Fasting – an Attempt at a 3-5 day Fast (with Fasting-mimicking dietary restriction as needed)

Fasting and intermittent fasting have been tossed around in various “health advice” circles for some time now.  I’ve read and followed some of it but wasn’t terribly convinced until I ran across a clip in a documentary that mentioned Valter Longo, a professor and researcher currently working at the University of Southern California who has produced some pretty amazing results in laboratory studies. His research is making its way into human testing and even direct marketing under the name ProLon.  Feel free to look into it and see what you think:  Dr. Valter Longo on fasting and “fasting-mimicking diets”.  Also check out his foundation’s page: The Valter Longo Foundation.  I was interested so I followed up with his new book: The Longevity Diet: Discover the New Science Behind Stem Cell Activation and Regeneration to Slow Aging, Fight Disease, and Optimize Weight.  Wow, that title is a mouthful!

I love a good challenge and the results looked promising, so after reading the book and listening to a few talks he has made (Here you can find his TedX Talk) I was ready to give it a try.  I have managed short fasts a few times in the past, usually using them as a sort of “reset” when I realized my diet wasn’t properly lining up with my values and plans. I am also prone to limited fasts, juice or fruit and juice only fasts during times of sickness which are thankfully quite rare. They seem to speed recovery but with an n=1 study of just myself I am giving that as my personal opinion only. There is certainly something to be said for placebo effect there and I cannot discount it.  In any case it was his rather convincing evidence of the acceleration of autophagy, which is our body’s way of dealing with old, worn out or disfunctional cells.  This helps both in general rejuvenation as well as cancer destruction; now really, who isn’t interested upon reading that?  With a load of different inflammatory disorders in my family history, my interest was also piqued at the idea of additional decrease in inflammation (which is part of the reason us Plantpowered Gamers  follow a rather strict whole-foods plant-based Vegan diet).

So how have I faired so far?

Well, I am writing this on day 3 of the fast. I actually managed two full days of water only (as well as herbal teas and a bit of lemon juice). On day 3 I brought back in a very restricted “Fasting Mimicking” dietary plan which so far has included Tofu, lots of leafy greens, olives, peanuts, tahini and a bit of broccoli. I will note that I was starting to get pretty fatigued near the end of day 2 which is largely why I shifted a day earlier than planned to the “FMD” plan. I originally wanted to do 3 full days of water only fasting followed by two fasting-mimicking days, mostly just to see how I handled it. It seems from the research he presents that 5 days of FMD gives essentially the same benefits of a full fast, so next time around I will probably just do 5 days of FMD instead and save myself the discomfort. I will note, however, that day one of the fast didn’t bother me at all so I may well stick with one day of water only. It is actually kind of cool to see how the body can react and adjust so readily to such a drastic change. I do wonder if my previous experience at fasting helped in this though, and I really have no way of knowing. It seems that one gets “better” or at least more capable of dealing with most things diet and exercise related, so I do wonder if fasting is something that one gets “better” at with practice. It will be interesting to see. In any case, I will probably make another update on day 5, so wish me luck!


Loaded with interesting information and research.  Check it out!

PlantPoweredGamers
Grow Strong. Game On.

Emergency Emergen-C

So, just a quick plug here.

When I find something that seems effective or interesting I am generally pretty happy to share with others.  We do live in a world of potential abundance if we can temper that tendency to view things as scarce.

I’ve been sick over the last week which slowed up my time to write.. well my time to do everything.. as my amazing wife helped pick up the slack and help me get everything done even while recovering.  She and I are both pretty strong advocates of this amazing little drink packet, Emergen-C.  I was surprised when I was talking to my parents about it and they had never heard of it, but these little guys pack some punch.  Any time Suzy or I am feeling a little under the weather and feel there may be something creeping up on us, perhaps a cold, perhaps a scratchy throat, we usually down one of these.  They pack 1000mg of vitamin C in a dose and have a few other vitamins and minerals that have some pretty strong evidence suggesting that us humans recover quicker when they are in large supply.

Is it a placebo effect?  I cannot comment concretely on a study with an n=2, especially when we have each other’s feedback to feed off of!  In any case, I certainly feel like I shake things quicker and get back into my usual pace when I use them.  Additionally, considering that they kind of taste like a slightly tart fruit drink mix and cost only marginally more than typical drink mixes I feel like it is a worthy splurge.  Give them a try and if you do let me know in the comments what you think of them.  I’d love to increase the n-count on my “research”.

Grow Strong, Game On.

Eat Your Veggies!

“Eat your Veggies!”  That is probably one of the few bits of dietary advice that any of us likely hear that isn’t immediately conflicted or confusing.  It can be really tricky to sort out all of the information that is thrown at us daily and nutrition information is certainly no exception.  It is exceedingly important to pay some mind to our diet as poor choices can have dire consequences.  In the study,The State of US Health, 1990-2010: Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors, we find that diet is actually the leading cause of early death and disability in the United States!  If you have a moment to look over some of the research with me I think we can come to the same conclusion on at least one simple rule that could be quite beneficial:  processed foods are dangerous and they desperately need to be replaced with whole plant foods.

