CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE DOING THIS OR ANY FASTING OR DETOX ACTIVITY.
I didn’t start out to fast. I started out on a detox program that my nutritionist friend told me about. Two surprisingly delicious and nutritional shakes a day plus a regular meal. No sugar, gluten or dairy.
My results were surprising. Whereas I had experienced definite brain fog over the past year, most of that disappeared. I was more clear-headed and focused. My skin looked better. I had more energy. I no longer wanted to be in bed at 7pm. Overall, I felt noticeably healthier, which is a pretty big thing at this age. And, although I didn’t do it to drop weight, I did. My husband had the same experience.
No, I don’t sell any of this–I am simply a user that had impressive results and I’m sharing for that reason. I get no compensation.
Once I adjusted to this new way of eating. I thought I could make it a way of life fairly easily. I wanted more health benefits. So I added intermittent fasting.
WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?
When fasting made headlines a few years ago as a way to detox, clear the body of unhealthy cells and even live longer, I thought it was crazy. “Sure, starve yourself to a longer life,” I thought.
But over the past few years I read a lot about its benefits. Intermittent fasting sounded doable and probably a good idea for me, as my internist was not happy with my blood tests last fall. And when she’s not happy, well, she wants me to do something about it–or she will prescribe meds I don’t want to take. We have had that “you must” / “I won’t” conversation more than once over the years.
Intermittent fasting requires you to eat all meals within a set number of hours and fast the rest of the time. The easiest way to do this is fast for 12 hours –including sleep time — and eat meals within the other 12 hours. Many of us already do this, naturally.
A more stringent routine is to fast for 16 hours and eat all your food within the other 8 hours. It’s called 16/8 fasting.
An even more limited way is 18/6, which means eating all your food within a 6 hour period and fasting the other 18 hours. That’s the way I’ve been doing it for almost two months. I still drink two nutritionally complete shakes and eat one meal within my six hours No gluten, no dairy, no sugar. Maybe every 10 days I’ll eat some of the forbidden stuff, or two meals. And then right back to 16/8 fasting.
- The Pros:
– I feel great and have noticeably more energy.
– I never feel faint because the shakes give me everything I need.
– Cravings went away in the first couple weeks, for the most part.
– I’m pretty sure my medical tests for liver, sugar and cholesterol will be better this month. I hope to go off cholesterol meds eventually, if I can keep this up as a way of life.
– I’m carb-sensitive and love carbs (and sugar) so this plant and protein based eating plan helped me drop weight.
– It’s a lot easier than it sounded, even being at home most of the day every day.
- The Cons:
– We see friends for dinners out and I have to plan my eating schedule around that. But it hasn’t been too difficult. I even went wine tasting one day, so it’s not complete deprivation. I still want to do those things.
– Sometimes, at first, hunger is an issue. Not as often as you’d think.
– Travel is definitely a challenge: we’re going to Egypt for almost three weeks and Norway for almost two and this will be a challenge. I’ll have to modify my eating plan while away. And then get right back on it.
24 HOUR FASTING
When an acupuncturist friend did a 20-day water-only fast, I was amazed. She’d done a lot of reading about the benefits and she felt fine the whole time. So I did some reading, too. I decided I would full-out fast twice a week. My fasts usually last 36 hours, although they call it “24-hour fasting”. For example, during my first fast, I finished dinner by 7pm on Friday and ate nothing until Sunday morning at 7am. Just water and plenty of it.
By Saturday night I was DYING to eat! I was envisioning the big breakfast I’d have the next day in complete detail. But in the morning, I wasn’t hungry. I had to force myself to eat scrambled eggs with avocado, potatoes and two pieces of crispy bacon. That was at 9am.
I still wasn’t hungry at noon but I knew my 6 hour time limit was coming up. So I had a small meal of almonds and pistachios, plus a shake with a small banana blended in. Ideally, I’d have two shakes that day but I just couldn’t fit both in between being full and then going to the gym. I probably needed to break my fast with a smaller meal. I don’t always do full-out 36 hour fasts but I certainly do fast in some way every day. I like the way it makes me feel.
Maybe I forgot to mention that I go to the gym for cardio most days. I don’t kill myself, either. My initial primary motivation was to get my legs ready for climbing in Egypt. But it definitely is a plus for health.
THE BOTTOM LINE: health & especially heart health
If you think this might be for you, do your research. Don’t free-lance. There’s a lot of info about fasting online and also a lot of BS about it. Make sure that any info you pay attention to comes from a credible source. ALWAYS check source. Understand the pros and cons. Do a risk/benefit analysis. I wouldn’t do it to lose weight, either.
If you have a health condition (diabetes is one example but there are others) do some research about how fasting might affect it. Or any medications you might be on. Because it might not be the right thing. And…
Check with your physician. There are many people for whom fasting of any kind can be dangerous. And there are people, like my husband, who must take medication with food. You don’t want to make yourself ill, so be sure you have consulted your doctor about this.
It’s true, many doctors may not be up on the benefits of fasting. They may not want to be bothered learning, either. You’re going to have to make sure that what you plan to do doesn’t harm you so push hard on your medical practitioner.
If you’re interested in the shakes and whole food plant vitamins I take, my friend Michelle will discuss with you. Contact her here.
And again, I’m not getting any compensation. I’m sharing because it benefited me and perhaps might benefit someone else. Want to ask me about it? Contact me at ccassara at gmail and let’s set up a time to talk.