- The Fast Diet
Maybe it’s my brain producing increased levels of neurotrophic factor (see below: Recap of Dr. Mosley’s First Chapter of His Book, The Fast Diet), but I’ve been feeling more and more like learning how to use the computer and sharing my experiences in the alternative health world with people who are as interested as I am in how to be healthy and live a long life.
I’ve been creating slide shows. See the latest: “Making Dr. Gerson’s Hippocrates Soup” on www.bonnieosullivan.com and I’ve even posted a “Before” picture of myself (with Dale at his niece's wedding reception in January).
My next project is to get dressed in the same outfit (and get Dale to put his suit on again) to see if anyone can tell that I’ve lost 16 pounds since starting The Fast Diet on March 5, 2013.
Below is a slide show of how Bonnie makes two weeks worth (for three people) of her organic vegetable broth, which is full of easily assimilated alkalizing minerals and phyto-nutrients (or, as scientists call them, "phyto-chemicals"). To read the Title of the picture (and some comments by Bonnie) place your mouse over the picture.[slideshow_deploy id='202']
The article, The Fast Diet, Inside The New Weight-Loss Craze, that appeared in the March 25, 2013 issue of People magazine by Suzanne Zuckerman with Catherine Kast tried to make the Fast Diet sound dangerous.
The article is about the success in the US of a book that was published in the United Kingdom in February 2013, The Fast Diet, Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (eating only 500 calories in 24 hours twice a week on non-consecutive days). It intrigued me because I knew something about fasting: I fasted on lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne for four days in a row (The Master Cleanse) several times in the early 70s with no harmful side effects.
After learning more about the coauthors of The Fast Diet, Michael Mosley and Mimi Spencer, and reading their book, which contains many scientific references and their own stories of following the Fast Diet program, any doubts that the diet could harm me were put to rest.
Dr. Mosley trained to be a doctor at the Royal Free Hospital in London, England, and after passing his medical exam, joined the BBC 25 years ago as a television producer. He has created numerous award-winning science and history documentaries for the BBC and for America’s Discovery Channel, TLC, and PBS. Among them was the Emmy-nominated series The Human Face, with John Cleese and Liz Hurley, the Emmy Award-winning Pompeii: The Last Day, and the Emmy-nominated Supervolcano. As a presenter he has made a dozen series for the BBC, including Medical Maverics, Blood and Guts, Inside Michael Mosley, Science Story, The Young Ones, Inside the Human Body, and The Truth About Exercise. For his contributions to medical programming, Dr. Mosley was named Medical Journalist of the Year by the British Medical Association.
For more than 20 years Ms. Spencer has been a feature writer and columnist for national newspapers and magazines in the UK, including The Observer, The Times, Vogue, and Harper’s Bazaar. She has had a column in the Mail on Sunday for over a decade, writing for 3 million weekly readers about fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle, diet, and body shape. In 2009 she wrote “101 Things to Do Before You Diet.” Today, she writes regularly on women’s issues and lifestyle for the Saturday Times, Marie Claire, Red, and other publications.
The People article quoted critics to the Fast Diet, “Five hundred calories a day is potentially dangerous,” says Dr. David L. Katz, director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. “You’ll probably have a headache and feel distracted.”
Other experts worry about cravings. “If you eat very little on Monday, by Tuesday you may say, I am going to have that brownie because yesterday I ate nothing.” says Karen Ansel, spokeswoman for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. “I can see more junk working its way into this diet, and over time you could end up with serious nutrient deficiencies.”
Dr. Katz goes further: “There’s a potential with this to push people into full-blown binge-eating disorders, where they have extreme restraint and don’t eat anything, and then when they’re eating again, they go completely bonkers.”
After being on the Fast Diet (also called the 5:2 Diet) for 12 weeks I disagree with both Dr. Katz and Karen Ansel. They obviously have not spoken to anyone who is on the Fast Diet program nor have they tried the program themselves.
I agree with Dr. Mosley and Ms. Spencer when they say that their feast-and-famine approach helps people make healthier choices. On fast days, “you cannot have a jelly doughnut and get through the day,” says Ms. Spencer, 45, who lost 20 lbs. in four months on the Fast Diet program.
