There is a lot of power in fasting - not only healing power - but also power over food, power over hunger, power over time conrestraints. I love to try a longer fast every so often, but many years ago I would have never considered it.
It seemed to crazy to me to "starve yourself" for a day or two.
My opinion was formed in my college years when I was young, very active, ate like a horse (probably 5 times a day) and lived with a vegan roommate that fasted every Thursday. She was part of a religious sect whose swarmi, Sathya Sai Baba, asked of followers to abstain from food at least once each week, a custom my roommate's entire family followed. Every Wednesday night she made sure to overeat and then broke her fast Thursday night with another large often starchy meal and honestly she was not pleasant to be around every Thursday!
To shun fasting because of my roommate's approach 20 plus years ago wasn't the right thing to do and the research convinced me to take a closer look.
Fortunately, there is now plenty of research going on around fasting and time restricted eating and since I first wrote this post back in 2017 it has exploded.
Quarterly I host online groups we often delve into fasting and examine how it plays into ketosis, metabolic flexibility, insulin sensitivity, recovery, autopaghy and more.
Before you jump in you should realize by now that there is no one way to approach this and it is different for everyone. So pay close attention to your body’s messages.
We have over a hundred different hormones in the body working in conjunction with your neurotransmitters to regulate all bodily functions and maintain homeostasis. The idea behind homeostasis, and all the mechanisms involved, is to keep the body's internal environment relatively stable while there are constant changes happening all around it. These changes in one’s surroundings include the food that you eat and the timing of your meals i.e. when you do and don't eat.
When you make sudden, and sometimes drastic, changes the body sends all sorts of hormonal and neural messages racing around the body trying to make sense of things. This may make you feel out of sorts but don’t fear. The amazing mechanisms that keep things in balance sort it out very quickly a long as you don’t interrupt the messages you are sending it.
5 important things to know before attempting your first longer fast
If you are interested in supporting me or joining me on my first 36 hour fast (and are not part of my online Keto group) join me on Instagram where we will embark on the occasional extended fast.
Dr. Jerome Craig, DC