Fasting has been a hot topic around the health community as of late and for good reason. More and more research has emerged which show just how healing fasting can be for our mind, body and spirit. To some this concept may sound completely erroneous as most of us have been taught since a very young age that not only do we need to eat to survive, but that we need to eat three meals a day.
The concept of going without food and in some cases, water, goes against our beliefs, however if we begin to look at this topic from a perspective of how our ancestors ate, this certainly begins to make more sense.
For thousands of years, our ancestors only ate food intermittently, when there was food available to eat. They would often go days at a time with no food at all. Nowadays, we can find food at just about every corner. We can find fast, cheap and nutritionally deficient food at our fingertips. If you live in a city, it is likely that you can have food delivered to your door. It is flaunted in our face at all times, one might wonder, so why wouldn’t I eat it if it’s available?
The Benefits Of Fasting
Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at the National Institute on Aging and professor at John Hopkins University says that for optimal health our bodies need to have occasional breaks from eating.
Even intermittent fasting can boost our brain function, ward of neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and can hold the key to longevity by speeding up the regeneration of our cells. Mattson discusses all of this and more in the Ted Talk posted below called, Why Fasting Bolsters Brain Power.
“It’s been known for a long time that one way to extend the lifespan of laboratory animals is simply to reduce their [calorie] intake,” he says.
The lifespan of lab rats has been increased by up to 40 percent by feeding them less. Mattson suggests humans could do the same by adopting a lifestyle of intermittent fasting.
“We started looking at the effects of energy restriction on the brain in the context of age-related neuro-degenerative disorders and found we could slow down … Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s,” Mattson said.
Mattson said fasting improves brain function by challenging it, “Your brain responds to the challenge of not having food by activating pathways that help it cope with stress and resist disease.”
Like vigorous exercise, intermittent fasting promotes neuron growth, strengthens synapses and increases production of new nerve cells. Fasting also increases the number of mitochondria in nerve cells, which improves cognition, memory and mood, and increases the ability of nerve cells to repair DNA, he says.
When you fast, your metabolism shifts so that you start burning fats, he explains. “Every time you eat a meal the energy is stored in your liver in the form of glycogen [sugar]. That’s always tapped into first. It takes 12 hours before you deplete the glycogen stores in your liver.”
“When you eat three or four meals a day you never deplete the glycogen stores in your liver. You can’t start burning fat until those stores are depleted.”
When you burn fats you produce ketone bodies, which are very good for your brain, he says.
From an evolutionary perspective, fasting simply makes sense, “Our hunter-gatherer ancestors would not have survived unless their brain was functioning at a high level when they were hungry. If you’re hungry and haven’t found food, you better figure out how to find food. You don’t want your brain to shut down.”
Ways To Fast
According to Mattson, there are two basic ways to experience the benefits of calorie restriction, to either eat less for each meal or reduce the frequency of meals, such as with intermittent fasting.
- Water only fasts involve two to three days a month of 2 weeks a year.
- Alternate day fasting, less than 600 calories or no food every other day.
- A 5:2 diet, eating normally 5 days a week and less than 600 calories during the other two days.
- Time restricted fasting daily, food is only consumed during a 4-8 hour window.
There are also longer more extensive fasts that can be taken, these are especially beneficial if you are suffering from chronic illness, digestive health disorders, fatigue, and a whole variety of other ailments. Last summer I did a 21 day Master Fast, which involved consuming nothing but grape juice, herbal tea and tinctures, and a psyillium husk pudding. This fast also included dry fasting, where nothing at all would be consumed for a minimum of 24 hours per week and daily enemas. I am aware of how extreme this may sound, but this fast helped me to heal my candida and digestive health issues.
Fasting Is For The Mind, Body & Soul
There is so much more to fasting than simply not eating. Many of us are completely unaware of just how addicted to eating we all are. It’s difficult to actually recognize this addiction until we go without food, in doing so, alot of emotions come up and normally, most of the time without even realizing it we escape by eating. When you fast, you essentially have nowhere to turn, no escapes, nothing but you and yourself. This provides an excellent opportunity to really sit with your emotions and process them accordingly rather than running to the comfort of food to make us feel better.
Various religions around the world have included fasting in their scriptures and have done so for thousands of years. Fasting is really an ancient process and has many spiritual levels to it.
More Information On Fasting
Johnson & Johnson Found To Have Knowingly Allowed Asbestos In Their Baby Powder
- The Facts:
Johnson and Johnson have recently lost lawsuits for negligence in knowingly allowing carcinogenic substances in their talc-based hygiene products.
- Reflect On:
Are we starting to turn the page on an era where human health and safety are not the prime considerations in the manufacturing of consumer products?
We are starting to awaken to the fact that it seems to be the rule, and not the exception, that large Western corporations put profits above human health considerations. The only time they seem to give any regard to human health concerns is when their forecasts of potential lawsuits down the road would likely exceed the cost measures needed to ensure the safety of their product.
Johnson & Johnson is just one of a long line of corporate perpetrators who believed that covering up and lying about known health concerns would make better business sense than taking the time and resources to actually address those health concerns within their products.
