7-day Water Fast (no food) Experience And It’s Benefits

A water fast is the cessation of food consumption for a certain amount of time. During that time you can consume water, black coffee, tea, and bone broth. Fasts can vary from short ones (12 hours) to extended fasts (5+ days). Fasting has been practiced across many different cultures for thousands of years as a period of healing, spiritual uplifting, and abstinence. Our evolutionary upbringing is closely linked to fasting since food back then was mostly scarce and competitive to procure. Our ancient ancestors would forage for food then use their body fat as fuel when food actually became scarce; or, better known as feast and famine. Now that science has substantiated many of its health benefits, fasting can be used as a tool to repair your anatomy, breakdown fat, and increase mental acuity.

You can fast as long as you have adequate body fat and your nervous system or adrenals are in their proper state. Remember: fasting is a stressor on the body, so all your hormones must be normalized before getting into an extended one or else you only exacerbate whatever symptoms you’re currently experiencing. In most cases, you can only oxidize fat at a half a pound of body fat per day, so when people are losing weight really fast, it’s not actually body fat, rather muscle, inflammation, or water. Fat takes time through strict nutrition, exercise, or infrequent eating patterns that keep your insulin signaling low. Fasting tends to not be broached in mainstream media and nutrition because it doesn’t sell; no one makes money when people aren’t eating!

Dr. Jason Fung, who deals with a multitude of patients with kidney disease and diabetes in an interview talks about fasting as an alternative, healthier way to burn fuel.

“During fasting, you start by burning off all the glycogen in the liver, which is all the sugar. There’s a point there where some of the excess amino acids in your body need to get burnt as well.

That’s where people say, ‘That’s where you’re burning muscle.’ That’s not actually what happens. The body never upregulates its protein catabolism. Never is it burning muscle; there’s a normal turnover that goes on.

There is a certain amount of protein that you need for a regular turnover. When you start fasting, that starts to go down and then fat oxidation goes way up. In essence, what you’ve done is you switched over from burning sugar to burning fat. Once you start burning fat, there’s almost an unlimited amount of calories there. You could go for days and days.”

Periodic or intermittent fasting have been shown to increase testosterone and human growth hormone –two important factors in building and maintaining muscle mass PLUS the anti-aging effects of HGH not only turn back the clock internally, but externally as well. This muscle conservation stage has an expiration date though, usually after 10-15 days of extended fasting muscle deterioration may occur, BUT depending on how much body fat you carry (some people can fast longer than 30 days without muscle-wasting due to having excess body fat). A popular misconception in the health industry is that once we are in a starved-state, our bodies seek our muscle as fuel, but that’s simply not true–if it were, we would have been extinct a long time ago.

Here’s a few staggering insulin-related stats presented by the CDC that Americans are facing:

  • 1/3rd of Americans have prediabetes (insulin resistance) or type-2 diabetes
  • Prediabetes can blossom into type-2 diabetes in as soon as 5 years
  • 40% of Americans are considered obese
  • 1 in out of every 2 Americans have a chronic disease!

Any fast over 20 hours increases and maximizes cellular autophagy: a physiological process whereby the body starts cleaning out the junk in the cells that accrues from free radicals which ultimately age you and engender cancer tumors that can proliferate to major organs. In recent research, cancer and Alzheimers are now showing signs of being a metabolic disease (high blood sugar/insulin) rather than just a genetic disease. Although more research is to be done on the correlation between insulin/blood sugar and cancer, it’s safe to say that keeping a close watch on your numbers would be salubrious for longevity purposes. That said, giving yourself a long fast once a year to lower insulin could potentially rid any cancerous cells from accumulating. The graph below illustrates how when insulin drops, HGH increases.

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The record for fasting is a shocking 382 days. The man weighed 456 lbs and dropped to an astonishing 180 lbs. Although he was heavily monitored by doctors and supplemented vitamins, he recalled the experience as being liberating with “hunger not really occurring.” So, that proves that the body doesn’t automatically eat at muscle when it’s starved, but rather adipose tissue (body fat).

