There are a few approaches when it comes to intermittent fasting.
- Skipped meals. This is when you skip over a meal to induce extra time of fasting. Usually people choose breakfast, but others prefer to skip lunch.
- Eating windows. Usually this condenses your entire macronutrient intake between a 4 and 7 hour window. The rest of the time you are in a fasting state.
- 24-48 hour cleanse. This is where you go into extended fasting periods, and do not eat for 1-2 days.
I don’t recommend that you go straight for a 1-2 day fast, but begin by restricting yourself to certain eating windows. Typically people restrict themselves to the hours of 5pm – 11pm. People often refer to their fasting windows by numbers: 19/5 or 21/3, for example, means 19 hours of fasting and 5 hours eating or 21 hours fasting and 3 hours eating, respectively.
Once you have the hang of eating on a schedule, you can try short periods of 18-24 hour fasting. Then you can judge if intermittent fasting is for you.
Whether you decide to do it every day, once a week, or twice a week is up to you – do what makes you feel best and listen to your body.
How Does Intermittent Fasting Work?
The whole point of intermittent fasting is to allow ourselves to increase the amount of food we can intake at one time. Our bodies naturally can only take in a certain amount of food at once, so we are creating a sort of limit on our calorie intake. This is also a great method for people that overeat. I tend to see people that forget to count the snacks that they have throughout the day, and wonder why they are putting weight on.
Your body will adjust itself to fasting, and you will find yourself not as hungry as you used to be. This allows you to properly record and maintain the nutrient values of what you intake.
In this fasting state, our bodies can break down extra fat that’s stored for the energy it needs. When we’re in ketosis, our body already mimics a fasting state, being that we have little to no glucose in our bloodstream, so we use the fats in our bodies as energy.
Intermittent fasting is using the same reasoning – instead of using the fats we are eating to gain energy, we are using our stored fat. That being said, you might think it’s great – you can just fast and lose more weight. You have to take into account that later on, you will need to eat extra fat in order to hit your daily macros (the most important thing). If you’re overeating on fats here, you will store the excess.
While there are some weight loss advantages to fasting, it’s more for the convenience of timing. Do not fast solely for the weight loss if you do not enjoy doing it. There are other benefits, though, and we’ll discuss these too.
Intermittent Fasting – Meal Timing Matters
Intermittent fasting is a term that we use to describe the dietary practice of restricting your food consumption to a specific window of time. A popular intermittent fasting strategy, for example, is fasting during an 18 hour window of time and eating during the 6 hour window of time that is left in the day.
Let’s say your last meal was at 6 pm last night and you ate nothing else after that. To implement an intermittent fast, simply restrict eating until 12 pm the next afternoon (yes, sleeping time counts as fasting time). To do this every day, only eat between 12 pm and 6 pm and fast for the remainder of the day.
There are many different variations of intermittent fasting as well. Dr. Dom D’Agostino, the well-known ketogenic diet researcher, suggests doing a longer intermittent fast for 3 days, 3 times a year. This means not eating for 3 days, and eating normally until the next fast. Daily intermittent fasts are recommended as well. He says that it is ideal to have one to two meals after fasting for most of the day to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting every day.
You are probably wondering how there could possibly be a benefit to eating less frequently that goes beyond what you are already getting with a ketogenic diet. Restricting carbs and eating enough fat and protein does come with a plethora of health benefits, but when you add intermittent fasting to your lifestyle you can increase energy and reverse aging by harnessing the power of a nobel prize winning process.
Once your body is keto-adapted, your brain can effectively run on ketones, which are derived from fat breakdown in the liver.
Fat is considered one of the most energy-efficient fuels for your body to run on, and your brain is a huge consumer of energy.
Most high-carb advocates are campaigning on the deprivation your body undergoes when you do not continuously refuel on grains and fruits. They want you to be carrying around an apple and a granola bar wherever you go, but the beauty with keto is that you don’t.
Even if your body is out of glycogen (which it most likely is if you’re in ketosis), it can rely on the abundance of fat from the foods you eat and stores you have. That means your powerhouse of a brain can run full power all the time. Less mental fogginess, and more focus.
