The Top 6 Reasons to Fast – Episode 42

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Join us today as we take a deeper dive into fasting, our personal experiences with fasting, six solid reasons to consider fasting, things to look out for to ensure you fast safely, and some other good tips and tricks to help you on your journey to health.

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Empowering you Organically – Season 6 – Episode 42
Title: The Top 6 Reasons to Fast
Hosts: Jonathan Hunsaker, TeriAnn Trevenen
Guest: None
Description: Join us today as we take a deeper dive into fasting, our personal experiences with fasting, six solid reasons to consider fasting, things to look out for to ensure you fast safely, and some other good tips and tricks to help you on your journey to health.

* * *

What Is Fasting?

  • Fasting is the abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time.
  • An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period.
  • See our previous episode, Fasting: Healthy or Harmful? – Episode 40, on fasting for more information.

Jonathan’s Experience with Fasting

  • Tried different fasts.
    • NOMAD – No Meals A Day
    • OMAD – One Meal A Day
    • Extended water fasts
    • Intermittent fasting
  • Initially motivated by wanting to lose weight.
  • Didn’t initially know all the benefits of fasting.
  • First extended water fast was early 2019.
    • “I ran the most miles I’d ever ran in a week the same time that I did that water fast, and kind of pushed my body to some new limits.”

Words of Caution

  • Women may want to start with short fasts as extended fasting may wreak havoc on female hormones.
  • Listen to your body.
  • If you have health issues, or you’re concerned about fasting or what it will do to your body, consult your physician.
  • Each person is unique, and you need to do what works best for you, and that’s going to look a little different from the person sitting next to you, or maybe it will look a lot different than the person sitting next to you. You really have to get in tune with your own body.
  • Women who are pregnant or people who have diabetes, hypertension or other serious medical conditions, should be very cautious and careful when considering a fast. Always consult with your doctor or your health practitioner first.

Fasting Is Also Psychological/Mental

  • Psychologically, I’m hungry. Psychologically, I need food. Psychologically, you’re getting “hangry.”
  • Consider just drinking some water. It may will fix all of that.
  • It’s being present in your mind.

Benefits of Fasting

  1. Reset the internal clocks.
    1. We have clocks in our bodies, and originally, we knew of the circadian rhythm clock that controls our wake/sleep cycles. Each of the trillions of cells in our bodies have a tiny internal clock as well.
    2. Fortunately, there may be a simple way to reset those clocks if they get off rhythm: fasting.
  2. Fasting increases gene expression for longevity and health span.
    1. Research has found that short bouts of fasting increased lifespan up to 100% across multiple organisms (bacteria, yeast, worms, mice).
    2. Fasting flips a lot of switches, and this can affect aging and longevity pretty drastically.
  3. It’s an efficient way to lose weight.
    1. Research has found that in almost every organism, short bouts of fasting increases the life span. Studies show restricting calories increases life span.
    2. We have an insulin response every time we eat. As that happens, it does slow down our base metabolic rate over time.
  4. It’s a great way to lower insulin. * Diabetics should consult their physician before fasting.
    1. If there’s no food coming in, there is no need for insulin to rise. Insulin will stay at its low, steady basal rate, and there will be no elevations or spikes.
  5. Purges cancerous and pre-cancerous cells.
    1. Cancer cells get their energy from lactic acid, essentially from a breakdown of carbohydrate into glucose into pyruvate into lactic acid, also known as sugar.
    2. They are starving little monsters that need to eat and divide constantly. If you take away their food supply, they die.
  6. It promotes autophagy.
    1. Definition: the cellular self-cleansing process that breaks down and recycles damaged molecules and cellular organelles
    2. During the fasted state, as insulin drops, autophagy increases dramatically, perhaps 5-fold.
    3. A high rate of autophagy is characteristic of young organisms; with aging, autophagy decreases, and this allows cellular damage to accumulate. By fasting intermittently, autophagy rates can be reset to that of a younger person.
    4. The decline of autophagy may be an important factor in the rise of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and other disorders that become common in old age. Unable to clear away the cellular garbage, our bodies start to fail.

TeriAnn’s Advice “To complement fasting, if you’re going to make this part of your way of life and your health journey, do yourself a favor and eat healthy food, too. That’s really what’s going to get you the best bang for your buck, is the fasting coupled with living a really healthy lifestyle.”

