"Success is not a place at which one arrives, but rather the spirit with which one undertakes and continues the journey." (Alex Noble)
There is such a thing as "fasting fatigue" and I think I have it! Thankfully it is Day 5 and I have some awesome clients plus an evening mat class to keep me busy. In the art of fasting, distraction is an important component to success. When I would feel my habitual desire to grab a snack, graze, or prepare food sometimes something as simple as brushing my teeth, starting a load of laundry, cleaning out a junk drawer, or taking a quick walk was all I needed to reset my focus on my goal. The goal was autophagy, where glucose and insulin levels drop and the body clears, removes and replaces damaged cell components. Although it is difficult to measure autophagy, increased ketone levels, are often an indicator which can easily be measured in your blood, breath or urine using special meters or strips.
A few benefits I noted included more energy and better focus. When it comes to work, I explain and describe Pilates exercises for nearly the entire training hour. Today I had 4 training hours and felt my words and sentences flowed, my brain didn't struggle to find the right words, and I sensed a better brain/body connection in demonstrating the exercises. My appetite was significantly reduced. It is surprising how much more food we eat, beyond what is actually necessary for survival. While eating should be enjoyed and savored, sometimes we enjoy and savor far too much food. It was unusual to know my one breakfast L-bar would have to sustain me until lunch. With hot tea or coffee I learned to savor every bite of each breakfast bar! I was also more productive with my time. I have noted in previous posts eating was often an avoidance tactic, whether house chores, unorganized spaces, relationship issues, or general boredom; snacking could fill in the gaps and make me believe I was doing something useful. My boredom would lead to eating. My emotional stress would lead to eating. And perhaps dopamine, the hormone that contributes to cravings, would also lead to eating. A program like this develops conscious awareness of your choices and makes you more accountable to yourself and your well-being.
So what are the drawbacks, if any, of my experience? My first concern that I grappled with was the price. If I am going to spend $150+ on food, I want a lot of it! I have considered ProLon for nearly 2 years so it wasn't an impulsive purchase but one I had investigated and explored. The idea of paying money in order to "fast," to essentially go without food is certainly counterintuitive, however based on my own experience I could not have made it 5 days without food! I can hardly make it 5 hours! Plus, with my history of Hashimoto Thyroiditis, prolonged fasting is not normally recommended. I know I feel better with healthy fats and protein. The L-breakfast bar has 22 fat grams, primarily monounsaturated from the pecans, almonds and almond butter. And yet the proprietary blend is designed in a way that reduces glucose and insulin spikes and assists in weight loss and autophagy. I would rather invest in a program that educates me as to the fundamentals of fasting, an investment in health-care versus an investment in sick care.
Typically I avoid a meal that contains 24 grams of carbs, particularly if it is just a small bowl of soup from dried spices. However, their soups were tasty and the ingredients wholesome and I still reached ketosis/autophagy without feeling excessively hungry. The soups contain a small amount of rice flour while the almond/kale crackers contain tapioca flour. Over the years of following Milwaukee cardiologist Dr. William Davis of Wheat Belly and Undoctored fame, I have learned to avoid these flours. His belief is they are not much different from white or wheat flours in elevating blood sugar. The servings however are quite small and I can't argue with the flavor nor with the positive outcomes. If I make my own granola bars, fat bombs, or soups however I would not include tapioca or rice flour. This is one of my favorite "fat bombs" called "Joy Balls" from the Conscious Cleanse book, pin.it/15pW2po
I do believe that food can be medicine and over the years I have trained myself to love walnuts, salmon and blueberries for brain health; kiwi to strengthen immunity; avocados and coconut as healthy fats for the liver; apples, flax seeds, and brussel sprouts for fiber and digestion. I had to reconcile daily the fact that I was not indulging in these health generating foods in order to meet my goal of autophagy. It is also disconcerting for those of us who love fresh foods to instead dine from these packaged foods. I can assure you however, these small meals and snacks are not "highly processed foods." In fact, it is the superior quality ingredients, research, supplements and packaging to maintain freshness that account for the price.
Would I do it again? Absolutely! Would I feel more confident doing my own 1-day fast after this experience? Most definitely. Am I more knowledgeable about foods and their relationship to blood sugar and insulin levels? Of course! ProLon has a supportive Facebook group, Fastination, that offers great guidance. Daily texts and emails offer additional insight. I also look forward to Wednesday's phone call with my ProLon coach Wendy. These services are included in the price and I found to be quite valuable. Doing this program with friends and family would likely add to the accountability. I wasn't perfect, some people claim to be with this program, but I still got good results. ProLon shares research articles on their page indicating the high success rates of people who follow the guidance and rules precisely. Many on the facebook group are on their 4th or 5th round of ProLon. Consciously choosing foods, activities, programs and relationships that make you feel good, that contribute to vibrant health is a daily endeavor. A time to reboot, reset and rejuvenate, ProLon's tag line, is a necessity in all areas of life. Thanks for reading!