As you get used to fasting, you should start to fast naturally. Meaning, only eat when you’re hungry. Don’t plan your fasting – let it happen naturally.
People are always saying that if you don’t utilize the importance of pre and post workout meals, you are going to be losing muscle when you work out.
This isn’t necessarily true, and it is even less so when you are adapted to ketosis.
Fasting while training can lead to a number of benefits in the long run, including:
- Higher metabolic adaptations – Studies show that your training performance will increase in the long run when you are exercising in a fasted state.
- Improved muscle synthesis – Studies show that muscle gains are heightened when you train in a fasted state and utilize proper nutrient intake.
- Improved response to post-workout meals – Studies show that the speedy absorption of nutrients after a fasted workout can lead to better results.
There have been numerous studies on fasting while training, including one on Muslim athletes during Ramadan. It concluded that there is no effect on performance in training while fasting – so you have no need to worry.
Intermittent Fasting and Muscle
Two ground-breaking studies have recently been published on the effects of intermittent fasting on males. One group of researchers studied the effects that 16 hours of intermittent fasting had on males that lift weights. They found that muscle mass stayed the same, fat mass decreased significantly, and the males who fasted for 16 hours a day burned more fat for fuel compared to the control group that only fasted for 12 hours.
Another study showed that combining 20 hours of fasting with resistance training resulted in an increase in muscle mass, strength, and endurance, and this was achieved by eating ~650 calories per day less than normal.
The benefits of intermittent fasting translate to untrained overweight and obese individuals as well. One study published in Obesity Reviews found that eating fewer calories is effective for fat loss, but it does come with some muscle loss. However, if the subjects fasted for 24 hours and ate as much as they wanted on the next day for a period of 12 weeks, they lost significantly less muscle mass.
Yes — you read that correctly — 24 hours of intermittent fasting without any resistance training and these subjects were able to preserve more muscle mass than the subjects that ate fewer calories every day without fasting at all. This finding contradicts our common sense, but when we dig deeper into autophagy we can find the mechanism behind this result.
Muscle Loss Prevention and Autophagy
Before the Nobel Prize was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi, other researchers were making groundbreaking discoveries about autophagy. In 2009, an article was published in Cell Metabolism entitled Autophagy Is Required to Maintain Muscle Mass. In this article, researchers described how deactivating an important autophagy gene resulted in a profound loss in muscle mass and strength.
This happened because autophagy is necessary to clean up damaged proteins and mitochondria in muscle cells. If autophagy is never activated then the proteins and mitochondria will remain damaged and the muscle cells will begin to die, which causes a loss in muscle and strength.
This seems counter-intuitive because we assume that the nutrients we eat will repair the damage, but it makes sense when you think about it another way.
If you want to refurbish a room, it is best to clean the room and remove the old furniture before you put the new furniture in. The same thought process applies to your cells. We must use intermittent fasting to let autophagy clean the room of the cell before we put in new furniture. If we don’t, our cells can become cancerous.
Intermittent Fasting and Cancer
Although there is little to no literature on the effects of 2 or 3 day fasts on muscle loss in humans, many clinical trials are currently being conducted on the effects of 2 or 3 day fasts on cancer patients.
In initial case studies, people who were undergoing chemotherapy voluntarily fasted for anywhere between 48 to 140 hours. Each person reported less side effects and an improved quality of life regardless of how long they fasted.
This implies that fasting for 2 days to a week can have a protective effect on the cells in the body while they are undergoing intense bouts of toxicity.
Other studies have found that fasting was as effective as chemotherapeutic agents in delaying progression of different tumors and increased the effectiveness of chemotherapeutic drugs against melanoma, glioma, and breast cancer cells. Although this research may not apply to your life, it does suggest that intermittent fasting can help support your body in times of toxic stress.
Intermittent fasting is so powerful because you can use it to activate the processes of autophagy that are brought about by protein restriction and starvation.
If this scientific jargon is throwing you off, think about what it takes for you to clean your room. You may clean it in your spare time or have a set time on the weekend to do it, but what happens when the weekend comes?
