Is Intermittent Fasting right for you?
Are you looking to tone up and drop a few pounds?
Do you need an easy way to lower your average calorie intake?
Not a fan of calorie counting?
If that’s the case then vegan intermittent fasting (IF) may be right for you.
Table of Contents
What is intermittent fasting?
In short, intermittent fasting is skipping meals.
There are many ways to do it. You can clump all your meals together in an eight hour window then fast for 16 hours.
You can fast every other day.
You can take off eating one or 2 days a week.
In a few sections we’ll explain each of these in more detail.
What’s vegan intermittent fasting?
Use the table of contents above to quickly jump to any section of interest.
How does intermittent fasting help you burn fat?
IF helps you burn fat in two ways:
- IF lowers your average weekly calorie count
- Longer periods of IF put you in ketosis
Have you tried keto diets and found them laborious and difficult?
Did you know that after 16 hours of fasting you’ve consumed most of your body’s stored sugars?
After that your body burns more and more fat until you are fully in ketosis and living off your fat storage.
For me, keto diets never worked. I could never pull out of the keto flu.
IF was much easier. I knew it had a deadline. There would be some hunger for a bit.
But then it would be over.
And after my IF was done I’d be down ⅓ of a pound up to a full pound of fat lost.
All while just sitting around watching TV!
Of course, walking and lifting during IF have their place too. You’ll burn even more! And your only fuel source during that time will be body fat.
In the next section we’ll talk about the different methods of doing IF so you can choose the right one for you.
For each method we’ll talk about how they burn fat, how much you go into ketosis, and which are easiest.
Types of Intermittent Fasting
The 16:8 method stands for 16 hours of fasting and 8 hours of eating. It’s a consistent, daily form of fasting where you squeeze all your eating into an 8 hour window.
Popularized originally by Martin Berkhan of Leangains.com, this method has been studied more recently by Dr. Satchidananda Panda of the Salk Institute under the name, time-restricted feeding.
This method of eating somewhat resembles pre-1970s eating – a few meals a day, longer sleeping hours, and less snacking.
Benefits of 16:8
- Weight Loss of 2.6% of body weight in 12 weeks without calorie counting (1)
- Reduced blood pressure (1)
- Lowers LDL cholesterol in some individuals (2) but not in others (3). For those that lost weight, their cholesterol improved but those that didn’t lose weight didn’t see a difference in cholesterol
- Blood sugar was reduced (2), (4), (5)
The 5:2 method stands for five days of normal eating and two days of fasting.
On fasting days you eat 500 calories. You can eat those 500 all in one meal or spread out over the day.
We covered the the 5:2 diet in depth in our other article. Click the article link below to read more about 5:2.
Eat Stop Eat Method
The Eat Stop Eat Method was made popular by Brad Pilon of bradpilon.com or eatstopeat.com.
The method involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week.
During the fast, unlike Alternate Day fasting or 5:2, you take in no calories.
Fasts in this method last 24 hours though you end up eating every day.
For example, if you planned to fast Monday this is what you would do.
On Sunday eat as normal through dinner. From dinner on Sunday through dinner on Monday you eat nothing.
Then on Monday you eat a normal sized dinner.
In short you just skipped breakfast and lunch on Monday.
Personally I was not able to see great results with this method. Instead I pushed the 24 hour fast into 36 hours.
That’s when it started working for me.
We’ll cover the details of that in another article but in short it goes like this:
- Eat normal on Sunday
- Skip all eating on Monday
- Eat normal again on Tuesday
Alternate Day Fasting Method
Alternate Day Fasting involves fasting every other day. Like 5:2, fasting days allow eating 500 calories.
This method was invented by and studied extensively by Krista Varady. She’s also team up with Dr. Panda on several studies relating to fasting.
You can read more about ADF in the results section below or from Dr. Varady’s video below.
The potato diet is a gray area of fasting. Technically you are eating potatoes during the fast.
Still, it’s included because I love it! I’ve done it many times.
It’s great for days when you are too hungry to fast but want to keep up a habit of regular fasting.
Like intermittent fasting, you will burn fat on a potato fast.
