Ep. 147: Part 2 of “How to Get the Remarkable Benefits of Fasting–Without Going Hungry” with Robyn Openshaw
Part 2 of my reading of my new book about how you can get the benefits of fasting, without actually being hungry. The clinical evidence is incredible, and I think modified fasting is possibly the greatest health discovery of this century so far!
Theflashfast.com is where you can get an incredible price on a 3-day Flash Fast, covering all your bases to get the autophagy and regeneration and abdominal weight loss of fasting, while carrying on with life as usual, and eating 5 small meals a day, made for you.
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HIGHLIGHTS FROM EPISODE:
- [01:54] Feed a child in Africa. For every purchase of the Flash Fast, you feed a child in an African village for three days through Mothers Without Borders. While you eat less, you feed a child. less for three days, we feed a child for three days in Africa in these villages Where Mothers Without Borders work.
- [03:41] Let’s dive back in. I jump back in to the major categories of health benefits from fasting and modified fasting, such as improving immune function against cancer cells, improves markers associated with diabetes, neurological health (like multiple sclerosis), heart disease, and increasing your life span.
- [08:15] Should you fast to lose weight? Weight loss is a natural byproduct of fasting, but using it with the intent to cleanse the cells in your body and promote needed autophagy for a better, healthier life is a higher vibration intention. (And, what is autophagy?)
- [10:17] You don’t have to starve with modified fasting. You don’t have to limit yourself to water to obtain the health benefits associated with fasting. Undergoing our 26-day detoxification program can result in biological rewards without the feelings associated with starvation.
- [12:32] You can detox emotionally, too. After major detoxes like fasting, your body can bring up and release emotions that have long been buried. Welcome them to pass through and leave you forever.
- [12:53] Have you heard of a herxheimer? In a fast, your body cleans out toxins. These toxins need to pass through the bloodstream to flush from your body, which can result in cleansing symptoms known as a herxheimer reaction. But, there are ways to help speed this process along.
- [15:06] I tried water fasting without food for 40 days. Here’s what I learned.
- [20:37] Should I try water fasting? There are numerous scientifically-documented benefits of fasting. But, if you undergo a water-only fast or dry fast longer than a day, do it under the supervision of a trusted functional medicine practitioner.
This transcript has been edited for clarity.
Robyn: Hey there, it’s Robyn Openshaw and welcome back to Vibe.
I am continuing on reading my book that I just published — that is not available, you can’t get it on Amazon or anywhere else — and it’s basically all the benefits of fasting and how to do it without actually going hungry.
Where we left off in the episode before (if you haven’t heard that, just go back one and start with part one) we were in the middle of talking about “Eight Major Categories of Health Benefits for Doing a Modified Fast.” Now, modified fast is my word. I have extensively studied the scientific literature on what happens when you eat 800 calories a day or less for an extended period of time.
I have just released the Green SmoothieGirl Flash Fast; it’s a fraction of the cost of Dr. Longo’s ProLon. I’m super proud of it because it’s totally organic. You get five mini meals a day; there’s no reason why you can’t achieve the health benefits of fasting by doing a modified fast. This means you can go to work, you can take care of your kids, your brain works, and in the meantime, silently behind the scenes, your body is tearing down a bunch of junk that needed to be torn down. It is rebuilding using stem cells and healthy materials. Lots of cool things happen when you do a modified fast.
For every sale of the Flash Fast, we are feeding a child in an African village for three days. You eat less for three days, we feed a child for three days in Africa in these villages Where Mothers Without Borders work.
Most of the kids do not get more than one meal a day, and, of course, we in America are screaming and wailing and saying “We can’t function if we don’t have three meals a day at least. ” And then we have to have these silly things like time restricted eating, where we try to talk people out of eating all day and all night and narrow to a window of 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM.
With me, for a moment, give a little bit of reflection to the majority of the world who does not get three meals a day, who gets only two. I think that puts into perspective what we’re trying to teach North Americans here (which is the only place unfortunately right now that we can ship the Fash Fast), that we want to, in our own way, as much as we can put a dent in world hunger as well while we reflect on what it means to eat less. And, why it’s so good for us (the fact of the matter is these indigenous people who eat a calorie restricted diet for decades of their lives have insanely less disease risk.
