Autophagy: Eat Yourself Silly.
Disclaimer: I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT a nutritionist. I am an athlete and a runner. And I like to look good and feel good. All of this information in these blog posts comes from my own personal experiences. It has worked for me. Consult your own physician before attempting any major life changes. Educate yourself first and foremost.
Day 4: (Blood Glucose: 69 mg/dl Blood Ketones: 4.1 mmol/L)
Before I get to day 5, it was on day 4 I decided to let my husband in on my dirty little secret as we were doing our P90X workout. I did NOT listen to Dr. Fung. He says in his book and his podcast that the best way to avoid interference by friends and loved ones is to NOT tell them.
Needless to say, he was horrified.
“What? You haven’t eaten any solid food since Monday? How are you getting any nutrition? What have you been living on?”
I had to calmly explain it all to him…the book…the science…the autophagy. I told him about the absence of my post nasal drip, how my achilles felt the best it had in months, and how I had clarity of thought and mind.
“But how are you getting through your day?” he asked.
“I’m not sure,” I replied. “But, I ran 10 miles yesterday with no major issues. And I wasn’t starving afterwards, or light headed, or anything.”
As I continued, he quieted down. Yeah, he listened. Intently. Why? Because he is like me. This makes sense. The whole thing makes sense.
“Maybe I should try a fast…” he mumbled under his breath.
Now, to day 5.
Day 5: (Blood Glucose: 61 mg/dl Blood Ketones: 5.0 mmol/L)
I got out of bed, with no stiffness in my achillies. It was as if they had healed overnight. I couldn’t run that day because Charmed Running had a showing at a local event. But my numbers were still outrageous.
The following morning, I had the best run I’d had in months. I was astounded. I couldn’t wait to get back into bed that night and continue reading the fasting book to see if what I was experiencing was real or imagined.
Here is what I learned.
There is this process called autophagy (<—- this links to an amazing article). It is when the body uses it’s own cells to power itself after it runs out of resources.. The great thing is, our bodies aren’t stupid. They will only take the most damaged and sick cells first before taking the brand new shiny healthy cells. This does two incredible things for the system. It cleanse the body of the sick cells, while leaving room for the healthy ones to regenerate. Because there is now so much more room, they regenerate at a high rate of speed as well. This is why it has been suggested that to ward off cancer, it would be wise to practice fasting on a regular basis. It makes so much sense. I love when things make so much sense.
So, is this what was happening to me? It seems like science fiction. But was my body actually consuming it’s own damaged cells? Was I experiencing rapid healing??
I’m quite certain this is what I began to experience. From the post nasal drip literally disappearing, to the much more supple achilles. I was making amazing healing strides.
Day 6: (Blood Glucose: 60 mg/dl Blood Ketones: 5.1 mmol/L)
Day 7: (Blood Glucose: 63 mg/dl Blood Ketones: 5.2 mmol/L)
My original goal was to fast for 7 days. That meant that Monday night would be my first solid meal. But in all honesty, I was feeling so great. And, I had another impressive run! The only trouble I was having was sleep…of all things. I’d fall asleep great. But three hours later, I was wide awake. My brain was literally hopping with thoughts and ideas. It would take me 2-3 hours to fall back asleep, and I ended up staying in bed until 9am. Not good. In the end, and after plenty of research, I’m pretty sure that my blood sugar was too low. A little bone broth before bedtime may have helped with that. I will try it for my next fast.
Day 8: (Blood Glucose: 51 mg/dl Blood Ketones: 5.6 mmol/L)
Day 9: (Blood Glucose: 65 mg/dl Blood Ketones: 5.2 mmol/L)
Day 10: (Blood Glucose: 68 mg/dl Blood Ketones: 6.2 mmol/L)
I ended up extending the fast to 10 days, but intermittently. I had a few bites of fatty pork Tuesday evening, and consistently added a little more bone broth every day. Also, I began to eat my weekly dose of butter, along with a cup of bulletproof coffee it the morning. But overall, I found the experiment to be a tremendous success. I lost just a pound or two, but that wasn’t the goal. The goal for me was to see how I felt, and if any improvements in my performance could be noted after such a feat. Sure, my performance was limited…slow…and deliberate. But I think that was a good thing. I took my time lifting weights, running, walking…put some real brain power into it. And, I got the benefit of the fast healing. Plus, every day, my runs became increasingly easier, more powerful, and less uncomfortable. It was, in my eyes, miraculous. I went from believing I would never run again, to pounding out miles…in less than a week.
I was sad to have my fast end. But it gave me so much hope for the future. I feel like I have a new tool in my arsenal. And I’m excited to try this experiment again when it becomes necessary.
For now, I have settled back into my 14-16 hour daily fasts. I just eat one meal a day, and that is typically dinner, although I find I do better with a late lunch every day instead. I have maintained my lower blood glucose (70-90 on average) and have stayed in ketosis, despite the fact that I indulge in an occasional whiskey or 1-minute mug muffin in the evening.
I guess my point for sharing this entire experience with you is to first, open your eyes to a different way of healing yourself, both mentally and physically, and know that you won’t “die” in the process. In fact, you might just be surprised at what does happen. Second, you never really know anything until you try it for yourself. Anything and everything in this series of blog posts was self-experimentation. Of course, I’m a rather healthy individual. If you are on medications of any kind, you MUST check with your doctor before giving any of these experiments a try. Dosages may need to be reduced, or updated, depending on your health concerns. But I highly recommended buying any/all of these publications and sharing them with your physician. There are other options out there. Be the best advocate for yourself and take charge of your own situations.
Who knows what you might find.
Nest post we’ll dig deeper into Ketosis…and discuss some ways you can get there faster than you can imagine!
What is the craziest fad you have experimented with on yourself?