Alternate Day Fasting (ADF)

In the mid 1960s while living in Vancouver I developed a stomach bug. It was so bad that if I was out and about and the pains started I used to rush into the nearest shop and, like a madman, told them I had to use their toilet!

The pains were so intense and came on so suddenly that it placed severe restrictions on my life, both at work and play. Doctors gave me something or other than had no effect whatsoever and I was at my wit’s end about what to do.

Passing a shop one day I saw a book called Feel Like a Million by Catharyn Elwood. I bought it and read it in a day. The message I took from the book was that I needed to go without food for a while. I did that and the pains vanished, never to appear ever again.

Now, in 2012, it seems like an obvious thing to have done but in the 1960s this was advanced thinking!

I began to read a lot of books about health and among those that I remember many were by Adelle Davis. These were about alternative health, cooking in particular, and I learned a great deal about health and food from the above authors.

Some years later, living in Victoria on Vancouver Island, I rented a house (it was either a replica of Ann Hathaway’s or Shakespeare’s house I just can’t remember which). I used to phone a local organic farmer and he would go out and plough up a sack of carrots that I would then wash and turn into juice. I wasn’t a fanatic but I did follow a healthy lifestyle part of the time, quite rubbishy a lot of the time!

Ever since those days I have followed the concepts of good nutrition (not always in practice but in theory!) and this culminated into a magazine Positive Health, published with my partner in 1994 until 2005, 150 issues in total. Since then it has been published online as www.positivehealth.com and enjoys a lot of support. My partner, Sandra Goodman, is a PhD and knows far more about the whole of Complementary Medicine so she is the driving force behind the content.

I am writing about this because watching a Horizon programme last night, about calorie restriction, it reminded me of those early days. Also in the 1980s I bought a book by an American Professor, Dr Roy Walford (Maximum Life Span) and for some time I practised a one-day fast per week. I had good results in terms of weight control. Energy and alertness were not a problem for me then so I cannot say that fasting improved either.

The Horizon programme concentrated on alternate-day fasting (ADF), this is something I have not tried before. But I am going to try it now. What particularly interested me was that during the fasting period, scientists discovered that the brain generates a series of new brain cells and connections, and this is something I most definitely need.

I shall start next week, 13 August 2012, on Tuesday and Thursday each week. Perhaps not a true ADF but sufficient for me. I’ll report back on how it progresses.

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