456: The Life-changing Benefits of Fasting with Dr. Mindy Pelz
Have you experienced the benefits of fasting? I found today’s conversation with Dr. Mindy Pelz on this topic to be fascinating. She is a leading expert in the fasting space who has empowered hundreds of thousands of people worldwide to be healthier, stronger, and have more energy through fasting.
In our discussion, we discuss how fasting can help us detox from the chemicals in our bodies, the truth about intermittent fasting, and some easy-to-follow strategies to mobilize your body’s own healing and fat-burning abilities through fasting.
Mindy also has a new book coming out, Fast Like a Girl, which has addresses the differences between how men and women should approach fasting, which we also touched on today.
- How fasting works and how to use it to supercharge your metabolism and immune system.
- Why the food pyramid makes us overeat bad foods that destroy our guts and health.
- The #1 step that will help you start fasting TODAY.
- Why women should fast differently from men.
- How one of her patients cured himself of cancer (Lymphoma) by doing three-day water fasts.
- The importance of having support and encouragement from your community when doing prolonged fasts.
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- The Menopause Reset: Get Rid of Your Symptoms and Feel Like Your Younger Self Again by Dr. Mindy Pelz, Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press
- The Reset Factor: 45 Days to Transforming Your Health by Repairing Your Gut by Dr. Mindy Pelz
- The Reset Factor Kitchen: 101 Tasty Recipes to Eat Your Way to Wellness, Burn Belly Fat, and Maximize Your Energy by Dr. Mindy Pelz, Bonnie Carlson
- Fast Like a Girl: A Woman’s Guide to Using the Healing Power of Fasting to Burn Fat, Boost Energy, and Balance Hormones by Dr. Mindy Pelz
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Hal Elrod: Welcome to the Achieve Your Goals podcast. This is your host Hal Elrod, and you’re about to listen to a conversation that I just had, a fascinating conversation with Dr. Mindy Pelz. She is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, nutrition and functional health expert who has spent over two decades helping thousands of people successfully reclaim their health.
And our topic today is all about fasting. Now, if you’ve fasted before, you know the benefits. You’re probably very aware. If you’ve never fasted before or you’ve kind of tried it, kind of dabbled, I fit in that second category. Like I’ve fasted, but I don’t know if I’m doing it right. I only have done it a few times, not consistently, although it turns out, I actually do daily intermittent fasting and I didn’t even realize that’s what I was doing. But I don’t eat for 14 hours between dinner and breakfast and that is intermittent fasting. So, I was excited talking to Dr. Mindy just to find out, wow, I’m actually already experiencing the benefits of fasting. I didn’t even realize it.
Dr. Mindy Pelz is a recognized leader in the alternative health field and a pioneer in the fasting movement. She teaches the principles of a fasting lifestyle, not a one-time fast, a fasting lifestyle, diet variation, detox hormones, and more. Mindy’s popular YouTube channel, which just celebrated 23 million lifetime views, regularly updates followers on the latest science-backed tools and techniques to help them reset their health.
And she’s the host of one of the leading science podcasts, The Resetter Podcast, and the author of three bestselling books – The Menopause Reset, The Reset Factor, and The Reset Kitchen. And her latest book that we’re talking about a little bit today, Fast Like a Girl is currently available for preorder. Dr. Mindy, last but not least, has appeared on national TV shows, like Extra TV, The Doctors. She’s been featured in Muscle & Fitness, Well+Good, Healthline, and more.
For more info, visit her website. Dr. Mindy Pelz, that’s DrMindyPelz.com. And again, I loved my conversation with her today. She is fascinating, a wealth of knowledge, and she makes it so simple. She’s not talking over our heads today.
And by the way, I come at this conversation from just a genuine place of curiosity of like, I want to know more about fasting. I want to understand what it is, how it works, why it works, what the benefits are. And I want to know step by step, how do I get started? And so, that’s what you’re going to learn today.
Before we dive into the episode, I want to take just a minute or two to thank our sponsors. First and foremost, our long-time sponsor, Organifi. You know them, you love them, you probably use their products like I do. Organifi makes the best organic, whole food plant-based powder form supplement so you can put them in a smoothie or a glass of water or almond milk or orange juice or whatever beverage floats your boat. And they will help you boost your energy, your metabolism, be healthier, think clear, etc.
I use their Protein Powder every day. I use their Pure when I travel for cognitive function. My wife uses their Glow. It’s actually part of our couple’s marriage ritual. I make her her glass of Glow and I deliver it to her by hand every single morning. And her love language is acts of service. So, we both win, right? That helps her with her collagen production so her hair is stronger, her nails are stronger, so on and so forth. If you want to improve your health, head over to Organifi.com/Hal, that’s O-R-G-A-N-I-F-I dot com/Hal, and then use the discount code HAL, H-A-L at checkout for 20% off your order as a listener of this podcast.