Types of Fasts

  • Intermittent fasting
    • 18/6 – fast for 18 hours per day, feed for 6 hours per day
    • 16/8 – fast for 16 hours per day, feed for 8 hours per day
    • If you do intermittent fasting, you do a 16/8 or 20/4, something like that, plan your one meal to be with your family. Make it easy.
    • A lot of research shows that you should stop eating a significant amount of time before you go to bed, and then let your body go all night without food.
    • You may just choose to do that one week every month.
    • You may choose to do it every other day.
  • Dinner-to-dinner fast
    • You don’t eat Saturday night—or you eat dinner Saturday night and you don’t eat again until Sunday night, and you do that once a month.
  • Dry fasting
    • With dry fasting, we start going a little down the path that may not be the place to go all by yourself without some sort of supervision.
  • Fasting-mimicking diet
    • A five-day fast, where it’s a calorie restriction. I think day one, you have about 700-800 calories, and then day two through five, you keep it under 500 calories.
    • I think it’s safer for women in terms of hormones staying balanced and staying in check, and things like that.

Jonathan’s Advice

  • Do it. Try it. See how your body responds.
  • Get your electrolytes in. Make sure you’re getting your magnesium, your potassium and your sodium. You can get salt pills from Amazon.com. Or you can just add some pink Himalayan salt in your water.

Deeper Dive Resources

Empowering You Organically Podcast on Fasting
http://oxprod.organixx.com/empowering-you-organically/fasting-healthy-or-harmful-episode-40/

Berkey Water Filters

https://www.berkeywater.com/

NOMAD Diet
https://roamstrong.com/the-nomad-diet/

OMAD Diet
https://www.health.com/weight-loss/omad-diet

Our Internal Clocks
https://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/basics/clockgenes/

The Complete Guide to Fasting with Jason Fong
https://amzn.to/2LJGFDs

Berkey Water Filter
https://www.berkeywaterfilter.com/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIv8GGyviW4wIVy8DICh3qUwr3EAAYASAAEgJODfD_BwE

Ketogenic Diet
https://www.webmd.com/diet/ss/slideshow-ketogenic-diet

Research on Eating Before Bed
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425165/

Research on Fasting and Increased Lifespan
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5988561/

Longo, Valter D., and Mark P. Mattson. “Fasting: Molecular Mechanisms and Clinical Applications.” Cell metabolism 19.2 (2014): 181–192. PMC. Web. 25 Jan. 2017.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24440038

Fasting Imparts a Switch to Alternative Daily Pathways in Liver and Muscle
https://www.cell.com/cell-reports/fulltext/S2211-1247(18)31868-0?_returnURL=https%3A%2F%2Flinkinghub.elsevier.com%2Fretrieve%2Fpii%2FS2211124718318680%3Fshowall%3Dtrue

Self-Destructive Behavior in Cells May Hold Key to a Longer Life
https://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/science/06cell.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1

Diet Review: Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss
https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/healthy-weight/diet-reviews/intermittent-fasting/

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 Jonathan Hunsaker: Welcome, everyone, to another episode of Empowering You Organically. I’m joined by my cohost, TeriAnn Trevenen.

TeriAnn Trevenen: Hey, everyone!

Jonathan Hunsaker: And of course, I’m Jonathan Hunsaker. Today, we are talking about fasting. We already did a part 1 to understand fasting and water fasting. Today, we’re just going to dive a little bit deeper. We don’t have a special guest today, just TeriAnn and I are going to shoot the breeze and talk about fasting, our experiences with fasting, give you guys some reasons to fast, some things to look out for to make sure that you fast safely, and just some other good tips and tricks to help you on your journey to health.

So, TeriAnn, tell us, what is fasting?

TeriAnn Trevenen: Well, so first of all, before we jump into this, we, in our last podcast, we talked about the fact that fasting and the trend of fasting is on the rise. A lot of people are getting into it, a lot of people are doing it. And that’s what we’re talking about today, the benefits around fasting.

But fasting is the abstinence or reduction from some or all food, drink, or both, for a period of time. An absolute fast or dry fasting is normally defined as abstinence from all food and liquid for a defined period.

There’s a lot of different ways that people are fasting. We talked about that in the last podcast. We didn’t even cover all the ways that some people are fasting. Some people will fast for only a few-hour break in the morning and stay away from food, and then they’ll start eating in the afternoon. Some people will fast for 12 hours, some people will fast for a few days. Sometimes, they are water fasting. Some people are dry fasting.

