The Secret to a Long and Healthy Life

Is Eating Killing You?

What is the secret to a long vibrant life? Everyone is looking for the silver bullet. Is it a rare herb? a special nutrient extracted from the rainforest? Or a scientific breakthrough in a pill form? We keep looking for an answer to this question. We are all like Ponce de Leon looking for the fountain of youth. But what if long life is connected to starvation? When do we have the opportunity to trigger this gene in our food-rich environment? Going without a meal in today’s world is a thing of concern and indicates a lack of self-care, and causes a drop in blood sugar. Right? But what if it’s wrong? What if it actually kills us softly and quietly in the long run?

Researchers have found a family of genes called longevity genes. They have discovered that starvation causes the expression of a gene coding a protein called SIRT, SIRT1, or sirtuin, which brings on longevity and other positive life enhancing effects.

Pretty counter intuitive in our modern world of never being without a “snack” to manage blood sugar balance.  We were taught to  breakfast like a king, lunch like a queen, and dinner like a pauper along with other “lessons” on food intake.

I recently read the book Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. I enjoyed his discussions and found myself rethinking many concepts that I have previously accepted as fact. I decided to implement a challenge for myself: a fasting day.

Taleb discusses the Mediterranean Diet as an example of long-lived research. It has been studied and noted by multiple leading scientists as one of the world’s healthiest diets. But one thing that Taleb flags is a missing point.  At least I missed it while studying how to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach at the esteemed Columbia University. A pretty BIG something was missed. It isn’t just what is eaten but also what isn’t. Greek Orthodox believers have 200 religious fasting days. So what if “healthy” is what is missing? In this case FOOD. So I decided to up the ante and try it myself. Instead of Meatless Mondays, I decided on “Food-Free Mondays” to check it out.

Being concerned about my work day, my personal life, having enough energy to do what I needed to, and avoiding a healing crisis, I gave myself the goal of no solid food, to allow my digestive system to take a break. I drank a green smoothie at noon and then one again at 5PM, but no sugar (and that means from vegetables and fruit). The smoothie was created only for nutritional value, see the recipe below. I allowed myself plenty of H2O, and herbal tea. Oh, and being a caffeine addict I allowed myself coffee in the morning.

Okay, I won’t lie, it isn’t easy. I found myself going to the refrigerator for food, mainly for comfort. I love the feeling of eating good stuff. But I would stop myself. I kept reminding myself of my own goal–that this was my choice and I LOVE choosing health. I felt pretty good–actually quite focused and clear, and also lighter. As if the energy to digest was placed in the hands of my brain for extra diligence. I did 75 minutes of yoga that morning, but kept my other exercise to a minimum. The next day I woke up with a slight headache. I rarely have headaches and usually if I do it is from dehydration. I drank more water, and realized it was from burning off toxins. I kept the physical activities to walking the next day. I didn’t eat until dinner-time and I will say . . . food has NEVER tasted so good. Who knew? My taste buds where alive and my dinner was a musical symphony to my tongue. I felt really good and I thought I should do this every Monday.

According to Scientific American, Feb 2006, “Researchers have found that a family of genes involved in an organism’s ability to withstand a stressful environment, such as excessive heat or scarcity of food or water, has the power to keep its natural defense and repair activities going strong regardless of age. By optimizing the body’s functioning for survival, these genes maximize the individual’s chances of getting through the crisis. And if they remain activated long enough, they can also dramatically enhance the organism’s health and extend its life span. In essence, they represent the opposite of aging genes–longevity genes.”

Interesting that our bodies evolved over time to use the stressful environment to help us live a long and vibrant life. Who am I to fight Mother Nature? I would rather be her friend and plan to continue my “Food Free Mondays.”

Want to join me?

Green Smoothie
2 cups of distilled or spring water
2 large handfuls of fresh spinach
1/4 avocado
1/2 banana
1/4 teaspoon of Living Foods Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1 teaspoon Ester C Powder
10 raw almonds
20 drops of NuNaturals Clear Stevia ( or to taste)
1/4 teaspoon algae superfood klamath blue green
1 teaspoon Bentonite Clay
1 tablespoon of Whole Organic Flax seeds (ground just before putting into smoothie)
1 tablespoon of whole chia seeds organic

Originally published on VIRTUE SKINFOOD is Yoga Fairy approved!