Pre-fast Jitters

For those of you who do intermittent fasting, do you get nervous the night before your planned fast? I used to. There was a fear of hunger and all that comes along with it: headaches, irritability, food going bad before I can eat it. It’s been a few years now, so I’m used to the physical discomfort (which is minimal lately) and I adjusted my habits to minimize food waste.

But I’m feeling a little anxious tonight because I’m about to start a 3-day fast. I have never fasted for this long, so I don’t know what to expect. I can put up with one rough fasting day because I know it’s only for a day, but this time it’s for 3 days. How is this going to play out?

A moment of silence for the food that won't be eaten...

A moment of silence for the food that won’t be eaten…

I haven’t decided if I’m going to start Monday or Tuesday. I would like to start Monday just so it will be over sooner, but I don’t know if that will be possible. I had a lot of fun today (Mother’s Day) and maybe a little too much wine. I never actually know if I drank too much wine until the next day. So if I wake up Monday and have to take a pain reliever or something for heartburn then I will take care of it and start the fast on Tuesday. If you saw the video in my last post, I’m going to follow a routine similar to what Dr. Mosley did:

*No food for 3 full days.
*Drink only water and black tea throughout the day.
*Less than 100 liquid calories per day (He had a cup of miso soup at night, I’m going to have bone broth).
*No exercise.

If you didn’t catch an earlier post about why I’m doing this, the short story is that I have been diagnosed with gastritis and it causes me pain when I eat a lot of foods that I enjoy — specifically the foods that need to be chewed, so basically everything. Fasting does help the pain, but it usually comes back after I have a big meal. I hope fasting for a longer period of time will give me more time without pain and also activate all the other healing properties of fasting. A study out of USC by Prof. Valter Longo shows fasting for 3 days can regenerate the immune system. I hope it will have some type of healing effect on me.

I’m an otherwise healthy person and I just had a full workup of tests by doctors within the past month so I’m not concerned that I’m putting my health in danger. I’ve been fasting long enough to know when something isn’t right and if I get that sense then I will bail. It’s simple as that. I’m not going to let my pride become more important than my health. Otherwise, what the hell am I doing this for?

No Time to Read? Then Watch!

If you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’ll notice I push the book, The FastDiet, a lot. I’m actually re-reading it now myself for the 4th time…not to brag or anything. It’s a quick read and I’ll probably be done with it by the weekend…still not bragging, I promise.

For some of you, reading is just too damn time consuming or boring or unnecessary because you’re reading all you need to know on my blog (I’m flattered, but still think you should read the book). Until you can find the time or get over your other excuses, I’m including the next best thing: the movie version of the book!

It’s a documentary called “Eat, Fast & Live Longer” by the BBC featuring one of The FastDiet authors, Dr. Michael Mosley. He goes through all the scientific research done on fasting at the time (the doc is a few years old) and you even get to watch his first fast — which was 3 straight days of non-food — and how he evolved to the current 5 days off/2 days on diet.

And it’s only an hour! I’m sure you’ll spend more time than that on Facebook today. So I hope you’ll take some time to give it a watch. Let me know what you think!

Can I heal myself with a 3-day fast?

Publishing this post is the hardest thing I will do all day because now that I’ve written it down and sent it out to the world, I have to do what I’m about to say…or have a damn good excuse why not.


In a previous post, I mentioned that I was considering a 3-day fast. I believe the time has come to stop considering it and actually do it.


I knew you would ask.

Let me start with the problem that I’m having: gastritis. It’s inflammation of the stomach lining and it sucks. It’s usually caused by an infection, but I don’t have one. I do have reflux, but I couldn’t get a clear answer from the doctor as to whether or not that is causing this problem. She put me on a soft diet and told me to take Prilosec for 2 weeks, but that did NOTHING. I felt better for a little while but here I am again, in pain.

Fasting does help me feel better, especially the day after the fast. My stomach feels more relaxed because I’m still eating light, but then when I go out to dinner later in the week I go back to square one and have pain again. I can’t live like this: stuck between only eating food that doesn’t need to be chewed or being in intense pain.

One of the reasons I started intermittent fasting was because of the healing properties of fasting. You can find the scientific research to back up this claim in The FastDiet, but the simplest way I can summarize it is like this: Most of our immune system lives in the gut (intestines and such) and if we constantly bombard the gut with food to digest, then it doesn’t have time to heal whatever is wrong in our bodies. When we fast, we give our bodies a rest from digesting all the stuff we eat (difficult considering all the processed food in our diets) which frees it up to start repairing our damaged cells.

In the book, Dr. Mosley started his fasting journey with a 4-day fast under the supervision of Valter Longo at USC. He has published studies about how fasting for a few days can reset parts of the immune system. Is this what I need? I don’t know. What I do know is that fasting for a day makes me feel better. So I hope fasting for 3 days will give my body more time to heal.

