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Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

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Episode 154
The Doctor's Farmacy

Fasting: Hype Or Ultimate Health Hack?

Open the Podcasts app and search for The Doctor’s Farmacy. If you’re viewing this site on your phone, you can just tap on the

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There’s been a lot of buzz about fasting in recent years, but sometimes it can be hard to tell a true health-promoting practice from a trend that lacks any real science behind it. Well, I’m here to tell you today that fasting falls into the first category, with plenty of proven benefits to optimize health and slow the symptoms of aging. 

Fasting also does more than change the physical body. It’s estimated that 30% of our thoughts are about our next meal. That’s a lot of time and energy wrapped up in food, and fasting can help us regain control of ourselves, our minds, and so much more. 

On today’s episode of The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m thrilled to sit down with my good friend and an expert on fasting, Dave Asprey. 

Dave and I jump into the research behind his latest book, Fast This Way: Burn Fat, Reverse Inflammation, and Become the High-Performing Human You Were Meant to Be. Fasting doesn’t have to mean feeling stressed, tired, or even hungry—Dave tells us how to remove the fear and pain some people feel about fasting to make the process easier.

Fasting helps us switch into a fat-burning mode that utilizes ketones instead of glucose. Dave shares some of his favorite hacks to increase ketone production, balance hunger hormones, and feed good gut bacteria to help us feel satiated and energized even while fasting. 

Dave and I talk about the topic of mitochondrial function, why it matters for healthy aging, and how fasting supports stronger mitochondria. We also look at why fasting is different for women than it is for men and how they can fast in a way that compliments their natural hormonal cycle. 

Fasting doesn’t only have to apply to our relationship to food. We can also fast mentally and emotionally, from things like news, sex, etc.—really anything we think we need to survive but don’t. Fasting helps us create security out of uncertainty. 

Dave shares so many revolutionary insights on fasting, longevity, optimizing diet, and so much more. I hope you’ll tune in.

This episode is brought to you by Paleovalley, Athletic Greens, and Cozy Earth.

Paleovalley is offering 15% off your entire first order. Just go to paleovalley.com/hyman to check out all their clean Paleo products and take advantage of this deal.

Athletic Greens is offering Doctor’s Farmacy listeners a full year supply of their Vitamin D3/K2 Liquid Formula free with your first purchase, plus 5 free travel packs. Just go to athleticgreens.com/hyman to take advantage of this great offer.

Cozy Earth is offering Doctor’s Farmacy listeners an incredible 50%, and as part of their special holiday campaign. Just go to cozyearth.com and use the code HYMANPODCAST50 at checkout.

I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

In this episode, you will learn:

  1. The first fast Dave ever did to confront his fears of being alone and being hungry
    (3:26 / 7:50)
  2. The three F-words that take up a bulk of our time and energy
    (8:40 / 13:04)
  3. How fasting works and how to eliminate the pain of fasting
    (11:26 / 15:50)
  4. How time-restricted eating and other types of fasting support healthy aging and full-body rejuvenation
    (17:28 / 21:52)
  5. Supporting your body with supplements and electrolytes while fasting
    (21:52 / 26:16)
  6. Special considerations for women regarding fasting
    (29:03 / 33:48)
  7. Creating a sense of emotional safety while fasting
    (37:32 / 42:14)
  8. How our diet drives our emotions and societal divisiveness
    (41:53 / 46:38)
  9. Fasting as an entry point into self-awareness and spirituality
    (46:15 / 51:00)
  10. Breaking the cycle of overconsumption
    (53:45 / 58:30)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Dave Asprey

Dave is the founder and Chairman of Bulletproof 360, a high-performance coffee and food company, and creator of the widely-popular Bulletproof Coffee. He is a three-time New York Times bestselling author, host of the Webby award-winning podcast Bulletproof Radio, and has been featured on the Today show, Fox News, Nightline, CNN, and dozens more. Over the last two decades Dave, the “Father of Biohacking”, has worked with world-renowned doctors, researchers, scientists, and global mavericks to uncover the latest, most innovative methods, techniques, and products for enhancing mental and physical performance. 

Show Notes

  1. Find Dave's new book, Fast This Way, here

Transcript

Dave Asprey:
When your blood sugar gets really low, your body says, “Oh, this is kind of an emergency, I need some blood sugar. Good thing I have built in systems to turn on blood sugar instantly.” It’s called cortisol and adrenaline. So, your body says, “I’m crashing, let me get you some stress hormones right here.” And then, you get your energy back, but it’s fighting energy, it’s stress, energy.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to The Doctor’s Farmacy, I’m Dr. Mark Hyman. That’s Farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y. And if you’re confused about all the hubbub about fasting and intermittent fasting, and time restricted eating, and this and that, whether it’s good for you, or bad for you, or what you should do, you better listen up because this conversation is with my good friend, the world’s Olympic biohacker Dave Asprey, who’s the founder and chairman of Bulletproof 360, a high performance coffee and food company. He’s the creator of the wildly popular Bulletproof Coffee, which I had a version of when I was in Tibet 40 years ago, which was a very salty buttery tea, but it worked.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He’s a three times New York Times Bestselling Author. He’s the host of the Webby Award-winning podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and has been featured on the Today Show, Fox News, Nightline, CNN, and lots more fake news channels. Over the last two decades, Dave, founding father of biohacking has worked with many renowned doctors, including me, researchers, scientists, and global mavericks to uncover the latest most innovative methods, techniques, and products, for enhancing mental and physical performance.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He has literally, spent millions of dollars biohacking his own body with all kinds of gizmos, gadgets, and techniques, and tools, many of which I’ve learned about from Dave. And he’s actually been kind of a little secret advisor to me. When I want to know what’s out there, what’s new, what’s happening, I call Dave. And in fact, when I got really sick, I did call Dave and he helped me with a lot of great ideas. So, I’m so happy to have you on the podcast, Dave, again.

Dave Asprey:
Mark, thanks for having me back. I respect and admire you so much. So, anytime I can be of service to you, or your show, or your audience, it is truly an honor.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, you are mensch, you are a good man, you want good for the world, and I think that’s why I love you so much, and we’ve shared a lot of great experiences together. And I’m excited to talk about your new book, Fast This Way. And it’s a great book because there’s a lot of confusion about fasting, and you put a little bit of a different spin on it, and you take us on a journey through the world of fasting, and it’s a little bit different, with a different angle. And I was sort of surprised when I had a look at the book and I saw that it was inspired by a spiritual quest, a vision quest, which is a powerful ritual, that is a Native American ritual, and many other [inaudible 00:02:47] have similar ones.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it’s got three key aspects, right? Solitude, so you go out by yourself. Nature, so you go out in the middle of nowhere in the wilderness. And then, fasting, where you don’t eat at all. And the goal is to connect to the deeper purpose and meaning of your life and discover who you are to face your demons. And you were in search of better health, you wanted to know yourself better, and you wanted to achieve a sense of peace. You weren’t really looking for a way to lose weight, or speed up your metabolism, or reverse aging, but it led you to a series of discoveries that actually help you do all of that. So, start off with telling us about this experience, what you learned about yourself when you went away in a cave drinking only water for four days in the middle of Arizona?

Dave Asprey:
Well, Mark, I used to weigh 300 pounds, and I realized I lost most of the weight. In fact, it’s pretty easy to lose half the weight you want to lose. The other half took me 10 years of playing with things to come up with the Bulletproof Diet, and to really understand the nuances. And I’ve been recommending fasting to my followers for 10 years, at least intermittent fasting, if not longer fast, but all of that came about because of my very first fast. And this was back in somewhere around 2005, I just felt called to do a vision quest. And I said, “All right, I’ve finished my MBA, I’ve been to Nepal and Tibet, and I’m back, I’ve started a new relationship, I’m married, I have a new baby, but I need to go connect.”