I wanted to let you know that humanitarian angle — we’re going to be doing this always– but right now the Flash Fast is $10 off just for you. You can get it at theflashfast.com, and it’s $10 off right now, so you can give it a try for $10 off. It’s very inexpensive, and later, if you love it and you want to do it once a month or once a quarter, you can get on subscribe and save and you can get it for even cheaper after you’ve done your first one. Your first [FlashFast] comes with this book for free.
We’re going to pick up where we left off. In the last episode, we covered the first three major categories of health benefits documented by the scientific literature about the positive health effects of fasting and modified fasting.
Part Two of Reading About the Health Benefits of Fasting
“Number four,” I want to jump right in, “it improves immune function against cancer cells.
“Dr. Longo and his colleague Sebastian Brandhorst — who is another researcher from the longevity institute at USC — believe that periodic fasting demonstrates a wide range of beneficial effects that help prevent cancer, and increase the effectiveness of current cancer therapies.
“One of their many studies at USC revealed that a diet that mimics a fast could trigger the same effects produced by immunotherapy, a therapy that relies on the immune system to kill cancer cells. This study found that this type of diet weakened to the cancer cells and revved up the immune system, making it more aggressive towards the cancer.
“Number five: modified fasting improves markers associated with diabetes.
“There are several studies that suggest periods of fasting improve insulin sensitivity and decrease the risk of developing diabetes.
“A study published in 2017 revealed that a four-day diet mimicking fasting triggered changes in mice that led to pancreatic Beta cell regeneration and the return of insulin secretion. These are changes that correspond to the reversal of type two diabetes. Another study showed regeneration of insulin-producing Beta cells as well as the reversal of both type one and type two diabetes symptoms.
“Number six: modified fasting improves markers associated with neurological health,
“…including multiple sclerosis, while still under clinical and laboratory investigation.
“Dr. Longo and his team of researchers have had remarkable results with mice placed on what he calls a “fasting mimicking diet.” One study showed the reduction or elimination of the symptoms of multiple sclerosis, as well as regeneration of the damage Myelin sheath in their spinal cords. In older mice, this type of fast promoted new nerve growth in the hippocampus — which is the part of the brain involved in the formation of new memories — as well as improving cognitive performance and decreasing the risk factors associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer.
“Number seven: modified fasting reduces markers associated with heart disease.
“When researchers asked 71 participants to complete three cycles of Long’s “fasting mimicking diet,” the results were remarkable. In addition to weight loss subjects reduced their blood pressure, their total cholesterol, and c reactive protein — or CRP — which is a marker of systemic inflammation.
“Number eight: modified fasting increases life expectancy.
“An article in the journal Mechanisms of Aging and Development reported that it has been well known for some 70 years and backed by studies that restricting the food intake of rats, mice, hamsters, dogs, fish, and even humans extends their lifespan.
“When mice eat 30 to 40% fewer calories, they developed half the tumors and other diseases than their normal-eating cousins.
“Our bodies renew themselves on a daily basis. In fact, it’s estimated that in one year’s time, 98% of our body is replaced. We have a new liver in about six weeks. We have new skin every 30 days, and our gastrointestinal tract regenerates in less than a week. This suggests how powerful our opportunity for a fresh new start is.
“Giving your digestive system a break by minimizing your food intake and making sure that what you do eat is pure, natural and easy to digest gives the 60 trillion cells that make up your body a chance to come clean and be the brilliant, purpose-filled organisms that they are. And, the easiest foods to digest are raw, simple plant foods.
“Should you fast to lose weight?
“While weight loss is the natural byproduct of going a length of time with absolutely no food or much less foo, and while it’s the number one concern of most Americans today, I recommend fasting or detoxifying with the intention of cleansing every cell in your body and taming inflammation, not the intention of fitting into a smaller pant size. There are probably easier ways to lose weight.
