What is fasting?
Wet or dry fasting
What is fasting?
Fasting is an effective cure for many diseases. Fasting has been used in every tradition for thousands of years. Humans evolved with regular shortages of food. Never in the history of humanity has food been so cheap, so sweet, and so easily available. Food is raining down on us 24 hours every day. In this age of pervasive food and pollution, fasting is more important than ever in warding off premature aging and degeneration of your body.
Fasting need not mean total abstention from all food. If you are eating a poor diet, high in processed or fast foods, then a seven-day detoxification fast that includes all the major food groups can be a delight to indulge in. Such a fast would include mostly non-sweet vegetables, bone broth or a source of minerals, and some acids such as apple cider vinegar or sharp citrus fruit like lemon.
Detox-fasting allows a little protein food during the fast, because the full detoxification process requires certain amino acids.
If you are doing a stricter fast for several or more days, it is advisable to fast under the supervision of an experienced health practitioner.
No-food fasting should normally be done regularly, and for short periods. Long periods (several days or more) of fasting are harsh on the body, especially for gaunt, underweight, older and sick people.
It is important to note that fasting is not a process of severe hunger and deprivation. Be gentle on yourself. If the fasting feels uncomfortable or stressful, then stop.
Ketogenic fasting is when most of your energy comes from (good) fats rather than sugar and carbohydrates, and your body converts from using mostly glucose as a fuel, to using ketones as a fuel. The ketones are made from the fats. Paleolithic humans evolved with animal fat in their diet (and little sugars) so our bodies can use ketones as a primary fuel. When food was scarce, evolutionary selection would have favoured those who were able to continue with their lives, resisting infections and other diseases and having sufficient strength in reserve to hunt, gather or fight as required.
When you are in a state of ketosis, hunger swings tend to disappear. As you fully adapt to this situation, you are likely to have a good and steady level of energy all day. There is no need or desire for energy snacks.
Time-restricted eating. There are several different ways of eating in a time-restricted window every day, which are discussed in my ebook Grow Youthful. This form of fasting is gentle and easy once you adjust to it, and provides most of the benefits of strict fasting including autophagy.
Fasting increases your energy level in the short-term (like missing one or a few meals) because digestion requires a lot of energy. Within twelve hours of reducing your food intake your body starts to break down waste matter such as dead and damaged cells (autophagy), metabolic wastes, salts accumulated in joints, various cysts and lumps, cancerous cells, pollutants, and harmful microbes. After 16-24 hours this process is in full swing. Your organs and glands get a much-needed rest, during which the enzyme power that would have been used for digestion is instead available for repair, detoxification and healing.
- Universal remedy. Enormously powerful and under-rated cure for most degenerative diseases, ranging from cancers to mental and psychological ailments. Fasting really is the first, and go-to remedy for most modern diseases. Think of fasting as the cure which counteracts the age of excess in which we live.
- Energy. After adjusting to time-restricted fasting, enjoy a bountiful and stable level of energy all day, without unpleasant hunger or deprivation.
- Stimulates the immune system. Autophagy is stimulated.
- Cleansing effect on your mind, increasing your awareness and concentration. Throughout the centuries, fasting has been associated with the development of spiritual awareness.
Wet or dry fasting
Fasting may be done with, or without water - known as wet fasting or dry fasting. I don't recommend drinking extra water when you fast, or adding salt to your water while fasting. In my experience, drinking extra water or adding salt to water made the fast an unpleasant experience instead of one where I feel good.
Dry fasting accelerates the stress benefits that fasting induces. For example, autophagy may be increased threefold in a dry fast versus a wet fast.
Do not try dry fasting for more than a day if you are young and strong, or a few hours if you are old or ill, unless you are under the guidance of an experienced health practitioner.
- Fasting is a deliberate and beneficial form of stress. Do not fast if you are already stressed. For example, it is not a good idea to fast the day after breaking up with a partner or being fired from your job.
- When you fast, the waste products released from fat are more acidic than those normally in your body are. Therefore, there is a heavy drawdown on your alkaline mineral reserves. It is important that your body is as alkaline as possible prior to fasting, and that you replace the alkaline salts lost while fasting.
- Try to avoid fasting in the winter, and be gentle on yourself if you are underweight, anaemic, elderly, or suffer from the cold.