WHAT TO EAT (ON MY VERSION OF THE F.M.D.):
You do have to watch your PROTEIN and CARBOHYDRATES, as I mentioned in Part 1. Some foods, like romaine lettuce, are high enough in protein to stop autophagy, so should be avoided for the duration of your diet. This leaves lots of good choices
- SALADS – low carb, low protein salads made with ingredients like iceberg lettuce, cherry tomatoes, and cucumbers.
- STEAMED VEGGIES – such as broccoli and cauliflower and cabbage. It’s fine to add some melted butter and salt.
- MUSHROOMS – great for anti-aging because they’re full of spermidine.
- CELERY – buy a bunch of celery and munch on it whenever you’re hungry.
- PICKLES – zero carb, zero protein.
- SAUERKRAUT – zero carb, zero protein
- OAT FIBER (not to be confused with oats, oat flour or oat bran). A cup of oat fiber has only 1 gram of net carbs. You could make a big plate of pancakes from an egg (6 grams of protein) and a cup of oat fiber, melt some butter on top, sprinkle on some stevia or xylitol for sweetening, and still not be breaking the diet.
WHAT TO DRINK (ON MY VERSION)
- SPARKLING WATER (unflavored and unsweetened)
- COFFEE (with or without a little cream)
- GREEN TEA
- MINT TEA
- CITRUS BERGAMOT TEA
- CELERY JUICE
- ALOE VERA JUICE (inner leaf only; the outer leaf is toxic)
- You do NOT have to avoid all animal foods while on it, but you DO have to avoid animal protein. (So – for example – you can put some melted butter on your mushrooms and broccoli)
- Avoid fruit juices and vegetable juices (except for things like celery/cucumber juice), and of course avoid milk, due to its high protein content.
- BREAKFAST might be a cup of coffee with a tablespoon or two of heavy cream. (The cream in it is the real “breakfast.”)
- LUNCH might be some cauliflower and broccoli sauteed in butter, with mushrooms on the side.
- SNACKS: If you want a snack, have some celery and cream cheese. The most important thing is not to exceed 15 grams of protein per day, or go too high in carbs. Even cream cheese has a little protein, so you need to keep an eye on it.)
- Eat within a 12 hour maximum time window. (If you start eating at 7 a.m, take your last bite by 7 p.m. at the latest)
- I often forget about eating, which is fine too. But if I’m hungry, the high-fat items listed above will keep me satisfied and full.
Dr. Valter Longo, who created the ProLon version of the Fasting Mimicking Diet, believes it’s important for people to consult with their doctors before doing an FMD or any other kind of fast. (Some folks, like pregnant women, obviously should not fast at all.) There are many versions of the FMD, including mine. Dr. Longo does not endorse any of them.
WHY I DON’T USE DR. LONGO’S VERSION
I followed Dr. Longo’s diet the first time I tried out an FMD, but found that his was way too high in carbohydrates for me.
(Most Americans eat hundreds of grams of carbohydrates a day. For them, 85 grams of carbs would be an improvement. But for those of us who’ve already done some ketogenic dieting, going up to 85 grams is a step backwards.)
The high carbs resulted in a rapid rise in my blood sugar, which in turn spiked my insulin and made me feel hungry and uncomfortable. I’d get hungry, get irritable, all the things you don’t want to have happen when fasting. I was constantly thinking about food.
So the next few times I fasted, I just did water fasts. They went well, but I was seriously wiped out by the end of a five day water fast.
Finally, after some tinkering and some reading to understand the inner workings of the FMD, I came up with my own version, which has worked well for me, and which I’ve now done several times. I’ve included information about it below.
DOES THIS VERSION WORK AS WELL AS DR. LONGO’S?
- I don’t have a lab with dozens of animals to test it on, or a trained crew of technicians, or a budget. So, I can’t prove that it does. Nor can anyone else who has created an alternative version.
- But I can say that it works better for me. The 15 grams or less of protein keep me in autophagy. I lose weight and have great energy when on this diet. I feel wonderful at the end of it. And my cholesterol and triglycerides are fantastic at the end of it doing my version of the FMD.
- Dr. Longo’s version has foods like nuts and crackers that I’m allergic to, is high in carbs, and made me feel nervous and hungry when I was eating it. I can breeze through five days of my FMD without ever thinking about food.
OTHER VERSIONS OF THE FMD:
- VERSION 1: The Prolon FMD (a box of food you can buy which exactly matches these macronutrients) (Lasts for five days.) The cost fluctuates, but is around $250/box.
- VERSION 2: Eat two avocados and some greens powder every day for 4-5 days (no other food) (plus water and tea)
- VERSION 3: Eat two avocados and a big green salad every day (plus water and tea)
- VERSION 4: Eat two avocados and some green juice (such as Uber Greens) every day
- VERSION 5: Eat whatever you like as long as it stays within the stated macronutrients
- VERSION 6: THE KETOGENIC FMD: Limit your protein and carbs, but not your fat. Some people don’t count calories or grams of fat when doing FMDs. They might drink lots of coffee with heavy cream for a few days, or eat things like celery with cream cheese (being careful to count protein… cream cheese has some… and stay under 15 grams/day). In essence, you’re doing a standard ketogenic diet for a few days, but with almost no protein. (This is essentially what I’m doing on my version.)
- The FMD is NOT a diet you can follow for the rest of your life. It’s a TEMPORARY diet designed to promote HEALTH AND LONGEVITY.
- By limiting PROTEIN, it promotes AUTOPHAGY (deep cleaning of body cells) and APOPTOSIS (getting rid of senescent cells).
