Today is Day 1 of my 7-day water-only fast for health.
It just so happens to be also Day 21 of a nose-to-tail carnivore diet. This month is also my dry January, so since January 6, after my friend came to visit me from CA, I haven’t imbibed in any wine. Or any alcohol, for that matter. My friend from CA and I have been texting each other daily for accountability. As someone with type 2 diabetes, injecting herself with insulin, she has brought her fasting glucose down to 124 this morning from her usual 300s, a fantastic feat considering she took no insulin with dinner or at bedtime! She’s not participating in my 7-day fast, but will continue eating carnivore. We both have found that eating carnivore helps you to naturally intermittent fast, often only hungry for one or two meals.
This isn’t my first 7-day fast. I believe this is my third or fourth one, that I do annually ever since Darrell began using keto for his cancer in 2014. But this will be my first extended fast sandwiched by a carnivore keto way of eating. I’m not too worried or stressed about it, since fasting is like a muscle. When you’ve done it regularly and paired with a diet that induces ketosis, it really isn’t that hard. And I imagine that a carnivore diet, which to me, isn’t that far off from a regular keto diet (since I’m still able to bring my GKI pretty low, a good thing). I can’t imagine people who come from eating SAD, a Standard American Diet of high-carb and low-fat, and how it must feel to attempt a fast like this, not already padded with fat.
I can’t remember exactly how I learned about doing this, but it might have been Tim Ferriss and Dr. Peter Attia. And definitely Thomas N. Seyfried, whose book my husband read when he found out he had cancer the end of 2014. “Dr. Seyfried cited ‘a 7-day water fast, once per year’ as a possible way for a healthy person to remain cancer-free by starving any errant cancer cells before they can establish a foothold in the body.”
And when you watch your loved one get cancer and fight it, you begin to worry about yourself too. Could you get cancer? So that’s the main reason I do these prolonged fasts, in addition to the myriad of other health benefits, such as longevity and anti-aging.
We feel so lucky to have found the ketogenic diet, as recommended by a good friend of Darrell’s, who is a former Marine, who told us about it when we were considering other anti-cancer routes, unsure of the right approaches. And even though there wasn’t a lot of info out in 2014 about keto and fasting, we stumbled across Ellen Davis, Miriam Kalamian (who Darrell had several Skype consults with), Patricia Daly, Maria Emmerich and Martina Slajerova‘s keto recipes and advice on health. While my husband was preparing for chemo, and we were first learning how to eat and cook keto, my sister let me listen to her audio book by Jimmy Moore’s Keto Clarity. Note: later in 2016, we read and followed Jimmy Moore and Dr. Jason Fung’s book on fasting — and the fasting podcast Moore had with Dr. Fung and Megan Ramos back then — to incorporate more fasts into our lives, trying out alternate day fasting as well, inspired by examples of people in the book who had brought down their HbA1c and insulin simply with fasting. I was eager to try as I had also been told by my general practitioner that I had prediabetes and had pretty high fasting blood glucose in the morning, averaging around 130s or so. It makes me wonder what my fasting glucose must have been like before I began monitoring with a glucometer, before discovering a low-carb keto way of eating, those days when I ate 3-5 meals a day, filled with refined carbs such as pancakes, sandwiches, noodles, pasta, pizza, sugary desserts, soda, juices, bread with almost everything.
Jimmy Moore’s Keto Clarity book was where I first learned about a study with two women who had type 2 bipolar disorder who had used keto as a way to help their mental health. That’s when I decided that I was all in with this keto thing. That this wasn’t just for solidarity with my husband using keto for his cancer (as an adjunct along with chemo and radiation). It was also for myself. I had seen firsthand how food affects mood when I mostly cut out flour and sugar out of my diet in 2012, moving towards a more ancestral Paleo/Primal approach, after taking different anti-convulsants for twice-diagnosed bipolar type 2 in my twenties and thirties, the same meds my friend takes for her seizures. When I simply cut out flour and sugar most of the time, I was able to ramp off all meds in 2012, including ones for ADHD and daily asthma inhalers (and countless visits to the ER for nebulizer treatments and regular prednisone tablets to taper off from). So I figured switching to keto would be doable and even more effective.
Anyhow, back to the fasting. Today is Day 1 of my yearly 7-day fast. I may consider doing regular 3-day monthly fasts, copycatting longevity doctor, what Dr. Peter Attia is planning to do this year, as opposed to his quarterly 7-day fasts he has been talking about in the past, bookending those fasts with a ketogenic diet. There are many health benefits to fasting, such as possible cancer prevention, anti-aging, improving insulin sensitivity and metabolic health.
Right now, I’m 47 years old, will be 48 this year, and I want to go out strong and healthy, having lived a long life healthy, not sickly, do the things I’ve been saying I want to do (like finish my novel) and be there for my family and friends! Life is too short to suffer mentally and physically. It’s crazy how my husband’s cancer has shifted our entire mindsets, bodies and lives as we jumped in the rabbit hole of ketosis, fasting, carnivore, exercise, meditation and more. It’s made us prioritize health span, realizing that happiness aligns with a healthy mind and body.
Day 1 Water-Only Fast Stats (after being on 20 days of a carnivore diet):
GKI (Glucose: Ketones Index): 1.6
Ketones (BHB): 2.8 mmol/L (I padded myself with fat and protein yesterday to prepare for this fast), making Maria Emmerich’s Carnivore Waffles from her new Carnivore cookbook written with her husband Craig Emmerich, who has found success battling Lyme’s with a carnivore diet.
Fasting Blood Glucose: 81 mg/dL (this makes me so happy, since the past several months my f/g is regularly over 100 again, battling with stress, holidays, eating out too much and over-indulging)
Weight: 128.4 lbs (before I started the carnivore diet, I had climbed up to 137 lbs after learning about a friend’s suicide)
Mood/Energy: Woke up a little irritable, not having my usual coffee with MCT oil doesn’t help the matter (in fact, a tiny headache). And getting upset at your 15-year-old blasting his loud rap music certainly doesn’t help. I did a fasted workout with the beginner program in THENX. I did only two rounds, as I don’t want to push it too hard, having just started this fast. I may dial down my workouts this week to accommodate the fast, but will see how I feel.
Tools/Apps: I’ve already fired up my Fasting Timer via the mobile Heads Up app last night at 7:47 pm when I last ate my final bite of carnivore waffles and leftover salmon. I look forward to logging in my health metrics (such as my ketones and glucose via Keto-Mojo) here to see my progress on their graph, where I can see how low or high my glucose, ketones, GKI, weight went during the fasting interval. Soon I plan to get my blood tests done and see how switching to a carnivore diet, cutting out the wine, and incorporating intermittent fasts, time restricted feeding and this prolonged water-only fast, will do to my health biomarkers, such as my Hba1c, and CRP, etc. I wish my Oura ring was working, as I’d love to track other health data such as my deep sleep, HRV, activity and more. As you can tell, I am a data nerd. 🙂
Some other great links if interested:
- Dr. Georgia Ede’s N=1 water-fast experiment back in 2013 (as a mostly meat-eating keto eater). I love her philosophy and approach towards mental health and food.
- Diet Doctor article on the ketogenic diet and mental health. Lots of great resources and sources of inspiration for anyone battling depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, OCD, and more. (Quite personally, I believe there is a connection between insulin and mental health issues, so in my opinion, insulin-related metabolic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, even Parkinson’s are related to mental health disorders.)
I am looking forward to having more energy and time this week. And of course, saving money from shopping for food at the grocery store!