Dave Asprey:
And I realized I had a couple of things to work on. One, I was actually afraid to be alone, and it had driven some of my relationship behaviors in the past, dating and just not having great relationships. And then, I also realized that I was afraid of being hungry. As a 300 pound guy, I was always hungry. And you’re told, especially if you’re anywhere over 40, if you don’t eat six times a day, your body will go into starvation mode, right? And for me, starvation mode meant profound cravings and my brain would turn off, and I would act like a jerk. So, I’m like, “I better eat. I have to have something.”

Dave Asprey:
And I have ended meetings in my mid 20s. I met this company that’s gone public and all successful, their career has taken off, I’m like, “Guys, it’s 11:45, I know lunch is at noon, I’m ending the meeting right now, because I’m so hungry that I’m going to kill one of you and eat you.” And I would just walk out of the meeting. I could not… At least I didn’t believe that I could make it the other 15 minutes, because I was just all over the place. So, I said, “All right, I’m going to feel this intensely.” So, I found a shaman, she dropped me off in the desert outside Sedona, and there was no humans and no food for 10 miles in any direction. And I’m like, “All right, I’m just going to sit in this cave, and I’m going to face it.”

Dave Asprey:
So, the book is set up what happened in each of the days in the cave, what happens psychologically and emotionally when you’re fasting, and what happens biologically. And there’s lots of knowledge now about the biology of fasting. And it’s very clear that if you are dealing with high blood sugar, you’re dealing with pre-diabetes, or diabetes, which is the number one risk factor for COVID, and the number one risk factor for all of the other things that tend to kill you when you get old, like cardiovascular disease, like cancer, like Alzheimer’s. Get diabetes and you have a much greater chance of those. So, fasting, we know the science. So, I put the science in the book, which is necessary, but the big thing is, how do I actually make it a part of my life?

Dave Asprey:
Because most people who aren’t either really sick, or on cutting edge of performance, they look at that and go, “Fasting? That’s the most unappealing thing I’ve ever heard of. Number one, I like food. Number two, I don’t like being hungry.” So, [crosstalk 00:06:40].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Pretty much.

Dave Asprey:
Yeah. And so, you’re like, “You’re trying to convince me to do this thing that sucks.” And the picture that I had of fasting is very different than the reality. And I figured out from computer science AI, which is my background, computer security, there’s an algorithm that runs in our minds that drives our behavior, and it’s the same algorithm that all life shares, whether it’s plants or animals. And the first thing that gets all of our attention, 10 times more than anything else, is anything that’s scary, you have to run away from, you have to hide or basically kill, anything that’s dangerous. So, that’s why we’re all so triggered right now, there’s this floating potential menace that may or may not be on surfaces or anything, there’s fear everywhere.

Dave Asprey:
But there’s also all kinds of other things that are fearful. So, that steals your attention and it steals your energy. And then, whatever is leftover, if you don’t feel like [inaudible 00:07:35] that anxiety, then the second thing that all life does, you eat everything. Because famines kill most species some of the time. So, five times more energy goes into what’s-for-lunch than it actually deserves. And then, once we’ve done those-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:07:51].

Dave Asprey:
And so, people are feeling guilty about this. It’s no wonder that if someone puts a cookie in front of you, the cookie is like, “Eat me.” And you’re like, “No.” And the cookie says, “Eat me.” And you say, “No.” And eventually, it’s like arguing with a two year old, you go, “Okay, I’ll just have half the cookie.” And then, you beat yourself up later and say, “I’m a bad person.” But the little part of you, these mitochondria that are the ones telling you to eat the cookie, they control your energy. So, if they think they’re in control and they haven’t been trained to just not care about the cookie, because they know more is coming, then you spend a lot of time… I found a study, Mark, 30% of people’s thoughts are about their next meal. What if you could free up 30% of your thoughts-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Dave Asprey:
… to think about being nice to other people, or just to watch Breaking Bad over and over? It doesn’t matter. It’s free time, and it’s free thoughts that are not yours right now. So, if the first one is fear, the second one is food, there’s something else all life does to stay alive forever, Mark, can you figure what that one is?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:08:46].

Dave Asprey:
Starts with an F word.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh yes, it’s a fornication.

Dave Asprey:
Oh, Mark, I was thinking fertility, but oh my goodness, I’m really embarrassed. But yeah, okay. I think it could be the other F word. So, three times more energy goes into that. Now, let me ask you this, Mark, have you ever done something that you’re ashamed of that wasn’t one of those three things?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Feeding, fleeing, fighting-

Dave Asprey:
Well, basically, fear, food, and the other F-word.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s a good question.

Dave Asprey:
Actually, I have 10 things. But in all seriousness-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:09:24].

Dave Asprey:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I might have said inappropriate things here and there in a crowd. [inaudible 00:09:28].

Dave Asprey:
Usually the inappropriate things in a crowd are coming from fear-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Fear. Fear. Yeah.

Dave Asprey:
… at the end of the day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For sure.

Dave Asprey:
You said it because something was triggering you. And that’s the human condition. And what fasting does that’s really cool is, fasting allows you to say, “Okay, I’m going to teach my body to not worry so much about food. I’m going to turn off the voice in my head.” And from that perspective, it frees up so much energy. And then, biologically, it does something else that’s magic, because when you have enough energy, you’re able to emotionally regulate better than otherwise. So, you’re saying, “But, Dave if you fast, you’d have less energy.”

Dave Asprey:
But the cool thing is, when you fast, the mitochondria, the little power plants in your cells, the ones that can’t make it for four hours without food or for 16 hours or 18 hours, however long you’re fasting, the body goes, “Wait a minute, I guess I should go to the trouble of getting rid of the weak mitochondria and replacing them with strong ones.” And so, now, you’ve given yourself a power upgrade, because now you can generate more power when you do eat. And the only thing that’s left is, how do we overcome that part of us that says, “Eat the cookie, eat the cookie?”

Dave Asprey:
And for that… I’m a busy guy, I am CEO right now of four companies… Not Bulletproof, but I hired a CEO for that. But these are upgrade labs and Bulletproof Media. I write books like you do, and you know how busy life gets. And I’m a dad, and I’m a husband.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right.

Dave Asprey:
And so, with all of these things, I really want my energy to be where I want it to be, and fasting lets you do that, except if you’re hungry, and distracted, and anxious, and cold, and shaky, which does happen especially when people start fasting. So, over the course of the last 10 years, people have lost a million pounds on the Bulletproof Diet, including intermittent fasting, and I’ve learned a few things from talking with thousands of people about this, as well as my own experience. What happens when you fast, and you fast the old way… So, I’m just going to go two days without food like you would in a cave, after about two days, you start making ketones. And ketones are the preferred fuel for the neurons in your brain.

Dave Asprey:
If you put the neuron in a Petri dish with sugar and with ketones, it will eat the ketones first, because ketones have more energy than sugar. So, the body’s like, “Yeah.” Of course, there’s parts of your body that really require carbs on a regular basis too, so you don’t want to be in ketosis all the time. But the reason spiritual traditions fast for at least two days, much of the time, is because clarity comes on. And all the energy that’s going into digestion stops, and you get a power upgrade because now you’re burning fat instead of sugar, like, “Oh, man, I just feel so good. I feel so clean.” And you stop being hungry after two days of fasting.