Obviously the whole process will take more than 3 days. I’m planning a pre-fast cleansing day and a few recovery days after the fast. I’m going to blog about it everyday so you will know if I survive each day and so you can witness this human experiment in progress.

And it starts Monday.

The FastDiet Inventor on Dr. Oz!

Hey, y’all!

If you missed The Dr. Oz Show episode about fasting recently, he interviewed Dr. Michael Mosley, one of the authors of The FastDiet (aka, the book that changed my life). Check it out if you have some time. He talks about why he started it, how he cured his type 2 diabetes, and responds to the critics who say there isn’t enough evidence to show intermittent fasting is effective or safe.

Link to the episode is in the tweet. Let me know what you think!




Fast Days & Exercise

A lot of people on Instagram have been asking me if I work out on fast days.

Yes. I do.

“I’m fasting today” sounds like the perfect excuse to skip the gym, but I don’t fall into this trap (too often). Plenty of studies suggest working out on an empty stomach is not only safe, but can help you burn more fat than if you eat before a workout. 

I had concerns about this when I started fasting: “am I going to get dehydrated and pass out? Where will I get the energy to work out if I don’t eat during the day?” Sound familiar to any of you starting to embrace the possibility of intermittent fasting in your lives?

IMG_4869I’ve been doing hot power yoga for about 7 years now. It helps me get a good sweat on, gives me some definition in my arms, and gets me moving so I don’t settle into old age at this point of my mid-30s. It may not be cross fit or running or weight lifting, but it’s the only workout I’ve been able to consistently tolerate for more than a few years at a time. And isn’t that what everyone needs: a form of physical activity they enjoy?

In the book, The FastDiet, the authors encourage working out on fasting days, so I gave it a try. Back then, I had a different work schedule and I was able to work out in the mornings. For early workouts, I always ate afterward anyway (fast day or not), so I thought this would be the easiest approach. My body wouldn’t even realize it was fasting yet. I got my exercise in, stayed hydrated throughout the day, and all was well. Once I realized working out while fasting wouldn’t kill me, I tried an evening workout on a fast day — when I was mid-hunger. That turned out to be fine too. So as long as I feel good (hunger aside) and I’m able to hydrate, I definitely work out on fast days. After all, it’s one more thing to keep me distracted from thoughts like “I really want fries right now”.

When I started fasting, I was getting to the yoga studio between 4 and 6 days per week. I moved less than a year ago and the studio I go to now isn’t as easy for me to get to, so I only work out 3-5 days per week…but more like 3…and sometimes 1. Fasting helps me control my weight enough that I don’t see working out as “urgent” anymore. Good for peace of mind, but probably not so good for the body. Exercise is still a priority for me, but I don’t freak out if I have a busy week and can’t make it to yoga.

Workout or not, I still keep it to 500 calories or less on fasting days. Burning calories gets me no reward of eating extra calories. Sorry to disappoint if that’s what you really came here to find out.

Fast Day Ramen!

img_6538.jpgWelcome to all my new readers!! Great news: I can have noodles on fasting days now!

I was watching an episode of the Dr. Oz show about “Zero Calorie Foods”. While most of the stuff they showed was pre-packaged, chemical-laden crap that the doc and his health expert guest denounced, but they did recommend one zero-calorie food. Behold: shiratake noodles.

I never heard of them before, but I found them on Fresh Direct (and Amazon if you don’t live in a FD area). They only have 10 calories per serving!

I love ramen, but the fat content of just one bowl will put me over a normal day’s recommended calorie intake, so I can forget about visiting a ramen shop on a Monday. Here’s what happened when I tried to fashion my own bowl of low-calorie ramen for a fasting day…

img_6542.jpgIngredients: (Makes  2 servings)
Shiratake noodles, 1 package: 20 calories
Vegetable stock, 3 cups: 75 calories
Bok choy, 100 grams: 15 calories
Mushrooms (I used baby portobellos), 100 grams: 13 calories
Garlic, 1 clove: n/a
Eggs, 2: 180 calories

The noodles were easy to prepare. The directions say to rinse, then boil them for 2 minutes to get rid of the “authentic aroma”. That’s just a gentle way of saying that they smell awful, but boiling did the trick. I let them dry for a while and then started to make the broth.

img_6543.jpg img_6547.jpg

I brought the stock, 1 cup of water, and a crushed garlic clove to a boil in a pot. Then I added the chopped vegetables and let them cook while I prepared the egg. I watched a video about how to make the perfect soft boiled egg and it said to bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil, drop in the egg and cook for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. The white inside wasn’t completely set, as I like it. I will let it cook for another minute next time. When time was up, I ran the egg under cool water so it would be easier to handle.

img_6550.jpgWhile the egg was cooling, I put the noodles in the broth and turned the heat off. I stirred to incorporate them and marinate a little while I peeled the egg.