Ketosis is the metabolic state where your body begins using only your actual body fat as fuel when your insulin is low. Ketones are produced from the breakdown of fat in the liver. For the ketogenic diet, most people need to consume no more net carbs (total carb-fiber) than 50 grams a day to induce ketones. The diet consists primarily of vegetables along with eating moderate protein and higher amounts of healthy fats. Eating fat burns fat and the fat on your body is the result of mostly eating sugar and carbs. Ketone bodies have myriad benefits from decreasing inflammation to eradicating type 2 diabetes to treating people with epilepsy. Below shows the breakdown of the Keto macronutrients.

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Fasting is a surefire protocol to fast-track your way into ketosis. Cravings literally disappear. You’ll no longer be in a glucose-dependent cycle, but rather a fat burning one; replete with energy and clear-headedness. Depending on if your body primarily runs on fat or sugar will dictate how long it takes for you to enter nutritional ketosis. Eating too much protein or carbs will usually knock you out of ketosis. Below is a graph that shows when your blood sugars drop, ketosis is induced.

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Here are the benefits of doing extended fasts (4-10 days):

  • Reduces inflammation
  • Normalizes blood pressure
  • Has the ability to reverse type-2 diabetes
  • Neurogenesis (Creation of new brain cells)
  • Fat loss
  • Destroys any unwanted food cravings
  • Increases energy
  • Improves sense of well being
  • Stabilizes mood from blood sugar regulation
  • Reduces insulin which in turn lowers triglycerides and improves HDL cholesterol
  • Increases immune function
  • Eliminates the chance of cancer cell expansion
  • The ultimate detoxification process, better than most cleanses that are marketing scams which are ineffective
  • Helps with any autoimmune problems
  • Better, more restorative sleep
  • Increases the effects of chemotherapy
  • Anti-aging benefits and cognitive enhancement. Helps with a cloudy brain
  • Fights all chronic diseases
  • Fasting shows instant improvements for patients with rheumatoid arthritis

People who shouldn’t do extended fasts:

  • Children
  • Women trying to get pregnant or those who are breastfeeding
  • Anyone with a very low body fat percentage, who are malnourished, or are under an 18.5 BMI

 

A Timeline of my 7-day fast experience

Pre-fast weight: 223

Day 1

Felt good throughout the whole day. This day is usually the hardest along with the 2nd day, but is a lot more pleasant than when i did it last year. Not too hungry and mental clarity seemingly beginning to shine through the cracks. Sleep was historically good, maybe the best I’ve had in a year– cycling through all the cycles of dream-sleep and deep sleep

Consumption: 3/4th gallon of water with Himalayan sea salt. Vitamins B and C.

Day 2

Weight: 218

After an amazing nights sleep, feeling much more grounded and focused today. Feelings of elation and hyper-activeness are surging through me. Hunger pangs haven’t shown themselves. A midday walk was filled with creativity and wandering thoughts. Got a bit tired toward the evening time.

Consumption: a gallon of water with a pinch of sea salt. 1 cup of black coffee. Vitamins B and C

Day 3

Weight: 216

Another pretty good night of sleep. Completely in ketosis. Went for a casual morning walk around sunrise. Mentally sharp and extremely focused. A brief moment of weakness occurred in the evening, but was fleeting. Hunger is neutralized.

Consumption: Gallon of water with a pinch of Himalayan sea salt. A half a cup of black coffee. Vitamins B and C

Day 4

Weight: 215

Feeling the best I’ve felt all week. In complete ketosis now, as my readings are showing 4.0 mmol/L or better (Using ketone strips via urine you can identify how deep of ketosis you’re in which means your body is now using fat as fuel and insulin is low; great for longevity.) Everything I’m reading is being retained faster than normal and my well being is excellent. The psychological factor of food is beginning to settle in. Lots of stimuli is easy to repress for a short while, but not it’s seeping through the cracks. That said, I’m not physically hungry.

