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    The Wild Guide To Intermittent Fasting

    "The best of all medicines is resting and fasting."

    – Benjamin Franklin

    I've been fasting for years.

    I no longer think about it. It just happens.

    I eat when I want and rarely feel "hungry" or "tired."

    Returning to my regular eating routine is easy if I decide to have a cheat meal. Just don't eat. Lol.

    In this guide, I will share my personal fasting experience with you. By the end, I hope you will consider adding time-restricted eating to your life.

    Before we dive into why you should incorporate IF into your life, we need to set a few things straight.

    Fasting Misconceptions

    As with most things in the public consciousness, there are many misconceptions about intermittent fasting.

    First of all, practicing intermittent fasting does not (necessarily) mean eating fewer calories.

    Calorie restriction is eating fewer calories, while intermittent fasting is when you eat your calories each day and is independent of how many calories you eat.

    It makes sense that most people confuse the two, but for our purposes, we need to delineate the difference so there is no confusion or scapegoating that will result in the points being overlooked.

    Going extended periods without food, usually for 24 hours or longer, is known as traditional fasting.

    And while you should fast this way sometimes because of the health benefits, intermittent fasting is different, which is what we will focus on today.

    Intermittent = intervals

    Intermittent fasting means spacing your meals out at various times or put: to eat in intervals. That's the simplest way to think about it. The intervals will vary depending on what IF style you use.

    As an example, let's say you typically eat 2,000 calories a day over 4-6 meals.

    Then Monday rolls around, and you decide to try IF, so instead of eating your 2,000 daily calories over 4-6 meals, you opt to eat the same amount of calories over 1, 2, or 3 meals with gaps between each meal and within a defined "feeding window." (More on feeding windows below.)

    Your calories stay the same, but when you eat, those calories changes.
    This is, in a nutshell, intermittent fasting.

    Of course, most people hear intermittent fasting and assume it's about not eating. But that's not accurate. Intermittent fasting is meal timing.

    This is why everyone should practice some form of IF. We all have to eat food, we might as well choose an eating style that promotes our health and well-being over one that detracts from it.

    Hint: Eating often is not promoting health and well-being and is more likely than not to promote insulin resistance and fat gain.

    This brings us to one of the most excellent food lies ever sold by the big food and supplement companies: eating to "stoke your metabolism."

    Fasting Benefits

    Intermittent fasting may offer various benefits, including weight loss and improved health. 

    Most people do it for weight loss, but the benefits go far beyond that—everything from hormone and appetite control to increased longevity.

    Weight loss: intermittent fasting may help you lose weight by helping you eat less and burn more calories through exercise.

    Improved Health

    Inflammation: Intermittent fasting may improve your health by reducing inflammation and oxidation damage.

    Blood pressure: Intermittent fasting may lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure by reducing stress on the heart.

    Hormone control: By controlling feeding windows, your hormones have a better chance of leveling out.

    Fasting Schedules

    • 16-8 is the most popular and the easiest to start with.

    • 12 - 12 is to eat during a 12-hour window, then fast for 12 hours (most of it through the night)

    • Alternative day fasting: eat one day, fast another, and may have to work up to this.
    Contrary to what the powers at be would have you believe, the human body is not designed to graze all day long like a cow. 

    We can find evidence by looking at our biology and why it is designed the way it is. Or we could look at cows and what they eat to understand the differences between the two species.

    A cow has to eat enough grass daily to fuel its massive body, so, as a grazing animal, it consumes most of the day. After all, grass is a low-calorie food, so herbivores have to eat a lot of it to stay alive.
    Compare this to another animal in the animal kingdom—the tiger.

    A tiger can eat up to 88 pounds of meat in a sitting. Settable wild predator cats are estimated to eat around one 88-pound animal a week.

    This means that a tiger finds prey, on average, once every week, at which point he will feast to his heart's content. Then he fasts until his next large meal.

    A true carnivore.

    And while humans aren't true carnivores—we are omnivores because we can eat hundreds of different forms of food—we have powerful carnivore tendencies, as shown in the world our ancestors lived in for hundreds of thousands of thousands of years (the wild).

    Our human ancestors would regularly go long periods between finding calorie-rich meat.

    Sure, we would snack on berries, twigs, leaves, and anything else we could find as we spent our days walking through the vast wilderness (it is estimated that our ancestors walked about 13 miles a day on average).

    No group of hunter gatherers can survive on berries and leaves because the calories simply aren't there.

    A cup of blueberries contains about 80 calories.
    A cup of raw spinach contains about 7 calories.
    (Yes, that's a measly 7 calories in a cup of spinach. Remember that you would chew until your face is sore to get through a cup of raw leafy spinach.)

