May 30, 2020
[00:01:26] Podcast Sponsors
[00:04:04] Topic and Guest Introduction
[00:10:25] The Latest Technology That's Caught Dr. Pompa's Eye
[00:14:47] Difference Of Dan's Fasting Protocol
[00:26:20] How To Properly Prepare For A Fast
[00:32:33] Podcast Sponsors
[00:35:44] cont. How To Properly Prepare For A Fast
[00:37:59] What To Do After A Fast
[00:44:14] Dan's Personal Approach To Water Fasting And Fasting In General
[00:53:22] Biohacks Ben And Dan Use To Enhance Their Fasting Protocol
[00:59:05] The Impact Of Fasting On Immunity
[01:08:31] How To Approach Fasting With Children
[01:19:28] Cautions Women Should Observe When Fasting
[01:25:00] Pompa Family Life
[01:27:03] Getting the Book
[01:29:19] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Dan: Anyone can fast. I love that start because you said you have two pages, right? Don't eat. If it were only so simple. Point is is that the moment people stop eating, bad things happen. It's a stress. A fast is actually a stress. It too is a hormetic principle, and that if we stress the body, magic can happen. But if we do these pre-stresses before it, man, magic really happens when you actually fast.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Alright, I got my buddy Dan Pompa on today's show, and he just wrote an amazing book about fasting. We're going to take a deep dive into fasting today, and it's certainly a topic that I think is relevant because it is so beneficial, not just for all the physical benefits that you've no doubt heard about, but I think it's one of the best things you can do for your spiritual discipline's practice. Fasting when combined with breathwork, when combined with prayer, when combined with meditation, it is powerful, powerful.
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Hey, before we jump into today's podcast with Dan, I did want to let you know that my microphone was kind of busted. So, if the sound audio quality is slightly lacking, my apologies, but fear not, the content is good. So, that being said, let's jump in.
Alright, folks, as usual, I get tons and tons of questions from you all about fasting, how do you break a fast, what's the proper day length for a fast, can you eat calories during a fast, does coffee break a fast, et cetera, et cetera. And, I've interviewed people about fasting in the past. I've interviewed Dr. Jason Fung, for example. I've interviewed Dr. Mercola. But there's one guy who, whenever I'm hanging out with him, is not only researching fasting, but also practicing it very intensively, like spending time in the trenches experimenting with all sorts of different fast. Not only that, but his wife does a lot of fasting. His children, which we'll discuss today, have even successfully implemented all sorts of different fast. So, not only is he researching fasting, but he's also practicing it himself, which means he's always, for me at least, got a bunch of practical knowledge when it comes to how to fast properly.
Now, thankfully, he did just write a book. And it's really a good book aside from making the mistake of having a complete tool like me who you write the foreword. The book is actually pretty good. It's called “Beyond Fasting”, brand new book that decodes pretty much everything you need to know about fasting, and furthermore, uses this really interesting approach to ease you into a fast and do things like accelerate your stem cell mobilization during a fast, kick in autophagy soon or allow for fat adaptation to occur on a quicker basis based on some of the things you do going into the fast. So, the book has it all spelled out for you, but I have lots of questions that I want to dive into in terms of kind of the boots on the streets application of what's actually in the book. So, again, the book is called “Beyond Fasting”.
Now, my guest, the author of the book, he's been on the show before. So, he is a guy I first discovered when it came to the world of detoxification. He knows a ton of detox strategies, and he and I did a super thorough podcast on Phase 1, Phase 2 liver detox, hiking clean out the body, whether it's true if you can't even detox, colonic cell turnover, liver cells. We covered a ton, and that was in the episode called “The Most Effective Detox You'd Never Heard of (And Exactly How to Do It)“. And I'm going to link to that show in the shownotes for today's podcast, which I'll give you in a minute.
Then, we did another big podcast on fasting before he wrote this book, in which we got into some of the impact on fasting and stem cells, how fasting burns fat, feast/famine cycles, a lot more. But again, since that previous podcast, he's written his book that I think delves into even more than we were able to get into on that show. However, if you want to listen to either of those shows, you can go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fastwithdan. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fastwithdan because my guest, we're having a guest already, is Dr. Dan Pompa, one of the most respective leaders in the health and wellness space, particularly alternative health and wellness space.
He educates hundreds of practitioners around the globe on inflammation-driven diseases, the ketogenic diet, fasting, ancestral eating approaches, cellular healing, detoxification. He has his own podcast called Cellular Healing TV, which is fantastic. And he's trained as a chiropractor, but really, really is taking a deep dive into what I would say–or two things in particular, cellular detox, and then also fasting. And, like I mentioned, he in his own right is a biohacker, self-experimenter. He is behind the scenes. I think one of the better, if you can use this word to freely biohackers out there, as far as what he's implementing in his own life [00:08:16] _____ got all sorts of new tools he's using. And so, we're going to have a fun chat today. Dan, welcome to the show, man.
Dan: Hey, I love being here, Ben. Gosh, here we are in quarantine. I know this is the perfect thing. We'll just talk all day.
Ben: Yeah. But you broke quarantine, didn't you? Because you got back from a trip. Am I supposed to let people know that on the podcast? [00:08:39] _____ being arrested.
Dan: Yeah. No, it's okay. I was doing some training in an office down in Florida. And, when I left, Florida wasn't even affected. Matter of fact, my flight was actually full, so it was no big deal. And then, kind of while we were there, they started making it harder, at least for New Yorkers and New Jersey people to make their way into Florida. And then, things started shutting down after that. It was good, man. I stayed an extra week that I was doing beyond my work. So, I got a little vacation out of it. We even had some of the family there, so it was great, actually.
Ben: Now, when you say you were training, were you at a doctor's office? Because I know one thing you do, you're always sending me photos of you with different doctors doing crazy, like ozone dialysis and high-dose vitamin C injections, and some things [00:09:29] _____ with you to do, but were you up to anything you can share with the audience as far as any new treatments?
Dan: Yeah. I train doctors all around the world, obviously, my detox protocols. And that particular doc, we were actually filming some things, we were doing some interviews together. So, training, interviews, filming. I was like, “Oh yeah, it's perfect time. Things are dead. We wanted to get these things done.” So, headed down there and got stuck there. I could have left if we wanted to, but it was just a such a perfect time, would you rather be. Park City, Utah, that's where I live, in a shoulder season. What that means is it's not like the perfect time in winter where you can ski, and it's not summer where we have these gorgeous mountain bike trails, which you and I have–you hit many of these trails with me on the mountain bikes. So, the shoulder season, you want to get the heck out of Park City. So yeah, I was in Florida.
Ben: Okay, cool. And as far as–because I know you're always delving into this stuff. I know we want to focus on fasting today, but with everything that you're up to–because you're one of the few guys I know who, like me, has like a home hyperbaric chamber and a bunch of red lights everywhere and all sorts of crazy tools. And then you're also traveling to all these different doctors' offices learning things that you can turn around and teaching your practitioners or write about or talk about on your podcast. Is there anything particularly head-turning or crazy or anything groundbreaking you've been up to in the world of health, whether on this Florida trip or anytime else in the past couple of months?
Dan: Yeah. I mean, on that particular trip, Dr. John Lieurance, he's doing great things there in his clinic in Sarasota. That's where it is. He has this thing, Ben. I thought of you. I know we both know Dr. John and it's called a CVAC. And what it does is it basically takes you up to Mount Everest, that elevation so to speak, in a simulator. But what it is is you can literally feel the air and the chamber get cold, which it would at that elevation, and then you can feel the pressure change. As a matter of fact, if you take a deep breath and hold it when it goes up to those elevations, you feel like your lungs are just going to explode. I mean, you literally have to seep it out to hold it on. And then boom, it takes a deep dive at sea level. So, these pressure changes on and off, on and off are basically creating a hormesis, hormetic principle, forces your body to adapt, and it's amazing. So, they can do some different therapies in the office, even stem cell, PRP, whatever it is. And you can go in this chamber and it drives it into your cells, or you just do the procedure without doing other things first. Just that up and down in elevation forces the cells to adapt. So, it's amazing how it works. Look, you and I have seen a lot. We've tried a lot. This one was new to me.
Ben: Yeah. When I interviewed Hunter McIntyre, an obstacle course racer, he talked about this guy named crazy Bobby, who he's working with, who has developed apparently like a giant CVAC chamber you can go into and work out in, because a lot of these things are like pods that you sit inside. But yeah, I find them fascinating. I haven't done much with CVAC, but I think a lot of people confuse it with hyperbaric or hypobaric. But it's not really a change in the percentage of oxygen that you breathe. It's a significant change though in the altitude. And yeah, I mean, I've seen good data on circulation and oxygen-rich blood cells, and removal of lactic acid, and mitochondrial biogenesis, and stem cell production. But I really haven't messed around with CVAC much. So, that's pretty cool.
