A Word About Fasting
I am a huge supporter of fasting. I believe that fasting for detox was one of the most important things I did in the my early recovery from Multiple Sclerosis. At the time, my diet was not great, but it wasn’t typical Standard America Diet either. I was vegetarian for over 10 years, and I ate mostly fresh vegetables and fruits, a good amount of legumes and nuts. Chips, fast food, sugary foods and the like were an occasional treat. I ate these not more often than once a month. But, I did eat a good amount of pasta, bread and dairy. When the MS changed from RRMS to SPMS I took a another look at my diet, and learned that I should probably avoid gluten and dairy. When I tried to remove them from my food plan, I realized that my body craved them, like an addiction. I then learned addiction level food cravings are often caused by an autoimmune reaction or candida overgrowth. Then, I learned that, not only can the food cravings be stopped, but the “addiction” can be broken with a good fasting program.
At the time, Master Cleanse was well talked about, so I gave that a try. It wasn’t hard, but high amounts of molasses didn’t agree with my asthma, and I ended up in the hospital with a nasty asthma attack. After I recovered I decided to try a series of water fasts. My first one was a 24 hour water fast. I didn’t get hungry, but I got a headache like I’ve never felt before. It was not a hunger headache. This was something different. A quick consultation with my medical provider told me it was most likely a “detox headache”, and that it meant my body was releasing things it was unable to get rid of before. I did a 24 hour water fast one time each week until I could get through it with on headache, or other symptoms. Then, I increased to a 48 hour water fast. Eventually, I was able to do a 3 day water fast with no symptoms of detox. At that point, I started doing a 3 day fast twice a month. At some point, I felt that I had gotten all the benefit I was going to out of the water fasting, and I changed my twice a month fast to different type. I started using a juice fast with herbs and supplements that assist the body in cleansing itself. During my fasts, I used dandelion root, milk thistle, psyllium husks, and supplemented B vitamins, magnesium D, and K. I started getting detox headaches and having other symptoms that I now associated with my body eliminating toxins, so I continued using this protocol for 3 days twice a month.
There is no doubt in my mind that fasting helped my body eliminate the chemicals from food that it was reacting to.
Not that my MS is stable, I am working on improving my leptin sensitivity, reversing metabolic syndrome, and getting my weight down. I am not severely overweight — about 30 pounds or so, but I’d like to get rid of the extra weight and improve my blood sugar and blood pressure without herbal and supplement support. Heart disease and cancers run rampant through my family tree, and I want to do all I can to reduce those risks. Being overweight is one risk factor I can control.
I work out daily, and aim to take between 5,000 and 10,000 steps each day (on top of my daily work out). I wear the Wii Fit pedometer and log my info in my Wii Fit game each night.
I’ve used the Leptin Reset, designed by Dr. Jack Kruse to help my body regain leptin sensitivity. It worked well for me. I stayed on Leptin Reset for about 8 weeks, and then moved to a standard Paleo Diet. The Leptin Reset is one type of Intermittent Fasting (also known as IF).
There are many types of IF. Some involve choosing a 6-12 hour window each day when you are allowed to eat, and eating only during those times. An easy way to do that is to eat only between 11 am and 6pm. This simply involves finishing your dinner before 6pm, and delaying breakfast until 11 am. I do this regularly, and it’s just about the easiest thing. I still drink my coffee in the morning. I add stevia, high quality coconut oil, and sometimes chocolate extract. Then I blend with my hand blender until it’s frothy. Sure, it contains calories from the coconut oil, but I enjoy it, it helps me meet my coconut oil quota for the day, and it’s smooth and creamy, and kind of like a coffee milkshake. After my coffee, I complete a 30 – 40 minute work out every day. Some days, I go work on our large punching bag with both boxing gloves and my rattan sword, other days I complete a routine of my Wii Fit that burns between 130 and 155 calories, other days I lift weights or use my weight bands, sometimes I go biking, and other days I simply jog around our property or jog in place on our back porch for 40 minutes. (It’s so nice not having neighbors.) When the workout is complete, if I’m hungry, I go eat breakfast. If I’m not, I delay breakfast until noon. Most days I can easily wait until noon to eat.
Other types of IF include:
- Eating one day, then fasting the next. Continue this pattern
- Fasting for 20 hours each day, and then “Feasting” for 4 hours. In this method, you might choose to only eat between 2pm and 4pm each day. Consuming only non-caloric beverages like water, tea, and coffee (without sugar and cream) This method is called The Warrior Diet
- You can IF by choosing one 24 hour period in each week and fast then. Brad Pion created this method, and it’s referred to as Eat Stop Eat.
- The Lean Gains IF protocol by Martin Berkhan is the one I talked about above, where I only eat during an 8 – 10 hour window,and fast the rest of the time. Typically, I eat between 11 am and 7 pm.
Dr. Mercola talks about IF in-depth and the ways this eating protocol helps the body rebuild itself, and maximize Human Growth Hormone.