Dave Asprey:
But who can have a job, who can have multiple jobs like you and me and like most people listening here, and deal with all the crap in the world, and being hungry? So, there are hacks that turn off hunger during fast. So, you can actually go through a day and skip breakfast and maybe even skip lunch, and just not worry about food, and take that 30% of thoughts, that second F word, and just remove it, and go, “Oh, I guess, I could eat lunch, or I could not eat lunch, I’m okay either way.” No thoughts, no willpower involved. And so during the week-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay, how do you do that?

Dave Asprey:
And that’s why Fast This Way. So, I wrote it because the first stepping off a cliff to do your even your first intermittent fast, it’s a little bit scary. This is to remove the pain of fasting, so we can all be high functioning humans. And then, on the weekend, I teach, I do a spiritual fast. But here’s the first hack for fasting, it is coffee, and just black coffee. The amount of caffeine in two small cups of coffee, so about a medium sized large cup of coffee, is enough to double ketone production, in studies. And when you get your ketones up to a very [crosstalk 00:13:23]-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s plain coffee, not Bulletproof Coffee, just plain coffee.

Dave Asprey:
Plain black coffee, or a caffeine tablet would do it, if you really are into that kind of things, which I don’t really recommend. But it’s the caffeine itself, not coffee. Coffee has its own set of powers apart from caffeine. And in those studies, doubling ketone production is pretty good. So, let’s say that you already slept for eight hours, even if you had a snack right before bed, which is a bad idea, you’ve got eight hours of fasting, which raises ketones a little bit, and then you have some coffee with no sugar in it, no creamer, nothing like that, and that alone is enough to help suppress hunger and turn off all the thoughts about food that are distracting to you when you’re trying to do it.

Dave Asprey:
If you can get your ketone levels up to 0.5, which is much less than the [inaudible 00:14:08], I haven’t eaten carbs in a while, or you can get up to one, or two, or higher, just 0.5 has shown in studies to turn off the hunger hormone called ghrelin, which I know your listeners are familiar with, and to turn on CCK, which is the fullness hormone.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Dave Asprey:
So, the first hack, black coffee. Second hack, is make it Bulletproof. And you put in grass fed butter or ghee… And ghee has no milk protein whatsoever. Well-made ghee shouldn’t trigger milk allergies, whether they’re lactose or milk protein. I’m very sensitive to milk protein, I can handle butter, just fine. And you add the MCT oil. And this, for most people, can kick their ketones up to that magic number. So, then, you’ve got energy from burning fat, but because you didn’t have any sugar, your insulin levels didn’t go up, and you didn’t turn on protein digestion, you’re still getting the vast majority of the benefits of a fast.

Dave Asprey:
So, if you do this, it’s easier on the body, easier on the mind, and it lowers physiological stress, and that matters even more for women. And so, the first one is black coffee, the second one is Bulletproof Coffee, the third one is prebiotic fiber. And this is a type of fiber that cannot be digested by the body. So, you’re not feeding yourself whatsoever, but it makes you feel really full, and [crosstalk 00:15:24].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And it feeds the good bugs in your gut.

Dave Asprey:
Feeds the good bugs in your gut, helps to crowd out the bad ones. And one of the things that happens during a fast, is that the bacteria in your gut, they’re like, “We’re getting a little stress here, we got no food. When we’re stressed, we make more of those fear compounds.” Remember, I said, all life practices that run away from kill or hide. So, the bad guys in your gut, when they don’t have food, they make something called lipopolysaccharides or LPS. And you’re very familiar with this, Mark, because of your medical background. But LPS crosses the gut barrier, and it’s a toxin, and it creates a state of anxiety and hunger, and it creates a state of inflammation. So, what would happen if you fed the good-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Also causes weight gain and diabetes.

Dave Asprey:
Yeah, LPS is really bad. And if you have bad gut bacteria, it’s a problem. So, what if during a fast you took a prebiotic fiber that actually turned off hunger and fed the good guys, and helped to crowd out the bad guys, but you didn’t raise your insulin levels, you didn’t turn on protein digestion, you just reduced the amount of toxins that were being formed in your gut. Well, what happens is, the benefits of fasting without the pain. So now, it’s possible to do an intermittent fast, and I recommend at least 16 hours, up to 18 or more, if you want to. There’s many different names for fasting, and it’s a good thing. Lots of people are popularizing fasting, so they’ll put cool brand names on it. And I’ve done the same thing, The Bulletproof Intermittent Fast circa 2011, that was with Bulletproof Coffee.

Dave Asprey:
But we know so much more now about fasting than we did back in the early days, where you can use any of these three, you can use all three of them together, and then, suddenly, during the week, you feel better than you did when you had breakfast. And it isn’t any cost, there’s no pain at all. And then, lunchtime rolls around, and because you’re still not that hungry, you make better food choices. I think I’ll have the salad instead of the hamburger, and you can really, really just have more control biologically. And those three things matter as well as just understanding the base psychology behind it all.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, you’re basically talking about a phenomenon we call time restricted eating, and hacks to make it easier, which is giving your body a break from, let’s say, after dinner…. And by the way, listen, if you have dinner at six o’clock in the evening, then you have breakfast at eight, that’s a 14 hour fast.

Dave Asprey:
That’s the other hack, have dinner early, who would have thought? Right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Have dinner early. If you had dinner at 5:00, you can eat breakfast at 9:00, that’s a 16 hour fast, right?

Dave Asprey:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, it doesn’t have to be as onerous as it sounds. And what you’re saying is that by doing that, you are going to create a whole series of biological changes in your body that doesn’t just make you feel better, have more energy, have better focus, but that actually deals with some of the fundamental biology of aging.

Dave Asprey:
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now you wrote a book called Super Human, we had you on the podcast talking about it, but we used to think that longevity was genetic. You got handed a good deck of cards from your parents, or you didn’t. But it turns out that a lot of longevity is not determined by our genes, unless you’re really lucky and you got those genes like Eubie Blake. He was like, “I would have lived to a hundred and something years old.” He said, “If I wanted [inaudible 00:18:43] I was going to live so long, I would have taken better care of myself.” He smoked, he drank, he did all these horrible things [crosstalk 00:18:48].

Dave Asprey:
It’s just not fair.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But that’s not fair. But that’s not most of us, we have to pay attention. But it turns out that what we do in terms of our lifestyle and our diet makes huge impact. And the understanding of fasting, or intermittent fasting, or time restricted eating, or even longer fast, a day fast a week, or a three-day fast, they have profound effects in our biology to optimize all the pathways that lead to health and even longevity, that help our energy, decrease our risk of disease, and do a whole series of different things.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, can you kind of take us down that road of, what do we know about the science of this? Because it’s really phenomenal, when you start to look at it, it’s like, wow. If you look at fasting, or intermittent fasting, or time-restricted eating, or Bulletproof Fasting, or fast mimicking diets, or ketogenic diets, they all do the same thing, which is rejuvenate your biology. It’s really rejuvenative and regenerative medicine.

Dave Asprey:
It is so rejuvenating because… Jeez, there’s a lot of pathways that are involved. But one of the most important one that I had talked about there is mitochondrial biogenesis. So, when you fast, your body will build new stronger mitochondria. It’s really important for aging. As we age, we lose the ability to combine air and food effectively. And a lot of people have heard about intermittent training, or high intensity interval training, where you just… Actually, it’s really hard for a brief period of time, and then the body is like, “Oh man, I might have to do that again, I guess I should get strong.”

Dave Asprey:
So, fasting is kind of the same thing, but for the mitochondria in the cells, they go, “Oh, I might have to skip some meals again, I guess I should get strong.” And everyone over age 40 has mitochondrial deficiency, unless they’re actively managing it. And 48% of people under age 40 have early onset mitochondrial deficiency according to research by Frank Shallenberger, who’s been on my show. Has he been on yours? He’s one of the ozone therapy-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No [crosstalk 00:20:50] ozone guys. Yeah.

