress was high and sleep was low.

When I did the yoga retreat fasting, yes, I had been under a lot of stress finishing my Masters Thesis, BUT I had been eating well (tracking macro’s and calories), training well (not too much high intensity) and sleeping well (because I was eating well). This probably gave me the resilience to cope much better with the MSc. stress and not come out the other end a train wreck. It also meant my body, in the nice relaxed environment of the yoga retreat, didn’t even really notice that it was doing intermittent fasting.


Well, I am now trialling something similar to fasting. What I am doing is reducing meal frequency to eat just two meals a day. By default this means I am doing IF.

I track my calories and macro’s most of the time. I have written about it a few times (here and here and here and hereso I won’t go into much detail. But in summary, I know how many calories I need per day. I know how to adjust this when I change my training program. I basically know what my body needs for what I ask it to do.

This means that all I have to do is divide this into 2, eat one half at about 8:30 after I workout in the morning and the other half about 5pm or whatever fits in socially.

I have to be honest and say that I have only just started. So I will probably give another blog update.

So far, so good. Yes if you under-eat you will be hungry and miserable. But if you know what your body needs and you give it what it needs, there is no reason to feel hungry or miserable.

I guess the next question is, why?



One of the reasons that intermittent fasting became popular was because every time we eat a meal we produce insulin. Insulin is the hormone that controls blood sugar and excessive insulin production is associated with insulin resistance, weight gain and metabolic syndrome.

If you watched my metabolic flexibility video series you will understand that fasting challenges the body to tap into stored fuel (fat) and become more efficient at burning fat as energy. This can produce a whole host of metabolic benefits and is very beneficial in terms of managing the immune system and controlling disease.

If you haven't already watch this YouTube Video to understand metabolic flexibility better

If you haven’t already watch this YouTube Video to understand metabolic flexibility better


Additionally, every time we eat we potentially produce what is called a post-prandial inflammatory response. If you are eating 3 times a day and several snacks, or if you follow a body building mentality of eating 6 or 8 meals a day, or every 2-3 hours. This means that essentially you are in a permanent inflammatory state all day. Research is now suggesting that this inflammatory state is linked with metabolic disease.

It is important to note here that something people will consume coffee with cream or coconut oil as part of their fast. Because this is a high fat food it is perceived to be low insulin and then still classified as fasting. Although insulin may be low, it is still possible that large amounts of fat, especially saturated fats, can trigger post-postprandial inflammation.

If you watched my video series on biorythyms you will understand that the immune system should be active at night where it does its “clean up”. Continuous eating throughout the day could be keeping the immune system active, then night time activities keeps the immune system active, which can lead to a permanently active immune system.

We also understand that insulin resistance, diabetes, elevated cholesterol, central weight gain and other metabolic problems are inflammatory in nature, which means that the underlying cause is immune. Fasting not only may increase metabolic flexibility but help to support conditions associated with the immune system and  inflammation.

Finally, recent research has also suggested that fasting may create adaptive responses which suppress inflammation, having a beneficial effect within the brain, preserving cognitive impairment.

I just want to be clear that coping with health issues is not as simple as just doing one thing. It is very easy to fall into the trap of thinking one thing is “the answer” to everything.

It’s not.

There are probably several things that one should be doing to optimise health. I also believe that each person is different and we have to tailor our approach for each person. Some things I would recommend getting right which I have blogged about previously are:


Some people will get on with fasting some won’t.

To be honest, I always thought I could never do it. I feel like I need to eat a lot all the time and I couldn’t imagine going without food. Since having the light bulb moment that I can still eat the same amount of food, just less meals, it has clicked a bit for me. It has also helped me to realise that my “need to eat” was more of a bad habit than a real need.

Will I do it forever, probably not. Its new at the moment so it is taking more thought and planning.

On the flip side I have some clients who seem to do well on it. I have a client who has a family history of Diabetes on both sides. He prefers to exercise fasted and isn’t that interested in food. We have been working together for almost two months and it has been REALLY tough getting any weight to shift mostly likely due to his metabolic predispositions. He definitely goes down as one of my most “stubborn” clients (in terms of progress) but he has been fantastic in staying persistent and trying different things and not going off the rails and getting frustrated with slow progress.

