October Kitchen - March 2019

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Spring-Cleaning With an Intermittent Fast THE NATURAL DETOX

After a long winter, I am so excited to start spring again. I look forward to being able to enjoy the sunlight and walk my dog without getting frostbite. This time of year, many people celebrate spring with a round of spring- cleaning. Personally, I will be spring-cleaning my body with a three-day fast. culture, people sometimes panic if they hear you’re “starving yourself.” Yes, going without food can be dangerous if you don’t approach it with the right mindset. But unlike pseudoscientific internet trends or baseless celebrity diets, intermittent fasting actually has scientific data to back it up. An extensive, peer-reviewed study from the University of Southern California, published in the journal Cell Stem Cell, found that prolonged fasting has a “remarkable effect in promoting stem cell-based regeneration of the hematopoietic system.” This regeneration was the result of autophagy, a metabolic process in which, during periods of starvation, the body begins to “self-digest.” The idea of your body eating itself sounds terrifying, but realize that when fasting, your body doesn’t target muscle or healthy tissues right away. During autophagy, the body first breaks down waste materials, destroying dead, diseased or worn- out cells. Your body then uses the energy to create new, healthier cells. It takes over 48 hours for autophagy to begin, which is why a three-day fasting period is recommended. When I tell people I’m planning a fast, they always get a little worried. In our food-centric

of years through periods of scarcity. Our ancestors would go long periods of time without eating much between hunts or harvests. Going without eating for a little while became part of how the human body kept itself healthy. Being surrounded by plenty of food and having instant access to calories is a new development. We’ve lost the regular aid of autophagy as a result. After discussing intermittent fasting with one of my personal trainers, I decided to give it a try just before a new year, after spending the night after Christmas bent over the toilet, praying for the sweet release of death. (Quick aside: Baileys has a shelf life of only two years. If you have an old bottle sitting in your fridge, throw it out.) Thankfully, the next day I was back on my feet. Since I hadn’t been able to eat anything the day before, I figured that was as good a time as any to start fasting. I kept the ball rolling and drank only water and black coffee for the next two days. Fasting wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I did wake up hungry in the morning, but after drinking some water, my body Continued on page 3 ...

“When I tell

people I’m planning a fast, they always get a little worried.”

All of this makes sense when you think about how the human body evolved over millions



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