And last but not least, our newest sponsor, I’m a big fan, CURED Nutrition. I take three of their products every single day. I take Rise in the morning, which is a new tropic to help you be more productive. I take their Aura, which is for my gut health and immunity. I take that every day with my smoothie. And then every night, about 30 minutes before bed, I take Night Caps. Night Caps are a blend of CBD and CBN oil to relax you and keep you asleep until morning.
I highly recommend you check out CUREDNutrition.com, that’s C-U-R-E-D, CUREDNutrition.com/Hal, and then same code, use the discount code H-A-L, HAL at checkout for 20% off your entire order. One more time, that’s CUREDNutrition.com/Hal, and then use the discount code HAL at checkout. And there are a lot more products both that Organifi and CURED Nutrition have that I’m sure, or at least I hope that you will love as much as I do. All right, without further ado, let’s talk about why, when, and how to fast with Dr. Mindy Pelz.
Hal Elrod: Dr. Mindy Pelz, it is so good to have you.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Oh, thank you for having me. Like I said, when we first popped on, I’m a huge fan of your work. And this concept of Miracle Morning, it’s saved my life for many years, my mental health, for sure. So, thank you for having me. I’m excited to be here.
Hal Elrod: That’s always a nice way to start a podcast. Thank you very much. And as I mentioned, I’m new to your work and really diving in because fasting is something that I’ve dabbled in, I’ve done a three-day fast. I’ve done that. I did the master cleanse back in the day, which I think was like 10 days or something. But I don’t really know what I’m doing, I don’t fully understand all the benefits.
So, I think today’s really just kind of a conversation where I really want you to share because I’d imagine a lot of my audience is like me, where they may have fasted. I’d say the majority probably want to understand what is fasting, why is it important, what are the benefits. Why should I do it and how do I do it? And I know your new book, Fast Like a Girl, is targeted for women, but obviously, fasting applies to men and women. So, let’s start at the very basics. What is fasting? Why should we do it? What are the benefits?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah, it’s such a good question. And here’s the simple answer is that we get energy from two different systems. One is what we call the sugar burner energy system, which is when we eat food and glucose in our body goes up, our cells gobble up that glucose and use them for energy. And when we are not eating, when the glucose comes down, blood sugar comes down, we switch over into another energy system called our fat-burning system.
And it’s that system that provides us with a different kind of energy. And what many people have heard of it or know it as is ketones, so your body will burn fat and it will make ketones, and those ketones get delivered to the cells and supercharge the cells. So, the most important start of this conversation is to understand that you have two different fuel sources, kind of like a hybrid car for your body. You’ve got to give your body glucose and you’ve got to give your body ketones in different types of dosages.
So, if you wake up in the morning, you’re eating all day. Six meals a day is what a lot of people have been taught. You never go longer than eight hours without eating. You literally have never tapped into a primary fuel source that your brain needs and your cells innate. So, why the world is going crazy about fasting right now is they’re learning to tap into this fat-burning ketogenic energy source that’s just supercharging their bodies.
Hal Elrod: Now, let me ask you, does the food pyramid have anything to do with the fact that we’re a carbo-loading society just overeating carbs?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: It’s such a good question. Yeah, the food pyramid is definitely contributing to obesity, insulin resistance, metabolic syndrome because at the base of it, we’ve got carbohydrates. And here’s the way to look at it is the sugar burner system, the more refined carbohydrates you eat, the higher your blood sugar spikes. And so, it takes longer for your blood sugar to come down and to move you over into this fat-burning system. So, it’s even harder to fast if you’re doing that high carbohydrate diet.
The other problem that we have with a high carbohydrate diet is that your pancreas, every time you eat carbs, especially the refined carbohydrates, your pancreas is spitting out more insulin and more insulin and more insulin. And eventually, the cells become deaf to insulin. And insulin is the fat-storage hormone. So, it will get glucose to go into the cells.
And if there is a resistance and insulin can’t get glucose to go into the cells, what it will do is it’ll store that glucose in fat. So, it has to find another place to store it. So, when we look at something like the food pyramid and we’re eating this diet rich in carbohydrates, you’re just elevating glucose, you’re oversecreting insulin, and the cells can’t handle that constant influx, so eventually, it stores it as fat.
Hal Elrod: Got it. So, let’s talk more about the benefits. So, you mentioned that there are two systems for energy. There’s the sugar-burning system and the fat-burning system. Common sense tells me that, well, if I want to lose weight and burn unwanted fat, then leveraging that fat-burning system and using fasting to tap into that, so that what I’d imagine is one benefit. Talk about the benefit of fasting to weight loss or burning unwanted fat, and then any other benefits of fasting.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah. So, here’s the thing to know is that every diet has a problem if we don’t put it with what we call a fasting window. And I’ll explain this in a moment. So, we have been debating diet, which diets for weight loss, calorie counting, no calorie counting, carbs, no carbs, that diet debate is going on all the time.
But basically, what you need to be able to do is go these longer periods without food so that you can switch over to fat burning. And it usually takes about 12 hours, 12 to 13 hours in a fasted state to switch you over into the fat-burning ketogenic energy system. Once you’ve switched over there, the body starts burning fat to make ketones.
