Fasting: hour by hour

How long should you fast? That depends on which health benefits you’re trying to tap into. The longer you do fast however, the more the health benefits begin to add up.

This does not mean that long fasts are for everybody. It depends. As an example, if you’re just trying to increase ketone levels for sustained energy and improved cognitive performance, then a 17 or 18 hour fast (which can be performed daily) might be enough. However, if you’re trying to reduce chronic inflammation or metabolic disorder then stretching it out to about 72 hours could stimulate the appropriate physiological response.

Here are the benefits of fasting broken down by the number of hours fasted:

13-16 hour fast

A 13-16 hour fast is considered to be intermittent fasting and can be conducted daily. At 13 hours of fasting, the digestive system down regulates (goes to sleep) and your body will begin to secrete more human growth hormone (HGH). The HGH assists in a variety of processes including the maintenance of lean mass, burning fat and slowing down the ageing process.

At this point, the body is transitioning to the use of stored body fat for immediate energy. 

16 hour fast

This is when most people begin to produce additional ketones. Ketones are a sign that the liver has transitioned from burning glucose (sugar) to burning fats for energy. In addition, ketones are neuro-protective and will move into the brain, giving you energy and a greater mental clarity. 

Also, HGH production continues to increase and the body begins to accelerate the fat burning process.

18-24 hour fast

At 18 hours, the body will begin to stimulate autophagy. What this means is your cells internal intelligence has been switched on and they are able to repair themselves by cleaning out old and / or damaged cells.

At 24 hours, your intestinal cells reboot and GABA production increases. GABA is the neurotransmitter known to relax the brain and help with anxiety.

At this point in time, the body would have depleted its liver glycogen stores and would now be operating primarily on ketones (from the break down of fatty acids) for energy.

36 hour fast

The longer you fast, the more it forces your body to deplete glycogen stores, and release stored energy in the form of body fat (an evolutionary adaption in response to not having a constant food source). As the body breaks down stored body fat and converts it to usable energy, the body also releases toxins that have also been stored within the fat cells. Proper hydration and even supplementation with a binder, such as charcoal may help the body to eliminate toxins during periods of fasting.

36-48 hour fasts is where to start to see an increase in stem cell regeneration, fat loss, greater anti-ageing benefits, and an increase in dopamine levels.

At this point, autophagy increases by approx. 300%.

48 hour fast

At 48 hours, cellular regeneration commences and inflammation begins to decrease. Autophagy continues to increase and the body begins to reset dopamine receptor sites.

72 hour fast

This is where autophagy peaks.

+ 72 hour fasting

Although longer fasts can be beneficial, fasting for periods greater than 72 hours should only be conducted under medical supervision or with consultation.

 

Homemade Sourdough Bread

The year 2020 has been fairly eventful. Bushfires. The untimely death of Kobe and Gianna Bryant. The coronavirus global pandemic and the societal lockdowns that followed. I have noticed that a lot of people on social media have been making their own sourdough breads whilst in isolation.

This is a skill that I have been wanting to learn for a while.

Here is the recipe that I used to make my very own sourdough bread. No kneading required. First, I made my own sourdough starter, which took 5-7 days mature. This recipe only requires the starter to be mixed with water and flour, then letting the mixture rise naturally overnight to finally bake in the morning.

What is sourdough bread?

Simply put, it’s a bread made without the use of a commercial yeast, but with a sourdough starter or culture instead. The starter is what makes the bread rise. Generally, breads made with a sourdough starter have more flavour than yeasted bread.

Equipment required

  • 4-6 quart cast iron dutch oven with lid (or bread baker)
  • some mixing bowls
  • measuring cup
  • digital kitchen scale

How to make sourdough bread (quick version)

  1. Mix the flours (520 grams) and salt (2-3 teaspoons) together.
  2. Mix sourdough starter and water together (90 grams starter with 385 grams water).
  3. Combine all in a medium bowl, until flour is fully incorporated.
  4. Let rest 15 minutes. Stretch the dough, inside the bowl. Repeat 15 minutes later.
  5. Cover and leave to rest on the kitchen counter for 9-12 hours (at room temperature).
  6. In the morning, stretch, fold and shape. Place in a parchment-lined bowl, let rise for 1 hour in the refrigerator and preheat the oven.
  7. Score.
  8. Bake 35-40 minutes.

How to schedule sourdough bread?

  1. 12 noon: Feed the sourdough starter. 4-8 hours before you plan to mix up the dough, feed your starter (alternatively, you can use the unfed starter straight from the fridge at 8 pm).
  2. 8 pm: Mix. Mix flours and salt, and mix starter and water, and mix all into a ball. After 15 mins, stretch the dough, using the “stretch and fold” technique. Cover for 15 more minutes and repeat the stretch and fold.
  3. Proof. Cover with plastic wrap or a wet towel, to proof (rise) overnight, or 9-12 hours at room temperature on the kitchen counter.
  4. 7-8 am. Shape. Check your dough and when it has almost doubled in size, stretch, fold, and shape. Place in a parchment-lined bowl, dusted with flour.
  5. Final Rise and Preheat Oven. Place the shaped dough in the fridge for 1 hour while you preheat the oven (heating up your dutch oven or bread baker too, for 50-60 minutes at 250C) 
  6. 9 am: Place and score. Pull your heated dutch oven out of the oven. Lift your shaped dough, either flipping or lifting out by the parchment, carefully place into the hot dutch oven. 
  7. Score the bread using a sharp knife (lightly oiled) or bread lame, cutting a single slash slit into the dough, about an inch (2 cm) deep.
  8. Bake with the lid on for 20 minutes. Remove lid, lower heat to 200C and bake 15-20 more minutes, until very deeply golden. You will want it darker than you might think. Let it cool on a rack before cutting. If you like a softer crust bake covered 25 minutes, uncovered 10-15 minutes.
  9. 10 am: Bon appetite!

Why you should be eating summer squash

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Why it’s a superfood?

  • High in vitamin A and antioxidants (beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin);
  • Good source of vitamins B6, C, K, folate, thiamine, magnesium, manganese, potassium and copper.

Healthy evidence
An article posted in the journal Public Health Nutrition reported that squash extracts reduced symptoms of a common condition affecting older men, benign prostatic hypertrophy. The high content of lutein may also help against dementia associated ageing, as suggested by a 2010 review article in the journal Clinics in Geriatric Medicine.

Making the most of Summer Squash
Most of the nutrients in summer squash hold up well to cooking. Unfortunately, those that do not are the nutrients present in the largest amounts. The high water content and delicate flesh argue for rapid cooking with little or no liquid, such as roasting or sauteing.