Have you ever thought of fasting as being something more than just a medium to lose a few extra pounds? What if I told you that fasting is not only an effective way to become healthy and even prevent life-threatening diseases — but a more powerful one?
Winston Churchill says, “Healthy citizens are the greatest assets any country can have.” And Tricia Cunningham said, “The individual who says it is not possible should move out of the way of those doing it today.”
I have been intermittent fasting lately, and its benefits are fascinating to me. I’ve gone without food for up to 3 days and done a lot of 24-hour fasting, and it’s been amazing to see the results.
To teach us more about fasting, we have an expert on medically supervised water-only fasting. In 1984, Dr. Alan Goldhamer founded the TrueNorth Health Center in Santa Rosa, California, the largest facility specializing in medically supervised water-only fasting. It’s also one of the premier training facilities for doctors looking to acquire certification in therapeutic fasting supervision.
“The real culprits in modern-day health problems are excesses, not deficiencies. It is the subtraction of these excesses that will solve most of the problems, not the addition of medicines and supplements.” – Dr. Alan Goldhamer
The conversation was so enlightening for me that I have broken this up into two episodes. I, too, am diving deep in optimizing my health and understanding the science of all things from diets to fasting, and I hope to inspire you too in some way through this episode of The School of Greatness. But before we begin, let’s get to know the man, Dr. Alan Goldhamer, a little more.
Dr. Alan Goldhamer is a plant-based doctor, a visionary, and the founder of TrueNorth Health Center, a state-of-the-art facility that provides medical and chiropractic services, physiotherapy, counseling, massage, and bodywork. He has consulted hundreds of thousands of patients and has built a robust reputation for himself.
He completed his chiropractic education from the Western States Chiropractic College in Portland, Oregon, after which Dr. Alan went to Australia and became a licensed osteopathic physician. It’s his mission to empower people stuck in a self-destructive lifestyle to bring about conscious change in their lives.
“Your health is largely in your own hands and no one else’s. Health is the natural, spontaneous consequence of healthful living. It is rarely the consequence of expensive or complicated medical care.” – Dr. Alan Goldhamer
Dr. Alan and his friend and colleague, Douglas J. Lisle, authored the hugely popular book The Pleasure Trap. They write about mastering the hidden force that undermines health and happiness. Dr. Alan’s other book, The Health-Promoting Cookbook, is another great resource if you’re looking for some simple, healthy recipes.
The stories shared by Dr. Alan are crazy yet inspiring, so keep on reading to learn about water-based fasting and avoiding the perils of the pleasure trap. Let’s dive in!
Let’s begin this post by first understanding the benefits of water-fasting.
“The biggest benefit it’s an efficient way of undoing the consequences of dietary excess people spend a lot of time accumulating. … For example, we did a study with 174 patients with high blood pressure, and [each person] could lower their pressure enough to eliminate the need for medication. …And yet, they are routinely used because it’s not recognized that high blood pressure is a reversible and containable ailment].” – Dr. Alan Goldhamer
Through his experiment, Dr. Alan proved that fasting is a very normal and effective way to control one’s blood pressure. Of course, no one can fast forever. Likewise, once you’ve finished fasting, you’ll want someone there to teach you how to sustain all those new health benefits. To eliminate the risk factors and the need for medication, you need medically supervised water-fasting.
“We recognize that fasting could be … and should be done safely every day by every patient. … If they’re trying to lose weight or gain weight, it may depend on the duration, but we recommend 16 hours a day of fasting. By limiting the feeding window, you may be able to induce some of the benefits that happen with long-term fasting cumulatively and prevent … overeating and other things that contribute to dietary excess. So [as part of the medical supervision] the first thing is an examination to ensure there aren’t any primary issues with kidney or cardiac function or medications that would contraindicate fasting..” – Dr. Alan Goldhamer
I agree with Dr. Alan on this, especially for people who have pre-existing conditions and even for those who don’t. Medically-supervised fasting would enable you to utilize the benefits of fasting to its fullest potential while ensuring that there aren’t any underlying conditions that could complicate things. Under supervision, fasting in a controlled setting can be done safely and effectively, even for periods of up to 40 days.
