Today we are going to talk about autophagy health benefits and why you want them.
Autophagy is how your body helps you maintain health easier. If you get a lot of colds or illnesses, or think you are looking older before your time, that is likely because you have not experienced autophagy.
Keto diet helps with this if you are following a clean diet plan. But today I want you to understand how to use autophagy to increase longevity and stay younger looking longer.
Hello and welcome to Fearlessly Holistic.
My name is Irma and I want to share my journey to improved health by eating whole foods, moving my body and eliminating stress as much as possible.
It is my hope to inspire you to make daily changes. Why? Because eating fresh, seasonal food, getting some sunshine, and purging unhelpful thinking is the best way to increase longevity. But you do not want just a long life.
You want a quality long life.
Ready to start keto? Grab my 5 Day Intermittent Fasting with Keto email course when you sign up to my weekly newsletter of Keto/Ketovore/Carnivore diet tips.
My blog posts are my opinion and the results of things that I have tried that either worked for me or didn’t. My opinions are for informational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. Medical advice should always be obtained from a qualified medical professional for any health conditions or symptoms associated with them. As well, there may be affiliate links in this post. Read more here.
What Is Autophagy?
I am not a doctor or scientist, but I will strive to make this topic simple because it is such a cool feature of our body.
When I first heard about how autophagy works, it made perfect sense to me.
The scientific definition of autophagy and how it works can be complicated, because of how it works to heal.
The gist of it is: autophagy is when your body takes out the trash.
In this case, the trash is old and/or damaged cells. Our cells do wear out after years of working on our behalf.
Autophagy “spring cleans” within your body to recycle these cells for use in new cell production. This recycling is essential in keeping our body healthy.
The word autophagy is your body eating itself, but not in a weird or bad way.
Auto = self, Phage = eat.
Your body is doing what it does best… the natural way.
If you do not take advantage of autophagy, these damaged cells are still floating around in your body.
You may have seen a TV show or movie where a person opens a closet door and everything piled up inside falls out.
Now imagine that the closet is your body and all the stuff falling out is old and damaged or just plain clutter.
Declutter your body like you declutter your home.
A few of the autophagy pros will tell you that not taking advantage of autophagy is why we age faster.
It is also why we get diseases, osteoporosis, and other negative health issues.
Much like the closet of junk, eventually that junk spills out and then we are forced to deal with it.
Related Post: How to Do an Intermittent Fasting Diet Plan
Autophagy and Weight Loss
When we were hunter/gatherers, we naturally fasted. There were no grocery stores.
You eat when you find food. No food = fasting.
Because humans ate clean, whole foods they were naturally eating the best quality food and it nourished their body.
Hunter/gatherers did not have weight issues
They ate what they could find, as they found it. Leafy greens in spring, berries and tree fruits in summer and fall, meat and fish in winter.
Your body does not require as much food as you think it does, as long as you eat good quality foods when you do eat.
If you want to lose weight and have the body you are meant to have, keto diet and intermittent fasting is the quickest path.
You need a minimum of 12 hours without eating to start autophagy.
This, of course, is an estimate.
Your body is different from mine. You grew up eating a different diet, you have different health concerns, different activity levels etc.
I have found that longer fasts have given me bursts of health improvements, based on medical reports (see more on this below).
I did not notice as many health bonuses when doing shorter fasts.
There are still many benefits even if you only fast for 12 hours daily, including weight loss.
I just personally found that I had more weight loss, like a pound a day, when I got a longer fast in.
This result is also based on what I eat, how many calories a day that I eat, and how long it takes my body to digest certain types of food. Your mileage may vary.
Keto diet makes fasting easy
The focus of keto is eating more fat calories and increasing protein, both of which fill you up and let you go longer between meals.
If you are new to keto, fasting is something to work towards.
People have been fasting for thousands of years, getting the benefit of clear thinking without worrying about their next meal.
Lots of people fast on the equinox, for religious reasons, or just to break away from food.
People who say that missing meals and fasting are “starving our body” or it will cause us to hold on to excess weight have clearly never done fasting successfully.
This is false and not proven by science in any way, shape, or form.
You get better weight loss results from fasting more often.
How Autophagy Is A Health Benefit
Every time you create the opportunity for autophagy to happen, it does some of the cleanup work.
It will not clean everything up, because as soon as you eat, autophagy stops.
The more often you fast and the longer the fasts you do, the more benefits you get because more decluttering is done.
Fasting is a signal for the cleanup to start.
Your body is basically saying “okay there is nothing else to do, so might as well tidy up”.
This gets your body cleaned up and ready for whenever you eat next.
But one of the main benefits is disease prevention.
Autophagy & Cancer
In his book “Cancer as a Metabolic Disease” Thomas Seyfried, PhD and breast cancer researcher, believes that many cancers are related to diet.
