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I was asked this question on Facebook.
What has your experience been since moving away from a raw vegan “fruitarian” lifestyle/diet?
Two BIG changes that I feel are a move in the right direction are…
1. Better bowel movements
2. No more trips mid-night trips to the bathroom
I really had no expectations that these two things would take place. But frankly, both are tremendously beneficial results in my book. My bowels appear to be much happier and I’m getting a better quality of sleep. There are a couple of reasons for this that I will explain below. My gut just feels more at peace. It’s kind of hard to explain.
What foods I have changed.
1. Sweet Potatoes
2. Vegetable Soup
3. Daily Green Boost
What else I have changed.
I start my day with my largest caloric intake so that by the end of the day my body is better able to find rest before I go to sleep at night. I start heavier at breakfast(break fast) and then I go lighter as the day goes on. I am currently on a rotation where I have a large salad one day, a big bowl of vegetable soup the next day, and a big bowl of sweet potatoes on the third day. This makes the most amount of sense to me. It’s also easier.
On the days I eat my salads and soups, I supplement Daily Green Boost with bananas mashed up along with shelled hemp seeds and chia seeds. It’s like a deep dark green banana-flavored tapioca pudding. I know some will decry foul with my combining fruits with fats, but I would disagree on a physiological level. Our body in its infinite wisdom combines both lingual lipase and alpha-amylase in our salivary glands together precisely for the digestion of both starches and fats. And nature wouldn’t create a perfect fruit like an avocado which contains both fats and carbohydrates if they weren’t supposed to be consumed at the same time. But alas there will be some that suggest we shouldn’t be eating avocados. I disagree with them on this point as well. Just don’t eat too much avocado in one sitting. Go easy on this wonderful fruit.
On the days I eat sweet potatoes, I will have a large and hydrating banana and berry smoothie for lunch with coconut water and coconut milk combined with Daily Green Boost.
I still eat fruit throughout the day, but just not as much. I also have changed my eating window to something called Time-Restricted Feeding. Some of you may call it Intermittent Fasting, but I believe the former is a better way of understanding what it is that is happening physiologically. Because until someone stops putting calories into their body, they are not fasting. And I believe that even the use of the word fasting implies some greater benefit or inflated sense of reality that in the long run will hinder its adherents down a path that is of limited success and possibly other systemic failures including gallstone formation, which I will address later.
Therefore, I suggest that we would best be served to use the most accurate terminology, not only in this endeavor but in all things we do, because it is our own internal dialogue that ultimately matters the most.
Intermittent Fasting as most are calling it has gained much popularity as a mode of beneficial lifestyle change, but I believe that there is still much confusion out there about how to properly execute it as a program.
Once again, I want to stress the importance of calling it what it really is. Time-Restricted feeding.
One teacher, Dr. David Sinclair of Harvard University, whom I highly respect for his hard work in helping people not only overcome disease but also live longer lives practices an extreme version of this by limiting their eating to one meal per day. Most, however, limit their eating window to somewhere between 6 and 8 hours. And it is reported that this method produces favorable results. I on the other hand tend to agree with Dr. Valter Longo of the University of Southern California(USC), that the optimal feeding window is something more along the lines of 12 hours per day, and that it be held to consistently for the greatest outcome.
Though I don’t remember the exact reasoning from his fabulous book, The Longevity Diet, I do remember that he had one especially good reason for 12 hours per day being the optimal feeding window. Preventing gallstone formation.
How does gallstone formation happen?
Our bodies are very conservative and seem to be rather fond of the fruits of their labor. Bile(gall) is one of them. Bile is a yellowish-brown to a dark-green solution that is continually produced in the liver that serves to digest fats in the small intestine. And it’s as if our body refuses to waste this product, bile, that is created by storing and concentrating it in our gallbladder until the next time we partake in a meal. While being stored in the gallbladder, the bile is further concentrated by the removal of water. Hence, the formation of gallstones if it is stored for too long before being used again.
The solution is simple and should be quite obvious. Eating even a small amount of food that contains fat sends a message to the gallbladder to release bile so that it can do the work it was created for. If you are not eating for 18 hours a day or eating a diet that consists of little or no fat, you are just asking for gallstones and a strong possibility of surgical intervention to have your gallbladder removed according to Dr. Longo. A course of action that further hinders our body’s ability to attain its fullest potential of 120 healthy years.
As well, though researchers haven’t figured out exactly why studies do indicate that there is a correlation between those that forego breakfast having a much greater incidence of disease and overall mortality.
So to wrap this up, there are clear problems related to shortened feeding windows of 6 to 8 hours that can lead to gallstone formation and a possible need for surgical intervention. And on the other end of the spectrum for those eating 15 hours a day or more, other metabolic problems begin to arise along with sleeping disorders related to the practice.
My advice is similar to Dr. Valter Longo’s. Simply follow the rhythm of the equatorial sun as the sweet spot is found in the middle. If it cannot be kissed by the sun before entering your mouth, don’t let it kiss your lips. Just remember 12 and 12.
As I promised above my thoughts on why my urinary and bowel movements have improved as I have implemented these changes.
As I mentioned in my prior two short essays, “Why Am I No Longer a Raw Vegan?” & “Fruit, Soups and Salads”, there is a proper balance of electrolytes that ultimately keep our body in a state of euhydration(sufficient hydration).
If you have ENOUGH of ALL of the electrolytes that the body requires, it will remain in a greater state of ease and homeostasis. Our bowels will move like they are supposed to and when they are supposed to because our hydration levels will be optimized. Our urinary frequency will be reduced because our kidneys will not be having to work overtime to constantly be reducing the amounts of some electrolytes to balance out ALL of them. No more insignificant visits to the bathroom and especially the ones in the middle of the night. Why? Because our body will be in a state of homeostasis where it can find rest and work on its healing and restorative processes.
Finally, Time-Restricted Feeding isn’t a quick fix as much as it is a long-term lifestyle that is part of why the Blue Zones even exist and why those in these demographics are living longer more robust lives. Not only are they eating more of the right things, but their eating patterns are inherently more aligned with what nature intended for a body with a potential to live an active 120 years.
And if you need to lose weight, don’t change the foods you eat or restrict the window by which you feed; simply eat less over the same 12-hour span.