- Some people do a fasting mimicking diet once a month. Others, once every three months.
- If you did it full time, you would not be getting enough protein to live on, and would die.
BENEFITS OF THE FMD:
- Better blood glucose. Lower LDL. Lower triglycerides. Higher HDL.
- When fasting or doing an FMD, the body will CLEAN DEBRIS from your cells to make proteins. So you will end up with better functioning cells.
- When it runs low on debris, it will CANNIBALIZE SENESCENT CELLS and DAMAGED MITOCHONDRIA. One five-day FMD will clean more than 40 percent of the senescent cells out of the body.
- In the five days after the FMD, if you eat a healthy diet, your body will replace the cannibalized cells with NEW STEM CELLS, and trigger MITOCHONDRIAL BIOGENESIS.
CREATE YOUR OWN VERSION
THIS WEBSITE describes one approach to creating your own FMD. The idea is that you could use your own food instead of buying a ProLon box of food, as long as you stay true to these macronutrients.
FASTING has many benefits. Even short INTERMITTENT FASTS (such as skipping breakfast a few days a week, and eating lunch and dinner within an 8 hour period) can support weight loss, lower your LDL and triglyceride levels, raise your HDL levels, and support your mitochondrial health.
PROLONGED FASTS (48 to 96 hours or longer) have the same benefits as the FMD, and can also extend the lifespan, at least in lab animals. (There is speculation that they might do the same in humans, but it would take several human lifespans to verify.)
There is strong evidence that both fasts and FMDs may help with a variety of health conditions, including some types of cancer and diabetes.
TYPES OF PROLONGED FASTS
Most people, when they hear the word “fasting,” think of a water fast (drinking only water, and abstaining from food and other drinks for a set period of time).
I’ve done some water fasts, and have benefited from them. But water fasts can be problematic, and some doctors are concerned that they may lead to gradual deficiencies in important micronutrients over time. Plus, they’re difficult for some people to stick with.
WHY SO MANY VERSIONS?
Longo’s goal in creating the FMD was to come up with a diet that would provide most or all of the benefits of a prolonged water fast, , while still allowing people to take in some calories and nutrients. (FMD “fasts,” like water fasts, promote autophagy (cleaning debris out of our cells), apoptosis (killing off senescent cells), and stem cell regeneration, which occurs during the re-feed following the end of an extended fast.)
To do the original FMD, you would just order a box from a company called ProLon, then follow the directions. The box includes soups, crackers, nuts and seeds, and other foods. (Dr. Longo helped set up ProLon and design the diet, but he does not profit from or benefit from sales of the product.)
Many people have reported benefits from the doing the ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet. But some people have shied away from ProLon’s version because of either (1) the cost (it costs hundreds of dollars for the prescribed five days of food), or (2) having allergies to wheat, nuts, soy, seeds, and some other ingredients in the ProLon diet, or (3) already being on ketogenic diets which are much lower in carbohydrates than the ProLon FMD. (The ProLon FMD is high in carbs and fat, and low in protein.)
So a number of people have looked into the FMD, studying its ingredients and analyzing its macronutrients, to see if they could come up with alternative versions. Some vary significantly from the ProLon diet; others vary just a little.
WHY 15 GRAMS OF PROTEIN?
The body uses 15 grams a day just to maintain basic body functions such as keeping your heart beating. If you eat under 15 grams, no worries — your body will make its own protein by cleaning out debris in the nucleus of your cells, breaking the debris down into amino acids, then turning them into proteins.
If it runs out of debris, again, no problem — it will start looking for senescent cells to destroy, break down into amino acids, and, again, assemble into new, perfect proteins to maintain body functions.
Of course it can’t do either process forever. You have to eat eventually. Longo recommends doing an FMD once a month if you’re trying to heal a serious health issue, or four times a year for maintenance.
PROTEIN INTERFERES WITH AUTOPHAGY
If you’re eating more than 15 grams of protein, your body will NOT go into autophagy, because it has no reason to. (Why bother making proteins, when they’re being provided by the diet?) (This is why eating collagen or bone broth during a fast would be a bad mistake. More than a bare minimum of protein shuts down autophagy.)
Whatever version of the FMD you follow, if your goal is cleaning out cellular debris and getting rid of senescent cells, YOU MUST NOT EAT MORE THAN 15 GRAMS OF PROTEIN A DAY when fasting or following a five-day FMD diet.
MAKE UP YOUR OWN DIET
POPULAR KETOGENIC VERSIONS
After creating my own version, I did more online research and found out that I was not the first to go there. Nor was my diet unique. One popular version that gives you these exact nutrients is to eat TWO AVOCADOS AND SOME GREENS POWDER every day when fasting. This would give you the exact macronutrients I came up with for my version. fall into the recommended allotment of PROTEIN, but reduce the carbohydrates and increase the fat a little, while keeping the diet ketogenic.
The TWO AVOCADOS AND SOME GREENS POWDER version is similar to an approach called “Fat Fasting” developed years ago by Dr. Robert Atkins, with one exception: fat fasting can involve eating things like egg yolks and fatty meats. These are fine on a normal day of ketogenic eating, but should NOT be eaten during an FMD, as the high protein being consumed will take people out of autophagy and apoptosis. I don’t use it because I don’t like greens powder. But if you do, it’s an easy solution.
If you’re trying one of the variations, or attempting to make up a version your own, remember that whatever other changes you make, if your goals include autophagy and apoptosis (clearing half-dead, toxic senescent cells out of your body), it’s vitally important to keep your protein to 15 grams or less per day.