Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Transcript from podcast “What you need to know about fasting”
Today we are going to be talking about the specifics of fasting. My husband and I just got done with the three day fast. I did one alone a couple of months ago and did a full five day fast, and I really wanted to give you some idea about what that looked like, what symptoms fast he can help with the physiology of why you might want to try fasting, how to do it if you should do a program or juice fast, how to understand what to do when there are so many different options out there, and then what we learned while we were fasting about our food, about ourselves, about our health, and then the results that we got was, were pretty awesome.
So what can fasting help with?
The number one thing I think of is Type two Diabetes or insulin resistance. This can help manage blood sugar level, help resensitize yourselves to glucose and sugar.
Now if you have type one diabetes, we don't want you to fast. That's absolutely something you should not do. But if you're just insulin resistance and just dealing with some sugar issues like that, or if you're a mild level of type two, this might actually really help. This is because insulin upregulates fat in fat cells and the liver, which leads to fatty liver and really yourselves all over your body start to stop responding when they become too inundated.
That's where that resistance comes from. With insulin resistance, it means that your cells have been hit on the head so many times with insulin and sugar, that they're just not responding anymore and they're not going to do the work that they need to do.
What happens is that over time that the glucose gets stored as fat in the liver instead of an accessible sugar storage use. And then it also gets stored obviously in fat and muscles as fat. Instead of glycogen or proteins or anything that we give yourself some source of fuel. The other thing is linked to high cholesterol because of increased insulin it was also linked to an increase in blood pressure because of the higher levels in the insulin, which keeps sodium and water in your bloodstream. That increases the blood volume and increases your blood pressure.
Fatty liver is the next thing that I would recommend fasting for because it's either happening on its own or it's happening alongside blood sugar issues. And again, because that liver becomes so resistant, insulin that it cannot keep up with regulating sugar in keeping it stored within the liver where most of our sugar is actually stored for use. Then what happens is that glucose and sugar are just floating around in your bloodstream and you're told, well, now we need to take Metformin to keep it pushed down. And if that doesn't start working, we need to get you on insulin because the cells just aren't responding again.
The next category is reactive hypoglycemia. Which is the opposite of insulin resistance, where your blood sugar is really going up and down on a roller coaster.
That one is me. I'm the kind of person who has to eat every two hours, always have a snack with them. People like me wake up, they're not hungry at all. Usually grab a cup of coffee. Most people like to go through the drive through, get coffee and a muffin, and that's their breakfast, like really heavy on the carbs and sugar. And then you get really hungry or irritable between meals. You crash around four o'clock in the afternoon, you have trouble sleeping through the night.
When I heard, you know, okay, if you have reactive hypoglycemia, you should fast. I was like, no, never do that. Never do that. And part of that reason is because when we're in school and when we were taking boards, we learned about insulin dependent cells and receptors and how we transport sugar into the cells. So we need insulin, we need to eat sugar, we need to blah, blah, blah, do all these things the right way because of insulin dependent cells.
But what happened is what we learned that in functional medicine, when we're actually looking at the physiology, that we have insulin independent receptors on most of our body. So we're talking about the brain, the heart, the pancreas, fat cells, muscle cells, liver, all of these organs that require sugar, glucose, protein to work actually have many different modes of transportation into and out of the cell.
So you don't have to have an insulin issue to be able to do fasting or to have blood sugar issues. We can still fast and shift that paradigm of how we look at sugar going into the cells. Fasting gives all of yourselves a break from that onslaught of sugar, it really sensitizes all of your cells all over your body, helps the cell receptors become more sensitive so the insulin can work when it needs to.
And the other big one that I like to have fasting as an option is for people who struggle with brain health symptoms like memory issues, brain fog, headaches, all of those issues that happen with the brain because the brain needs good glucose, good sugar. It also needs good fats and good proteins. So when we change up the amount of sugar that the brain gets and feed it more fat, that will reduce the amount of oxidation from the brain, which would obviously going to help reduce inflammation.
Of course you always have to talk to your physician before you start any type of fasting program because you have to make sure one that it's right for you. You have to monitor your medications, your supplements, your blood sugar, your blood pressure, all of those things. So don't just start a fast because honestly you listen to this podcast.