Autophagy: A Healing Benefit of Fasting
“Autophagy: a reason why fasting promotes healthy longevity.
“Fasting activates a process in the body called autophagy. Autophagy is a form of cellular cleansing or self detoxification. Due to limited nutrients, cells begin to eat debris and eliminate waste. Dead or toxic cell matter is cleaned out and damaged components are repaired and recycled. This process is defined as self-eating.
“When the body has no other fuel, it feeds itself and it does clean up work by metabolizing cancerous growth and breaking down yeasts, mold fungi, viral, bacterial and many other abberant cells and growths.
“Autophagy is compromised with age which really sets the basis for chronic diseases, and so increasing autophagy through a modified fast can really help prevent disease.
“In particular, research suggests that autophagy may prevent cancer. A lack of autophagy leads to lower levels of tumor-suppressing genes. Additionally, autophagy plays an important role in all aspects of heart health and it also protects against diseases such as Parkinson’s, Huntington’s and certain forms of dementia. Early Stage Alzheimer’s disease is linked to deficits in atophagy. Autophagy is beneficial for the immune system as well as for protecting against excessive inflammation.
“Let’s talk about why you don’t have to starve on a fasting diet. You don’t have to limit yourself to water for weeks at a time to obtain the health benefits associated with fasting. Undergoing our 26-day detoxification program for deep cleansing of the colon, kidneys, gallbladder, liver, and blood, or the quicker Flash Fast using our nutritionally complete three day modified fasting program, can both result in biological rewards without the feelings associated with starvation.
“The 26-day detox I undertake twice a year has four phases, which systematically cleanses the colon, liver, kidneys, gallbladder, lymphatic system, and blood.
“The first phase prepares your body for fasting by limiting your daily intake to meals that consist of vegetables and greens and a bit of oatmeal for the first four days.
“This is followed by a fast of green smoothies for three days, giving your body the nutrients it needs while it enters the biological fasting phase.
“The green smoothie fast in that first week is followed by a schedule of reintroducing categories of foods. So this detoxification protocol also qualifies as an elimination diet, giving specific organs a chance to rest after a period.
“After a breaking-down and eliminating Catarrhal mucoid plaque from the 35 feet of the human gastrointestinal tract, and after a kidney cleanse, you are ready for a liver and gallbladder flush. You can watch a free video masterclass about the science and purpose behind this kind of highly cleansing diet to achieve many of the benefits of fasting without actually depriving yourself of food completely (my video masterclass is free and you can find it at greensmoothiegirl.com/detox). To give modified fasting a try, do the three-day Flash Fast as your Beta test and document how you feel and what your results were afterward.
“We’ll send you a questionnaire, tabulate your data, and let you know later what our first 5,000 Flash Fasters had to say. So stay tuned.
Emotional Cleansing: One Benefit of Fasting
“The healing crisis that isn’t:
“I was surprised, after my first major detox when I was in my early thirties, that my body released emotions as well as toxins. Emotions that had long been buried came to the surface and passed through me, leaving me forever. I talk more about the experience of this emotional detox in the last video of the email@example.com/detox.
“In addition to uncomfortable emotions, a deep cleanse can also result in what is known as a healing crisis, or herxheimer reactions. In actuality, it’s not a crisis, but a sign of toxicity leaving the body. Your body is cleaning out the toxins, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals that have lodged in your tissues and organs. Unfortunately, these toxins must pass through the bloodstream in order to be flushed out of your body as they are filtered and eliminated from your body.
“You can experience cleansing symptoms that include headaches, nausea, muscle or joint aches and pains, low grade fever, diarrhea, symptoms associated with a previous illness or injury, anxiety and mood swings, congestion, skin breakouts, dizziness or loss of energy.
“It’s a small minority of people who experience any of those, Headaches are the most common, and change in your digestive function is the second most common function, followed by a skin rash. But if you do experience any of these passing symptoms, consider them a sign that your body is cleaning out its cells and tissues, which will leave you ultimately in a state of regeneration and renewal in a much cleaner state.
“For more significant reactions, see your functional medicine practitioner and discontinue or modify the cleanse protocol.