Recently we tried a “metabolic stress” approach. The idea being to create a massive amount of metabolic stress one day a week. Similar to the way you would maybe train hard for 4 to 6 weeks and then do a deload, just slightly condensed.

We create metabolic stress by training in a fasted state and also inducing calorie restriction by only consuming 1 meal of 500 calories.

I know I have already suggested to maintain adequate calorie intake, but this would be an acute practise, not a daily practise. Similar to the way that we do not do one rep maxes every week but only occasionally.

I tried this with this specific client because I knew that he would cope well. This would not be the case for every client. Interestingly, when I spoke to him about a week later, it had caused a good shift in body weight that he was looking for and we went back to his regular training and nutrition routine the following day.

5 2 diet


The 5:2 diet is a dietary approach where 2 days of the week you eat 500 calories and the rest of the week you eat “normally”. In light of the above, I do feel that this approach can actually work well. The problem is, that many will do the 500 calories on 2 days and then use it as an excuse to eat whatever they want on the other days.

The other piece of the puzzle is meal frequency. You want to make sure you only have 1 meal of 500 calories and do not graze over low calorie foods all day.

My advice would be, at first learn to eat well for what YOUR body needs. When this comes consistently maybe start with 1 day a week on 500 calories and then try a second.

It is important to listen to your body. If it starts to feel restrictive or stressful, especially if there are many other things going on in your life, maybe it isn’t the right time. It is probably also not a good time to try this approach is you are struggling with any fertility issues.


So how am I conducting this experiment at the moment?

[please bear in mind this approach is specific to me, not a generalised plan]

Depending on the day and my activity levels I eat around 150g protein, 150g carbs and 85g of fats. Sometimes I will eat more carbs and less fats if I’ve trained hard (legs) or done more than one activity that day (swimming or kayaking in addition to weights). This is 1965 calories.

6:00am: wake up and have a coffee

7:00am: Train

8:30/9:00am Eat about 900-1000 calories with approximately half my macros

5:00pm Eat the rest of my calories and macros

That’s it!

[I may have a third meal on a day when I train twice, but this doesn’t happen often]

I’m sure some people will ask how I manage to eat so much in one meal. I know that my clients often complain when I get them to eat this much across several meals. I therefore wouldn’t recommend increasing your calories and trying this at the same time. Maybe make sure you can hit your calories and macros consistently first. I must admit I don’t find it that hard although I am having some 0% Greek yoghurt or protein powder to help with the protein.


So the final part of this is mostly anecdotal, but, needs to be said in case it is something that can help you. Let’s just say that I have been having some problems with my digestion over the past month.

I recently had a test done with Cyrex to see if my occasional gluten consumption was to blame. The tests came back normal.

I have a good diet.

I eat my fermented foods every day.

I couldn’t think of what else I could do to improve but each day without fail I was suffering from stomach pains and loose stools [I’m a nutritionist so I can talk about these things 😉 ]

After 1 day of the 2 day meal frequency everything went back to normal and it has stayed that way since. I cannot put it down to anything in specifically but all I can say is I am happy to feel functioning as normal again.


  • The research behind fasting suggests it can be beneficial for rebalancing metabolic health and the immune system, reducing inflammation and neuro-degeneration
  • Animal studies suggest a negative impact on fertility but this was with calorie restriction
  • Adequate calorie consumption with reduced meal frequency may have a similar benefit
  • Understand your diet first before you add fasting
  • Having cream, butter or coconut butter during periods of “fasting” can still trigger postprandial inflammation
  • If its a big jump, start by cutting out snacks first (while maintaining calories)
  • If stress is an issue you may want to deal with adrenal health first and foremost
  • Reducing meal frequency may benefit digestion
  • Generating large amounts of metabolic stress occasionally, not daily, may also have health benefits for those who are less committed to a regular fasting regime

A perspective on fasting (1)