“The hope is that you learn to like vegetables and lean proteins and end up incorporating them into your nonfasting days,” adds Dr. Mosley, who also cites studies done on rats and mice that say intermittent fasting extends life expectancy. As for the rest of the week, “don’t use this as an opportunity to pig out.”
Dr. Mosley is using himself as an example of the Fast Diet program’s success (at 56 he dropped 20 lbs. and brought his blood test results for heart disease risk into the safe range in three months on the plan. He is now in maintenance mode where he fasts only once a week).
I am convinced I can continue on the program for the rest of my life. I do not have a problem with feeling hungry as, after reading the book, I know it’s really good for me and I only feel hungry for a little while twice a week. I remind myself on fast days that I’m “fooling” my body into thinking it is in a potential famine situation and it needs to switch from go-go mode to maintenance mode thus reducing my risk of obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, and cognitive decline. I believe it is true that our bodies are designed to respond to stresses and shocks, and that it makes them healthier, tougher.
As to when to eat during fast days (is it better to divide the 500 calories into smaller portions eaten throughout the 24 hours or eat them all at once 12 to 20 or more hours into the 24 hour period?) studies are being conducted now to find out and we should have the results soon, but, so far, it seems the longer you wait to eat on fast days the better.
While I wait to eat toward the end of the 24 hours I remind myself that Dr. Mark Mattson at the National Institute on Aging thinks the longer the body goes without food, the greater the adaptive cellular stress response, which is particularly good for the brain.
Note: Intermittent severe calorie restriction is a positive stressor that triggers your body's adaptive cellular stress response. This phenomenon, the adaptive cellular stress response, is astonishingly precise and powerful. Positive stressors — exercise, severe calorie restriction, and certain phyto-chemicals in food (which are found in Anna's Perfect Green Soup and Dr. Gerson's Hippocrates Soup) — kick the body’s cellular maintenance functions into high gear, so our cells take care of themselves more efficiently and thoroughly than they would ordinarily. This also happens to be how they maintained themselves when we were young and at the peak of health. So, with cellular maintenance on overdrive, our bodies will continue to protect themselves from chronic inflammation, which causes a vast assortment of serious illnesses, not to mention overall aging.
My routine on fast days goes like this: After eating a meal, waiting an hour or two and sleeping for 8 hours I have a large cup of my homemade vegetable broth mixed with some Anna's Perfect Green Soup and Dr. Gerson's Hippocrates Soup. Then I drink water for the next 12 hours or more and then I have more broth and soup. Sometimes I can go 24 hours without having more than 100 calories of soup. However, if I feel really hungry I’ll eat 300 or 350 calories after 20 or 22 hours have gone by since my last meal. As the weeks go by I have a greater ability to wait to eat and I don’t think of it as will power; I think of it as getting accustomed to fasting.
My progress on the Fast Diet program has been very interesting. My bursitis in my left shoulder improved immediately and continued to improve until it completely disappeared after about two months. Recently something very hard for me to believe has happened: my April to June allergies have not appeared this year at all (even when I'm outdoors). I've suffered from springtime allergies for most of my life. When I was 16 my family visited my aunt and uncle in the San Francisco Bay Area (Marin) in June (1953) and the whole time we were here my eyes watered to the point that I couldn't see (for a week my mother guided me around whenever we were outside as though I were blind). In October 1982 I spent a month at the Gerson Cancer Institute in Mexico as a helper for a friend with cancer and I followed the whole cancer program (the daily 13 glasses of fresh organic vegetable juice, 2 coffee enemas, vegan diet, and 2 Tbs. linseed oil daily) as it is supposed to heal allergies as well. After that my allergies were greatly improved, but gradually they began to bother me again, but never as much as before. Since I became friends with Dr. Kelley in 1996, and he recommended I try taking his enzymes between April and June, my allergies have been tolerable as long as I remembered to take the enzymes with my meals (at any other time of the year I couldn't tolerate the enzymes even with meals as they burned my stomach). So, because I've been on the Fast Diet program since March 5, 2013, this spring is the first year of living in California that I can remember not having even a hint of allergies (and not needing enzymes) from April to June.
