When you hear the word “Fast” you generally run in the opposite direction. Why is that? What if I told you that fasting could reduce inflammation in your muscles and digestive system, help combat a fatty liver, regenerate your immune system and aid in preventing diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases? I’m not talking about conventional nutrition fasting where you are spending hours in your kitchen juicing fruits vegetables and starving to death. I’m talking about a metabolic reset; a traditional ayurvedic nutrition fast.
What is fasting? In medical terms, the word “fasting” can be defined as “Voluntary abstinence from consuming food for varying lengths of time”. Simply put fasting is like a reset button for the entire physiology. Before I explain the importance of a fasting let’s review some health statistics.
Over 2/3 of American’s are overweight, 33% percent of adult American’s are obese and fifty-thousand people in the U.S. alone consume fast food on a daily bases. Within the next 10 years, epidemiological studies predict 1 and 3 people will have diabetes.
In an ayurvedic perspective, fasting ignites a genetic switch which will omit inflammation. Fasting also takes a heavy burden off of the liver and digestive system by allowing the body to properly filter out and break down lipid compositions which are caused by over consuming processed foods, refined sugars, and fats. In just a few days of fasting, you can improve your cardiovascular system because you are allowing your body to naturally decompose of arterial plague. Eliminating metabolic impurities has been proven to strengthen your immune system because your body is finally able to regenerate white blood cells.
Resetting the metabolic system is something just about everyone could benefit from. Fasting is the most ideal during the equinox. The equinox is the season change from fall to spring. The digestive system works in conjunction with the sun. Meaning, your digestive process works at its best when the sun is at its peak of the day. During the equinox the sun’s peaks shifts causing an imbalance in the body’s natural metabolic system. Fasting during this period will allow the body to regulate the blood glucose levels and the digestive system. During the fasting process toxin excretion continues while the influx of new toxins is reduced. This results in a reduction of total body toxicity. The energy that is usually used for digestion is redirected to the immune function, cell growth, and the eliminatory processes. This process is also known as Autophagy. During this
During the fasting process toxin excretion continues while the influx of new toxins is reduced. This results in a reduction of total body toxicity. The energy that is usually used for digestion is redirected to the immune function, cell growth, and the eliminatory processes. This process is also known as Autophagy. During this process, the cellular system is able to reprogram and renew itself. The immune system’s workload is greatly reduced, and the digestive tract is spared any inflammation due to allergic reactions to food. Water soluble toxins, salt, and fat chemicals are released and are broken down. Thus cleanses your liver, kidneys, and colon, as well as purifies the blood.
During the first 24 hours of a fast there are some very profound changes going on in the body. Within a few hours, glucose circulating in the blood is consumed. If that’s not being replaced by food, then the body starts converting glycogen, a stable form of glucose that is stored in the muscles and liver into glucose. When the glycogen is used up, the body turns on its fat burning abilities. Fatty acids are broken down in the liver, resulting in the production of ketone bodies. Ketones are now used by the brain instead of glucose as a source of energy. At this point, your body is in ketosis.
When you are in ketosis, high amounts of energy enter into the blood stream that triggers the secretion of hormones. The hormones travel through the bloodstream to the cells needing energy. This process allows enzymes and regulatory proteins to enter into the cells and activate the body’s natural fat burning capabilities. Keeping your body in ketosis for seven days is extremely important because this is when the most transformation takes place. The hormones will begin to regulate, the blood glucose levels will stabilizes, the liver and digestive system are replenishing themselves and the body is able to breakdown and decompose of triglycerides that form cholesterol and arterial plague.
The most effective ayurvedic nutrition fast is a high protein low carbohydrate diet. This type of fast is much different than a high protein conventional nutrition fast. The guidelines are as followed:
- You are eating every 3-4 hours for 12 hours and then you are allowing the body to fast for 12 solid hours. Doing so will help support the pancreas.