There’s just all these different ways to do it. So, you can go back and check out our last podcast and listen more on it. And of course, we’ll link all of the information that we talked about there, the research and things behind it, so you can learn even more about it. But today, we’re going to talk about the benefits to fasting.

Before we jump into it, we talked about this last time, but Jonathan’s had a lot of experience with fasting lately, so why don’t you, before we jump into it, why don’t you just touch on that really quickly again for our listeners, just very briefly what you’ve been doing and how fasting is a part of your health journey?

Jonathan Hunsaker: Yeah, absolutely. So, I’ve done a lot of different fasts. So, I’ve done NOMAD, OMAD, extended water fasts. So, NOMAD is No Meals A Day, OMAD is One Meal A Day. Extended water fasting, I’ve done intermittent fasting, which you’ll hear 18/6 or 16/8. That pretty much means the first number, the bigger number, is how many hours you don’t eat, and then you have a feeding window, so you only feed for six hours, you only feed for eight hours every single day.

A lot of that, I started on my journey when I was looking at losing weight, right? And that was the initial motivation, but then as I got into it more and I started researching more, I started realizing all the other benefits to it, from apophagy, from just giving your digestive system a break to allow that energy to go to other places in your body to heal other parts of your body, to now even doing it to increase my human growth hormone, production at the end of a fast, which helps if I’m looking at lifting weights or things like that.

So, there’s so many different benefits to fasting that I didn’t know most of them when I went down the rabbit hole. I just started with a, “Hey, let’s do some fasting,” right? “If the problem has been too much food, let’s see if the solution is let’s have not as much food.”

And then, as I just learned more and I tried more and I tried more with my body, I just—the rabbit hole went deep, and I’ve loved the journey. Now, one thing I will say, and I just want to give a precaution out there, especially for women listeners, is there’s a lot of talk lately about extended water fasts.

And I think they’re phenomenal, but I think you have to be careful. I would really start with shorter fasts for women. It can really wreak havoc on your hormones. So, don’t set out right away to do a 72-hour water fast, don’t go for the five-day water fast. Start with doing some 16/8, some 18/6, even some 20/4 or some OMAD, some One Meal A Day. Get your body used to that, and then try out some longer water fasts if you’re going to go that route.

But really, you have to listen to your body. This is a time that you can’t ignore your body. This isn’t a time to just say, “Oh, well, that will go away.” Listen. And feel how your body is reacting. Feel how it’s responding.

Now, it is challenging, because you have to get past the psychological challenge of not eating food, right? So, psychologically, I’m hungry. Psychologically, I need food. Psychologically, you’re getting “hangry.” That’s psychological stuff, right? And consider just drinking some water will fix all of that. So, but you do have to listen to your body.

And I will say water fasting has been probably the closest thing to some spiritual journeys that I’ve been on in my life. And so, my first extended water fast was earlier this year. [0:05:58] I did a five-day water fast and I decided, “Hey, let’s run every morning, too.” And I ran the most miles I’d ever ran in a week the same time that I did that water fast, and kind of pushed my body to some new limits. And so, I can’t say enough positive things about water fasting, and I want to say, do it smart and do it safe.

TeriAnn Trevenen: Awesome. Yeah, and as always, you know, we talked about this last time, but this is one area where don’t take it lightly in making decisions. Like if you have health issues, or you’re concerned about fasting or what it will do to your body, consult nutrition, nutritionists, functional medicine doctors, your doctor.

Like you need to be educated and well-researched when it goes along with fasting and bringing that into your health journey.

So, let’s get into some of the top reasons to fast today. The first one is reset the internal clocks. We have clocks in our bodies, and originally, we knew of the circadian rhythm clock that controls our wake/sleep cycles. So, that’s one aspect of the internal clocks in our bodies. But also, each of the trillions of cells in our bodies have a tiny internal clock.

When all the clocks are synchronized, they tell us when to wake up, burn calories, and go to sleep. But when they lose their beat, we become vulnerable to all sorts of aging-related diseases. One of the things they talk about when it comes to this is to reset those clocks and get yourself back on track is fasting. It’s crucial to each and every one of the clocks in every cell in the body stay somewhat in time with one another.

