Find Your Perfect Makeup Shade

Find Your Perfect Makeup Shade

Ever tried natural makeup?

The worst part of finding ANY makeup is finding the right shade.  The worst part of natural makeup is probably a tie between finding the right shade and finding something that doesn’t come off with the slightest amount of sweat or touching. 

But I don’t worry about any of that anymore, because I’ve got my fav brand of makeup now.

Using natural minerals and all clean, organic, paleo ingredients, AnneMarie Skincare has come up with several gorgeous shades of makeup that are perfect for all skin types. 

The mineral foundations come as powders to be mixed with a special facial oil that smells OMG amazing.

You customize the shade and oil amount so that the coverage is right for you!

With oily skin, you can use just the powders alone or use the oil/powder combo and then do a bit of powder on top.  With dry skin, the oil mixed with the powder makes a liquid foundation that feels GREAT on skin and doesn’t look cakey and dry like so many mineral foundations.

But the question still remains.  How do you find your perfect shade?

Natural makeup is definitely an investment and AnneMarie’s makeup line is SO WORTH IT.

But to make sure you absolutely LOVE it, they’ve put together a wonderful sample kit so you can find the optimal shade for your skin. 

With the mineral multi-purpose foundation sample kit, you get sample bottles of each of the mineral foundation shades.  These shades can all be mixed and customized as well.

You can find the best match for you or even combine two different shades to make the right one for you.

You can even use these foundations as bronzers/contouring powders.

Now you can be fully confident that you have beautiful looking skin that isn’t being inundated with nasty chemicals, parabins, toxins, and other yucky stuff. 

The best part is that the sample kit comes with an awesome $10 coupon for you to use on your full size product once you find the right shade!

Ready to try AnneMarie’s wonderful foundations?  Get your sample kit here.

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Paleo Hair Care at its Best:  The 5 Elements Series

Paleo Hair Care at its Best: The 5 Elements Series

Taking care of my beautiful hair is one of the great pleasures of my life.

But I’ll be honest, conventional shampoo has been my crutch for a long time.  

Dang it, I don’t like oily hair and I’ve never been able to go the requisite 4-8 weeks with it in order to “adjust”. 

So when paleo haircare companies offer to let me try their healthy new shampoos and conditioners, I always hesitate.

Do I want to subject myself to another 5 weeks of oily hair and scalp buildup?

But each time I’m intrigued.  Maybe someone has finally got it right.  Maybe I should give it a go.

Chemicals, toxins, carcinogens, parabins, allergens and whatever else in our typical shampoos and conditioners make me absolutely cringe. 

So when I was approached by Morocco Method to give their hair care products a try, I decided to do it.

Their whole line is so intriguing.  They pride themselves on truly gentle, non-toxic, non-allergenic and safe for everyone hair and body products—children included. Totally natural and holistic for maximum hair and scalp health.

They use ingredients common to Ayurveda, Homeopathy and Chinese Herbology in their 5 elements series (find it here), which is one of the things I tried.  Everything is plant, mineral, and herb based and works to put your scalp into optimal health.  

Here’s how it works:  you order all shampoos from the 5 elements series and begin using them as you would typically use your shampoo.  You wash the scalp once with the shampoo, rinse, and then wash again.  The first time is to remove scalp buildup, the second time is to help the holistic healing properties really absorb into the scalp.

Morrocco Method recommends rotating the shampoos- at minimum rotating at least 2 shampoos at all times to prevent scalp resistance.  However, it’s best to try all the shampoos first so you can see which work better for your particular scalp.

I tried the earth essence first which provides a rich mixture of essential oils, French clays and botanical proteins and promotes fuller, thicker hair.  Because, who doesn’t want some va-va VOOM??

What I liked about this one was that it gave my hair some texture and had a really great earthy scent, which I’m totally into.  My only criticism was that I didn’t feel like my hair was really CLEAN, but again, I’m transitioning from scalp stripping shampoo so…

Next I tried the fire essence, an apple cider vinegar based shampoo which increases blood flow to the scalp and flushes out debris, oil buildup and unhealthy bacteria.