Consumption: A little over a gallon of water. Half a cup of black coffee. Vitamins B and C.

Day 5

Weight: 211

Last night got the worst sleep I’ve gotten since I started. Restless, insufficient sleep. Presumably, did not get into the slow wave delta sleep since I’m a bit on edge in the morning and not as sharp. I decided to take a longer-than-usual walk and that really knocked me on my ass. Felt completely enfeebled and was contemplating throwing in the towel for the fast, but i knew this was common and your body goes through phases of adjusting energy systems. For 3 hours I felt unsettled then it passed and I felt a lot better after i brought down my heart rate and had some water with sea salt. I’m guessing the lack of sleep made my blood sugars get a little wonky thereby inducing a state of panic on the nervous system. That night everything stabilized and started feeling good again

Consumption: Gallon of water with Himalayan sea salt. Vitamins B and C

Day 6

Weight: 209

Slept pretty well last night. A lot better than the previous night. Brain is functioning high again, body is getting a little run down. No exercise today. The external stimuli of food is definitely enticing me to eat now. Constantly thinking one more day, but still not feeling all that bad.

Consumption: Gallon of water with himalayan sea salt. Cup of organic Chai tea. Vitamins B and C

Day 7

Weight: 207

Woo! We made it! Although I slept a paltry 4 hours due to becoming a bit dehydrated in the evening, all is freaking well. Energy is very good. Finally get back  to the gym and lift weights with having not eaten in 7 days. My strength hasn’t waned much at all. About 2% of max strength has declined. My stamina has been compromised a bit though as I feel myself panting much faster than normal. After I worked out there was still about 2 hours before I finish the fast. As odd as it sounds, I definitely felt as if I could go another day, but let’s not get crazy here. Broke the fast around 4pm with watermelon, steamed broccoli, and some various other blended fruit. Boy, was it a joyous experience. Everything tasted so authentic and flavorful.

Breaking The Fast

Breaking a fast isn’t something to play around with. People have suffered many complications from coming out of a fast full tilt; eating whatever they want. Since the long fast has repaired the body, it also has basically shut down digestion and in order to reboot it, you must have a reintroductory phase of eating. The following two days after an extended fast must consist of blended fruit shakes and steamed veggies then you ease your way into harder-to-digest foods in the subsequent days. The enzymes that breakdown food need a little time to reactivate, so this 36-48 hour period must be dealt with patience.

Final Thoughts

Total weight loss: 16 lbs (223 to 207)

Total hours fasted: 168 (7 days)

Peak ketone reading: 5.5 mmol/L

In conclusion, the fast was an enlightening, emboldening experience. Overall, it was a revelatory adventure. I felt amazing for about 96% of the 7 days, which in my estimation is from being used to intermittent fasting (my current dietary protocol) The mental clarity and enhancement of senses was truly remarkable. The introspection aspect of noticing how hunger comes in waves and how we aren’t really ever starving, but rather conditioned to eat from routine and psychological, external stimulus. Majority of the time I felt a newfound appreciation for being in the moment with a heightened sense of stillness and focus. Anxiety didn’t exist at all throughout the fast. The profound energy and motivation is indescribable unless you try it. I did not do this fast to lose weight, but instead to get the cerebral and anti-inflammatory benefits after a gluttonous holiday which help for the future. Some of the nights of sleep were the deepest I’ve experienced since being a kid.

My mood and well-being were in great spirits. Thoughts, creativity, and reading comprehension ostensibly worked better and more fluidly than when I am in a fed-state. You also notice how everything you consume in life has an effect on your entire bodily system from sleep to mood swings to energy. A 24-hour fast once a week should be a staple in everyone’s lifestyle to let your body heal and repair.