Ketones go up into the brain, they kill hunger. So, they immediately turn off hunger, which is why it’s intuitive– originally when people come to fasting, they think, aren’t I going to be hungry? But actually, the opposite happens. The more you train yourself to fast, the less hungry you become, which is totally different than any other diet we’ve ever been on.
And then the longer you stay in this fasted state, the more healing happens. So, in 12 to 15 hours, we start to see you making ketones. Ketones go up and repair the neurons in the brain, and they give you better mental clarity. And they turn on a neurotransmitter called GABA that calms the brain. So, most people, as they learn to go into this daily 13, 14, 15 hours of fasting, they have energy, but it’s a calm energy.
And then if you stay in that fasting window of 17 hours, you stimulate a cellular process called autophagy, where the cells start to clean themselves up and they get rid of old aging cells that are slowing you down. You go 24 hours, the whole gut resets itself, and you get a whole new stem cell surge into your gut to repair from things like antibiotics and poor diet. You go 36 hours, your body goes into this hyperactive fat-burning state so that stubborn weight that you can’t get rid of can start to mobilize in a 36-hour fast.
Forty-eight hours, we see the whole dopamine system reboots itself. You get new dopamine receptors, so you’re going to end up experiencing joy a lot quicker with even the small things in life. And then the mack daddy of all fasts is the 72-hour water fast, three-day water fast, that a researcher, Valter Longo made famous, which your whole immune system gets rebooted. So, old white blood cells left off and new ones kick in.
Hal Elrod: Wow.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: So, think of that fasting window. The longer you go, the more healing that happens. And with the presence of ketones, the hunger stays down. So. it seems illogical if you’ve never fasted before, it’s like 36 hours without food, that’s crazy. But once you train your body to do it, you get access to this incredible chemical system that repairs you.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I can attest to– yeah, the hard part is the first 24 hours because you’re emotionally and just psychologically conditioned to eat. So, when you start to feel hungry, what do you do? You normally go eat food. And that was the toughest part. And I fasted probably three or four times in my life, and the longest was that seven- or eight-day master cleanse when I was in my early 20s. But yeah, the tough part is getting over that hump, and you’re like, okay.
And just for me, it was deciding ahead of time. I know that I’m going to feel hungry, but I know that I’m not dying and I know that I don’t have to eat. And so, I’m committing whether I feel like it or not, it’s like anything, whether I feel like it or not, I’m going to do it, and then I’m going to be glad that I did.
So, you just listed off so many benefits. So, there’s obviously weight loss, improved mental cognition due to ketones, feelings of joy, releasing of chemicals like GABA to calm you, so on and so forth. And then you also mentioned the benefits. I love how you laid out kind of that timeline in the first 17 hours and then 24 and then 36. If somebody is new to fasting, what do you recommend that they start with? Is it a 24-hour fast?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: No, don’t start with the 24 unless you just are an extreme person that you just want to jump in and…
Hal Elrod: Okay.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: You probably will suffer a little bit. So, I’ll talk a little bit about how you get yourself into that. I want to comment on the master cleanse because I was a huge master cleanse fan and I did 10 days too, it was the longest I did on that. And now knowing water fasting compared to the master cleanse, the thing the master cleanse never did is it didn’t bring our blood sugar down enough.
Hal Elrod: Because we had maple syrup in the solution, yeah.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah. So, we never really got the full benefit of fat burning because every time you had the maple syrup, it brought you back into a sugar burner. So, I think that was actually harder than a three-day water fast will be much easier.
Hal Elrod: Interesting.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: So, something just to think about. And fasting is a mental game. So, that’s why in the new book, I talk about how you train yourself to fast. And here’s the easiest way to do it. We have to stop thinking of our 24-hour period we’re given all the time as we wake up, and then we just eat all day, and then we go to sleep. We don’t eat when we sleep.
We have to start looking at, in that 24 hours, there’s a time period, a window for eating, and a window for fasting. So, I call it the eating window and the fasting window. So, right now, for most people, their fasting window is seven to eight hours when they’re sleeping. So, when you first start, you want to elongate that fasting window. So, the best way to do that is push your breakfast back an hour. Just start with, if you eat breakfast at seven, push it back to eight.
Now, for some people, that’s going to be super easy. A lot of people tell me, “Oh, I already hate breakfast, so that’ll be no problem.” But you really want to start taking all the food you’re eating and you’re going to compress it into a very finite period of time. And all the time when you’re not eating, you’re going to elongate that period out so that you can tap into these healing mechanisms.
So, push the breakfast back an hour every single day, push it back an hour for a couple of days, two to three days. And then if that gets easy now, push it back another hour. Do that for a couple more days, push back the breakfast, your window another hour. And usually, within a couple of weeks, you can easily be at 13 to 15 hours. You just have to slowly push that breakfast back. You can also move your dinner up, what your first ledge is 13 to 15 hours.
Hal Elrod: And am I correct, that’s what’s known as intermittent fasting?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yes. That’s intermittent fasting.
