The Miraculous Power of Fasting

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I've practiced intermittent fasting for the past couple of years, mostly for longevity reasons. I want to live a while to enjoy my military retirement. By intermittent fasting I mean I eat one meal a day (OMAD), sometimes two meals a day (2MAD). In other words most days I don't eat any food or drink calories for at least 16 hours a day.

Once or twice a year I do a prolonged fast which I would define as not eating food or drinking calories for a period greater than 24 hours.

Last fall I was building a shed and fell off a 6 foot ladder. On the way to the ground my shoulder struck a work table. At the time I thought it had just knocked the wind out of me. But a few days later my left shoulder experienced extreme pain. It hurt when I moved it, and it even hurt when I didn't move anything. I went to my GP who prescribed some pretty serious pain killers which didn't help all that much. I got a referral to an orthopedic doctor who gave me steroid injections to my shoulder.

An interesting thing happened, my left shoulder improved but then my right shoulder started hurting even worse than the left one was. To me that was very strange. The orthopedic doctor said I had been over compensating with my right side because the left was out of use and I strained it too. She put me in physical therapy.

Three months of physical therapy and I still had pain though much of the range of motion and function had returned, I still felt weak.

Bear in mind, I am a Hapkido teacher and I didn't neglect my students. I couldn't mix it up with them but I still came to every practice and guided them verbally as much as I could and only went hands on when I had to. Pain was just constant, always there. The painkillers would reduce it some but after a few hours it would be back.

Saturday night I ate with my family and decided maybe it is time to fast again for a few days. All I permitted myself was water, herbal tea, and black coffee. No food so no pain killers. After 24 hours of fasting I noticed the pain was greatly reduced, I suspect this represents a reduction in inflammation primarily. I pulled up a graph by Dr. Mindy Pelz, a YouTuber I follow. Her fasting graph is based on three massive studies which are cited at the bottom of the graph.

You can see her chart here: Fasting Benefits Chart

By hour 46 of my fast the pain was completely gone! A fast of that duration would have numerous health benefits but the one I think I am experiencing is an increase in musculoskeletal stem cells which begins around hour 20 and really starts to amp up around hour 45. No pain, no pain meds, I feel like a new man.

At hour 50 I went and taught Hapkido, I was able to get in there and physically mix it up with my students which felt great! I went home after and still no pain. Today is the day after and I feel fine. As I write this I am at hour 61. According to Dr. Pelz's chart musculoskeletal stem cell production will peak at hour 72-75 and then it just kind of hangs there at max stem cell production.

I'm planning to break my fast at hour 67 and have dinner with my family. I'll be curious to see if the pain returns after eating. I'll let you guys know.

After a winter of pain I feel like a miracle happened.
 
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_Simon_

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Fascinating... thanks for sharing! Great to hear of your recovery!

I've always wanted to play around with fasts, and maybe do one every now and then (purely from what I've heard about the stem cell regeneration aspect).

Just don't know how that would fit in with all the training I do and the need for fuel :p
 
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Fascinating... thanks for sharing! Great to hear of your recovery!

I've always wanted to play around with fasts, and maybe do one every now and then (purely from what I've heard about the stem cell regeneration aspect).

Just don't know how that would fit in with all the training I do and the need for fuel :p
I find I'm carrying plenty of "fuel" around my midsection to cover many such fasts safely.

I broke my fast after 67 hours out with my family at our favorite Japanese food restaurant. This can be a risky move, that first meal could have you spending the evening in the bathroom if you get it wrong. I've found when I just fast a few days it is usually not a problem but if I stretch it to five days then I must be extremely careful about what I eat and how much of it the first meal.

Normally I would order the steak and shrimp teriyaki with yum yum sauce prepared on the hibachi. However, that would probably have been a digestive disaster. So this time I ordered seaweed salad, salmon sashimi, and an avocado roll. It was a light meal and worked out just fine. Digestively speaking, everything returned to business as usual.

My shoulder pain did not return. I did have a little trouble sleeping. While I'm fasting, after the first full day, I'm not all that hungry; but, once I do eat something I feel ravenous.

The next phase is to really dial in my diet when I am not fasting. I have a real sugar addiction and that stuff is poison.
 

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I find I'm carrying plenty of "fuel" around my midsection to cover many such fasts safely.

I broke my fast after 67 hours out with my family at our favorite Japanese food restaurant. This can be a risky move, that first meal could have you spending the evening in the bathroom if you get it wrong. I've found when I just fast a few days it is usually not a problem but if I stretch it to five days then I must be extremely careful about what I eat and how much of it the first meal.

Normally I would order the steak and shrimp teriyaki with yum yum sauce prepared on the hibachi. However, that would probably have been a digestive disaster. So this time I ordered seaweed salad, salmon sashimi, and an avocado roll. It was a light meal and worked out just fine. Digestively speaking, everything returned to business as usual.

