With 2017 just hitting, you might feel that you overindulged during the holidays. Consider, to the rescue, intermittent fasting! It just might jumpstart your health while contributing to anti-aging.
A few years back, I started a program of intermittent fasting. I've heard so many good things about it - from my fitness trainer, in documentaries, in the news and on blogs... and the evidence is growing in it's favor. It's a trend, but one based in science. A typical day might be a smoothie at 11:00 and pinto beans with steamed chard and a little watermelon for dinner around 6:30 - about 500 calories. That is it.
Why Fasting is Good for You?
Why would you want to fast, you say? You can't get more sciencey than "Scientific American" and in their words from the rather long, but interesting article, How intermittent fasting might help you live a longer, healthier life, "a large portion of the data supports the idea that limiting food intake reduces the risks of diseases common in old age and lengthens the period of life spent in good health." It gives your body a break from digesting food which is very energy intensive. During this break, your body goes about it's other job of clearing out waste left by dead and damaged cells, a process known as autophagy. A failure of autophagy to keep up with accumulated cellular debris is believed by many scientists to be one of the major causes of the chronic diseases associated with aging.
I saw the BBC documentary, "Eat, Fast and Live Longer," by Michael Mosley, a British doctor who decided to experiment on himself. Watch it free at this link. He looks at the science and experiments on himself to see if it makes a difference. I then picked up his book, "The Fast Diet." It took me a while to jump in and start. Why are we so afraid of missing a meal? Are we dreading those hunger pangs and worry about blood sugar drops? From what I've read, the adjustment is a piece of cake (pardon me). It also frees you up from thinking about what to prepare.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
What exactly is intermittent fasting. Basically, it's a diet that cycles between periods of fasting and non-fasting. There are many different interpretations for accomplishing this goal, but I like the one that's the 5:2 system. That is, on 2 days of the week, you reduce your intake of food to 500 calories for women and 600 for men. It's not even a day without food. You can pick any 2 days of the week, consecutively or spread apart. I chose Monday and Thursday, but the great thing about this is that if you have a dinner engagement or can't complete the calories restriction on one of those days, you can just move it to another day. On your "off" days, you can pretty much eat what you want. Easy as that.
I like keeping a food journal which is sort-of like meal planning. You'll have a record of what you've eaten and your can repeat it as you desire.
Michael Moseley is not a vegetarian and I wouldn't recommend his meal plan, but you can get an idea of what a 500-600 calorie meal looks like and read what intermittent fast did for his blood work and weight loss in his book, "The FastDiet."
Encouraged by Dr. Fuhrman
Dr. Fuhrman has recommended fasting for a long time and I love just about everything he recommends. He advocates longer periods of complete fasting with only water. From his book, "Fasting and Eating for Health," Therapeutic fasting accelerates the healing process and allows the body to recover from serious disease in a dramatically short period of time.
He says, "In my practice I have seen fasting eliminate lupus and arthritis, remove chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema, health the digestive tract in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, and quickly eliminate cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure and angina. In these cases the recoveries were permanent: fasting enabled longtime disease suffers unchain themselves from their multiple toxic dugs and even eliminate the need for surgery, which was recommended to some of them as their only solution."
Live Long and Prosper
If you're like me, you'd probably like to live a long and healthy life without too much restriction.... I think you might find this idea enlightened and one that could bring you success on all fronts. I'm looking forward to a clearer mind, burning more fat, and great blood work!! In addition, intermittent fasting may increase mitochondria in brain neurons that can lead to better learning and memory ability and also, repair oxidative damage to DNA (for more on that, watch the video below).
Watch a video on this topic: WHY FASTING BOLSTERS BRAIN POWER...