Dan: Yeah. I mean, you just said it, like people think hyperbaric. Even in a hyperbaric, what changes is the pressure, not so much the oxygen levels. It's like the pressure pushes in on you. So, if you think about elevation, when you get up to Mount Everest, what changes is the pressure. And therefore, the inability to utilize the oxygen your body has to adapt. And of course, when you get at sea level, there's a much greater pressure, and therefore, the ability to utilize the oxygen. So, yeah. The oxygen content doesn't change much. It's really the pressure that's the deal.
Ben: Yeah. Well, I definitely want to try it someday. I just haven't had a chance to yet. So, Dr. John Lieurance, by the way, he's actually flying up to my house in a few weeks to record a podcast. And, for those of you listening in, you may have heard me talk about like high-dose melatonin suppositories, and nebulizing glutathione, and N-acetylcysteine, and all this kind of crazy medical procedures that can be used for sleep or immunity. And John is the guy that I've been getting all that stuff from. So, we're finally getting connected and recording a big podcast on all that stuff. And I'm guessing we'll probably hit on CVAC, too. So, I don't think I told you this, Dan, but he's flying up in about two weeks when we record.
Dan: Yeah. No. I knew he was recording with you. I didn't know when, but yeah, you all will love listening to John. He's a wealth of knowledge on those topics and really has developed some great products around those topics as well. So, I love that guy.
Ben: Awesome. Well, CVAC aside, I want to get into fasting. And, the book is fantastic. And again, if you guys go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fastwithdan, I'll link to the book and everything else that Dan and I talk about in this show. But I guess the first thing is, Dan, like my heart sinks whenever I get another fasting book, yet another fasting book sent to my house because it seems like–it's almost like a commercial industry now right now built around this concept of just–if I could write a fasting book, it would be two pages long, page one would be don't and page two would be eat. However, there's a little bit more to it than that, but how would you differentiate your approach to fasting? And, we have time, so you can rabbit hole big time. But I want you to walk me through how the fasting protocol in your book is different than any other fasting protocol that might be out there.
Dan: Yeah. Well, I'm laughing because the same thing happens to me. Everyone sends me their books and gag, keto, right? It's like two pages, lower carb. Okay, next. But yeah, the books are still selling. Now, you know what makes it different? Because I train doctors, it's one thing reading a piece of literature, which I love doing. However, what I love more is being able to take that concept, and then bringing it to my group, and then putting it into practice. And then at the end of that, then we're able to really come together as a group and say, “Man, this is working. This isn't.”
So, what's in that book is really a program of what me and my doctors that I teach have been doing for many years that works. And really, in it is the strategies of how we fix the microbiome, the gut, how we turn off autoimmunity, how we fix these impossible to fix thyroid conditions, unexplainable illnesses. Well, so you're right when you're saying it. That's why I chose the title “Beyond Fasting” because it really is. So, anyone can fast. I love that start because you said you have two pages, don't eat, if it were only so simple. Because the point is is that the moment people stop eating, bad things happen, and it's because they have cells that don't shift over effectively into fat-adaptation, they don't shift over into a really high enough autophagy. And we're going to break all this down, so fear not, folks.
But the point I want to make is this. You don't just run a marathon. To get the best results, you train for it. Let me use a Ben Greenfield example. What things are you doing right now? Like, what big races are you doing?
Ben: I'm training for the Russian Kettlebell Certification. It's a kettlebell certification. It's just basically learning a lot of new moves, like the wind bell and the overhead jerk, and a snatch test. And it's less of a race because increasingly, I've become disillusioned with racing. It's not where my heart is right now and I'm just setting up other challenges. But for me right now, yeah, I'm training for a Russian Kettlebell Certification. Why do you ask, good sir?
Dan: Yeah. That sounds hard anyway, but I don't know what the hardest race–what was the hardest race you ever did anyway?
Ben: Oh, geez. Dude, over 20 years of racing, I would say probably the hardest would be Ironman Hawaii because of the combination of the heat and the speed of the competitive field, and then Spartan World Championships, probably because of the elevation, and again, the speed of the competitive field.
Dan: Imagine doing one of those races without training. Okay. Number one, I don't know that you'd finish, but let's say you miraculously–oh, Ben Greenfield would finish even without training, right? But, okay. But your results —
Ben: I did do. In my defense, not to throw you off track too much, I did do–my very last Ironman Hawaii was like a publicity stunt with Team Timex, where they called me up four weeks before the race and asked me if I could come race. So, I did do Ironman Hawaii. It took me like 12 and a half hours, but I did that one on four weeks of training, and I'll tell you, the hardest part of it was not running or swimming, it was just–that base stays with you, but it was the biomechanical position of being hunched over on a bike for five hours after not being used to being in that position for so long.
Dan: Okay. But the point is is if you're to train more on the bike, maybe you made it in eight hours, ten hours, I don't know, who knows? But the point is is that we don't just do a race like that. If we train, we get better results. And really, that's the book. It takes you through everything I have learned in 20 years, honestly, of really–look, I started into fasting in the '90s. It was me and some natural hygiene society geeks, honestly. And they were vegan, vegetarian, and I was a grass-fed mediator. So, we resonated on one thing, fasting. But I've been studying fasting since the '90s, so it's really beyond 20 years. And through that 20 years, and coaching doctors, we learned a lot, I've learned a lot. In it, in that book is what I've learned.
Here's the key. Fasting, there's absolute miracles that happen in fasting. I think every one of your listeners get it and understand most of the principles. However, what we've learned walking up to that fast, if you do this a month before you fast, man, the results go through the roof, the healing, turning off–listen, we all have what is called senescent cells. These are cells that live too long and simply age you prematurely, it keeps you from recovering faster. They're immunosenescent cells. These are immune cells that live too long, and what they do is just drive inflammatory states.
I just did a video, went over two million people on Facebook talking about this concept. When you look at why this disease is attacking old people, it was basically, experts are saying they have too many immunosenescent cells driving inflammation and cytokines. And then when you look at a 30-year-old who gets corona and gets super sick for two to three weeks, even potentially dying, very rare, but potentially, they have one thing in common, too many immunosuppressant cells that actually stimulate this cytokine reaction and they are falling victim to something that they shouldn't even know. If you and I got corona, and I think I did, we wouldn't even have a symptom because we don't have these cytokine activities being driven by these cells that live too long.
So, the point is, how do you get rid of them? You get rid of them in fasting states, especially extended fast, which is what the book is about. However, when we look at–in the book, I talked about how to know when you're in this max autophagy, getting rid of these cells. So, I've had my p16 enzymes measured, which is a marker for how many of these senescent cells you have. And I put myself in a regimen or program and re-measured, and I'll just say this, my wife and I, well, we're far younger on every way possible, DNA methylation testing, telomere testing, p16 testing, basically, how many immunosenescent cells we have. So, the point is is that if you do it right, you can massively de-age, get new tissues, new cells, but the key is what you do before the fast, and after.
Ben: A couple of thoughts here. Peter Attia, I know you're familiar with him. He has this concept called the “Nothing Burger” where he will do one week of fasting, sandwiched in between two weeks of nutritional ketosis to step up the body's ability to be able to generate ketones and mobilize fatty acids so that the fast becomes more doable mentally, but also more effective physically. Is this the same type of concept?
Dan: Yeah. So, I would say it's the same type of concept, absolutely. I mean, there's more to it even becoming just fat adapted. Chapter 1 is fat adaptation, then it goes from there. Chapters 3 and 4 in the book, I talked about my diet variation principles, which ladies, you're listening, why five high carb days before your cycle, before your period, transition your hormones massively the rest of the month. Now, again, how did we learn this? I learned this training doctors. We all started doing this with women who have struggled getting even intermittent fasting, struggled getting into ketosis, or they are in ketosis and struggling and they stop losing weight.
So, we started doing some of these diet variation principles. And, basically, it's a hormetic principle. When you shift your diet seasonally, monthly, or weekly, the body has to change, and it does it two ways to adapt to this dietary change, and it could be–there's many different dietary changes we employ, but the hormetic principle is this. The body adapts to the change by changing its microbiome, all which is part of how we heal, really hard to heal guts. And it also does it with hormone optimization. Certain hormones get optimized no different than going in and out of hot and cold. We realized that we get this rise in norepinephrine or rise in growth hormone, but it's short.
But dietary change in shifts actually last even longer. So, it's magic. I mean, and again, there's weekly principles, monthly principles. One of which I just shared with you is just this high-carb five-days in a row for women right before their period. Then it can be more random, but it works. The body adapts to the change. And there's other reasons, too. Ladies, the week before your period, typically, your innate intelligence gives you cravings and you go, “I am so good on my diet except the week before my period.” Well, your body's telling you eat carbs. The reason is because it'll rise up insulin and you need insulin for many, many hormone conversions, and you're making so many hormone conversions the week before your cycle. That rise in insulin becomes magic. And then, therefore, you hormonally optimize. And then what happens really is cool as the weeks after your cycle, every bit of the hormones gets better, and then the fat-burning machine fires up again.