Hal Elrod: Which has become very popular. So, remind me, you might have already covered this when you were giving that kind of the different time frames and the benefits, what are the benefits of intermittent fasting? And is that something we should do, ideally, every day, that should just become our new normal?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah, I think the answer to the new normal is yes. If you go back and you look at how our primal ancestors lived, they came out of the cave and they didn’t have food accessible, so they had to go hunt for food when they tapped into this fat-burning system to give them ketones to go hunt for food. So, it’s literally, this is why so many people are hopping on to fasting because it’s how we’re biologically designed. And so, when we look at should we do it every day, there’s a little bit of yes, we should do it every day because that is what our human body is really asking for.
Now, if you’ve never fasted, you would be like, well, that’s crazy. I don’t know how I’m going to go 15 hours every day. But try it for a month and you will see that at the end of the month, you won’t go back to breakfast or you won’t go back to eating all day because you feel so incredibly good. So, that would be the first thing to say.
Now, I know we’re going to go in a little deeper into how women should do it differently than men because I’m a big fan of what I call fasting variation and varying the different lengths because that also is mimicking what our primal ancestors are doing. But for the majority of the world that is just doing 13 to 15 hours. You’re getting tapping into this ketogenic energy system, and the brain needs 50% of the fuel source for the brain is ketones.
So, think about this for a moment, Hal, like if you have never fasted or gone more than eight hours without food, you most likely have been missing giving your brain 50% of its fuel source. So, this is why you will feel supercharged because you’re going to add a fuel into the brain that the brain is going to love and will give you so much mental clarity. So, I think the most important thing in that initial step, that intermittent fasting step, is you’re providing a fuel for the brain that will heal the brain and keep your brain working at its best.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, I have a lot of friends. I’ve never done the keto diet, but I have some close friends that were all about it, they probably did it for years. In fact, they still kind of revolve around that, and then to the point where they were pricking their finger every day and measuring their ketones. But I just know that every person I’ve talked to that has done the keto diet, similar to fasting is that they’ve never felt better because of all the things you’re talking about.
And for anybody listening that’s wondering what that window might look like, I’m going to share my example really quick. I eat dinner at 5 p.m. each night. Now, I eat dinner with my family, so my wife tries to get ready by five, but sometimes, she’s not on the table till six, whatever. But ideally, I’m done eating dinner by 6 p.m., and then I have breakfast as a smoothie at 8 a.m. So, as you were talking, I was just listening but also doing the math in my head. I’m like 6 to 12 is 6 hours, 12 to 8 is 14 hours. So, my daily window is 14 hours.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: You’re doing it.
Hal Elrod: Right. And for anybody listening, so just think about that. Can you do breakfast at 8, lunch at 12, dinner at 5? Or some, that gives you kind of a starting place to adjust around.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah, you’re totally doing it, and to your fasting window rhythm that you’ve got, the other cool thing that’s working for you is that when it gets dark, melatonin goes high. That’s what gets us to go to sleep. But when melatonin goes high, you also become more insulin-resistant.
So, if you eat a dinner at nine o’clock, and that same dinner, you eat at maybe five or six o’clock, it is going to actually be easier for your body to process that when you don’t have a ton of melatonin surging through you. And you’ll be able that you won’t store as fat as much, it will make you more insulin sensitive. I mean, you can take a bowl of pasta and it’s better metabolically, you’ll be more metabolically fit to handle that bowl of pasta if you have it at six o’clock, not at nine o’clock. So, your fasting window is perfect.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, thank you. And the other reason, the main reason I stopped eating late was because of the common sense realization I had that I’m digesting food all night when I’m supposed to be resting, repairing, and rejuvenating. And I was like, so, yeah, eating late at night is you wake up feeling like you were hit by a truck because even though you were asleep, your body was working all night long, you didn’t let it rest.
And then my wife, by the way, she just doesn’t eat breakfast or she’ll eat later than me because we’ll have dinner together, but then she’ll have a healthy snack in the evening or something when I’m already in bed, meaning the kids are. She puts me and the kids to bed and then she stays up and has her alone time, but for her, she usually just doesn’t eat breakfast. And I’ve heard a lot will do that, that that’s their way to fast is they’ll do lunch, dinner, and then just not eat breakfast. I want to know if you had an opinion on if there are risks or pros and cons to that.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: This is the thing about, I call it building a fasting lifestyle in the book. And one of the things I love about it and why we’re seeing it work so well is you can customize it to your lifestyle. So, I have a lot of people who do a 24-hour fast, what they do is they do lunch to lunch. So, they’ll stop eating at one, and then they’ll just drink water, maybe some tea the rest of the afternoon, evening, go to bed, get up in the morning, have their cup of coffee, and then they’ll eat their next meal again at one. So, you get to choose it according to your lifestyle. I’ve sat with parents that tell me, “Well, we’re not home from soccer practice until eight o’clock. We sit down and eat.” So, okay, great, go ahead and eat at eight or nine, and then you won’t eat again until noon the next day.