“There are ways to clear these cleansing reactions more quickly. Drink lots of water, get extra rest, dry brush your skin to improve lymphatic flow and open up the cells of your skin, and massage your colon to help in the elimination process.
“You might want to spend time in an infrared sauna, or consider a professional massage, or try a home coffee enema or a professional colonic, and know that this too shall pass. Cleansing crises really lasts longer than day or two. Again, if your reactions are severe, consult your trusted health care practitioner immediately.
My 40-Day Water Fast
“I tried water fasting without food for 40 days. And here’s what I learned:
“I’m completely fascinated by the process and benefits of fasting without food. I’m talking about eating absolutely nothing for a long period of time. Again, with water it’s called water fasting, or without water it’s called dry fasting.
“I’ve always felt that when Christians, Muslims and Jews quit fasting routinely, something important was lost. After all, some sects in those religious traditions used to fast at length, for weeks at a time.
“Let’s talk about modified fasting. My research into fasting, including doing it myself four times in the last two and a half years — once for 12 days, once for nine days and seven days, twice plus some shorter fasts in between — it has less to do a spiritual fasting and purification and more to do with the health benefits.
“I have very little self-discipline. I’m not a biohacker, constantly using technology and gadgets on myself to experiment. I’ve never run a race longer than a 10k and I don’t plan to, and I don’t have any self-denial fetishes. I just don’t do every hard thing just because it’s a challenge. Besides being raised LDS, some people call them Mormons, where we fasted Saturday night to Sunday night one Sunday every month from the age of eight, I have absolutely no reason why fasting for 40 days would be easy for me.
“I’m one of those people who, if something hurts or I’m hungry, everybody around me is going to know about it. In fact, I knew I couldn’t do it at home. I would start with the best of intentions. I’m sure I might even last a whole day, but the fridge would be right there a hundred steps away. My car would be in the garage. I live five minutes away from food, really good food.
My willpower is nothing when I get ferociously hungry. I’m a vegetarian, but very frankly, I’d eat a t-bone cooked rare if I got hungry enough, maybe even a hot dog. I suffered actual pain admitting that, since I haven’t eaten a hot dog in 25 years and no one else should either.
“Knowing all that about myself, I flew to a spiritual retreat in Texas, run by Hindu monks and nuns, to fast. Let me tell you what it’s like to water fast at Siddhayatan.
“Siddhayatan is in nowhere, Texas. Truly, it is miles from anything and you cannot use your Uber or Lyft app to get out of there and sneak out and get food in a moment of weakness. And that’s why I went there. It’s cheap. It’s like the cost of a Motel 6, and it makes sense that it’s cheap considering that they’re feeding you nothing and that you might be sharing a bathroom or staying in a room with no dry wall and only a naked bulb is your form of light.
“For my next fast, I plan to go to True North in California, where they’ll medically supervise me and the lodgings are probably nicer. But heck, while I was facing all my addictions, I decided I might as well face my addiction to upper middle class luxuries as well. I take a sliver of soap and a towel with me to the Ashram. The Ashram does not provide a towel or washclothes.
“I take $100 Uber from the airport where you can actually get a ride. You can Uber to the Ashram, but not back to the airport. Later, I have a private car company drive me back, but you can’t just call them up when you’re freaking out and wanting food. You can schedule them to pick you up tomorrow. So this saves me from my freak outs. I mean, freak outs are, by definition, short term.
“For me, at first it was the perfect place for extended water fasting because temptation is completely removed.
“Also, you can have a meal there if you find you aren’t doing well fasting completely without food. You would have to be in a serious crisis to just drop in for lunch though. First of all, that would be embarrassing. You’re supposed to give them a heads up, because this is the most frugal place you’ve ever been. The monks and nuns, all dressed in white, make a homemade vegetarian Hindu meal, three meals a day, but they make just enough for the exact number of people they have.
“They’re doing the yoga, meditation, silent and spiritual retreats. You, the water faster, no soup for you. They did not plan on you crashing the meal. So, besides being embarrassing to fail to ask well in advance if you can eat a meal with everybody else, you might actually be causing everyone they did plan for to not get enough to eat if you just crashed a meal.
