Fasting. Back when I was in my early twenties, I had an eating disorder. I would binge for days (I was a failed bulimic–had the binging down, but could never throw up, though I’d use laxatives to try to get rid of it all faster). So I got fat. Interspersed with this would be days of fasting, sometimes four days at a time. But when I did eat, it was garbage. Junk food or just poor nutrition choices. Now this is not healthy and if you tend toward doing something like that (I got over it in my late twenties for some reason–having kids finally helped, too), a fast might lead to behavior like that. Which is not healthy.
A fast is only helpful if you eat healthy at other times and get the nutrients your body needs. Fasting is also not appropriate for pregnant women and people with certain health constraints. So this note is for people who are healthy and who run by their health professionals any eating/fasting/nutrition plan. Hopefully you have one that will work with you.
I’m not saying that I never eat anything unhealthy or overeat ever. But I no longer binge at all and I rarely eat things awful for me.
But I do still fast.
I had some natural inclinations toward intermittent fasting. I always felt better if I skipped breakfast and narrowed my eating window. I think this alone has helped my health. I normally eat around 1 and end about 9 which is pretty late at night according to some of the health gurus but I know myself well enough to know if I’m hungry all night I’ll eventually eat and/or I won’t sleep well. I also no longer fast longer than two full days, usually one, and usually every couple weeks. I do it because I feel so much better when I do. It gives my body a rest, particularly my digestion, improves my skin. I normally rest that day unless I’ve done a carb refeed the day before in which case I do warrior made mid-day and then rest the remainder of the day.
I DO drink coffee and filtered water, and I put heavy cream in my coffee all day. I switch to decaf mid-day. Heavy cream has no carbs. Some people use a bit of butter instead, but I prefer the cream. I am not a fan of a five day water fast anymore, though I hear some people get good results. I think it’s more about listening to your body and not doing things too extreme either in food/fasting/or exercise. Running marathons drags down your immune system. So keep that in mind.
An occasional carb refeed and fasting (I normally do intermittent fasting anyway), inhibit the MTOR pathway which causes cancer. These practices lead to longevity and work as as well as calorie restriction worked in mice, I guess.
So my advice is to experiment with your diet and eating patterns. If you pare down to carnivore for a few weeks or a month, you can gradually add low carb carbs back in and see what you react to. Exercise moderately–a routine that combines some cardio with weight lifting, several times a week. Stay active with walking. Get sensible sun exposure. Lifting weights increases human growth hormone (which you don’t want full time–hence the fasting and carb refeeds), and helps you retain muscle especially if you are a senior. Ihave added back in limited green carbs–lettuce, a bit of salad dressing, green beans, broccoli and asparagus, a few mushrooms, a tomato with success. Though I can’t eat cucumbers (related to ragweed).
I am 64 so I eat more protein than some recommend, close to a gram per body weight on some days. Actually I eat between 80 and 114 grams of protein most days. But if I don’t, my muscles waste. I eat a bit of dairy for my skin and bones since it agrees with me. Lactaid and cheeses. I am a believer in eggs since they contain choline and other nutrients hard to find anywhere else, so I eat at least eight/week, usually more. I eat a bit of bacon cuz I love it. I eat seafood, oysters and shrimp and not just steak.
Berberine and a homocysteine supplement (B vitamins with food based folate and NAC and things) keep my cholesterol and inflammation markers in line. I have no other risk factor than total cholesterol. My ratios are fabulous and my total cholesterol is down to 246. HDL really high, triglycerides and sugar very low. My blood pressure never goes over 112/70. I just got my 23 and Me report that said I had only a 4% chance of being Type 2 diabetic based on my current age, health statistics, and genetics.
I am only sorry I didn’t know more about nutrition in my twenties and all my life because I feel better now than I ever have. I still get a few headaches, but my stomach, digestion and bloating are much better and my heart no longer races. I’ve lost twenty pounds. (Will post after-Florida photos in a couple weeks).
Most exciting maybe is that I can eat as much meat as i feel like at times, stuff myself, and as long as carbs stay low, I don’t gain weight. You also are not in agony if you eat a lot of meat and no carbs. In an hour you are fine. I can also, every few weeks, eat carbs which at times might be something fairly bad like pretzels and coke if my stomach is off, but usually is more like ice cream or potatoes. I try to get something a bit healthier in there when I refeed. And I no longer gain weight of any appreciable amount with moderate exercise.
I can remember in my 30’s and 40’s thinking my body was so off I’d never live to be old. Now I think I have a good shot at it.
Oh, I do have Hashimotos thyroiditis so I do take a thyroid medication, my only prescription drug. And I take a few supplements now and then like Vitamin C, Cod Liver Oil, Magnesium, VItamin D if I can’t get sun (along with K and occasional calcium). But I don’t take them regularly since supplements dehydrate me and I think maybe keep me from abosorbing my nutrients properly from food.
There you have it. My postings soon will be about more esoteric things as I revise my fantasy novel though my diet and health are intricately interwoven with my dream life and my writing life. So you’ll see specific health posts along the way.
Happy Saturday (and GO MSU!!) I attended there one year. They play at 7:30 on CBS. Not s ure if I’ll root against Michigan yet, but eventually if they both stay in. My grandmother was one of the first to graduate from U of M so I don’t have quite the hate on for that elitist school others do (ha). A bit of dual allegiance. But still, GO GREEN!!