I can’t remember when and how I first learned about intermittent fasting. Maybe it was thru my brother who introduced me to Cole Robinson, a YouTuber who took fasting to an extreme but also had a strong following because of the life-changing and -saving results of people who had success with his methods. Around this time in 2018 was also when my father got diagnosed with pre-diabetes and when my uncle started having serious diabetic issues that prevented him from going back to work as a seaman.
Although fasting continues to be a part of my life until today, it was not smooth sailing all the way. There are things I only found out now (women and fasting, more on this later) that I wish I knew then so that my body wouldn’t have crashed.
Fast This Way by Dave Asprey, is the second book I read on fasting, the first is The Complete Guide to Fasting by Jason Fung. To start off, I think Dave and Jason have different audiences. Jason Fung, who is a nephrologist, focuses on people who are obese and are suffering from diabetes and that is why I think his approach doesn’t take into account the subtler reservations found in Asprey’s book. I believe Asprey’s audiences aren’t necessarily diabetic nor obese, but rather those who are trying to improve their lives, physical performance, or self-control.
My Three Takeaways
❥ Women and Fasting
One chapter in the book talked about how a woman’s reaction to fasting is different from men. This is because a woman’s body is made to carry a child, and when our body finds itself in a situation where nutrition is lacking we feel it much faster than men would. In retrospect, this is something that has already happened to me. From November 2019 to January 2020 I was on a mostly OMAD (one meal a day) eating schedule. Not only that, I was dirty fasting—I did not care where my calories came from and they were mostly low-quality food. Because of this, I put my body under a lot of stress. At the time, I was also working two jobs and one of them was about to go belly up. That said, my body and mind were both under a lot of stress. And in late January 2020, I succumbed to a major Lupus flair which manifested as brain inflammation.
Learning: Women who undergo fasting should be more observant of how their body reacts to fasting. A continuous repetitive and long fast is also NOT advised. Rather, there should be rest days and eat days between a regular fasting schedule. Moreover, quality food should be consumed whenever possible.
Tidbit of wisdom: We should practice listening/observing our bodies more. For example, there are foods we consume that can make us bloated, but usually, we don’t take note. Our bodies actually give us plenty of signs we often tend to ignore.
❥ BulletProof Coffee
A few years back, even before I knew who Dave Asprey was, I bought BulletProof MCT oil not knowing how to use it strategically. I simply used it when I made coffee in the morning, thinking I’d feel some kind of magic clarity. I now understand that BulletProof coffee is ideally supposed to replace your breakfast—NOT take it with your breakfast— because the consumption of MCT oil does not break your fast. It does not trigger your body to produce insulin, yet it satiates hunger and provides ketones (energy) for your brain to consume. Thus it can help you biologically prolong your fasting period and reap the benefits.
Application: On days I’d like to skip breakfast and do an OMAD or skip a whole day of eating altogether, I can take BulletProof coffee to make that experience less painful.
❥ Fasting For Spiritual Purposes
Fasting does not have to be seen from the point of view of suffering. Many of the mysteries and enlightenment of people in the Bible as well as in other religions happened while they were fasting. Perhaps it’s because their brain switched to using ketones as fuel which is known to bring a different kind of high. Still, perhaps it is when we are empty that there is enough space for sacred experiences to come in—unlike when we are having a food coma after a heavy meal.
David Asprey mentioned he experienced oneness (samadhi) during one of his long fasts. This can be difficult to understand for those who are foreign to the term. However, this is what I found fascinating and inspiring given that Asprey is admittedly brought up to have logical views—”humans are mere meat bodies”. For him to talk about fasting in a spiritual light made my framing of fasting as a spiritual activity more real.
Fast This Way is a good supplement to those who are practicing fasting as a lifestyle. But for those who wants to use fasting to reverse diabetes (it’s possible!) I suggest reading from authors in the medical field .
Happy fasting! ♡