Hal Elrod: Got it.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: So, you get to customize it.
Hal Elrod: Choose your own fasting adventure. I love it. So, let’s talk about, as you mentioned earlier the difference between men and women, like we live in a world that’s kind of one size fits all. But are there differences in terms of the way men and women should approach fasting or even their health, in general?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah. And this is a really big piece that is emerging in health care right now is the one size fits all doesn’t seem to have a long-term benefit to it on any level. Doesn’t matter if it’s a medication, doesn’t matter if it’s a supplement, doesn’t matter if it’s a diet, like one size fits all is breaking down. And a new form of health care is emerging, which is called personalized health care, finding your personal path. And fasting, I couldn’t say enough that your goal is to find your fasting group, not to mimic your husband’s or your friend’s fasting group, you got to find yours.
Then, when we deal with men and women, men only have one primary hormone, sex hormone that drives them, and that’s testosterone. And testosterone loves when you fast, absolutely loves it. In fact, the studies for men are really impressive, 13 to 15 hours of fasting will raise a man’s testosterone by 1300%. If a man goes 24 hours of fasting, he can raise his testosterone to 2000%.
Women, we have three sex hormones. We have to think about estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. So, estrogen loves when you fast, and you can like for infertility, for PCOS, for some estrogen imbalances, breast cancers, ovarian cancers, the research is so impressive that something as simple as a daily intermittent fast can really help a woman overturn those conditions because that’s an estrogen imbalance. Menopausal women, same thing. So, estrogen will absolutely love it. Testosterone also does pretty well with fasting in women. So, you can fast to glorify those two hormones.
It’s progesterone, that’s the problem. So, progesterone, a week before a woman’s cycle, she actually is the most insulin resistant that week. And our bodies are so intelligent that what a woman’s body does the week before her cycle is it makes her insulin resistant, and so, that you can raise glucose. It needs glucose to be high to be able to make progesterone. The body also, ask any woman, she’ll tell you she craves carbs the week before her period. Well, that’s not because she’s undisciplined, that’s because progesterone needs glucose to be higher in order to make its appearance. So, there’s a lot, I mean, this is why I had to write, there had to be a book for women because there are too many variables for women when it comes to fasting because we have to take those three hormones into account and they all need a little different approach.
Hal Elrod: So, talk about that. The new book is Fast Like a Girl. It’s available as of today for preorder. Talk about the book. I guess you just answered why you wrote it, but what can ladies expect to get from it?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah, it’s funny. Of all the books I’ve written, and I’m sure you probably feel the same way, it’s like the information is coming from people in my social world, on my social platforms demanding it, they’re like, we don’t have a book on fasting for women. And yet, I was teaching a bunch of these principles on YouTube. We have over a million people that come to my channel every month. And they were asking over and over again, how should women do this?
So, when I looked at the books that were available, we have a lot of great fasting books out there, but none of them for women. So, that’s why Fast Like a Girl really came about is how do I help women navigate these three sex hormones? So, what I did in the book is I took those six different level fasts and I timed it to a woman’s cycle. And we call it the fasting cycle.
And in a 30-day period, the first part of a woman’s cycle, she’s going to have more estrogen. In the back half of her cycle, she’s going to have more progesterone. And in the middle, where we have ovulation, she has all three. So, I go through what length fast, plus I highlight two food. I have a version of keto in there and I have something called hormone-feasting foods that need to be timed to her cycle. So, that has been the magic that’s happening with my online community. And it just needed to be put into a book so that women had a resource.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, it’s the power of a niche. It’s like, hey, we’re not all the same, so how can I make this work for me? All right. So, the book is Fast Like a Girl, available where books are sold, Amazon. Where is the best place to get it?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah, Amazon or all bookstores depending on where you are. I mean, it’s worldwide, but Amazon’s a great go-to.
Hal Elrod: And then so, for anybody listening, so for all my men that are still listening, they’re like, ah, well, I don’t know if the Fast Like a Girl book applies to me, but for anybody listening that wants to start applying this information right away, they want to start their first fast, what would you recommend? And I am sure, obviously, it’s in the book, but what would you recommend for anybody, male or female, to get started with their first fast? So, I don’t know if I caught that earlier when I mentioned starting with a 24-hour fast. I know you said just start by moving breakfast back an hour. Is that really the beginning point?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: It’s called fast training. And actually, on my social media platforms for the past five years, we’ve been doing a five-day fast training experience, free experience every single month.
Hal Elrod: Oh, wow.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: So, that we could teach the world how to practice the different length fasts. So, I think that’s the one. We want to look at these longer fast is something you train for. So, the explanation of 13 to 15 hours, that’s your starting point. Just do what you need to do. Follow what I said to get to that first point. And then once you’re there and that gets comfortable, then I’m going to encourage you to try a 24-hour, a 36-hour. So, that’s sort of the progression of the different fasts.