I’m a HUGE fan of apple cider vinegar on the scalp and I knew I’d love this one.  I was right.  If my hair didn’t feel super clean before, it definitely felt clean after this one.  I felt like I was adjusting much better to the “no-poo” thing than I ever had before.

I subsequently rotated through the following shampoos.  I tried air, which has pine shale in it to gently nourish the scalp, remove dandruff and itchiness and counteract thinning and hair loss.  Then I tried sea essense, which contains all kinds of lovely sea things like algae, spirulina, kelp and marine proteins to nourish hair and scalp and correct dryness.  AND OMG LOVE. 

Ether had natural botanicals, herbs and marine proteins to dynamically energize hair and scalp.  Plus is has a super awesome name.  I loved the smell of this one also.

Then, of course, there were the conditioners:  Pearl Essence, Chi Instant, and Diamond Crystal Mist.  Really liked them, but my favorite was the Pearl Essence.

After several days of rotating the shampoos, my hair was still adjusting to the non-strippage of my scalp but I was REALLY impressed.  I’ll be continuing to try this for the forseeable future and feel absolutely comfortable recommending this to my no-poo friends as a wonderful alternative to your typical water/applecider vinegar routine. 

I hope you give this a try!  MY recommendation would be to get the travel size kit first so you can test all the different elements and see which rotation works best for you.

Find all of Morrocco Method’s amazing products and more of their mission, goals, and vision on their website here.  

How do you do the no shampoo thing?  Have you tried it?  Do you hate it?  Love it?  I want to hear from you!

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

3 Fabulous Fitness Products

3 Fabulous Fitness Products

I’ll admit, fitness is not something I’m great at.

Besides dancing, my ideal life includes a lot of laying down and eating mangoes.

BUT.  Fitness is super important.  My friend Noelle is really the expert on all that jazz and if you’re just getting started, I recommend checking her website here

I’ve recently had the chance to try a couple of new fitness products that I really liked.

Super helpful and motivating, these help make working out more convenient and efficient. Check them out!

#1 Go Pockets

Okay, so this is one of the best idea EVER.  

What is the deal with women’s workout attire and not having properly sized pockets??

Like I’m going to take my key off of my full key chain or leave my phone at home as I traipse around the city?

Smart phones and credit cards are real and we need to carry them comfortably, but women’s workout pants usually seem more designed to cling as tightly to one’s butt as possible, no room for pockets.

It’s just not practical.

But now there’s Go Pocket.  They use a strong adhesive to adhere temporarily to your workout clothes, giving you a perfect pocket to place things in. 

They don’t last forever so you aren’t stuck with them, and the adhesive won’t ruin your clothes.  They are also easily removed when you don’t want them anymore or want to try a different color.

They are also washable and lasts through several wash cycles.

They can hold your phone, keys, cards, anything you need for your workout.  

They come in black and all kinds of fun colors and patterns, changed every season!

This is a brand new product so give it some love and try it with free shipping here.

#2 This Fitness Tracker

Okay, so you probably have one of these already.  It seems like everyone does.

But if you don’t, you need to hop on this train!

The Fitbit Alta HR is the best fitness tracker I’ve used.  

It’s a bit pricier than other brands but it is definitely worth it.  Heart rate monitoring, step counting, food tracking, and lots of fun calculations to see where your fitness is at.

It also tracks sleep (which is just as important as fitness!) and I love that it can help me identify if I’m not sleeping as well.  That way I know to kick back a little if I’m overdoing it.  

Plus, since so many people have it, you can always find friends to motivate and inspire you to hit those step goalz.

And you have to love the fact that you can change the band.  

I mean, looking good is life so… (I love these bands to match it all here

And if you have prime you can have one in 2 days!

So just take the leap and do it!  Find them here

#3 These am-ah-zing glass bottles

After working out, strenuous cardio or weight lifting exercise, recovery is important.  A good carb with a high quality protein is important.