“It’s very Dickensian. So, my point is, your food cravings are not easily indulged at this place. And for me that’s half the battle.
“There’s the actual hunger and physical weakness itself, sometimes even symptoms from long-term fasting without food, and I’ll get into that. But the constant temptations you’d have at home are removed. And that’s really why I go there.
“I know a guy at home who recently fasted for 23 days. He went out to lunch and coffee with people the whole time and he just abstained. I guess some people are more motivated and more self-disciplined than I am. I almost lost my mind watching Netflix on my laptop during my last fast for seven and a half days. Do you know how much food they show on most movies and TV shows? No, you don’t. You notice this kind of thing only when you’re very, very hungry.
“So, some people might have an iron will and be able to fast at home, but I am not one of those people. The total isolation at the Texas Ashram is hard. I like being around people, but it’s also helpful.
The Benefits of Water Fasting for You
“Should you try water fasting?
“Now, if you’re thinking about this for yourself, there are a few caveats. One, there is no medical supervision at the Ashram. No nurses, doctors; they have people fasting here all the time without serious incident, as far as I know. But people have actually died from prolonged fasting before, or so I’ve heard.
“In the literature, the only cases I could find were decades old and they were obese people who were fasting for over two months. I mean, the odds of you dying from fasting are probably about as high as you dying from taking most over the counter medications or driving across town in a car. That is, your odds of serious incident are pretty low.
“But when I interviewed Dr. Valter Longo, Phd, a fasting and longevity expert and author of The Longevity Diet, he did cite those two deaths that he knows of, which I did find in the scientific literature and were very, very old. And they were people fasting for a length of time. And one of them had diabetes and one of them had multiple sclerosis.
“So while Longo recites the many incredible health benefits of fasting, including rebuilding myelin sheath and regenerating insulin-producing capacity of the pancreas — long-term benefits, not just short term after the fast — I imagine he doesn’t want the liability of people at risk fasting for long periods of time due to his recommendations. Frankly, neither do I in an age of litigiousness. That seems ridiculous, given that millions of people have fasted accidentally, due to lack of food, or on purpose for literally millennia.
“But here we are in 2019, where most Americans have never gone a whole day without food. And some tell me they’ve never even skipped a meal. We might be more in need of fasting than in any culture in the history of mankind.
“So here’s my onerous disclaimer. If you undergo a water-only fast or dry fast, longer than a day, don’t say that I told you to do it. Please do it under the supervision of a trusted functional medicine practitioner.
“The story you’re reading is about my experience. It is not medical advice, and it does not substitute for competent medical care.”
So, with that, I’m going to stop this reading because I think you get a taste of the book. That’s about a third of it. You’ll get one with your Flash Fast. Again, you could get the Flash Fast for $10 off at theflashfast.com. When you get your Flash Fast you’ll get this book with it.
The next section that I didn’t have time to get into are, what are the side effects of water fasting without food?
I hope that this book, or a little taste of it, has been really useful to you in thinking about whether you could handle a modified fast, whether you want to do a longer water fast, maybe whether one of those is a good test for you to see how well you do with a longer term water fast.
I wanted to share with you some of my experience and some of my research on what the health benefits are. I hope this has been useful for you; I’m totally excited about supporting you in the Flash Fast.
We have a private Facebook page called The Flash Fast by greensmoothiegirl, where I and my health coaches will answer your questions. You can do the Flash Fast with plenty of support and plenty of camaraderie from other people going through the process. You can do it as many times as you want, and you can be there in that private group.
And don’t forget that when you eat less for three days doing the Flash Fast, we feed a child in Africa where most children do not get more than one meal a day. We feed a hungry child for three full days.
I will see you next time! Thanks for showing up, here on the Vibe show.
[Related Episode: Ep.74: Fasting for Longevity with Valter Longo]
[Related Blog Post: I Tried Water Fasting Without Food for 40 Days | Here’s What I Learned]
[Related Blog Post: Will a Fasting Diet Give You The Results You Want?]