If the clocks become misaligned, can cause a number of metabolic disorders, or inflammatory responses. So, super interesting, and one of the things about fasting, is you’re throwing your body out of a rhythm, you’re changing up what you’re doing. That’s one of the benefits to fasting and getting your clock back on track or resetting it, is throwing your body into something it’s not used to. And so, that’s one aspect and one thing that’s a huge benefit of fasting. Any thoughts on that, Jon?

Jonathan Hunsaker: It’s interesting. I haven’t played with it a whole lot, with fasting, with travel, but I follow people that do. I listen to podcasts of people that really, that are traveling back and forth from East to West Coast, things like that. They’re using fasting a lot to make sure that their body gets over the jetlag almost instantly.

So, whether that’s fasting the entire travel day so that you sleep and then you wake up and eat, and you’re kind of back on that rhythm, or you fast all day and you only have dinner once you hit your destination and you eat at dinnertime, which is the time that the sun is going down. So, it’s very interesting what we’re learning a lot more of, timing our meals and when do we eat? And that can help reset everything inside of your internal clock for traveling.

TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah, well, and to go along with that, that’s a good segue into our number two on the list, which is fasting increases gene expression for longevity and health span. So, we talked about the internal clocks and resetting everything, how there’s metabolic aspects of our body, and inflammatory responses in our body, for those clocks being off.

And some of the things that it talked about, the benefits are aging-related, sleeping better, all of those things. Well, with fasting, increasing your gene expression, or your longevity goes hand in hand with that. It’s keeping your—it’s putting your body in a place where it gives you an advantage on your health span in your life, and aging, and it really ties back to, if you think about it, those internal clocks and those things in your body being reset and throwing your body into a different—into a different rhythm, into a different schedule, and resetting it in that way.

So, it’s another benefit that adds onto what we’re already talking about. Gene expression, longevity, and health span, all having to do with our aging and our body staying healthy throughout our lifetime.

Jonathan Hunsaker: Yeah, I mean we do a lot of stuff that really messes with our rhythm and our natural rhythm, right? And the invention of electricity is one of them. Before electricity, when it got dark, everybody started winding down, and you went to bed, and you were relaxed all night, until it got light again in the morning.

Nowadays, we have lights that stay on, that keep us up later at night, we watch TV or we’re on our iPhones or iPads that emit the blue light, that now, it actually stimulates you, and now, you’re up even more and you can’t sleep as much. So, there’s all of these things that take us out of that regular rhythm of life, that would be healthier for us, that would allow us to live longer, allows our bodies to repair better.

But you talk about longevity, you talk about health span. And research has found that in almost every organism, short bouts of fasting increases the life span. And we’re learning this more and more, and it’s not just—I would venture to say it’s not just the fasting, but it’s the caloric restriction. We have a lot of studies and a lot of examples where restricting calories increases life span.

And one of the best ways to restrict calories is just restricting when you’re consuming food. So, if you want to do a 16/8, or an 18/6, and you want your caloric intake to be at 1,200 for the day, it’s much easier when you just limit your feeding time from six hours, or four hours. Then, you can have a really big, fulfilling meal, and not feel like you’re just—you’re never getting full, which can happen.

As people do calorie restriction diets, you start feeling like “I can never be full. I can never eat enough. I’m just only supposed to eat a little bit.” And then we’re told, “Well, eat six times a day.” Well, we eat six times a day, and now, we’re having this insulin response, this hormonal response every time we eat, and it’s unnecessary.

If you’re trying to do a lower-caloric diet for longevity, for weight loss, or anything like that, fasting is by far the simplest and easiest way to do it, and you can have a big old meal guilt-free. The difference is changing our mindset, the difference is understanding that you’re not usually hungry, you’re really thirsty.

And so, biologically, we are—we seek out food to extract the moisture from it when we’re thirsty, when we feel dehydrated. Well, we’re not out living in the wild anymore. We can just go over to the faucet and turn it on or go to your Berkey and just drink some water. You don’t need to eat the food to get the moisture out of it to get the hydration.

So, I’m going to go on a lot of tangents, because I love fasting, as you can see, so pull me back in if I go too far. But really, I mean for longevity, for health span, fast—caloric restriction is proven to be phenomenal, and I think fasting is the easiest way to have caloric restriction.

