I never used to fast, and all the times I tried it I could feel my sympathetic nervous system being stimulated. My body was stressed, and I didn’t react well to it. But over time I have slowly (and accidentally) pushed my breakfast time further and further back. I just find I have more time in the morning to do deep work if I don’t eat. And now I feel great not eating for 14–16 hours, and barely think about it.
For some people, fasting is stressful on the body. I don’t recommend fasting if you’ve had a bad sleep, have a stressful day ahead, or are feeling particularly hungry. You don’t want to stress your body more. Eat if you’re hungry.
But going for extended periods of time without food gives the digestive system a break, and induces cellular autophagy. This is essentially a cleaning out process where the body gets rid of old cells and cellular waste products.
Similarly, during the day take breaks from eating. Try not to snack between meals. It will have benefits for your gut as well as your circadian rhythm:
“By giving your body a break from food for five or six hours, you are allowing your digestive track to rest and reset its circadian rhythm. This is an important step in healing the brain-gut axis.” – Dr. Suhas Kshirsagar
There are two sources of fuel that the body can use: glucose and ketones. Glucose is produced from carbohydrates (and your body can also make a small amount of glucose from breaking down protein). Ketones come from fatty acids metabolized by the liver. Your body won’t generally produce ketones unless there is no glucose available, such as in a carb-free or ketogenic diet.
Humans have evolved to go through stages of carbohydrate restriction. Back in our hunter-gatherer days, there were often periods of time when there were very minimal if any, sources of carbohydrate. Some populations did and still do live most of their lives in ketosis (the state of your body producing ketones).
For example, the Inuit people of northern North America often don’t have access to fruits and vegetables due to the climate and rely on meat for energy. This creates an almost constant state of ketosis.
Ketones are beneficial in numerous ways. Ketones have a natural anti-inflammatory effect, and the metabolism of ketones doesn’t produce free radicals as glucose metabolism does.
In fact, ketones are the preferred fuel source of the brain and can increase cognitive abilities, as well as focus and concentration. I like to utilize this little hack when I am studying for exams, and have found dramatic improvements in grades. Ketones increase antioxidants and reduce oxidative stress in the body.
A keto diet also mimics being in a fasted state, so combining this with the intermittent fasting mentioned above creates potent autophagy effects. Ketones will also help improve gut lining integrity, an important mechanism for reducing symptoms such as brain fog, fatigue, and anxiety.
As a side note, it’s also important during this period to eat clean. Going keto will eliminate refined sugars and substances like gluten and a lot of dairy, but make sure you are also not ingesting vegetable oils or any other fake foods. Eat foods as they come in nature. This will produce huge results.
Eat detoxifying substances
Other things you can include in your diet this week include dandelion extract, ginseng, and zinc.
Drink bone broth
Bone broth is incredibly nutrient-dense, and also adheres to the ketogenic diet. It’s full of collagen, a crucial component of muscle as well as being the most abundant protein in your body.
There are many companies that make good quality bone broths. I usually buy
But usually I make my own bone broth. It is a whole lot cheaper than buying it, and you know the ingredients are of good quality. Put the following into a slow cooker and simmer on the low heat setting for 24–36 hours:
- Grass-fed bones (usually I use leftover bones from pork roasts or lamb chops). It’s recommended that you bake them in the oven for about 30 minutes first to improve flavor.
- Filtered water (enough to cover everything).
- Apple cider vinegar to help extract the nutrients from the bones (about 2 tablespoons).
- Garlic and other herbs for flavor.
- I also like to add ginger and turmeric for extra potent brain health benefits.
This is an Ayurvedic technique I have recently been experimenting with. It’s not as awful as I expected but I also wouldn’t say that it’s pleasant. Essentially, oil pulling is when you put a tablespoon of oil in your mouth, usually organic coconut oil, and swish it around for 10–15 minutes before spitting it out (not down the drain as the oil will clog it).
What this does is remove the fat-soluble toxins and bacteria from your mouth.
Saunas are especially beneficial for detoxing the body, but it can be a pain trying to get to the nearest public pool to use their sauna. If you have access to a sauna or hot tub, utilize it regularly. I just have an extra hot bath (for added benefits add Epsom salts). As long as it is hot enough to get you sweating, it will work.
I always thought this was a crazy and odd thing to do. But there are so many benefits to jumping on a mini trampoline, especially first thing in the morning. It gets your heart rate up and burns more calories than running, and also stimulates your lymph system by increasing lymph flow and drainage. This will improve immunity, improve fitness levels, as well as increasing blood flow and boosting circulation.
Detoxing your body is an important part of staying healthy. It improves your gut, your brain, and removes toxins and metabolic waste from your body. This will lead to greater feelings of wellbeing and a decrease in symptoms such as fatigue, brain fog, and anxiety.
A week-long detox should include as many of the following as possible:
- Avoid caffeine
- Fast intermittently
- Avoid carbohydrates
- Eat detoxifying substances such as spirulina and milk thistle
- Drink bone broth
- Try oil pulling
- Expose your body to high levels of heat
- Jump on a mini-trampoline