Personal experimentation is one of the rites of passages of  being a human being. Not just one dietary protocol works for everyone, but fasting is built into our DNA. Give it a try. You won’t wither away, the body wasn’t designed to let us perish when a little bit of stress is on us. We are built to survive and minor stressors on the body can, in the end, strengthen it.

Chronic diseases are costing us billions of dollars as a nation and it’s only getting worse. Inflammation is the precursor to chronic diseases and what causes inflammation? sugar, obesity, stress, drugs, overtraining, overeating, injuries, infections, sleep deprivation, and diseases. What helps all of those?

 

Fasting.

 

 

 

 

 

Keep Your Coffee Black

Every morning, millions of people indulge in caffeine-packed cups of coffee. From adding sweeteners to various creamers, people build the ultimate sugary snack in liquid form. Coffee has its pros and cons, but above all – keeps us stimulated and alert. No matter how repugnant the taste may be, we need our fix. The downside that coffee has is accruing too many additives, thereby mitigating its positive effects.

Black coffee is known to counteract the effects of type 2 diabetes. Since it’s virtually devoid of any calories, the benefits are tremendous: faster metabolism, less appetite due to an increase in serotonin, and provides antioxidants which clean out the liver. A diet consisting of water and black coffee for the primaries of the liquid you ingest, will accelerate your weight loss aspirations.

Avoiding additives is imperative. The unnecessary calorie accretion is not conducive to breaking down bodily fat , and, in turn, only makes the body work harder to burn off the excess intake. So the next time you choose to purchase coffee — go black.

Hangovers, Unlike Wine, Are Getting Worse With Time

We’ve all been there: ailing in our bed from the previous night’s shenanigans. The plight of the hangover has gotten increasingly worse as the years have progressed. When drinking was a relatively novel endeavor, you found yourself back on your feet in no time. For example, in high school, you could drink heavily (whatever “heavily” meant back then) and still be extremely productive the following day; whereas today, you suddenly become confined to your bed—wallowing and brainstorming ways to combat the feelings of uneasiness. It feels as if there’s no blood coursing through your veins. You’re lifeless and contemplating eating, usually something unhealthy: high in fat and in calories. You chug water, which, because of the rate of absorption, is feckless. So, you try to sleep, but that’s also ineffective because of the rebound effect—your body overcompensates for the glutamine deficiency by pumping more into your blood, thus stimulating your brain. You concoct various fruits such as watermelon and apples to only hope that it will be the antidote. Finding the proper cure will eventually seem analogous to searching for a Leprechaun’s gold at the end of a rainbow. The only real cure is time, and that, at this juncture, seems unacceptable. This harrowing, convoluted hangover can even linger into the next day, making you feel stricken by lethargy and a foggy brain. What led us to this misery? Things were all good just a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, there’s a reason for the newfound struggle, and age seems to be the leading contributor.

As we age, our body composition alters and we tend (well, most of us)to pack on more fat than muscle. This uneven distribution of mass causes us to get drunk even faster, but we keep guzzling down the drinks unaware of how affected we’ve become by the alcohol. Also, when we get older, our machines (bodies) become less efficient: the liver can’t metabolize the alcohol as fast as it once would when you were a spry, young lad. Essentially, the alcohol elimination process has decelerated. A person in their twenties probably has a 30% stronger tolerance than a person who is a teenager, consequently leading to more dehydration. However, when you’re younger your nights are truncated due to curfew and lack of hospitable options. On the other hand, older people find their ways to bars and prolong their drunken revelry, which most definitely exacerbates the soon-to-come hangover. When you’re confronted with adventurous, bar-hopping nights, you’ll be more susceptible to indulging in a combination of drinks (shots, beer, mixed drinks, wine, etc.) which inevitably delays the recovery method. Darker liquors usually provide more of a destructive hangover because of the toxic additives that are distilled into them.