    Now let's look at the calorie content of more calorie and nutrient-dense foods typically found in the natural human diet.

    Avg calories in a pound of red meat: 1,506
    Avg calories in a pound of salmon: 944
    Avg calories in a pound of nuts: 2,508
    Avg calories in a pound of coconut: 1,605

    Suppose you wanted to get scientific with it. In that case, you could figure out the near-exact calories needed for a small tribe of 40 mixed-sex homo sapiens and then convert that into the amount of spinach and berries you would need to forage (in the wild, remember) to sustain life.

    Then compare that to a diet with meat, fish, nuts, and seeds added here and there. But you don't need to do that because I did it for you.

    To sustain 40 humans in the wild daily, you would need 12,814 pounds of spinach.

    Blueberries do a bit better: 5,192 pounds of raw blueberries would be needed to keep alive 40 homo sapiens for one day.

    Disclaimer: the calories needed per day in these calculations are based on Harvard Medical School recommendations, which are probably overestimated. But still. You see the point, right?

    ​Our ancestors shows that humans are designed to eat calorie-rich foods infrequently. It's no wonder that people report feeling so much better when they're giving their gut a rest from constant feeding and digesting.

    Humans are not cows and are not designed to graze. We are omnivores, with our most nutrient-rich foods being animals. Most modern humans should be doing something other than snacking or eating the ridiculous six meals daily.

    Be wary of any advice that recommends eating more often.

    Your human body is designed to go extended periods without food because that is how our ancestors survived in the wild for hundreds of thousands of years.

    This is why fasting research is nearly universal in showing the benefit.

    My Fasting Journey

    I've been following an IF eating style for over 8 years now.

    I started with a 16/8 and will probably fall to something approximating that on a daily basis. I just don't think about it anymore.

    I eat when I'm hungry, and don't when I'm not.

    Compare this to the 4-6 meals I used to do because Men's Health told me that was best.

    I feel like I've found the light. Intermittent fasting can be a life-changer as it wakes you up to your body, your hormones, and how unnatural it is to be eating all the time.

    My typical day

    I wake up to a mug of butter coffee or tea and a glass of water with a dash of Wild Pink Salt. I don't eat "breakfast" in the traditional sense.

    My first meal is usually 6-8 hours after waking, sometimes later. This is my breakfast—breaking the fast.

    My general overall health is the best it's ever been. (My blood work for life insurance yielded a "perfect" rating.)

    I rarely feel the need to eat. I rarely get hungry. In fact, I often have trouble eating earlier in the day since I'm now so adapted to a fasting schedule. It's hard to be hungry when friends want to eat earlier than my schedule is used to. (So I usually eat less.)

    I now feel oodles better than I used to when I forced myself to eat breakfast each morning. When I used to eat breakfast in the morning each day because that is what we are all "told" to do, I would regularly "crash" soon after eating, feeling tired and groggy even though I had woken up only a few hours prior—no bueno.

    Hint: That's not how a healthy, functioning human body is supposed to feel a few hours after waking.

    During my breakfast-eating phase, I never really felt hungry in the mornings, but because I've been so conditioned by culture to eat in the mornings, it's what I did.

    And it's what you do, too.

    Did you know that breakfast means to "break the fast" and has nothing to do with the time you break that fast?

    In our society, breakfast is something you do in the mornings. But that's not accurate. I suspect the cereal companies are to blame for this.

    Breakfast is your first meal of the day, regardless of when you eat it. bMy typical breakfast nowadays is 6-8 hours after I wake up. My next and last meal is usually 4-8 hours after that. Then I'm done eating for the day.

    And that's my intermittent fasting program. Simple. Concise. Works like a boss.

    This schedule gives me an average feeding window of 8 hours a day, followed by a fast through the night (while I sleep) and the next morning.

    This 16/8 approach to fasting is known as the Leangains approach, credited to Martin B at leangains.com

    (16 hours is the fasting period, while 8 hours is the feeding window.)

    By keeping my daily calories within this 8-hour window, I end up with a 16-hour fast daily.

    To follow this fasting protocol, focus on keeping your daily calories within the 8-hour "window" after you break your fast. If you stop eating within 8 hours of breaking the fast, you'll have a 16-hour brief each day.

    It's surprisingly easy to follow once you get used to it.

    And while I recommend you aim for 2 or 3 meals a day during your feed window, some proponents of the 16/8 method suggest you can eat as many meals as you want during that window as long as you stop after the 8-hour window has closed.