The top cause of type-two diabetes is insulin resistance, and fasting has been shown to eliminate or reverse type-two diabetes. Here’s what Dr. Alan had to say:
“Insulin resistance is caused by [an unhealthy] diet … [After fasting], patients’ blood sugar comes barrelling down because they stopped the [unhealthy] diet. … Even before we [begin] with fasting, [we first] make the dietary changes. And then once we start fasting, blood sugar level comes down, and insulin levels normalize, assuming we adopt a whole plant food SOS-free diet. SOS is the international symbol of danger and [in this case] stands for salt, oil, and sugar.” – Dr. Alan Goldhamer
Dr. Alan firmly believes that if we use fasting to normalize insulin function and blood sugar levels, and then adopt a health-promoting diet and exercise program, we can sustain the levels over the long term. But for those who are on medications, is it possible for them to achieve these levels?
“We see some severe hypersensitive patients … [who] may be on as many as five medications. … Our study on those 174 patients showed that [after fasting] they had blood pressure low enough to eliminate the need for all medication. … So people who started on 180 systolic blood pressure, their average drop will be 60 points … and they don’t have to go back on medication if they are willing to stay on the diet. … But if they go back to the salty and fatty processed food diet, they can eventually develop obesity.” – Dr. Alan Goldhamer
High blood pressure is a hundred percent related to food, but essential hypertension is not, and it is entirely manageable with a proper diet and health-promoting lifestyle. It is almost always fully reversible; you just need to have the will to let go of all those guilty pleasures and get yourself out of that pleasure trap.
We tend to directly jump to taking medicine rather than improving our diet, sleep, and overall lifestyle. This tendency makes it easy for us to fall into those pleasure traps that Dr. Alan consistently warns about.
“Medicine is essentially one version of the pleasure trap. What [happens] is that instead of doing the hard work to [find and remove] the cause of the problem, you can just magically make the consequences of that problem go away. That’s an example of the pleasure trap. … We are energy-saving and pleasure-seeking machines. So we do everything to get the most pleasure, the least pain with minimal effort.” – Dr. Alan Goldhamer
The fact is that short-term pleasure-seeking and self-indulgent behavior don’t necessarily cause an immediate problem, but it definitely causes long-term issues. This hidden force is undermining people’s health and happiness, which they don’t even realize. In many cases, the culprit is food or diet.
“When you eat refined carbohydrates, your blood sugar levels go up, so your insulin goes up. Then your blood sugar goes down. Now you still have enough calories on board, but your brain thinks that you are starving again. … So [you think of] of getting something that [will] give you the jolt again. … And then the long-term consequence is dietary excess metabolic syndrome. … [Do you] think that you have to have caffeine in order to have high levels of energy? It’s just a stimulant. [And with every stimulant] there is compensatory depression.” – Dr.Alan Goldhamer
To coffee or tea lovers, it may sound outrageous just to give up that morning kick. But learning that it has long-term effects on just your productivity and overall health is an idea or a lifestyle upgrade worth considering. And if you want to know the answer to what you should never be eating again after you come off the fast, then make sure to check out part two of this episode of The School of Greatness coming soon.
I hope that you enjoyed the first part of this two-part series of episodes. This enlightening conversation kept me glued to the end and helped me understand so much about the extraordinary benefits of a simple habit like fasting and other lifestyle changes. Be sure to check out the whole first part of this episode to cover up the valuable details I missed in this post.
Guys, if this episode of The School of Greatness was informative, inspiring, and valuable for you, then please do me a favor and leave me a five-star rating and your review on ApplePodcasts. I would also really love it if you could tag me @lewishowes on Instagram with a screenshot of your greatest takeaways from this episode.
Today, I am going to leave you with this quote by Deepak Chopra: “If we are creating ourselves all the time, then it is never too late to begin creating the bodies we want, instead of the ones we mistakenly assume we are stuck with.” It is never too late to start making incredible changes in your health and your life. You can start right now. And I hope this resource has been a powerful one for you to begin testing and exploring, and learning more about optimizing your health.