Contaminated Baby Powder: The Height Of Indignity
One would think, regardless of an understanding that the bottom line is a priority for most private companies, that the health and safety of a nursing mother and her newborn child would be sacrosanct for any industry. The reality is that this is simply not the case, even though J&J could have mitigated this problem from the start.
Companies that mine talc are required to take extra steps to ensure the absence of asbestos in their talc. Instead, J&J allegedly went to great lengths to fake it.
Not only did the company know about the asbestos contamination, evidence suggests, but J&J also failed to warn its customers about the link between Baby Powder and cancer or replace its talc with a safer alternative. As a result, J&J guaranteed its customers’ exposure to asbestos.
The Testimony of Scientist James Webber
Baby Powder’s contamination with asbestos (a mineral that naturally occurs near talc) has long been the subject of lawsuits. But only in recent years has evidence begun to unravel J&J’s defense – that the company had no idea – and threatened its success in lawsuits to come.
In March, a California jury awarded $29 million to Terry Leavitt, a woman who said that asbestos in Johnson & Johnson’s talcum-powder-based products caused her terminal mesothelioma. Environmental scientist James Webber testified in her high-profile California trial and made these observations:
During several hours on the stand, Webber explained how he ran tests that showed “clear” evidence of asbestos contamination in the mines from which J&J sourced talc.
“The testing I have seen [shows] that it was present at least as early as 1971 and up through the late 1990s,” said Webber, who ran an asbestos laboratory in New York state.
Despite denying it publicly, J&J had observed this contamination in internal memos. Its notes dismissed the amount of asbestos in its talc as “but a trace,” Webber alleged. But that was just an optimistic interpretation of superficial testing, he said: the tests used methods too weak to detect microscopic asbestos fibers. Webber insisted the actual tests results revealed there could be millions of asbestos fibers per gram of talc.
And J&J’s inaccurate reports were allegedly only the tip of the iceberg. In some instances, Webber said, photos attached to J&J’s reports revealed that “they had been seeing it and not reporting it.” (source)
And It’s Getting Worse
The $29 million verdict, in California Superior Court in Oakland, was the latest defeat for the healthcare conglomerate facing more than 13,000 talc-related lawsuits nationwide. And things may be getting even worse for J&J, according to ZeroHedge:
Johnson & Johnson shares are down over 5% after Bloomberg reports that, according to people with knowledge of the matter, the U.S. Justice Department is pursuing a criminal investigation into whether Johnson & Johnson lied to the public about the possible cancer risks of its talcum powder…
Now, a grand jury in Washington is examining documents related to what company officials knew about any carcinogens in their products, the people said.
It seems as though corporations have long been willing to take the calculated risk of short-cuts and denials instead of ensuring that their products are safe for public use. My suspicion is that a part of our collective awakening process will be issuing in a new business paradigm in which human health and safety become paramount.
Prescription Infant Formulas Found To Be Contaminated With Aluminum
- The Facts:
Multiple brands of prescription infant formula were found to contain high levels of aluminum.
- Reflect On:
Should we be questioning the quality of products that come from pharmaceutical production? Do we veer away from natural methods of raising children more than we should? At what cost?
You may not think aluminum is a big deal, but it is. For anybody who has looked into aluminum toxicology, it’s quite clear and apparent that it has no place inside of any living biological organism. Putting it simply, it wreaks havoc on our biology. High amounts of aluminum have been found in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease, with experts in the field believing that aluminum brain accumulation may be one of the main causes of Alzheimer’s disease.
It’s also been discovered within the brains of MS patients, and some of the highest aluminum content ever recorded in brain tissue has also been discovered in people with autism. Aluminum is associated with several diseases. But an adult body can do a great job of flushing out aluminum.
Despite the fact that aluminum has no place within earth’s biota, it’s still present in many of our medications, our food, and even in the water that we drink due to contamination since the industrial revolution. Aluminum inside the body is a new phenomenon and still understudied. Again, there is a threshold, and aluminum that is injected via vaccines doesn’t exit the body–there is strong evidence that it remains inside the body and ends up in distant organs and eventually inside of the brain. If you want to access more studies on that topic, you can read this article I published that provides them and goes into more detail. You can also watch this interview with Christopher Exley, where he also points to that fact.
A new study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health has shown that multiple popular infant prescriptions are contaminated with aluminum. You may be asking how much aluminum, but the authors make it a point to stress that there are no safe amounts of aluminum levels that can be inside of a human body, let alone a newborn baby. That being said, the amounts found are listed within the abstract of the study:
Historical and recent data demonstrate that off-the-shelf infant formulas are heavily contaminated with aluminium. The origin of this contamination remains to be elucidated though may be imported via ingredients, packaging and processing. Specialised infant formulas exist to address health issues, such as low birth weight, allergy or intolerance and medical conditions, such as renal insufficiency. The aluminium content of these prescription infant formulas is measured here for the first time. We obtained 24 prescription infant formulas through a paediatric clinic and measured their total aluminium content by transversely heated graphite furnace atomic absorption spectrometry following microwave assisted acid/peroxide digestion. The aluminium content of ready-to-drink formulas ranged from 49.9 (33.7) to 1956.3 (111.0) μg/L. The most heavily contaminated products were those designed as nutritional supplements for infants struggling to gain weight. The aluminium content of powdered formulas ranged from 0.27 (0.04) to 3.27 (0.19) μg/g. The most heavily contaminated products tended to be those addressing allergies and intolerance. Prescription infant formulas are contaminated with aluminium.
