By Dr. Alejandro Junger
In nature, most animals that live as nature designed them to live and eat according to what nature designed them to eat, do not get sick. There are no wild monkeys with depression, elephants with diabetes, crocodiles with autoimmune diseases. In the wild, there are no chronic diseases. We are the ones who suffer from these diseases and at levels never seen before.
Seeking to live in better alignment with nature, below I detail 7 reasons why I recommend intermittent fasting and longer periods of fasting:
1. Fasting is how we evolved and lived for thousands of years
Animals eat when they find food and then fast until they find the next food, imposed by nature. They live by fasting intermittently, and sometimes for longer periods, all the time. We humans also lived and evolved for thousands of years like all species in nature. When we practice intermittent fasting in some way we are aligning our evolution and our genes to a more natural way of living, as nature designed us to live.
Only in the last 100 years, with the existence of refrigerators, supermarkets, and the increase in purchasing power, we eat all the time. We eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner as a consequence of a cultural or social creation that has no evolutionary sense for our body. This puts us in a state of constant digestion, which generates many problems and alterations in the natural conditions of our bodies.
2. Fasting helps reallocate resources and energy from digestion to other important processes in the body
The digestion and assimilation process requires a large number of energetic resources. So when we eat a very large meal, our body usually gets tired or goes to sleep. Also, all the reactions of the body as a consequence of certain foods stop. These are foods that can be considered triggers or inflammatory, causing the activation of our immune system. When you stop eating them, those reactions are no longer required. Then the energy and nutrients that were being used in these inflammatory or triggering processes are redistributed to other necessary processes in the body, such as detoxification or the production of hormones.
3. Allows for the self-correction of the intestinal flora
Healthy or beneficial bacteria have evolved with us throughout time and are more resilient than "bad" bacteria. The bacteria that harm us the most are those that feed on inflammatory, processed food-like products (which is not real food to me). When you stop eating, you automatically starve the bad bacteria and prevent them from feeding and growing. Rather, it gives space to beneficial microorganisms to gain greater control and strength in our microbiome, which allows them to carry out their functions in a better way. Remember that the intestinal flora executes 40% of the necessary detoxification work.
4. Fasting provides the necessary rest for the repair of the intestinal wall or leaky gut
We all have some degree of gut dysfunction or gut permeability. The rest of the digestive and immune system that fasting provides, allows for the defense and repair system to use that energy and nutrients to help repair that intestinal wall. With a damaged or permeable gut wall, the inflammatory system is continually fired up and can eventually cause chronic disease and other imbalances in the body.
5. Fasting allows us to get into intermittent ketosis
During fasting, instead of burning glucose from food in the mitochondria, the body begins to burn ketone bodies (or break down fat) as fuel to generate ATP. So ketosis is a consequence of fasting. It is already known that being in a state of permanent ketosis is not optimal for the body but rather getting in and out of ketosis is what supports the benefits of increasing metabolic flexibility.
6. Fasting enhances autophagy, starting with diseased and aging cells
Autophagy is the process by which certain cells in your body eat or feed on other cells, usually diseased or aging ones. It is a process that helps us rejuvenate and clean cells. To potentiate autophagy and have it result in healing processes, you’ll need to fast for extended periods (more than 24 hours). Fasting intensifies autophagy because by depriving the body of nutrients of food, cells find energy and nourishment from other cells in the body.
7. Fasting provides spiritual benefits by being able to direct our attention to higher vibrations
Most, if not all, spiritual leaders fasted and taught their followers to fast as a way to achieve self-restriction for spiritual purposes. In almost all religions this practice still exists (Yom Kippur for Jews, Good Friday for Christians, Ramadan for Muslims, among others).
As Rudolf Steiner said, what the body pays attention to becomes its life experience. Where we put our attention is one of the main things we can do to direct our lives. When one eats, there is a lot of electricity and frequency going into our body to be able to break down food and assimilate it. When one stops eating, this energy or frequency is released and it gives us the opportunity to redirect that energy towards spiritual development or higher vibrations.
If you want more information about fasting or tips to live more in tune with nature, follow Dr. Alejandro Junger on Instagram as @dralejandrojunger or sign up to receive information about his Gut Repair Program here.
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