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    Modified Fasting Protocol

    Modified Fasting Protocol

    By now you have probably heard a thing or two about the health benefits of fasting. If not, you can check out my article titled: Fasting: The Cure All? for a quick primer.

    For the most part people are receptive to the idea of fasting and can intellectually understand the benefits, but the biggest obstacle is actually doing it. 

    In this article I will share a simple and easy to implement fasting protocol that almost anyone can follow!


    The Issue with Prolonged Fasting


    There are several benefits to longer fasting (>24 hours) including:
    • Autophagy - the breakdown and recycling of damaged/dysfunctional proteins in the body
    • Fat burning and weight loss
    • Ketosis - a physiological state of burning a superior fuel source (ketones) for energy instead of glucose 
    • Increased mental clarity and cognitive function
    • Liberation and excretion of stored toxins 
    • A heightened "sense" of spiritual connection


     Unfortunately there can also be many downsides such as:
    • Low energy and lethargy
    • Poor sleep quality
    • "Detox reactions" (headaches, joint pain, diarrhea, skin rashes etc) due to the inability to process and eliminate liberated toxins
    • Decreased thyroid function (feeling cold, tired, constipated etc).
    • Dehydration due to loss of electrolytes
    • Hunger and food cravings!
    Generally, the more fasting you do (within reason) and the healthier you are overall, the more you will experience the benefits vs downsides but this isn't always the case. In my experience there have been many times that myself or someone else I'm working with has prepared properly for a prolonged water fast but still experienced many of the negative symptoms. Personally I think this is in large part due to the level of toxicity in our environment that is unavoidable even for those following a healthy lifestyle.

    The Solution - Modified Fasting Protocol

    Many of the downsides of fasting can be significantly reduced or completely eliminated with some simple modification to a traditional water fast. Although you will be sacrificing some of the benefits, you will still see positive outcomes in a short period of time. Most importantly, compliance is greatly increased with this protocol as it's much easier physically and psychologically to implement!
    The Protocol

    If you are completely new to fasting, I would recommend experimenting with Time Restricted Eating and work your way up to a 14 hour fasting window (10 hour eating window) on a regular basis. Once you can do this with ease, you should be ready for a modified fast.

    Most individuals will benefit from doing this protocol once per week.


    Step 1 - Consume an Early Dinner

    Aim to finish all of your calories by 6pm or earlier. It may sound counterintuitive but you will often find you are LESS hungry the following morning if you stop eating earlier because your body has more time to enter a state of fat burning. I like to start this protocol on a Sunday night to start the week off feeling great!


    Step 2 - Skip Breakfast & Consume a Modified Fasting Meal for Lunch
    Assuming you eat lunch around noon, you will be fasting for about 18 hours which may be a bit of a challenge initially but will get much easier over time. In the morning you can consume as many non-caloric drinks as you wish including organic coffee or green/black tea (no sugar/milk/cream allowed), herbal teas, and water (adding some fresh lemon juice is allowed). 
    Modified Fasting Meal Rules:
    - Approximately 500 calories (may be slightly more or less depending on your weight) of nutrient dense foods.
    - High in fat and non-animal protein, low in carbs. This will promote autophagy and detoxification.
    - Eat your meal SLOWLY and ENJOY IT!
    *See meal example in the next section
    Step 3 - Skip Dinner & Fast Overnight
    Again, non-caloric beverages are allowed and encouraged but avoid consuming caffeine after lunch. One of my favourite herbal teas for fasting is Harmonic Arts Cleanse Tea. If you are really struggling and feel like you need food, try blending 1 TBSP of coconut oil in a tea to curb your appetite.
    Step 4 - Do A Full-Body Resistance Training Workout in the Morning
    The specific type of exercise doesn't really matter as long as you are using your strength and challenging your whole body. This can be lifting weights or just using body weight but you want to give yourself a good workout to provide anabolic (growth) signals before breaking the fast.
    Step 5 - Break the Fast with High Calorie, High Protein, High Carbohydrate Food
    Feasting is just as important as fasting! In order to maximize anabolic processes you want to include plenty of calories that are high in protein and carbs primarily. You may not feel like having a massive meal right away as it can be difficult to digest but ensure you are intaking plenty of high quality food throughout the day (this isn't an excuse to binge on junk food!)
    Sample Meal Plan

     Modified Fasting Smoothie

    - 3 Free-Range Egg Yolks
    - 1 scoop Grass-Fed Collagen Protein
    - 1 scoop Organic Vegan Protein Powder
    - 1 TBSP each Chia, Hemp, Flax Seed
    - Handful Frozen Berries
    - Handful Greens (Spinach, Kale, Chard)
    - Water, Nut Milk, Coconut Milk, Bone or Veggie Broth to consistency

    Feasting Day Foods
    - Protein: meat, seafood, eggs, raw dairy, nuts and seeds.
    - Carbs: fruit, root vegetables (potatoes, sweet potatoes/yams, squash, beets), soaked beans/legumes, rice, quinoa, oats, buckwheat.
    Eat liberal amounts of the foods above, you can also consume fat but prioritize protein and carbs.
    If you enjoy prolonged water fasting and don't find it difficult - awesome, keep doing what works for you! For those who are new to fasting or find it difficult, try out this modified fasting protocol once a week for a 2-3 months and see how you feel. I can almost guarantee you will notice improvements in your health across the board. This protocol may still be difficult at first but it will get progressively easier over time as you incorporate it into your lifestyle.
    Wishing you an abundance of health! 

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