TeriAnn Trevenen: Sure. I’m going to make a little side note. You just talked about Berkey water, and people are going to be like “What is that?” Berkey is a water filtration system that filters out fluoride and toxins in your body. A lot of people we work with have them. I have one. We’re not going to talk about it on this podcast, but we’ll put a link in the notes to it.

And they’re really, really good water filtration systems, totally random side note. But yes, they’re awesome. So, what you were just talking about leads really well into tip number three, or benefit number three for fasting, which is it’s an efficient way to lose weight. Chronic calorie restriction doesn’t work long-term since it forces our bodies to reduce our resting metabolic rate, thus, stalling weight loss and increasing frustration.

Intermittent calorie restriction, on the other hand, allows for weight loss without changing our resting metabolic rate, the key to healthy and successful long-term weight loss, which is why we’re now going into the intermittent fasting thing. Intermittent fasting is probably the most popular form of fasting right now, and what a lot of people are doing.

Jonathan Hunsaker: Absolutely. I mean again, it’s that nibbling on stuff all throughout the day, constantly nibbling on a little bit of food and keeping those calories down, it gives an insulin response. It’s a hormonal response. And so, as that happens, it does slow down our base metabolic rate over time, this caloric restriction, that insulin response.

But if you’re doing intermittent fasting, and you’re actually getting a big meal, or two big meals a day, I mean I love OMAD, One Meal A Day, but two good meals a day during a six-hour feeding window is phenomenal. You have 18 hours of no insulin response, your base metabolic rate is not going to decrease, and you’re still going to be 1,200-1,500 calories if you’re going for a restriction side of it.

And listen, I mean ask any kid, “How do you get fat?” “When you eat too much.” Right? So, ask any kid, “How would you get skinny?” “Well, don’t eat as much.” Right? And quite frankly, I hate to say it that way, but it is that simple to a certain extent. And I think, yeah, I think intermittent fasting allows us to do that without feeling totally deprived.

And I think that that’s a lot of times the challenge. Oh, I go out to dinner with my friends, or what happens every night when I have dinner with the kids and the family, and we sit down to eat? And if I don’t eat, “Daddy, why aren’t you eating?” Now I’ve got to explain to my four-year-old why I’m not eating food and I’m just drinking water? It becomes a constant battle.

But if you do intermittent fasting, you do a 16/8 or 20/4, something like that, plan your one meal to be with your family. Make it easy. Maybe you go and you just work all day with no food and you just drink water. Then you get to come home and eat and be with the family for those four, six, eight hours that you’re feeding, and it just makes it easier in that sense as well.

TeriAnn Trevenen: Well, and even if you’re not doing the short, those short time spans, where you’re eating, just the fact that when you were talking about that, that made me think about we live in a society now where food is everywhere, and people are eating later and later. Like really, a lot of research shows that you should stop eating a significant amount of time before you go to bed, and then let your body go all night without food.

And so, that’s not necessarily intermittent fasting, but our bodies are meant to take a break from food. But more and more in this day and age, it’s like we’re eating at 8:00, 9:00, 10:00, 11:00, then we have a midnight snack, because food’s everywhere. We want to run by the fast food place, we want to eat food out of the pantry.

It’s like it’s everywhere. Food is, it’s like on the TV staring at us while we’re watching our shows. I mean it’s just everywhere. And our bodies are meant to go a certain period of time without food to reset and all of that. And this is just a next step, a next level of resetting your body with calorie restriction in a different way.

So, it’s definitely powerful. You touched on insulin, which is actually benefit number four. It’s a great way to lower insulin. If there’s no food coming in, there is no need for insulin to rise. Insulin will stay at its low, steady basal rate, and there will be no elevations or spikes. That keeps the area under the curve, low rate, where we want it. So, you had been touching on that, I mean, but that is one of our health benefits.

Jonathan Hunsaker: Absolutely. And I want to be careful going into the insulin conversation, just because there are people that are diabetic. There’s different health risks that go there. And I’m not a doctor, right? I just know from what I’ve learned and what I’ve studied.

And so, I’m not going to go too deep into that tip, other than Dr. Fong’s book, and I’m going to turn around and see if I can see it right on the shelf, The Complete Guide to Fasting with Jason Fong. He talks a lot about it, and he talks about the constant insulin response that we have, and is that the issue? Right?

Not necessarily even the foods that we’re eating, but it’s that we’re eating all the time. That constant insulin release never allows your body to truly heal, because it’s got that insulin constantly being released out there.