So, I mean, that's just one example of some of the principles that we do before the fast, because if we employ these diet variation strategies before you fast, we get you more into this ability to experience max autophagy. And really, that's what we want during the fast. We want your body using all of its bad cells during the fast as its energy. So, these strategies help prepare–I call it metabolic mitochondrial fitness. If we can stress your mitochondria where you burn fat for energy again and again and again, by the time you get to the fast, it's a stress. A fast is actually a stress. It too is a hormetic principle. And that if we stress the body, magic can happen. But if we do these pre-stresses before it, man, magic really happens when you actually fast.
Ben: Okay. So, it makes sense that you would want to limit carbohydrates going into a fast to upregulate your ability to be able to enter into a state of ketosis or utilize fatty acids, or even upregulate autophagy during the fast. But boots on the streets, what does that look like? So, you and I are recording–what day today? It's a Friday. So, let's say next Friday, a week from now, I want to begin a fasting protocol, and I want to hear a little bit more about like the length of fast that you recommend. But before we get there, what is it going to look like for me as far as like a typical breakfast, lunch, dinner, or snacking scenario going into my fast?
Dan: Yeah. So, okay. Let's assume most of your listeners are low carb, keto, paleo, something of that sort. Your next steps are–and I would assume most of your listeners, intermittent fast, they definitely know about intermittent fast. So, one of the first things we do is we start squeezing their eating window down, which okay, great, you're used to eating in your eight-hour window, maybe it's a six-hour window. Meaning, you're experiencing a 15-hour fast or an 18-hour fast, whatever it is, maybe it's a 10-hour fast, who knows? But whatever it is, you squeeze it down your eating window, and maybe you start doing more days where you're just eating at a four-hour or three-hour window. We even add in one or two days a week randomly where you just eat one meal, or you don't eat at all, you just randomly do a fast one day a week, maybe two. But okay, that's great because that's teaching the mitochondria to go without food and you better start to burn fat because otherwise, you're going to die.
So, it's a little bit of mitochondrial stress, a little bit of mitochondrial fitness there. However, I always say this. So, that's the fast, but if we add feast days, we've learned clinically that they're actually as important, sometimes more important, especially for thyroid people, adrenal people, hormone challenged people, the feast days become more important than the fast days. So, therefore, we add one, two, and sometimes three feast days. Now, a feast day can look like a high-carb day, 150, 200 grams of carbs a day, depending on the person. It could be a high protein day. Why? Because some people say, “Man, I don't digest carbs well, blah, blah, blah.” Okay. Do high protein, or maybe it's a really high-calorie day. Protein, carbs or calories stimulate a pathway that some of your listeners are familiar with called mTOR.
Now, there's criticism of mTOR from the anti-agers because they say, “mTOR ages you prematurely.” Okay, I agree. If you stay high calorie, high protein, high carb too long, then they're right, it'll stimulate mTOR and you will age prematurely. But, when you do it in these short bursts, it stimulates an anabolic growth pathway that in short bursts is magic. Healing occurs, and also the body goes, “Oh, okay, I'm not in this starvation state and it actually fires up fat burning in autophagy more.” So, it's magic when you–I interviewed Christine [00:29:36] _____. She did some stuff on, basically, every other day, fasting, et cetera. And I asked her the question, Ben. I said, “Christine, why does it work? Why did every other day feast/famine, feast/famine, feast/famine work better than low fat, high-fat diets, low–I mean, any diet they compared it to, why did it work better?” She said, “Adaptation, because we're forcing the body to adapt.”
So, the feast/famine cycling is a weekly diet variation strategy. Meaning, you could put four, two, one. You could put two fast days, one feast day. You could do two feast days, two fast days, and three just regular old keto days, whatever diet you're on. The point is pick what works for you and your schedule, but the variation becomes the magic. Okay. That's a weekly variation. Monthly variation is what I already told you all is add five days a month of a feast day. Now, you could do the same thing, high carbs the week before your period. You could do high protein. Try that. And then once we get to the fasting state, and once we actually fast, then we add five days of even just low calorie, low carb, low protein in a month. So, now, that's really a massive amount of variation.
So, the point is is that the variation creates this stress that we need to experience more autophagy, and therefore, more benefit from the fast. And that's what you asked the question, what can someone start doing now? Just mix it up, just like I'm saying, monthly and weekly. Now, Ben, we can talk about seasonal variation. I'm telling you, those listening, here's the problem with your listening audience and mine, and I say that with love in my heart because we are all the same people. We are so disciplined at times that we don't shift our diets seasonally. We just stick to what worked for us.
Ben: Avocados, banana, coffee year round.
Dan: Yeah. Okay. Certain things. Yeah, okay, do year-round, I'm with you. But the point is is if you can make some massive shifts in your diet seasonally, ancient cultures were forced into it. I think we talked about some of these principles on the last–when we interviewed last time. But, ancient cultures were forced into these massive changes. We aren't. We tend to eat the same foods. Oh, but man, when you make a shift, I'll go into some deep ketosis for a couple of months, and then I go high healthy carbs. I mean, just change it up massively, or maybe you do a carnivore diet for a month. Man, I'm telling you, the magic isn't in the change. We as a group of doctors will tell you, when we have someone who can't break through in weight loss resistance or something of that sort, we really change up their diet like really exaggerated. It works.
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We talked about that a lot last time about these ancestral cultures that probably still have a great deal of their genetic adaptations woven into our DNA when it comes to not just periods of time spent in a catabolic phase and cycling between anabolism and catabolism, mTOR switching on and mTOR switching off, but then also changes in the macronutrient composition based on the availability of, let's say seeds, nuts, berries, and tubers versus large game animals or fish. And, you see this in many cultures and it just makes sense. And, I think we're also blessed and that we can order from Amazon and Thrive Market, and our grocery store can bring stuff in year-round.
But yeah, there are not only physiological implications of that being a little bit of an evolutionary mismatch, but then of course that aside, there's even the environmental impact, right? I think that the more that we can eat locally, the more we're going to be selecting naturally seasonal available foods and the less of an impact we're going to make on the planet when we are using lots of jet fuel to just get the same foods in because we're eating the same thing for breakfast, lunch, and dinner year-round. Even my dad, for example, he practices Eastern Orthodox fasting and it's very intensive. And, he has periods of the year where there's a great amount of protein restriction, or dairy restriction, or meat restriction, and then other periods where he's able to feast these amazing meals, rich in protein.
And perhaps more modern example of that would be, I interviewed the guys from the Wild Health physician network, Mike Mallin and Matt Dawson, a few weeks ago. And they talked a lot about how in their patients, they'll almost try to simulate some of these longevity studies such as the recent one where they were pulsing DHEA and growth hormone and metformin, and they'll take a strategy like that, but also pair it with like a food and exercise-driven anabolic cycle where there's harder workouts, weight training, increases in growth hormone, higher carb intake, less fasting with periods of catabolism where it's more like sauna, walking, sunshine, yoga, protein restriction, calorie restriction, and compressed feeding windows.
So, it does make sense. I know you lay it out pretty well in the book. And so, the general approach is you fat adapt going into the fast. And what about, to return to like Peter Attia's “Nothing Burger” approach, what about after the fast? So, he'll continue in nutritional ketosis even without the calorie restriction from the fast, but he'll continue in nutritional ketosis after the fast to, I guess ease himself out of the fast. What do you look at regarding the post-fasting state?
Dan: Yeah. You have to ease your way out. And what I recommend is a five-day fast. We'll talk about why in a moment. But, I have taken people through some very long fast. And again, the bigger the person, the longer the fast they can do, and sometimes need to do, but how you break the fast, especially the next two days. So, if you're fasting five days, day six and seven are critical that you go lower calorie. So, we lower the calories down depending on your body size, and I do discuss that in the book. But somewhere under 1,000, 5 to 800 will just say the day one back eating. So, that would be technically day six. And then the next day, maybe 800 to 1,000 calories.
So, we ease the caloric intake up. Why? Because your enzymes in your gut are really low on purpose. It's in a rested state. So, you don't want to just–it's kind of like laying on your couch and you're half asleep, and then you start doing sprints in the yard. You're probably going to pull something. So, you don't want to do that. Also, you don't want to just throw dense proteins down your gut. So, we wait a couple of days before we add meats in.
Ben: I want to interrupt you real quick before you get onto raw veggies, which might be the same logic behind the protein, but would that be because of a digestive enzyme sluggishness, or what would be the actual reason that you wouldn't eat a heftier complex?
Dan: Even your microbiome, remember, during a fast, you're starving down good and bad bacteria, and they're kind of in a little hibernation mode. You need certain bacteria to make even enough HCL. So, your HCL is lower. Other digestive enzymes are a little lower and sluggish. So, we want to give them easy to digest foods, like avocado, some berries. I mean, these softer foods, blended vegetables, steamed vegetables. If you just eat it like a raw vegetable, like a big salad, people get stomachaches, or you eat some raw broccoli, forget about it.
