The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Monday, April 02, 2007

Fasting again

Back fasting today. Tea this morning, with some Amrit Kalash and Hoodia. This is a workout day, and it'll be interesting to see how my energy levels are. Actually, I wouldn' t expect a problem...but after a vigorous workout, how will it feel not to eat? Will I feel my muscles cannibalizing my own body? Hopefully selecting for fat, but we'll see...
A suspicion about the IF program: if you are deliberately pushing buttons to convince your body there is a famine or food shortage, if would be useful to go to bed on an empty stomach. That means that 6-6 programs wouldn't be as efficient, unfortunately. In fact, if you stopeating at, say, 9pm on Monday,and don't eat again until 8 am on Wednesday, that's almost a 36 hour fast, isn't it? It makes sense that that would work best, but sounds rather ghastly. Just for fun, I think I'll try it.
Now I'm starting to get back to my "normal" schedule. Bunches of different projects, but most importantly the script Tananarive and I have been working on, and the sequel to Great Sky Woman.
Bad day last Friday. I tried to get out of L.A. to Philadelphia for an Octavia Butler event, and weather systems in Dallas conspired with the beginning of Spring Break to completely thwart me. Ugh. I've never missed an event in my life! This just sucked. Ah well, it gave me more time with my family, and at bit more rest time. Still, I missed seeing my oldest buddy, Gordon Lewis, who lives back there. And maybe a chance to run up those steps "Rocky" style...
Back in the "est" days, the transformative workshop wouldn't let you go to the bathroom except on specific breaks. I understand why: the emotional stuff in the room got very very heavy at times, and people would ditch out just to get a breather. There were plenty of breaks, but thirty years later, all people remember about est is that "they wouldn't let me go to the bathroom." Fascinating, really. Mushtaq's take on it is that there is basic control circuitry built into the human organism. One is the "bathroom" circuit. A passage from infancy to toddler is control of this circuit. Now, in an adult, if you control when they can pee, it punches this button, and people are placed back in a younger mind set, ripe for imprinting. Maybe so. But this perspective lends itself to the question of fasting. My suspicion? Fasts are part of the maturation process. Babies want to eat whenever they are hungry. Adults must learn to postpone gratification. Therefore, the ability to specifically postpone an urge as powerful as hunger is a maturation doorway. Therefore, potentially another very very interesting benifit of IF: maturation, to the degree that learning to control basic biological urges is a maturing experience...and I believe it is considered to be in all cultures around the world.
At this point, it's looking ridiculous. The scientifically established (or seriously theorized) benifits of IF include, but are not limited to:
1) Resistence to diseases: Cancer, Blood pressure, Diabetes, colds and flu
2) Healing Factors: Bone Density, general wound healing, GH release
3) Fitness: Reduced obesity, muscle building, "getting ripped", endurance.
4) Mental: Focus, energy, drive. Resistence to Alzheimers. Production of "BDNF" (Brain-derived Neurotrophic Factor), as its name implies, is a substance that increases the growth of new nerve cells in the brain. Which has, among other things, a powerful Anti-depressant effect!
5) Life Extension: 30-40% increase in remaining lifespan. Caloric restriction is the ONLY technique known to extend MAXIMUM life span. In other words, mice on CR were observed to live longer than any other comparable mice, anywhere.
6) Time management: 20-40 extra hours per month.
7) General goodies: increased sex drive

This is completely nuts. PLEASE, if anyone can find data counterindicating the above, or indicating that the process is unhealthy in any way, PLEASE let me know. If a "magic bullet" has ever come down the pike, for God's sake this is is. Even better? Mature, focused people can use it more easily...thereby giving an "edge" to the very type of people we need more of in this world. Need more data, please!


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