What I know for sure is that your body can either burn fat for fuel or burn carbohydrates for fuel – but not both. Which is better? Most health professionals I’ve discussed it with concede that the best mode for energy and weight loss is to burn fat for fuel. Of course it comes with a big challenge… HOW? My amazing and proven answer – is fasting! And by the way, fasting comes with big lifelong benefits too!
“Fasting” may seem to be the new health fad of today to reset your metabolism to efficiently burn fat versus carbohydrates; BUT in actuality it continues to be a practice used throughout Asia for longevity. Perhaps it is the ancient secret of the fictional “Fountain of Youth” that many covet. Let me explain…
What does it mean?
Fasting simply means that you cease your consumption of food (& sometimes drink) for at least 12 hours. Many of us do this at least once a year for our annual physical labs, so it isn’t that difficult to achieve. It allows enough time for your body to undergo the changes needed to burn fat for the energy needed to live. Many health professionals today are discussing the best strategies to achieve “ketogenesis” – a process to break down fats to best nourish your organs.
How does it feel?
Being of both Eastern and Western influences, I got into the Eastern practice of fasting one day per week when I was a teenager. Even today I still try to fast most Mondays each week (no food); and what I’ve noticed is I have more physical energy and more focused mental energy on Mondays despite feeling hungry. I have learned over time to control those hunger pangs by letting myself know that I can eat tomorrow, thereby converting those cravings into delayed gratification for an amazing Tuesday meal.
How does it preserve one’s youth?
What I have learned through Western science is that by fasting at least 12 hours, I am lengthening my telomeres. Telomeres are the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes, and it is believed their size can predict how quickly cells age and die. These telomeres shorten with time, and the shorter telomeres are generally associated with illness, cancer, and other disease. So it is not surprising that scientists all over the world are obsessed with trying to determine what can lengthen these telomeres.
Since January, 2015 Stanford University School of Medicine researchers began exploring treatments to artificially “lengthen” telomeres. These treatments, if successful, have potential for benefits with anti-aging, anti-disease, anti-cancer, and general health for those elite that can pay for it in the future.
But what about the rest of us? What options do we have to lengthen our telomeres today?
- REGULAR FASTING can help you preserve your age by lengthening your telomeres. It doesn’t have to be a whole day – it simply has to be at least 12 hours. An easy way to implement this is to stop eating at 7pm each day, and don’t eat again until after 7am the next morning. This means early dinners and probably means early to sleep too! But when the next morning greets a lighter version of you with more energy and real hunger, you’ll know this is a winning way to detoxify, preserve your age, and metabolize your foods.
What are the other proven ways to preserve one’s youth?
In addition to fasting, the other telomere lengthening / Fountain of Youth revealing methods are as follows:
- MEDITATION is widely known to yogis and yoginis that deep meditation naturally increases the length of our telomeres. Daily meditation is the free option which everyone has access to… you only need a small piece of ground to sit on and to still your mind while shifting focus internally. One only needs at least 10 minutes/day to start reaping benefits, and there are numerous apps that provided free guided meditations.
- EXERCISE is now believed that vigorous exercise (studies cite running 50 miles/week) may also increase these telomeres. Another school of thought is that exercise doesn’t increase the length of the telomeres; however it increases the amount of telomerase, a cellular enzyme that might help lengthen and protect telomeres. In either event REGULAR physical activity seems to help with telomerase production.
- A clean plant-based DIET, specifically one which is high in (G.B.O.M.B.S.) greens, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds is generally accepted in the health coaching industry to be anti-aging, anti-disease, and immune-boosting. Eating a clean diet requires access to pure whole foods (non-GMO, organic) which isn’t always easy. In our rushed pace of life, fast-food is taking over our nourishment; and this is not the best we can do. That is one reason health coaches are in demand – to empower even the busiest individual to create more quick, clean, and tasty meals at home with ease.
I believe all three of these lifestyle options impact the length your telomeres (directly or indirectly). As we chronologically age however, I don’t advocate starting vigorous exercise in our later years for the safety of our bones, and joints. If athletes have been running 50 miles/week since their younger years and they want to continue, that is great. I would say it may be the most important activity they are doing for their longevity. However for the rest of us, there may be other more important activities / options for our longevity like fasting, meditation & diet.
How do I get started?
A little support from your local health coach on tweaking your diet, or getting started on fasting, or even meditation and pranayam to lengthen your telomeres may actually lengthen your life and improve your overall quality of life… so what are you waiting for? Send me an email and let’s get started with finding your best path to health and the fountain of youth!