    I am suspicious of this advice, and it doesn't come naturally to me, but it may work for some people. My preferred way to get the 16-hour fast each day is to skip breakfast, break the fast 6-10 hours after waking, and then finish my last meal within 8 hours of breaking the fast.

    Of course, you should experiment and find what works best for you.

    Ultimately, to get the benefits of fasting, your goal is to go as long as possible without food. The more you go without calories, the more help you will get.

    Some days, you might end up with a 20 or 24-hour fast if you don't eat until late. During other days, you might start your feeding window a couple of hours after waking due to an early meeting or another life event.

    As a general rule, the benefits from fasting come when your body has gone 12-18 hours without ingesting any calories. This is why the 16-hour fast every day is so powerful.

    To Start, Track Your Feeding Window

    I first tracked my feeding window each day to reach my target 16-hour daily fast.

    After that, I stopped thinking about it. I just did what works. 

     I didn't think about it, and my body did the rest.

    Nowadays, my appetite tells me when to eat and when not to eat.

    Starting now, I suggest you track your feeding and fasting hours. This is just getting started because it helps you build the habit.

    Once you get the habit down, not only will you be amazed by how your appetite changes, but your new eating schedule will feel more and more natural as your hormones start to balance out.

    When this happens, you'll fall into a natural rhythm, and all you'll have to do at this point is listen to your body. Nowadays, this is what I do—I listen to my appetite and break my fast whenever it works for my day.

    It makes food so simple, easy, and enjoyable. But make no mistake about what it took to get here; it took time and patience.

    Each person is different, so how hard it is for you will be different from how hard or easy it was for me or anyone else.

    Just stick with it, and you'll reap the many rewards.

    Fasting Benefits

    Fasting makes food simple. 

    When you are fasting, you will start eating when your body tells you to eat, which usually averages 2 or 3 meals daily.

    In the research and empirical data I've seen, women do better on three meals daily. I know females who do well on two meals daily, sometimes one. Experiment!

    Fewer meals simplify your food life, so you'll spend less time eating, preparing, and buying food.

    Fasting Is Appetite Control

    ‍Another primary benefit of fasting, which contributes to helping you lose body fat while fasting, is appetite regulation. When you fast, you balance out your hormones. This, in turn, reduces the amount of food your body craves and, thus, eats.

    You are, simply put, less hungry.

    This is all you have to do to get the benefits of appetite control while fasting: When you sit down for a meal, eat slowly, and your body will tell you when to stop eating.

    Then stop eating.


    The human body is a fantastic machine, so listen to it, and it'll show you the way.

    Intermittent Fasting Is Hormone Regulation

    ‍Regardless of what you've been told, eating more meals does not "spike your metabolism" or help you lose weight or burn fat.

    Just the opposite, thanks to a hormone you've probably heard of called insulin.

    Insulin's primary job in the human body is maintaining glucose levels. It also manages storing glucose in your liver, glycogen (muscle), and fat cells.

    Each time you ingest food, your body releases insulin to help manage the glucose (food converts into glucose in your blood) released in your bloodstream.

    Insulin helps your body burn off glucose for energy and shuttle glucose into your liver, muscles, and, if there is extra, into fat cells.

    Since most people eat far more than they "burn off" each day, they unknowingly trigger hyperglycemia, in which extra glucose is in their blood. This state results in insulin shuttling excess glucose into fat cells.

    In a simplified nutshell, this is how you gain fat—more insulin and glucose in your body equals more fat gain.

    Your body releases insulin and glucose every time you eat food (aside from outlier exceptions such as consuming ketones or MCT oil). Not only does this release of hormones make it difficult to burn off unwanted body fat, but more than a couple of health-related problems come with constant and chronically elevated glucose and insulin levels.

    Every time you release insulin and glucose into your body, you are making it more challenging to get your body into "fat-burning mode" because you are telling it that you have excess food available, which then triggers your biology to store these extra calories in the form fat for later use.

    (That's how our ancestors survived. Their bodies were great at storing fat when they had access to extra calories.)

    Furthermore, from the meta-perspective of how your body and brain work together, if you are telling your body that you have food always available, as is the case when you frequently eat throughout the day, your body and mind are trained to keep the cycle going, which manifests in the form of being hungry and tired all the time due to your hormones running amok.

    Remember: Our ancestors lived without modern food preservation, so when they were able to kill a mammoth or other large land animal, they'd eat as much as possible so that their body could store those extra calories in fat cells for later.

    Fat calories are a hunter gatherers' best friend.

    Fat was an insurance policy for our ancestors since it gave them more time to find their next meal. The more fat on your body the better.