Dave Asprey:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Dave Asprey:
And he measures mitochondrial efficiency with a very serious set of oxygen masks and all kinds of stuff, so it’s real data. So, okay, number one, let’s fix our mitochondria with fasting. Number two, your pancreas, and to a certain extent, your liver makes enzymes, and their job is to break down proteins and other food items that you eat. It’s also enzymes’ job to go into the body and fix stuff. So, you can only make so many enzymes per day, it’s the maximum enzyme production capacity of the body. Well, because you’re not eating protein, you’re not eating carbs during the fast, what if the pancreas is available to make enzymes for healing the body, instead of for digesting food? It will do that.

Dave Asprey:
And those two things work really well for aging. And there’s a bunch of other things around AMPK, which caffeine or coffee can help with. So, two ends. And not a lot of people are talking about supplementation during fasting, because some supplements break fasting. And since I wrote a lot about anti-aging supplements and all the other technologies and techniques in Super Human, I really got into the science about what supplements should you take when you’re fasting, and which ones should you not take?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Tell us. Tell us.

Dave Asprey:
And this is stuff I haven’t seen online. This is from [inaudible 00:22:15] PubMed. I do a lot of background research when I write a book. So, one of the most important enzymes that I think people should be taking when they fast to accelerate this breakdown of old tissues in the body, break up scar tissue, adhesions, is proteolytic enzymes. And the most common one is called serrapeptase. And there are other formulas that I mentioned in the book that are essentially, “Hey, pancreas, now you don’t have to do that.” And these can break up the stuff that makes your blood sticky called thrombin and fibrinogen. And if you do that when you’re fasting, you’re getting a whole deep tissue work out there that’s really powerful.

Dave Asprey:
A lot of people who fast also miss out on electrolytes. Good old fashioned salt is something that’s important, especially in the morning when you first wake up, some sea salt, or Himalayan salt is a good idea, as well as magnesium and potassium. So, when you add these precious minerals in during a fast, you actually feel much better, and you’re keeping your body more balanced.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah, it’s so true. I literally take electrolytes every day. I have a little bottle of liquid electrolytes, and I squirt it into the water I drink. Tom Brady does it, drink water [inaudible 00:23:28] electrolytes, which may explain his longevity and health. And I think when people get hydrated, they think, oh, I’m just drinking water, I’m going to be hydrated, but the truth is, you want your inside of your cells to be hydrated.

Dave Asprey:
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The only way to get your inside of your cells hydrated is by having enough electrolytes. So, if you just drink water without electrolytes, you can literally die.

Dave Asprey:
Yes. People do that in marathons all the time.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
During marathons. Right. They just hydrate with-

Dave Asprey:
Hyponatremia.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. They dilute their blood, so the salt in their blood goes so low that it causes seizures, and coma, and death. So, you need electrolytes.

Dave Asprey:
You really do.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I think people are afraid of those. I think for intracellular hydration, it’s a really important strategy that most people don’t use. I think I’m a big fan of that in terms of really dealing with the fundamental hydration status of the body that makes everything else work better.
Speaker 3:
Hi, everyone, hope you’re enjoying the episode. Before we continue, we have a quick message from Dr. Mark Hyman about his new company, Farmacy, and their first product, The 10 Day Reset.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey, it’s Dr. Hyman, do you have FLC? What’s FLC? It’s when you feel like crap, is a problem that so many people suffer from and often have no idea that it’s not normal, or that you can fix it. I mean, you know the feeling, it’s when you’re super sluggish, your digestion’s off, you can’t think clearly, or you have brain fog, or you just feel run down. Can you relate? I know most people can. But the real question is, what the heck do we do about it? Well, I hate to break the news, but there’s no magic bullet. FLC isn’t caused by one single thing, so there’s not one single solution.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
However, there is a systems-based approach, a way to tackle the multiple root factors that contribute to FLC, and I call that system The 10 Day Reset. The 10 Day Reset combines food, key lifestyle habits, and targeted supplements to address FLC straight on. It’s a protocol that I’ve used with thousands of my community members to help them get their health back on track. It’s not a magic bullet, it’s not a quick fix, it’s a system that works. If you want to learn more and get your health back on track, click on the button below, or visit getfarmacy.com. That’s getfarmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y.com.
Speaker 3:
Now back to this week’s episode.

Dave Asprey:
One of the things I do is I drink mineral water, which has a substantial amount of electrolytes in it. There’s calcium, magnesium, potassium, there’s probably less sodium in it, but I get plenty of sodium in my food. And it’s funny, when you’re fasting or when you’re not fasting, a little bit of salt, when you first wake up, takes the load off your adrenal glands. And when you’re fasting, it is a state of stress on the body. And it’s not a bad stress unless you’re already really stressed, in which case I tell you, maybe you ought not to fast. If you got a bad night’s sleep, you’re jet lagged, it’s okay, have some breakfast. Just have some protein and some fat in breakfast, don’t have a lot of carbs, and you’re going to feel better. So, electrolytes help.

Dave Asprey:
The other thing is, when you do the prebiotic fiber, that means that you have more water sitting in your digestive system longer, and it can absorb better. So, it turns out, having fiber helps you stay hydrated. And if you do fiber and electrolytes together, even during a fast… Some people still say, “Well, wait, you could only have water during a fast because that’s what the mice did.” I’m like, “Yeah, but we’re not mice, and we have jobs, and the mice just sit there and run on a wheel, if they feel like it.” So, what we want to do is get the benefits of fasting. And having a caloric surplus during a fast isn’t going to work. But we’re talking not very much, from a calorie perspective, and very specific types of calories that your body either doesn’t use, or doesn’t use in a way that’s going to break the fast.

Dave Asprey:
So, you add your electrolytes, you add your digestive enzymes, and away from those, the other supplement that I talk about in Fast This Way that’s really important is activated charcoal. Now we talked about LPS, lipopolysaccharide, those [crosstalk 00:27:13].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wait, before you get into the charcoal, explain what kind of prebiotic fiber you’re talking about. Give us an example of some prebiotic fibers that you’d use.

Dave Asprey:
There are now a great variety of prebiotic fiber products on the market. And certainly, I’ve formulated one for Bulletproof, but the primary ingredient in many of them is acacia gum, which is basically a sap from a tree that is shown in studies to feed the good guys. You can also add a variety of oligosaccharides, hydrolyzed guar gum is another one that’s out there. And there are literally dozens of formulas that are designed to be prebiotics. And I wrote a lot about these and looked into the anti-aging effects of getting enough of this, is called soluble fiber. This is not the chunky sawdust kind of Metamucil or psyllium husk, I don’t mean those. What I mean is the stuff that dissolves in water. And you do that, and magically, you’ll probably have healthier poop, but most importantly, you’re changing the ratio of the bacteria in your body.

Dave Asprey:
You can also take probiotics with prebiotics, and doing that during a fast is okay as well. In fact, at that point, if you eat nothing, and then you take the good guy prebiotic and the good guy probiotics, you’re crowding out the bad guys pretty effectively. You might as well do that, you were fasting anyway, you didn’t have breakfast. It’s pretty easy to do.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, if I do too much fasting or even intermittent, or time restricted eating, I’ll tend to lose too much weight, which I probably shouldn’t advertise in public.

Dave Asprey:
It makes people jealous, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I’ve worked hard at optimizing my metabolism, so I think, I do very well. But are there some people who shouldn’t really be doing this, that it’s too much for their system?

Dave Asprey:
There’s a whole chapter for women in Fast This Way that’s really important because… Mark, you and I know this, we probably don’t say it enough, most of the studies that you’ll find on PubMed, they were done on young white men. That’s because that’s who was in college, and they used college students as guinea pigs. And until about 20 years ago-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, they pay them to be in the research.

