Okay… so, fasting has been a thing since Ramadan, or the Old Testament in Chapter 34 of Exodus when Moses did not eat for 40 days and nights… suffice it to say, it’s been a L-O-N-G time.
People fast for a multitude of reasons. Political statement, to protest, or bring awareness to a cause… hunger strikes.
There are medical reasons to fast… it is one of the alternatives proven to reduce the DPP-4 level and activate the Dipeptidyl peptidase 4 inhibitors and therefore, prevent osteoporosis.
Since the mid 1970s alternative medicine has perpetuated ideas of cleansing the body through fasting. Once upon a lifetime, I was a follower of ‘Natural Hygiene’… I’m sure I still have the literature in boxes in my garage, but that’s an entirely different blog post…
There was a man named Herbert M. Shelton, born in 1895, who was an American naturopath, alternative medicine advocate, author, pacifist, vegetarian, and a supporter of rawism and fasting. He preached that cooking food denatures it, and that a healthy body has the ability to restore itself from illness without medical intervention. Shelton’s work is relevant as an early influence of the raw food movement
Shelton is credited with reviving the Natural Hygiene movement founded by Sylvester Graham. Interestingly enough, for people who might not know me so well… I started the process of getting my Doctorate of Natural Hygiene in the early 1990s. You have to imagine how hard it was to eat in those days… where as a vegetarian you would be considered a ‘freak show’!! I was a vegan who encouraged fasting for health reasons. I still believe the natural hygiene theory to be relevant but in the days of fast and convenient ‘everything’… not mainstream or easily followed.
It sounds so much worse than it is!! There are all sorts of popular diets and cleanse that encourage fasting to some degree. One of the most extreme cleanses I’ve attempted is the Master Cleanse… basically, you drink Lemonade with Maple Syrup and Cayenne Pepper for as long as you can manage.
There are other programs that use fasting as part of their weight-loss cleanse. Isagenix is one that I have done twice a year for more than 10 years. It tastes great, you can eat real food and have lasting results from it! I do the 9 day cleanse in the spring and fall and it feels amazing! The light at the end of the tunnel is always bright and you get to eat real food for 5 of the 9 days!
This is a concept that has been around for centuries! It has become most popular recently with the resurgence of the Keto Diet (which is not completely disengaged from the Atkins Diet or the Glycemic Diet or the HCG Diet – with the exception of the daily needles in the abdomen).
We ALL use intermittent fasting to some degree or another. For fat loss, it is recommended that you ‘fast’ for 16 hours and ‘eat’ for 8… or longer if have the capacity to avoid Anorexia. All things serious, we finish dinner and go to bed. We don’t eat again until we break ‘fast’, in the morning. It is a natural way of eating and if you play with the timing, it can be beneficial in fat loss. Your body will resort to burning stored fat while you are ‘fasting’ or in ketosis.
The Keto Diet is one that uses intermittent fasting as a key component of it’s plan. Further to the fasting you are encouraged to keep your carbs from 0-20 net grams per day. It is a high fat and low carb plan that quite frankly would resemble my ‘Dream Diet’ – LOL! It is a great one for a jump starter, in my opinion. You are guaranteed to lose weight if you follow it religiously, but as with every diet that eliminates and entire macronutrient (Atkins for example), you will regain the weight if you fall back into your regular eating habits. If you were to take a look at an 80s movement called Fit for Life by followers of Natural Hygiene originator, Shelton, they believe in food combining at every meal; protein with vegetables, vegetables with starchy carbs, never protein with starchy carbs. Skipping the Starchy carbs altogether and eating protein with vegetables, in the recommended amounts, resembles the Keto Diet… or the Atkins Diet.
There is a LOT more to Harvey and Marilyn Diamonds Fit for Life movement – which I followed faithfully for many years. (I still have the Fit for Life Kitchen Cookbook – FULL of amazing information if anyone is interested… actually I’m interested in revisiting it. I may do another post on that one I think it started a lot of the common diet theories/ways) I believe it was where juicing originated; you were only allowed to eat fruit/juice in the early morning hours and never with anything else. Further, food was categorized into Living and Dead (I know, dramatic). Living foods were considered fruits and vegetables, preferably eaten raw; and Dead foods were foods that ‘rot’ in your belly… meat for example. No dairy foods should ever be eaten; Water should never be drunk at meals; and one day each week (the same day every week) is a free day, when the individual can eat whatever he or she wants… origination of a ‘cheat day’. If you look hard at even the small amount of information I’ve supplied… this was being vegan. Long before THAT was a mainstream thing.
There is nothing saying that you can’t combine ‘theories’ to create a more balanced lifestyle to suit your needs, I truly believe that ALL modern diets have their basis in the same things.
Here’s a thought… I think diets are kinda like religions. While they all claim to be the best and have their own ‘rules’, fundamentally, they all originate from the same place and want the same thing. – Shaun
I have used the Isagenix Cleanse with Intermittent Fasting. You finish your 400-600 calorie meal before 7pm, and have a Cleanse Drink before bed… have another Cleanse drink when you wake, a shake at Lunch and finish your day with your 400-600 calorie meal (being reasonable of course, don’t go having a Big Mac!)
Bottom line… fasting sounds so much scarier than it is and I truly believe it has a place in a healthy lifestyle! Suit yourself though… Big Macs are tasty if you’re not concerned about health.