February 25, 2012

The Tastes of ADF

"Fasting is the single greatest natural healing therapy. It is nature's ancient, universal 'remedy' for many problems. Animals instictively fast when ill."  Elson Haas, M.D. in Staying Healthy with Nutrition

Today happens to be my 10th day of ADF (alternate day fasting.) If you haven't read my last 2 posts, I'll explain quickly that I limit my intake to water and black coffee on  Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. On the other 4 days I can eat as desired but I am trying to lose weight as well as optimize my blood glucose/pressure so my "feed" days so far have included only whole real foods.

On my fast day yesterday I was high energy so I did many chores and errands. At one point I went to Safeway with my son and grandson and I'm happy to report being surrounded by food didn't stress me at all because I knew I could eat until happily full today. Tomorrow is Sunday and it will be the first time I have eaten 2 days in a row since I started ADF because at first I followed a true 2-day cycle pattern. After the first weekend I decided it would be simpler and easier to follow ADF if my fasting days were always the same days each week.
Yogurt and Fruit (archive photo)
So, this was my 5th "feed" day and I ate 2 meals. Actually, I ate exactly the same meals/amounts as when I ate daily. I broke my fast by sipping 2 mugs of coffee with heavy cream and honey. My breakfast at about 9 am was a banana, a handful of berries, some cinnamon and about 1/2 cup of home-made Bulgarian yogurt. Now, you may think you've had some great meals but let me just say when you haven't eaten in about 42 hours yogurt and fruit taste GREAT.

I was not feeling urgent hunger so I spent the day visiting with my son and then my friends and I didn't have my main meal until about 6 pm. I forgot to eat a grapefruit, my usual appetizer, but since I had fruit this morning no biggie. I started my meal with a 4-5 cup leafy salad; the only dense ingredient was a few stuffed olives. I usually find when I finish a salad that there is some liquid--oil, vinegar and water--left in the dish. Usually I just pour that liquid down the drain but today it became the "magic ingredient" for my main dish (pictured below.)

I slow-fried (setting 4 out of 10 on my induction cooktop) a pound of grassfed ground beef.  I removed the cooked beef from the skillet and melted a chunk of Kerrygold butter--between 1 and 2 tbsp. I had rough-chopped about 1/3 of a fresh fennel bulb and had cut a bunch of asparagus into 1-inch pieces; I added those to the skillet and slow-fried them in the melted butter.
Ground beef, asparagus and fennel

To finish my main dish I mixed the vegetables into the crumbled beef AND poured my leftover salad liquid into the dish. I put half of it into the fridge for tomorrow or Tuesday and ate the other half. WOW! The mixture of flavors really worked. In some bites the dominant flavor was fennel and in others there was a hint of the salad liquid. Still others were pure beef or asparagus. I'm glad I have half of this dish left over and I will definitely use my salad liquids in my main dishes on a regular basis.

On the health front, which is why I decided to practice ADF for a couple months in the first place, I am truly amazed at the difference the first 10 days have made. Until the recent family-related stresses affected my blood glucose/pressure I had considered my overall health much improved after 9 months of quality nutrition, but honestly I have never felt THIS good in my life. Not as a child or teen or young adult or middle-ager. This morning I "sensed" every part of my body and could not identify one single complaint. If I had to decide right now I would definitely choose to stay on ADF permanently, although I still intend to shift to 2 fasting days per week in April.

UPDATE: For day 2 of my eating weekend, I sauteed some cauliflower in butter then poured the leftover dish from yesterday on top and covered the pan to re-heat the leftovers. I barely managed to take the photos below before attacking the food:
Today's Leafy Salad
Beef, asparagus and fennel with cauliflower added
Note: With the addition of cauliflower this was again a large batch of food so I ate half and  refrigerated the other half for my grandson tonight or my meal on Tuesday. Since I was eating less meat (divided again) I also ate a can of sardines, which went very well with the other flavors.


  1. Hey Nance,
    I noticed you were MIA on the paleohacks world and came over here to check up on you. Hope the AF is still working - I find the idea intriguing, actually - and hope your stress levels are okay. You're absolutely right to take care of yourself first and foremost. Have you tried meditation? Stephan Guyenet has a great post on it that I have bookmarked:

    Best wishes to you and keep up your good health.
    Gydle (aka Mary)

    1. Hey, Gydle! I enjoy our interactions both here and on PH. I am blessed/cursed with a hyper-revved brain. I can think and function when all around me have heads lolling. I'm not so good at turning my rational processes off. I've had best success by deliberately day-dreaming about fanciful notions and letting all thought slip gradually away if it wishes. Sometimes it does. I particularly do well when I wake up during the night; I don't fight either wakefulness or thinking; I just ponder idly whatever dream I was just having and pretty soon I slide back into sleep. Oddly enough,I am really good at restful sleeping. So many older women have difficulty getting good quality sleep and I'm world-class. Go figure!