Posted on

Who Should (& Shouldn’t) Watch ‘Fasting’ on Amazon Video…

Screenshot-2018-03-29-at-10.54.21-PM

I recently watched the documentary “Fasting”, available on Amazon Video (free if you’re a Prime member).

In their recent debate on the Joe Rogan podcast, virtually one of the only things guests Chris Kresser and Joel Khan, MD agreed on was the benefit of fasting to the overall health and wellness of nearly everyone on the planet.

If you haven’t been following the news regarding fasting in recent years, here’s just a few of the health benefits you might see:[1]

  • better blood sugar / insulin sensitivity
  • reduced blood pressure
  • reduced cholesterol
  • less body fat
  • improved cognitive performance
  • possibly lower rates of all cancers
  • reversal of diabetes

There’s been additional research that shows the power of fasting extends to improving outcomes from chemotherapy if you’re undergoing treatment for cancer. It appears that a 72 hour fast in advance of treatment, strengthens healthy cells, yet pushes cancer cells closer to cell death.[2]


Thrive Market

Much of the benefit of fasting appears to revolve exactly around this increase in apoptosis and autophogy (cell death, and breakdown / recycling of junk or damaged proteins in the body).

In a fat loss / weight management application, I find that fasting two days a week is the easiest, most sustainable way to create a caloric deficit for the week.

Coming from a martial arts background, I also find immense spiritual benefit from fasting. Similar to the Japanese practices of shugyo, which involve meditation, time in nature, cold water immersion, fasting, other hardships to discipline the mind and purify the body.

This was one of the big stumbling points in the film for me. Instead of talking to members of various faiths, and their practice of fasting, the film focuses solely on the Mormon church, and two of their representatives. Fine if you’re Mormon, but maybe not so much for everyone else who don’t identify with the Mormon faith.

The film brings together some of today’s most vocal research scientists and health care providers like Dr. Jason Fung, Dr. Satchin Panda and Valter Longo.

As much as I am a proponent of regular fasting, I have to say that overall I was disappointed with this piece. It was high on production value, and low on substance.

With the exception of the well known doctors mentioned previously, in the end, you never really know whether or not anyone on screen is a paid actor, which, in my opinion greatly reduced the impact of their testimonies. Is this person for real, or is this a paid testimony?

If you’re completely unfamiliar with the practice of fasting, and some of it’s benefits, then this could be a good entryway for you, but if you’re already familiar with fasting at all, this film would largely be a waste of time, unless you’re looking for something to tickle your confirmation bias.


I think overall, the piece does the most disservice to those at risk, or with a history of, eating disorders.

Fasting, at it’s heart is simply a practice of restriction and control; the hallmarks of anorexia and bulimia.

Although they did have a lone dissenting opinion, they instead follow two individuals who claim that the practice of fasting has instead, helped them overcome their eating disorders.

The cycle of “binge and restrict” is also common among overweight individuals accustomed to yo-yo dieting and those who tend to stress eat, etc. (often referred to as “disordered eating”), and these people would be far better served by first developing a more healthy relationship with food and eating, before any kind regular fasting. Like most ardent proponents of any method though, the messengers are over zealous in their delivery of the message.

If you’re interested in something more substantial, I’d recommend you instead spend the time watching the interviews Dr. Rhonda Patrick has done with all three of the previously mentioned doctors, on her podcast Found My Fitness.

Inner Strength Gym IS Complete coaching for MIND & BODY
● Nutrition ● Mindfulness ● Martial Arts ●
Staying strong over 40. Check out our coaching programs for men, or women and find your inner power!

Classes held in Tempe, AZ and workshops worldwide.

References

  1. Fasting, Circadian Rhythms, and Time-Restricted Feeding in Healthy Lifespan
    Author links open overlay panelValter D.Longo12SatchidanandaPanda3
    Show more
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cmet.2016.06.001
  2. Safety and feasibility of fasting in combination with platinum-based chemotherapy
    Tanya B. Dorff, Susan Groshen, Agustin Garcia, Manali Shah, Denice Tsao-Wei, Huyen Pham, Chia-Wei Cheng, Sebastian Brandhorst, Pinchas Cohen, Min Wei, Valter LongoEmail author and David I. QuinnEmail author
    BMC Cancer201616:360
    https://doi.org/10.1186/s12885-016-2370-6
Posted on

The Epigenome, Qigong & The Fountain of Youth

Qigong Image - Classes held in Tempe, AZ

Qigong Image - Classes held in Tempe, AZ
Most Chinese martial arts, like the one I train and teach (I Liq Chuan) include some kind of qigong 氣功 practice.

The word qi (pronounced chee), is made up of two parts: the character for rice, and steam. The idea being the intrinsic energy that is in the breath (and food). Gong, in this case, means exercises, so qigong means something like “breathing exercises” (although movements that coordinate with the breath are also usually included).

