Intermittent Fasting: Part Two
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You’ve probably heard that if you eat enough pomegranates, you’ll live basically live forever. But you know that’s BS, or at least I hope you do.
There’s a metric ton of hype around anti-aging. The industry itself incites slight jealousy within me that I didn’t jump into creating creams made from animal stem cells as an entrepreneurial endeavor (perhaps it’s not too late). People are veritably obsessed with youth. Just ask Susan Sarandon, I love that woman. Did you catch her snark fest about how when women reach a certain age in the acting world they’re automatically demoted from cool roles to like the crazy mother in law. It’s true. As a society and culture, we like youth because we like things that are rare, fleeting and things that we don’t have. It’s pretty weird.
But let’s go with it, shall we? We all want to have the energy and vibrancy of a 20 something alongside the wisdom that old age brings. The best way to do that isn’t to take copious amounts of Dr. Oz branded antioxidant power pills (ok, there’s no such thing). The way to maintaining youthful energy and appearance is, you guessed it: Intermittent Fasting (IF), you’ll have to figure out the wisdom part on your own.
If you’re not sure what the hell that means then, I implore you to check out this article that covers all the basics of this practice. Intermittent fasting isn’t about reducing how much you eat, it’s about controlling when you eat it. This sounds simple in principle, and perhaps doesn’t seem like it would make much of a difference, but hundreds of studies say otherwise. IF is a powerful practice, and one of the aspects of it that interest me most is that it has the potential to extend our lives, increasing longevity, all while helping you look and feel better. Cool right?! Because as an entrepreneur you need more energy than most people. You’re constantly under pressure, and if you don’t take care of yourself, then you can easily crumble. All that stress has negative side effects beyond wrinkles. It wrecks your brain, and in business, your brain is your greatest asset.
The basics behind why this works are simple. Humans aren’t evolved to eat all the time. For thousands of years our ancestors had eaten in spurts when food was widely available, they would stuff themselves silly, and in times of sparsity, they were able to hold off and live with the feeling of hunger that terrifies us modern humans #hangry.
So even when our ancestors had an abundance of food, they wouldn’t be eating all day and night. They’d still be putting ample time into hunting and processing the food during the day and at night time I don’t think they had a fridge with a bright light to guide them to the pizza leftovers. This is just a basic explanation, but I promise the specifics offer far more insight into this fascinating methodology.
Encouraging a Low Cellular Turnover Rate AKA Cellular Repair
You’re made of around 37.2 Trillion cells. When those cells get old and lazy, you get old and lazy. When those cells are fed junk food day in day out, they aren’t going to thrive. You know that the basics of health all come back to the cell. As someone who runs a business and often has to hire and fire people (whether I like it or not), I know that it’s necessary to refresh things and make sure only good employees are working with me.
I address the cellular process of my body in the same way. You’re either working hard and doing your job, or you’re out, in a perfect inner world at least.
But we live in a world rampant with cell destroying free radicals, toxins that scavenge our healthy cells. This is oxidative stress, which explains why Dr. Oz loves and promotes anti-oxidants and why they’re such an important part of a healthy diet.
One theory as to why intermittent fasting works to protect cells from oxidative stress is that a temporary lack of glucose forces our cells to turn to other forms of fuel. They start to utilize fat instead of the constant supply of sugar that modern folks are usually gorging on. This can also trigger the cells to go into a sort of survival mode where they start to unload mitochondria that aren’t doing their job.
It’s sort of like economic collapse in your body. Ah! The company is starting to lose money, we’ve got too many employees that aren’t doing their jobs properly.
Solution: get rid of the bad apples and replace them with workers who get the job done with efficiency. And this is exactly what happens in your body when you practice IF.
This low level of stress actually stimulates our body’s natural protective responses. One study showed that taking addition antioxidant supplements like vitamin C and E resulted in an outcome far different from fasting alone. It was as if the extra antioxidants sent a signal to the cells to worry not and they didn’t react by getting rid of underperforming mitochondria.
This was a very small study, but it does validate speculation surrounding the idea that you need to supplement with all sorts of different vitamins to achieve good cellular health. Sometimes you just need to leave well enough alone, and it seems that IF, in and of itself, is plenty powerful without the supplemental sidekicks.
Your Inner Self Cleaning Robot
You clean your kitchen, you scrub your toilet, you make your bed (unless you’re me). It’s normal to clean things we use on a regular basis, but when it comes to cleansing our cells, this isn’t something most people understand, let alone practice.
Autophagy is our body’s inner rumba (you know that self-cleaning robot vacuum thing). The process of autophagy is basically cellular waste removal. So while we can wax on about green juices and eating copious amounts of flaxseed for removing toxins, the body has it’s own way of doing this without external influence. Autophagy kicks in when we’re not eating, which makes sense when you think about it.
You don’t have to think about autophagy, it justs happens. It’s like business systems, once you’ve set them up, you don’t need to think about them much. As entrepreneurs people, you understand the importance of systems.
