I was born in 1961 when fitness and personal health were practiced and promoted by few. People like Jack Lalane, John Grimek, and Charles Atlas were way ahead of their time and understood the necessity of practicing a healthy lifestyle and not getting caught up in the hype of processed foods and fitness gimmicks. They continued to practice and promote good old fashioned fitness and sticking to the basics. I believe it was Jack that said “if it tastes good then throw it away”. I don’t really go that far because I like to taste my food, but that statement still makes a lot of sense, especially in the modern world of so-called food which is strictly based on taste and making a profit. By taking perfectly good food and enhancing it with synthetic or toxic additives it is not really food the way it was meant to be consumed. I am fascinated by the wealth of good nutritional resources that are so readily available (there is also a wealth of misleading advice). This was not available to the average person before the internet and the toxic food environment was not yet suspected.
I was first introduced to the concept of intermittent fasting while reading Ori Hofmeckler’s “Warrior Diet” .I was so fascinated by it that I have since read it a few more times. The main premise is that nutritional efficiency comes from intermittent fasting and that we don’t need to graze on small meals throughout the day. Think of this as interval training; where some days are feast and some are famine, kind of like the way people used to eat before the days of agriculture and refrigerators. Six years later, I am still practicing IF and enjoying the benefits that I will list shortly. Although I did not have a problem with weight gain prior to this, I tended to overeat foods that I especially liked. When I first started out with IF, I would be on a fairly strict feeding schedule until the coveted “cheat day”. I said cheat day, not “cheat meal”. Basically an 8 hour window of the most irresponsible and glutinous feasts imaginable. We used to have competitive cheat days at the gym to see who could eat the most of particularly decadent foods like pies, cakes, gallons of chocolate milk, and meals featuring monster size portions of pasta. One of my faves was to mix chocolate milk with buttermilk and protein powder. I certainly had some fun and stomach aches with those meals.
These days I am weaned off of the cheat days and eat for health and enjoyment. I don’t have the crazy cravings that I used to have and I find no use for a cheat day. I seldom crave sweets but do crave fat and mostly savory foods. I think this is because through IF I have become more aware of food and the practice of healthy nutrition. I have worked to overcome the deficiencies I may have had, which removed the cravings. Before reading the book I was unknowingly practicing IF on a loosely based system of my own. I had always eaten breakfast in the past but realized that I’m not that hungry in the mornings and most of the time I’m not that hungry after working out early in the morning. I have always enjoyed eating lots of food in the evening just prior to going to bed. This is the time that I am most anxious to take on some calories.
Some Benefits I Have Observed
Mental clarity throughout the fasting period
Gratitude for good foods
Food tastes better
Long term leanness
Favorable blood test results
Stable blood glucose levels (I often use a glucometer to check my levels)
Convenience and economy of not having to eat often
Eating like an omnivore means taking on an active role in food selection and practicing mindful eating and not eating just for the sake of eating. The omnivore is discriminating and seeks out nutritional food sources. We are not going to self-destruct or become so weak that we cannot function just because we haven’t eaten in a few hours. Our bodies were originally designed to function very well on little or no food for extended periods. We now live in a scavenger society were fast food and processed food is always readily available at a low cost. Most “scavenger foods” are readily available and are not even live foods or things that should be eaten by humans. Modern humans have become accustomed to scavenging or eating whatever is available right now.
Here are some simple steps to take to develop your inner discriminating omnivore:
1) Lose the mindset that you have to eat every two or three hours.
2) Learn what to eat, and how to find nutritious foods.
3) Stay well hydrated.
4) Practice following an ancestral food template, i.e. Paleo.
5) Practice intermittent fasting.
6) Learn to function at a higher level on an empty stomach.
7) Work out in a fasted state.
8) Eat the big meal in the evening.
9) If it doesn’t walk, run, swim, fly, grow don’t eat it.
10) Don’t be afraid of Edible fats.
I think that I am typical in that I am an average size male and the effects of IF are probably common. Everyone is different and different chemical makeups will experience different effects from fasting. Women may experience different effects and unfortunately, there are not as many studies currently. That being said, one should pay attention to what is going on in the body during fasting and proceed slowly. Don’t go from eating every two hours to fasting for a whole day. Try skipping a meal occasionally and observe. Even if you don’t want to experiment with IF, you can still adopt some of the principles of of being a predator which are good for health in general.
For much more detailed information check out some of the listed resources at the bottom of this report.
Hofmekler, Ori, “The Warrior Diet”, 2007, Blue Snake Books, CA