Tasks or chores come up and you prioritize something else. After a week without cleaning, your room is just a bit dirtier than usual, but after a month of being too busy to clean, your room is filthy.
This is what happens to our cells when we eat three or more meals a day that completely fulfills our calorie needs every day. Even by eating the healthiest of foods, your cells still can get backed up with non-essential proteins and toxic compounds — so what can you do?
To make sure that you clean your actual bedroom, you fast — not from food — but from being consumed by other obligations. To make sure that your cells can clean themselves, you must fast from food.
This fasting process will not only activate autophagy in your cells, it will also increase your ketones much more quickly than if you were just eating a standard ketogenic diet. If you start implementing intermittent fasting and activities (like walking, cycling, or lifting weights) together, you can raise ketone levels and increase autophagy more than you would with intermittent fasting alone. This suggests that intermittent fasting would be a great addition to your life, but it is important to be familiar with the negative symptoms that can arise before you start.
How Long Can We Last Without Food?
Once you start fasting, you may feel ravenously hungry as your mind is flooded with images of your muscles disintegrating into thin air. This is simply how your mind reacts to the threat of starvation — just because it feels like you will lose all your muscle and starve doesn’t mean you will.
In fact, Mahatma Gandhi survived for 21 days without food while only taking in sips of water. During times when people had no food or water at all, they were able to survive for 10 to 14 days. However, these are just anecdotes — what does the science say?
Many studies have been done during hunger strikes and religious fasts confirming that humans have the capacity to survive even longer than Gandhi did during his fast.
One monk, for example, set out to do a 40 day fast with medical supervision while maintaining his daily activities in the monastery. After 36 days, the medical professionals had to step in due to “profound weakness” and low blood pressure when standing. Although the monk fasted for 15 days longer than Ghandi, the medical professionals were able to stop the fast in time so that he could recover.
Another study tracked 33 political prisoners who were on hunger strike. The prisoners fasted for 6-24 days before being hospitalized for dehydration due an inadequate intake of fluids and electrolytes (not because of starvation). Breaking their fast was described as being “uncomplicated”.
Keep these studies in mind as your body tries to play tricks on you during your first day of fasting. Even after three days of fasting, health complications are highly unlikely. However, it is important to know about the possible issues that can be caused by fasting. If you choose to incorporate fasting into your daily diet, you typically want to eat every day as well. Occasionally going on a longer period of fasting.
Should You Be Worried About Refeeding Syndrome?
Some legitimate health complications can arise when you fast or are malnourished for longer than 5 days. One of these complications is called refeeding syndrome, which is caused by potentially fatal shifts in fluid and electrolyte balance that can happen when we eat after a period of undernourishment.
This happens because the concentration of fluids and minerals in our body relies heavily on what we eat. Low carbohydrate diets, like the ketogenic diet, increase the excretion of vital minerals like sodium and potassium.
If you add a prolonged fast onto the ketogenic diet, you can lose an unhealthy amount of these essential minerals.
Fasts that are shorter than 5 days, however, aren’t likely to cause issues — especially if you break your fast with a low carbohydrate meal that is filled with mineral rich foods. A meal with dark leafy greens, avocado, and salmon with some unrefined salt would be an ideal way to break a longer fast.
During a shorter fast that lasts less than 24 hours, however, you won’t have to worry about refeeding syndrome at all. Either way, it may be best to check out the mineral supplements that we recommend in this article to ensure proper mineral balance.
But what about muscle? It’s only common sense that consuming no protein and less calories will lead to an unhealthy amount of muscle loss. That’s right — it is only common sense.
Putting it all Together
Now you know that there is nothing to fear when it comes to intermittent fasting. Although you will feel hungry at first, your body will adjust by activating autophagy and burning more fat and ketones for fuel.
Ketogenic diet researchers suggest a longer intermittent fast followed by shorter daily intermittent fasts. You can use a fasting protocol that includes fasting for up to 3 days, 3 times a year with a shorter 16 to 20 hour fast on the days before and after the 3-day fasts.