The idea behind it is you only eat plain potatoes.
No oil, no ketchup. Just a little salt and pepper.
You’ll truly learn the meaning of hunger. Even though you can eat unlimited potatoes, the plainness of it will stop you from eating naturally well below your daily calorie limit.
Think of it as a shortcut to getting the results of fasting without the hunger.
Read our complete coverage of the Potato diet here –
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
IF comes with a bunch of benefits. Here are the top 5 in no particular order.
- Difficulty with moderation – IF helps you cut calories if you find it hard to consistently keep to a schedule or a diet. IF allows for flexible eating so you don’t have to stick to low carb, keto, or any number of diet types.
- Less decisions – With IF you make less food decisions. When fasting there’s no choice about what to eat – you don’t eat anything! That helps you save energy for other tasks.
- Less meal prep – With IF you’ll notice you’ll be preparing a lot less meals. Even if you’re a big meal plan fan like me, you’ll find you end up going through a lot less of your meal preps. Plus you eat out less which saves you money.
- Autophagy – When done long enough intermittent fasting helps you get into autophagy. That’s just a fancy name for your body cleaning itself out. Autophagy literally means to eat the self. During this phase your body is consuming damaged proteins, pre-cancerous cells, and other damaged parts of your body. This is one of the big benefits for many who fast – it’s the ultimate detox.
- Fast entry into ketosis – Longer fasts of 24 to 48 hours have been shown to move the body into ketosis (1). This is one of the easiest ways to get into ketosis since it doesn’t involve keeping long term to a restrictive diet.
Vegan Intermittent Fasting Results
In this section we’ll cover results from a few vegan fasters.
This is a review of what’s possible. Use it like a menu. I’ve summarized their methods as bullet points.
See what results they got and what the cost was.
- Eats 2000 calories a day
- Uses 16:8 method of fasting
- Lost a few pounds – created toned look; less puffy and bloated
- More energy – gets more done
- Better mood
- Clearer, younger skin
- Read her story here.
Victoria and Adam of Vegan with Appetites
- Uses 16:8 method of fasting
- Both Victoria and Adam shed excess fat (amount not defined)
- Faster recovery times post-workout
- Increased energy
- Less brain fog
- Adam ran greater distances with less leg cramping
- Better eating – The hunger due to the 16 hour fast helps them eat healthier foods. Everything tastes better after a fast.
- Secret to handling hanger – coffee in the morning, tea in the afternoon
- Read their story here.
We’ve included more results stories in the youtube section below.
How much weight can I lose using intermittent fasting?
The answer to this question and the following sections can be found in the video below.
Vegan Intermittent Fasting Youtube Videos – Results
1 Month followup – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFwYqV6M27A
2 meals a day – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o1E27yPoS4I
Lost 30 lbs – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WtJKmEVxKfc
16:8, sometimes 20:4 – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QpzmzQetZSE
Vegan Intermittent Fasting Reddit Threads
Intermittent Fasting – https://www.reddit.com/r/intermittentfasting/comments/5zrekw/vegan_questions/
Who Shouldn’t Try Intermittent Fasting
- Eating disorders
- Diabetic (without doctor’s guidance)
- Pregnant or breastfeeding
- The Hangry
Vegan Intermittent Fasting Bodybuilding
Vegan Liftz – https://veganliftz.com/vegan-bodybuilding-meal-plan/
Simon Hill (uses 16:8) – https://www.bodybuilding.com/content/plant-power-3-athletes-who-are-owning-the-vegan-lifestyle.html
How to Do it – Plant Based Intermittent Fasting Meal Plans
What to eat on a Vegan Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan
See the example meal plans below for suggestions on what to eat. Each meal plan comes with a link to the recipes.
Meal plans are designed to use just a few recipes over and over. That way meal prep is easy and prep time is low.
Vegan Blank Printable Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan PDF
Vegan 16 8 Meal Plan
Download the Vegan 16 8 Meal Plan
Vegan Intermittent Fasting 20/4
Download the Vegan Intermittent Fasting 20/4
Vegan Intermittent Fasting for Bodybuilders Meal Plan (Bulking Phase)
Vegan Intermittent Fasting for Bodybuilders Meal Plan (Cutting Phase)
Frequently Asked Questions about Vegan Intermittent Fasting
Can Vegans Intermittent Fast?