And it takes me actually backwards to what you were talking about a second ago, and I’m trying to think if it’s going to come to me right away, but you were just talking about there being food everywhere, and the constant need to eat and all of that. And oh—and stopping eating at a certain time. So much of our energy goes to digesting food, right?

And if you’re eating all day long, all the time, most of your energy is going to go to digesting that food. Well, consider 16 or 18 hours with no food, and all that energy that your body has can go to healing your body. You have different things going on inside of your body that now, your body can go and heal. Just having more energy period.

I mean I find a lot of people get rid of that afternoon crash, they can put the coffee down, all of that, because we’re no longer sending all of our energy to digest this food that we’re eating from the day—from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to bed. It’s also why I believe it’s healthier to stop eating a few hours before you go to bed, because when you go to sleep, that’s another regenerative time for your body to heal and get better.

Well, if you just packed it full of some junk food or McDonald’s or French fries, and you go to sleep an hour later, your body’s going to spend the next four or five hours just trying to process that food. Then, you wake up two hours after that, and your body’s had no time to heal. It’s had no time to rest, because it’s constantly digesting all night long and taking up all of your energy.

So, I think we really have to reevaluate how we approach food in our lives. And if you don’t think food is everywhere, go drive around on day one of a water fast. And I will promise you that you will see food in places you never knew food was there screaming at you.

TeriAnn Trevenen: I mean it’s everywhere. It’s on the billboards, it’s our commercials, it’s like getting sent home with our kids from school. It’s just every corner is a gas station, and it’s just everywhere. It’s all we think about. And you know, there’s so much research behind the fact that food’s very psychological and emotional, too.

And so, fasting, it’s interesting, because fasting’s not just something that’s resetting your internal clocks from a physiological perspective, but thinking down the rabbit hole of like also your mind and your emotions are tied to the physical aspect of your body, and resetting your body and retraining your body and your mind.

Like if you’re on a certain path and a certain track with food, it’s not just about like “Oh, I’m going to eat like this.” Like you have to literally retrain your body and your mind to eat and live a certain way, and it’s not like a one-hit wonder, where it’s like one day you’re doing it, and that’s just it. And fasting is a great way to also reset yourself in that way, I think, to really cleanse your body, to really give your body that break and start fresh.

So, it’s, yeah, very interesting, and food is everywhere. It’s a huge problem in our society, and we don’t eat in intentional ways. We just eat to eat, all the time. And intentional eating and intentional living is proven to have far better results than just going with what we think we need right in that moment. And I think you made a really good point earlier, too.

Oftentimes, we’re not even really hungry, we’re really thirsty. There’s not only in liquid form, in wanting water or whatever it is that we drink, but also, it comes in the form of food. It’s why we want food and things like that. And so, it’s like really training your brain in that, too. “Am I really hungry or am I not hungry?”

And I think fasting not only from a physical side of things, helps you, but also, helps you to be more mindful of how you truly feel. And like I would encourage people, when I’ve done some types of fasting in the past, when you come off of it, think about it. How do you feel? What do you really need?

Be intentional with your fasting if you’re going to fast and go down this road, but also, be intentional with how you are when you come off of the fasting, how does your body feel? What does it feel like right now? What does it feel going back into certain foods and things after you’re done fasting? So, it’s all, not only just physical, but a mental process, too.

Benefit number five. Purges cancerous and pre-cancerous cells. Cancer cells get their energy from lactic acid, essentially from a breakdown of carbohydrate into glucose into pyruvate into lactic acid, also known as sugar. They are starving little monsters that need to eat and divide constantly. If you take away their food supply, they die.

So, obviously, with fasting, you can see why this would be a benefit. With all the things we’ve talked about, resetting your body and all of those things, like it’s taking a break for your body, it’s resetting your body, and it’s giving your body a chance to purge all of that yucky junk out of your body. That’s the only way to say it. Toxins, all the sugar, all of the gross stuff that we pile up in our bodies from the food that we’re eating.

Jonathan Hunsaker: Well, and a lot of this is the basis behind using the ketogenic diet to heal from cancer. And there’s controversy around it. I’m not going to say one way or the other. But the idea is, is that if you’re—if there’s no sugar there, if there’s no glucose, then the cancer has nothing to eat, and so, it is going to die.