    Nowadays, fat is something we don't want because we live in a world where food is guaranteed. We will never starve in the modern world.
    In a world where food is plentiful, our bodies do not need fat since there ​are always calories around us.

    This is the environmental mismatch our species struggles with today.

    All health problems trace back to this mismatch because our biology has yet to adapt to the advent of agriculture and an always-available food supply.

    This mismatch between our food supply and biology is also why we have a soaring obesity rate.

    As we now know, our bodies are designed to store calories because they try to survive later. So every time you eat food, your body will do its best to keep those calories as fat cells because that is what it is designed to do.

    For some people, getting into fat-burning mode is near impossible without drastic changes in the form of prolonged calorie restriction and fasting. This is why the more weight you gain, the harder it is to get off and the easier it is to gain even more weight.

    No matter how you spin it, the more glucose and insulin you release, the harder it is to control appetite, maintain ideal caloric intake, and burn unwanted fat stores.

    Don't be fooled by the outdated and misinformed advice about eating more often to "stoke metabolism."

    Please ignore the eat six meals day nonsense..

    These are why, as a general rule for health and longevity, you should always try to eat less food less often.

    This leads me to the next benefit of IF: calorie restriction.

    Fasting And Calorie Restriction

    Countless studies are showing the longevity benefits of calorie restriction.

    Humans are designed to eat fewer calories and less often than we do today.

    Our ubiquitous access to food, coupled with the ever-declining quality of our food supply, is why we have an ever-growing obesity epidemic.

    The typical Western diet is full of low-quality, empty-calorie foods.

    Take our already-poor diets and add the poor lifestyle habits of snacking, lack of movement, sitting too much, not getting enough sun, staying indoors, etc. You end up with a severe mismatch of the environment destroying the human species.

    Compare this to our pre-agricultural ancestors that faced an inconsistent food supply due to a lack of refrigeration, farming, and modern food preserving methods, yet lived with excellent health, virtually no current disease, and a lot longer—on average—than people think.

    (Our ancestor's low lifespan numbers cited in the media are averages heavily skewed by events such as trauma, for which there was no medicine or 911 to help, and infant mortality, which was very high and significantly brought the numbers down.)

    Our ancestors' inconsistent food availability forced them to go long periods without or with very little food. This is one of the reasons that calorie restriction, like fasting, is a "healthy stress" to the human body.

    Whether you want to lose weight or not, calorie restriction has many health benefits.

    Fasting And Calorie Restriction

    There are a few ways to practice intermittent fasting. As we saw above, my preferred method is the 16/8 "lean gains" approach.

    There are other methods, though, such as fasting for 24 hours at a time once a week.

    Other methods of fasting include multi-day fasts every few months. This is something I plan on doing shortly. Either way, research and consult a doctor before trying anything like that.

    From empirical evidence I've seen in myself and others, the daily 16/8 fasting model is the easiest to start with. That said, there is no right or wrong way to fast.

    The first thing you want to do is reframe your mental model of food and meal frequency.

    Stop snacking.

    Start equating not eating with benefit, with fat loss.

    Start prolonging how long you go between meals.

    These few changes themselves can have life-changing effects.

    It can be hard to get out of the "I have to eat" mindset, but until you feel the other side for yourself, you'll never know what you might be missing out on.

    A final note on eating and muscles

    You don't have to eat all the time, and you shouldn't. Your muscles won't waste away. The insulin sensitivity you develop and the protein-sparing effects of fasting may help you build muscle, counterintuitive as that sounds.

    Numerous studies correlate fasting with growth hormone release. 

    The improvements in insulin sensitivity you get from fasting, which is one of the most significant overall benefits of fasting, improve the production of muscle-building hormones such as growth hormone and increase your body's general management of hormones—insulin and cortisol being the key players.

    Final notes on intermittent fasting

    I hope you start reframing your ideas about food, eating, and fasting.

    Food is something you should eat only when you are hungry—and also something you should skip eating even when you are hungry to get the benefits.

    Get out of an eating mindset and get into a not eating mindset.

    Remind yourself that every time you skip food that you typically would have eaten, you have performed a healthy "stress" for your body. And you are now more likely to live longer and one step closer to controlling your appetite rather than it controlling you.

    Eat less food less often and watch as your health and results improve like nothing else you've ever done in your life thus far.

    It is that amazing.

    Now let's look at one last "fasting technique" near and dear to our hearts here at Wild Foods.

    I wish you the best on your fasting journey. Please let me know if you have any more questions or comments. I'll pitch in wherever I can.

    Disclaimer: Before attempting any new diet or fasting protocol, please consult your doctor. All of these methods are to be used at your own risk.