Absolutely! In fact, you can expect to lose weight even faster and keep more off if you combine both approaches.
This study, based off the Adventist Health 2 study, found that vegans had lower average BMIs than vegetarians which were in turn lower than meat eaters. (2)
How do I avoid getting hangry while fasting?
Here’s the top ways to avoid hanger while fasting:
- Stay busy – fast during times where you are sleeping, traveling, or busy with work
- Fast while sleeping – you can’t be hangry if you are asleep!
- Drink black coffee, tea, or diet sodas
- Push through meal times – If you skip breakfast you’re highest chance of hanger will be during your normal breakfast time. Stay busy and know that this will pass in an hour or two. Hunger comes in waves
Can you workout while fasting?
Definitely. During a fasted state you’ll be fat burning mode. Workout out during this time will only consume more fat.
Keep in mind if you workout after 16 hours of fasting it may be harder to do long endurance workouts. You won’t have the quick energy of carbs but you’ll have plenty of fat to burn.
Also, if you have diabetes or other health conditions you should consult your doctor first before working out while fasted.
Is under 50 calories still fasting?
How many calories break a fast?
See answer and article above. Any amount of calories will stop autophagy. A few calories won’t stop fat burning.
Can you drink water or coffee while fasting?
Yes! This is the best way to get through hanger, beyond staying busy. Drink more fluids!
Is intermittent fasting okay for athletes?
Absolutely. You’ll want to balance the type of fasting you choose with the type of sport you practice. It’s too much to cover in this small question so see this article for the full story from No Meat Athlete – Intermittent Fasting for the Vegan Athlete: Is It Right for You?
What fast food has vegan options?
Great question! Having go to restaurants to help when you’re in the field is key to veganism success.
Vegan Fast Food options:
- Qdoba – Now offers the impossible burger option
- Taco bell – skip the meats, cheeses, creamy sauces, and sour cream and just about everything else is vegan. TB is the go to for vegan fast food – it’s everywhere, super cheap, and has lots of options.
- Burger King – skip the cheese on the veggie burger and you’re good to go. They also now have the impossible whopper.
- McDonald’s fruit and maple oatmeal – Nothing else though. McDonald’s sucks for vegans.
- Subway – veggie delites and the veggie patty
- White Castle veggie slider – good luck finding a White Castle though!
- Carl’s Jr Veggie Star Burger
- Domino’s Pizza thin crust no cheese veggie pizza
- Starbucks sprouted grain bagel
- Del Taco – avocado taco
How do vegans get Keto?
To maintain ketosis you’ll need to keep your carbs to less than 50 grams per day (3).
Any vegan designed diet that maintains this low of carbs will be tough but can be done.
See Dr. Mona Vand explain what she eats to maintain vegan keto here:
Are vegans in ketosis?
No. Just about any amount of carbs will pull you out of real ketosis and most plant foods come with some carbs.
How can I lose weight fast as a vegan?
Just stick with it! Vegans on average maintain lower BMIs that usual (2).
If you want to get aggressive combine both 16:8 fasting with a few 36 hour or 24 hour fasts each week.
See our example meal plans above to help you with this. You can download them for free.
Will being vegan help me lose weight?
Not necessarily. Again, on average most vegans have lower BMIs than vegetarians or meat eaters (2); however, it’s easy to gain weight on a vegan diet. Just eat out vegan for each meal!
If you want to lose weight you’ll need a vegan meal plan. See our examples in the section above.
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- Longo VD, Panda S. Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan.
- Nico S. Rizzo, PhD, Karen Jaceldo-Siegl, DrPH, Joan Sabate, MD, DrPH, Gary E. Fraser, PhD. Nutrient Profiles of Vegetarian and Nonvegetarian Dietary Patterns
- A Paoli,A Rubini, J S Volek, and K A Grimaldi. Beyond weight loss: a review of the therapeutic uses of very-low-carbohydrate (ketogenic) diets