Usually I do this by making myself a protein shake with some fruit, or sometimes I’ll take a branch chain amino acids drink as well. 

I get sick of constantly mixing my shakes in the same bottle, washing it out, and remixing it again.

Instead, I bought this set of 6 glass bottles (no BPA, yay!) and I just make my protein shakes up in advance.

I leave them in the fridge or freezer until I need them and voila!

Find the set here. 

What are your favorite fitness products??

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

The Best Paleo Makeup for Dry Skin

The Best Paleo Makeup for Dry Skin

Recently, I was offered the chance to try a new skincare and makeup line featuring all-natural, clean ingredients and nothing more.

I get offered these things from time to time and enjoy trying them because I’m always looking for something that can appeal to myself and the women I write for and that won’t make conditions like hormonal acne or dry skin worse.  As I get older I’m also looking at products that can help prevent signs of aging.

I know many of my readers want the same.

I’ve tried lots of products and some of them are really great!  But I hadn’t yet found a whole line that I really felt met all my needs.

Until now!

Annemarie makeup and skincare use organic, truly natural ingredients to make gorgeous mineral makeup, facial oils, moisturizers, and cleansers.

What I love about this skincare and makeup line is the versatility.  Dry skin products are often so oily that skin looks shiny long after application or they don’t quite have the moisture you’re looking for.

With natural makeup, coverage is also an issue.

The coverage of the mineral foundations from Annemarie can be changed based on how much of the powder and oil you use.  Not only that, but a fine dusting of powder and you are shine free, no extra product needed.

The makeup lasted me all day and I’m a face toucher for sure! I was really impressed with how long it lasted and I felt like it beat other natural makeups I’ve tried that tend to wear off or melt down on a hot day.  The ability to customize the thickness and oil content was a huge plus here too.

The anti-aging oils are packed with nutrients for skin and moisturize and protect at once.  They also smell AMAZING.

Like lavender and happiness.  Seriously.

Everything is formulated with health in mind, so those with hormonal acne have nothing to fear.

Remember, with hormonal acne, oil on the skin is not the problem.  The problem is primarily internal and has much more to do with what you are eating than what you are putting on your skin.

Skin dryness is a similar issue, so make sure that in conjunction with great skincare/makeup products like these you are also using enough Omega 3 oils (find them here) and eating a diet that eliminates dairy/gluten and focuses on gut and liver recovery. 

For those of you with sensitive skin, I tried these myself and have what I’d consider sensitive skin and they felt just fine.

The cleansing wash did a good job removing makeup and making me feel fresh, and the toner was a nice touch as well.

All in all, I was genuinely impressed with these products. I think you will be too.

Annmarie Skin Care has put together a trial package where you can try any of 3 special sample kits that include some of their best-selling products. You can choose a sample kit based on your skin type — normal, oily, or dry.

These kits are $10 each AND when you order one (or more) you’ll receive a $10.00 off coupon that you can use for a future purchase. Annmarie Skin Care is also offering FREE SHIPPING for these kits – anywhere in the world.

Also, when you get a sample kit today, you’ll get their newly updated Toxic Free Home Guide. This is an in-depth, beautifully laid out guide that exposes the worst and most common chemicals you can find throughout your house — in cleaning products, toiletries, even your couch — and shows you safe alternatives to use.

Their comprehensive, easy-to-read Toxic Free Home Guide is full of tips for creating a beautifully natural home, with lots of product recommendations and DIY recipes for everything from deodorant to drain cleaning solution.

If you order a sample kit today, you’ll get this guide — free — which is a $24.95 value.

Finally, as an extra added bonus, if you’re one of the first 100 orders, Annmarie Skin Care will send a travel-size Neroli Toning Mist — a $7.95 value — to you for free. If you’re one of the first to buy, this bonus gift will not show up on your online receipt but will be included in your order.