In fact, he refers to cancer as having a “sweet tooth” because most cancers rely on glucose for survival.
This makes sense, because the more processed our food has become, the more incidences of cancer we see.
PET scans follow radioactive glucose as it travels through the bloodstream, which is how they find tumors hiding in normal tissues.
So how do you starve the cancer?
One of the first things he does is put patients on a 3-to-5 day water fast.
The next step is change the diet to a Ketogenic plan with 80% fat and 20% protein and carbs.
This puts your body into dietary Ketosis, which is when your body burns body fat for fuel instead of carbohydrates.
*This book review information came from a four-part series called What causes Cancer?, done by the amazing Georgia Ede*.
This is recommended reading for health geeks, as it is fascinating.
My Ketovore diet is the on a one-meal-a-day regimen (OMAD).
I eat most of my food in a short window of time, usually 2 hours. This allows me to get about 10 hours of autophagy almost daily because my non-eating window is roughly 22 hours.
I give a lot of credit to my diet for my health improvements. But I give credit to the fasting benefits as well.
Two of the most recent health improvements I want to share are:
My Astigmatism is gone. My Optometrist says this never happens and he right away asked me what I am doing. I told him “keto diet”. He looked at me funny.
At another appointment, he told me I had a vascular issue in my eye. My Optometrist told me to be prepared to have surgery…like within the week. I was freaked of course. I was referred to an Opthamologist with a priority appointment.
My eye healed itself and made its own bypass around the problem.
By the time I saw the specialist, and did all the tests, the problem had already fixed itself.
He told me that whatever I was doing, I should keep doing it! A good reason to always get a second opinion when it comes to your health!
My Optometrist could not see what the Opthamologist could with his superior equipment and testing.
Was it the autophagy or Keto diet? Or was it both? I think it was both.
How To Start Fasting and Kickstart Autophagy
So if you are interesting in using autophagy to improve health, your goal should be to do as often as you have time for it.
These are my recommendations for fasting, in a process that makes it easier to do:
- Start a low-carb ketogenic diet (or try my Keto Egg Fast)
- When you are comfortable with eating keto, plan for a 12 hour fast by eating no food after 6 pm and not eating until after 6 am the next day.
- The next step is skipping breakfast and going for a 16 hour fast. You can have black coffee or tea (no sweetener) to tide you over. Eat at 10 am.
- After doing this successfully for a couple of weeks, try to extend your fast until noon, which is a 18 hour fast.
- Next extend your fast until 2 pm (20 hours).
- If you stop eating at 6 pm, try to stop eating at 4 pm (22 hours)
You can play around with this as long as you are getting some results.
If you want to try a longer fast your first time, go for it. Learn from the experience what works and what does not.
Keep trying to extend your fasts, because the longer you are fasting the more cellular cleanup is done.
I find it easier to eat a larger amount of protein for 2 days before I fast.
It fills me up. I also try to eat a bit more fat.
After doing one-meal-a-day (OMAD) for a few months, I decided to do a 3 day fast…just to see how it went.
It was quite easy. My mind was clear, I had no hunger.
The only issue was my habit of eating at specific times, which I overcame by writing out all the reasons I want to improve my health.
I then did a 5 day fast, which was also easy.
And now I have bragging rights! win-win.
I follow Dr. Jason Fung, and his advice on fasting. Dr. Fung has the Toronto Metabolic clinic, where they do a medically supervised Keto diet and Intermittent Fasting program.
Dr. Fung has found that even adding a bit of cream to coffee (heavy cream is mostly fat so it is the best choice) to your morning coffee does not stop the autophagy.
Lower fat dairy has more carbs/milk sugar, so it is not a good choice.
If you can go without the dairy, do it.
I love eating low-carb and being in Ketosis; it has healed so many areas of my health. I have made the Keto diet to fit my life and the concepts that I am aligned with, which are clean, seasonal eating and periodic fasting to achieve autophagy.
If you are interested in how I do Keto, please check out my FEARLESS KETO DIET KIT: get recipes, a shopping list, tips, and a planner to set goals, track progress, and success tips.
This kit is all the help you need to get started eating Keto diet to lose weight and there is nothing else like it anywhere else.
If you are serious about losing weight and improving overall health, you should get this kit now!
Not quite ready to for the full kit? Then get yourself signed up for the 5 Day Intermittent Fasting with Keto course to read more benefits of fasting and how to get started.
Holism targets overall wellness, and when we are well, we only get better with age.
Eat the best food that you can afford to give your body the building blocks it needs for optimal health, longevity, and looking good for as long as possible 😉
Please share this post with anyone who can benefit from it. Sharing is caring! And follow me on Pinterest!
Until next time, here’s to our health!