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“Autophagy” was a new word to me a couple months ago  – I found it so interesting because as we all know by now, our body is made to heal itself.  We can use food for medicine (Hippocrates was right)  – but, what about the absence of food?   I had no idea that the act of eating is hard on our body.  One of the reasons sleep is so vitally important is that is the state we must be in for healing to happen – maybe God knew we would want to eat all the time, and he had to knock us out (sleep) so our bodily mechanisms could take over and start to HEAL US from the damage of the day.  What else is damaging?  Stress.   To me, it makes sense that if we’d just stop eating our body could repair itself – turns out, it can.

The mechanism was named “Autophagy”.  Autogaphy happens after we fast for a period of time.  We are not 100% sure what that time period is, but we are believing about 3 days.  I find it very interesting that people who fast for a prolonged period of time have said the first couple fasting days are difficult – we think about food a LOT!!  This is entirely different, but it reminds me of the first few days I was enjoying my nootropic coffee, Optimum.  Even though I wasn’t hungry at all, I thought about food all day – obsessively!!  Sometime in the middle of the 3rd day I noticed I was no longer obsessing over wanting a cookie or donuts.  I had been  thinking obsessively about how many donuts I wanted, and would I rather have the powdery ones or chocolate covered?  Should I get a bag from the dollar store – or fresh from our local grocery store?  It was pretty darn annoying!!! I clearly was not hungry at all!!  Surprisingly, I didn’t actually eat any of the nasty foods I was obsessing over – I chose healthy body building foods.

Simply put, autophagy speeds up the end days of the life cycle of a cell.  I think back to my days in cosmetology school.  We learned the life cycle of hair is 1.) growth 2.) fall 3.) replace.  That is the same cycle of our cells!!!  Our cells start out young and healthy – vibrant.  They pick up toxins along with nutrients during their lifespan and they perform their healing functions until one day they become old — as we age, our body generates new cells slower than when we were younger partly because the cells go through these phases slower, so we have a LOT of older cells and not as many new cells.  We can change that!!  We can speed up the process of sloughing off the old cells and restoring them to NEW CELLS!!!  This is autophagy.  Our cells EAT the old damaged parts of themselves and allow the good parts, the youthful parts to rebuild.  Is that amazing?  I am blown away with the awesomeness of God – he actually created us to live forever.  Maybe back in the days of the bible they DID live to be hundreds of years old, because they practiced fasting regularly.

If you’ve been following me at all, you know I used to be a carb addict with a huge appetite.  Fasting was never an option.  I couldn’t make it through half a day without food, let alone several days!!  That is, UNTIL my new coffee “Optimum” came out.  After the 3rd day, I was no longer obsessing with food!  It was seriously like magic.  Interesting that I never heard of autogaphy until AFTER I had something that would allow me to actually try it.  This is my early warning to everyone reading this … get more information before you try it.  My first experience with fasting for autogaphy didn’t go so well!!!  More on that later!!

They say the teacher appears when the student is ready.  The first awesome scientist I heard of and followed was Professor Timothy Noakes.  He wrote the book “The Real Meal Revolution”.  That was my introduction years ago into the Ketogenic diet.  That is low carbs high fats.  Everything he said made so much sense.  Our brains are made from FATS – why would we give them up as we were all taught back in the 70’s?  We replaced fats with the brain frying carbs soon introduced by industries capitalizing on the information we were fed (pun intended).  Basically, if something says, “low fat” it is actually high in carbs – carbs are various forms of brain frying sugars.  That’s about the same time that new cancers sprang up like wildfire – Alzheimer’s became the next most feared disease of elderly people and children became hyperactive and unable to focus or concentrate!!!  How did we all buy into this for so long without asking questions?  It’s amazing how easily we all adopted the low fat diet.  Sadly, as easy as that was, now it is hard for us all to wrap our heads around eating more fat, not less, to heal our body and even to be thinner!!

