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

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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]


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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
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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.

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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

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Nutrition Tip – Make A Super Shake

It can be tough to eat all high quality meals, all the time, especially when you’re in a hurry.  One solution is to make yourself what Precision Nutrition coaches like myself like to call “Super Shakes”.

The Super Shake is packed with good stuff like high-quality protein, fiber, healthy fats, antioxidants and more.

You generally want to build your shake with the following guidelines in mind:

  1. One to two “thumbs” worth of fat
  2. protein source (like silky tofu or powered protein)
  3. greens, or powder greens supplement
  4. frozen berries or fruit for some carbs / micronutrients
  5. water to make it a drinkable consistency.
  6. optional “topper” like yogurt

This is my recipe:

My favorite ingredients for a high quality, nutritious and time saving meal replacement! Great for losing weight and building muscle!
My favorite ingredients for a high quality, nutritious and time saving meal replacement!

1) I like the Fage brand geek yogurt. I go for the fat free version because of my gall bladder (I need to try to keep my fat low because gall bladder disease runs in my family 😥)

2) again, I have to keep my fat portion lower, so I go for just 1 “thumb” of fat here. Walnuts & macadamia nuts are great choices for fat. Another great product I found recently was Nutzo at Costco (you can buy it on Amazon as well but it’s more expensive). It’s a mix of higher end nuts and flax and chia, so it’s really high in omega-3s. I originally tried it out as a substitute for peanut butter because I can’t digest peanuts anymore (damn you gall bladder!). Avocado would also be a good choice to add fat and fiber to your super shake.

3) frozen mixed berries. Whatever you like. Frozen berries are way more cost effective than fresh and you don’t have to worry about the mold! Costco to the rescue again!

4) greens, or powdered greens supplement. One I REALLY like is “earth grown nutrients” by Onnit. One of the few greens supplements I’ve tried where you really notice an immediate lift in your sense of wellness.

5) vanilla protein powder. My brand is True Nutrition. Super high quality, very affordable. I use the micellar casein for the slow digesting quality with a boost of enzymes, essential amino acids and collegen. (You can customize your own blend, use the code luoyegongfu at checkout to save 5%)

6) water to mix. I’m currently making good use of Rudy’s gift of Sedona, Arizona spring water!
(Note: if you live here in the Tempe, AZ area you can order to Sedona Spring water direct from one of my students.  Contact me here if you’re interested.)

Hopefully this helped give you some ideas for making the best meal replacement shake for men and women! If you’re looking to lose fat and get in shape in 2018, but don’t have a lot of time to cook, get a head start and learn how to make your own, wholesome, nutritious meal replacement shake and stick to your weight loss goals for the new year! Getting the right mix of micro and macro nutrients can help you lose weight and build muscle. You need to get the right nutrients in your body to help you recover from exercise, but finding the time to prepare and eat multiple healthy, whole food meals every day can be tough. These super shakes will help you meet your fitness goals and save you time!

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Top 5 Reasons You’re Not Sleeping

What’s up guys? I’m Ashe, and this channel is all about helping to educate and motivate you to find YOUR inner power!

In today’s video we’re talking about the top five reasons you’re having trouble sleeping at night, and what you can do about it to make sure you get a good night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.

Sleep deprivation is a huge problem in the US. Dr. Michael Breus claims it’s the single most widespread disease state of all.

Just one night of sleep deprivation can affect your reaction time and cognition the same as if you’d been drinking, and your blood starts to become the same same as a pre diabetic, making you prone to getting fat and sick.

For men, chronic sleep deprivation lowers testosterone to levels equivalent to someone ten years older than their actual age.

I don’t know about you guys, but especially now that I’m over 40, I’m interested in keeping my T levels as high as possible.

If you’re male, a good sign that you’re getting enough good sleep is waking up “fully refreshed”.

So here are my top five reasons you’re having trouble sleeping at night:

1. The number one disrupter in nearly everyone’s life these days is right here (phone). While the extra productivity and all the benefits that come along with tools like modern smart phones and computers are great, they can interfere with your sleep if you’re staring at the display too close to bedtime.

The displays on modern devices produce light in the blue spectrum, which stimulates the pineal gland and interferes with the production of the hormone melatonin. The blue light interferes with melatonin production because your brain thinks it’s daytime and time to wake up instead of getting sleepy.

Remedy – no blue light before bed
If you’ve been feeling like you’re having trouble sleeping, and you have a habit of scrolling through your social media feeds or checking your email before bed, it’s a good idea to avoid it. Anytime after sundown would be an ideal time to stop getting blue light from your devices, but this is probably not practical for most, so you should shoot for a minimum of no blue light for at least 1-3 hours before bed.

2. Stress
I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but pretty much everyone is subject to chronic, low grade stress these days.
When you’re stressed, cortisol goes up and serotonin levels drop leaving feeling wired all the time and unable to sleep, which makes cortisol go up and serotonin drop, which leaves you feeling wired and unable to sleep.
Remedy – meditation
One simple, free remedy to help control stress and anxiety is to learn some simple breathing exercises. The breath has long been recognized as the link between mind and body, and using the right breathing methods can either pump you up, or like the 4/8 breathing technique, can help chill you out by tapping into your parasympathetic, or, autonomic nervous system. If you’d like to see a quick how to video on the 4/8 breathing technique, click the I up there, or check the video description below for links. Practice for a few minutes before bed each night and let me know in the comments below if it helped!

3. Too much caffeine.
Don’t me wrong, I love me some coffee and the health benefits of coffee and tea are amazing! But like martial arts, it’s all about the timing.
Caffeine has a half life of about 8 hours in the body, and some of the energy drinks on the market can have about 20% more caffeine per serving than coffee, so if you’re a fan of energy drinks you could be consuming a lot more caffeine in a day than you realize, and whether it’s coffee, tea or energy drinks, it takes time for all that caffeine to clear out of your system.
REMEDY – no caffeine after 2pm

4. You’re a night owl.

If you live in the US, your subject to the Puritanical value placed on the early riser, but some people are meant to be night owls. From an evolutionary standpoint, it doesn’t make sense for the whole tribe to be asleep at the same time. Some members of the tribe needed to be awake at all hours to keep watch for predators and enemies. Some people’s biological clocks are hard wired at the cellular level to be more awake and alert during the night time hours.
REMEDY – This is the hardest issue to make much progress with because it’s largely genetic. The best option is to practice good overall sleep hygiene, especially keeping to a regular routine of sleeping and waking, including the weekends. You may want to consider trying to alter your daily routine to accommodate your natural inclination to sleep late by working a PM shift or avoiding early meetings, but obviously this not exactly practical for most people.

5. Undiagnosed sleep disorder
If none of the above apply to you, you may have an undiagnosed sleep disorder, like sleep apnea, where you’re throat closes during sleep and you stop breathing until your heart rate soars and you wake up to breathe again.
Remedy – The best thing you can do is go talk to your doctor and discuss if you should have a sleep study done.
Having your sleep disorders diagnosed and treated, or even just cleaning up your sleep habits in general is important because people who are chronically sleep deprived die at twice the rate compared to people who get enough sleep.

Outro

If you liked today’s video don’t forget to gimme that thumbs up and drop me a comment below! As always, thanks for watching and I’ll see you guys next time.

Ref
http://www.sleepeducation.org/news/2013/08/01/sleep-and-caffeine