I’m getting to the point (I’m pretty much there) where the pain of the hangover is outweighing the pleasure of the buzz. Pragmatically, it’s simply unwise to sacrifice a whole day of utter desolation for a couple of hours of euphoria. Although, as aware as we may be of this tormenting effect from alcohol, we’ll continue to imbibe as if it doesn’t matter. Because, in the end, we all desire that instant gratification, and we don’t care what’s to follow. We want want want…now now now. This is a microcosm of what’s wrong with society today, but who cares, right? We want to get drunk and have fun. True, indeed. That being said, I’m off to Miami this weekend for a 3-night bender and I’m wildly cognizant of the torture that will befall me on Sunday. But will that stop me? Nope, out of sight out of mind; it’s the only way we know.
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Three Reasons to Fall In Love With Exercise

Activity is better than dormancy. We’ve all been immersed by health and fitness commercials, reminding us of the importance of staying busy, physically and mentally. Here’s some concise insight on how exercise truly does benefit you…

 

1. You’ll live longer

Regularly exercising can extend your life up to seven years, and eating correctly can even bump up that number. Take heed at how many elders are incessantly burning calories in the gym, exploring the vestiges of virility they still have left in them. We all want to live as long as possible; what good is a successful life if you end yours early only because of the unwillingness to acquiesce to a healthy way of living? Whether it’s Crossfit, Pilates, yoga, basketball, tennis, lifting, walking, jogging, or spinning, any of these avenues of exercise will pay major dividends to having a longer life. It’s about putting in the time and staying faithful to your regiment. Leading a sedentary lifestyle is one that calls for the grave prematurely. Most of us are confined to a sitting position, which is the antithesis of being active and upbeat. Not only does our lack of posture awareness create back problems, but in general it’s hazardous to our health. Recent studies proclaim that even with good physical activity habits, remaining sedentary and on one’s butt for excessive hours can lead the way to death and disease. Physiologically, exercise can curtail muscle atrophy, improve the brain’s plasticity, and lessen cardiovascular risks just from allocating a scant 20 minutes a day to working out.

2. Boosts energy and lowers anxiety

When your body is in the midst of strenuous activity, the body’s oxygen circulation is maximally churning to dole out all the appropriate nutrients that get the body aroused; accruing a faster metabolism will instantly have you feeling your oats. The more adept you become at working out, the easier it will be, giving you the ability to maintain higher bouts of output for longer periods of time. This yields a better sex life, higher levels of concentration, and expands cognitive retention, which leads to more productivity in the workplace. Also, the increased release of endorphins keeps a worrying mind at ease. For example, in terms of depression, exercise acts as a therapeutic remedy when drifting off to the land of expending kinetic energy and stymieing the release of the daunting stress hormone “cortisol.”

3. Improves quality of life

Once you begin to fall in love with exercising you’ll instantly be bombarded by feelings of exuberance, higher self-esteem, and a rise in willpower. You’ll notice that you’re capable of things you once thought were not possible. A rigorous daily routine will keep your brain as sharp as a tack and your temperament will remain bright-eyed and bushy-tailed to tackle whatever it is you want to achieve in life. Keeping your brain highly active can stave off the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s. All the aforementioned qualities that you’ll develop lead to more happiness and less dissatisfaction with what one has accomplished. With a salubrious state of mind, you never feel burdened by feelings of stress, and can go through life with a clear vision of what to value. Things will suddenly fall in place because you pride yourself on remaining healthy. Good moods elicit creativity and better relationships regardless of any situation. Knowing that you thoroughly reduce your chances of disease elevates your state of wellness, and with a hale physique you can progress in many different domains of life.