Ramen…assemble! I discarded the garlic clove, poured half of the soup pot into a bowl, cut the egg in half and voila: homemade, fasting day-worthy ramen! Total for this bowl: 152 calories!

img_6558.jpgThe noodles didn’t have a discernible taste and were chewier than real pasta. They also don’t have much to offer in nutritional value, so the egg and veggies give the dish some needed protein and fiber. I saved half the soup for my next fasting day. 152 calories is light even for a fast day dinner. I could have added more veggies or even some chicken…or cooked up that second egg and ate the whole pot of soup! 304 calories is reasonable on a Monday.

The taste? Not as great as the bowl of authentic ramen I had last week, but that’s not fair. Pork makes everything taste better.

F**k Cheat Days

cat-709987_1920Which would you rather do each week?

Diet 6 days and have 1 “cheat day”


Eat like a normal f**king human being for 6 days and diet only 1 day?

If you’re seriously thinking about this, then we can’t be friends.

Oh, by the way: I HATE the concept of “cheat days”.

Cheating, by definition, is wrong. If you look up the definition of “cheat”, other undesirable words  come up with it: dishonest, trickster, hoaxer, fraud, fake, snake oil salesman (still not sure about the origins of this one, but it sounds gross).

Most people with a conscience feel some sense of guilt when cheating on anything (with the possible exception of death). I notice this theme when I read diet blogs and first-person articles about people who incorporate a day of indulgence into their otherwise healthy routines. I also notice they don’t go all-in on their cheat days. They hold back because they feel guilty and are afraid of possibly ruining the progress they’ve made.

That last part is understandable. Dieting is hard and setbacks hurt, but I think if you’re going to adopt new habits to improve your health, then you’re not doing yourself any favors if one of those new habits is feeling guilty about enjoying yourself. It’s like trading one problem for another.

When it comes to food and eating I am GUILT-FREE and I owe that to intermittent fasting.

On Mondays, I get all my sacrifices out of the way and eat whatever I want Tuesday through Sunday. All the fatty, sugary, alcoholic stuff I eat goes down nicely knowing that what I’ve been doing for the past 2 and a half years has been working to keep me at my goal weight and feeling healthy in general.

Does fasting 1 day/week make me a cheater? I don’t necessarily think so, even though I may joke about it sometimes. There’s a price to pay for everything. I pay that price and happily reap the rewards.

Watch: What happens when you stop eating

Hey y’all! I’m trying to make up for my lazy week.

I found this video a while ago that shows what happens to your body when you stop eating, from the first few hours all the way until death by starvation. Cool, right? (Obvi not, relax).

I have never fasted for more than 36 hours, but I have been contemplating a 3-day fast. The video is pretty good, in my opinion, and is calming the fears I have about fasting for that long. I’m seriously thinking about doing it soon. More on why I’m considering an extensive fast in a future post, but for now: Enjoy the show!

Oh, the time I save

I know. I’m the worst.

It’s been a while, but I have been working on something else that will hopefully get a lot more people reading this little blog o’ mine. I can’t wait to share it with you all!

It’s almost funny that I have had little time to write a new blog post and I’m now going to talk about how much more time I have when I fast.Watch

I was at yoga class recently and heard a woman talk about going on a “water fast”. She said she did a fast for a day and only drank water. One of her biggest observations was that she had so much more time in the day. Not that she was starving or that it was soooo hard, but that she was able to get more shit done. Bravo to her for having a good attitude about it.

I didn’t chime in because I don’t go to yoga to speak to people. Instead I eavesdropped. Whatev…The point is: she’s right!

I really never gave much thought to how much time eating takes. It’s so much more than just chewing: deciding what to eat, going to get the food, (sometimes) preparing the food, sitting down to eat, not moving around too much after you eat. This isn’t my process for every single meal, but a lot of times it is. The “deciding” part is especially time consuming. How many hours have I spent standing in front of open cabinets or an open refridgerator door unable to decide what I’m in the mood for? Probably the same amount of time I spend standing in my closet doors wondering what I’m going to wear.

When I decide to fast, I’m also unintentionally deciding a lot of other things for the day. Like…

What am I going to have for lunch?

Should I see if some friends are around to go out for drinks tonight?

I’m so bored. What should I do right now?
Blog, dammit.

Fasting at work helps me get things done sooner. Whatever breakfast I do bring to the office is quick to eat. I don’t have to stop working to take lunch and I concentrate harder on my work so I don’t think about food. It all works out well.

When I fast on my days off, I make other plans: run errands, clean the house, do some writing, or even pay my bills! All those annoying things I have to do suddenly become my saving grace.

Of course, sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the week to get everything done even when I do fast.

OK, enough excuses and apologizing. I’ll do better next week.