On Healthy Eating — How To Choose A Sustainable Diet

Since nutri­tion is an essen­tial part of our REWIRE upgrade pro­gram, I‘m often asked whether there is a sim­ple way to eat com­plete­ly. health­ily. My answer: yes, there is a way to opti­mize your food intake — at least on a high level: On healthy eat­ing — how to choose a sus­tain­able diet.

If you plan to choose a healthy diet, you should address:

  • what you eat and drink,
  • how much you eat and drink, and
  • how often you eat and drink.

Most diet rec­om­men­da­tions are lim­it­ed to the first aspect of what you should eat. Obvi­ous­ly, this is impor­tant, since as we say in the infor­ma­tion busi­ness: „shit in, shit out“, which means if your food intake is of low qual­i­ty, your organ­ism won‘t be able to achieve good results. If you opt for the so-called Mediter­ranean diet, that‘‘s per­fect. If you want to know more about spe­cif­ic diets, have a look here

Next, it seems also obvi­ous that the amount of (the calo­ries of) food intake defines your BMI. Calo­rie restric­tion (CR) is the best advice if you‘re head­ing for a good, long life. Sci­en­tists work­ing in the field of aging, cite CR as the ulti­mate rec­om­men­da­tion for longevity. 

The last aspect, how­ev­er, is the third rel­e­vant cri­te­ria of a healthy diet: the fre­quen­cy of your food intake results in short-term effects, such as los­ing or gain­ing weight, but much more rel­e­vant are the long-term effects, its impact on your health span — that part of your over­all life span you do not suf­fer from chron­ic ill­ness­es, which is, on aver­age, rough­ly the last 10–15 years of your life. After food intake, our bod­ies need time to digest, to make use of the input. It takes about six to eight hours for food to pass through your diges­tive sys­tem. Food then enters our large intes­tine for fur­ther diges­tion, absorp­tion of water, and, final­ly, elim­i­na­tion of undi­gest­ed food. It takes about 36 hours for food to move through the entire diges­tive sys­tem. All in all, from the time we swal­low food to the time it leaves our bod­ies as feces, it takes about two to five days, depend­ing on the individual.

How to choose a healthy diet

Obvi­ous­ly, nobody waits for 3 days to start eat­ing again. How­ev­er, the rec­om­men­da­tion here is to pro­vide your diges­tive sys­tem with enough time to do its work. Reli­gions and philoso­phies, such as Chris­tian­i­ty, Bud­dhism, or Sufism, teach us to fast for 8 hours before start eat­ing again. In the health and well­ness area we speak of Inter­mit­tent Fast­ing (IF). IF can be done in var­i­ous ways — the best-known ver­sion is 16:8, which means you don‘t eat for 16 hours, and you eat in a time win­dow of eight hours. Anoth­er famous ver­sion is the Fast-Five diet, which rec­om­mends only eat in a time win­dow of 5 hours, ide­al­ly from 5 pm-10 pm. In this peri­od, you can eat what you want and how much you want, the pro­po­nents of this ver­sion argue (I’d be skep­ti­cal, and I’d rec­om­mend to main­ly eat high-protein and high-carb food if you opt for Fast Five).

On Healthy Eat­ing — How To Choose A Healthy Diet

What­ev­er ver­sion of IF you choose, my advice is to go for one that best fits into your daily sched­ule and that is social­ly accept­able. I, per­son­al­ly, only choose behav­iors that I can fit into my over­all lifestyle for an extend­ed peri­od of time. IF for me means 14:10 on typ­i­cal days, i.e. skip­ping break­fast (going for green tea and espres­so, only). Then, I try to have 8 hours between lunch and din­ner with­out food intake. Rough­ly 14 hours after food intake, a key home­o­sta­t­ic mech­a­nism called autophagy kicks in. Autophagy is the body’s way of clean­ing out dam­aged cells, in order to regen­er­ate new, healthy cells.

For me, that 14:10 reg­i­men is always the goal, but I don’t see it in a dog­mat­ic way. If I’m offered fresh fruits or very dark choco­late dur­ing an after­noon meet­ing, I eat some. It fas­ci­nates me, that our bod­ies pro­vide us with sev­er­al options to regen­er­ate and rewire our­selves, phys­i­o­log­i­cal­ly as well as men­tal­ly.

A lit­tle trick for those days you have to trav­el: just skip meals you typ­i­cal­ly would not have active­ly cho­sen your­selves, s.a. snacks on the plane, fast food at the air­port, or bad finger-food at recep­tions. Espe­cial­ly when being in tran­sit, it is easy fast­ing by not opt­ing for bad choices.

On Healthy Eat­ing — How To Choose A Sus­tain­able Diet

To sum it up: eat only good food, but less, and less fre­quent­ly. That‘s the sim­ple nutri­tion pro­gram that should work best for every­body who is pre­pared for a min­i­mum of com­mit­ment to a reg­i­men. If you com­bine this diet with the Daily REWIRE Rou­tine, you should become quite old while stay­ing healthy!

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