If a website, healing practice, group, or any place that promotes health does not discuss fasting, it cannot be considered credible. Fasting has various forms and benefits and is a widespread practice in every country, culture, and religion worldwide.
The term “fasting” comes from Old English “fæstan,” which means to hold firmly. This practice requires significant willpower and determination, but it’s worth it. Fasting is a prevalent practice in today’s world for religious, spiritual, or health reasons.
People practice religious/spiritual fasting to increase gratitude, develop understanding, self-discipline, and grow closer to God/consciousness. As a result, the main challenge lies in the mind, and following specific rules is the primary practice. For instance, during Lent, Christians give up something they enjoy, which requires willpower and increases gratitude when they can enjoy it again.
During Ramadan, Muslims fast by not eating or drinking when the sun is up. This requires willpower and provides intermittent fasting health benefits, leading us to the health benefits of fasting.
When your body burns its own fat stores, the liver converts the fats into ketone bodies, like acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate. Your cells use these ketones as fuel, leading to increased mental clarity and focus, as well as reduced hunger. This also has numerous positive effects, such as reducing seizures in people with epilepsy or other neurological issues. Some people have even managed to completely resolve their disease with a ketogenic diet and fasting alone .
Autophagy comes from the words “auto” (self) and “phagy” (eating), which refers to the process in which cells consume organelles and other compounds within themselves for fuel and nutrients, like cleaning a room. Healthier cells have an easier time functioning in a clean environment, just as we do in a clean room.
Apoptosis is a programmed and organized form of cell death that should occur naturally in unhealthy cells. However, with some diseases like cancer, unhealthy cells continue to replicate. Many people have reported improving their cancer through fasting, and apoptosis is likely a key factor.
Burning Fat and Weight Loss
This practice can lead to weight loss, but that’s not the only benefit of burning fat. When body fat is burned, fat-soluble toxins like xenoestrogenic compounds (e.g., mycotoxins and plastics), heavy metals, and pesticides are released and excreted through detoxification. During this process, you may experience increased fatigue and a worsening of preexisting health issues, as your body is working on a backlog of tasks without the added burden of digesting food. It’s important to be patient and rest as much as possible.
Human Growth Hormone
This practice is well-documented to increase human growth hormone secretion, which has potent anti-aging properties. Some people pay thousands of dollars for hGH injections, but you can achieve the same effect by simply not eating. Who says healthcare has to be expensive?
Types of Fasting
Fasting has numerous documented health benefits, as well as many others that are likely undocumented. With this knowledge, we can now delve into the different types of this practice and how to utilize them.
A liquid fast means consuming only liquids, without any solid food. It is more effective if all the fiber is removed, allowing the bowels to rest, which can be helpful for those with poor digestion. Fresh vegetable juice, broths, and healthy fats like coconut oil and butter can still be consumed. Fats, especially raw egg yolks, can be particularly useful for nutrition. However, this type of fast will not promote autophagy and apoptosis as calories are still consumed. Nevertheless, liquid meals have their own benefits.
Juice fasting is a more challenging method of this practice. It’s important to avoid high sugar content as blood sugar spikes can be detrimental to the health benefits. Therefore, it’s advised to avoid fruits and higher sugar vegetables such as carrots, cucumbers, and peppers. Personally, I have experienced the benefits of juice fasting for up to 5 days, and it has made a significant difference in my health. Juicing vegetables provides nutrients, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that can cleanse the body. However, these cleansing compounds can make the transition to ketosis more difficult as fat-soluble toxins are released, which may cause feelings of sluggishness and irritability.
Water fasting is the next level of difficulty and it can be challenging due to societal norms of frequent eating. This type of fast involves only consuming water and can be physically and mentally taxing. It is generally considered safe, but for those who are new, severely ill, or lack confidence, a fasting retreat with monitoring may be beneficial.
Lastly, there is dry fasting, which means no food or water. Hard dry fasting even excludes brushing teeth and showering, to avoid any contact with water. This type of fast is not recommended for beginners and should be done under supervision. However, dry fasting has a unique benefit: the body breaks down fat cells for water, leading to extreme fat burning and weight loss.
Intermittent fasting is a type of fast that has its own benefits. It is not exactly fasting, but more like a change in eating habits. It involves reducing your eating window to create a longer fasting period. For example, instead of eating from 8am to 10pm, you can eat from 8am to 5pm, providing a 15-hour fasting window. This gives your body a break from digestion and allows it to focus on other important tasks. While the benefits are not as significant as longer duration fasts, it can still increase autophagy and is much easier to implement into your daily routine.