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Photo Courtesy of Louis Crispo

Eating and Weight loss: Why It’s Unfair

           Wouldn’t it be nice to press a few buttons and simply transform into the desired weight you inputted? Nearly all of us have trouble gaining, losing, and maintaining weight—the latter two being my main focus. Everything we ingest comes at a price; that is, nothing slips by the bodily systems without instant inspection. Calories, which are measurements of energy, are calibrated meticulously throughout the anatomy. Any food you consume gets tallied up and is weighed against the calories you’ve expended, the results being how you appear in reality, in this dimension at least. Shedding pounds is a perennial battle against your own psyche, but you decide who comes out victorious. Nevertheless, we are constrained by the boundaries of our allotted willpower, physique, and metabolism—all of which we had no hand in creating. There are no free lunches in nature, and the old adage is correct:“You are what you eat.” All of the training you did before a holiday can fall by the wayside by a weekend of binge eating and drinking. Let me explain why all of this is unfair…

          Think about spending a tiresome 30 minutes on the treadmill. The treadmill exhausts (for a person weighing 200 pounds), depending on your basal metabolic rate (BMR) and body mass index (BMI), about 350 to 550 calories—let’s just say 450 for a point of comparison. Now, what is the equivalent in food and drink, you ask? Guzzling four Budweisers (12. oz., 143 cals.) would earn you more calories than the 450 you just arduously burned off. Any more than three crunchy tacos from Taco Bell (170 cals.) will have you regretting your decision immediately. Even a 12″ low-fat turkey breast sub on wheat bread from Subway catapults you to 560 calories. Six traditional medium wings (not including blue cheese) from Buffalo Wild Wings costs you 470 calories, which is absurd considering I’ve had over 35 in a sitting. Last but not least, the coveted Caesar salad is, on average, a whopping 500 calories. All of these are much larger than the exercise time of 30 minutes without factoring in the concomitant metabolic increase you’re subsequently faced with. A pound is equivalent to 3,500 calories, and you tell me what’s easier: eating 3,500 calories or burning 3,500 calories? The answer is a no-brainer; the former takes one tenth of the time, with 50 more smiles.

          Mentally, it is unrewarding, unnerving, and unfair when looking at it from this standpoint. We seem to be in the thrall of our willpower, also. I recently read a book titled You Are Now Less Dumb by David McRaney, and he expounded on the idea of “ego depletion.” Ego depletion is the exhaustible resource that is directly associated with willpower. For example, if you remain in abstaining from bad foods one day, you’ll be more inclined to falter the following day because that resource has been depleted. But willpower is similar to a muscle, in that it can be expanded through training. The next time you decide to eat healthy, notice how hard it is the following day to eat as nutritiously. Those who’ve honed this ability tend to be better at controlling their weight. Remarkably, Hollywood actor Christian Bale lost 62 pounds for his role in the film The Machinist, with a noxious diet consisting of black coffee and a can of tuna OR an apple every day. Although he’s incentivized by money and perfection, I’m sure his willpower is stronger than most of ours. Resisting that nagging urge to consume unhealthy food and managing the hunger pangs will pay huge dividends. Temptations interfere with our sense of self-control, only to lead us down the route to regret.

          Eating is a cinch; it’s a couple chews away from a swallow. This is the easiest, most rewarding task we face every day. Most people undertake the “sunk cost fallacy” when they’re in the midst of a meal, meaning that since they paid the money for something that’s either too low in quality or high in quantity, they must finish it because they paid for it. The cost of the meal is a sunk cost—you won’t get that back, so eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re full (or have gotten every dollar’s worth). If eating consisted of getting an electric shock per chew or you somehow had to run a government-mandated mile afterwards then I’m sure we’d all be in better shape. Obesity is plaguing our nation, and I think many people are just cowering from the intimidation of putting in the necessary work to lose the calories. Yes, it’s absolutely unfair how hard it is to get in shape versus how easy it is get out of a shape, but it takes time and consistent work—a lifestyle change. Overnight weight loss is illusory; focus on a realistic, long-term goal that will gradually bring you to your desired destination. Diet and exercise are the fundamentals of a healthy way of life. We must recognize this or continually be at war with ourselves.

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