How you get there is a mindset. So, we have to start by looking at our day as our eating window and our fasting window. And we also, the day before you start to fast, you could look at your quality of food. So, to your earlier point, if you’re eating a lot of carbohydrates, you’re eating a lot of inflammatory fats, maybe that was today, you’re listening to this podcast and you’re like, today, I really messed up on my diet. I’m just eating a ton of carbs. So, tomorrow, I’m going to intermittent fast. That jump may be a little difficult because your blood sugar levels are way too high.
So, one of the hacks that I recommend is take a day where you only eat nature’s carbs and protein. And so, nature’s carbs or fats or fruits and vegetables, you can look at potatoes, sweet potatoes, squashes. This is not keto. This is just basic good nutrition. And then add in more protein. If you eat animal protein, add that in. If you’re a vegetarian, make sure your vegetarian bean source, whatever you’re looking at, add that in. But stay away from the breads, the cakes, the pastas, the cookies. And then the next day, you will find that getting into that fasting window is going to be a lot easier.
And in the book, I have a whole, what I call a pre-reset where I give people a two-week example of diet and nutrition, or not just diet, but fasting as well of how you get yourself into this fasting lifestyle. And that’s actually good for both men and women in the book. There are a lot of gems in there for men as well.
Hal Elrod: Sure. Yeah, I had mentioned principles of principles, but yeah. Well, I love the approach that you’re taking because I think for a lot of people that it’s often an all-or-nothing thing. Like I really need to completely transform my diet. I saw Mark Victor Hansen speak about a decade ago, and he taught just a simple idea, he said, “Hey, lean into the change you want to make. Just lean into it. Just lean, baby step, crawl.” He said, “(a) you’re more likely to get started; (b) you’re more likely to stick with it; and (c) you’re more likely to see it all the way through.” And so, I love that you’re teaching that, like lean into it, like, hey don’t just fast tomorrow, actually, shift what you eat a little bit, right? Those bad carbs, the sugars and the pastas and the breads and so on and so forth, limit those.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah. And on that point, I want to point out, Hal, is that this is a really big principle that I’m trying to teach. And it’s this idea around this building a fasting lifestyle. And the best diet, the best health habits are going to be the ones that you’re able to do on a regular basis.
So, the world has become mildly obsessed with fasting and everybody seems to have an opinion on it, but what I want to encourage people is to find their rhythm. I was on a podcast interview the other day and there were two women that were interviewing me, and one woman said, “I love to go 18, 19 hours every day without food I just do best.” And the other woman said, “I only go 12 hours because that’s what works best for me.” They’re both right. They’re both benefits to both of them.
So, a lot of where we’ve gone astray in the nutritional world is becoming very dogmatic that there’s a right way. There’s no right way, there’s your way. And that’s what we’re trying to help. Fast Like a Girl, I’m really trying to help women figure that out.
Hal Elrod: So, let’s say somebody starts intermittent fasting, and then they do that every day, you move breakfast back an hour, and then a few days later, another hour. You get into that 15- to 16-hour window. From that point, how often should somebody do a three-day water fast? How often should we be doing that? Should it be quarterly? Should it be once a year? Once a month?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah, it’s such a good question. So, let me kind of step out where you would go after you’re like, hey, I got 15 hours, I’m doing it. It’s easy. What do I do now? So, the next step beyond that is you want to start to learn fasting length variation. Again, we’re trying to go back to mimicking what our primal ancestors did.
So, I move people after a month of intermittent fasting into what I call a 5-1-1, where five days a week, you’re intermittent fasting 15 hours; one day a week, I want you to stretch your fast. Just try to elongate it. See if you can get to the 24. The 24-hour fast can be a little daunting in the beginning, but then once you get there, it actually becomes much easier. And then one day a week, I don’t want you to fast. So, you can have breakfast. A lot of the families that I coach, they have busy lives, and Sunday morning, they’re making pancakes or they go to brunch. I’m like great, make that the day that you don’t fast.
Now, you’re doing exactly what our cave ancestors did which is they had– it’s called feast-famine cycling. They had periods where they had to go without food and they had periods where they had made a big kill, they had plenty of foods, and they actually feasted. So, that’s the next step. When you get to the point where you’re going 17, 18, 24 hours pretty comfortably in a fasted state, you are ready for a three-day water fast. And the best way to do a three-day water fast, I feel like is in community with other people.
Hal Elrod: Yes, agreed.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: So, that you can support each other. I really like the three-day water fast to be done in January. I think it’s a great reset that first week in January where, actually, for the promo around the new book, we’re going to do a worldwide free three-day water fast the first week of January. So, you can find information on my website about that.
And then September, because what do we do in the summer? If you’re in our hemisphere, we tend to be more focused on out-of-the-box things. We were hanging out, socializing. We may be drinking more. We’re on vacation more. So, I’ve just noticed that in September, people need a reset as well.