So for $10, you can try this award-winning skin care line AND get your own digital copy of Annmarie Skin Care’s newly updated Toxic Free Home Guide. You’ll also receive their travel-size Neroli Toning Mist as a gift if you’re one of the first 100 to place an order.

Get Your Sample Kit and Bonuses Here

And come back and let us know what you think after you try the products!  I want to hear your feedback ALWAYS 🙂 🙂

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Shattering the Myth of Fasting for Women: A Review of Female-Specific Responses to Fasting in the Literature

Shattering the Myth of Fasting for Women: A Review of Female-Specific Responses to Fasting in the Literature

 

One of the more esoteric but much beloved tools in the paleo dieter’s tool-kit is intermittent fasting.

What is intermittent fasting? I.F. is the practice of maintaining overall caloric intake while consuming those calories in fewer meals or in reduced time windows throughout the day. The goal is to create conditions of fasting in the body, but not for extreme lengths of time.

Some examples of intermittent fast strategies include 10, 8, or 5 hour eating windows throughout the day, or perhaps eating just two meals each day: one in the morning, and one at night. The evolutionary premise — the argument that proponents of intermittent fasting make — is that humans evolved to optimize their health under less-than-optimal conditions. Intermittent fasting, they say, is a natural and perhaps even necessary part of being human. 

The modern-day scientific correlate appears promising, too:

Most people are nowadays aware that a calorie-restricted diet has the ability not just to decrease body weight but also to lengthen a human life.  Emerging research is beginning to show, however, that intermittent fasting is just as effective as calorie restriction in ensuring these health benefits! Amazingly enough, this happens without any of the psychological crippling side effects of cravings and food obsession that practictioners of calorie-restriction often experience.

Intermittent fasting, proponents say, also may benefit the fight against cancer, diabetes, and autoimmunity. Here is an excellent, up-to-date review of the “benefits” of fasting. It is wholly understandable that fasting is all the rage these days.

Sort of.

Intermittent fasting women is a specific interest of mine because of what I have witnessed both in myself and in working with literally thousands of women in the PfW community.

Many women report to me (read more about that in this awesome book) that intermittent fasting causes sleeplessness, anxiety, and irregular periods, among many other symptoms hormone imbalance, such as cystic acne.

Intermittent fasting women

I have also personally experienced metabolic distress as a result of fasting, which is evidenced by my interest in hypocretin neurons. Hypocretin neurons have the ability to incite energetic wakefulness, and to prevent a person from falling asleep, in reaction to the body detecting a “starved” state. Hypocretin neurons are one way in which intermittent fasting may dysregulate a woman’s normal hormonal function.

After my own bad experience with IF, I decided to investigate intermittent fasting. I looked into both a) the fasting literature that paleo fasting advocates refer to, and b) the literature that exists out in the metabolic and reproductive research archives.

Intermittent Fasting Women: Problems in the Paleosphere

What I found is that the research articles cited by Mark’s Daily Apple (and others),  focus on health benefits such as cancer-fighting properties, insulin sensitivity, and immune function.

However. I was struck by what seemed like an egregious sex-based oversight in that MDA post I linked to above.  MDA cites this article as a “great overview” of the health benefits of intermittent fasting. This startled me because the article MDA cited was for me one of the strongest proponents of sex-specific differences in response to fasting.

Sex differences were relevant in two striking areas:

1) women in studies covered by the review did not experience increased insulin sensitivity with IF regimes and

2) intermittent fasting women actually experienced a decrease in glucose tolerance. 

These two phenomena mean that women’s metabolisms suffered from IF. The men’s metabolisms on the other hand improved with IF across the board.  Recall that the review was reported by MDA as “a great overview of benefits [of IF].”

Secondly, in another fasting post at MDA, of which there are many, the health benefits of fasting are listed and reviewed, but the sex-specific aspects of the hormonal response go unmentioned, and reproduction/fertility/menstrual health isn’t mentioned at all.