My shoulder pain did not return. I did have a little trouble sleeping. While I'm fasting, after the first full day, I'm not all that hungry; but, once I do eat something I feel ravenous.

The next phase is to really dial in my diet when I am not fasting. I have a real sugar addiction and that stuff is poison.
I'd stay away from any salmon on the east coast. That farmed salmon is bad.
 

Oily Dragon

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I find I'm carrying plenty of "fuel" around my midsection to cover many such fasts safely.

I broke my fast after 67 hours out with my family at our favorite Japanese food restaurant. This can be a risky move, that first meal could have you spending the evening in the bathroom if you get it wrong. I've found when I just fast a few days it is usually not a problem but if I stretch it to five days then I must be extremely careful about what I eat and how much of it the first meal.

Normally I would order the steak and shrimp teriyaki with yum yum sauce prepared on the hibachi. However, that would probably have been a digestive disaster. So this time I ordered seaweed salad, salmon sashimi, and an avocado roll. It was a light meal and worked out just fine. Digestively speaking, everything returned to business as usual.

My shoulder pain did not return. I did have a little trouble sleeping. While I'm fasting, after the first full day, I'm not all that hungry; but, once I do eat something I feel ravenous.

The next phase is to really dial in my diet when I am not fasting. I have a real sugar addiction and that stuff is poison.
For your keyboard to everyone's noggin, yes.

Sugar, starch, and alcohol are always bad for inflammation. For many people, add eggs and dairy and wheat to that list.

Even peanut butter, my go to protein fuel, is inflammatory after a certain amount.

It's amazing how much better you feel after a day free from the typical Western diet of red meat, sugar, and refined junk. Every now and then I'll do a week of nothing but fish, brown rice, and water. Amazing results, my inner ninja peaks out from under all the swelling.
 

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I'd stay away from any salmon on the east coast. That farmed salmon is bad.
It's pretty easy to get non farmed salmon near me, so your mileage may vary depending on your local options I guess.

Farmed salmon isn't "bad" nutritionally, although it is a little higher in (good) fat content and slightly less in mineral content. Most if not all farmed salmon in the US has strict contamination control too, I know that is true for all the big salmon farming states.
 
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Oily Dragon

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Thanks for the tip, what fish is optimal here?
Salmon is always a good option, farmed or not, as far as nutritional content.

For a close second, I'd say tuna steaks.

A lot of people have inflammatory response to shellfish, whether they are aware or not. Not to mention the salt content. That's something to avoid.
 

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Thanks for the tip, what fish is optimal here?
Generally, I look for sustainably caught wild fish. Salmon, in particular, is problematic. "Atlantic" salmon is code for farmed salmon. Farmed salmon does not have all of the great omega oils that are so good for you that wild caught salmon has. Wild salmon is naturally a deep red color, and you can literally see the oils in it. Atlantic salmon is literally injected with pink dye to make it look more appetizing. Yuck.

Fresh is better, but I don't have any problem with frozen fish, personally. I buy a lot of wild caught, Alaskan salmon every year, when Costco sells it for under $8/lbs and freeze a bunch for winter. It's still really good.
 

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Salmon is always a good option, farmed or not, as far as nutritional content.

For a close second, I'd say tuna steaks.

A lot of people have inflammatory response to shellfish, whether they are aware or not. Not to mention the salt content. That's something to avoid.

No thank you! :) Seriously, though, another issue with Atlantic/farmed salmon is it can range from kind of good for you to actively bad for you depending on what they feed the fish and how they care for the fish. So, if you do eat Atlantic/farmed salmon, it's best to know where it came from and how it was raised. Like other kinds of farmed meats, not all farms are the same.

Plus, wild salmon just tastes so much better. :D
 

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It's pretty easy to get non farmed salmon near me, so your mileage may vary depending on your local options I guess.

Farmed salmon isn't "bad" nutritionally, although it is a little higher in (good) fat content and slightly less in mineral content. Most if not all farmed salmon in the US has strict contamination control too, I know that is true for all the big salmon farming states.
Perhaps. I'm not an ichthyologist (and didn't even play one on TV). But I've done a fair bit of reading up on this. Omega 3 oils abundant in wild salmon vs the omega 6 oils, which are more abundant in farmed salmon. Omega 6 oils are not good for you, and are found in much higher concentrations in farmed salmon vs wild salmon.

Point is, yeah, I think depending on the farmed fish, it can actually be bad for you.
 
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Perhaps. I'm not an ichthyologist (and didn't even play one on TV). But I've done a fair bit of reading up on this. Omega 3 oils abundant in wild salmon vs the omega 6 oils, which are more abundant in farmed salmon. Omega 6 oils are not good for you, and are found in much higher concentrations in farmed salmon vs wild salmon.

