Health and nutrition blog.
Questions about fasting.
Two years ago i sat where i am sat now writing out the first of a list of questions, simple enough at first but increasingly detailed and specific a few months later – at first i asked the question “what is the best diet…..or at least which one actually works” and months later i was asking about some detail of fat and inflammation or what happens at the blood-brain barrier in insulin resistance. In short i started out by not really knowing what to ask Dr Google – one way of putting that is that i didn’t even know what i didn’t know and i was still weeks away from the first glimmer of realization that everything i had been taught about diet and nutrition was probably wrong.
Just a quick mention of God and belief before i go any further……some readers will be aware that iv’e been following Dr Jordan Peterson and his work for several years now – it was his work and lectures that prompted me to start to write when he said that one of the effects of writing and thinking in terms of writing is to make our thoughts clear and more concise. It’s well known that a regular question that is thrown at JBP is the question “do you believe in God” and his answer has always been “what do you mean by God and what do you mean by belief “?. At the time i thought that was a snarky answer but now i’m not so sure that many people know what they mean when they say God. My point here is that i didn’t even know what i was asking when i asked that first question…..what is the best diet ? – the answer seems to be ‘it depends’ and the first thing it depends upon is what you think you mean by best.
Today i wouldn’t ask that question but i might ask something like ‘what is the best approach, food and nutrition wise, for rapid fat/weight loss while conserving lean mass’ ?. A good simple starting point would be to say ‘get rid of all the sugar’ and then as much other carbohydrates as possible while eating mostly stable fats and a moderate amount of protein – and certainly not by going on some regime of calorie reduction based on
healthy carbohydrates (my emphasis but you can see that anywhere). My answer today would have a lot more detail and nuance – i would still go with finding and getting rid of all the added sugar, especially the fructose and HFCS but i would also add as a major problem any of the seed oils too ; today i might talk about satisfying our hunger more consistently with saturated fats and a moderate amount of protein but i might also ask in return ‘what about fasting’ or ‘why not start with a fast’ ?
The best question i asked myself in that first week was the most pertinent – ‘now what the hell am i going to eat’- when i looked at my food cupboard and realized that the bread, fruit-bread, biscuits, cake, pasta and reserve biscuits really weren’t on the menu any more. Joking aside i’d gone into ‘keto’ without really working up any sort of meal plan or just going shopping for a few basic things that even my sugar fuddled head would recognize as ok. Going low carb was initially confusing because i wasn’t eating anything that i normally would so aside from the bacon, eggs, cheese and chicken that i ate in various combinations that first week had me asking – ‘is this it’ ?.
A few weeks into the experiment when i accidentally discovered that my new natural pattern of eating was to have nothing until about 10 am and then have something ‘proper’ like a bacon and cheese omelette but then not eat again until 6pm….aside from the odd half chicken in between, meant that i’d accidentally discovered intermittent fasting or time restricted eating. What that led me to do was to start asking questions about not what to eat but when to eat because all of a sudden our western norm of 3 regular meals a day just didn’t make sense any more if i wasn’t feeling hungry – and i wasn’t feeling hungry because i wasn’t stuffing myself with sugar any more so i wasn’t having huge jumps and crashes.
My natural follow-on experiment from intermittent fasting was to first extend the period of not eating….or gradually reduce the ‘eating window’ and where that went was eventually to dump the break-fast morning meal completely and just have a main meal in the evening ; i hadn’t even heard of ‘OMAD’ (one meal a day) when i accidentally discovered that one too. I did then start to think a bit more carefully about what to do next and that’s when i started to ask my first questions about fasting – i joke that the first question ‘what do i eat’ is at last the simple one because it’s basically nothing, what to drink is a little more tricky because during fasts i do often have a small amount of milk in my coffee. One of the longest sets of questions still on my desk is abot what happens during fasts of varying durations – mainly the physiological side but also what the experience of fasting and whether i would be able to do hard physical work ; the answers to the first part are easy as most of the knowledge is in someones Youtube video……the answers to the second part could only come by actually trying it myself.
During this month’s serial fasts though i’m starting to take an interest in something that i ignored before and that is FMD or fasting mimicking diet so that’s a whole new thing for me to look at.
As i write it’s the first day of the year with a blue sky so in a while i’m going to head out with my ‘rucking’ pack and go scavenge some heavy wet firewood ; and this morning is also day 3 of my second fast in this series and i’m feeling fine ……today’s question is what to break my fast with tomorrow morning.