This post isn't about my products, it is my holiday gift to you!
Are you trying to help your body heal itself and it seems like no matter how many changes you make, some old patterns just hang on? Let me share something that has been very powerful in my life, that does not involve food. In fact, it is about not eating. Even if you eat a 100% clean diet, your body needs--craves--a break from food once in a while.
I really like to eat. And I believe in feeding the body plenty of nourishing foods. But sometimes, I voluntarily go without food. I let myself be hungry. Why would anyone who has access to food not eat it?
Because, when you go for periods of not eating, or fasting, it triggers your body to heal itself. And after all I've been through, I need some healing in my life.
Benefits of Fasting
Let me share what I have personally experienced from periodic fasting over the past 8 months. Fasting has:
-healed my gut so I can eat high quality bread after being gluten intolerant for years
-healed a torn ligament in my wrist that had been bothering me for years
-healed a misalignment in my lower back without having to go to a chiropractor
-cleared fogginess in my head that I hadn't even realized was there
-made it easy to maintain a healthy weight
-made it easier to get through a case of covid
-made it so I could eat grassfed beef and raw milk when they were actually bothering me
-helped me feel good even when spending all day in the car (which used to kill me)
Other benefits of fasting are: it reverses type II diabetes and restores insulin sensitivity (diabetes is insulin resistance), it prevents or improves dementia, it is super anti-inflammatory, fasting causes cellular autophagy (stimulates your body to break down damaged cells and use the components to build new, healthy cells), it stimulates stem cell production, it increases Human Growth Hormone production, it reduces chronic disease, fasting improves your energy, it balances hormones, and it helps the body fight cancer.
Those are a lot of big claims to make--it seems too good to be true. How can not eating be so good for you? When you eat all the time, your body is constantly using its energy and resources to break down food. An enormous amount of energy goes into digestion. When you give yourself a break from that work, your body has a chance to get to all the other things it's been meaning to do. And it allows your blood sugar to come down which is crucial for insulin sensitivity.
I like to think of it like this: When I'm fasting, I don't have to take the time to make meals, eat, or do the dishes. That gives me time to clean the bathroom or dust some shelves. It's the same within your body on the cellular level. Fasting allows "housekeeping" to happen.
You CAN Do It!
You are probably thinking, "that sounds great, but I get hangry when I don't eat!!" Yes, your body will throw a tantrum when it is used to eating all the time and then suddenly you stop. But it doesn't take long for it to learn to smoothly switch from burning sugars to burning fat that it has stored for just such an occasion. Once your body learns that it can burn fat, the transition to fasting becomes almost imperceptible.
A trick that I have learned to dispell that brain fog and tight feeling that I used to get from fasting is to drink sugar-free electrolytes.
Many people love the idea of fasting, but they worry that they can't go that long without coffee. While I do not drink coffee and I encourage anyone to quit, don't let that keep you from fasting. Plenty of people drink coffee during a fast. Just don't add sugar to it.
There are many ways to fast at levels that are accessible to anyone--don't think you have to go 40 days without food to reap these benefits. I don't think that I will ever attempt a 40 day fast! Three broad categories of fasting are: restricting your eating to a certain window every day, day-long fasts, and multiple-day fasts. I'm kind of an over achiever doing all three. You would get a lot of benefit by only doing one type. There are also other ways to fast, but these are what I have personal experience with and so I will limit my comments to these.
If all you can do is restrict your eating every day to a 9 to 12 hour window, rather than nibbling on food all day and night, you will do yourself a great deal of good. This will prevent or reduce insulin resistance and give your gut a nice break every day. I used to eat first thing in the morning and I would frequently snack before bed. I actually felt my body asking me to stop doing that. Now that I eat in a tighter window, my body doesn't want to go back. I wait to eat until after chores in the morning and don't eat after dinner. That gives me a 15 hour break between dinner and breakfast the next day.
Once a week I do a day-long fast. Some people do day-long fasts once a month, which is also really good. This can be as simple as stopping eating after dinner and resuming eating with dinner the next day. It could be a dry fast where you also don't drink water during the time between dinners both days (they say that dry fasting for one day is the equivalent of water fasting for 3 days). Or it might be an entire day of not eating, and breaking the fast with breakfast the following day.
Every few months I do a longer fast. 3 to 5 days of fasting will give your body a chance to do a really deep, powerful healing where autophagy kicks into high gear. Most of the benefits I listed above that I have experienced were during extended fasts. Before you attempt a longer fast, it's a good idea to get used to shorter fasts. Longer fasts are beneficial for cancer patients because while your body is cruising along in intense healing mode, the cancer cells are starving for the sugar they need, so it gives the body a chance to get ahead of the cancer.
Resources You Should Check Out
Making the change to a fasting lifestyle brings a lot of questions that are beyond the scope of this blog post. I encourage anyone with serious health problems to talk to your doctor about it, particularly if you take insulin or have cancer. It might be good to find a doctor who specializes in natural healing. Pregnant or nursing women probably shouldn't fast.
There are two books that I highly recommend to guide you through fasting. One is called The Fasting Transformation by Dr. Jockers, which is a great book for men. Because fasting can affect a woman's cycle (with potential for that to be very positive or very negative), I recommend that women read Fast Like a Girl by Dr Mindy Pelz. Mindy also has lots of great videos on youtube. Dr. Berg is another source for helpful videos about fasting on youtube.
Fasting seems scary when you are new to it. But if you want your body to heal itself, fasting allows you to tap into its wisdom and resources like nothing else. And once you get used to it, you will want to keep doing it because it makes you feel so good!