Whether you are fasting for 16 hours or 3 days, it is important to monitor your mineral levels to avoid symptoms of refeeding syndrome.
Supplementing with sodium from unrefined salt and potassium, phosphate, and magnesium from mineral rich foods and supplements may be necessary for you to avoid excess mineral loss caused by ketogenic diets and fasting.
Practical Application: Tim Ferris’s 3 Day Ketosis Boost
If you want to raise your ketone levels or kickstart your ketogenic journey, try a 3-day “fasting” protocol like the one below. If intermittent fasting doesn’t sound like it’s something that can work for you, you can also kickstart your keto diet by fat fasting.
- Eat a ketogenic dinner and make that the last meal of the day. Go to bed as normal.
- Get out the door and walk within 30 minutes of waking. Drink coffee or tea if needed, but it is best to limit your caffeine intake because it will cause you to excrete more minerals and fluid than usual.
- Bring at least 1 liter of water, with some added unrefined salt, and sip as you walk to avoid cramping.
- Walk for 3 to 4 hours, sipping water as needed.
- Arrange phone calls or something similar for your walk to make the time productive.
- The idea behind the walk is that you use up your glycogen stores, forcing your body to move more quickly into deep ketosis. The quicker you get into ketosis, the less time you spend feeling drained.
- If you prefer to shorten the time frame, you can do a 45-60 minute bout of HIIT exercise.
Friday Day (post walk/workout)
- Consume MCT oil 2-3 times throughout the day.
- An affordable, good quality MCT Oil we recommend is NOW Foods MCT Oil.
- This provides you with energy until your ketone levels elevate naturally.
- Upon waking, test your blood ketones with a ketone blood testing kit like the Precision Xtra. Your ketones should be at 0.7mmol or greater.
- If you’re at 0.7mmol, proceed with your fast.
- If you’re under 0.7mmol, consider going for another extended walk, and then re-test.
Saturday & Sunday Day
- Add further MCT oil or coconut oil if you need a boost. They can be omitted once you are in deep ketosis.
- Incorporate some salts in your water throughout the day. This can either be in the form of table salts, or via a specially formulated solution such as SaltStick electrolyte replacement pills.
- Break your fast with your favorite ketogenic meal. Take a look at our Keto Recipes to find your new favorite!
This process can be used as a way to get you into ketosis more quickly, so you can transition gracefully into a ketogenic lifestyle or as a way to stimulate autophagy and fat loss. If you can’t go without fat for the full 3 day fast — it’s okay — you will still illicit many of the benefits of fasting by limiting your protein and carbohydrate intake.
P.S. Have a look at the Keto Academy, our foolproof 30-day keto meal plan. It has all the tools, information, and recipes needed for you to succeed.
+ The food has been tested and optimized so you can lose weight and start feeling great!
Historical Mentions of Fasting
In Biblical times, fasting was a normal part of a spiritual life. Jesus fasted for 40 days before beginning his ministry. Many of the prophets discussed fasting, and Jesus, when talking to his disciples and followers said, “When you fast…” This reference shows that fasting was a normal way of life for the Hebrew people.
The Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 BC) believed the Egyptians to be much healthier than the Greeks due to their regular fasting practices. He was quoted as saying that “The Egyptians are the healthiest of men, since each month for 3 days they conduct purification by vomiting and enemas, believing that a person receives all illness through food.”
Hippocrates, the Father of Modern Medicine, once said,
The addition of food should be much rarer, since it is often useful to completely take it away while the patient can withstand it, until the force of the disease reaches its maturity. The man carries within him a doctor; you just have to help him do his work. If the body is not cleared, then the more you feed it, the more it will be harmed. When a patient is fed too richly, the disease is fed as well. Remember – any excess is against nature.
Fasting for Metabolic Flexibility and Energy Efficiency
As you begin to understand how fasting benefits your body, you need to know some basic terminology. The key terms are metabolic flexibility and energy efficiency.
- Metabolic flexibility is the ability to change your metabolism to meet the demands of your environment.
- Energy efficiency is the ability to use your energy in the most efficient matter possible to meet all the energy needs of the body.