Ben: Now, I want to play devil's advocate though, Dan, because if you look at this from an ancestral standpoint, and let's say someone from the Spokane Indian tribe, up around where I'm at, is hunting large animal for days or a herd of animals for days, and comes across that kill and is able to harvest the animal. From the data I've seen, or at least the anecdotes I've seen epidemiologically, they would then go into a great feast where they're going to cook that animal and eat it and have lots of it, and break the fast with a pretty hefty meal. Now, I'm not saying that they might not have had some amount of digestive distress afterwards, but couldn't you make an argument from an ancestral standpoint that you could break your fast? So, like a giant ribeye steak, a bunch of bone broth, some organ meats, plants, berries, tubers. So, what do you think about this from an ancestral standpoint?
Dan: Yeah. So, I love that question because my son Daniel, a very healthy young man, he just jumps right–all of my children, I have five, fasted many, many times, and he just jumped right in after a fast and he got away with it. And then, my other child did that and did not get away with it. So, two different people. But I think the healthier you are to your point–and let me even say it this way. The more you fast–my son Daniel does a lot of fasting. He's done four-day dry fast. We'll talk about that in a minute.
Ben: How old is he now?
Dan: He's 21. He'll be 22 here soon in a month.
Dan: So, he's done a lot of fasting. I think the more fasting you do, like ancestral tribe so to speak where they're forced into these long periods–listen, the body can adapt to anything. They are going to be able to adapt to that and get used to that. Their microbiomes are just stellar. I mean, so the average American I even–more people right now in our society are not going to adapt to that massive food chain and they're going to regret it. Yeah. So, that's really the issue. I have broken my fast, too. I mean, I'm healthy. I have broken it too fast and ate certain things. I get a stomachache, little indigestion, but I don't want to put myself in that environment. I want my microbiome to start feeding. I want to feed my stem cells. I don't want to add the stress. I just came out of the stress. So, breaking the fast is really important to just keep maximizing the results.
Ben: So, it would kind of depend, I guess, on whether or not you're willing to potentially put up with a little bit of digestive distress. I personally, like I really did breaking a fast with a big celebratory meal. And honestly, I pop some digestive enzymes and I feel pretty good doing that. And again, I'll use Bio-Gest or MassZymes, some kind of good enzyme with some proteolytic set and things like that.
Dan: You can absolutely biohack it with some enzymes. Ben, that does work, and that would work for you and I for sure. If you're sick and challenged, it's not going to work for, even the enzymes. I mean, how do I know these things? Because again, clinically, I fast a lot of people, thousands of people, sick and challenged people, slower is better. Again, healthier people, you throw some enzymes in with it, yeah, you'll get away with it.
Ben: Okay. So, when it comes to the actual fast itself, once you get into your flavor of a fasting protocol, are you eating or consuming anything at all when you're fasting, including water? Like, what's your approach to the actual fasting window itself?
Dan: Yeah. In the book, I give people choices of different types of fasts, and one of which is just pure water. There's magic. We experience, when we measure how we look at autophagy, we get the best results, I would say autophagy-wise from a pure water fast. But oftentimes, that's not where we start people. Your first fast could be a partial fast where we just get calories depending on body size under 1,000. You have to keep your protein under 20, depending on body size. If you're very small, maybe under 15 because that breaks you out of autophagy. If you eat too much protein, you'll slow or break out of autophagy. If you eat too many calories, you won't get into autophagy.
So, you get autophagy via this partial fast. So, that's an option. Bone broth fasting is technically a partial fast. The nice thing about partial fasting, number one, it's not as psychologically hard. It's like, “Oh, I can still eat.” You can take products, supplements. When you're doing a pure water fast–you can drink coffee and tea if you'd like, that's a lot better. But when you're doing a water fast, it's best to do nothing except maybe some sea salt to maintain electrolytes. But really, you're in full reliance on the innate intelligence. You get also something that I call energy diversion on a pure water fast where the body has massive energy to heal with. It's diverting the energy it would normally take to digest and assimilate food, which is a tremendous amount of energy.
And now, it has this extra energy. It doesn't just lay and sit on it. No, it takes that energy and starts driving it into healing. I mean, you might have day three of a fast, water fast. All of a sudden, you have this knee pain and like, “Gosh, why does my knee ache? Oh, I injured this knee 20 years ago.” It's kind of like what's happened here with this quarantine. All of a sudden, we have extra time on our hands. We're looking at our cupboards and we're looking at our closets going, “Oh, you know, I'm just going to start fixing this.” And you jump into things you never had time to fix, and now you have a little bit extra time and energy and you're fixing it.
So, that's what happens during a pure water fast, massive amounts of energy that it can divert towards healing. But anyways, partial fasting still gets autophagy, still a great tool. I'm going to be honest with you. I do about four five-day water fast a year–I'm sorry, I do four five-day fast a year. I do two partial and I do two water. Now, I'm going to tell you, I prefer–the water fasting is easier for me. Why? Because I'm that guy, and this is not everybody, I'm that guy, once I start eating, it's kind of hard to stop. So, it's like I literally, when I do it, I have to do shakes and just like, “Okay, this is the shake I'm going to do at two o'clock and one at six o'clock and that's it.” And I have to have it all caloried out and proteined out and figured out. Otherwise, if I'm just doing little bits of food, I just want to keep eating. And even after I drink my shake, I want another one. So, water, I lose–after a couple of days, I'm done. I don't even have appetite anymore. I definitely not hunger. So, you can choose your fast.
Ben: Now, are you taking, regardless of whether you're doing a water fast or a bone broth fast or a partial fast, like a fasting-mimicking diet, for example, are you taking any type of supplements to accelerate autophagy or enhance the benefits of a fast, whether that might be something like berberine or metformin, or whether it'd be, like you mentioned, some kind of a mineral supplement? I know that many people will fast for some of the detoxification benefits. So, there are like binders that you can take. I mean, what would a supplementation stack look like for you when it comes to fasting?
Dan: Well, in a water fast, I love just water and sea salt. I could fast even without sea salt. My body is used to fasting. But many of you lose a lot of electrolytes because you dump a lot of stored glucose. And therefore, electrolytes, if you have electrolyte without sugar, great, take it or just take sea salt. And if you can do it without any [00:48:52] _____ do it. Now, in the book, I talked about the fasting trio. Where did that come from? My doctors and myself, we fast a lot of people with a lot of health challenges. And to your point, you release a lot of toxins because of autophagy. So, more toxic people, a lot of their symptoms during a fast, the severe headaches, the massive brain fog, dizziness, all of that stuff. Yes, it could be caused by the lack of electrolytes. So, replace them. However, a lot of it is toxin related.
So, a binder that sits in the gut we utilize called Bind. It sits in the gut and just grabs toxins that get dumped into the bile. It gets dumped into your gut and you just reabsorb it, reabsorb it, and it just makes you feel like crap. So, Bind is one. Another one is CytoDetox, which you use. And we talked about on past shows, it is a binder in and around the body systemically. But it's a particle, so it's not like you're eating food. So, it works to mitigate a lot of those symptoms. And then, one other one is something you talked about on your show, it's molecular hydrogen. And molecular hydrogen downregulates something called hydroxy free radicals that raise up with toxic people when they fast. So, if we knock those down, actually–by the way, molecular hydrogen is also shown to increase autophagy in a fasting state. So, it's a product that works really well for that. I don't know if you sell one on your site, Ben, but people can grab that.
Ben: For hydrogen?
Ben: I get some from Quicksilver. And there's another company called Water and Wellness that has some good ones, but yeah. I mean, most hydrogen tablets, the ingredients are pretty minimal and they're pretty similar from tablet to tablet.
Dan: Yeah. So, I mean, you can add that. So the point though is is that to mitigate a lot of the symptoms using some of these binders is magic, and we called it the Fasting Trio.
Ben: Okay. So, the Fasting Trio, by the way, you're saying that's the binder, the hydrogen tablets?
Dan: That's the Cyto, Bind, and we call it Fastonic, which is a molecular hydrogen. Put the three together, it really–for people who get symptoms during fasting, there's your answer, add some sea salt, two teaspoons of sea salt a day, bam, and you're going to change a lot of your fasting state.
Ben: Okay. What you said, Cytobind is one. The hydrogen tablets are another.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So, those would be the three that you use when you're fasting?
Dan: For your audience, just–we'll link those and do something special for your audience. Yeah, I'll talk to Ashley. We'll make that happen. We'll add the link here.
Ben: Okay. Alright, got it. I'll put it in the shownotes at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fastwithdan. Now, someone could theoretically use something like, I don't know, activated charcoal, for example, or something like that if they were in a pinch, right?
Dan: Yeah, if they were in a pinch. I mean, look, I test binders. A lot of the charcoals on the markets, especially some of the better ones that come from dirt, they're contaminated. Carbons hold toxins. So, many of them are contaminated. We test them, they're contaminated. So, I'm a big believer and always, always, always test binders, especially carbons and those sorts. But yeah. And then there's different grades, too. The carbon that's in Bind, it is a super activated carbon pharmacy grade. It's an amazing binder. But yeah, I mean, if you have carbon folks at home that you're accustomed to, you can use that in a Bind.