Dale's Article on "Why you should take enzymes"
Enzymes Purchase Link
Getting back to the People magazine article, I believe the writers were unfairly negative in their story about the Fast Diet program. First they called it a “Craze” then they quoted a nutritional spokeswoman who said the diet has the potential to push people into full-blown binge-eating disorders (I find this offensive as I believe the Fast Diet would be an enormous help for anyone with an eating disorder). Then they chose to close with the only less-than-encouraging comment Dr. Mosley probably has ever made about the Fast Diet: “It’s a powerful thing to do, and some people find they just can’t take it.”
By following the Fast Diet I’ve lost 13 pounds in 11 weeks. I am losing a little more than one pound a week. When I started on March 5, 2013 I weighed 202 pounds. Today, May 22, 2013 I weigh 189 pounds.
On April 8, 2013 my daughter, Sandy, measured my abdominal area in three places (across my belly button and two inches above it and two inches below it). The upper number was 46.25 inches, the middle number was 47.25 inches and the lower number was 47.5 inches. On May 22, 2013 she measured it again. The upper number was 44.5 inches, the middle number was 46 inches and the lower number was 46 inches. I am happy to report that I have lost four and a quarter inches of abdominal fat.
According to http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/the-risks-of-belly-fat:
“Research shows that abdominal fat triggers a change in angiotensin, a hormone that controls blood vessel constriction -- increasing the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.
“Indeed, belly fat is a key indicator of "metabolic syndrome," a cluster of abnormalities that include high levels of blood sugar, blood pressure, and triglycerides, as well as low levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol. This combination of risks has an impact on mortality from heart disease.”
I enjoy this diet thoroughly. It’s teaching me about my body’s reaction to certain foods clearly. Before I was never positive if my reaction was due to one food or another. Now, after fasting for 24 hours, when I eat something, I know within 30 minutes if the food or combination of foods is something I want to eat regularly. (The foods that cause me to over eat are to be avoided.)
One of my favorite foods is Dr. Gerson’s Hippocrates Soup. It is my second favorite after Anna's Perfect Green Soup. Sometimes I mix them together for a third soup. I have been eating about 18 fluid ounces of these two soups once every day and two times on fasting days (since green vegetables are very low in calories, I am counting 50 calories for the soup). I've been having one large cup of soup a few hours after I wake up and again 12 or more hours later (I sometimes wait 20 or more hours before I eat a 300 to 350 calorie meal).
My energy on fasting days is very good. On non fasting days I often get sleepy after eating and give in to taking a nap for a few hours. I’m working on avoiding the foods that cause me to get sleepy.
Instructions: Don’t peel any of the vegetables as many of the minerals and nutrients are stored directly beneath the skin. Scrub vegetables carefully, cut into small pieces, place them into a stainless steel pot, add enough distilled water to cover the vegetables, cover, bring to a boil and quickly turn down heat and cook SLOWLY, covered, at low heat for 3 hours, then mash and eat.
Every week I make a double batch of soup in a 8 quart (or larger) pot and Dale (or Sandy) helps me grind it in our VitaMix (it takes several VitaMix cups to get it all ground and, after each cup is ground (we grind each cup for 90 seconds) we mix it all together in another stainless steel pot). After it's thoroughly mixed I ladle it into quart mason jars, put the lids on, allow the jars to cool, and freeze six jars and put two jars in the refrigerator.
Everyone at our house eats a bowl of this soup or the green soup at least once a day.
Note from Another Hippocrates Soup Lover: "It’s hard for anyone to say why this soup holds such particular power. I have attempted to creatively alter the recipe and not received the same results. Is it the placebo effect? I’m not sure. But even Dr. Gerson remarked that this soup was very special and highly effective in his (cancer recovery) regimen even if he wasn’t absolutely sure of the dynamics."
I began my new way of eating on March 5, 2013 and in two months I lost 10 pounds.
My new regime consists of fasting (or semi-fasting by eating 500 calories a day) for two non-consecutive days (24 hours every Sunday and Thursday) every week and eating a normal American diet for the remaining five days every week (this can be a vegan, vegetarian or meat-eating diet).