Next, we have to figure out what's going to work best for you, for your body, what is safe and what is effective.
What happens when you do fast? You really lower the release of insulin and give the cells on your liver, pancreas, brain, and muscles a break, which allows them to desensitize and resensitize to the constant insulin and sugar. Cells can reduce and can create and remove receptors on their cells. So the more insulin you have, the more insulin receptors yourselves will create to manage that load. When you take the constant sugar away, it will help remove some of those receptors so the cells become more attuned to what they actually need to be doing.
Fasting decreases mitochondrial stress in the neurons of the brain because ketones produce less free radicals, which means good fats will help reduce inflammation in the brain.
Now we're talking about memory. We're talking about Alzheimer's types issues. We're talking about brain fog. And this even goes into hormones because the healthier fats that are in your body that you're taking in, you're going to make healthier hormones as well.
Fasting reduces fat levels and sugar storage in the liver. And anytime you can take a load off the liver, you're going to really improve your health, your hormones, your biotransformation, all of its really good.
One of the reasons my husband was doing fasting was because it allows the bacteria in your gut to either die off or heat balance, which helps with bloating, IBS type symptoms and allows your gut to reset as well.
How to fast is something that we're going to go into next. I'm going to have my husband come in and share a little bit about what he did and what I did, why we chose to do them differently because that's always an option and give you guys some ideas. So let me go grab him for you.
Okay, so now we have my husband Jake with me here. He is going to help us talk about his fasting experience so you can get an idea of what we did differently and how it worked differently for each of us.
When I fast or when I go without food for too long, usually my stomach starts cramping like around three o'clock. I get really cranky and I just can't handle the pain anymore. That's usually when I stop eating. So I had to find a program that allowed me to eat and I used ProLon, which is a five day fast and they give you a box of food for each day and your supplements and your drinks so that know what you're doing. And that helped me because I was able to keep my digestive system happy, but my cells thought they were fasting.
I'm going to put a link to that program in the comments. And if that's something you're interested in or you're scared of fasting and going without food, that program can really help you. Jake hasn't fasted before officially, but you do okay without food, right?
I'm reactive hypoglycemia, which means if I go without food, I get real shaky and irritable and hangry. That means I usually have to eat every two hours where Jake is more insulin resistant. So he is fine without food or whatever food happens with you. Right? You're pretty much, okay. So why did you decide to do the three day juice fast?
Jake: Because I been feeling, I guess bloated and overwhelmed with everything we've been doing, eating and not staying on track with our, uh, diet for my SIBO and everything like that. So I just kinda wanted to give my body a break and refresh. So I decided I would do three days, no food and just liquid vegetables and fruit. So I would be getting stuff that I need, but I give everything in my body a chance to catch up.
Alison: So Jake has SIBO, which is small intestinal bacteria overgrowth. You can go back and watch the video we did together about his SIBO story.
But over the past year, some things were working, some things weren't. And I thought the fast would be a great way for his intestines to help with the die off of the extra bacteria in the small intestines that weren't supposed to be there. And that really did help.
So I think it's also great when you fall off and you realize that you've been eating too many donuts every weekend that we just got that it does help reset and it gives you some really good tools.
I'll say what I learned while fasting. When I did this in September a couple of months ago and then I just did it again. I realized that I just mindlessly go for food.
Like I'll just grab a fruit snack or food without even thinking cause either I'm bored or I'm super stressed and that's where a lot of my weight issues are coming from as well as my food sensitivities cause I'm just eating mindlessly throughout the day, especially cause we're home. I can just go into the pantry.
I really learned how to be present when I was eating. Even the small amount of food like soup, like I learned to sit down and enjoy it and focus on it because that was my like one little meal of the day. I really wanted to give my brain the experience of eating food and being present.
The first time I did the fast, it wasn't as hard as I anticipated. I had to make my daughter's birthday cake and all of her frosting and I couldn't eat it. And that was really typical because I've never made a cake and not eaten it, but I made it through.
There's always going to be a party, an event, something that you're going to have to miss or skip out on or show up and be like, Hey, I'm here and I'm not going to drink or eat. And I'm cool with that. And everybody else can be okay with that too. So there's never a good time to fast. There's never a good time to put this in your schedule. Your health is way more important than a piece of cake because there's always going to be cake and there's always going to be leftovers and you can just have it later.