This is not to say that Mark is not attentive to who should and who should not be fasting.  He knows very well and cautions people against the dangers of fasting while stressed. Still, the mere fact of being more sensitive to fasting simply by being a woman is, I would assert, pretty important for a woman who is contemplating or already practicing IF.

This goes nearly unmentioned in the blogosphere.

Intermittent Fasting Women: Problems in the Literature

Beyond reporting biases in the blogosphere, there remains an even greater problem of a significant testing bias in the fasting literature. Searching “men” + “intermittent fasting” in a Harvard article database yields 71 peer-reviewed articles. Searching “intermittent fasting women” yields 13, none of which are a) solely about women b) controlled studies or c) about more than body weight or cardiovascular benefits.

The animal studies are more equitable, but also a bit less applicable to human studies.

 It is well-known in both the research and the nutritional communities that caloric restriction is horrible for female reproductive health. This is not news. There is an infertility condition – called hypothalamic amenorrhea – that millions of women suffer from due to being overly restrictive. But what of fasting?

Intermittent Fasting Women: Should we Fast?

The few studies that exist point towards no.

It is not definitive, since the literature is so sparse, and it necessarily differs for women who are overweight versus normal weight (and who have different genetic makeups), but when it comes to hormones, women of reproductive age may do well to err on the side of caution with fasting.

What follows first is a brief review of what can be gleaned in sex-specific responses to fasting in animal studies. Afterwards I talk about what has been concluded by the few relevant human studies.

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Mice & Rats

First up is a study that demonstrates the hippocampal  changes of calorie restriction and intermittent fasting for both male and female rats.  In this study, they do alternate day fasting, which entails free eating on one day and a fast day on the next.

The study found that brain states while fasting were different for male and female rats.  For male rats the change in hippocampus size, hippocampal gene expression, and ambulatory behavior was the same no matter what kind of restricted diet they were on – but for female rats, the degree of change in brain chemistry and in behavior was directly proportional to degree of calorie intake, demonstrating the unique sensitivity of female rats to the starvation response.

” The organization of the females’ response to the energy restricted diets is suggestive of some underlying mechanism that may allow for an organized, pre-programmed, response to enhance survival in times of food scarcity. Comparatively, the males’ genetic response was less specific, suggesting that the males respond to a general stressor but they seem to lack the ability to discriminate between a high energy and low energy stressor.”

Moreover, “IF down-regulated many gene pathways in males including those involved in protein degradation and apoptosis, but up-regulated many gene pathways in females including those involved in cellular energy metabolism (glycolysis, gluconeogenesis, pentose phosphate pathway, electron transport and PGC1-α), cell cycle regulation and protein deacetylation.”  In this study, both male and female rats gained small amounts of weight on IF diets.

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For female rats, even in the most innocuous form of restriction–intermittent fasting–significant physiological changes take place.  Male rats do not experience as dramatic hippocampal and general brain chemistry change as female rats do, and their behaviors, specifically their cognition and their dirunal and nocturnal activity, do not change.  

Female rats, on the other hand, “masculinize.”  They stop ovulating and menstruating.  They become hyper-alert, have better memories, and are more energetic during the periods in which they are supposed to be sleep.  Theoretically, according to these researchers, this is an adaptive response to starvation.  The more the female rats need calories– or at least the more their bodies detect a “starvation” state– the more they develop traits that will help them find food.  They get smart, they get energetic, they get active, and they stop sleeping.

In a follow-up study conducted by the same researchers who explored the masculinzation of female rats, the researchers analyzed the gonadal transcription of male and female rats subjected to IF regimes.

This study found that male reproductivity up-regulates in response to metabolic stress. Female reproductivity down-regulates.  

Completely opposite to the female rats becoming infertile while fasting, male rats become more fertile. In the researchers’ own words: “our data show that at the level of gonadal gene responses, the male rats on the IF regime adapt to their environment in a manner that is expected to increase the probability of eventual fertilization of females that the males predict are likely to be sub-fertile due to their perception of a food deficient environment.”