Point is, yeah, I think depending on the farmed fish, it can actually be bad for you.
Agriculture (and aquaculture) in the United States is really messed up right now. I think in 100 years they will look back at us eating all this pesticide, herbicide, steroids, hormones, and GMOs the same way we look at the Victorians consuming ammonia, arsenic, and lead in their products.
 
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But then it kind of circles back to fasting. Because one of the many brilliant aspects of fasting is autophagy. It functions to eliminate many toxins from the body and especially damaged or senescent cellular components.
 

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Perhaps. I'm not an ichthyologist (and didn't even play one on TV). But I've done a fair bit of reading up on this. Omega 3 oils abundant in wild salmon vs the omega 6 oils, which are more abundant in farmed salmon. Omega 6 oils are not good for you, and are found in much higher concentrations in farmed salmon vs wild salmon.

Point is, yeah, I think depending on the farmed fish, it can actually be bad for you.
Well then we're all in trouble, about half of all fish is farmed and it'll be most in about 20 years. Wild farming had been a dying industry for a while now.

The risks of farmed salmon are kind of outweighed by the benefits of salmon in general ASSUMING it's not poisoned with bacteria or something worse.

But I see your point. Food safety matters, you should know your sources.
 

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Well then we're all in trouble, about half of all fish is farmed and it'll be most in about 20 years. Wild farming had been a dying industry for a while now.

The risks of farmed salmon are kind of outweighed by the benefits of salmon in general ASSUMING it's not poisoned with bacteria or something worse.

But I see your point. Food safety matters, you should know your sources.
If it becomes a choice between eating farmed salmon or no salmon, I'll do without. Plenty of other fish in the sea, literally and figuratively. :)
 
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Thank you everyone for the words of encouragement, information, and for your posts which have been universally supportive. If any of you are interested in trying fasting yourself but it just seems impossible I can tell you how I got from impossible to doing it routinely successfully.

The first thing you need to realize is fasting is not starving. You will hear someone say "It's 11:00 and I'm starving," and they just ate a few hours ago. All that feeling means is that you customarily eat around that time and your body is saying hey, it's time. But you are the master of your body, it is not the master of you and you can train it to say hey, it's time, just once a day. Ever wonder how dogs know precisely when it is feeding time? The same biological process happens within them.

Even a trim healthy person has plenty of fat reserves and could survive for over a month without eating a single calorie. The trouble is the modern western diet has us eating a LOT of carbohydrates. Unless you are on Keto or at least a low carb diet your body has optimized itself to use carbs as fuel not fat. It takes a while to become fat adapted. As far as I've come I still struggle with this.

Most of the "hunger" feelings aren't true hunger and you are in no danger of starving. That "hunger" feeling is more akin to chemical addiction than true hunger. What you are having are cravings for junk your body doesn't need and that is no different than any other addict.

The way I got to the point I am at is this:

First only eat three meals a day, no snacks, and no cheating.

Once you can reliably do that with no cravings or discomfort then eat only two meals a day, no snacks.

Once you can reliably do that comfortably, then gradually move the two meals closer together. Instead of eating meal 2 and meal 3, 5 hours apart eat them 4 hours apart, then 3, then two, etc.

Your goal is to have one meal a day, which means only one insulin spike a day. If you get this far, congratulations you mastered your body.

I'll warn you, this takes more self discipline than anything martial arts will ask of you, but you can do it and the benefits are massive.
 
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At Wythenshawe Hospital, Manchester, U.K. theyve been trialling fasting (four days at a time of virtually nothing to eat if memory serves) with chemotherapy for breast cancer to reduce the somatic symptoms of the chemo with great effect - reduced hairloss, reduced gastrointestinal effects, less nausea. This makes sense because fasting pushes ones cells into quiescence where they reversibly exit the cell cycle. Chemotherapy damages and kills rapidly dividing cells (which is what cancers are essentially) but so are hair follicles, the lining of the gastrointestinal tract etc and thats why they are also negatively affected by the poisons that are chemotherapy drugs. But fasting puts them to sleep and the chemo affects them less! Great, isnt it?
 

isshinryuronin

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Every now and then I'll do a week of nothing but fish, brown rice, and water. Amazing results
I was on a similar diet all throughout my late twenties during my training peak (It was part of our dojo black belt culture fostered by our sensei.) Yin/Yang balance and macrobiotic diet served as the base. Authentic ginseng tea, seaweed, sesame butter, miso and weekly sushi (my fatty fish) from what I believe was the first sushi bar in the USA (on Pacific Coast Hwy in Malibu Beach) were also staples. The results were amazing for me as well - great endurance. I wish I had the self-discipline to return to that Spartan path, but, alas, I enjoy my vices too much now in my waning years.
 

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I don't think you can call it a "fast" unless there are at least 24 hours without food of any kind.
 

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