There’s a lot of hype about Fasting (including Intermittent Fasting, or “IF”, and even “restricted eating”) lately. I mean, if you haven’t at least HEARD of it, you might be living under a rock with no wifi…in which case, good for you! Hahaha!
If you need a brief nutshell summary of Fasting, IF and restricted eating, it’s basically where you only eat for a certain block of the day, and don’t eat for the other block of the day. Here are some types and what they are:
Don’t eat for 16 hours, restrict any eating during the 8 hour block
Eat normally for 5 days of the week, and either don’t eat at all or restrict calories to 500-600/day on those 2 days. You can spread out those 2 days, or block them together. Usually, they’re non-consecutive days, evenly spread out, like Monday and Thursday, or Tuesday and Friday.
Alternate Day Fasting
Don’t eat every other day.
Only eat and drink when the sun is sleeping. If the sun is out, no food or drink. Some do this every day, some do this once or twice a week.
And then there are two basic categories of fasting: Water Fasting and Dry Fasting.
Water fasting means that during the time that you don’t eat, you can only drink water. You can put some salt in your water for minerals, but nothing else. Some people get pretty strict about it (water only), whereas others are a bit lax (coffee/tea allowed, just no calories). There are different benefits of each, depending on what your goals are. Some do it for cellular cleanup and regenerative purposes, some do it for weight loss.
Dry fasting is when you don’t eat OR drink anything, including water. It’s a much harsher fast, but has quicker and (arguably) better results for cellular cleanup/regenerative purposes. Not really recommended for weight loss, since it puts your body in survival mode, so can mess with your system if you’re not ready for it.
Here’s another type of fasting that most people don’t know about:
So all the previously mentioned types of fasting are actually forms of Nutrient Fasting, meaning you restrict the intake of nutrients in various time blocks. Digestive Fasting is when you restrict your upper digestive system’s time block of doing work, despite when you intake nutrients. Usually, this is done via powders and liquids. For example, taking a green drink or protein drink made with powders is easily absorbable by the intestines, but your stomach doesn’t have to do anything, so it all goes straight to the intestines to get absorbed. That’s intaking nutrients, but not using your upper digestive tract. Your mouth didn’t need to chew to break anything down, and your stomach didn’t have to break anything down via acid and churning. So those things are still in a “resting” state.
Your brain can get pretty confused by this.
Naturally, humans are supposed to activate the ENTIRE digestive system, including mouth and stomach) when getting nutrients. Doing otherwise may confuse the natural process of digestion, nutrient absorption, AND metabolism (read: unexplained weight gain)!!
Meaning….if you are doing something unnatural to a natural system consistently or for long enough, you can disrupt how the rest of your body works.
Kind of like how we (as a society) have grown to keep lights on past sundown….and therefore many people have sleeping issues and are tired during the day because their circadian cycle is off. Just dimming the lights and eliminating blue and white lights past sundown can make a HUGE difference!
Here’s where this can turn on a lightbulb for some people:
If you’ve gone for a while without having solids for breakfast or dinner, but perhaps only having a shake, green drink, coffee, etc, and you have unexplained weight gain, are experiencing chills or being cold often, mental performance issues, can not eat all day and be fine despite not doing that regularly, inability to sweat like a normal person (similar to hypothyroidism symptoms!), you might need to start including your upper digestive tract in your nutrient intake times. Even if it’s a piece of fruit with your green drink in the morning, or a few bites of chicken with your shake at night, that’s all you need.
And cut out the snacking. Your digestive system is supposed to have a couple breaks during the day, not constantly work for 8-12 hours. Nobody likes to be overworked.
Also keep in mind that the more strict you are with that, scientifically you’ll be doing better. But that doesn’t consider mental sanity (super important)….so yes, you can snack ONCE in a WHILE, and perhaps eat your dinner a little later one day a week….but don’t make a habit out of it. Also don’t beat yourself up over it. Enjoy it, and get back to your regularly scheduled program. Remember, we’re going for LIFESTYLE, not unsustainable fad diets.
All in all, just get back to being a natural human, doing natural things. Convenience items for survival are literally that: for survival. If you want to THRIVE, go back to being a natural human. Eat real food, Play, Move, Figure Stuff Out, Create, Sleep when it’s dark, Get Sun, and occasionally Sleep under the Stars.
Have you noticed some weird symptoms and are fasting in some way? Try matching your digestive schedule with your nutrient schedule and let me know how it works for you in a few weeks!
Best in Health and Happiness,