But the Bind product has four different binders in it. One even that comes from a tree in Africa. I mean, there's some pretty cool binders in it because you want multiple binders. The reason, your body will dump organic toxins, things like biotoxins, molds or biotoxin, infections or biotoxins. It'll dump those things. You need specific binders for that. It'll bind, it'll drop heavy metals. That's the inorganic toxin. Well, different binders work for that. So, you want multiple binders really to be effective.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Now, what about anything aside from supplements? Like, I talked earlier about how you've got a hyperbaric chamber. Last time I visited you, I just [00:53:09] _____ stick a Rectone at my ass, or I'm sorry, Rectone, ozone of my ass, rectal delivery of ozone, which I guess you could call Rectone. I just coined a new term.
So, in terms of any biohacks or things that you might be using to enhance a fasting protocol, are you messing around with [00:53:28] _____?
Dan: Yeah. I like recto ozone. I'm going to use that. Ben Greenfield coined it, recto ozone. A recto, that's ozone in the butt. But yeah. No, that would be a great thing. I mean, you're going to increase your oxygen. That extra singlet oxygen is going to break off into the blood and it's going to upregulate some of your immune cells. That's awesome. And it's not like you're taking anything to do it.
Now, a lot of people will ask about saunas. If you're healthy, sauna is no problem. A lot of unhealthy people though in a fasting state, they get in a sauna and they want to pass out, they feel worse, it kills them for two days. So, just be cautious. I'm okay with saunas if you're able to do them. So, take it slow and low. I'm asked about exercise even during a fasting state. If you're healthy, no problem. I can exercise, no problem. However, I even know I can and many of you can't, or you just don't have the energy stores. So, it's too much stress. And if you don't adapt to stress, it's not a good stress.
But even though I can exercise, I don't because I want, and this is–we're talking a longer fast here. Day fast, no problem at all. But a longer fast, I want that energy, that extra energy that I talked about that the body will divert into healing. I want it to go to healing and not just towards the exercise. But day five of my fast, when growth hormone is at its highest point, I always exercise on day five and take advantage of that hormone because you have a maximum growth hormone rise right at that day five. And then a couple hours later or hour later, I'll break my fast on day five.
So, yeah. I mean, so what you do during the fast? There's a lot of other fun biohacks. I think red light therapy is fantastic. It's not as stressful as a full-blown sauna so to speak. I think that's great. I'm trying to think of things that people would have access to, Ben, help me. And you can ask the question, is that good during the fast?
Ben: Yeah. Well, I think some of these things that would enhance or upregulate the increase in stem cell mobilization that we know occurs during a fast would probably be, if you had access to them, useful. Particularly, hyperbaric, pulse electromagnetic field tables or units would probably help out with that a little bit because those can induce a little bit of a release from bone marrow. Anything that would upregulate detox pathways, like the red light therapy or some type of sauna protocol. And then I also think anything that would upregulate mitochondrial biogenesis or activity of cytochrome oxidase, like photons from light or infrared light therapy, long walks in the sunshine, grounding, earthing, [00:56:11] _____ mineral intake.
Dan: Yeah, that's it.
Ben: Yeah. I think most of this stuff is pretty straightforward, things people would already do in general for mitochondrial health or for detoxification. But what I would say is even more important regarding the exercise piece of things is if we step back and look at it from a physiological standpoint, we know that glycogen reserves are going to be pretty affected by a fast, liver and muscle glycogen. And so, for me, it comes down to sauna, easy walks, yoga, a little bit of cold soaking, even though you get a huge amount of glycogenolysis during cold soaks. You got to be careful with excess use of the cold.
And then anything from a training or a cardio standpoint that would rely more on the phosphogenic than the glycolytic system. Meaning, if you're going to lift weights, you're doing three sets of five reps, super quick, explosive and heavy. Or if you're going to do interval training, we know the body kicks into glycolysis somewhere between about 20 and 30 seconds. So, you might do 10 seconds super hard on an AirDyne, and then four minutes of active recovery pedaling, and you might do three or four rounds of that. So, just these quick bursts of exercise if it's cardio, and quick bursts of power if it's strength. And, I think if you combine that with walking, a little bit of sauna, a little bit of yoga, a little bit of cold, you're stringing together a pretty good self-care protocol during the fast. That's also not going to deplete you from an adrenal standpoint or even from an immune standpoint, which is actually, I wanted to touch on immunity as soon as it's relevant to what we're talking about right now. But before we do, anything you wanted to add in to close the loop on biohacker's exercise?
Dan: Yeah. No, it's amazing because your audience–everything you said, I'm 100% in agreement with. When you're dealing with–my audience is typically people seeking to get their health back, and they literally, they don't have the energy to do that. They're just surviving in the fast, which is okay. You want that energy to go to healing. So, just if you're healthy and that's what you do normally and you have no big health challenges, everything, Ben, you were talking about, fantastic. If you're not and you do have health challenges, take the energy and just drive it to healing. Like, I love doing what you said. I love doing some hot/cold. But again, my body adapts to that and it's a plus. Unhealthy people, they do that, they can't make it through their day. So, Ben, your audience is very different than mine, so we have to just be cautious with the advice that we give each audience. So, let them there be known that there's two ways of doing it there.
Ben: Yeah. I want to touch on women, and I want to touch on kids too because your wife fasts and your kids, I think all of them fast. But before we do, we'd be remiss not to discuss the impact of fasting on immunity just because so many people are asking about it right now during the coronavirus pandemic. So, what's your take on fasting when it comes to whether or not it's something we should avoid in terms of excess stress from an immunity standpoint?
Dan: Yeah. And again, right now is critical. When we talk about–kind of two answers in one here. My children actually organize their own fast because of the coronavirus because they overheard me talking about it. I was reading an article about the immunosenescence cells and putting people at risk for coronavirus. And, they basically said, “Ben, we're going to fast.” And that was probably even before it was really known that, okay, this isn't even that dangerous, this virus for kids. But they jumped in and organized their own little fast. They fasted for five days, just water. Why? Why would you do that for immunity? Because during a fast, you're getting rid of these hyperactive senescent immune cells that cause inflammation and actually increase your risk. And when you fast, you're upregulating a stem cell and you're creating a new immune cell that is vigilant. It is the perfect guard for your immune system, that new brand new cell.
So, we're recreating our immune systems with a fast. So, that's what they did. There's a microbiome connection here, too. Real immunity, it really does start in the gut. I mean, everyone listening knows that now. I mean, even yogurt commercials, 70% of your immune system starts in your gut. Well, I can tell you that we don't fix really bad guts in microbiome by just eating a bunch of bacteria. If it were only so easy. We do it by this hormetic principle, stressing it. So, those dyed variation strategies that I talked about earlier, changing your diet, going feast days, famine days. That's actually the key for changing the microbiome for better.
So, when you look at all of the testing right now around the microbiome, that's gotten better. There's the Viome test and there's others. There's one thing we really learn from it all because we really realize that, okay, we thought we're going to be able to do these tests and identify bad guys and kill them and get better, and it didn't work out like that. But what we did take away is the difference between a Ben Greenfield or a Dr. Pompa and someone's struggling in their health in their microbiome that is is diversity. Ben, we actually had our microbiome, our poop looked at by the same really smart scientists. And, she said, “Oh my gosh, you and Ben Greenfield have the most diverse bacteria out of any I've looked at.” There's a reason for that, but yeah, she was amazed by our diversity, which diversity equals immunity, just so you know. The more diverse your bacteria, the healthier you are, the healthier your immune system.
So, what did Ben and I do to get that diversity? We do a lot of these fasting things, intermittent fasting. So, yes, that creates diversity, which creates immunity. So, real immunity actually does start in the gut. And everything we're talking about with fasting is really the way that you fix this diversity. By the way, when you change your diet seasonally, we know that part of that adaptation, carnivore diet, vegan diet, or maybe you go just into a keto diet, into a high-carb diet, is that the adaptation occurs in part by a diversity in the microbiome that occurs. When your body has to go, “Oh, these are fibrous foods now, I was just eating all meat and fat,” boom, all of a sudden, it starts to upregulate new bacteria. And when you switch again, anyways, it creates a diversity, the more shifts you have in your diet. Therefore, it creates a better immunity. Fasting states, we are genetically programmed of times of fasting. So, every time you fast, you stress your bacteria in your gut and it creates more diversity. As a matter of fact, your microbiome actually resets, literally. I mean, it's the way to reset your microbiome and it creates diversity. So, really, real immunity, it starts in the gut.
Ben: I have different thoughts on the immunity component, honestly, and the more data I see, the more I'm convinced that fasting during the coronavirus may not be the best idea because if you look at fasting and viruses in particular, and you compare and contrast that with bacterial infections, we know that viruses do things like rapidly deplete selenium values and a lot of other nutrients. But in particular, selenium, we know that in rodent models, there's almost like this hypercortisolic slightly inflammatory response to fasting. Then there's also the mTOR piece. When you look at blocking mTOR, it also reduces this different–it's transmembrane proteins, interferon-inducible transmembrane protein, and that seems to also be something that could make you more susceptible to viruses.