Dave Asprey:
Yeah, exactly. These guys are cheap, [inaudible 00:29:29]. And for women, fasting really is different. I have routinely seen women who go on a full ketogenic diet… This is why I’ve always recommended cyclical keto, that’s at the core of the Bulletproof [inaudible 00:29:42], cyclical keto with low toxin plants. And when you get that dialed in, it still can be a lot for women. So, during certain times in your cycle, it’s okay to have breakfast. You already have enough biological stress. So, you want to do your intermittent fasting on days when you’re in pretty good shape, and you don’t want to do it when you’re completely wracked.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:30:04] a benefit if you’re not doing it every day? Like if you do it three days a week, is that good?

Dave Asprey:
Yeah. I think for women, especially women who have a meaningful amount to lose, or if they are in perimenopause, especially, try it three days a week or five days a week, but have breakfast a few times. And don’t have a bowl of carby cereal, but have some eggs and salmon, or whatever you like for breakfast. What you’re going to find there is that, if you do intermittent fasting every single day, and your metabolism isn’t up for it, it’s too much of a stress. And the idea of stress is turn stress on, recover, turn stress on, recover.

Dave Asprey:
But if you just turn stress on, and stay that way, after about six weeks, what you’ll find is that women hit the wall first, and their thyroid goes off and their sex hormones go off. So, their cycle becomes irregular, they don’t feel as good, and their sleep quality goes down first. Guys take another couple of weeks on that, if they’re living a normal stressful life, like, “Wait a minute, what happened?” After you’re used to it, after you’ve become trained on this, you can fast pretty much every morning, if you want to.

Dave Asprey:
Me, I do an intermittent fast five days a week. Saturday morning, I have breakfast with the kids, and sometimes Sunday morning too. And you know what? Sometimes I even have carbs for breakfast, even though it’s not good for me to say. It was a Saturday morning, right? I just don’t have gluten in corn syrup.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Pancakes.

Dave Asprey:
Exactly, pancakes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right. [inaudible 00:31:20] coconut flour pancakes, that are from my cookbook, Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? Which are really good.

Dave Asprey:
I do have that cookbook in the kitchen, my 13 year old daughter reads it. So, yes, Mark, that is a good book.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, I want to sort of dig in a little geeky science here with you, because I think that most people don’t realize that all these strategies have a reason. That we were designed and exquisitely adapted to starvation. We weren’t designed to deal with the amount of abundant food supply we have now, which is about 700 plus calories more a day than we had per person 50 years ago.

Dave Asprey:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right? Where is it going? It’s going in all the junk food, processed food… I mean, snacking, that’s a whole nother invention that I don’t even understand, that is just a way to sell more junk that we don’t really need to be doing. And so, I’m not a big snacking person. If you eat well, you don’t-

Dave Asprey:
If you have to snack, your last meal was broken.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right.

Dave Asprey:
That’s a big part of the message in Fast This Way, you’ve got to eat in such a way that you don’t have cravings, and then fasting becomes painless.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right.

Dave Asprey:
My kids have learned this. My daughter when she was 10, she said, “Daddy, we get to school and right away, they start trying to make us have a snack. Don’t the other kids have breakfast? I’m not hungry until lunch.” And she literally asked me that, and she was just really genuinely curious.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right.

Dave Asprey:
And it was so cute, but it was also so sad, because some of her friends-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true.

Dave Asprey:
… their parents are vegan and doing their best, their kids have a green apple for breakfast. You know how hungry green apples make you? How could you ever focus on a green apple?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s terrible. It’s terrible. And so, what I was saying was that, when you look at our genetic adaptation, it’s to starvation. So, we have all these biological mechanisms that optimize our biology in the face of scarcity. And we clean up house, we clean garbage… You were mentioning the sort of mitochondrial renewal. There’s something people have heard about called autophagy, which is where you eat your own tissues and cells, and recycle them. It’s just like a recycling plant that gets rid of the garbage and the old stuff. We also have mitophagy, which is a way to recycle and renew mitochondria, and it all happens with the fasting.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And in fact, there’s a great book, I’m sure you’ve heard of it, that I read years ago called Ending The First Cause of Deaths. And it’s all about this exactly, and this whole idea that was, I mean, decades ago. Because Sid Baker, who was one of my functional medicine mentors, probably the real grandfather of clinical functional medicine told me about it, and I was like, “Wow, this is great.” It’s just a little book, it’s a little dense, kind of geeky, but it’s just up your [crosstalk 00:33:49], Dave.

Dave Asprey:
Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so, the idea is that, when you do that, all these things happen. You increase your cognitive function, because you want to be able to find the next meal. So, your mental alertness and acuity improves. Your metabolism increases the fat burning, so you can burn off your fat stores. You lose belly fat, you increase muscle mass, you increase bone density, you reduce inflammation, you activate your antioxidant enzymes, you increase stem cell production. So, you literally go into a full-on rehab, repair, and remodel. It’s like getting your old car and taking it to the body shop, and cleaning out all the junk, and putting in new parts, essentially, what happens when you do this kind of eating.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, I think for all of us, it’s worth thinking about, how do we do this? And that’s why your book, Fast This Way is such a great addition to this whole literature, because it really guides people on how to do it. And I love the subtitle, is Fast This Way: Burn Fat, Heal Inflammation, and Eat Like the High-Performing Human You Were Meant to Be. I think all of us settle for being less than high-performing humans. We all settle for what I call FLC syndrome, that’s when you feel like crap. And we don’t often know we feel like crap until we don’t. And that’s why I encourage people to check this book out, Fast This Way, and do what Dave’s telling you, because it works.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And unless you’ve tried it, unless you’ve given your body the gift of this experience of learning how to modulate your food intake, to change the timing, the frequency, the quality, the kind of food you eat, try some of these hacks, you’re not going to really know what’s available to you. Sort of like Dorothy and her ruby red slippers, she didn’t know she could go home all the time with clicking her heels. If you’ve had an elephant standing on your foot your whole life and the elephant finally gets off, you’ll go, “Oh my God, that’s what it feels like to not have an elephant on me.” But we just don’t know how we can actually feel.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, talk about the ways in which you’ve seen changes in yourself and others who follow this, because it’s so important people to get it. And talk about, once you do that, the various kinds of ways that people are fasting, and what you really recommend.

Dave Asprey:
Mark, you’ve talked about the genetics of aging. I mentioned I had 300 pounds. I had arthritis when I was 14. I had all the diseases you expect when you’re 70, when I was in my 20s. So, I did not get that great genetic start. And if I can walk around at 48 with about 10.2, 10.5% body fat, the New York Times says that I’m almost muscular, and I don’t [crosstalk 00:36:28].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You’re slacking. You’re slacking, Dave. I’m like 7%. I don’t know what is going on with you. We’re in a competition to get to 180, but you got to work on that 3% there, Dave.

Dave Asprey:
I feel like a failure right now. It’s one of those things though, where that idea of fasting as being as important as exercise, maybe more important than exercise, although I think they’re both important, why is it that people are willing to spend an hour a day in a spin class, which is probably creating over-training anyway, but they’re not willing to skip breakfast sometimes? I think skipping breakfast is easier. And it’s okay to do both, it’s just from a return on investment thing, that it’s the most important thing that I could think of. Even if you’re not committed to changing your diet, even if you’re going to eat all the things that you and I know are not real food, fasting can still help, it’s just a lot easier, and it helps more if you eat the right way.