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In the final relevant IF rat study I could find, researchers subjected rats to the same diets– to 20 and 40 percent Calorie-Restricted (CR) diets, as well as to alternate-day fasting diets, and monitored them over the long term for hormonal responses.  The results were striking.  Below is the abstract in full because it’s so powerful:

Females and males typically play different roles in survival of the species and would be expected to respond differently to food scarcity or excess. To elucidate the physiological basis of sex differences in responses to energy intake, we maintained groups of male and female rats for 6 months on diets with usual, reduced [20% and 40% caloric restriction (CR), and intermittent fasting (IF)], or elevated (high-fat/high-glucose) energy levels and measured multiple physiological variables related to reproduction, energy metabolism, and behavior.

In response to 40% CR, females became emaciated, ceased cycling, underwent endocrine masculinization, exhibited a heightened stress response, increased their spontaneous activity, improved their learning and memory, and maintained elevated levels of circulating brain-derived neurotrophic factor. In contrast, males on 40% CR maintained a higher body weight than the 40% CR females and did not change their activity levels as significantly as the 40% CR females. Additionally, there was no significant change in the cognitive ability of the males on the 40% CR diet.

Males and females exhibited similar responses of circulating lipids (cholesterols/triglycerides) and energy-regulating hormones (insulin, leptin, adiponectin, ghrelin) to energy restriction, with the changes being quantitatively greater in males. The high-fat/high-glucose diet had no significant effects on most variables measured but adversely affected the reproductive cycle in females. Heightened cognition and motor activity, combined with reproductive shutdown, in females may maximize the probability of their survival during periods of energy scarcity and may be an evolutionary basis for the vulnerability of women to anorexia nervosa.

They also found this:

The weight of the adrenal gland was similar in rats on all diets; however, when normalized to body weight CR and IF diets caused a relative increase in adrenal size, the magnitude of which was greater in females, compared with males. 

And this:

The testicular weight was unaffected by any of the diets. In contrast, both CR diets and the IF diet caused a decrease in the size of the ovaries.

And this, bearing in mind that “daytime” for nocturnal rats is “nighttime” for humans:

The daytime activity of females was doubled in response to IF, whereas the IF diet did not affect the activity level of males. Nighttime activity levels of males and females were unaffected by dietary energy restriction.

And this:

 Uterine activity was monitored daily with vaginal smear tests; cyclicity was scored as regular, irregular, or absent. The mild energy-restriction diets (20% CR and IF) significantly increased the proportion of animals displaying irregular cycling patterns, whereas the 40% CR animals displayed an almost complete loss of estrous cyclicity.

And this:

 In males, corticosterone levels were elevated only in response to the 40% CR diet, whereas in females corticosterone levels were significantly elevated in response to all three energy-restriction diets, suggesting a relative hyperactivation in females of the adrenal stress response to reduced energy availability.

For lipids, all the rats did well: “Collectively, these data suggest that atherogenic profiles of both males and females are improved by dietary energy restriction.”  Interestingly, too, as they pointed out in the abstract, human females also perform cognitively much “better” (memory and alertness) on CR and IF diets than on normal feeding schedules.

There are of course some caveats to this study: A) They are rats.  B) They are somewhat “metabolically morbid” rats, which may make them more susceptible to disease.  C) The rats were allowed to eat ad libitum on the IF days, but they simply did not meet their caloric requirements this way.  So while it is a somewhat natural form of IF, it is still calorically reduced, such that that must be taken into account when gasping in horror at the hormonal responses of IF-ing female rats.

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The Few Human Studies

I mentioned above that through the same review that MDA used as a “great overview” of IF benefits for all sexes, I found harmful metabolic effects for women subjected to alternate-day fasting regimes.

This is the study:

Heilbronn et al found that with IF, insulin sensitivity improved in men (21 participants) but not in women (20 participants): after three weeks of alternate day fasting, insulin response to a test meal was reduced in men. Women experienced no significant change. “It is interesting that this effect on insulin sensitivity occurred only in male subjects,” they report.

