Dear Margit, thank you for taking the time to talk to us. Perhaps you could introduce yourself briefly so that our readers know who you are and what you do.
I have been fascinated by healthy food ever since I was a child. As a 5-year-old, I loved to chop up a fruit salad with my friend and eat it with relish. Then at school I learnt in maths lessons, yes you heard/read that right, it was my maths teacher, how important organic farming is for nature and how to bake your own bread. So I studied nutritional sciences and further realised that there is much more to learn about nutrition and psyche. Training as a TCM nutritionist, academic kinesiologist, metabolic type counsellor, NLP trainer, hypnosis, fasting trainer and certified gut counsellor followed. The last 3 years I wrote three books together with Nathalie Karré and P.A. 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 bestsellers, I am very grateful about that.
We are currently in the middle of Lent, what do you think about fasting? Do you use fasting yourself?
“Fasting is actually one of the most powerful medicines available to us,” says the gerontologist and cell biologist Valter Longo. That’s how I see it too, and for 4 years I have been practising Intermittent Fasting 16:8, my rhythm is 8 am to 4 pm to eat pleasurably and healthily and to fast after 4 pm, and that does me extreme good.
Together with your colleagues P.A. Straubinger and Nathalie Karré you have already written 3 bestselling 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, the (short-term) fasting, because through this fasting process we start autophagy. This process is one of the most effective ways to keep the body young and healthy. The constantly accumulating “cellular waste” is regularly disposed of or recycled by the body’s own “rubbish disposal” through autophagy, otherwise disease and premature ageing occur. Meanwhile, studies in humans show that extensive autophagy phases prevent infectious diseases and Alzheimer’s and even the growth of tumours can be reduced by fasting.
In the book, I also explain the individual metabolic types, how important it is to eat according to type during mealtimes, so you don’t get hunger pangs and the yo-yo effect doesn’t happen. And as the third important part we explain how important daily meditation is, studies show that this activates the telomerase enzyme, the “fountain of youth” enzyme, which is able to protect the genetic material and thus counteract the ageing process.
Who is the book particularly suitable for?
For everyone who wants to do something good for their health, psyche and body.
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 gut microbiome. Do you see a link between healthy ageing and gut health?
Yes absolutely, in the practice book we have a separate chapter dedicated to this topic. Fasting for 16 hours also increases the process of autophagy in the gut. This supports the diversity of gut bacteria. “Bad” gut bacteria are decimated and a functioning intestinal wall can be restored. And that influences our health.
What other factors do you think influence ageing?
Especially sugar, we write quite a lot about this in the first book. Sugar is a drug and has a similar effect to cocaine in that it docks with the dopamine receptors in the brain and produces a brief feeling of happiness. Unfortunately, in both cases, you then need more and more to feel good. Therefore, get away from it! There are some tips and techniques in the practical book on this. In the Fountain of Youth Kitchen book we describe how dangerous the ageing toxins additives, such as nitrates, phosphates, preservatives, etc. are, many of which damage our DNA and also our gut microbiome!
You often talk about different metabolic types, could you go into more detail?
Every person is unique, comparable to their fingerprint, so 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, for example, needs more fat and protein at every meal and fewer carbohydrates in order to feel full, satisfied and concentrated. The carbohydrate type, on the other hand, feels better if he eats very little fat; in addition, complex carbohydrates and the right amount of protein make him healthy. The mixed type needs the macro-nutrients in a balanced proportion. There is a lot of interesting information and tests in our books. I test the metabolic type of my clients in my practice and they have the best success with the corresponding recommendations.
What is your personal diet? Can you describe a typical nutrition day for you?
I start at 8 o’clock in the morning, I have egg dish with avocado and salmon, or I make myself an oat porridge with apple, lots of nuts and seeds and lots of coconut puree, and drink tea and coffee with it. For late lunch, around 2pm, I either have salmon with vegetables and olive oil, or spiced tempeh (cauliflower with pumpkin or tomatoes and tempeh, red cabbage and spinach) or venison stew with root vegetables. And for dessert, chia pudding (apple sauce, 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 the latest at 15:30 I stop eating and only drink water or tea. That way I’m full until the next day. But of course this only applies to the protein type, the other types need different foods. You can find the delicious type-specific recipes in our Jungbrunnen-Küche 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 gut is 80% responsible for our immune system and we should treat our healthy gut microbiome like our closest dearest friends. With the myBioma microbiome analysis, I also identify the metabolic type and how I can restore a healthy gut microbiome with the right diet, fibre and pre- and probiotics.
Was ist dein persönlicher Tipp für ein gutes Bauchgefühl?
I recommend writing a 14-day food log, i.e. what you drink and eat at what time throughout the day, how you feel immediately after eating and also 3 hours later, i.e. how is your concentration, are you full or already hungry again, how is your digestion, are you in a good mood, etc.? In this way, you draw attention to your body and learn to have a good gut feeling over time. I also give my clients the task of bringing a 14-day food log to the counselling session and they are then amazed at how much they have learned about themselves.
Thank you Margit for the exciting interview. If our readers would like to learn more about you, where can they contact you?
Via my website www.margitfensl.at by email email@example.com or just give me a call 06645442821.