The Health Benefits of Fasting

The Health Benefits of Fasting

Some people know that a water or juice fasting retreat is a great opportunity to get away and recharge. But there are many people who have never been on a fasting retreat. Understandably, they have a lot of questions. (For the record, we have never come across anyone who isn’t clear on the concept of an ocean retreat, however!)

“Fasting is a practice that dates back centuries and plays a central role in many cultures and religions,” says  Rachael Link, MS, RD, writing for Healthline. “Defined as the abstinence from all or some foods or drinks for a set period of time, there are many different ways of fasting.”

There are water fasts and cleansing juice fasts. There are fasting retreats and then there is intermittent fasting, which involves refraining from eating for certain hours of the day. Some people fast as part of their spiritual practice, for others it is an essential aspect of their wellness routine – and for some the two seem to combine. 

What Are the Benefits of Fasting?

“Fasting has been shown to have many health benefits, from increased weight loss to better brain function,” Link says. She shared a number of those benefits, each of which is backed by scientific research, with Healthline readers.

Among the benefits of fasting, she says, are: 

  • Improved blood sugar control. “In fact, one study in 10 people with type 2 diabetes showed that short-term intermittent fasting significantly decreased blood sugar levels (1),” she says.
  • Enhanced cardiovascular health. Link says, “One study in 4,629 people associated fasting with a lower risk of coronary artery disease, as well as a significantly lower risk of diabetes, which is a major risk factor for heart disease (11).”

Supports weight loss. Link says there is research that indicates short-term fasting may help to boost your metabolism.

Reset – and Feel Rejuvenated – After a Crazy Year

Reset – and Feel Rejuvenated – After a Crazy Year

As the weather warms up and we say goodbye to winter, thoughts turn to a getaway to the beach – with the freedom of the sun, the sand and the waves. Thoughts also turn to your bathing suit, which likely hasn’t been worn since last summer.

If you put on some weight over the past year, you are not alone. Lots of people have gained weight as a result of the pandemic – between the stress and the gyms being closed, it’s not surprising. 

Even if you have done your best to maintain a healthy routine, you may not have been able to avoid a little weight gain. Don’t beat yourself up about. We are going to repeat that: Do. Not. Beat. Yourself. Up! 

And now that you can get vaccinated, it’s time to start thinking about getting back on track with your wellness journey. 

Time to Hit Reset

The best place to start is by giving your brain a little bit of a workout. Think about what your goals are now as we all look forward to starting a new chapter in our lives.  Do you want to lose weight? Enhance your overall wellness? Just feel good?!

Again, don’t be too hard on yourself. Map out some reasonable goals for yourself given the situation. You may not feel comfortable going back to the gym yet, but there as we have all learned over the past year, there is always another way to get things done. 

Instead of heading to the gym, you can enjoy the great outdoors – whether that means taking your dog to the park or joining us for a cleansing retreat on the ocean. 

This would be a great time to start getting back to your healthy eating habits or to begin a whole new relationship with food. Start small by focusing on eating enough healthy fruits and vegetables or hit reset with a fasting retreat or juice cleanse. 

If we can help you hit reset – and help you feel rejuvenated after a crazy year, please contact us. We would love to help and maybe one of our ocean retreats is just what you need.

Study Indicates Fasting May Benefit IBD Patients

Study Indicates Fasting May Benefit IBD Patients

Whether your goal is to lose weight, take your wellness journey to a new level or get help managing a chronic condition, a fasting retreat may be a great way to start the year. 

“Fasting has been shown to have many health benefits, from increased weight loss to better brain function,” the health experts at Healthline report. “Some studies have found that fasting can help decrease levels of inflammation and help promote better health.” 

If you have been diagnosed with an irritable bowel disease, such as Crohn’s Disease or ulcerative colitis, one of the studies indicating the benefits of fasting will be of particular intertest. 

Fasting Offers Hope for IBD Patients

A recent study published by Elsevier Inc. added to the scientific literature indicating the benefits of fasting. 

Priya Rangan and Inyoung Choi of the Longevity Institute at the School of Gerontology in the University of Southern California’s Department of Biological Sciences are the lead authors on “Fasting-Mimicking Diet Modulates Microbiota and Promotes Intestinal Regeneration to Reduce Inflammatory Bowel Disease Pathology,” which reported that, “Dietary interventions are potentially effective therapies for inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs).”  

The researchers tested the effect of a four-day fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) on a model reflecting the symptoms and pathology associated with IBD. “These FMD cycles reduced intestinal inflammation, increased stem cell number, stimulated protective gut microbiota, and reversed intestinal pathology caused by DSS, whereas water-only fasting increased regenerative and reduced inflammatory markers without reversing pathology,” the report says. 

Balance for Life, which offers a variety of wellness retreats along the sun-drenched coast of Southeast Florida, is one of only two centers in the country that currently provide fully supervised water-only fasting retreats

If you would like information about a fasting retreat that is also a beach getaway, we hope you will contact us. 

Healthy Holiday Eating

Healthy Holiday Eating

You may have a healthy beach vacation in your future, but before you can begin a cleansing retreat or beach getaway, you have to navigate the holidays.

Vision of sugarplums might be dancing in your head but holiday cookies, candies, rich holiday fare and all of your traditional family-favorite treats are likely to be on the table – right in front of you! 

For those who are trying to maintain a healthy diet, the holidays always present a challenge.  