Another very important point made right off the bat by the authors:
Human exposure to aluminium is a serious health concern. Aluminium exposure in infants is understandably a burgeoning issue. While infant exposure to aluminium continues to be documented, its consequences, immediate and in the future, have received only scant attention and research is required to understand the biological availability of aluminium through formula feeding. For example, how much aluminium is absorbed across the neonate gut and its subsequent fate, including excretion.
There is already too much aluminium in infant formulas and herein we have measured its content in a large number of prescription formulas, products which are fed to vulnerable infants in their first months of life. Many of these products are heavily contaminated with aluminium.
As for the specific infant formulas, you can refer to the study. The researchers obtained 24 prescription infant formulas via the Paediatric Clinic of Russells Hall Hospital in Dudley, United Kingdom. The ready-to-drink and powdered products were new, ready-to-be used and unopened samples. These formulas are for babies with some sort of growth restriction, like for preterm infants or infants who have poor weight gain. There were also powdered formulas for allergies and intolerances and powdered formulas with additional amino acids.
The authors contacted each manufacturer and expressed that they denied knowing that there was any aluminum in their products, which means it’s still a mystery as to their source. The authors hypothesize on a number of ways that aluminum could be entering into the formulas.
In their conclusion, the authors emphasize that:
Where possible, breast milk feeding should be prioritised, as the aluminium content of breast milk is invariably an order of magnitude lower than in formula feeds. Where infant formulas are the only source of nutrition for many infants in their first weeks and months of life, aluminium ingested in formula feeds will be the major contributor to their body burden of aluminium. The last thing that vulnerable infants fed specialised formulas for their specific nutritional/medicinal need is additional aluminium in their diet.
There is a lot of information out there on how a person can detox from aluminum and other heavy metals. There are multiple studies, and based on what I’ve looked into, water with high amounts of Silica are effective in draining aluminum out of your body and brain. Herbs like cilantro and substances like chlorella and spirulina are also great for removing some metals. The information is out there, so be sure to do your research.
It’s concerning to think about what these corporations are doing. Again, aluminum should hold no place in our society, it should’ve remained well below our surface as part of the Earth’s crust for a reason. It wasn’t until humans began digging it out and using it for a number of things, irresponsibly I might add, that we started to see the health implications which still go largely ignored by the medical community.
In fact, heavy metal accumulation and detoxification of aluminum haven’t been addressed at all, which is odd given the fact that heavy metal accumulation is linked to a variety of diseases.
9 Studies You Should Be Aware of Before Trying The Ketogenic Diet
- The Facts:
The Ketogenic diet is a popular fad diet that promotes quick weight loss and symptom management for bodies that are dealing with poor lymph, kidney and digestion health.
- Reflect On:
Based on the studies that are emerging, is our desire for quick weight loss more important than living a long and healthy life? Are we learning about these diets primarily through those with strong ties to upholding these diets?
The ketogenic diet has popped up as a popular approach to weight loss in the last few years. Is it successful at that? Sure, it is. I’ve experimented with the diet myself years ago when I was looking to lose some belly fat. I was entering into ketosis in a different way than most, as I was not eating any animal products, but it does in fact work.
But like any animal product based diet, what are the consequences of eating so much food that does not truly jive with our human bodies? Not only that, is fast weight loss more important than keeping our morality rate down?
In the last few years, we’ve reported a lot on the Keto diet and the various ways it can be done. We have explored the studies, the results and in some ways, we supported it. But lately, I have been thinking about how supporting this could actually be encouraging people to jump into these diets, including the paleo diet, when in reality these diets increase mortality rates and are not healthy for the human body.
It became a thought in the back of my mind, I have always strived to put the best information out that I can through this platform to promote good health. And so we must look at that, even if that means upsetting some people who currently are on paleo or keto and are seeing some good weight loss or symptom management. The truth is, like the many people I’ve seen crash on these diets after a few years, I want people to know the truth of what’s going on out there. And how we can get beyond diets that symptom manage, and instead get onto diets that truly heal.
Anytime we have fad diets, which paleo and keto are, we see products and bias pop up all over the place to support the continuation of these trends. It becomes less about health and more about upholding an identity or a business.
So as I recently looked into what experts are saying about these diets, I came upon two important videos I think everyone should check out. Both have been embedded below. Remember, it’s not that I care what you choose in your own life, or that I feel there is a right or wrong, it’s that I believe we should be informed and I wish to use this platform to promote as best a message as I can.
Thanks to Plant-Based News for creating such a good channel and resource of information on YouTube.
In this video, several plant-based health experts talk through 9 nutrition studies that would be of interest to low carb keto diet proponents. To read the 9 studies, click here.
Next up, Dr. Kim Williams (past President of the American College of Cardiology) shares his insights about the ketogenic.
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