A new year. A new decade. A great time to start over with a few things, including how you eat. And there is no better way to start anew than with a fast. But where do you begin? Let’s go fast and find out.
Pretty much every major civilization throughout human history has engaged in at least an annual cleanse or fast. In the U.S., we’re so conditioned to believe that we will starve to death if we miss even one meal, we’ve lost sight of the fact that we can go days, weeks, and even months (in extreme cases) without eating a calorie.
Before you go off and just start a fast, consult with quality care provider and tell them what you want to do, so they can point out any red flags and warning signs before you begin. In fact, I advise anyone who is considering this to set up an appointment to discuss the pros and cons of fasting. I’ll work with you to make sure you, one, do it right, and, two, you’ll have me in your corner to monitor your progress and be at-the-ready to answer your questions and cheer you on!
You need to know going forward that fasting is not just “not eating.” There are serious mental, emotional, and spiritual components tied to this practice…and it does take practice.
Mentally knowing that you can overcome your own basic instinct to eat can be empowering and freeing, but it doesn’t “just happen.” You need to have the right tools in place to use when you need them to power through.
Emotionally, changing and restricting our diets creates a rift in our comfort and reward centers of the brain. You’ll have to face your responses and reflexes to people and circumstances in new ways when fasting.
On the spiritual side, you should be prepared to look inward and outward to hold true to your commitment.
When you intend to fast for extended periods of time, it’s important to know your limits. Fasting for one to three days is typical, and the results you realize are pretty cool, but work your way up to it. Intermittent fasting (fasting for 16 hours, including time for sleep, and eating in an eight hour window) is a great way to get into a fasting mindset.
The benefits you’ll realize are autophagy, blood sugar regulation/re-calibration, weight loss, clarity in thinking, and more.
The take-home message here is TAKE IT EASY. Plan it out, start slow, work your way in, and work your way out with broths and cooked veggies, and see what people for centuries have known to be true, that fasting is full of mental and physical benefits.
Disclaimer: Anyone with a serious health condition should have preliminary blood work done to make sure it is safe to fast or cleanse. People with any chronic disease should check in with their doctor before engaging in either fasting or cleansing.
Dr. Blake Ashley Kovner ND, is a graduate of Salem College’s Fleer Program where she earned her B.S. in biology with a minor in chemistry with an emphasis in the crossroads of the two, biochemistry. She went to Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington where she was trained as a Primary Care Provider in Naturopathic Medicine. During her education, Dr. Kovner underwent specialized and extensive Naturopathic training in Parkinson’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis and autoimmune disease management approaches. She also became a licensed massage practitioner at the same time.
Her practice is comprised of roots-based, constitutional medicine that stems from Western Medical Herbalism, German Biologic Medicine and Ayurveda. As a Medical Herbalist, Dr. Kovner employs the art and science of individualized formulation where she makes botanical medicine for her patients, teaches them about the plants and how to grow them.
While she is a specialist in nutraceuticals, Dr. Kovner believes strongly in the Hippocratic principle, “Let thy food be thy medicine.” With this in mind, she teaches her patients about the gut-brain axis, empowering them from the inside out. In a similar light, she excels in drug-free pain management for almost any chronic condition utilizing functional medicine and biofeedback.
She worked in New Orleans at LSU as a research associate on an NIH-funded clinical trial on the safety and neuroprotective effects of a green tea extract on people with Multiple Sclerosis. There, she co-authored two peer-reviewed articles on MS that were published in scientific journals. The first is entitled, “Cognitive Impairment in multiple sclerosis” and the second one, “Polyphenon E, Non-futile at Neuroprotection in Multiple Sclerosis but Unpredictably Hepatotoxic: Phase I Single Group and Phase II Randomized Placebo-Controlled Studies”. She also participated in building an MRI database to see if brain atrophy is directly related to disease progression as measured by EDSS score and was trained as a Wheelchair Hatha Yoga Teacher and a Rasayana Yoga Teacher.
Prior to practicing medicine, Dr. Kovner was a poet on the local SLAM poetry team and is the artist who created the iconic Trade Street figure called, Sax Man and had two gallery openings at AFAS's former UnLeashed Gallery.