For centuries, the old masters practiced various qigong methods to strengthen their bodies, improve their health and extend their lives.

Today, scientists are using technology to understand how these ancient practices work; the epigenome!

The epigenome is made up of chemical compounds and proteins that can attach to DNA and direct such actions as turning genes on or off, controlling the production of proteins in particular cells. That means that we’re not (entirely) victims of our DNA, doomed to whatever fate they have in store for us. Outside factors, like diet and lifestyle, can have a massive impact on how the switch gets flipped in certain genes.

Think of the genome (DNA) like a car, and the epigenome like the driver.  Both work together. You can’t change what kind of car you inherit from your parents, but you can steer the car in different directions, or whether or not it even gets started and taken out of the driveway to begin with.

So, back to qigong; a 2005 study by Li et. al. showed that regular practice can turn on genes that fight inflammation and help us stay young!

Remember that scientists are linking systemic inflammation to cardio vascular disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, so it really does look like practicing things like meditation and qigong and tai chi, have very real, observable effects on our health and well-being.

Although the study was small (N:12), it’s a very exciting start to providing real, scientific evidence of the benefits of qigong, tai chi and other mind body interventions in human health.

There are five different major types of white blood cells. Neutriphils being the most plentiful, on average making up half to two thirds of your white blood cells, lead the assault in the body’s immune system response.

The study showed that practicing qigong can increase the lifespan of these cells, while pro-inflammatory neutraphils died earlier through increased apoptosis (basically cell death and recycling). Researchers currently suspect that when damaged cells don’t die off in a timely manner, they may play a role in the formation of cancer. So while it’s too early to tell for sure, that means that practicing qigong, tai chi, or other mind body interventions can possibly help prevent cancer from ever getting started to begin with!

Qigong is also a great tool for managing stress which is a key factor in helping to maintain a healthy weight, recovering from exercise and performing your best; which is why it’s a key factor in our coaching program here at Inner Strength Gym.

Posted on

How To Get Started With Walking Meditation [VIDEO]

Here is a quick tutorial video I put together on walking meditation for a fellow Precision Nutrition coach who was having trouble getting started with a mindfulness of the body kind of practice. If you have trouble hearing the audio, make sure you click the gear icon and select the captions!

A post shared by Ashe Higgs (@luoyegongfu) on

Posted on

Low Carb Pumpkin Pie Bites [Recipe]

Holiday waistline rescue! It’s coming up to that time of year when people are going to start thinking about what their New Year’s resolution is going to be, and lots of folks are going to think about taking up a martial arts class or joining a gym to lose some weight and get in shape. Don’t wait until January to get started! Start making those changes now!

In my house we call this time of year “pumpkin pie season”, but I’m in the process of slimming back down to my “fighting weight” so I don’t want to stuff my face with a whole bunch of sugary pie this Thanksgiving and Christmas, so I’m opting for these low carbohydrate “pumpkin pie bites”.

I based this recipe off one posted by Dani Shugart over at T-Nation for some low carb brownies, which I didn’t actually like that much. When they came out of the oven my daughter said the brownies “look like they tasted like sadness.” With a little tweaking though, the recipe works great for these little snacks!


Keep in mind, “low carb & sugar free” doesn’t mean “calorie free”! Two of these are still over 300 calories, closer to 500 if you add a dollop of whipped cream on top. After crunching the numbers for this blog post, I’m going to make sure to only eat one of these at a time myself.

The upshot is; if you factor them in to your overall food intake for the day, they’re pretty nutritious. Lot’s of good protein, fats, fiber and micronutrients from the pumpkin. They’re pretty dense so they tend to fill you up.


Ingredients

1 can pumpkin puree
2 eggs
4 scoops protein powder (I like True Nutrition, use code luoyegongfu to save 5%)
1 cup Stevia(the crystallized stuff for meant for baking)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)

Crust
~1 cup nuts
1/4 cup butter (use grass fed like Kerrygold)

Directions

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Mix all the ingredients together in your mixing bowl until there’s no more lumps.
Grease your silicone muffin tray with butter.

Spoon the batter into the pan and evenly distribute it so that no cup is significantly shorter or higher than the other.

Blend nuts to a crumble along with the butter and spoon evenly over pumpkin to form crust.

Bake for 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.
Check for doneness by stabbing the center with a toothpick or knife. If it comes out clean it’s done; if it comes out with batter on it, bake it a little longer.

Macronutrients (per “muffin”, all values are rounded up to the nearest whole gram)
Fat 12g
Pro 11g
Carbs 8g
Fiber 5g
Calories 163g

Don’t forget to share this post and use the hashtag #EatRightToFight or #StartNow