Saturday, April 3, 2010

Health, Youth & Fitness

Last year in April, I wrote a post entitled "Swords, Sorcery and Warrior Health". In that article, I discussed the fact that I had recently embarked upon a program of weekly juice fasts.

I have continued the practice for the past year, and I'm ready to post my results. But first, I will recap the details of my juice fasts.

The Program

The fast lasts for 72 hours (3 days) each week. 5 or 6 times during the year various contingencies caused me to shorten the fast to 2 days, and I think that on one occasion I fasted for only one day.

My usual habit is to eat lunch on Tuesday and then take in nothing but liquids in the form of juice or water (and a cup of green or white tea each morning) until lunchtime Friday, when I break my fast.

Okay, okay! I admit that I also have a grapefruit in the evenings, which pretty well eliminates hunger pangs.

For several months, I used pure juices (100% juice, no high fructose corn syrup, sugar or other sweeteners added) which we purchased from the store. Then a few months ago, someone gave us a juicer.

Now my lunch on Wednesdays & Thursdays consists of juiced cabbage, carrots, celery and apples -- also, broccoli, tomatoes & other fruits & veggies when available.

When I'm not fasting, I still try to limit my intake of refined sugar, potatoes & white-flour products to one day a week (Saturday). Also, Friday is my high-protein day: usually hamburgers & tuna.

The Results (So Far)

Over the past 12 months, my fat loss has been very slow, but also steady. People that saw me from week to week did not notice the weight loss, but people who saw me much less frequently did.

My brother noticed a difference each of the four or so times he saw me in 2009. And last week, my wife & I saw a lady we had not seen in over a year. Her immediate reaction was, "Mr. Mutton! You've lost a LOT of weight."

I'm still significantly overweight & far from being taunted with epithets like, "Hey, Skinny, your ribs are showing," but I'm now able to again wear shirts I haven't worn in years.

A year of regular fasting has also produced some other benefits.

One is a big reduction in joint pain, especially the knees. The weight loss may have reduced the stress on the knees, but fasting does give the body a chance to repair itself, so I think that's a factor, too.

Speaking of healing, my shin splint problem is now all but gone. Because of that, since December, I have been getting back into the habit of daily walks (on weekdays), which is another positive contributor to general health.

Another benefit of my fasts is that I now feel good more often and for longer periods. I attribute this to the detoxification effects of juice fasting.

Some weeks, during my fast I have felt almost flu-like symptoms as my body released and eliminated toxins that had built up and been stored in my liver and adipose tissue. I welcomed the head-achy, feverish feelings (along with a thick coat on my tongue) because I knew that my body was ridding itself of poisons.

 To expedite the detox process, I often take a product called "Detoxilean" on Wednesdays & Thursdays. Detoxilean is a blend of herbal substances that cleanse the liver.

Also, on Wed, Thur, & Fri mornings, I drink about 10 oz. of prune juice (100% juice purchased from the store). I actually like the stuff, and it helps to cleanse the colon.

There's another vaunted benefit of the fasting process that's unseen, but still hopefully taking place. A severe limitation of calorie intake is supposed to trigger a gene that regulates production of telomerase, the enzyme that repairs and restores the teleomeres (tail ends of the DNA helix).

According to the telomere theory of aging, every time a cell reproduces, its DNA loses a tiny portion of its telomere. When the telomere is gone, the cell can no longer reproduce, and it dies.

Thus, your life span is limited by your cells' ability to repair and restore telomeres. I'll know more about how successful this approach is in about 20 years, D.V.

That's about it for the report on my juice fast, but since I did not publish an annual assessment of fitness and training in January, I want to continue with those topics next week (I hope). If you want to know more about the benefits of a juice fast, click on the link at the beginning of this post & watch the video.

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