With respect to other health markers female health actually declined, specifically with respect to glucose tolerance:

“Another diabetes risk factor that has shown a sex-specific effect is glucose tolerance. After 3 weeks of ADF, women but not men had an increase in the area under the glucose curve. This unfavorable effect on glucose tolerance in women, accompanied by an apparent lack of an effect on insulin sensitivity, suggests that short-term ADF may be more beneficial in men than in women in reducing type 2 diabetes risk. ”  The opening line of their discussion reads: “Alternate day fasting may adversely affect glucose tolerance in nonobese women but not in nonobese men.”

In a follow up study,  Heibron et. al studied the effects of alternate-day fasting on cardiovascular risk.  When human subjects fasted on alternate days for another three week period, circulating concentrations of HDL cholesterol increased, whereas triacylglycerol concentrations decreased.  This is a good thing.  However, the shifts in lipid concentrations were shown to be sex specific: ie, only the women had an increase in HDL-cholesterol concentrations, and only the men had a decrease in triacylglycerol concentrations.

The most recent review of IF agrees with my conclusion: sex-specific differences in metabolism exist and need to be studied further.

This study of alternate day fasting included 12 women and 4 men.   In eight weeks, body weight decreased by about 10 pounds, and body fat percentage decreased from 45 to 42.  Blood pressure decreased, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and traicylglycerol decreased.  These people were significantly obese, which limits the results of this study to an obese population.  However, “perimenopausal women were excluded from the study, and postmenopausal women (absence of menses for >2 y) were required to maintain their current hormone replacement therapy regimen for the duration of the study.”  (Their words, my emphasis)

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The one, big study of intermittent fasting conducted on men and women looked at differences between isocaloric feeding schedules: 3 meals/day feeding versus 1 meal/day.

The study focused on body weight composition, blood pressure, and body temperature in subjects.  Subjects were fed isocalorically either one meal each day or three meals each day.  All subjects were between 40 and 50 years old (excluding women of reproductive age), and between BMIs of 18 and 25.  They ate, so far as I can tell, a healthy diet with 35 percent fat, PUFA < MUFA < SFA.   Only 15 of the original 69 completed the study (which goes to show just how fun everyone thought fasting was).  As for the results,

“Systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly lowered by ≈6% during the period when subjects were consuming 3 meals/d than when they were consuming 1 meal/d.  No significant differences in heart rate and body temperature were observed between the 2 diet regimens.    Hunger was enormously larger in the one meal/day than in the three meals/day group.  “The 1 meal/d diet was significantly higher for hunger (P = 0.003), desire to eat (P = 0.004), and prospective consumption (P = 0.006) than was the 3 meals/d diet. Feelings of fullness were significantly (P = 0.001) lower in the 1 meal/d than in the 3 meals/diet.”   Body weight dropped only four pounds after several months.  Cortisol dropped, but  Total, LDL, and HDL cholesterol were 11.7%, 16.8%, and 8.4% higher, respectively, in subjects consuming 1 meal/d than in those consuming 3 meals/d.

In sum: patients on the one meal/day regiment were unhappy, hungry, lost a little bit of weight, increased cholesterol.  This was a small sample, included somewhat menopausal women, and all people of normal body weight.

Intermittent Fasting Women: In Conclusion

All that being said, that’s it. That’s all that exists! Women don’t have much to go on.

There are a few rodent studies. They found that when alternate-day fasting,female rats and found significant negative hormonal changes occurring in the females.

There are even fewer human studies. Human studies on alternate day fasting have not been conducted on women of reproductive age at all, nor have any studies analyzed reproductive responses to fasting.  

Moreover, the few studies that have been conducted on non-obese women have demonstrated that their metabolic responses are not nearly as robust as those of men, and may in fact be antagonistic to their health.

This post has focused on sex-specific responses to fasting, specifically intermittent fasting women. Another important distinction to make is between different body weights. Overweight and obese patients appear to experience significant improvements with IF regimes, but normal weight patients do not show the same across-the-board benefits. For women this may be a particularly sensitive issue. Overweight women may experience metabolic benefits, whereas normal weight women do not. I suspect that that may roughly be the case, but who knows. Honestly, no one at this point.