I read (in late February 2013) about “The Fast Diet” in People magazine’s March 25, 2013 issue. The article was called “The Fast Diet, Inside The New Weight-Loss Craze” written by Suzanne Zuckerman with Catherine Kast.
The Vimeo version was removed.
Search on YouTube for video or watch for replay on PBS
After searching the Internet for more information I found the PBS TV presentation of Eat, Fast and Live Longer by Michael Mosley on YouTube (see “Eat, Fast and Live Longer - Horizon” below).
When I couldn’t get my Kaiser doctor or order the IGF-1 blood test I went on the Internet and found Walk-In Lab, LLC and paid $68 for an appointment to have the test done by a private lab in Walnut Creek, CA on March 24, 2013. The results were 109 with the normal range being 35-168. I will have another IGF-1 blood test taken after I’ve been on my new regime for six months. The goal is to lower my IGF-1 results (IGF-1 is a marker for biological aging -- the higher it is the older your marker is).
I can attest to the truth that this diet regime works to reduce inflammation and promote healing because I had injured the rotator cuff in my left shoulder somehow in September 2012 and it did not begin to get better until I started fasting two days a week in March 2013.
In December I attended a class at Kaiser about healing shoulder pain and learned that I would lose muscle in my left arm if I did not begin to exercise my arm several times a day, which I could not do because of the pain it caused. Not moving my arm worked to prevent the pain, but the doctor explained that the muscles in my arm would atrophy if I didn’t exercise it. So, I did what I could, but I could not grasp my hands behind my back to do the side-to-side exercise or raise my hand above my head to do the stretching exercise.
By the middle of March I was able to raise my hand above my head and by the end of March I was able to grasp my hands behind my back without pain and by the end of April I could reach up my back to the hooks of my bra to unhook them without pain.
This was a welcome achievement as, since September, to unhook my bra (when Dale or Sandy were not available to do it for me) I had to take the shoulder straps down, take my arms out of the straps and turn the bra around so the hooks were in the front so I could reach and unhook them.
I find fasting to be very easy. However, if I eat 500 calories of anything I get hungry so I’ve opted to drink soup and broth instead of eating on my fasting days. I found a very satisfying soup recipe in The Reader’s Digest’s January 2013 issue; “The Soup that Changed My Life -- Nourishing greens are surprisingly delicious in a beloved, magical soup” by Anna Thomas (From Eating Well). To read the article go to: http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/easy_recipes/anna_thomas_green_soup_how_green_soup_became_a_way_of_life
Click on the picture below to view the PBS TV presentation of Eat, Fast and Live Longer by Michael Mosley.
Makes 8 servings, about 1 1/4 cups each
Total Time: about 1 hour
1. Heat oil in large skillet over high heat. Add onions and 1/4 tsp. salt; cook, stirring, until onions begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add 2 tbs. water, and cover. Cook stirring frequently, until onions are greatly reduced and have a caramel color, 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, combine 3 cups water, remaining 3/4 tsp. salt, and rice in soup pot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook 15 minutes. Trim ribs and tough stems from the greens and spinach; discard. Coarsely chop greens and spinach.
3. When rice has cooked 15 minutes, stir in greens. Return to a simmer; cover and cook 10 minutes. When onions are caramelized, stir a little greens' simmering liquid into them; immediately add them to rice along with spinach, broth, and cayenne. Return to a simmer, cover and cook until spinach is tender but still bright green, about 5 minutes more.
4. Puree soup in pot with immersion blender until perfectly smooth, or in regular blender in batches. Stir in lemon juice and garnish with olive oil.
I modified the recipe to be vegan as Dale is strictly vegan (no oil) and I found like it best made that way (I skip the part where you caramelize the onion and just put it into the pot with the other vegetables). For the garlic I use the contents of one of The Cayenne Company's Heart Food Caps capsules (contains 100,000 hu Cayenne Fruit, Garlic, Hawthorn Berry, Onion and Ginger Root). To save time I make a double (or triple) recipe and, while it’s hot, I pour it into quart Mason jars (8 quarts) and, after it cools, I freeze six of them and take one or two out of the freezer daily or as we need them. All three of us eat the soup at least once a day and I eat it two times a day on my fast days.[slideshow_deploy id='176']
In a large (8 quart) stainless steel pot combine:
(Note: All vegetables should be organic when possible, unpeeled, and chopped into small pieces either by hand or with a Kitchen Aid mixer with an attachment that cuts up vegetables.)