- There are no refined sugars or carbohydrates for the duration of the fast (7 days); this will allow the liver and digestive system to reboot.
- Protein sources should only be of lean proteins, such as fish, de-skinned grass fed, hormone free chicken & turkey, and cage free organic egg whites only. Protein sources should not contain any milk or dairy casings. This will aid in nourishment and keep you feeling full.
- Garden fresh organic vegetables only-excluding, corn, potato, carrots, and tomato. This aids in replenishing the mineral deficiency in the body.
- Light cardio is a must; 30-45 minutes of brisk walking, elliptical, or stationary biking for at least 3 days of the seven-day fast. This will help detoxified the toxins in the body and aid in the production of white blood cells.
- Your only source of fluid for the seven-day fast is water. You should be drinking at least a liter of water per day and you should be sipping on warm water between meals. This will is aid in the cellular cleansing and help break down fat strains.
The fast stated above will not only refresh your metabolic system, but it will also improve your lipid profile, enhance your cognitive function, as well as increase your growth hormone levels.
Fasting is simply a metabolic reset and is not intended as a treatment for any health conditions. Fasts are the most effective when they followed by healthy eating practices. You should always consult with your health care provider before starting a fast, nutrition, and or exercise regimen.
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During the holidays we consume about 10,000 extra calories per week. For most of us 10,000 calories a week means weight gain, tight clothes, and bulging bellies. Just the thought of 10,000 calories can cause weight gain, but, consuming it is even worse! Doubling your daily caloric intake can lead to more than just weight gain. Consuming twice your daily food intake takes a heavy toll on your liver, gallbladder, kidneys, digestive system and most of all, your metabolism. We consume three to four times the digestible food portions, and triple the amount of digestible proteins, fats and carbohydrates, which in return leads to not only weight gain, but, fat deposits in the liver and gallbladder, intestinal blockages, and a sluggish metabolism. Some reports claim that kidney and urinary tract infections are at their peak during the holiday’s due to the bacteria found in party foods, ingesting your body weight in sugars, such as sweets and alcohol and lack of fluids. Don’t be a victim of your own demise and avoid the holiday twenty and those unnecessary trips to the emergency room by following these simple tricks:
- The human stomach is the size of two fists, devouring more than your stomach will delay your body’s natural ability to digest the foods. Undigested food can cause bowel blockage, bloating, gas, ingestion, and inflammation in the abdominal cavity. Eating smaller portions, but more frequently will not only increase your metabolism, but will prevent that added weight gain around the waist-line. Your stomach can only digest about a salad plate worth of food at a time. Wait about an hour in between each salad plate portion before refilling your plate. This will allow you to decipher if you are actually hungry or if you are just socially eating.
- Sugar is our frienemy. All those holiday treats and cocktails are loaded with unwanted calories. One sliver of Cheesecake can add about 350 calories to your daily intake. A glass of wine can add about 150 calories. Limit yourself to a two drink maximum, or a small slice of cake or pie. You get one or the other, not both! Consuming both per one setting can equate to eating a Big Mac in fat and in calories. Sugar causes an imbalance in our glycemic index, thus, puts our bodies in fat preservation mode. Not to mention, consuming high amounts of sugar slows the metabolism and weakens our immune system.
- Salt is also known as the devil in disguise, and is the root of all evil. Most of our traditional holiday foods are a walking salt mine. Salt has a negative impact on our hearts, thyroid and kidneys. High volumes of sodium can result in dehydration, swelling in the face, legs and ankles and can also cause abdominal distension. Snacking on cucumbers and drinking lemon water will help you absorb the additional sodium intake. Lemon is a natural diuretic, replacing your morning Starbucks with lemon water will keep your holiday wardrobe fitting and it will also keep your face looking thinner for those holiday selfies!
- Last but not least, exercise, exercise, and exercise! A simple walk around the block nightly can help you burn those additional calories, and help you decompress the stress of the holidays.
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