In the paper,Plant-based nutrition for healthcare professionals: implementing diet as a primary modality in the prevention and treatment of chronic disease, we can find a wealth of information.  Hever and Cronise have done an amazing amount of research gathering for us and if you want to see some of the most convincing research done to date that backs up this point just check their resources section at the bottom of the paper.  In any case, one may gleam from these studies that processed foods, that is, “commercially produced products made with adulterants such as sugars, salts, oils and other food additives” (Hever, Cronise) contribute to inflammation and oxidation which increase risks of disease and injury to the body.  They also set the stage for cancer growth and can actually be carcinogenic themselves (which is to say that they can actually cause new cancers to form).  Call me an alarmist if you will, but feel free to peruse the article 17 Carcinogenic Foods You Probably Eat Every Day if you like.  Need more? World Health Organization Says Processed Meat Causes Cancer is also a fine read.  These are not articles from random bloggers or conspiracy theorists, it is actual news from the likes of the World Health Organization and the Huffington Post.

Now some of the recommendations for replacing this are quite gentle.  The United States Department of Agriculture, American Heart Association, and American Institute for Cancer Research suggest in their review of the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee that at least half of the plate should consist of fruits and vegetables.  The “whole-plant food” recommendation is referring to plants that are minimally processed or are as close as one can get them to the way they left their source (ground, tree, bush, etc).  The preparation argument is beyond the focus of my writing today but that is another case of there being loads of conflict.  What we can focus on is eliminating the carcinogenic meats and sugar/salt laden boxes and bags of chips, cookies and crackers.  If one gets into the habit of checking labels it is startling to find just how many of the “so-called” healthy entrees in the freezer section contain all manner of things that are unidentifiable as food ingredients.  Let us just take a few extra minutes to steam a pot of broccoli to go with dinner, that in itself would be a huge first step.

There is so much detail here that I simply do not feel like I have enough knowledge of in order to speak on the subject beyond pointing my readers in the direction of those that I feel are much better suited to inform us on these issues.  Feel free to comment back and let me know what you think on the subject.  If you would like more resources and prefer video to articles, please check out Dr. Michael Gregor at Nutrition Facts .Org.

I hope my little write up does not come across as overly opinionated.  My only intention is to spread information that I have personally found interesting and helpful.  I hope you find it to be as well!

Grow Strong.  Game On.

Warm Weather Approaches – Power-Up with Our Chocolate Smoothie Recipe

While mushrooms and floaty hearts work fine for game characters, us gamers need something a little more substantial.  Now I don’t mean to disregard the tastes of the residents of mushroomy kingdoms or intergalactic bounty hunters, but no matter what world you are on or what dimension you are in its hard to top chocolate!

power-up-Choco-smoothie

This recipe has been tweaked by my son and me for quite some time and it is currently the most requested over any other at a rate of at least 10:1, and as warm weather is quickly approaching a chilly chocolatey smoothie is starting to sound pretty appealing.

We generally use Orgain brand Creamy Chocolate Fudge Organic Plant Based Protein Powder  for the protein powder in this recipe.  We have tried a multitude of different brands and variations and this one consistently blends up the richest, smoothest and creamiest and never needs additional added sweeteners.  Feel free to experiment if you have a favorite of your own and feel free to share which ones you like and even any variations you make to our recipe.  We would love to try your ideas ourselves.

Ingredients for the Power-Up Chocolate Smoothie

1 Frozen Banana

1 cup Almond, Soy or other Plant-based milk-alternative

1/4 cup Frozen Blueberries

1 cup Frozen Spinach ( fresh won’t work here, I’ve made that mistake for you and can attest it simply doesn’t turn out right)

1 scoop (1/2 serving) Orgain Creamy Chocolate Fudge Organic Plant Based Protein Powder

1 tsp Cocoa Powder

1/2 tsp Healthworks Maca Powder Peruvian Raw Organic, 8oz

Preparation is simple; add all ingredients to a high-speed blender – ours is a Magic Bullet Blender and it handles all of the frozen ingredients brilliantly.  I usually blend for about 30-45 seconds, let it all rest about 10 seconds and then give it another 30-45 second spin.  Serve it up, power-up and Game On!

If you are reluctant to try “drinking” your spinach, give it a try before you opt out and you will certainly be surprised.  The spinachy sweetness folds into the chocolate nicely and gives it a flavor leaning towards the dark chocolate spectrum.  It is also important to include these leafy greens when powering up as they are some of the strongest antioxidants on the planet.

Maca Powder may be unfamiliar to you, we had never heard of it two years ago.  It has a caramel/malt-like flavor when added to smoothies, baked goods or oatmeal.  It has an interesting flavor that really grew on us the more we tried it in different recipes.  As a bonus it is packed with antioxidants and minerals and has a history of use to improve mood, energy and mental alertness – valuable bonuses when managing a bit of tricky platforming or dodging a swarm of enemies.  I cannot attest to the historical use but it does add a nice flavor to sweet recipes so we just count it as a bonus that it has some potential additional benefits.

Need help finding some of the more unusual or specific products we use?  Click the links in the recipe or the product images below and you will be taken directly to the a page on which they can be found.  As a bonus, using that link will actually support the Plant Powered Gamers.  Double Win!

 

 

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