Good Lifestyle Eating actually starts with opposite – Fasting. Let’s talk about why and what it is.
Our bodies developed over thousands and millions years of evolution where food was not given. We were meant to go through hunger on a regular basis. In fact, food itself was kind of a luxury that we had to be skilful to find and chase to get. Even now, look at the lifestyle of wild animals. All of them need to work hard for their food and often they go for days without any luck.
So, hunger is a normal state of being for all species. Fasting even exists in all religious calendars around the world. In order for us to cope with it our bodies have developed very sophisticated mechanisms of preservation, cleansing, adaptation. In fact, some scientists think that fasting is more normal for our bodies than food itself.
Nowadays it’s a very different situation. We live in the world of oversupply of easy available food. Our bodies were not meant to have it all in such easy access. Not only it’s ready available, we also do not have to work hard physically to get it. It leads to loss of many important self-protective mechanisms that our bodies have developed over the evolution.
So, what is actually fasting? By fasting I mean having regular times without any food and sometimes without water. When I say no food, I literally mean No Food - no "one smoozie" in morning or a glass of juice. No food at all!
Ideally, we should have at least two-three days (about 48-72 hours) without any food a week. If you can, avoid water for a day as well. However, if your only option is one day (24-30 hours) a week it would be of a great boost for your body and mind too. Just do it!
Why fasting? Many things happen in our bodies during fasting. Here I mention only few most important.
Immune system service. About 80% of our immune system is in our digestive tract. When we eat non-stop it puts constant pressure on it, taking out resources from other important areas like fighting viruses and addressing illnesses. On the other hand, fasting gives our immune system essential break from overload, attend other important issues, and self-repair. For example, many of the white blood cells (they are part of immune system) are being shed away to reduce unnecessary excess during fasting. They are being restored back with new ones when we start eating.
Hormones also benefit from fasting. No sugar or other food in your body gives necessary break for hormones to rest. Many studies show improvement in insulin and other hormonal functions during and after fasting.
The other important work is done on our cellular level. Weak body cells start to die under pressure of low nutrients supply. Those cells are often responsible for dysfunctions in our bodies because they are spoiled with abundance of nutrients and, therefore, not resilient enough. Cancer cells are one of those “dumb” sugar dependent cells. They thrive in abundance of sugar in our body.
Studies have shown that weak cells start to die if we fast for 48 or more hours. Our bodies usually have enough sugar stored in liver and muscles to power up for up to 40 hours without no additional food intake. Usually, once the stored sugars run low our bodies start to process fat to energy. For different people this process starts at different times and there is no unified timeline for when it happens. Fat and sugar can also be utilised at the same time. So, going without food for above 48 hours (2 days) is very important if you wish to access the main benefits of fasting.
What happen next is when the main magic of fasting begins. When we start to eat again our old discarded cells are being replaces with healthy new ones. This effect can only be seen in children when they grow. However, thanks to fasting we can have access to cell renewal even in adult years. This can potentially lead to longer lifespan.
Lastly but not least the days of no food give you additional free time that you can use for other important things in life. You will be surprised how much time we spend on thinking about food, cooking, eating. Once we pause with eating all that time suddenly becomes free to utilise.
Here I need to mention, that fasting needs to be done when you are least stressed. Do not do it when your life is tough or you have stressful tasks to finish at work. You need to be mentally ready for own time without additional stress. Fill it in with things you like doing: resting, reading a book, going to sauna, yoga session, watching a movie, sleeping, meditating. This should be a time for yourself.
That’s why Fasting is part of Lifestyle Eating and it should be considered as such. Somebody can fast only one day each Sunday. While the other can go for 3 days Monday to Wednesday once a month. There are no strict rules and it all depends on your personal circumstances.
Please always take into consideration the rest of your lifestyle choices and health condition. Only when it is considered as part of overall Lifestyle Eating it will bring you the most benefits.
More Lifestyle Eating tips to follow. Please ask questions if you have.
Please note. Fasting is not an "approved" approach under any official guidelines I am aware of. If you have any concerns please speak to your doctor. It also takes more understanding of the overall lifestyle to apply it correctly. If you decide to fast you will be responsible for your own health.