Many of us have heard of cleanses, fasts, and all sorts of gimmicky things that are supposed to supercharge our health and stave off disease. The question I always ask as a healthy skeptic is, "Where's the research?" Thankfully, I came across this notion of resetting my gut health a few months back, and I am finally taking the process on for myself.
I've read two books in the last three months regarding health and, more specifically, nutrition. One was all about eating a mostly alkaline diet. Really quick- Alkaline diet consists of foods that turn to white ash when they are burned. What you eat consists of mostly raw veggies and fruits, VERY FEW animal proteins and fats, and a plethora of seeds, nuts, and grains to get the rest of your nutritional profile filled in.
A cool process, but one of my gut was consistently rejecting it. I am about to get pretty specific and gross, so reader beware.
I would suffer a large amount of gas, bloating, and general stomach discomfort. It wasn't so much about heart-burn, which is what I worry about most as a sufferer of a small sliding hiatal hernia. No, it was lower digestive issues like diarrhea and STANKY flatulence. It wasn't fun for me, my coworkers, and especially MY WIFE!
I also picked up a different book about diet Phasing. The book (which I listened too) dives deep into the research on metabolism, nutrition, and overall health. Some of the topics overlapped with my earlier reading on Alkaline food, but this approach is something completely different.
What it boils down to is "Phasing" your "diet" to prevent adaptation. But it also includes optional fasting once a month to give your digestive system a rest and reboot.
Think about your gut this way: It is your partner in life. Without your gut's microbiome, you would be sick ALL THE TIME. Without your gut's lining intact, you'll experience all sorts of digestive issues (As listed above). Chances are, you are like me and living with some form of leaky gut, causing us all kinds of unknown health complications. The design of this method gives your body a monthly "reset" without the pain of going hungry. More on that later.
After listening for hours to the research Chalene did for her own health, I contemplated. I have suffered digestive problems for all 35 years of my life. I go through periods of feeling really great, and periods of feeling really crappy.
As I write this, I am in week 2 of this first "Phase," and I am well pleased.
Let me outline this for you.
IT's living in ketosis. Yep, a Keto diet for 4 weeks (well, 3), and this is the secret sauce to fasting. There's a build-up to going days without much food, but it doesn't seem scary at all!
The beautiful thing about ketosis is using your body fat for fuel instead of sugars from carbohydrates. When you're using fat as fuel for a week or two, your body doesn't notice a lack of food because it is pulling nutrition from your fat storage. You know, like a camel.
The second piece to the puzzle is intermittent fasting. I know, I know, that sounds scary, but let me share my process with you so you can see it is not scary at all.
I eat my dinner between 5 PM and 6 PM every night. Then I don't eat anything until breakfast the next day. I drink unsugared tea, or just water until about 8 PM. I know that seems like a long time with no food, but I sleep for six to eight hours of that time. When I wake up, I typically consume just water and maybe my pre-workout drink and hit the gym. By the time I am all finished, my first real source of calories hits at 8 AM. That entire time from when my dinner digests to my breakfast the next day, my digestive system rests. Do you know what's crazy? I am not hungry!
That rest alone has helped me feel so much better. Include the naturally occurring ketones, which is like rocket fuel to my energy levels until its time to sleep.
A note about ketones supplements (these are my personal anecdotal thoughts, not truly scientific):
There are a lot of people taking exogenous (supplemental) ketone supplements to lose fat and increase energy. I am not going to bash that because it makes the process seem pretty straightforward. However, my skeptical word of caution is that we don't know the long term effect of doing this. I am suspicious that consuming excessive ketones in the long term will do the following things.
1. ketoacidosis- This is what type 1 diabetes experience when their blood sugar crashes, and they get "loopy." It is a scary point because once the person loses consciousness, they need emergency medical attention. If you're overloaded with ketones, you could experience diabetic symptoms without prior diagnosis.
2. Fried Liver- the liver produces ketones after the organ depletes is sugar supply (known as glycogen), which is the body's default energy source. If you're supplementing the liver's natural functions, how can we be sure it will still do the job when needed naturally.?
Ok, Back to the keto subject.
After consuming this massive amount of fat each day, I am finding I actually feel excellent! Usually, GERD suffering folks avoid fat at all costs, but that hasn't been my experience this time around. I am not "hungry" between meals; I do miss chewing on things, though. The act of chewing is an emotional relaxant for me. When I'm stressed, I eat. When I'm tired, I eat. When I am having fun, I eat. But I am rarely hungry.
However, refamiliarizing myself with hunger pangs was refreshing, and entering into a state of ketosis has been celebrated in identifying WHY I eat the foods I do. The end game here is to fast eventually.
Why fast? Well, the short answer is to rebuild my stomach lining. You can actually restore your stomach lining in about three days if you're prepared for it. When I say fast, I'll be consuming bone broth, MCT oils, and maybe some exogenous ketone supplements. At the end of the fast, I will introduce one food group at a time, all while trying to keep a mild state of ketosis active courtesy of intermittent fasting.
Then begins a refueling process of part 2.
Thanks for reading, I'll let you know how this next phase goes.
If you want to check out the books I refer too, Please email Matt@MattMaus.net with the subject: Books.