Setting up our inner systems to work with us and add to our success only makes sense. Giving your body that window to get down and dirty with this process results in higher performance, more energy and ultimately, better results.
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You Can Protect Yourself Against Disease… Say What?!
The present day statistics on cancer are dire. 1 in 2 they say, and I don’t know a single person who hasn’t had someone in their life suffer from this pervasive illness.
Dr. David Jockers works with cancer patients to naturally heal themselves. One of his main techniques is intermittent fasting. He refers to the phase of eating as the “building” phase and not eating as the “cleansing” phase. One of his main points in promoting IF for preventing cancer is that our modern environment is loading our bodies with a toxic load that can’t be processed overnight. He states that “In our society today we’ve got so much toxicity that it’s that much more important that we have a greater cleansing phase than building phase.” And what causes cancer? Well, of course I can’t say for certain, but I have a hunch that toxins have something to do with it.
The relationship between IF and cancer is incredibly interesting because of the vast differences between cancer cells and healthy cells. Like I said above, our healthy cells go into survival mode when we fast. Cancer cells don’t have that mechanism, they don’t have a survival mode. When we fast, our healthy cells work to eliminate the unhealthy cells and replace them.
Unfortunately, there aren’t a heck of a lot of human studies on fasting and cancer. My own personal bias and insight into this points to a lucrative pharmaceutical industry that has much to lose should they embrace natural alternatives to chemotherapy. However, I digress, the studies that do exist are mostly with animals, and still provide valuable insight into the potential of IF for helping prevent and treat cancer.
Valter Longo is a cancer researcher who has done quite a few studies on the effects of fasting on cancer in mice. His findings show that mice practicing alternate day fasting have a survival rate from cancer four times that of their daily rationed mousy counterparts. He’s discovered that even on a modified alternate day fasting schedule where on fasting days the mice were fed 85% of their normal caloric intake, was effective in reducing proliferation rates of cancer cells.
What this guy has found over 20 years of research is that fasting can both sensitize cancer cells to the effects of chemotherapy, making it far more effective, and stop tumor growth. Um, ya, this is kind of a big deal.
The only human study so far has to do with the effect of fasting on chemotherapy. In an assortment of cancers affecting both men and women, fasting for longer periods, up to 3 days before chemotherapy shows promising results in decreasing negative side effects. And while this isn’t directly related to longevity it does highlight the powerful affects that not eating can have. Plus, if 1 in 2 people get cancer, it’s good to know this stuff.
The Powerful Anti-Aging Hormone You Can Boost Anytime
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is an important hormone that peaks during puberty and slowly dissipates after that. Studies have shown the prowess of HGH for fighting the effects of aging in both men and women. Increased lean body mass, fat loss, even improved skin thickness. So we know that it plays an important role in the aging process.
One man’s 40-day fast resulted in a 1250% increase in HGH. Now I’m not saying you should fast for that long, but those results are remarkable. If HGH can increase that much in 40 days, even a few days a week of practicing IF is bound to have some positive result in boosting HGH one would assume.
Another study in healthy men showed HGH increased 5 times regular levels following a 2-day fast. HGH is also important for raising testosterone levels, something anyone in a leadership role understands the importance of.
Side Benefits of IF that Also Might Help You Live Longer
Modern killers lurking among us might just be entirely preventable. Diabetes is far too common and while manageable, still far from easy to deal with. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women. All of these things can be kept at bay with the right strategies and intermittent fasting just happens to be quite an effective one.
IF helps with reducing inflammation and in turn, helps with other ailments that take far too many lives each year. Inflammation is linked to so many ailments and in general just decreases quality of life. The more methods you’ve got under your belt to reduce chronic inflammation, the better you’ll look and feel.
IF has been shown to increase insulin sensitivity and helps stabilize blood sugar levels. This is huge for people who suffer from diabetes and anyone who gets sugar cravings and mid-day crashes. It’s important to mention that women might have a different experience with IF and blood sugar levels. But stay tuned because I’m going to post an in-depth article on just how IF affects women specifically. But for the guys, IF is useful for regulating blood sugar and even helping those with diabetes to keep it under control.
Heart disease tags along with high blood pressure, cholesterol, obesity, and inflammation. It doesn’t show up without due cause, so it goes without saying that if you can get the causes under control you can prevent heart disease.
Intermittent fasting has been shown to help lower bad cholesterol. Decreased inflammation following the practice of IF is huge for heart health as well as benefitting the entire body. Weight management problems being the most obvious of the risk factors associated with heart disease can be greatly improved with IF.
If you can avoid these common health culprits you can live a longer, healthier life and that to me is the ultimate benefit of intermittent fasting. You can create the career of your dreams that brings great rewards without succumbing to the pressure of entrepreneurship. You can do the things you’ve always wanted in business and in life.
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P.S – What else do you do to promote longevity? Let us know in the comments!
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