A few weeks ago I was giving a group presentation on the 5:2 Fasting diet at my Naturopathic Nutrition course. I found it interesting that even if a person is eating a heavily processed diet for five days of the week and cuts their consumption of food by two-thirds for two days of the week, they will still have the benefits of Intermittent Fasting, according to Dr Michael Mosley in a recent article in the Daily Mail’s ‘You’ magazine;
“it helps reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. It has the potential to delay ageing and help prevent and treat diseases.”
Dr Michael Mosley
By participating in two weeks of Intermittent Fasting I managed to lose 6lbs and gain some insight into my own eating habits. I noticed that as soon as I focused on my food consumption, I began to feel hungry. It was as though the thought of food triggered my hunger. This got me thinking that if I could examine the thoughts and feelings that came up, would I gain a better understanding of my own relationship with food?
Whilst on my fasting days I was able to observe my own thought patterns, beliefs and emotions all related to my eating habits. Upon reflection, I gained a deeper understanding about my relationship with food and ultimately my relationship with myself. I realised the difference between feeling real hunger and at other times satisfying an emotional need with food. This also led to a feeling of gratification for my body and the way it continues to perform for me even if I do not give it what it needs all the time. Through all of this, a deeper feeling of self-love and self-worthiness surfaced.
“Our relationship to food is a central one that reflects our attitudes toward our environment and ourselves. As a practice, mindful eating can bring us awareness of our own actions, thoughts, feelings and motivations, and insight into the roots of health and contentment.”
Along with an emotional release came a release of physical toxins; this was helped greatly with my regular intake of organic cold pressed vegetable juices that kept me nourished and hydrated with vital vitamins, minerals, live enzymes and electrolytes. In particular my green juice which consisted of kale, celery, lettuce, cucumber, apple, ginger and lemon had an emotionally balancing effect and my red juice that was made up of beetroot, carrot, apple and lemon alleviated my headache and supported the detoxification of my liver. I used a skin brush to help alleviate the toxins built up in my lymphatic system and Epsom salt baths to help further release toxins stored in my skin. What I felt after the detox symptoms had passed is really worth relating and what followed was quite extraordinary:
- Physical energy
- Mental clarity
- Creative energy and inspiration
- Emotional stability
- A general feeling of peace and wellbeing
Clarity of mind, a brain functioning beyond my regular capacity and an optimism of an inspired child all wrapped into the experience of my detoxed self. I found it fascinating. Could this feeling be optimum health? Health of mind, body and spirit balanced, a rare feeling in this day and age.
Moreover I found it interesting to see what was happening on a cellular level and whilst restricting calories can lead to weight loss which is perhaps why the 5:2 Fasting diet is so popular, the health benefits which follow the fasting process are really worth examining. When the body has a rest from eating food this allows the digestive system to have a rest and the body can begin some maintenance and repair.
“We tend to treat our bodies like a car: we keep it topped up with high-calorie fuel and drive it hard. If you do that it will, eventually, break down. It’s only when you go for long periods without food (around 12 hours) that your body switches to ‘clean up and repair’ mode.”
Dr Michael Mosley
A natural process called ‘Autophagy’ – meaning ‘self-eat’ – is a recycling of old cells that the body breaks down and then begins regenerating parts of the body that are in need of repair and balance, such as the pancreas in insulin sensitive people. As Michael Mosley states in his article, he was able to balance his blood sugar and address his own diabetes through fasting regularly.
“Fasting not only helps clear out damaged old cells but can also spark the production of new ones. In a fascinating study published a couple of weeks ago, Professor Valter Longo of the University of Southern California showed that in mice, if he cut down their calories for a few days a month, he could regenerate parts of their pancreas.”
Dr Michael Mosley
After fasting there is an influx of white blood cells that flood the body with an immune boosting reaction.
“Professor Longo has also shown that intermittent fasting can boost the immune system. If you do a short fast and then eat, you get a rebound effect, with the creation of new, more active white cells. “
Dr Michael Mosley
What excites my curiosity further is to imagine that if we continued to nourish the body with nutrient dense, live enzyme rich foods and juices every day, would we feel that optimum healthy feeling all the time? It makes sense to be mindful about our food choices and to think before we consume food. ‘How is this food going to contribute to the health of my body? How will I feel after I have consumed this food? Am I reintroducing toxins to my body?’
From my participation of Intermittent Fasting, I understand that my body is always working towards balance and by eating mindfully every day, staying in tune with my body and eating less on some days, I can begin to experience a reboot of health and wellbeing well worth mentioning.
words: Constandia Christofi
Constandia runs the Raw Health Bar in
Brighton Open Market
Click here to read the full article by Dr Michael Mosley in the Daily Mail’s You Magazine