Last winter, I was at an integrative medicine conference in NYC, when I heard Dr Viktor Longo present his research on how we age more healthfully. It was mostly about eating the right proportion of macronutrients, and yes, fasting was part of the equation. However, he pointed out that prolonged fasts can be detrimental, and besides, most Americans simply won’t do it right.
So he developed a “Fasting Mimicking Diet”, in which your body gets the benefits of fasting, while still getting to eat….some. I’ve alluded to this in prior blogs. Although it’s possible to do this on your own, even I thought it would be a TON of work to ensure I got all the macros correct. So, I purchased his pre-made meal kits and tried it myself for a few months.
It goes like this: you do this for 5 consecutive days, once a month. After 3 months you reassess and see if you need more. The meal kits consist of dehydrated soups for lunch and dinner, with nut bars for breakfast. There are olives for snack, and some days you get kale crackers. Plus you put vegetable glycerin in your drinking water, the amount determined by your weight; this really helps keep you satisfied. And loads of tea all day. You can have caffeine so long as you don’t put any sweeteners or anything in it. I did it Monday-Friday, as there is NO WAY I would want to be fasting over a weekend, which is when I spend the most time in the kitchen. The first day is pretty easy, as it’s about 1100 calories. The calorie count goes down from there, ending up at about 500; average per day is about 800.
Over the years, I’ve noticed that my LDL can sometimes be higher than I’d like (yeah, I’ve got a gene for this, but still). And about a year ago, my fasting insulin was normal but higher than I was happy with. Plus my body persists in making thyroid antibodies; much lower than 10 years ago, but still there. I was hoping to see a shift in all of this.
My experience: was I hungry? Yep, but not as much as I expected. In our world, we so seldom actually feel hunger pains, that it felt perfectly ok on one level to feel that again. I totally missed cooking and eating fresh food. And one Friday, after a tough week, I was driving home really, really wanting to relax with a glass of wine….and got irritated that it would have to wait. But the reality is that you can do anything for 5 days. And I noticed that especially the week AFTER the FMD, I had more energy and slept better.
Now, Dr Longo recommends that in between your 5 day events, you eat a modified Mediterranean diet (essentially the way he ate growing up). I didn’t do that, cause I assumed that most of my patients wouldn’t, and I wanted to see what happened under “expected conditions”. I redid labs after 3 cycles. My insulin went down, my lipid panel looks great…..but the thyroid antibodies didn’t do as much as I had hoped. Perhaps that will take more cycles, with a more careful diet in between. Some practitioners suggest this eating plan for weight loss, as it will reset how your body uses insulin, plus it could get you used to eating a bit less. It definitely helps you ditch the sugar habit.
If you’re interested in doing this yourself, get in touch. We’re set up to have the company ship meal kits to anyone who would like to participate. Cost is $250 per kit. Yep, more than you would probably spend on meals for 5 days (unless you eat out a lot!), but it’s also a medical intervention. Any questions, please email me directly: DrWarner@medicineinbalance.com.
Our monthly Food Group potluck is changing: we’re cutting back to only one evening per quarter rather than each month. It will now be the second Tuesday of the second month of the quarter. That means 11/12/19, 2/11/20, 5/12/20, 8/11/20 and 11/10/20. 7-9pm each time, at the office, always free, always yummy. Join us!
For those of you who might be wondering, we’re skipping our 3 week Liver Detox this fall. It will likely return in the spring. Of course, if you’ve done it before, you can still do it on your own; we always have the kitchari and ghee and teas at the office!
Don’t forget to save the date for our open house/ birthday celebration! Sunday September 29th, 1-4 pm. More info Here.