Review: Dave Asprey's Fast This Way + my experience with the 5 Day Prolon Mimicking Fast
Fasting is a practice that is spoken about a lot in the 'Wellness Community'. I have practiced intermittent fasting for well over 2 years now (I stop eating at 6pm evenings, and eat again around 10-11am the next morning), however I realised that I didn't actually know enough about why I was doing it or if it was even effective.
I have therefore broken down some key takeaways from David Asprey's book about fasting, and briefly speak about my own experience with the Prolon 5 day fast mimicking diet.
According to Dave Asprey, the below are the 9 things Fasting does for you:
- Ketosis – Makes your body burn fat
- Helps your gut heal itself
- Provokes the bodies self-cleaning autophagy and detoxification processes
- Reduces your risk of almost every chronic disease
- Causes your body to produce more stem cells
- Reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes by improving insulin sensitivity
- Slows ageing from oxidative stress
- Reduce inflammation (both brain and body)
- Enhances your ability to enter a spiritual and meditative state
Asprey explains that intermittent fasting, multi-day fasting, good sleep hygiene, exercise, controlled breathing and spiritual exploration will give every person the ability to live a healthier and more fulfilled life.
He refers these practices as bio-hacks to transform your health.
Fasting is a chemical and spiritual process (whether or not you consider yourself a spiritual person) that will shift your perspective and mood in a way that allows you to look at your body and health differently. Those mood and perceptual shifts are a result of chemical processes in your body changing.
By doing a multi-day fast you will improve your focus, slow the ageing process and promote autophagy and detoxification, helping your cells get rid of their built up waste.
One chapter I found particularly interesting and relevant and want to break down further was his theory of fasting and taking supplements whilst you do so. I personally took the Radiance Powder daily whilst doing my 5 day fast, and David Asprey explains why he always recommends taking high quality supplements all year round.
His theory is that if you are planning to get your nutrients only from the food you eat, that will work - as long as you plan to only get toxins from Mother Nature.
The reality is that the environment we live in today is full of thousands of synthetic chemicals and stressors that we are not evolved to handle, along with natural chemicals that are processed and concentrated in non-whole foods most of us consume daily, and novel diseases - COVID19 - that can travel faster than ever before. Your body therefore needs more nutrients than you can't get from food alone to handle that toxic load.
There is also the question if food has as many nutrients as it used to even a few decades ago, and according to scientific studies the answer is a resounding no.
That's because we have depleted our soil, spray crops and use industrial farming practices. Asprey explains how there are hundreds of studies comparing the nutrient levels of modern foods to their levels 50 years ago, which shows that overall food (even organic food) is not as nutritious as it used to be.
The final reason supplements are necessary whilst fasting (and in daily life) is due to the rising levels of CO2 in the air. Animals breathe oxygen and plants breathe CO2. However when plants have a lot more CO2 they grow quicker, meaning they get bigger but have less time to concentrate minerals from the soil, causing food and nutrient quality to massively decrease. This is the biggest problem we face with the quality of our diets today.
According to Asprey, supplements also balance out the effects of fasting.
MY PROLON 5 DAY MIMICKING FAST EXPERIENCE
I first learnt about this fast from the Goop Lab series on Netflix (I am also sad it wasn't from a more scientific/reliable source!) but I have to say it was one of the best things I have done for my health this year.
You receive 5 days worth of dry soups, teas and snacks along with a daily eating plan. I have briefly broken down my diary entries below if anyone is interested in starting a 5 day fast with Prolon:
Day 1: I had extreme caffeine withdrawal symptoms as I have on average 2 coffees a day. I went cold turkey and had headaches the entire first day. I was hungry and moody all day.
Day 2: The headaches continued and fatigue set in. I felt like my body was shrivelling away and tried to distract myself with work. However concentrating on anything was difficult so I took a hot magnesium bath at 7pm and was in bed asleep by 8pm.
Day 3: I woke up buzzing with energy and very hungry. Went for a long walk and noticed my headaches had gone. This is also the day I had finally eliminated all waste (yes it took my body 3 days to poo all the food from before I started the fast out - a quick google search confirmed this was normal!). I also peed every 20 minutes as I was drinking around 5 litres of water and tea a day.
Day 4: I had so much energy, could finally concentrate on work again and the extreme hunger had subsided. By the end of the day I felt upbeat knowing that I could eat again in 2 days time.
Day 5: This is the day I had my 'spiritual experience'. I went for a light run as I had a lot of energy when I woke up. I was walking back home when all of a sudden I felt a pain in my lower back and started crying. I am not a big crier but the emotion was so overwhelming that I had to sit down on a bench and physically sob. There was no reason for this, nothing particularly important was on my mind, it just felt like a massive energy release. I felt so light and good after that I took a nap. The rest of the day flew by without much difficulty.
Day 6: I ended my fast that morning with a cup of bone broth and an apple, and ate small portions every 2 hours throughout the day. Overall my body felt like it had completely 'reset', my skin was clear and glowing, and my stomach had not been that flat in years. I hadn't lost much weight (maybe 3 kg) but I was not overweight to begin with.
Overall I would recommend this fast to everyone as the experience was challenging yet fulfilling, and I physically felt like it did wonders to my health.