Fasting has gained huge popularity in the past few years, both for weight regulation and health improvement. Here, we share our view on fasting’s pros and cons, plus smart ways to go about it, if you choose. Pilar also shares her first-hand account of a seven-day (!) water fast.

This week we’re talking about Fasting, the power of periodically foregoing food, and the significant health benefits that can proceed from doing it intelligently.

Pilar shares what led her to embark on a seven day, medically-supervised water fast (yes, she consumed nothing but water for seven days, and lived to tell about it!). And Dallas shares what he knows about the increasingly popular intermittent fasting phenomenon.

We talk about the potential pros and cons of fasting, and why it’s not for everybody. We wind up with fasting experiments and suggestions you can try on your own, and offer up resources for further study.

Finally, Pilar comes back to report on how her week-long fasting experiment went, and why, even though it wasn’t all roses and rainbows, she’s likely to do it again.

“Fasting” Episode Highlights

  • The history and ancient wisdom of fasting, and its potential dark side (e.g., eating disorders and orthorexia)
  • The difference between fasting (long-term and intermittent) vs. restricted diets and detoxing
  • The essentials of intermittent fasting protocols, including potential benefits and risks
  • The reasons for doing longer-term and more “extreme” water fasts, and why they should always be medically supervised
  • The phases the body goes through during and after the fast
  • Warnings against fasting when it isn’t a well-reasoned part of a nutrient-dense, whole foods diet
  • This week’s experiments
  • Postscript: Pilar shares her water-fasting experience and invites questions (follow-up episode, anyone?)

1) If you don’t currently observe any sort of intermittent fasting protocol, try limiting your eating to daylight hours.

  • A longer break between your last meal of the day and bedtime can support good digestion, improve assimilation and metabolism, and help you maximize rest and repair during sleep.

2) If you have been doing a regular fasting protocol for a while, try pausing it for a bit and just eating however you feel inclined. Notice how that feels, and observe how your relationship with food may have changed since you originally embraced fasting.

Learn something new about fasting, challenge your assumptions, then experiment accordingly if you feel inspired.

  • Check out the resources below (from popular books and articles to scientific papers to a fun This American Life podcast) and pick one to dive into.

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