And I think for some cancers, that is true. And I think for some people, that is true. I don’t believe that keto is for everybody, I don’t think keto heals everything in the world. I think we’re learning about it. One thing that is interesting, though, is your body can go into slight ketosis on a 16 or 18-hour fast, especially after your body gets used to doing that for a while.

That, I do think is healthy. I don’t necessarily think that a keto diet for the rest of your life is sustainable, especially if you’re looking to build muscle, if you’re looking to do other things. And trust me, I’ve read all this stuff. I know there’s arguments both ways. So, if you’re listening, shaking your head, just understand that I feel like there’s a perfect solution for everybody.

So, if it works for you, awesome. But I do think there’s a lot of health in our bodies being able to switch from fuel sources, being able to use fat for fuel, and ketones, and feeding the brain with ketones. I think you’ll be really surprised, if you haven’t intermittent fasted before, how much more alert you are at hour 16 of your fast, 18 of your fast, before you refeed.

And it’s your body’s creating ketones, and your mind loves ketones as a primary source of fuel. So, I say all that to say that yes, I mean restricting that insulin response, restricting that sugar intake for just 16 hours a day, 18 hours a day, allows your body to do other things. And then, get all of those vegetables in, right?

And during your feeding window, get your vegetables, get your fruits, and get your healthy food in and refuel your body with all the vitamins and minerals and nutrients that it needs, and then be done. And then 16-18 hours later, your body has gone into maybe a very slight, slight ketosis again. And then it pulls out of ketosis.

Now your body is operating in a rhythm the way that it was designed to way back when, as hunter/gatherers, right? We did not eat 20 hours a day. We didn’t have food right there constantly, at the 7/11 that we could go buy food at. Our bodies really learned how to adapt in how to use different fuel sources and how to break down the bad stuff in our body, right?

And so, yeah, again, I can go down rabbit holes, and I don’t want to go too far, because we’re talking about cancer, and I think that’s a very unique to every person diagnosis, right? And I think that there’s a lot of different things around that. But there’s no doubt that we have cancer in our bodies, all of us, 24/7. There’s cancer cells in our bodies. And it’s a matter of how strong is our immune system, how much are we breaking it down, how much are we not allowing them to grow? And I think that fasting helps with that, as well as many other things.

TeriAnn Trevenen: For sure. Yeah, and I think you had some great information and insight there. I think people really need to listen to that and understand. And also, I want to touch on the fact of what you said earlier, like there’s the perfect way for everyone to do what it is they’re doing for their body, but it’s not perfect for everyone else, and I think that’s such an important point we touch on all the time.

Just like with everything else, fasting and everything in between, when it comes to your health journey, all the information we share, each person is unique and you need to do what works best for you, and that’s going to look a little different from the person sitting next to you, or maybe it will look a lot different than the person sitting next to you.

You really have to get in tune with your own body. The last benefit we’re going to share today with fasting is it promotes autophagy. [0:25:58] The definition of that is the cellular self-cleansing process that breaks down and recycles damaged molecules and cellular organelles. A high rate of autophagy is characteristic of young organisms. With aging, autophagy decreases, and this allows cellular damaged to accumulate. By fasting intermittently, autophagy rates can be reset to that of a younger person. Who doesn’t want that, right?

Jonathan Hunsaker: Absolutely.

TeriAnn Trevenen: That’s a good conversation, anti-aging. Who doesn’t want that? Super powerful, when you think about that concept in your body and your health.

Jonathan Hunsaker: And to really allow people to understand what is autophagy, and again, I’m not a doctor here, so I’ll just explain it in simple terms. I mean it’s really, as your body is looking for fuel, because it’s not getting the food, then it’s going to look internally for fuel. And the first thing it’s going to break down is the damaged cells.

It’s going to break that down for fuel. And so, it’s phenomenal. It’s like survival of the fit for your internal cells in your body. And so, it’s going to go after the abnormal cells, it’s going to go after the damaged, the weak ones, the old ones, right? It’s easier to break that down and process those bad ones. And so now, we’re killing off all of the bad cells and using the fuel inside of those cells for energy to move forward. And then, what’s left is just more healthy cells.

So, that’s why, yeah, I mean you’ll see people look drastically different after doing some water fasting. And after their body gets used to going into apophagy again, which we don’t hit a lot, because we just eat too often. So, we’re not able to enter that state and really break down that other stuff.

