There seem to be some strict fasting rules intended to keep us focused on our goal but if we look at how we lived through evolution, there could be some leeway to be had. Examine our history behind the process of fasting in how it relates to our genetic heritage. Our ancestors did not have refrigerators. They had to forage for food and get it where and when they could find it! We originated out of Africa, The Cradle of Humankind, where we eventually evolved from trees to become bipeds. Our inheritance appears to indicate a blueprint for fruit and vegetables.
This makes sense when we examine our jaw in comparison to hunting carnivores! We learned to eat whatever was available. That would have included meats sources such as small animals that we might catch or from the remains of a wild kill. Also, the eggs of birds were probably a staple. Certainly before biped times!
The Recent history of migration from Africa occurred some 50 to 70 million or even more years ago. A mere spec in evolutionary history! But strange things happened in the process, those in Northern Climates lost their dark skin. This was probably a chance mutation or gene variation that proved useful for sparse Vitamin D benefits due to much less intense sunshine. It’s the reason why lighter skins create as much vitamin D in few minutes as darker skins do over two to three hours of sun exposure.
But all these aside, as humans, we struggled for food. Obesity was unheard of! I also believe that sleep patterns need not necessarily be continuous. With the advent of fire, that cave had to be kept safe and the fire lit. There were constant enemies besides wildlife. This included other human bands and tribes. If you could only survive on a solid 8 every night, these would have been impossible hurdles.
But back to fasting! A fact of life for our forebears including those families in caves, all had to experience fasting in some manner during their existence. It may be just a few hours until some food was found or it could be for lengthy periods. Certain times of year foods may have been extremely scarce. Starvation was but a blip away. So fasting as a concept was a known factor. This feature is built into our genetic makeup and gene expression.
We now have the incredible research of Valter Longo to benefit from. We know that our mitochondria and stem cells behave in certain ways when food is not available and it all ties in with better survival when subject to these conditions. The trigger is after an optimum period of about 3 days, after which our bodies essentially shift into shutdown mode to preserve certain resources and benefits on a cellular lever start to occur. The maximum cellular benefit is achieved after another one and a half days with minimum other damage from muscle wastage and so on.
Because our so-called modern western society so rarely experiences any moments of famine and in fact, we often live with excess, our bodies are not generally conditioned to handle fasting either mentally or physically. Look at our articles for a cautionary approach. But one fear that I thought I would cover is a possible “indiscretion” during a fast!
What happens if we put some cream in our coffee by mistake? Well, the below video of Dr. Jason Fung should give some consolation. Once we are into the fast, a few calories are almost neither here nor there! Essentially, the glycemic index is a straight line and a caloric blip will not throw us out of the fasting state. Our new fuel has become ketones! Overcoming Paranoid Fasting Rules!