And you seem to see the opposite when you look at fasting in terms of bacterial infections. So, fasting and bacterial infections, we see good activity of the ketone beta-hydroxybutyrate on some of these bacterial infections. We see better phagocytosis. So, you've got a better ability to be able to engulf and destroy a lot of these pathogenic bacterial cells. And you also, interestingly–and you don't see this as much as a viral infection, but with a bacterial infection, you also see a real drop in appetite, suggesting that maybe just from an ancestral standpoint, our body is telling us not to eat when we have a bacterial infection versus a viral infection like a flu or even the common cold is a coronavirus type of thing. So, I personally think the answer depends on whether it's virus versus bacteria.
Dan: Well, you know what, I read that study, actually. There's one study out there on rodents that showed that. However, on my desktop, I have three others that showed the opposite. And there was reasons why. And when you look at the body, actually–and again, humans, what they did in that study, the number of days and the stress that they put them under I think partly changed the result. However, I will say, and this was my advice to my doctors, listen to the innate intelligence. So, for example, when you get a flu, which is a virus, most of us actually lose appetite, whether it's one day, two days, three days. And then when your appetite comes back, it typically comes back voraciously, and then it's time to eat again.
However, when you're older and you get a flu, oftentimes the opposite reaction happens where you're actually hungry. And by the way, that's exactly what we're seeing with the coronavirus. Some people lose appetite completely, some people actually gain hunger. My advice is listen to your innate intelligence because the body knows what it's doing and what it needs. So, follow your innate on that. And again, even with certain bacterial infections, it can go opposite directions on you. So, there is an innate intelligence in our bodies and listen to it. We can't just look at one rat study and go, “Oh, fasting is not good,” or the opposite, “Fasting is good.” We can't do that. We have to be able to look at eons of what our bodies instinctively want to do and kind of follow that. So, there's my advice.
Ben: Yeah. And it's also possible if you look at a hypercortisolic response, a depletion of selenium and an inhibition of mTOR being the three main mechanisms via which fasting may not be beneficial for the immune system during a virus. Some of them might be able to be skirted, right? You can supplement with selenium. You can do some of those brief intermittent exercise things. The idea would be then you could like take some selenium. You could trigger mTOR via some brief high-intensity exercise sessions, which we mentioned earlier. And then perhaps from the cortisol standpoint, you'll get adequate sleep, meditation, yoga, prayer, family, relationships, et cetera. And you may actually be able to skirt some of the proposed issues with fasting and a viral infection.
Dan: Yeah. You know, one thing I've learned, man, just studying all this stuff for so many years, what seems right to man and what seems right with the knowledge base that we have isn't always right. It's amazing how often I learn something and I go, “Gosh, yeah, it made so much sense.” And then I look back and go, “But it simply just wasn't true.” It's just crazy. That's why following the innate intelligence is the best thing. If you're hungry, eat, especially if you're really hungry. If you lose your appetite, don't. And then, we are talking about there's different strategies for prevention, then there's different strategies if you actually get the virus. So, that's how confusing it can be. So, listening to your body, yeah, best thing to do.
Got it. Okay. Now, a couple other things. Like we mentioned, your kids fast and they've done, as you alluded to, some pretty intensive fast. Now, what are your thoughts on kids in fasting? Would you say this is just for kids with extra fat stores? Would you say it's something kids need to be careful with? I mean, my own kids don't do a lot of fast and they're these skinny ass 12-year-old boys who would probably waste away after a day or two of fasting. They're so thin and lean and active. But, I want to get your take on fasting because as a young father, I'm still trying to wrap my head around it, and I know you've walked your own children through fasting protocols. So, what wisdom do you have to share for folks about kids and fasting?
Dan: Yeah. In Europe, fasting kids is more acceptable than here in the U.S. But, yeah, I mean, kids are in a growth state, right? Kids can even eat multiple times a day. Kids can get away with a lot more because they are in this growth spurt and state. Is one day of fasting a benefit to a kid? I think it is, unless the kid is in an obese state, I don't think longer fasting are necessary. Obviously, certain health conditions could be exceptions to any role here, but normal healthy kids, yeah. I mean, if they go a day without eating, I'm sure it's darn good for them.
Now, in my book, I talked about my youngest son, Simon. He was, well, I think he was 13 at the time, and he was the kid that didn't follow the Pompa protocol. It's very typical. When you have kids, your first one especially, I mean, you're like on it, man. I mean, everything, right? God forbid if they fall down the steps, you're running over there. By the fifth one, when they fall down the steps, you're like, “You all right? Any blood? No. Okay. Yeah, you'll be all right.” And then you're definitely not paying attention to their diet. They'll figure it out. The other ones did. Anyways, so he was my carb addicted child, overweight child, and he ends up with these little psoriasis patches that are forming on him. And I'm trying to get him to change his diet, of course, he won't.
And then, I'm preparing for a talk and he sees a PowerPoint of a before and an after of this girl who had severe psoriasis. I mean, horrible picture. But then the after picture was very different. And he said, “What is that?” And I said, “Oh, yes, she has psoriasis. That's those patches that you have in your hair.” And he's like, “Oh.” And he walked out of the room and he came back, “Well, what did she do?” I said, “Well, she fasted and she did the cellular detox as well, but she fasted several fasts, and that's how it fixed it.” And then he walked out of the room, came back again. He said, “Okay, I'm going to fast.” And I'm like, “Oh, yeah. Okay, great. He's going to fast, my carb addicted child.”
Well, he made it through. He said, “How long should I go?” I said, “Five days.” I'm like, “Okay.” He made it through the first day. I was stunned. And then he made it through day two, which I was really stunned. And then, we were traveling to New York, my wife and I. So, he made a goal that he's going to break his fast when we got back in a couple of days. And it was probably easier for him because we're gone and he had that goal. And mom wasn't there to take care of him, just his brothers, older brothers who are–that was easy. He didn't want to eat their cooking. Anyways, so he makes it when we get back. And by this time, he's kind of over the hump and lost his hunger. He's now feeding from his body and all his fat stores that he had. Anyways, he ends up going 11 days, and it's because he just kept saying, “Is more better? Is more better?” And he saw himself shrinking, honestly. Well, it fixed not only the psoriasis, he never got it back, but it fixed his carb addiction. If you saw my son now, he's 16 and thin and shaped and thin as a rail. Ben, did you see him last time you're here? Did you see the fat Simon or the skinny Simon?
Ben: I saw both the fat Simon and the skinny Simon, and it was pretty profound. No offense, but I literally thought you sent him off to fat camp or something. I mean, the change from the time I saw him and then when I showed up at your house and saw him again, I mean, he was a lean mean machine, and it's crazy because from what I understand, he didn't vastly change his exercise protocol or anything like that, he just fasted.
Dan: Yeah. No, I can't get him to exercise. That's the next step. But, yeah. No, he fasted and it literally broke his addiction, which is another amazing thing fasting does.
Ben: But did you get concerned with him about something like bone density or hormones or anything like that with someone who's still in their growth phases like that doing a fast?
Dan: Yeah. Great question. I mean, not when a kid is overweight like that, because remember this, the body is utilizing its stores. It's getting nutrition. Oh, he had plenty of it. Case in point, a kid like that will need more nutrition. Therefore, that's why he was like the fast-shrinking machine because his body needed more. But it got it. It's his psoriasis. Obviously, he was in a greater state of health. And by the way, his energy changed, everything changed after that fast.
I had a guy, he came to one of my seminars. He was a patient of one of my doctors and he was on 121 days of fasting. Now, this guy was morbidly obese and he was on 14 medications when he started to fast. By the time he got to my seminar, he was off the medications, with his doctor, by the way. His doctor was blessing this fast because they were following him, they were stunned. One of the things they did is looked at all his nutrition markers and every possible way they could measure it. And of course, they were looking at all his inflammatory markers, everything. And, as the fast went on, the longer it went on, the better his nutrition markers became. They're like, “How's that possible? He wasn't eating anything. He was just drinking water.” Well, again, it just shows you, it's counterintuitive oftentimes to what we think. It's the nutrition he had. What was creating the imbalances was a lot of cellular issues. And as he was healing, his nutrition was actually in his body, was actually getting better. He was able to come off his medications, his brain balanced. I mean, he lifted out of a great state of depression.
In my seminar, I was talking about how to know when to break an extended fast, and it's amazing. I was talking a little bit about innate intelligence. The body, intuitively, I said you will start to get hungry. Well, I look at food, I get–that's appetite. Hunger is different. It's a gnarling in the deep pit of your stomach. You'll know the difference. And I said your weight loss will all still start to slow down to where it doesn't happen anymore. That means your body stopped the autophagy. So, these are all signs to break the fast. Well, it was about a week after he left the seminar that he started getting those signs. And there was some other that I talked about. His tongue was like really multiple colors, black, green through the fast. And another sign is when your tongue goes back to a regular pink tongue, it's time to break the fast.