Dave Asprey:
And one of the things that’s really behind fasting, Mark, is the idea that fasting is just going without. And in the book, I talk about, okay, let’s think through what happens emotionally, when you say you’re going to go without something. We have other kinds of fasting that you probably haven’t thought of. The keto diet is fasting from carbs. The vegan diet is fasting from animals. I don’t know why you’d want to do that if you want to live healthy for a long time, but maybe for a couple of weeks to turn on [crosstalk 00:37:54].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s another podcast.

Dave Asprey:
Exactly. And, hey, go pee again, there you go. The thing that’s also happening, you fast from substances, that’s called addiction treatment or sobriety. And we have fasting from people, it’s called a solitude. And we have fasting from… At the end of the book, I actually tell people, try fasting from hate, right? I also talk about fasting from sex or at least porn for a brief period of time, because your body feels like you’re going to die if you don’t have sex frequently. You’re not going to die if you don’t have sex for a couple of weeks. You’re not going to die if you don’t have food for a month. But you feel like you’re going to die if you don’t have food for a brief period. We’re talking about skipping breakfast, but the bladder is like, “No!” So, that’s the thing.

Dave Asprey:
How do you create a sense of safety when you’re going without something that you think you need, that you feel like you need, but you know you don’t need? And just by doing that for brief periods of time, it’s just like lifting weights, it’s just like exercise. But it’s exercise for your emotional body, it’s exercise for your spiritual body, it’s exercise for your physical body, including those sub-cellular things that you just talked about.

Dave Asprey:
And when we change our mindset to, fasting is just exercise, we can do exercise, right? And you might feel like you’re going to die on the treadmill, but you know you won’t, and you do it anyway every day. So, we’re just going to normalize fasting, and also acknowledge, Mark, there are people with eating-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s a lot less painful than my workouts. My trainer [crosstalk 00:39:23] “No more reps please.”

Dave Asprey:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
He makes me do pushups with bands. You put like a band [crosstalk 00:39:30].

Dave Asprey:
Oh, that’s so cool. I love bands.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m like, “Holy cow.”

Dave Asprey:
Well, I mean, you’re looking a little bit bigger in the shoulders there, so all that Tom Brady stuff seems like it’s working.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes, it is.

Dave Asprey:
There was something else, I know I’m not exactly answering your question, but you mentioned Tom Brady, the other part of his longevity, he figured out like I did that nightshades… The lectin problem with night shades for me, but not for everyone, for about a third of people, man, those things cause cravings like no one’s business. If you give me nightshades, potatoes, or bell peppers, or eggplants, man, I want to eat sugar like no one’s business, right? So, you got to find the foods that don’t trigger cravings.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
How can you give up tomatoes? I just can’t give up tomatoes. [crosstalk 00:40:11].

Dave Asprey:
I’ll still eat some fresh tomatoes, I just take out the seeds and [inaudible 00:40:15]. And this is a core part of-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Just a fresh tomato off the buy-in in the garden in a hot August summer day-

Dave Asprey:
Well, you have a garden, Mark.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:40:23] experience.

Dave Asprey:
I live in an organic farm, and that’s something that I also would encourage people too, fast from junk food and industrial meat, and things like that. [crosstalk 00:40:34].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Now, that is a fast I can get behind, fast from industrial food. I love that.

Dave Asprey:
It’s a real type of fast, you say, “Look, I’m going to go without.” Because there are people, in fact, a great many people listening right now, they’re going, “You mean I can’t have Skittles? I can’t have Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups? I can’t have Cheetos?” Or whatever the things. Well, you can have them, I’m telling you that fast from them, because your body feels like you’re going to die if you don’t have those. And the side effect of a fast like that, Mark, is, as you all know, it builds soil.

Dave Asprey:
And we have pigs, sheep, turkeys, chickens, and a great number of vegetables growing on my organic farm, I feed my local community, and I am building soil like no one’s business. We recovered a five acre gravel pit using animal manure and turned it back into fertile soil. And we’re restoring the forest on a part of the property.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Wow.

Dave Asprey:
When you choose to do that kind of a fast, you can still eat, but you’re giving back to the planet. And the work you’ve been doing lately on food policy and all that stuff, that is also a part of the fasting world. You are choosing to go without the things that make you weak, even though there is a part of your body that wants you to eat those, and you are becoming master of that part of your body. And when you’re a master of that part of the body, the side effect is, you’re nicer to everyone around you, because you’re eating better food. Everybody wins when you do this, it’s so important.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, wait, wait, wait, wait, I don’t want to just pass by that. You just said something that’s highly profound, because in the middle of this incredibly divisive world… I mean, I was born 60 years ago, and yeah, there were Democrats or Republicans, and there were certainly divisions in society, and there was segregationists, and there was hate, but the level of divisiveness, the level of reactivity-

Dave Asprey:
Off the charts.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… the level of hatred… I mean, I post a picture of me with now President Biden talking about how we can start to build bridges and have conversations, and we don’t have to agree, we can have deep conversations, even if we don’t have the same worldview without hating each other. And there was just the most incredible blowback that I just could not believe, and all this projection of hatred on me saying I was for vaccine mandates and masks, I mean [inaudible 00:42:43]. I was just talking about love, and let’s all be friends, let’s disagree, but let’s disagree nicely. Let’s not vilify and hate. And I was like, “Whoa.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And what really is clear in David Perlmutter’s work and his son, Austin, in their latest book, Brain Wash really talked about this, that our diet, our modern industrial diet has literally hijacked our brain and activated the amygdala, which is the fight or flight, attack, defend, victim part of our brain.

Dave Asprey:
Absolutely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so, we are operating in a highly activated way in which our frontal lobe becomes disconnected from our amygdala.

Dave Asprey:
[crosstalk 00:43:28] so important.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Our frontal lobe is the adult in the room, it’s our executive functioning. It’s the one who doesn’t do the stupid thing, even though he thinks about doing it, right? He said it’s like Dennis the Menace. When I think about not doing what I’m going to do, I’ve already done it.

Dave Asprey:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think this is such an important thing that you said, that it changes the quality of our behavior, our emotions, our relationships, our fear, our anger, our hostility. These are things that are killing our society now. It just breaks my heart.

Dave Asprey:
Me too. I interviewed Dr. Vivek Murthy, former US Surgeon General, he wrote a book saying, in his time as Surgeon General, the number one epidemic that he came across that was causing the most problem wasn’t viral at all, it was connectedness. He said, “We have a profound state of loneliness and disconnection in people, and that’s what’s making us sick, and we have to fix it.” So, then, a week after he comes up on the podcast, he gets named by Biden [inaudible 00:44:28] to co-chair his coronavirus task force. This is a guy who values connection and connectivity, and will value those things, so that our policies might say, “It’s kind of important we don’t turn on that epidemic when we’re trying to turn off another one.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right.

Dave Asprey:
[inaudible 00:44:44] “Hey, congratulations, we’ve got a guy who cares about what we care about on a panel.” Man, the amount of people saying exactly what you heard, just projecting all this hate, here’s what’s going on, Mark, we should take it back to fasting. Okay? If you don’t have a healthy metabolism, your blood sugar can crash. And if you do something like eat MSG, which as you well know, as you’ve written about, is hidden in so many foods under fake names. And when you eat MSG, it causes hypoglycemia. When your blood sugar gets really low, your body says, “Oh, this is kind of an emergency, I need some blood sugar. Good thing I have built in systems to turn on blood sugar instantly.” It’s called cortisol and adrenaline. So, your body says, “I’m crashing, let me get you some stress hormones right here.”

Dave Asprey:
And then, you get your energy back, but it’s fighting energy, it’s stress energy. And then, you see someone post about, “Hey, could we have more connection and empathy and kindness?” And they’re like, “You’re a bad man.” Well, there’s a connection directly to food. There really is. And if I-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes, there really is.