I use myself as a scientific study.  I tried the ketogenic diet.  Firstly, I got the keto flu and was very weak and sick for many many days.  Once I got on the other side of being sick I felt amazing!!  More energy.  I had better focus and was definitely in a happier  more balanced mood.  THEN I made a fatal mistake!!  I rewarded myself for my weight loss with a candy bar!  CHOCOLATE!  It was delish!  I savored every bite!!  The bad news is – that was the beginning of my noticing my carb addiction.  I couldn’t give it up again.  I could not do the keto diet.  I put back on all the weight I lost plus a LOT!!!  Enough to reach OBESITY!!!  I went from being very thin in my younger days to VERY OVERLY FAT and yes, I was considered OBESE!!  That’s when I SWORE OFF DIETS!!!  No more diets for me.  It was one thing when I needed to lose 5 pounds and I took them off only to replace them with 10 — and then dieting those 10 pounds off only to replace them with 25 pounds.  I dieted myself into obesity!!!  I know for sure, I was not alone!!

Side track warning here – a little more about me.  I love passionately the network marketing industry.  It allows moms and dads to work from home – learn new skills – earn a living and be better, more present parents.  We typically introduce the newest products to the market place.  Companies need us to be the mouths of the latest, most innovative products.  I had marketed collagen when it was first introduced to the market place.  Now you can readily  find it in stores and most people know what it is and what it does.  That’s because people like me educated ourselves and our friends.  When collagen was readily available in stores, I started looking for a  new product to launch. Then I saw my friend marketing weight loss coffee on Facebook.  I had no interest in marketing a weight loss product, but I did have an interest in working with her, because I knew her as a professional in our industry.  Turns out, she had another “new to market” product her company was about to start marketing.  Briefly, it helped oxygenate our red blood cells and “unstick” them, so they could do their job more efficiently.  Red blood cells carry oxygen and  nutrition to all cells of our body.  That sounded really exciting, and I began to wonder if perhaps the reason we are all lacking collagen as we age could be because our red blood cells are no longer moving as freely as they should.  I thought this new product “MAX” might be even more important than collagen, because what else was not being transported?  Perhaps even proteins and nutrients we haven’t discovered yet!!!  I was on board!!

Back to autophagy!!  I should mention, the coffee she was marketing for weight loss was meant to regulate the absorption of carbohydrates and thereby help people lose weight.  I tried it, just to see if it tasted good.  It did.  It did so much more!  It actually cut my appetite AND, without changing a thing,  I lost weight.  It was like magic.  I still ate donuts, pies, pastries – potatoes.  I was able to eat all the things I loved – AND LOSE WEIGHT!!!  Brilliant!!  It worked wonderfully for me and many, but not all, of my friends.  I’ll tell you the truth – I didn’t feel proud to know I was losing weight and still eating brain frying carbs.  I knew I wasn’t eating healthy – and I assumed I was still frying my brain!!  That was unnerving – not enough for me to make any changes, though for my brain health, I wanted to!!!  AND THEN!!!!!  We launched a new nootropic coffee designed to combat food addiction!!!  CARB addiction, specifically – and to crush our appetite at the same time.  Now that was like MAGIC!!!!  Suddenly, (on the 3rd day for me) I no longer craved all the sugary carb laden foods – I actually WANTED to eat salads!!!  Again – I lost more weight.  (at this point, I am down about 50 pounds from where I started – I still have 40 pounds to go).

That brings us to where I started researching again!!  Since I COULD eat healthy – what exactly IS the new science pointing to for our healthiest self?  Is it safe to diet and not add back more pounds than we lose?  My next medical professional I began following was Dr. Jason Fung.  He is a nepherologist who treats many diabetic patients who have had extensive kidney damage and required dialysis.  He grew so frustrated telling his diabetic patients to lose weight – and they didn’t.  He told them to cut back on carbs and found many had no idea what a carb was… so he pondered fasting.  What would that do.  After trying it himself with no harm, he asked a few of his patients to try fasting for several hours — remembering that people in the 50s 60s and 70s typically didn’t eat breakfast or lunch and were all thin — he suggested “intermittent fasting” which is simply putting 12 or more hours between the last meal of the evening and first meal of the morning — think what that does to snacking!!  People lost weight.  Some extended their fasts to 14 – 16 or even 24 hours.  Every one of his patients lost weight.  The key, though – and why I became interested in learning more … they did not put the weight back on.  One of the things Dr. Fung repeatedly says is that while doctors have always been telling patients to lose weight to avoid diabetes, when patients would fail to lose weight the doctors ALWAYS blamed the patients – “You obviously are not sticking to a diet.” …. I’ll try to explain briefly what happens.  WHY DIETS DO NOT WORK – EVER!!  If you cut 500 calories from your diet each week, you would expect at the end of the year you’d weight less — but you won’t.  Our body SLOWS DOWN (metabolism) to the amount of food you’re consuming!!!  Cutting calories does not work!!  So, what happens if you eat less and move more, as many experts have been suggesting?  The same thing!!  Our body will slow down its metabolism to maintain weight.  It’s called homeostasis – finding a balance.  However, when people FAST – we are naturally eating less calories, but our body does not adapt!!!  It does not slow down metabolism!!!  THE WEIGHT STAYS OFF!!!