As humans, we had to adapt to a number of different challenging environments in the past. We have been forced to run, climb, fight, lift, starve, and even kill in order to survive.
Our ancestors did not always have ready access to food and would regularly experience times of food shortage and famine. These challenges primed our physiology and gave us a stronger survival advantage by developing our ability to change our metabolism to meet the unique demands we face.
In our modern 21st century society, we don’t have to do many of these things any more. We can basically sit back and stay stationary all day while continuously feeding ourselves. This causes a loss of metabolic flexibility and energy efficiency – making us weaker as a species and more susceptible to infections and chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and even some types of cancer.
How to Improve Your Metabolic Flexibility and Energy Efficiency
Someone with a high level of metabolic flexibility and energy efficiency will be able to immediately produce a high level of strength and speed to accomplish a particular task. They are also able to think sharply and clearly and be productive and creative in their endeavors. Finally, they are also able to comfortably go at least 16 to 18 hours without food.
There are a number of different ways to improve your overall metabolic flexibility and energy efficiency. Here are 5 key ways:
- Intermittent Fasting or Prolonged Water Fasting Periods
- Ketogenic Diet or Cyclical Ketogenic Diet
- Interval and Resistance Training Exercises
- Improving Digestive Health
- Nutritional Supplementation
All of these strategies work to help the body to run more efficiently. In this article we will do a deep dive into fasting and touch on the ketogenic diet which plays a role with fasting.
What Is a Ketogenic Diet or Cyclical Ketogenic Diet?
A ketogenic diet works by restricting glucose and supporting the body’s ability to produce an alternative energy source called ketones. Ketones are the breakdown product of fatty acids that the body uses to produce cellular energy in the form of adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
In order for your body to produce and utilize ketones, you must restrict your consumption of foods that get converted into glucose in the body. This includes both sugar and starch as well as high levels of protein.
Ketone metabolism produces an abundant amount of cellular energy (36 ATP) as compared to glucose metabolism (2 ATP). In addition, glucose metabolism produces a tremendous amount of metabolic waste and inflammation, compared to ketone metabolism. This makes ketones a much cleaner energy source than glucose. As a result, a ketone- or fat-adapted individual will have lower levels of metabolic waste production as well as lower levels of inflammation in their body.
When the body is trained to use ketones for energy, it becomes much more metabolically flexible and energy efficient. The individual is then able to go longer periods without food and is able to preserve muscle mass even in times of famine.
Any individual who is fasting will burn fat stores and produce ketones. These ketones provide the energy source needed to continue to move and do all the things necessary for living. Using ketones as a primary energy source also helps the body to cleanse and detoxify more effectively during a fast.
Fasting Improves Immune Regulation
The practice of fasting allows the body to put more energy and focus into the process of effective immune regulation. Fasting while drinking water and other cleansing beverages flushes out the digestive system and reduces the number of natural microorganisms in the gut. The microorganism count is typically regulated by the immune system, allowing it to divert energy to other more important areas.
Intermittent fasting is a terrific regulator of the immune system as it controls the levels of inflammatory cytokines that are released in the body. In particular, two major cytokines – Interleukin-6 (IL-6) and Tumor Necrosis Factor alpha (TNF-alpha) promote very potent inflammatory responses in the body.
Studies have shown that fasting reduces the release of these inflammatory mediators. The immune system modulation that intermittent fasting provides may also be helpful if you have moderate to severe allergies.
Fasting Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Thousands of years of food scarcity has led our bodies to develop a protective mechanism to adapt to alternating phases of food abundance and scarcity. During times of food scarcity, our cell membranes become more sensitive to insulin. This is especially important when food is scarce, because it ensures that every bit of food is efficiently used or stored.
During times of food abundance, the body desensitizes the cells to insulin in an effort to avoid the stress of a heavy calorific intake. This results in elevated insulin levels, increased fat storage, and increased oxidative stress and inflammatory conditions in the body.
Today, we have a massive abundance of food sources. We can virtually eat anytime we would like. In fact, many health coaches recommend eating 5-6 small meals throughout the day. However, this process sends the body the signal of surplus that inhibits key tissue repair hormones that have powerful anti-aging effects.
