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Dear Margit, thank you very much for taking the time for us. Please introduce yourself at the beginning so that our readers know who they are dealing with. Who are you and what are you doing?
I've been fascinated by healthy food since I was a child, so when I was 5 years old I loved chopping up a fruit salad with my girlfriend and eating it with pleasure. At school I learned in math class, yes I heard/read it correctly, it was my math teacher, how important organic farming is for nature and how to bake your own bread. So I studied nutritional science and further realized that there is a lot more to learn about nutrition and psychology. Training as a TCM nutritionist, academic kinesiologist, metabolic type consultant, NLP trainer, hypnosis trainer, fasting trainer and certified intestinal consultant followed. Over the last 3 years I have written three books together with Nathalie Karré and PA Straubinger, “The Fountain of Youth Effect: How 16 Hours of Fasting Changes Your Life,” “The Fountain of Youth Effect: My Practical Book,” and “The Fountain of Youth Kitchen,” all three became a bestseller, and I'm very grateful for that.
We are currently in the middle of Lent, what do you think about fasting? Do you practice fasting yourself?
“Fasting is actually one of the most powerful medications available to us,” says aging researcher and cell biologist Valter Longo. That's how I see it and I've been practicing 16:8 interval fasting for 4 years. My rhythm is to eat enjoyably and healthily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and fast after 4 p.m. and that's extremely good for me.
Together with your colleagues PA Straubinger and Nathalie Karré, you have already written 3 best-selling books. The first book of the bestsellers “The Fountain of Youth Effect – How 16 Hours of Fasting Changes Your Life” sounds promising. What exactly is this book about?
Yes, exactly, I am particularly proud of this book, it was the best-selling book in Austria in 2019 and was awarded the “Golden Book and Platinum Book” badge. This book is about intermittent fasting, (short-term) fasting, because this fasting process starts autophagy. This process is one of the most effective ways to keep the body young and healthy. The “cellular waste” that is constantly accumulating is regularly disposed of or recycled by the body’s own “garbage disposal system” through autophagy, otherwise disease and premature aging arise. Studies in humans now show that extensive autophagy phases prevent infectious diseases and Alzheimer's and even the growth of tumors can be reduced by fasting.
In the book I also explain the individual metabolic types and how important it is to eat according to your type at mealtime, so you don't feel hungry and the yo-yo effect doesn't occur. And as a third important part, we explain how important daily meditation is. Studies show that it activates the telomerase enzyme, the “fountain of youth” enzyme, which is able to protect the genetic material and thus counteract the aging process.
Who is the book particularly suitable for?
For anyone who wants to do good for their health, psyche and body.
Interval can support the diversity of intestinal bacteria.
Recent studies suggest that the gut microbiome may play a key role in age-related inflammation. The fountain of youth effect also focuses on the health of the intestinal microbiome. Do you see a connection between healthy aging and gut health?
Yes, definitely, we have dedicated a separate chapter to this topic in the practical book. Fasting for 16 hours stimulates the autophagy process in the intestines. This supports the diversity of intestinal bacteria. “Bad” intestinal bacteria are decimated and a functioning intestinal wall can be restored. And that affects our health.
What other factors do you think influence aging?
Especially sugar, we write a lot about it in the first book. Sugar is a drug and has a similar effect to cocaine in that it binds to the dopamine receptors in the brain and creates a brief feeling of happiness. Unfortunately, in both cases you need more and more to feel good. So get away from it! There are some tips and techniques in the practical book. In the Fountain of Youth Kitchen book we describe how dangerous aging toxins additives such as nitrates, phosphates, preservatives, and much more are. are, many of which damage our DNA and also our intestinal microbiome!
You often talk about different metabolic types, could you elaborate on that?
Every person is unique, comparable to their fingerprint, and their metabolism is also individual. The metabolic types come from the USA, also called metabolic typing, scientists found the connection that there are different metabolisms, these processes in the body are individually influenced by carbohydrates, protein and fat. The protein type needs more fat and protein and fewer carbohydrates at every meal in order to feel full, satisfied and concentrated. The carbohydrate type, on the other hand, does better if they eat very little fat, and complex carbohydrates and the right amount of protein make them healthy. The mixed type needs the macro-nutrients in a balanced ratio. There is a lot of interesting information and tests in our books. I test my clients' metabolism type in my practice and they have the best success with the corresponding recommendations.
How do you personally eat? Can you describe a typical nutritional day for us?
I start at 8 a.m. I have an egg dish with avocado and salmon, or I make myself an oat porridge with apple, lots of nuts and seeds and lots of coconut butter, and drink tea and coffee with it. For late lunch, around 2 p.m., I eat either salmon with vegetables and olive oil, or the spiced tempeh (cauliflower with pumpkin or tomatoes and tempeh, red cabbage and spinach) or a venison ragout with root vegetables. And for dessert the chia pudding (applesauce, chia, coconut milk, cream). I also take polyphenol-rich omega-3 oil every day. Then I treat myself to 85% dark chocolate and eat an apple and nuts with it and then at 3:30 p.m. at the latest I stop eating and only drink water or tea. So I'm full until the next day. But of course this only applies to the protein type, the other types need different dishes, the delicious recipes suitable for the type can be found in our fountain of youth kitchen book.
In your work as a nutritionist, you work with the myBioma microbiome analysis. Why do you think the gut microbiome is so important?
The intestine is 80% responsible for our immune system and we should treat our healthy intestinal microbiome like our closest, dearest friends. With the myBioma microbiome analysis I also recognize the metabolism type and how I can restore a healthy intestinal microbiome with the right diet, fiber as well as pre- and probiotics.
What is your personal tip for a good gut feeling?
I recommend writing a 14-day nutrition log, i.e. what you drink and eat throughout the day, at what time, how you feel immediately after eating and also 3 hours later, i.e. how is your concentration, are you full or hungry again , how is your digestion, are you in a good mood, etc. With this you draw attention to your body and over time you learn to have a good gut feeling. I also ask my clients to bring a 14-day nutritional protocol with them to the consultation and are then amazed at how much they have learned about themselves.
Nutritionist & bestselling author Margit Fensl
Thank you, dear Margit, for the exciting interview. If our readers would like to find out more about you, where can they best reach you?
This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical information or instructions. The recipes are intended for inspiration and are not intended as therapeutic measures. If you have any health problems, we recommend that you contact a doctor or other expert immediately.