And all of that stuff was happening to him and he broke the fast. But the point there is really that the innate intelligence gets its nutrition and improves its nutrition in a fasting state. Now, again, you have to have the body stores. I mean, a skinny child, like my other ones or yours, there's just no need. Obviously, the body would tap into–even your skinny child has fat stores, let's be clear, probably even 20, 30,000 stored calories. You and I, Ben, have at least 50, 60,000 calories stored in fat. It's just in between our organs. So, we have the fat stores to survive on. So, even kids last a fasting state. And even if they fasted three to five days, the body will find what it needs even in a skinny child. I just don't recommend it. I just don't think it's a need.
Ben: Yeah. I'm kind of on the same page. And an extreme point would be the morbidly obese man who you can find stories about who fasted for over 300 days and was able to do so because of the mass amount of energy and storage and nutrients that he had in his fat tissue. And I think if you have a very obese kid that they could probably get away with the fasting protocol that's well-structured. And perhaps it even includes like some minerals on a multivitamin versus–again, perfect example, like my skinny ass 12-year-old boys, they just don't need to fast. Aside from perhaps the spiritual and physical discipline type of benefits they get from a physiological or a health standpoint, they don't really need to be fasting.
But I do think that it can be implemented successfully, and there are some ancestral examples of kids who have been on fasting protocols. I don't necessarily think abstinence from food and drink for spiritual purposes especially is an issue if it's well-structured and if a kid is definitely having it positioned in a way that's not going to create something like an eating disorder. I just think it's really like a fine line, but I think it depends on the kid and it depends on, honestly, their state of fatness to a certain extent.
Dan: Yeah. And I don't know that fasting creates an eating disorder, but I recommend someone who has an eating disorder not to fast. I definitely don't recommend it for any eating disorder. You did talk about the ancestral thing there, and of course, there's times when tribes, their kids were forced into fasting and I'm sure they benefited from it. But they would feed the kids in those states. They would actually feed the kids before the adults. But if they were forced to all go without food or very little, the kids were able to do it, of course. They were able to adapt. Their kids, they adapt.
Ben: Yeah. And then just one other thought is that–and I'm implementing this with my kids right now because we're going through a book on spiritual disciplines. You can train a child to gain some of the mental discipline that an adult would get from fasting with technology fast, with Lego fast, with video games fast. Like, there are ways that you can get some of the mental and spiritual benefits without it being a straight food fast. So, just something to think about. And we've certainly incorporated that with our kids and had certain periods of time where we just have days where, okay, this is outdoor day. We don't tell them to do anything, but we encourage them, “Get outdoors. We're not going to do Legos today. We're going to all try to have a certain thing that we abstained from on X, Y, or Z day of the week.”
Now, what about women? And the reason I asked this is I know your wife, Merily, has had a lot of success with fasting. However, I also know that there's a lot of evidence that, for example, Kisspeptin, one of the hormones that's necessary for gonadotrophin hormone release and maintenance of luteinizing, follicle-stimulating hormone, a lot of advantageous fertility parameters that seems to be deleteriously affected with excess fasting in women, which is why generally, there's kind of a recommendation going around that women stick closer to like a 10 to 12-hour intermittent fasting window where men can get away with 12 to 16-hour intermittent fast.
We know that lean and active females tend to develop almost like a–something very similar to an athletic triad syndrome with low bone density and amenorrhea, for example, in a state of excess fasting or excess calorie restriction. And it also appears that some of the longevity benefits seem to differ, whether you're premenopausal, in which case excess fasting seems to be detrimental, versus post-menopausal, probably because of the hormone piece where it doesn't seem to be as detrimental. So, how do you weave through the deal with women in fasting and how it might be different?
Dan: Yeah. I think that this is where the variation and what you do ahead of it even matters more. So, I say people that are hormonally challenged, and women in general, do better with more variation in their diet to your point. Staying in ketosis, men can do it a lot longer, lower carb, a lot longer. Women, on the other hand, absolutely need more feast days a week. And as I pointed out, even monthly. They just thrive. What I found out too is even seasonally, they thrive on more changes in their diet, higher carb times.
So, if you do these variations, when it does come down to fast, it changes all the rules. So, I had in my doctor group, Dr. Mindy Pelz, who has a pretty large following. That was her, she couldn't even do ketosis that long without hormonal detrimental effects, and let alone fasting. Intermittent fasting wasn't working for her. When she started adding in the diet variation strategies, game changer, game changer for her, and it just transformed. Even now when she fast, it's like a breeze for her. The same thing happened to my wife. She just needed more of the variation, and then when she did fast, game changer.
So, I think a lot of that concept comes out of hormonally unhealthy American women. And, yeah, it's just not going to go well. That's why you need the strategies I offer in my book. When I visited a tribe in Africa, hunting-gathering tribe, this tribe was actually, when I saw it, it was shortly after they came out of the deep mountains and they were on a long fast, and they were forced into it. And many, even the other tribes in that area. But again, the women, they were forced to fast. And I made the point that what they gather and what they find they'll give to the kids. But the women were typically the ones who would fast the best and the easiest in that tribe as I found out. The men would have to go out from long, long journeys and needed even a little more sometimes than the women. So, I think that when it's done correctly with the variation and the feasts, we're all designed, we're all genetically designed to fast. We are. And again, the variation is the magic.
Ben: So, in terms of Merily, how would a month of her fasting protocol is like right now? And you could share. I don't know if she cares if you share, whether she's pre or peri or postmenopausal or what exactly she's doing.
Dan: Yeah. No, she's pre, and she's 52. So, she's younger than I, but she absolutely–she loves fasting. Now, my wife will tell you is that since the time I've known her, she is like, “I can go through a fast and I'm not hungry.” She's not hungry, but eating is very emotional for my wife. She'll tell you that. She gets happy when she thinks about her morning coffee. I have people going, “Yes, that's me, too.” She gets happy when she thinks about food. So, you just want to stay away from my wife during a fast. She gets a little hungry. But actually, she's gotten better, and she'd be poking me in the ribs right now if she was here. “I've gotten better.”
But there's an emotional component of eating with her, but it's very easy for her to fast. It's not like she gets severe energy losses or anything like that. She goes about her day. And, yes, it transforms her. I mean, a month after a fast, she just gets more muscular, and that's just because the autophagy stem cell connection. Your body goes into a repair state and you get new muscle cells and recovery, and she's hormonally optimized. So, fasting for her has been a hormonal optimization. But again, she does it right. I mean, she goes into these anabolic states of eating in between, she does high carbs at the right times for periods of time, she's not always low-carb diet. So, she really mixes it up well. Honestly, she probably mixes it up better than me, which is because she follows her innate intelligence. She really knows what she needs.
Ben: Yeah. Well, I mean, your whole family is a perfect example of kind of live–I mean, you guys drive nice cars, you live in a cool house, you use all these biohacks, but you're a perfect example of the families that's tapping into a lot of these ancestral tactics as well, and this whole feast/famine cycling, and I do respect that. Like, when I come hang out with you guys, sometimes I'll show up and it's just like, “What's for breakfast?” Nothing. “What's for lunch?” Nothing. Oh, and then we're going to go to this amazing Italian restaurant for dinner and celebrate and have an amazing meal. And here's the supplements you take beforehand and come back and maybe hit a hyperbaric chamber.
I mean, you guys have a really cool life that you've set up, and I don't want to blow smoke, but you and your kids and your wife, you look good, you're healthy, and you just look very vibrant and fit. And I know that a big part of that–and you guys are known for this within the health community, is that the Pompa family is a fasting family. Eventually, once my kids are older, I do plan on beginning to teach them a little bit more about actual food fasting. But I certainly look up to you guys as a really good example of a family who has cracked the code on how to do this right. And this book just puts it all together.
Dan: And Ben, it's funny. Yeah, we are known for that. And when you know us closely, it's like you would debate, “Holy cow, they are also a feasting family.” We know how to eat. And to your point though, as part as why fasting is successful is fasting got very popular, and I think the women got hit the hardest. Hormonally challenged people got hit the hardest with keto, low carb, and fasting strategies because the variation needs to be there. I think that's what's missing. And that's what we do really well as a family. Man, we feast, we feast, we fast, we fast. And it is that variation that really has led to great success, and we've duplicated that in many, many people around the world. And the feasts are as important as the fast, remember that.
Ben: Yeah, yeah. Well, I think people are going to dig this book, and I don't think–now, this book isn't available on Amazon, right?
Dan: Not yet, because we haven't went with the publisher yet on purpose. We just launched it to my close following. So, now, we're sharing it with your following. So, I haven't even gone through professionally editing yet, so it's just a new launch. And as you know, what it means to have a book, it was still edited three times. There's still mistakes. But professional editing will happen when we go with the publisher. But you all can get it. I've made Ben–we set up a special offer for you all, so there you go.