HGH and insulin are endocrine opposites. This means that they trigger your physiology in an opposite manner to each other. HGH is designed to help improve tissue repair, while signaling efficient fuel usage and anti-inflammatory immune activity.
Insulin works to stimulate energy storage and increases both cellular division and inflammation in the body. Insulin is the dominant player in this chess match. When the bodily conditions demand an insulin release – such as when food is consumed (especially sugar and starch) – then HGH is inhibited.
Fasting has been shown to reduce insulin secretion and improve cellular insulin sensitivity. This results in the body using insulin better, so that less insulin is needed when eating. By reducing the overall demand for insulin, you reduce inflammation in the body and improve HGH levels.
Tips for How to Intermittent Fast
There are many fasting strategies you can try, including intermittent fasting, where you go anywhere from 12 to 36 hours without food. You could also do a 3 to 5 day water fast, or a longer one such as a 7 to 10 day water fast.
For the purpose of this article, we will stick with intermittent fasting strategies that can be applied on a daily or weekly basis.
With fasting, we have what we call our building window and our cleansing window. These are defined as follows:
- Building Window – This is the time between your first meal of the day and your last meal. This can also be called the “eating window.”
- Cleansing Window – This is the time between your last meal of one day and the first meal of the next day. This can also be called the “fasting window.”
For example, if you ate between noon and 8:00 pm and then fasted until noon the next day, then you would have an 8-hour building window and a 16-hour cleansing window.
To begin fasting in a non-intimidating way, I have divided the fasting strategy into 6 variations. Pick one that you feel good with and stick with it, or change it up and challenge yourself with a deeper fast from time to time. Having some sort of a consistent pattern with intermittent fasting is the best way to develop the metabolic flexibility and energy efficiency that will strengthen your body’s internal resistance.
If you have never done an intermittent fast before, begin with the simple fast and stick with it for a while until you feel that it is simple. Be sure to drink 8 to 16 ounces of water at a minimum when you first wake up to help reduce morning hunger, prolong the fast, and improve the cleansing process.
Intermittent Fasting Variations:
- Simple Fast: Basic fast with water only for 12 hours between dinner and breakfast which gives the liver a chance to complete its cycle. Example: Finish dinner at 7:00 pm and don’t eat again until 7:00 am.
This is really the best way to start. Everyone – other than pregnant women and infants – should be able to do a simple fast. This is the first goal to get into a regular pattern of simple fasting.
- Brunch Fast: This is where you do a 14-hour fast between dinner and breakfast. It is called the brunch fast because you are going to eat your breakfast a bit later than most people do. Example: Finish dinner at 7:00 pm and don’t eat again until 9:00 am.
- Cycle Fast: Three times each week you fast for 16 hours by skipping either breakfast or dinner. Example: Finish dinner at 7:00 pm and eat again around 11:00 am to noon the next day. Do this on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday each week.
- Strong Fast: Consume all food in a 6 to 8 hour eating window each day. You would eat 2 meals per day and fast through either breakfast or dinner.
Example: This would mean fasting in the morning and eating between noon to 7:00 pm each day or 8:00 am to 3:00 pm each day, or whichever 6- to 8-hour period you like best.
- Warrior Fast: Ancient warriors would often march all day and would feast at night. Consume all food in a 3 to 5 hour eating window each day.
Example: Consume 2 meals in a 3 to 5 hour eating window such as 2:00 to 6:00 pm or 3:00 to 7:00 pm.
- 1-Day Food Fast: For 24 hours each week only consume water, greens powders, and herbal tea. Some people may also consume a diluted organic broth during this fast.
You could also do green juices as long as they don’t have any fruit in them other than lemons or limes, which contain very little carbohydrate. As an example, making a green juice with lemon, celery, cucumber, kale, parsley, and ginger root would be acceptable to get nutrients into the body while also maintaining the benefits of the fast.