You don't have to have it right now. And that was hard because I wanted to eat the birthday cake and all of the frosting, but I did. And what did you learn?
Jake: I learned that fasting is, I guess I could say it's easy if, if you're not like her, like where you have to eat every two hours. I'm used to intermittent fasting, so I feel like I just had to push past the last part of the day that I normally would eat. I found that the third day sucks the most, but when I woke up on the fourth day, I felt like I could keep going. So, if you're going to go with the route that I went, just bear in mind at day three blows. So can I say that?
Alison: Oh, yeah, absolutely. I think I asked you a couple of times like, you're going to learn about your food and how you feel about your body. And he's like, no, this sucks. I want to eat, I don't care, but your method of getting through was complaining, which is okay.
Jake: I complain about things as I'm going through them and then that just gets me through them. So, um, you know, mission successful. I got, I did it. And I felt really good on the fourth day and like I said, I felt like I could probably do it for another three days if I wanted to, honestly. But that the third day was difficult.
Alison: Do you think you're going to try four days at one point or five days?
Jake: Try five days just to see if I can make it that long. And um, now it's kind of like a, a challenge almost.
Alison: We are going to start doing juice fasting on Mondays, like one day a week because it was really helpful. What did you use when you juiced? What vegetables?
Jake: I drank three juices. The first juice was, I have to, sorry, I had to remember, carrots, celery, beets, a cucumber, spinach, a granny Smith, Apple and the whole lemon. And then the next one, this same minus the beets and threw in an orange instead of the beats. And then for my last juice, it was the same recipe, but minus the orange or the beets. I put strawberries. The middle one was probably the best tasting. They didn't, none of them tastes like amazing. It's not, it's not very fun. A drink to drink. I usually just chug it. It makes about 20 ounces of juice. So just chug it down.
Alison: So what happened for you when it was over after that three days? So on day four, what did you notice about your body?
Jake: Well, I definitely, the, my main objective for this was to get rid of the bloating from the SIBO and it was gone. It was effectively gone. I knew that I could eat, I knew I was going to allow myself to eat and I was staring at my food and felt calm and you know, understood that I didn't have to eat it. And I felt confident that I could keep going if I wanted to. It helped me slow down while I was eating, like in, I guess enjoy the food that I was eating, like value it a little bit more.
Alison: Instead of just eating as much as you can, as fast as you can…. did you lose weight?
Jake: Yes, I did. I lost over nine pounds
Alison: Crazy. So when I did the five day fast, I lost about six pounds. But what I liked about the ProLon and what it did for me, and I don't know if it was a time or if it was the kit, but it reset my metabolic weight.
I lost six pounds, but I stayed at that weight for quite a few months, which has never happened to me for before where I've done a lot of different diets and programs, got down to my weight and then three weeks later I was back up to my standard weight.
I'm really happy that it was able to reset my metabolic, my natural weight state, and my body just stayed there naturally. And I would say the same thing it taught me because of the program to eat breakfast again, eat lunch, eat dinner, not skip meals because you just train yourself to eat food consistently. That's really important for reactive hypoglycemia.
And I really did feel like my cravings went down a little bit and I'm not as dependent on coffee because you can only have one glass of coffee with that program. I wasn't drinking a whole pot every single day, which was awesome. I think it was really successful for the both of us.
Jake: If you have an illness like I do and you are able to stick with the fasting, it helps you stay more on track with your diet when you actually start eating again because you don't want to ruin all the time and work you put into fasting.
Cause I mean, it's tough. I said it was easy, but it's like, it's a mindset. It's easy if you got the right mind for it, but it's still, you still have to go through this suck of three whole days of not eating. It's going to not feel good, but there is a level like it. Yeah, it has have helped me to make sure I stay on track, not to ruin my progress.
Alison: That, and you see the big difference that it made for your gut and your SIBO that going back to where you were and feeling as sick as you were, wasn't worth it. Fasting helped us both that a lot. Thanks for sharing your story. I appreciate it. We will see you guys next week and our next week's podcast.
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