There were numerous queries after our 3 days fast. Is it an Atkins diet? Is it a Paleo Diet? What about Fasting and Blood Pressure, fasting and Diabetes? Are you fasting with water? Can i drink water with fasting? Is it a Low Carb diet and so on…. There was another group of people who claimed that we were nuts to try out this experiment. Some others believed that life should be partying all the time, eating and making merry and never be in the starvation mode. Some others were concerned about our calcium levels, iron levels and hemoglobin count. In this blog post, we wish to clarify some of your concerns and queries.
Why did we do it (objective of the fast)?
I (Shiv) have lived a life where even a 5 minute delay in providing the meal would send me into a state of depression. Then how did this turnaround come about? Gurus state that the key to success in life depends on 3 factors – Attitude, Skills and knowledge. Let me share with you the knowledge about fasting.
Close observation of the graph would show that Ghrelin (hunger hormone) spikes at around breakfast, lunch and dinner time. Even closer observation would show that this spike would last for a very short period of time, after which the hunger subsides. Hence fasting for 3 days doesn’t mean that we would be holding our stomachs, growling all the time and thinking only of food. The hunger spikes last for a very short duration. So please check it out.
Carbohydrate addict (carboholic):
I had been a carbohydrate addict for most of my lifetime. In the mornings, my insulin and fasting blood sugar would be at its lowest. My Ghrelin would be at its highest. This would lead to hunger pangs and misbehavior from my side (throwing tantrums). My tempers would cool down only after consuming few idlis and a sambar vada. My insulin would then work on pushing this stuff into the cells. Whatever food that did not get into the cells, would then be converted to visceral fat and Intestitial fat. Now my carb level (blood glucose) would come down around 1 pm, giving Ghrelin the signal to shoot up. Now this signalled lunch time. Time to have sambar rice, rasam rice, curd rice, kutoo and poriyal. As my body would need a 1000 calories of energy just to break down and digest this food, i would have little energy to do much else and hence it was siesta time… a time for a good afternoon nap. By now my glucose level would have subsided and now it was time to snack it up with rich Tamil snacks – murukku, mixture bhujia or biscuits, with Chai of course (with 2 spoons of pure white sugar). This would now cool down my Ghrelin levels and bring about a surge in my blood sugar, which would go down by 9 pm, signalling dinner time. Time to have few poories and chole. Now for all the hard work i had done, my body would need tonnes of energy to break down this stuff and hence it was time to sleep.
50 years of nonstop nonsense (eating, eating and eating):
Now my dear friends, especially dear Tamilians and Indians, where is the nutrition in this kind of food? Rice is the prime cause of Inflammation, milk (in tea) leads to leaky gut, wheat contains gluten which stops our bodies from absorbing whatever little nutrients we have and chole is an anti-nutrient. I wonder how i survived so many years. Thanks to the fruits and vegetables i consumed.
Dear Mr.Pancreas I am sorry (The INSULIN Story):
I confess that i am a criminal, though unknowingly, I tortured my pancreas and try to squeeze every bit of Insulin out of it. My pancreas would plead with me for rest but I would hammer out the Beta cells (insulin producing cells). These poor cells unable to bare this torture started committing suicide one by one. Only 23 percent of them are still alive. The world of medics had branded me as a diabetic. My insulin spikes continued but my cells were not ready to accept this glucose. Having no other outlet, my blood glucose took comfort in the arms of my fat cells. This juicy blubber which people connote as healthy, made me a member of the huge community of men in Tamil Nadu (India). This community is called EPND (ever pregnant no delivery). If I had to survive, I had to walk out of this community; it was time for an abortion.
Mr.Metformin to the rescue:
This label brought along with it dozens of medicines. My purpose of existence for the last 10 years was to feed the medical and the pharmaceutical industry. I wish somebody had told me that Carbs (carbohydrates) was my biggest enemy. If a person is Lactose intolerant (milk intolerant) what should you avoid – Milk of course. If a person is allergic to wheat, soya or peanut, then what should he avoid? If a person is allergic to Carbs, what should he avoid – carbohydrates of course. This little piece of information could have saved my Beta cells from 10 years of torture. Why would anyone tell me? I was a prime feeder for 2 major industries. If carbohydrates is a death sentence then what could i eat? Here fat and proteins came to my rescue.
A new world, LCHF:
This is when I was introduced to the world of Low Carbs (no milk, no sugar, no sweets, no processed food, no refined oil, no snacks, no rice, no wheat, no maida, no starchy fruits and vegetables; eg. Potatoes and banana) So what was i eating for Carbohydrates – fibrous vegetables and fruits. Added to this was another ally – walnuts, almonds, avocados, olive oil and coconut oil. Unhealthy vegetable oils like refined sunflower, gingelly and palm oil was a big no, no. Sorry Idayam, sorry Gold Winner – though you do lot of service to mankind by taking care of the heart fortifying them with D3 Vitamins, rich Omega 6 PUFA which helps people eat healthy vadas and poories and increase their life span, you are prohibited from my daily consumption.
