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Seven apples in seven days

Date
An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But will just seven apples in seven days bring him running?

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. But will just seven apples in seven days bring him running?

A few weeks ago, a reader emailed me and called me out on the "fasting is just a trend" remark I made within a previous blog. I admit he's right; I criticised a practice in which I had no experience. So I've designed my own fasting plan and committed to it, starting today.

I love food, and I'm in disbelief as I'm writing this … but I have committed to a daily menu that consists of two components: one apple and water.

The decision to fast didn't come easy. It all started as I was scouring the internet for food, health, and fitness news, and I was taken aback when I read this:

1. Dubai has kicked off a "Your Weight in Gold" program, which offers gold as incentive to lose weight; and,

2. Queues for cronuts (a cross between a croissant and a donut) have thinned in the US in favour of the "ramen burger". It's a burger between two ramen noodle patties that soak up burger juice.

Gold to incentivise weight loss, and hundreds of people queuing for a noodle burger … all while worldhunger.org estimates that 925 million people are hungry worldwide. Peter DeVries' quote is never more appropriate: "Gluttony is an emotional escape, a sign something is eating us."

Let's bring the subject a little closer to home. If you missed the Rudd v Abbott debate because you were watching the reality shows on the two big networks or the family sitcom on the third, don't worry, because you didn't miss anything about health and fitness. Debated were important topics such as budgets, the boats, health care, and infrastructure … but how is it that the $120 billion annual cost of obesity is never on the table for discussion?

What would Charles Darwin think, when we take one of the basic needs of man (food) and turn it into a suicidal sword that puts a gargantuan financial burden on our economy? He would defer to Mr DeVries: something is definitely eating us.

Too much food in some countries, and we create disease with it. Too little food in others, and they starve because of it. Dinosaurs became extinct due to nature; we humans are supposed to be smarter, yet we're dying because of food. The whole thing was spinning in my mind all weekend. I was chatting with my girlfriend and a mate who's crashing at my place from India who knows a lot about "less", and we chatted at length that the problem is "more".

More gadgets, more new phones, and more tablets that we sleep outside to be the first to obtain. We need a bigger and better TV with more channels. Bigger, faster car. More sports with more beers. More fizzy drink. More burger with more fries. More sauce. More macaroons. More ice cream.

It all adds up to more weight, more obesity and more diabetes. What about "less"?

So, I'm going to eat less. A lot less. I'm not dieting, and I'm not promoting any fasting ritual. One apple per day and water. That's it. To see what happens.

The apple stays because that's how I wake most days; with the chomp of an apple. I won't give it up, but I'll make it my first and last meal every day of this fasting period.

Scientific periodicals state that the body can go 40 days without food. When overweight and obesity stats in Australia are heading towards 75 per cent, not many of us know what hungry is – me included. So, I'll have a primary goal to spend three days with "less", because I want to see what it feels like to go without. If I make it, I'll extend it to five days … then one week.

Is this a good idea? Bad idea? Probably a bit of both. But I know it will be a huge learning experience for me, and hopefully some readers. Nutrients. Energy. Toilet time. Sleep. Sex with my girlfriend. Exercise. Personal training sessions with clients. Conversation with friends. I have no idea how a lack of food will impact my life. But I already know how too much food is impacting the globe as obesity grows. With "more", our future is looking unhealthy.

My last meal? It was a scallop, prawn, and Alaskan king crab pasta with a garlic, chilli and olive oil sauce served on a bed of gluten free pasta with cherry tomatoes and a spinach salad with a glass of red. I'm a terrible chef, but this last meal seemed extra tasty.

Tomorrrow's eating plan: One apple and a lot of water.

Have you fasted before? Could you do it? Check this space next week for an update.

Follow Michael Jarosky on Twitter or email him.

68 comments

  • I used to fast for a week every year, before I had children.

    It's still one of the best things I've ever done for myself, besides riding a bike, instead of driving a car.

    The apple isn't really a good idea, eating anything solid will stimulate the desire for more solids.

    The aim of fasting, is to revert to consuming body waste instead of consuming anything that's put in. And that happens around day 2 or 3. Suddenly you just don't feel the urge or the need to eat.

    You'll be better off with herb teas, and juices, and vegetable broth. They will make you feel satisfied, without triggering a rumbling to eat.

