Updated: Sep 18, 2022
Fasting is an ancient healing remedy that has been practiced by virtually every culture throughout human history. Modern studies have shown that fasting can have incredible health benefits by kicking your cellular regeneration abilities into high gear.
Your cells are hard at work everyday performing thousands of processes required to keep you alive and well. They are especially busy in today’s world as they combat the internal damage caused by processed foods, environmental toxins and stress. In order to deal with such damage, your cells are designed to undergo a process called autophagy. This is your body's cellular clean up mode where they remove toxins, recycle parts, repair themselves and break down weak cells.
When your body is in a constant state of digestion, it is working to build up cells and tissues. By fasting you give your body a break from digestion. It can then undergo autophagy and essentially "take out the trash" to get back to proper functioning.
Enabling your cells to function with more precision can help you to:
Increase metabolism & stimulate weight loss
Slow down the aging process
Increase insulin sensitivity
Enhance brain power & mental clarity
Prevent illness & disease
Fight cancer cells
How to practice intermittent fasting:
When first starting out, here are two options that I recommend:
1.) Limit your food intake to 10-12 hours with a continuous 12-14 hour break.
12 hour fast: Eat between 8am - 8pm | Fast between 8pm - 8am
14 hour fast: Eat between 10am - 8pm | Fast between 8pm - 10am
Try to do this daily or at least 3 times per week, working your way up to fasting for a continuous 16 hours.
2.) Fast for a full 24 hours once or twice a week.
For both options, be sure to sip plenty of filtered water throughout the day.
Start slow and easy.
Be flexible with your fast and listen to your body. If something doesn't feel right and you need to eat, do it! Fasting isn't for everyone and can also not be ideal if you have certain health conditions or during certain phases of life like peri-menopause.
If you are craving starchy carbs, try drinking water or tea. However if you need to eat, try a high protein snack such as a handful of nuts, hard-boiled egg, celery with almond butter or hummus. Push through those sugar cravings and pretty soon your body won't desire refined sugars anymore!
You can increase your fasting duration as you get more practice and gain greater understanding about what works best for your body.
Break your fast easy with high fat & protein foods like an egg, bone broth or coffee/tea with coconut oil & butter. Avoid starchy carbs as these will spike your blood sugar leading you down a blood sugar rollercoaster.
Other ways to stimulate cellular regeneration:
Stressing your body through moderate exercise helps stimulate autophagy. 30-60 minutes, 5 x per week is ideal. Even just walking 30 minutes a day is great!
Avoid processed & refined foods.
Enjoy lots of organic whole foods - mostly fresh vegetables, a small amount of fresh fruit, quality animal protein, raw nuts and seeds, quality fats and plenty of water. This will minimize inflammation within your body as well as reduce the build up of toxins in your cells.
Find ways to relieve stress and get a good night's rest.
Chronic stress inhibits your body's ability to focus on healing and repairing. Be sure to allow yourself time to rest and relax to enable you cell's the opportunity to rejuvenate and regenerate.
Avoid snacking between meals and before bedtime.
This will help to stabilize your blood sugar, allowing your body to more efficiently burn excess energy & stored fat.
Interested in learning more about how I can help you to optimize your health via functional nutrition?
"The Obesity Code", Dr. Jung, MD,
"Effects of Intermittent Fasting on Health, Aging, and Disease", New England Journal of Medicine, Rafael de Cabo, Ph.D. and Mark P. Mattson, Ph.D., December 26, 2019
"Why Intermittent Fasting with Marissa Moon", Wise Traditions Podcast, January 13th, 2020