Health Power-tool: FASTING
The idea of ‘fasting’ seemed absolutely ludicrous to me when I first came across the idea…
As an athlete, avid gym bro, and utterly brainwashed into all the conventional jargon; skipping meals seemed like the WORST thing you could possibly do when you were trying to be fit, and look good doing it.
I dismissed the idea of fasting for years… and finally came around to it when I finally broke down the walls arrogance (and moreso ignorance) I had built through years of misinformation and poor influences. Realizing everything I knew about optimizing health and performance was skewed, or completely wrong.
After seeing amazing transformations of those who incorporated fasting into their lifestyle, it would have been crazy of me not to at least give it a try. For reason far beyond just losing weight and trying to look good. After adopting intermittent fasting, there has been few other tools as powerful in creating a healthier life.
And I hope you find benefit in this approach too!
First things first:
You can't fast your way out of a bad diet.
Transition to eating a whole foods based diet first: Plenty of veggies, some fruit, nuts, seeds, pasture-raised animal products, wild-caught fish, healthy fats, raw dairy,
Anyone can benefit from fasting. Whether you’re looking to shed a few pounds, improve digestion, help control your blood sugar, curb food cravings, simplify your daily schedule… or all the above! There are stipulations of course, and not everyone should necessarily adopt daily intermittent fasting depending on various factors, but for a period of time, it can be a tremendously powerful health approach.
Instead of thinking about fasting as 'starving yourself,'
think of it as a way to alter your eating patterns to optimize your overall health.
In fact, physiologically we are designed to fast for periods of time. If we couldn't, there wouldn't be a human species.
The vast benefits of fasting have long been known, but have been suppressed in our modern society. Various cultures have utilized fasting for centuries; many times unintentionally as going for periods of time without access to ample food supplies. It hasn’t been until recently that we have access to food everywhere, of any kind, from almost every corner of the planet. Not too long ago, you couldn’t get a banana in January. Not long before that, could you get a banana at all! Not to mention in nearly every religion, fasting is a common spiritual practice.
For good reason! As the benefits span far and wide into every aspect of health: mind, body, and soul.
When you eat, it’s not just your digestive system that has to respond to the food you’re putting in… multiple systems have to synergistically work together to process the food, and the components of the food once broken down. The process starts in your mouth with the production of various enzymes and the subsequent stimulation of the brain to initiate the stomach to prepare for the influx of food. As the stomach is breaking down the proteins and other components of food, the small intestine also begins to initiate special processes to further breakdown and digest the food coming from the stomach. The pancreas begins to secrete various hormones, and the gall bladder releases bile to breakdown and emulsify fats in the intestine.
Nutrients are transported and processed at the gut lining, some shuttled to the liver, others out to other areas of the body. During this time, the body is making other changes and adaptations to the nutrients and energy coming in; requiring nearly all systems of the body to participate. Kidneys, liver, cardiovascular system, lymph system, etc. Your nervous system is directing a lot of energy to control digestive functions, and even your immune system is hard at work protecting your body from potential pathogens. Some studies suggest that as much as 70% of your immune system resides in your gut!
There’s much more that goes into this process, but as you can see, this is a complex process that requires a lot of energy and resources. Overall it will last 3-7 hours after eating.
Just imagine… if you’re constantly taking in food, from 6am to 10pm… that’s a lot of stress on not just your gut, but your entire body.
That’s why fasting can be such a powerful tool.
It gives every system a break; giving your body the chance to HEAL. The immune system can divert energy elsewhere. Quell inflammation. Rebalance hormones. Process and move the contents out of the digestive system. Gotta clean out those pipes!
Improved Metabolic Flexibility
Fasting, ESPECIALLY when coupled with a keto-ish type dietary approach, will catapult your body into a new state of metabolic flexibility. As most of us are depending on sugar as a primary fuel source, it can take some time to adapt to utilizing other fuel sources for energy. Eventually, your body will be primed to convert to utilizing fat stores for energy production; through the oxidation (breakdown) of lipids into ketones.
Improved insulin sensitivity
Insulin sensitivity is an important factor in regulating blood sugar levels, as insulin is the hormone responsible for driving glucose from your blood into your cells. For most, this sensitivity has been dulled over years and years of over-consuming sugars and excess carbs.
By driving down blood sugar and putting less stress on this system, the body has a chance to heal and rebalance.
Improved Immune System Resilience
The research shows that after a couple days of fasting (or by mimicking fasting through oth