Fasting for Health

I’m a big believer in fasting, not only as a way of losing body fat, but just as a therapeutic measure. There’s a whole body of research showing that just having a period of time where you body isn’t processing food is a great thing for your body. For quite a while I’ve just been doing a 16 hour fast, which isn’t difficult — just limit your period of eating from about 10AM to 6PM. I’ve also experimented with an 18 daily fast, which wasn’t hard, but I just didn’t see any beneficial results, so I backed off of that.

It’s the long fasts that are in a whole different spectrum. They are definitely beneficial, especially in moderation. There’s a lot of people that do it quarterly, or even yearly. Ranges vary from a 3 day fast to even a 5 to 7 day fast. The point is to reset your body and give it a chance to clean up some of the negative byproducts that build up over time: autophagy for the win. I was in India for work about 4 years ago and did my first long one, going about 5 days. It was easier than you’d think it would be, with the second day being a bit difficult, but then not being hungry at all. My energy levels were high, I got a lot of good exercise in, was sharp in the mind, etc. No issues.

This year, not so much. At the end of Holy Week this year, I tried to fast from after Holy Thursday Mass all the way to Easter Sunday — 3 days. Should have been fairly easy, but by Saturday morning I was feeling dizzy, clouded in the head, and just not feeling super great, so I cut it short. This last week I had to do about a 2 day fast due to a required medical procedure, and had the same issue. Not sure what’s going on, but I’m definitely going hold off for a bit.

I still encourage anyone out there to try it out. For more resources, check out the Zero app, which is a fast tracker, but also has lots of learning available, driven by Peter Attia, M.D., about as trusted name in Ancestral Health as you’re going to get. Dr. Jason Fung also has some fantastic books about fasting that go into the history and more of a deep dive into the science. Both are highly recommended!

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