Dave Asprey:
By fasting, you train your body to do that. And by fasting from crappy foods, you actually have more control of who you are. And you can show up as the person that you want to be instead of the person you are when you’re hungry. Because I don’t know about you, but hypoglybitchy is a very real word for me, at least it used to be.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. What is that? ICD-9 [inaudible 00:46:02] code 1034.2, is that it? It’s a clear medical diagnosis, hypoglybitchy [inaudible 00:46:08]. That’s very funny. We’re sort of kind of skirting around the edges of this, but in your book, you talk about how fasting can be a powerful entry point into honesty and in control of ourselves, what do you mean by that?

Dave Asprey:
Well, there’s two kinds of fasts. There’s fasting for health, and you can do this intermittent fast with the hacks, you can do it during the week. And there’s another kind of fast, which I call a spiritual fast. And these tend to be for at least 24 hours, a little bit longer, where you actually sit with what’s going on in your feelings, you journal.

Dave Asprey:
So, what I’m doing for people who order Fast This Way and send me the receipt at fastthisway.com, I’m taking them through a two week… I’m calling it a fasting challenge, but it’s really a fasting course, where as an author, I feel like I haven’t done my full job… Because I’m also a teacher, I taught at the university of California for five years. So, I’m actually teaching people what’s in the book for two weeks. And we’re going to all together, thousands of people at the same time, practice intermittent fasting with the hacks, without the hacks. But for the last two days of this two week challenge, we’re going to do a spiritual fast.

Dave Asprey:
I’m actually going to get you a fasting journal, and you’re going to be able to sit there and say, “All right, I’m actually going to go for a 24, 36, even 48 hours without food, but I’m going to do it mindfully. I’m going to reduce distractions in my life, and I’m going to be hungry.” And I’m going to say, “Wow, how many times am I actually thinking about food? Do I really want to snap at my kids? Or, am I getting even more angry at the news that I shouldn’t be watching during a spiritual fast anyway?” All of those things so we can gain awareness of ourselves.

Dave Asprey:
And the cool thing is, because you’re fasting, you have extra ketones present and you have more energy to think about it. And this is why all of the great spiritual traditions include fasting, because that little boost to the neurons is a boost that you can use for self-awareness. And that’s why fasting is so powerful. It puts you back in charge of you, instead of letting these automated life systems [inaudible 00:48:01], is that scary? Take my attention. Is that food? Take my attention. Is that a nice pair of legs? Take my attention. Right? You’re supposed to own all of that. And you can own all of that. And it doesn’t have to be painful to get there.

Dave Asprey:
And the reason most of us haven’t taken on fasting and the reason it terrified me… In fact, I was offended when someone told me I should fast when I weighed 300 pounds, because I’m like, “I would die. It would be terrible.” All of that fear, it’s not real. The fear is real, but the reality is very different. And the more we can help ourselves live in reality, the more control we have of our energy, that energy goes to the prefrontal cortex, which allows us to catch those negative thoughts before they turn into that kind of behavior.

Dave Asprey:
And the challenge in the book at the end is, look, just spend two hours fasting from hate. Maybe you spend a whole day where you don’t say one hateful thing, you don’t think one hateful thing, and that is really challenging. I took electrodes up to my head and spend time meditating, a lot of time meditating, to get to that point where I can do that, and even then, you’ll see these things sneak in. But just a regular short practice of that allows you to remember the kind of person that you’re capable of being, instead of the kind of person you are when you’re constantly triggered by industrial foods, by industrial news sources, and basically by a world that really isn’t set up to let you be who you’re supposed to be.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s true. We live in a world that’s constantly going after our amygdala.

Dave Asprey:
Yeah. [inaudible 00:49:25]. Amygdala is easiest to trigger, it makes you buy stuff.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And for those of you who really think there’s free will, I encourage you to watch a documentary called The Social Dilemma and really pay attention to it. Because what’s really happened is that we have been psychographically mapped in ways that algorithms target our inner most fears, insecurities, and weaknesses to drive our behavior, in ways that are invisible to us, that we think are freewill, but actually aren’t.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And when you talk about fasting… I just want to drop in for the last few minutes into the spiritual context of fasting. Because it always in the past was a spiritual practice. It was a way to remove the distractions of the outside world to go inward, to find peace, stillness, to become awake in different ways to things that really matter. This year has been rough, I mean, this year has been just so rough. I think all of us want to take the reset button, hit reboot, defrag, and just do a do-over on 2020. I mean, COVID, politics, the economy, social distancing.

Dave Asprey:
[crosstalk 00:50:43].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I mean, fire. I mean, just the heartbreak of what’s happening in the world right now, it’s real and it’s tough, and the divisiveness, the conflict. And I think it wears on all of us, where it’s under our nervous system. And Fast This Way is a beautiful doorway into using your biology to help unhook from some of that. And you talk about a lot of practices, not just dietary, in the book, and I really encourage people to get it. Fast This Way: Burn Fat, Heal Inflammation, Eat Like the High-Performing Human You Were Meant to Be, I love it, it’s really good, and I think it’s one of your best books yet, Dave.

Dave Asprey:
Thank you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But I want to kind of drop in, because I’ve been feeling this personally, I’ve just been feeling like, holy crap, what a year, I need a break, time out. And so, I have decided… Which is really tough for me because like you, I have six companies, I do so many different things, I [crosstalk 00:51:38].

Dave Asprey:
Mark, I got to interrupt you for a second. You’re one of the most giving guys that I know. Because we’re friends, I know all the stuff you do that you never talk about to give back.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:51:47].

Dave Asprey:
You run 100 miles an hour helping people, and you always have.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So, I’m like-

Dave Asprey:
So put that on the table.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thank you, I appreciate that. So, I feel after 30 years that I’m giving myself permission to take the month of December off.

Dave Asprey:
Awesome.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s a little terrifying, and as we’re talking, I realized, it’s going to be a month of fasting. And I’ve already committed to a really clean diet, which I mostly do anyway, to no coffee, to… Sorry, Dave.

Dave Asprey:
What? Okay. I thought we were friends.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No alcohol.

Dave Asprey:
It’s fine to do that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No alcohol. No email. That’s going to be the hardest one, I think. I’m highly addicted to email. No news. I’ll talk to people on video conferencing or phone, I’m not doing Zoom conferences. I’m literally just going to drop into being, instead of doing.

Dave Asprey:
Lovely.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m going to be in nature, I’m going to be in my body, I’m going to be with friends in a socially appropriate way and distance way. I’m going to do spiritual practices that help me fast from the things that are really disturbing my happiness and my ability to really-

Dave Asprey:
[crosstalk 00:52:59].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I think I’m pretty good at managing it all most the time, but I’m like, “Wait a minute.” I remember being 25 and being completely unencumbered from all of that, there was none of that. And when I was 25, I remember in my 20s traveling. There was no cell phone, there was no internet. You had postcards, you had letters you could write.

Dave Asprey:
Right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You wouldn’t make a phone call because it was a $10 a minute to talk to anybody in the States if I was in some other country. You were just in the experience of life, and I’m craving that again. I wish we didn’t even have to describe it as fasting, because all of a sudden, we’ve been in this over-consumptive world, not just over consuming food, but over consuming information and news in ways that aren’t volitional. Our news feed and our social media feed aren’t really our will. They’re being fed to us by algorithms that are trying to manipulate us in real ways that are highly documented. It’s not just a conspiracy theory, I mean, just watch The Social Dilemma or watch The Great Hack and you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so, as you’re talking, I’m really inspired that you’ve written about this, I’m really inspired that you’re talking about these issues, because so many of us need to reset, and to reboot, and to rewire ourselves. And food, I think, is the easiest doorway to retrain your brain, to retrain your biology, to reawaken to the things that really matter in life, and to the beauty, and just to drop in. I think this is really a gift in a weird way of this moment. It’s all causing us to reevaluate our lives and to see what matters, what’s important, what do we care about? And how do we break this cycle and rehuman ourselves?