Healthy Holiday Eating Tips

“It’s easy to get swept up in the holiday season,” Patrick J. Skerrett, the former executive editor of Harvard Health says. “This combination of religious and national celebrations can help keep the cold winter away. But the feasts and parties that mark it can tax the arteries and strain the waistline.”

The holiday season will definitely be different this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but some things will remain the same. So be prepared for all those tempting holiday treats. As Skerrett says, “By practicing a bit of defensive eating and cooking, you can come through the holidays without making ‘go on a diet’ one of your New Year’s resolutions.”

Here are some of the holiday eating tips Katherine D. McManus, MS, RD, LDN, a dietician and nutritionist, offered on the Harvard Healthy blog:

  • Don’t head out to celebrate on an empty stomach. “A snack or meal that is high in fiber and contains lean protein is ideal because it can help control your appetite and help you avoid overeating,” McManus says.
  • Use a smaller plate. 
  • Bring something to the party – and make it a healthy option (or at least not totally decadent). 
  • Fruits and veggies are your friends. “Not only do these foods have plenty of vitamins and minerals, but they also contain fiber, which helps keep you full longer and may leave less room for other high-calorie foods.”
  • Watch the liquid calories. Did you know that eggnog has almost 400 calories?! “Alcoholic mixed drinks and punches can easily contain over 200 calories. Opt instead for a glass of sparkling water with a splash of your favorite juice or wine,” she says. 

If you do over-indulge, don’t be too hard on yourself.  We are all entitled to a little joy after making it through 2020. You can get back on track with a cleansing retreat, vegan retreat or oceanfront wellness retreat

Wishing you and yours all the best for the holiday season!

Give the Gift of Wellness

Give the Gift of Wellness

After struggling through a pandemic all year, who wouldn’t want to receive the gift of a beach getaway this year? But not just any beach getaway! Show someone special on your holiday gift list just how much you care by giving the gift of a healthy beach vacation

If you are like most people, you have probably been giving a lot of thought to your health this year. And, if you are like most people, you have probably come to the realization that you can do better. 

Wrap up a healthy ocean retreat for holiday gift-giving!

Every one of Balance for Life’s Florida wellness retreats includes:

  • Accommodations at a luxurious oceanfront property in Deerfield Beach, Florida
  • Three healthy and delicious meals a day
  • Daily activities and exercise classes 
  • Educational health talks
  • Plus time to soak up some sun or explore the local attractions 

You can choose from three different wellness packages:

  • Stress Buster: a 5-day and 4-night oceanside experience
  • Total Reboot Package: 7 days and 6 nights of healthy pleasures 
  • Rejuvenation Package: a transformative 14-day, 13-night ocean retreat

You deserve the gift of health and wellness, too, so take advantage of special double occupancy rates on any and all of our packages. (Besides, wouldn’t your special someone love to have your company?!). 

You and your guest will be staying at Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort, a stylish resort just steps from the beach, where you will enjoy spacious accommodations featuring floor-to-ceiling windows, complimentary Wi-Fi and deluxe bathrooms with rainfall showers. Take a dip in the heated pool, stroll the white sands of Deerfield Beach or explore the famous International Fishing Pier. 

And rest assured that the Wyndham Deerfield Beach Resort and Balance for Life have enacted safety policies to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 according to CDC guidelines. Every guest room is thoroughly cleaned and disinfected after each guest departs. 

For more information about our exclusive oceanfront wellness retreats, contact us.

Traveling Safely to a Florida Retreat

Traveling Safely to a Florida Retreat

As restrictions put in place to protect us all from the spread of Covid-19 begin to ease, you may be thinking of planning that Florida wellness vacation you’ve been dreaming of. 

Whether you are interested in a vegetarian weight loss plan at our Florida beachfront retreat because of the pounds you’ve put on while sheltering-at-home or a fitness retreat, there are ways to protect your health and safety while you travel. 

Flying to Florida 

You may be surprised to learn that the Mayo Clinic says, “Because of how air circulates and is filtered on airplanes, most viruses don’t spread easily on flights.” The challenge with flying is, of course, dealing with crowds. 

We’ve all seen those photos on social media of packed planes. The airline execs have also seen them – as well as our reaction to them. Most major airlines have implemented safety protocols regarding seating on flights and making it mandatory for all passengers and flight crew to wear a face mask. 

If you board a plane and find it is too crowded for your comfort or that adequate safety measures are not being implemented, in most cases, you will be allowed to get off the plane and will be eligible to receive a refund. 

In addition to safety on the airplane, itself, you’ll want to be prepared for other areas where you could potentially encounter crowds or find social distancing hard to maintain, from the long lines going through security to the cramped confines of most concourse convenience stores. 

You’ll be happy to know that the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has responded to the threat of Covid-19 and the concerns of travelers by implementing increased cleaning and disinfecting of the equipment and surfaces you find at screening checkpoints. 

If you are contemplating your first flight since the novel coronavirus swept the globe, you can expect to see new TSA policies in action, including:

  • Face masks and gloves being worn by TSA agents.
  • If a TSA agent needs to pat you down, they will be doing so with a fresh pair of gloves on.
  • Those plastic shields that you’ve gotten used to seeing at the grocery store will also be in evidence at various places, such as where you show your ID, offer your carry-on bags up for examination.

If you have questions about local restrictions that will be in place here in Florida during your wellness vacation, please contact us

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Balance For Life Florida Questions

Submit your question to the Balance For Life Florida team. This includes the following events and programs.

  • Water Fasting
  • Plant-Based Food Program
  • Juice Cleanse Program