Count me in!!  I started doing some intermittent fasting.  I loved it!  It was so easy – and more than FREE!!!  Let’s face it, even though I could have cut calories and chosen to eat healthier since I was no longer craving carbs – I did not want to repeat what I’ve done in that past – which was lose weight only to put back on more!!  I didn’t have to think about food as much and I didn’t have to prepare the food – or clean the kitchen ALL DAY!!!  Intermittent fasting was and is awesomely easy!!  ANYONE can do it – no matter what meal plan they are following.  If they want to do Keto or Paleo or weight watchers, whether they are very busy or not — anyone can intermittent fast.  Anyone can AFFORD to do it, because let’s face it.  If you don’t eat breakfast you save AT LEAST $60 a month, maybe more.  I mastered intermittent fasting and found that while most medical experts were advising not to do it every day … more like 3 or 4 days a week, I most enjoyed my intermittent fasting days and found it growingly more difficult to eat 3 times a day…. or more!!!  Forget snacking, NOT EATING is so easy!!!

Wanting to know everything, I continued researching.  I discovered “High Intensity Health” channel on YouTube.  Dr. Mercola and many more experts.  I heard the word Autophagy.  It was a hard term to wrap my head around.  In fact, I had to replay several YouTube videos to hear what they were saying – I looked it up in the dictionary … discovered that it is so life changing – life enhancing that Dr. Ohsumi was awarded a Nobel Prize for medicine in 2016 because this practice is going to positively effect an unbelievable amount of health concerns — perhaps all of them.

I decided to try to induce autophagy – for anti aging purposes.  I want better skin, more energy and better brain health.  SO, I didn’t eat.  I did drink my Optimum coffee which is allowed.  I made it through the first 24 hours with not much issue.  In the second day I found myself thinking about food more.  I had some bone broth in the refrigerator so I decided to enjoy a cup, thinking that wouldn’t hurt anything.  Late in the second day (44 hours from the beginning of my fast) I thought I SHOULD EAT, so I could “work myself up to” fasting for 5 days.  I saw a YouTube video of a guy talking about how he blew out his Kidney fasting.  Turns out, he didn’t blow it out from the fast, but from re feeding.  He chose to eat at a fast food restaurant and consumed huge amounts of FRIED CHICKEN… surely not fried in healthy fat, either!!  We need to introduce food in a slow and healthy manner AFTER an extended fast.  Some people say it’s best to end a fast with a small salad – followed by a huge salad – followed by fats.  Some say to start with fats.  I don’t have an opinion at this point which means, I am not sure which I believe is best.  I DID end my fast with a small salad – and then eggs – and then a larger salad.  AND THEN I continued intermittent fasting … most days only eating 1 time.  I started to get really tired.   More fatigue.  I couldn’t focus.

After about a week of being practically lethargic some of my friends suggested I was not getting enough protein and I needed to eat more.  SO I DID!  I was very surprised to discover I didn’t gain even one pound from the extra calories – but my focus quickly returned and so did my energy.  So now I am back to intermittent fasting (mostly 18 – 20 hours a day) being sure to get adequate protein and I am feeling great.  I WANT to do a 5 day fast, but I am being more cautious.  I have been doing more research – mostly I want to be more sure how to end the fast.  SOON I will do a 5 day fast and my intention is to do it 3 times a year – scientists and well learned doctors seem to agree that 3 times a year is ideal.  No more, no less.

What about you?  Do you think you’ll try intermittent fasting or a full fast?  How long will you attempt to go?  Who do you follow to learn more about it?  If you’d like to join me in my fasting journey, leave a comment below and I’ll let you know when I am about to start – perhaps you’ll want to join me.

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