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For intermittent fasters, 4 protein-rich meals can help you stay full and energized on the go

For intermittent fasters, 4 protein-rich meals can help you stay full and energized on the go
  • An engineer who enjoys intermittent fasting says he clumps 3 meals together when he's traveling.

  • He likes to load up on plenty of protein and some salad greens.

  • Eating early in-flight, then fasting later on, may help with jet lag — but it isn't for everyone.

Dean Ho wasn't always a fasting fiend.

"It all started with simply taking sugar out of my coffee in the morning," the biomedical engineer told Business Insider. From there, he said, things escalated. "Sugar out of the coffee. Sugar and milk out of the coffee. Now it's only black coffee. Now I'm only eating lunch and dinner. Hey, what happens if I push lunch a little later? Shorten the window."

Soon, he was regularly fasting for around 20 hours most days. And loving it.

Today, the head of the biomedical engineering department at the National University of Singapore partners with doctors and longevity experts developing new ways to prescribe "digital medicine," and more personalized and effective treatments for issues including cancer and tuberculosis.

In his off hours, he likes to do hundreds of pushups, and share photos of his fasting rituals and #maximumbeachreadiness (MBR) habits on social media. He'll answer questions about his journey with anyone who asks.

"Fasting is a way of life for me," he said. "Paired with fairly intense strength-focused fitness."

As a precision medicine expert, Ho knows fasting isn't right for everyone, and he is careful to keep assessing his own routine to make sure it's working for him.

His diet is generally a mix of green salads and protein-rich foods, including meat, eggs, nuts, and seeds that he believes are longevity-boosting healthy nourishment for his active routines.

As a California native living overseas, Ho is often flying back and forth across the Pacific Ocean, on some of the longest long-haul flights in the world. It's a routine that has pushed him to develop efficient ways to fast on a busy schedule, packing in tons of nutrients, including protein and fiber, on the fly.

Why he started fasting for longevity

dean ho showing off his CGM
Ho isn't diabetic, but he likes to track his blood sugar levels with a continuous glucose monitor. It's a controversial strategy many biohackers use to inform what they eat.Dean Ho

To be clear, restricted eating is not safe or advisable for everyone. Pregnant people, kids, and teens should not try this eating strategy, because it can hamper normal human growth and development. An intense focus on limiting eating to a certain number of calories or certain hours of the day can also lead to disordered eating if not done correctly, and it can make conditions like anorexia or bulimia worse. (If you or someone you know experiences disordered eating, there are free resources available to help support you, including several toll-free hotlines.)

Fasting and time-restricted eating can be safe if done correctly. Whether it's worth it is another question — one that's being hotly debated by nutritionists and longevity scientists around the world.

While research in animals suggests that intermittent fasting can potentially extend lifespan, research on people so far has been murkier . In fact, some studies suggest there may be some serious downsides to fasting, including the potential for more muscle loss, kidney issues, and gallstones.

Ho and other experts believe fasting may not be good for everyone — and may even be bad for them at some points in life, but not others. "Precision medicine," built around this idea, is a booming industry.

"Our notion is people are different from each other, but they're different from themselves over time," Ho said. "Some people — medically speaking — shouldn't fast. Some people shouldn't fast because it will drive them towards unhealthier behaviors in other areas."

Ho feels certain that fasting works for him.

He insists that he has "never counted calories," and he takes care to eat enough nutrients within his eating window.

"Fasting was not a way for me to lose weight. I have lost weight, but I've also gotten stronger."

Ho said he has been amazed by what his body has been able to accomplish in the gym since he started fasting. A straightforward metric he uses to track his success is his pushup capacity.

"Today I broke a record," he said. "Took me less than 38 minutes to do 1,000."

3 high-protein meals Ho recommends for fasting on the go

salad - beef sliders
Ho's airport lounge fare.Dean Ho

Ho, a Los Angeles native, is no stranger to some of the very longest long-haul flights in the world. When he travels from Singapore back home to the US, he likes to load up on greens and protein before he boards the plane.

Here are some recent meals that worked for him:

  1. Wagyu beef sliders with an undressed salad

On a recent visit to an airport lounge, Ho ate five wagyu beef sliders, paired with a green, undressed salad. There's probably about 180g of protein packed into that meat. It's likely enough to preserve Ho's musculature and keep him satiated for quite a while on his journey.

While Blue Zoners and anti-aging fiends would approve of the protein content in Ho's breakfast, they might opt for beans or lentils instead of red meat, since they're better foods for longevity.

  1. 15-egg white omelet

If Ho travels earlier in the day, he likes to enjoy a big egg white omelet at the airport, another protein-bumping strategy.

scrambled eggs fill the plate
This is how Ho prepares eggs at home. When he travels, he loads up on egg whites, instead of whole eggs. Dean Ho

"15 egg whites, in the end, is actually not that much, it goes on half the plate," he said.

That's a whopping 53 grams of protein — roughly 50% of the daily protein intake recommendation for a 150-pound person who's looking to bulk up.

  1. High-fat salad

    salad with nuts, avocado, salt
    One of Ho's favorite salads includes greens, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, and avocado, adding plenty of healthy fats into his meal.Dean Ho

The green salads Ho enjoys when he travels are also a great way to get some vitamins and fiber into his meal to help keep things … moving along in flight.

At home, he often incorporates more healthy fats into his salads, like olive oil, nuts, and pumpkin seeds — a smart move that can help increase the body's absorption of fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, and E.

  1. Chia seed pudding

If he's interested in dessert, he often reaches for chia seeds, packed with plenty of satisfying fiber that helps him feel full until his next meal, many hours away.

chia seeds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, cocoa, almond milk
At home, one of Ho's staple desserts is chia seeds mixed with nuts, other seeds, and some almond milk.Dean Ho

Once he's on board the plane, Ho requests both of his in-flight meals together, during the first meal service. Then he fasts for the rest of the ride.

It's possible his early eating strategy may help with jet lag. Recent research suggests that having a big breakfast aligned with your new time zone, then lighter meals later on in the day, may help reset your circadian clock faster.

"That gets me into my routine once I get to wherever I'm going, so I can kind of reprogram my schedule," he said. "I don't know if it helps with my jet lag, but it certainly doesn't hurt it."

Read the original article on Business Insider