Hal Elrod: That’s great. I think that in terms of just that approach, again, it’s like the 5-1-1, you called it, right? 511. So, five days of intermittent fasting, one day where you stretch it a little further, which just helps expand your capacity, and then one day where you get a day off, just eat whatever you want, and then once a year, doing that three-day water fast. What’s the longest fast that you recommend?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Oh, that’s a great question. So, here’s something to think about. On the third day, 72 hours, you’re rebooting your whole immune system, but you’re also kicking in stem cells, systemic stem cells. And if you don’t know what stem cells are, they are cells that will go to any body part and repair.
So, we have a lot of stem cells when we’re younger, which is why healing happens faster. But as we age, our bodies, in fact, after 30, you’re not getting as many stem cells as you did in your younger years, which is the beginning of the aging process. So, think of the third day as you just switched, turned on stem cell production. If you go like a lot of people like to go five days, five days is a very common fast because you now get two days of stem cells that’s surging through your body to repair what you need. The minute you eat, you turn off stem cell production.
So, the way I’ve used this before is I had an Achilles tendon injury that would not go away. And if you’ve ever experienced Achilles tendon injuries, you do not want to pull it to snap that tendon. It is a long recovery, it’s brutal. So, I was kind of as worried about what I was going to do and I tried everything to heal it. So, at last resort, I’m like, I’m going to throw a five-day water fast at it. On the fifth day, the pain went away and literally never came back.
Hal Elrod: Wow.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: And that was about six years ago. And it’s never come back. It completely healed it. Now, what happened? Was it a miracle? No, it wasn’t a miracle. I just spent two days letting these stem cells marinate my body, and our bodies are so intelligent, it figured out where it needed to put it and it healed the Achilles tendon.
Hal Elrod: That’s incredible. One of the things that, and I know you specialize in alternative medicine, holistic practices, that kind of thing. And I’m such a big believer in that. In fact, I love to just dive into that for a few minutes because our body is designed to heal itself. Is it not?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: 1000%.
Hal Elrod: Although many of us, we’ve been conditioned in America to turn to the pharmaceutical industry to heal us, although they don’t heal, they mask symptoms for the most part. But one of the things that came earlier and I forgot to ask you was fasting for cancer. One of the things that when I had cancer, I fasted as I was reading many of these books on how to heal your cancer. Fasting was a big part of it. And I think you mentioned earlier that once you get into that three days, basically, your cells start to renew. Can you talk a little about that, the correlation between if somebody has cancer or knows somebody with cancer, why they should fast and how long they should fast to help heal their cancer and how that whole process works?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah, it’s such a good question. So, to your point, the first thing, and this is the basic principle of the human body that not everybody knows which is your body is always repairing itself. So, we have been conditioned that if we have a symptom and it shows up, then there must be something outside of us that we’ve got to put in. And it doesn’t matter if it’s medication, a supplement, whatever it is.
What I would encourage people to do is to flip that paradigm inside out and say, okay, what can I do first to get my body to heal itself? And I have never seen something as powerful of a healing tool as fasting. And it’s free and it doesn’t take any time. So, anybody can do that.
So, the first thing is, if you want to heal from the inside out, you really want to learn how to build a fasting lifestyle. With cancer, what we know is let’s go back to Valter Longo’s white blood cell situation. We can reboot the whole immune system with a three-day water fast. Those white blood cells, his original work was actually done on breast cancer patients that were going through the chemotherapy process. And what they found is when they went through chemotherapy, their whole immune system was wiped out.
Hal Elrod: I’ve been there, done that, yeah.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah. So, what he did is he put these women in a three-day water fast as they went through that process. And he found that when they came out of the chemo on the third day that they had this decrease in white blood cells, and then it came in where the white blood cells actually re-energized and there was an increase in white blood cells. So, throwing three-day water fast at a cancer patient to constantly rejuvenate that immune system is incredibly powerful. You, of course, would want to do it with a practitioner, have somebody guiding you through it.
The most miraculous case that I’ve seen was a man that I worked with that had lymphoma, and he ended up doing a three-day water fast every week for a year. He did Sunday night to Wednesday night every week for a year. And at the end of the year, his numbers were all completely normal. There was no sign of the lymphoma. And it’s a miracle story, but it also shows you how important using a tool like fasting can be to keep that immune system primed to handle something like a cancer situation.
Hal Elrod: Yeah, that’s incredible. For those that aren’t aware, chemotherapy essentially, completely wipes out your immune system, I mean, down to zero to where– when I was getting chemo, and my immune system was gone, I had to be like a boy in a bubble where they protected me because if I got any infection, my body could not fight it off.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: That’s right.
Hal Elrod: And then they had to inject me with antibiotics, and the antibiotics had to work against it, but my body, I was literally helpless, I was completely powerless. And you think about, too, which we’ll save that conversation for another time. But it’s like, is the best medicine the one that wipes out your immune system when you need it the most? I’m not so sure about that. But again, another conversation for another time.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yes, agreed.
Hal Elrod: I want to comment on what you said earlier about if you’re going to fast to get support or join a community. So, I’m part of a group called Front Row Dads. It’s a bunch of family men with businesses, not businessmen with families. And we support each other in being the best husbands and fathers that we could be. But we do fast regularly. In fact, they’re doing it. They started one today. I’m not participating in this one. I’ll be traveling.
