I’m ringing in the New Year with a week-long fast. Crazy? Not really. I’m a believer in fasting and it’s many benefits like: lipolysis, boosting mental capacity, reducing insulin resistance, and resetting your set weight point.
Intermittent fasting helped me rediscover what it feels like to be satiated by stablizing the hormone leptin (the hormone signals the brain that you’re full).
However, the big driver behind this 7-day fast is autophagy – the cellular cleansing process. According to Dr. Jason Fung, autophagy is the “body’s mechanism of getting rid of all the broken down old cell machinery (organelles, proteins and cell membranes).”
Now all cells in our body are programmed to die after a certain number of divisions. That’s apoptosis. Autophagy takes place at the sub-cellular level. Basically only parts of a cell need to be purged and replaced. Dr. Fung compares this to replacing car parts rather than the whole care.
Fasting not only stimulates autophagy (clearing out the bad), but it increases growth hormone so our body can produce new cell parts. Double bonus!
Purging Pre-Cancerous Cells?
While more testing is needed, there is growing evidence that autophagy can prevent cancer from developing the first place. When fasting, you are putting a stress on your body. Your body responds via autophagy. It begins to get rid of the broken down junk in cells, including abnormal cells.
Cancer cells don’t appear overnight. They spring from what’s called immortal cells – cells that have gone bad and ignore their expiration date. We all get these abnormal cells. If your body is working properly, both apoptosis and autophagy purge these potentially dangerous cells and cell parts.
However, thanks to our modern diet, our bodies are not working properly. At least 25% (and growing) of cancer that occurs in Americans today is traced back to diet.
Thankfully fasting can trigger autophagy to start purging these abnormal cells.
Dr. Thomas Seyfried, a professor of biology at Boston College, recommends an annual 7-day water fast as a way to purge your body of pre-cancerous cells.
Promising research is also showing that fasting and a ketogenic diet can limit the growth of glucose-feeding tumors.
Now I don’t think I would attempt a 7-day fast if not for my uterine cancer. Over the next 4-½ years I’ll visit my surgical and radiation oncologists regularly for any signs reoccurrence. That means annual mammograms, and pelvic exams and paps every 3 months.
Giving up food for a week is a tool I plan to use in my quest to kick cancer’s sorry ass.
What’s The Plan?
I’m reading The Complete Guide To Fasting by Dr. Jason Fung (of course!) and Jimmy Moore. I plan to follow Dr. Fung’s advice pretty closely.
Now I’ve done 24- and 36-hour fasts a couple of times in a week. However this week the husband and I are trying out daily 24-hour fasts. That means only eating one meal – dinner – a day. If all goes well, then we’ll probably permanently switch to eating this way.
Oh and part of the routine this week is testing the recipes in the book. Yep, a fasting book with recipes. Pure awesomeness!
For the curious, I’ve posted my dinner menu for the week. All low carb approved foods.
I’m also working on a list of projects (refinishing bathroom cabinets, knitting a throw, painting the kitchen, sewing classes, organizing photos, etc.) to keep me busy during my week-long fast.
Keeping busy is the best way to forget about eating.
A little honest here: I’ve tried to do a 7-Day fast before and I failed miserably. I just wasn’t mentally ready for the challenge. I’d always hit a wall near the end of Day 2 I’d give in (turns out that’s the hardest day).
It sounds strange, but I’m actually looking forward to the extended fast. I just feel more in control thanks to the researching I’m doing on menopause, diet and hormones. Since my diagnosis, I finally feel like I’m emerging from a rather long fog.
DISCLAIMER: Okay gang, I’m not a doctor. I don’t even play one on TV. Everything on this blog is not intended as medical advice. Health is an individual quest and it is up to you and your doctor to figure out what is best for you and your situation. So do your own research and talk with your physician. That said, fasting isn’t for everyone and can be dangerous if you are a diabetic, take medications or have other health issues.