The practical solution, then, I believe, is to look at options, to be honest about priorities, and to listen to one’s body with awareness and love.

Is fasting worth trying if a woman is overweight and trying to improve her metabolic markers, and so far hasn’t had much success?  Perhaps.  Should it be undertaken if a woman is of normal weight?   What if she is a light sleeper?  What if her periods begin to dysregulate?  Or stop?  What if she starts getting acne, getting a stronger appetite, or losing her appetite altogether?  These things happen, and I see them in women who fast and contact me time and time again.

We women (people!) should be honest with ourselves about our priorities, and act constantly with our mental and physical health foremost in our minds.  All women are different. But the literature is so sparse in this area that we cannot make any real statements or predictions about the effects of fasting, other than that we just don’t know, and that we should continue to emphasize the centrality of awareness, caution, and loving nourishment in moving forward.

intermittent fasting women

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IF is one realm in which the female body has unique characteristics and needs that demand attention. There are boatloads of others. If you’re interested in reading about the collective set of them and learning how to optimize female skin, weight loss, and hormone balance, for a few examples, you could do worse than my best-selling book, Sexy by Nature, here.

 

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And that’s a wrap! What do you think?

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.

Why You Should Take Digestive Enzymes

Why You Should Take Digestive Enzymes

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if all of our guts were so healthy and perfect that we never needed to worry about what we ate?

Ah, dreams.

That’s not the world we live in folks, and I find that many people come to a paleo diet out of concern for their health and because of some issues, often of the gastrointestinal nature.

Probiotics are awesome and work wonders for many people (this is the one I recommend) but they can’t do it all.  

If you’ve had chronic issues with diarrhea or constipation, you may not be absorbing or digesting all the nutrients from your food.

I know many people who have tried elimination diets and can’t figure out what it is they are intolerant to.  I also know many people who just can’t do that, but don’t want to battle terrible gas, bloating, and other distresses all the time.

For these people, i think a good digestive enzyme supplement is helpful.  Healing the gut takes time and is a multi-pronged approach.  

If you’ve had a “weak stomach” for as long as you can remember, chances are you’ve flushed out quite a few of those important enzymes that help you digest food.  Lactase is a big one that gets flushed and it’s what helps us digest dairy.

Diarrhea can build on itself.  It can start from a food trigger like dairy and get worse and worse if the body can’t make enough enzymes to accommodate these foods.

Low stomach acid also makes it hard on the body, especially when it comes to digesting protein and fat.  A good enzyme supplement can help here, but it is important to get real help from a qualified practitioner if you do have low stomach acid, and also to encorporate HCL (like this) into your diet as well.

The proper digestion and absorption of nutrients is no casual issue.  Nutritionists often say  that you aren’t what you eat, you are what you absorb.  That’s an important distinction.

A number of gastrointestinal concerns – damaged gut lining, poor microbiome health, chronic diarrhea for myriad reasons, can all contribute to the flushing of vitally important enzymes that help us break down these foods for absorption.  Without them, food can increasingly irritate the gut lining causing more flushing.

There’s no point in eating a healthy diet if food is not being absorbed.

That’s why, for people with these kinds of gut issues, I recommend a digestive enzyme supplement.  This is the one I like.  It contains enzymes to help break down protein, fat, carbohydrates, fiber, and lactose so it’s a big all-around help with every meal!  Find it here. 

Take it with every meal and I bet you’ll notice a decrease in gas, bloating, and other issues that sometimes occur even when eating a healthy diet!

Let me know how you like them!

 

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So, just as a heads up - some links above may be my affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you click on it and make a purchase. Doing so is no additional cost to you, but helps me tremendously. Your support is SO greatly appreciated, so thank you in advance if you choose to do so. Check out my entire disclosure to know exactly how things work.