Ben: Yeah, I've got it, I've got it. Fifteen percent discount code on the book. And then I'm going to also get some links to everything we talked about, like Dr. John Lieurance's website, because I'll be doing a podcast with him, a previous podcast on CVAC, which you're talking about earlier, some of the supplements you talked about, and then of course the book itself. So, all of that is going to be over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/fastwithdan in addition to the other two podcasts that I did with Dan. So, I think you guys are going to find out a lot of good stuff over there. And, Dan, thank you for your time, man, for coming on the show.
By the way, for those of you listening in, if my voice sounded a little bit different during today's show, it's because my microphone broke right before we hopped on. So, I might sound a little echoey and my voice isn't as deep and rich and amazing as usual. I'm going to blame it on technology. But either way, we really want to get this episode into the half for you guys. So, Dan, thanks for making yourself available, for putting up with my technology snafus.
Dan: I love it. Actually, I just had my son sabotage your mic so your voice wouldn't be so rich and deep and sexier than mine. So, I had to match it, Ben. Now, our voices are at least equal.
Ben: Bastard. Alright. Well, once this quarantine is over, I'll fly down to Park City and we'll skip breakfast and lunch and then go have an amazing steak.
Dan: I love it, man. I love your family. You guys are–you live it to lead it, man. Love that about you, Ben. Appreciate you.
Ben: Thanks, Dan. Alright, folks, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Dr. Dan Pompa, three-time repeat guest on the Ben Greenfield Fitness Show signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
Fatigue, low energy, brain fog, weight loss resistance, low libido, anxiety, sleep problems, depression, and other ailments have become so common today that most people speak of them as just normal with age. Even thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, and other hormone-related conditions are so common they are being considered a normal part of aging. They may be common, but I can assure you they are not normal and there is, in fact, one quite potent answer…
Dr. Daniel Pompa is a dear friend of mine and previous podcast guest on the episodes:
- The Most Effective Detox You’ve Never Heard Of (And Exactly How To Do It).
- Insider Secrets To Multi-Day Fasting, What Kind Of Fasting Burns The Most Fat, Boosting Your Own Stem Cells, Diet Variation, Feast-Famine Cycles & More With Dr. Dan Pompa.
- Kava Extract, Quantum Physics, Filtered Water, Mushroom Coffee & More: A Special Weekend Podcast Episode!
Dr. Pompa is a respected leader in the health and wellness space, educating practitioners and the public on the origins of inflammation-driven disease, the therapeutic application of the ketogenic diet, fasting, ancestral-based health approaches, cellular healing, and detoxification. Although trained as a chiropractor, his authority is rooted in his own battle, having overcome neurotoxic illness and heavy metal poisoning using his own unique cellular detoxification strategies.
His journey back to health continued to lead him to develop a voracious passion for researching and learning beyond what is often readily understood. A relentless self-experimenter, Dr. Pompa has a passion for healing others. He’s a true warrior of a ‘from pain to purpose’ mindset, and he speaks about removing the cause of toxicity and inflammation, going upstream, and following a multi-therapeutic approach to health and healing.
Dan's new book Beyond Fasting (use code BEN15 for 15% off) will take you “beyond fasting” with its expected results for healing the body naturally by leading you into the proper preparation for a successful fast. This will ultimately result in maximum healing, as well as making the fast as easy as possible.
His seven-week protocol prepares you for the fast by getting your cells to use their own stored fat as energy (fat-adaptation). By going into the fast fat-adapted you will go “Beyond Fasting” because results start day one of the fast, and will lead you into a lifestyle that will ultimately change your life forever, as it has for thousands around the world. This book, and the podcast you're about to hear, will help to equip your body with the tools to heal and create new stem cells from day one of the fast, which generally doesn't happen until day four or five.
During this discussion, you'll discover:
-The latest technology that's caught Dr. Pompa's eye…10:33
- Dr. John Lieurance (Advanced Biome Corp.) (save 5% with code BEN)
- CVAC altitude simulator
- BGF podcast with Hunter McIntyre
- Hyperbaric oxygen chamber (code BEN for $250 off)
-How Dan's fasting protocol differs from the trendy protocols currently in the marketplace…14:47
- What he teaches has worked for many years
- You don't run a marathon or a Spartan race out the gate; you train for it
- Miracles happen with fasting, but the proper preparation is key
- Know when you're in max autophagy
- Peter Attia's “Nothing Burger“
- 5 high carb days before a woman's period can transition the hormones the rest of the month
- The body must change with diet changes, seasonally, monthly, weekly
- By changing the microbiome
- Hormone optimization
- “Metabolic mitochondrial fitness“
-How to properly prepare for a fast…26:20
- Begin by reducing the eating window
- Feast days can be more important than fast days
- Adaptation is key
- Monthly, add 5 days a month low-calorie, low carb, etc.
- The variation creates hormesis, increasing the efficacy of the fast
- Ancient cultures were forced into seasonal diet changes
- BGF podcast with Wild Health
-What to do after a fast…38:08
- Break the fast over the course of 2 days
- Ease caloric intake; gut is in a rested state
- Wait a few days before adding meats
- The more fasting you do, the better the body can adapt
- Our ancestors may have been better adapted to fasting because of their lifestyle; modern humans are not likely to be amenable to that lifestyle
-Dan's personal approach to water fasting and fasting in general…44:15
- Water fasting often brings the best results
- Bone broth fasting
- Massive energy is diverted toward healing the body
- 4, 5-day fasts per year; partial fasting 2x, and water fasting 2x
- Water fasting is easier
- Supplements Dan uses while water fasting:
-Biohacks Ben and Dan use to enhance their fasting protocol…53:21
- Ozone injected via the rectum (mention code BEN100 to save $100 on an ozone generator)
- Sauna therapy if healthy
- Exercise if healthy, although you may want the energy expended to be used for healing the body
- Red light therapy (JOOVV)
- PEMF table and mat
- Infrared light therapy
- Grounding and earthing
-The impact of fasting on immunity…59:12
- A fast gets rid of senescent cells that cause inflammation
- Upregulates stem cells, creates new immune cells
- Microbiome connection; Hormesis is key for changing for better
- Viome test
- Diversity in bacteria = immunity
- We're genetically programmed for fasting
- Listen to the body on when to eat and/or not eat
-How to approach fasting with children…1:08:31
- One day of fasting can be beneficial for normal healthy kids
- Dan's 13-year-old son made it through an 11 day fast; fixed psoriasis and carb addiction
- Use caution while the children are in growth phases; not a pressing need if they're healthy
- Overweight kids may benefit because of energy stored in fat tissue
- Don't fast if an eating disorder is present
- Use “technology fasts” to learn the spiritual disciplines gained from fasting
-Cautions women should observe when fasting…1:19:30
- Check out The Complete Guide to Fasting for Women Part 1: Should Females Fast? (and Part 2) from Kion
-And much more!
Resources from this episode:
- Beyond Fasting Dan Pompa's new book (use code BEN15 for 15% off the book)
- with Hunter McIntyre
- with Wild HealthMD Drs. Matt Dawson and Mike Mallin
- about Infrared light therapy
- about Grounding and Earthing
- about Metabolic mitochondrial fitness
- CVAC altitude simulator
- HBOT (code BEN for $250 off)
- Quantum 5 Ozone Generator (code BEN100 for $100 off)
- Clearlight Sauna
- JOOVV (code BEN for a free gift at checkout)
- Pulse Centers PEMF table
- BioBalance PEMF mat
– Food and Supplements:
- Bone broth
- Colima sea salt
- Activated charcoal
- Water and Wellness Hydrogen tablets (code GREENFIELD for a 10% discount)
- Quicksilver Scientific Hydrogen tablets
– Other resources:
- Dr. John Lieurance of Advanced Biome Corp.
- Viome Complete MicroBiome and Metabolism Testing and Optimization
- Peter Attia's “Nothing Burger“
–Kion: My personal playground for new supplement formulations, Kion blends ancestral wisdom with modern science. Ben Greenfield Fitness listeners, receive a 10% discount off your entire order when you use discount code BEN10.
–Organifi Gold Chocolate: This superfood hot chocolate is loaded with herbs, medicinal mushrooms & healing ingredients to help the body fight disease during sleep. Receive a 20% discount on your entire order when you use discount code BENG20.
–ButcherBox: Delivers healthy 100% grass-fed and finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork directly to your door on a monthly basis. All their products are humanely raised and NEVER given antibiotics or hormones. For 2 lbs of 100% grass-fed beef and 2 lbs of pure bacon for FREE, PLUS $20 off your first box go to Butcherbox.com/Ben.
–Water and Wellness: The best solution for clean and safe drinking water. Water and Wellness also offers an amazing line of essential water additives such as Quinton Marine plasma which contain over 78 trace minerals and elements from the ocean to help restore your biological-terrain. Get 15% off your order when you use discount code: GREENFIELD.