But anyway, but I can’t– if you’re listening to this and you’re thinking, oh, I don’t know if I could do fasting, like (a) if you have a teen worker, like let’s do this, you find an accountability partner, join a fasting group online. In fact, Dr. Mindy, do you have communities? Where can people find a community that they can get support on that journey?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: The best community, free community is called my Resetter Collaborative. It’s a Facebook group. We’ve got close to 60,000 people in there that are men and women, all experimenting with different fasts. So, join that. That’s a great, great place.
Hal Elrod: Say the name again.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: It’s called the Resetter Collaborative on Facebook.
Hal Elrod: Resetter Collaborative.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: Got it.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Or you can go to my Facebook, go to Dr. Mindy Pelz, and then you’ll see my group is linked there. So, that’s a beautiful place. We do these fast training weeks, five days. You can find out more about that on YouTube. It’s just more self-guided, whereas, in the Collaborative, you can ask a lot of fasting questions. But to your point, it’s so much easier when you do it in a group, it really makes a big difference.
Hal Elrod: Well, you know what I remember that was just amazing is how much relief it gave me just to be able to go into a group with a bunch of guys. I’m like, who else is dying? You know what I mean. Who else really wants to eat? Who else is watching their family dinner? And you’re like, ah, I want to– and then just being able to be like, who can feel the discomfort that I’m kind of dealing with? Then they’re like, oh, me too, but stick with it, Hal. That support, that encouragement can be night and day.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah.
Hal Elrod: Doing something by ourselves with no support is infinitely harder.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: And to your point, so we also have a membership group where we have a separate community over there, and that’s a paid program. And in there, I always tell them, I’m like, when we go into these longer fasts, I’m like, you can bitch like go for it because sometimes, you just got to express it.
Hal Elrod: Totally.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: But then know that we’re going to rally around you and lift you up. But when you understand that it’s other people are going through the process, they hit hurdles, it’s refreshing to have that community support.
Hal Elrod: Especially someone who’s done the fast, they’re like, no, I know what you’re feeling like that’s the day one hunger, but you’ll trust me, stick with it. It’s going to be better tomorrow. You got to get over that hump. Just hearing that from someone that had done it, it’s like, I totally go what you’re going through, it’s totally normal, and you’re going to be fine. You’re like, oh, okay, then I can stick with it, right?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah. Especially because fasting will bring up like, am I going to die? I’m crazy. If you want to see your relationship to food, learn how to fast because you’ll really start to see where you use food beyond nutrition. You use it as a state changer. You use it from old patterns your parents may have taught you. So, it’s a beautiful way to really redefine your relationship to food.
Hal Elrod: Awesome. Well, where’s the best place for people to find you online? You mentioned the Resetter Collaborative Facebook group. And then what are your social media handle so people can join you? You mentioned that you host Monthly Fast and this and that. How can people get involved?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah, I mean, the best place is to go to DrMindyPelz.com, and you can find everything there, but just to help you navigate that, on my YouTube, I have over a thousand videos there on fasting.
Hal Elrod: Wow.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: So, if you are listening and you’re like, hey, I want to learn to fast, go subscribe, dive in. There’s a buffet of fasting videos there that you can use. The Resetter Collaborative on Facebook is a free group. We have a paid membership, the Reset Academy. And then, I’m all over Instagram, Facebook, we’re trying to get the word out that fasting, I feel like, is going to end chronic disease once people understand the impact of this. So, we are in lots of places. And FastLikeaGirl.com is a great place to go to find out more about the book.
Hal Elrod: Awesome. FastLikeaGirl.com, and then DrMindyPelz.com, is that D-R or D-O-C-T-O-R?
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah, D-R.
Hal Elrod: So D-R M-I-N-D-Y P-E-L-Z dot-com to continue learning from Dr. Mindy Pelz. Well, Mindy, this has been so great. I’ve been listening to other podcasts that you’ve been on, just kind of preparing for our conversation today. I was excited with your energy, enthusiasm, and your knowledge. I mean, you are one of the world’s leading experts in the fasting space, and so I’m excited that we got a chance to chat.
Dr. Mindy Pelz: Yeah, I love this conversation and I love that. I hope your audience has a lot of new fasters because I want everybody to feel it and discover it and just see how powerful they are. So, I really appreciate the opportunity to be here, Hal.
Hal Elrod: Awesome. Well, great to have you.
Hal Elrod: And goal achievers and members of the Miracle Morning Community, the book is Fast Like a Girl, officially available for preorder today, and it comes out on December 27, 2022. You can grab your copy now at Amazon.com or wherever books are sold and head over to DrMindyPelz.com to connect with Mindy and get support and join her community so you’re not on the fasting journey alone, but you are surrounded by a group of people who are like-minded and will support you to succeed. I love you. I appreciate you so much. And I will talk to you all next week.
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