Dave Asprey:
There’s a word that most of us use on a daily basis, and it’s a word I’ve been fasting from for the past 15 years, and the word is need. When you need something, it means if you don’t get it, you’ll die. But when you tell yourself, I need to go to the store, no, you could’ve had the groceries delivered, you could have fasted, or you could have asked a friend. But you didn’t think of those things because you told your amygdala that you needed it. And so many of us have [inaudible 00:55:27] where I need to check my email, I need to do this, I need to do blah, blah, I need to watch the news, I need, blah, blah, blah. None of those needs are real. And when you [crosstalk 00:55:34].

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Sometimes I really need to pee, that’s real. [crosstalk 00:55:36].

Dave Asprey:
That’s a real need. Okay. There you go. I’ll give you that. So, there are some real needs, but the vast majority of things are… And I would even go so far as to say, “Well, Mark, we could get you a catheter, you don’t really need to pee, it’s just the best path. So, let’s go.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I just wet pants.

Dave Asprey:
So, those are the things where fasting let’s you address, one of the things that I really think we need, and lets you go, “You know what? I thought I needed that, but it was a want.” And when we replace the word need with the word choose, or the word want, it is incredibly relaxing and it makes you feel safe. And it’s part of what you get when you just skip breakfast, maybe eat dinner a little bit earlier, and do some of these other practices, you realize that you want a lot of things that you think you need, and when you sort those out, your anxiety levels go down. Anytime anxiety goes down, kindness goes up. It’s beautiful.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I think that’s a beautiful way to say it. When you refocus on the things that matter, your kindness goes up, and the toxicity of our own minds and our own bodies goes down and the world around us. In this world, all we can do is actually focus on ourselves, and what we can do to really live in integrity. And I think the more we do that, the better we can be agents of change in the world. And it reminds me of a story of Gandhi, who once had a mother bring her child to see Gandhi, and the child just loved sugar and ate candy all the time. And she said to Gandhi, “Would you please tell my son to stop eating so much candy?” It’s not good for him. And Gandhi goes, “Come back in a week.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
The mother comes back in a week, and he says to the little boy, “I think it’s good that you probably stop candy.” And she said to him, “Why did you tell me to come back in a week? Why couldn’t you have told me that last week?” He says, “Well, I was eating candy last week, I had to stop eating candy…” And I think-

Dave Asprey:
That’s integrity right there.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s just about integrity. And I think if we can focus on our own integrity in our lives and come in alignment with who we are and what we want to be, how to be the high-performing human that we were meant to be… I think you mean high-performing not just in life and as an athlete, but spiritually, emotionally, physically, mentally, relationally, as a human being in the community of life. That’s what you mean.

Dave Asprey:
It’s exactly what I mean. And there’s actually a fourth F word that all life does after those first four words, it’s friend. And even Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, his final need that he didn’t get to publish before he died, I just did a podcast on this, was for transcendence. So, when we get the baseline stuff out of the way, what’s left is, we are meant, we are wired, we are built from the cells up to be kind to one another. And if there’s too much emphasis on those first three F words, there’s not enough room for kindness, and that’s what we’re getting back to right now. So, your reset you’re going to do is a perfect example of that kind of spiritual fast.

Dave Asprey:
So, fasting is just going without, and clearly food is a low-hanging fruit, but you can go without all kinds of stuff that you think you need. And when you do it for brief periods, you might realize that your life changes in a massively, massively beneficial way. And the way the change manifests is in happiness, but it also manifests in changing the world around you. Because when you’re nice to people, they get happier too, and it has a very big amplified effect. We only need a few people to really step up like that, and then all the people around them are like, “Wait, what’s going on here? I haven’t seen someone be level in a while, maybe I could be a little bit more level.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s right.

Dave Asprey:
So, this will spread and it has to spread, because that’s what humans are wired to do.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And if there’s anything that you’re a little anxious or stressed about giving up, that’s probably the thing you need to give up the most.

Dave Asprey:
Yeah. That was why-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:59:24].

Dave Asprey:
For me, it was loneliness, I’m like, “I’m going to sit in a cave and feel lonely because I’m so stressed about, what if…” I didn’t realize that was pushing me the way it was. And it’s that realization of how much power these things have that we haven’t thought about. And like you said, you’re going to fast from social media, you realize how much power it has, that you didn’t give it, that it took.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. I mean, that’s not a huge one for me. Email. I can give up alcohol, caffeine, sugar, processed food, I mean, that’s easy. I can do yoga every day, meditate, nope, that’s all easy for me. Giving up email? That starts to make me really anxious. Honestly, Dave, I didn’t really even think about it because I was planning my trip and my journey for this month of December, and until we started talking, I’m like, “Well, what are those things that I’m really not wanting to give up?” And I thought email, I’m like, “No, I’m going to announce it on my podcast that I’m giving up email for a month, because-”

Dave Asprey:
I’m going to email you and see if you answer, you realize that, right?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m going to have an auto-responder, [inaudible 01:00:25] “Talk to my assistant, I’ll be back in a month.”

Dave Asprey:
Good.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
If you have anything important, email me again in a month [crosstalk 01:00:30].

Dave Asprey:
I promise you, Mark, if it’s really important, you’re going to get a text message or a phone call from your assistant, that’s how it works. But it doesn’t feel like it works that way. This is going to be so good. I’m so excited.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Dave, you are one of the few people who’s out there in this space, who really is seeking the world for those things that will enhance the quality of our lives at all levels, physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally. And you really have no ego in the fight. I think it’s a really rare quality in people.

Dave Asprey:
Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And you’ve really done a lot of work to overcome some of the sort of spiritual and emotional challenges. And you’ve been very successful and done in a way that’s just with love, and it’s just beautiful to see.

Dave Asprey:
Thanks, Mark. You didn’t know me when I was younger, I was pretty much a jerk, just to be really clear.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, you were eating jerk inducing foods.

Dave Asprey:
I was. Because I was a computer hacker, I had managed to pretty much erase my identity to just be like… You couldn’t find anything about me online, I was very happy to be anonymous. And to be well known as an author has actually worked for me. I’m not in this to get known, I’m willing to be known because I think I can help, otherwise, there’s no benefit to it. It kind of sucks.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Well, I thank you, Dave. And I encourage everybody to learn about fasting this way from Dave’s book, Fast This Way: Burn Fat, Heal Inflammation, Eat Like the High-Performing Human You Were Meant to Be. You can look it up at fastthisway.com, fastthisway.com [inaudible 01:02:01] website for the book. It’s just fabulous. It will add a lot to your life in terms of the quality of your energy, your mood, your focus, your well-being, add years to your life. And actually, it just might make you happier and kinder, which wouldn’t be a bad thing for all of us.

Dave Asprey:
Ament to that.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
For all of us including me. So, thank you, Dave, for inspiring me to go even deeper on my fast and to rethink fasting, to not mean taking away, but actually adding.

Dave Asprey:
You are most welcome, Mark. You’re an amazing human being, and I’m so looking forward to meeting the Mark that comes out after December.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I may never come out, that’s what worries me. I’m like, “Okay, I’m never coming back anyway.” Anyway, great to have you on the podcast again, Dave. If you all love this podcast, please share with everybody on the universe, because everybody needs to hear this podcast. If you have fasted or tried it, or have any experiences, we’d love to hear from you, leave a comment, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. And of course, we’ll see you next time on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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