Doing Without

As y’all may or may not know, I follow The Primal Blueprint diet/lifestyle.

In practical terms, this means I eat only dead critter, veggies, fruit & berries, and dairy. I have a high fat, medium protein, low carb diet. This means I’m a fat-burner, not a sugar-burner, in terms of how my body gets its energy.

No grain. No wheat, rice, corn, or oats.

Turns out, I was allergic to all of that. Didn’t know it. Discovered it back in 2009. Now, if I have grain, you can set a timer by me. Twenty minutes later, I’ll be congested, sneezing, and swollen. My eyes will start watering. I’ll feel crummy. Etc.

I’m also allergic to soy. But that allergy is nastier. I end up with migraines from soy.

This means I eat very little processed food. Corn and soy is in everything. I also generally take antihistamines before I go out to eat.

But this is not a post about living without grains.

One of the things that’s frequently brought up on Mark’s Daily Appie is intermittent fasting.

There isn’t a single way to fast. I’ve been experimenting with a 24-hour fast once a week, for the last four weeks.

How I’ve been doing it: Getting up Tuesday morning, making breakfast, having my coffee, then not eating again until Wednesday morning.

The results have been fascinating. Each week has been different.

The first week, I ended up dealing with a bunch of emotional issues around food. For example, I hadn’t remembered that my mother had sent me to bed without dinner as a kid until I nearing bedtime that first fasting day and had overwhelming feelings that I’d been bad. Had to do a lot of nurturing. Also realized that to some extent, I was treating myself with food, using it as a reward for working hard all day. So lots of emotional processing that first time.

While I was hungry, it wasn’t too bad. I was less hungry the following day than I expected.

The second week, I had a migraine. I can’t take medication on an empty stomach. So I did a reduced calorie day instead of a true fast. Around 2 PM I had a small cup of full-fat Greek yogurt with half a teaspoon of honey, about 200 calories. The fast went fine. I was hungry right around dinner time, but was able to get through it.

The third week, I again had a migraine. Again did the reduced calorie day with yogurt mid-way through.

One of the things I’ve read about intermittent fasting is how much energy people gain toward the end of a fast. That hadn’t happened to me the first two times I tried it.

The third time? Wow. What a rush. I had to get out of the house and take a long walk. I couldn’t sit still.

I felt great. I felt great the next day as well.

This fourth week, I did a full-on fast, not reduced calories. I was hungrier going into the fast, and I didn’t have as much of an energy boost at the end of the day–still had some. And today, the day after the fast, I feel great again.

So I think I’m going to do a reduced calorie day once a week, not a full on fast. I really liked how I felt.

It also helps me be so mindful of food, of what I’m eating, of appreciating everything I have, of how blessed I am.

Do I recommend fasting for other people? I’ll fall back on Mark’s warning:

If you haven’t satisfied the usual Intermittent Fasting (IF) “pre-reqs,” like being fat-adapted, getting good and sufficient sleep, minimizing or mitigating stress, and exercising well (not too much and not too little), you should not fast. The pre-reqs are absolutely crucial and non-negotiable, in my opinion, especially the fat-adaptation. In fact, I suspect that if an IF study was performed on sugar-burning women versus fat-adapted women, you’d see that the fat-burning beasts would perform better and suffer fewer (if any) maladaptations.

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