A new fuel for my body; KETONES:
You all know that cars run on either diesel or gasoline. In future, we are going to have hybrid cars running on solar batteries, electric cars and so forth. If a car can run on different kinds of fuels, why not our bodies? The only fuel that most of us know about is Glucose. This is the reason why many people were concerned about our Fasting for 3 days. To our dear Tamilians who are tuned to Idlis and Dosas, this atrocious fasting is Hara Kiri.
If you observe the graph carefully, once the glucose is no longer the supplier of fuel, our body is like a hybrid car, switches over to another source of fuel – Ketones. This is otherwise called as ‘FastingKeto’ or ‘Fasting Ketosis’. It is a fat burning diet or a fat loss diet, though our objective was not fasting for weight loss.
Ramdev Baba and Anna Hazare are very smart:
This secret is known to these men. Even Gandhiji should have had decent knowledge about Ketosis. While the glucose addicts panicked that these men were trying to kill themselves for a great cause. These men had the last laugh. It was like killing 2 birds with one stone. Improve your health and at the same time become famous.
A note about Gandhiji:
The father of our nation undertook 17 fasts during his lifetime out of which 13 fasts were for a duration of 7 days or less which is very much endurable. But 4 of his fasts – one for 14 days and 3 for 21 days is super human stuff, because here the body gets into breakdown mode and starts consuming itself to survive. No wonder he is the Grand-master of Fasting.
Our story (Intermittent Fasting):
After switching over to LCHF diet on which we have been for the last 5 months, we graduated to strength and endurance exercises, with the objective of increasing storage of the excess Glucose in our muscles which had been in dormant stage till then (and liver). Muscle stores 70 gms of Glucose and liver stores 200 gms, but how do we store in the already overstocked liver? And that is where we studied the guide to fasting and took baby steps towards intermittent fasting. ‘Intermittent Fasting’ is otherwise known as 16/8 Fasting. Fast 16 hours every day and have your meals within a span of 8 hours. This is not a diet. We eat the same calories that an average person does but within a shorter span of time. We later progressed to 20/4 fasting. Eat within a 4 hour window and give your body a 20 hour rest. Initially the going was slightly tough, but our bodies became very smart and knew when to switch over to the Keto mode. Thus we don’t have the hunger cycles of average human beings, who have Glucose and Insulin swings, which result in mood swings. Our Glucose levels are absolutely stable. My Glucose levels are normalized at 83 mg / dl and fluctuate within a narrow range of plus or minus 15 mg / dl (this could be bad news for the entire Diabetic Industry). All Diabetologists, Diabetic care centres, Cardio centres, Nephrologists, Hepatologists, Pharma companies could become a thing of the past. Hence those who want to promote these industries, please don’t read my blog and promote it. I have been off Metformin for the last 5 months. Previously, i needed it for my survival and it kept my average glucose level at 275 mg / dl.
Moving up the ladder (24 hour fasting):
For the last 7 weeks, we have said no to solid food on Saturdays. The real battle is not within the body, the real battle is with the mind. To know the benefits on the body please click on the link and watch our video.
My mind had been conditioned for 50 years to having three solid meals a day and tonnes of crap (snacks) in between. My mind was not ready to forgo this comfort zone and started threatening me with dire consequences and went to extent on questioning whether i wanted to survive. Savi and I had to endure this ordeal till we were able to enslave our mind to the diktats of our body. Finally our mind obliged. Please note that our Hemoglobin and Calcium levels will not drastically drop during all this fasting. Its our mind playing tricks on us. It is our mind and our ego which are preventing us from coming out of our comfort zone. Even though there is wealth of experience beyond this comfort circle.
What did we eat during the 3 day fast?:
Finally we took a bold step forward, a leap in faith. If we were craving for food all the time, thinking of nothing but food and also feeling extremely tired, then how we ran 10 kms, do SALSA practice, have a Lower body workout, run in the treadmill apart from doing Yoga on all days? This kind of workout is not done by people even on normal days without any food consumption. Isn’t it? As a matter of fact, when we broke our fast, it was like missing a friend. This prolonged fasting has taught us how to conquer our mind and food, which is what the world thinks about most of the time, is not a priority in our lives.
Folks please click on the links to know what we consumed :
We had lots of lemon juice with Himalayan salts to balance our Electrolytes – no supplements, no juices. Avoid drinking fresh juices, as they have no fiber, are devoid of antioxidants and spike your glucose. In our case, we had a protein shake and an orange fruit before workout.
We dream of reaching higher levels, possibly a 5 day or a 7 day fast. Ramdev Baba, are you watching?
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Sharing few useful link related to fasting.