Vail Daily column: An insight to intermittent fasting
June 30, 2014
"When a wild predator such as a lion hunts and eats its kill, it eats in safety and only to the point of satiety. Then it leaves, and the surviving prey know that the lion is no longer a threat, at least for the time being, simply because lions don't hunt when they are not hungry. They become peaceful. They lie on their back, enjoy the sun and sleep. However, when you put predators in a cage they often eat and eat and usually don't stop until they get sick. They will eventually die if their captors don't control their feeding. Too many of us, for instance, eat several meals throughout the day and evening, sometimes even when full, without reaching satisfaction. If this continues unabated, it'll likely cause sickness."
Ori Hofmekler's contention in the above statement from his famous work, "The Warrior Diet: Discovering Nature's Ultimate Secret for Burning Fat, Igniting Energy and Boosting Brain Power," is that we can alter our state from denying our hunter instinct and becoming a scavenger.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN HUNTERS AND SCAVENGERS
He continues, "There are several distinct differences between hunters and scavengers. Hunters/predators work in order to get their food. They make a selection. They know exactly what they are after. Wild cats do not hunt cucumbers. They hunt rabbits and deer. They eat only when hungry. They have a sense of priority-and a sense of time. The scavenger is exactly the opposite. While hunters work hard to get their food, scavengers don't. They pick up leftovers. While hunters will make a selection, choosing their food, scavengers eat whatever is available. While hunters eat only when hungry, scavengers eat all of the time. While hunters eat warm, fresh, live food, the scavenger often eats cold, dead food. While hunters like to eat when it's safe so they can relax, scavengers eat 'on the go.'"
HUNTING FOR YOUR MEAT
Some of my fondest memories are from hunting throughout my life. My father taught me to hunt whitetail deer in the deep brush of Ohio from the time I was 10 years old. Even as an adult, one of my passions is hunting large game in the Central Rockies of Colorado.
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Last year, I harvested a bull elk during the third rifle season; it was one of the tougher hunts I have been on. Not only hauling out meat from several miles, but the process of butchering, dry aging, packaging and ultimately freezing always gives me a deep admiration for the animal and what is really required to get meat to the table. I was in prime physical hunting fitness this past fall after two weeks in the mountains. By the way, I never ate anything during the hunt except a swig of good bourbon every now and again and a sip of water here and there. The hunt is always done in a fasted state.
THE HUNGER OF A PREDATOR
How do you kill the hunter instinct? Feed the instinct with food all day. If you are satisfied, you lose the desire to eat, and ultimately the desire to hunt. A hunter, or more specifically a predator, looks his best when he is hungry. His best performance happens in a starved, fasted state because if he doesn't make the kill he is at risk of dying.
What do we do in our culture today though? We don't hunt because we have lost our desire or need to. We simply sit behind a desk all day; graze on small meals throughout the day; get a short workout in; buy food at the local grocery store that has been injected with hormones, and then eat some more.
We have a serious health and obesity problem, Houston. However, I am not implying that eating small meals a day is necessarily wrong or that it relates to obesity. Eating frequent meals can be a successful approach.
MANY MEALS, STILL UNSATISFIED
Unfortunately, I have observed that most people who eat three to six small meals per day are rarely satisfied and end up eating much more than they really need. Not only do frequent feedings often leave you unsatisfied, they can leave you sluggish because of the hormonal and neurotransmitter disruptions.
What can we learn today about the predator instinct of hunting and gathering? How often do we reflect on why maybe eating meals throughout the day might not always be an optimal approach to living well? Stay tuned — next week I will discuss how to use intermittent fasting and how it can benefit our health and wellbeing.
Ryan Richards has a B.S. from Ohio University and is a certified strength and conditioning specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. He is the personal trainer at the Sonnenalp Golf Club and the owner of R2HP, an athlete consulting and personal training company. Richards' passion comes from overcoming childhood obesity and a T1-L3 spinal fusion. Contact him at http://www.r2hp.com or 970-401-0720.