Overcoming Challenges with Intermittent Fasting
Most people will do quite well by reducing starches and sugars and consuming more good fats such as coconut oil, olives, and avocados and incorporating a simple fast each day. The good fats help with blood sugar stability, so the fast will be easier.
When you begin your fast it is important to make sure your blood sugar is stable and you want to focus on hydration during your cleansing window. As mentioned above, I recommend drinking at least 8 to 16 ounces of water in the first 15 minutes after waking.
Over time you will have a natural craving for more water in the mornings and will easily drink 32 to 48 ounces (at a minimum) of water in the first few hours of waking. I drink one full gallon of clean water (as herbal tea, organic broth, with added lemon or apple cider vinegar, etc.) before noon every day. It gives me incredible energy, takes away hunger, and helps me to move my bowels a few times to fully get rid of the waste from the day before.
While intermittent fasting has numerous benefits, here are a few conditions to be aware of that may make it difficult to sustain longer fasting periods.
- Adrenal Fatigue: When an individual is not able to produce enough stress hormone, they can feel fatigued as they fast.
- Constipation: If the bowels are not moving, it will create a toxic buildup that will drive an increased stress response in the body.
4 Ways to Deal With Adrenal Fatigue and Constipation
Super Hydration: Drink as much clean (filtered) water, herbal teas, etc. as possible. The hydration will help reduce levels of stress hormones and stimulate bowel motility. Drinking 1 to 2 cups of water immediately upon arising and then continuously hydrating your body throughout your cleansing phase will reduce hunger, stabilize the adrenal glands, and keep your bowels moving appropriately.
- Minerals: We need minerals to produce electrochemical energy and adrenal hormones. When fasting or on a low-carb diet, we excrete sodium, so it is VITAL to replace this mineral in the body. I recommend adding some Himalayan sea salt to your water, using greens powders, or organic broth or bone broths during the cleansing phase in order to ensure adequate mineral intake.
- Magnesium supplementation: The body uses magnesium much like a car uses oil. We need magnesium for over 300 vital functions in the body. Magnesium is also key for calming the adrenals and improving bowel motility. Using a good magnesium citrate, glycinate, malate, or threonate supplement can help you function much better during a fast. (You can find a report ranking magnesium supplements here: https://labdoor.com/rankings/magnesium)
- Probiotics: Probiotic supplementation can help to improve bowel tone and reduce gut-induced inflammation that would trigger the adrenals.
Is Fasting Safe for Everyone?
The only population groups that should NOT consider fasting are pregnant women, in particular during the 2nd and 3rd trimesters, as their babies are rapidly growing during this stage. During the first trimester, the pregnant mother can do a simple fast so long as she feels good doing it.
Newborn babies up until 6 to 8 months will most likely not do a simple fast as they are rapidly growing and their bodies need more calories than their small stomachs can handle during a 12-hour feeding period. After about 8 to 9 months, a child will typically sleep for roughly 12 hours overnight and will essentially do a simple fast.
Most children and teenagers can do a simple fast, although heavy volume athletics may compromise this. If a child is working out intensely for over an hour each day (such as playing basketball or football), then a simple fast may be very challenging.
Each of these scenarios should be dealt with on a case by case basis, but the same rule of drinking 16 to 32 ounces of water upon arising can help to dramatically reduce morning hunger and extend the fast and cleansing period for the body.
Incorporating periods of intermittent fasting and using the strategies shared in this article can help your body become stronger and more resilient and help it to fight against the development of chronic diseases.
Fasting is one of the few health modalities that actually saves you money. It has been spoken about by wise men and spiritual leaders throughout the centuries and has the potential to greatly improve the health of your mind, body, and spirit. I hope you are inspired to begin practicing intermittent fasting from here on out!
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We have to break free from the idea that we need to have three meals a day.
Egyptians were believed to be healthier than Greeks due to their regular fasting practices.
There are a number of different ways to improve your overall metabolic flexibility and energy efficiency.
In order for your body to produce and utilize ketones, you must restrict your consumption of foods that are converted into glucose.
The process of digestion stimulates inflammation.
Fasting improves immune regulation.
Intermittent fasting starves cancer cells and leaves them vulnerable to destruction.