    I also used to have psyllium husks mixed with water, to keep something moving through the digestive system.

    Just stay strong for the first 2 or 3 days. Go swimming, nap whenever you want, have a spa and a sauna every day. Gentle walks.

    And go to nice places. The beach, the park, a river walk. That helps.

    Commenter
    sarajane
    Location
    melbourne
    Date and time
    August 14, 2013, 8:39AM
    • Don't you have a job to go to?
      I know that if I tried to fast for a whole day, let alone multiple days, I would not be able to function mentally and I wouldn't be able to do my job at all! And "nap whenever you want?"...I don't know how my boss would feel about that.
      Any food restriction advice that's actually practical?

      Commenter
      ezbot
      Location
      Earth
      Date and time
      August 14, 2013, 10:01AM
    • Oh, I would take the whole week off.

      Don't you get holidays?

      Commenter
      sarajane
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      August 14, 2013, 10:33AM
    • What a waste of a holiday Sarajane!I like to go somewhere nice, preferably somewhere with a good food culture and enjoy dining out and drinking a little more than I normally would NOT depriving myself!
      Fasting breaks down muscle tissue and also gives you stinky breath through a process called keratosis (spelling??).
      The only valid reason to fast is if you are on the 40 hour famine.

      Commenter
      Lou
      Date and time
      August 14, 2013, 11:31AM
    • You do know that your heart and circulatory system and nomal nad healthy, thay your liver function is normal, that your kidneys will not crash when you starve, and that your brain can stand the rapid change to your body due to starvation. I'd hate to see you collapse or worse because yupu have a yet undetected serioius medical condition, and sudden starvation while maintaining your same activity output triggers a serious or lethal reaction.

      Touting such a program wiwthout also stressing the importance of taking the wise precautions is careless of you.

      Commenter
      WHyNoMedicalCheck?
      Date and time
      August 14, 2013, 11:39AM
    • wow, all this panic about fasting.

      You can't fast if you have doubts. You wouldn't last a day. And I'm not going to try to convert anyone, I can only relay my own experience.

      I believe it made me a better, cleaner, healthier and stronger person. I was also in a good position in that I had friends to fast with, that helps.

      But obviously, don't if you don't want to. It's that easy.

      Commenter
      sarajane
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      August 14, 2013, 1:46PM
  • You will lose weight, you will feel weak, you will be extremely irritable, and what is the point ?

    A better approach is intermittent fasting, ie the 600 calorie 2 day a week diet. I did this for around 3 months, lost 7 Kilo's, have stopped the diet, but now eat less overall and have kept my weight constant since. Was just the tonic I needed to shift some stubborn body fat that had been with me too long.

    Commenter
    The Oracle
    Location
    Orange
    Date and time
    August 14, 2013, 8:44AM
    • Most fasters don't fast to lose weight. It isn't really efficient for that purpose.

      The fasters I know do it to clean out their bodies. Fasting metabolises reserves. Not so much fat, but impurities stored in the body.

      And really, after day six, everything is actually improved. Your vision, your hearing, your feeling of wellbeing, even your mind becomes calm. And clear.

      It feels amazing. Better than any drug.

      Nirvana.

      I think that's why spiritualists do it. It really does make you feel enlightened. You feel like you're functioning on a higher level than the mundane.

      It's hard to explain.

      Commenter
      sarajane
      Location
      melbourne
      Date and time
      August 14, 2013, 9:44AM
    • People don't talk until you have tried it yourselves.

      I first tried Intermittently fasted for 18 hours a day, for 3 months. I was still eating my BMR calories + a few hundred extra in to a 6 hour feeding window.

      The results were OUTSTANDING. Not only did I lose fat, I gained strength and a little bit of muscle. My mental alertness was higher than previously and I was feeling much better than I'd ever felt.

      I'm at the start of my 2nd stance...and already feel better.

      I do have BCAAs through out the day to stop my body going catabolic while exercising.

      Commenter
      Lean gains
      Location
      Sydney
      Date and time
      August 14, 2013, 11:20AM
    • I'd hazard a guess you've never tried meth, Sarajane. I can get the same effect after six days of that.

      Commenter
      Awwwww yeah.
      Date and time
      August 14, 2013, 1:09PM

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