Fasting to Age Gracefully


Fasting is the process of abstaining from food and certain beverages for a specific amount of time. I do not use fasting as a tool for weight loss, but instead as a way to completely detoxify my digestive system and stimulate rapid cell regeneration. For 48-72 hours, I typically drink only herbal tea, water, and a concoction made of lemon water, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. This helps give my digestive tract a break from piling food on top of undigested food, which leads to build up, and ultimately the inability to properly absorb nutrients. It makes me mentally focused and aware. Plato once said "I fast for greater physical and mental efficiency"! It also clears my skin of nearly all blemishes (or at least reduces them noticeably) and redness. Most importantly though, this process prompts autophagy...

A 2014 study at the University of Southern California discovered that fasting triggers autophagy (cells getting rid of dysfunctional components). “When you starve, the system tries to save energy, and one of the things it can do to save energy is to recycle a lot of the immune cells that are not needed, especially those that may be damaged,” says researcher Valter Longo. He likens this to lightening an airplane of excess cargo / getting rid of the least important stuff. The study then concluded that when a person is fed again, cell count goes right back up, but this time, they are brand new cells. Where are they coming from? From cells quickly producing brand NEW cells!

All in all, through fasting, your body realizes it needs to conserve its energy, therefore it dumps the damaged cells. When you eat it realizes it can thrive again, and quickly produces brand spanking shiny new ones. In the end, you age properly, without bad cells continuing to live on and replicate in your system. Only the best cells continue on. It's survival of the fittest.

I do this every couple of months. Ideally I would do it once a month, but it is admittedly a little tough to mentally convince yourself to do it. Once you've started though, it's not that bad. Here is my recipe for the lemon water, which I drink 6x per day (1 Tbsp. maple syrup [it has a hint of the vitamins you need to not go crazy], 2 Tbsp. lemon juice [to cleanse and alkalize], a big shake of cayenne pepper [to metabolize waste], 10 oz. water). I drink peppermint tea 2-3 times per day because apparently detoxing makes you kind of smelly and this helps neutralize that. The rest of the time I drink regular filtered water.

I definitely feel renewed, grateful for the food I do have, and objectively able to plan meals around what my body needs, not what my palette desires. My skin also looks and feels amazing, which doesn't hurt! If you try this or have other methods, please share your experience :)

(Image, Irving Penn).