6 quarts of distilled water
2 large sweet potatoes (Jewel sweet potatoes are recommended when available)
6 small or 8 large zucchini squash
1⁄2 large head of red cabbage
2 large stalks of celery (celery makes the cabbage not smell bad)
1 large bunch of parsley (after cutting parsley up with scissors put it into a large baggie and pour distilled water into the baggie and shake well, drain into a colander, and repeat until all sand is removed)
1 pound carrots
1 pound green beans
3 large leeks
2 bunches green onions
3 large red beets (tops may be added, but rinse them the same way as you rinse the parsley as they are very sandy also)
Some enjoy added cilantro and/or spices
Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook on low three hours with lid on.
Ladle hot broth into (preheated) mason jars, place lid on each jar as you fill it, allow to cool and store broth in refrigerator or freezer.
Discard the vegetables.
This recipe makes about 6 quarts of a great tasting, mineral-rich, alkalizing broth.
I am on the second day of a two-day 500-calories-per-day fast. Tomorrow I will go back to my regular diet for five days. After that I will repeat this weekly diet regime until I either find it doesn’t work for me or, if it works, I will continue on it permanently. (Note: This is the last time I fasted for two days in a row. After further study I learned Dr. Mosley recommends fasting on two non-consecutive days a week.)
According to the book, "The Fast Diet: The Secret of Intermittent Fasting - Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, Live Longer" by Michael Mosley and a PBS TV presentation called "Eat, Fast and Live Longer" by Mr. Mosley, eating in this way will reduce my bad cholesterol, protect me against developing cancer, heart disease (including lowering high blood pressure) and Alzheimer’s disease and help me to live longer and healthier.
Click on the picture below to view the PBS TV presentation of Eat, Fast and Live Longer by Michael Mosley.
Yesterday, March 5, 2013, I had my blood drawn at Kaiser for cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose level, tish/thyroid stimulating hormone, vitamin D level and, I had hoped, the IGF-1 test that Mr. Mosley recommends as a way to measure the success of the diet, but my doctor at Kaiser refused to order it when I requested it.
As long as I had fasted for 12 hours for the blood test I decided to begin the Eat, Fast and Live Longer Diet Regime at the same time.
I am 76 years old, 5 foot 7 inches, 202 pounds and would like to weigh 145 pounds. I do not drink alcohol, take prescription, over-the-counter or any other drugs. I do take vitamins and supplements and have for 52 years (I began right after I read "Lets Eat Right to Keep Fit" (1954) by Adelle Davis in March 1961 a few days after Sandy was born). Before that I took prenatal vitamins and minerals for almost four years starting before I gave birth to my son in December 1957 and my first daughter in March 1959.
I followed another diet using drops of Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin (HCG) sublingually (under the tongue) five years ago and lost 22 pounds in two months, but was horrified at the way it aged my face and I went off the diet and gained the weight back (also in two months). Since the Eat, Fast and Live Longer diet regime is a slower weight loss method (people are reporting a weight loss of about 1 1/2 pounds per week), I am looking forward to losing weight without looking ill.
This diet regime seems to be perfect for me. Dale is on a vegan diet and is doing very well on it. I’m a meat eater and have tried to be a vegetarian in the past, but gained weight and felt miserable while not eating meat. I have fasted on liquids many times for three days at a time and always felt well while fasting.
For these first two days of my new eating regime I am eating tamales that are hand made and sold at Whole Foods. Each tamale contains 280 calories. I am eating one and 1/2 per day (in three equal portions 4 to 5 hours apart beginning 4 hours after waking -- I drink a quart of my homemade broth upon waking). I am also taking oil capsules, vitamins and drinking a lot of distilled water each day.
I will update my progress at least once a week on my blog and post my blood test results as soon as I receive them.
If you would like to share your experiences with this type of diet please send me your story and I will add it to my blog.
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