What’s really interesting, I’m going to talk about, there’s prolonged water fasting, and you’ll also hear dry fasting. Dry fasting is going three to five days with no food and no water. You can actually go down the path of—some people go down a dry fast and they don’t even allow water to touch their body or even their mouths when they’re brushing their teeth.

We start going a little down the path that may not be the place to go all by yourself without some sort of supervision. But what’s really interesting there is as we’re not consuming water, our body breaks down our fat cells for the hydrogen, and then it mixes that hydrogen from the fat cells with the oxygen that we breathe in, and it creates H2O, it creates water.

So, we always say you can’t survive longer than three days no water. BS. Tons of studies that show that you can. What your body’s going to do is it’s going to break down the fat cell to create water to get you that hydration that you need. Now I have not gone down the path of doing dry fasting. I’ve done extended water fasts, and to me, that’s the healthy line for me personally.

But just—it just goes to show how our bodies can really adapt and change, and how it’s okay to put them under certain stresses. It’s okay to not feed your body for 18 hours, 20 hours, 36 hours. That’s okay. Your body’s going to go into apophagy, and it’s going to break down these bad cells and clean it out.

You’re not going to spend all of this energy trying to digest all this food and putrefied food that’s been sitting in your gut because you’re eating every three hours and just stacking crap on top of crap on top of crap. So, you’re getting all of this out. Now your body’s like “I’ve got all this energy, and I can process all these crap cells, and I can start healing myself and start doing all of these things” that our bodies can do naturally if we just allow them to.

TeriAnn Trevenen: Yeah. And I want to make—

Jonathan Hunsaker: It makes me want to go on a fast again. I’m sorry, I just talk about it, and I’m like I should have done this fasting. That’s how I feel about it.

TeriAnn Trevenen: There you go. Well, and I think it’s important, too, this isn’t necessarily the fasting topic, but you make a really good point. There’s a big difference for people who are consistently eating throughout the day, between eating processed food that is not even really food and eating food that your body really uses to stay healthy and strong and to promote some of these things that we’re talking about that are benefits.

Even if you haven’t fasted before, or even if you’re going to fast, I just want to step away from that a second and just make the comment that your body needs healthy food to be healthy. And so, just because you fast doesn’t mean that all of a sudden you’ve fixed all the problems in your health. If you’re not eating healthy, it’s just like everything else, like you can work out, but if you’re eating crap and you’re eating a lot of it, you’re not going to get the results you want.

If you fast and you’re eating a lot of crap, you’re probably not going to get the results you want out of it. I mean all of these benefits of fasting; you also get a lot of these benefits from eating healthy food, too. But fasting resets things in your body and can take you into a new rhythm and can really just reenergize your body again.

But if you go right back to eating the Oreos and the cake and the muffins, and everything else that goes along with food that’s not real food or it’s not good for you, you’re really not doing yourself any favors. [0:31:08] And it’s really not helping your body, it’s probably just sending your body more into this like crazy wave of chaos, of like “Now I’m fasting. Now I’m eating things that aren’t good for me. Now I’m fasting. Now I’m…”

You really have to—this goes back to intentional eating and an intentional way of living. Fasting can be so powerful for you. One of the things that we have in our notes about autophagy is that the decline of autophagy may be an important factor in the rise of cancer, Alzheimer’s, and other disorders that become common in old age.

So, fasting can help with that, but also, it goes along with our diet and what we’re eating, too. So, to complement fasting, if you’re going to make this part of your way of life and your health journey, do yourself a favor and eat healthy food, too. That’s really what’s going to get you the best bang for your buck, is the fasting coupled with living a really healthy lifestyle.

It’s not just fasting’s going to save you and fix all of these things, and all these benefits we talk about, but also goes hand in hand with eating really good food, which also gives you a lot of the benefits of what we’ve talked about today. Fasting just does it in a very different and unique way for your body.

Jonathan Hunsaker: You make a ton of really valid points. I mean one of the big ones is really like what are you feeding your body, right? So, ketogenic diet gets a bad rap a lot of times. It’s like “Oh, well, that’s just an excuse to eat bacon and eat bacon.” You’re right. And so, if you’re on the ketogenic diet so you can eat a pound of bacon every day, that is not the healthy response.

Yes, you’re in ketosis. Yes, you might even lose some weight. But you’re eating bacon every day. I don’t ca