Jumpstart a Healthy Relationship with Food
Fasting + Contemplation + Meditation + Connection
In the fall and winter, my relationship with food takes a nosedive. I find myself snacking when I’m not hungry, eating more added sugars and fats, obsessing about food, and constantly looking for an excuse to eat more.
I needed to reset my relationship with food.
I ran across Nourish and Be’s Restore You program and was intrigued because the program promised that it “gives your body and mind a break from your habits and routines” and offered “an opportunity to shift perspective.”
That sounded like just what I needed during these darkening days of fall as my body and mind seemed to slide into patterns that didn’t benefit my well-being.
In addition, the Restore You program used Dr. Longo’s fast-mimicking diet. In the article “Fast Mimicking Diet — DIY Cheaply” I described the benefits and details of this science-backed longevity-promoting 5-day diet that works through cellular cleansing.
I contacted Katrina McGiffin, the Integrative Nutritionist and Yoga Teacher behind Nourish and Be, to chat about the Restore You program. She explained, “I am offering two membership options, one for those who want to complete a fast 2x/year and one for those who would like to do 4x/year. The membership can be used to do either Prolon or DIY, and members will be able to select the months of their choosing, as the group will be hosted the first week of each month. There is an option to do a single fast without signing up for a membership.” For more information about the program, please visit the Nourish and Be website. Note that Katrina has generously offered Medium readers 50% off the program fee for the single fast, to first try it out, with the code RYM50.
As I chatted with her some more, Katrina mentioned that she had just completed development of her own Do-It-Yourself Fast-Mimicking-Diet (DIY FMD) menu and recipes, so I signed up to try it out along with the full Restore You program.
Katrina provided me with a menu listing three food options for each of the 5 days of the DIY FMD. In addition, she sent instructions, an introduction, and provided material for each day that included: A recorded meditation to listen to, a daily mantra, journaling prompts, and a short reading passage to help establish your mindset for the day. A Facebook group provides an opportunity to communicate and connect with others going through the program.
Each day, I followed the menu Katrina gave me, and found that her food plan was very tasty, as well as in line with Dr. Longo’s recommendations for a successful fast-mimicking diet. Her plan included meals like a vegetable stir-fry with cauliflower, red pepper, onion, and zucchini, a salad topped with green peas and sunflower seeds, and zucchini noodle pasta topped with a red sauce.
My days started with the pre-recorded mediation, which took around 10 minutes. After that, I would read the brief passage provided, and write in my journal based on the prompts the program provides.
The meditation, mantra, writing prompts, and short readings all addressed similar themes intended to help you morph your connection with your body and food to a relationship that brings joy and balance. On the first day the material reinforces the idea that you have abundance, so you can safely release your constant focus on food. There were also reminders that we were doing this to regenerate our cells and that cycles of breakdown and cleansing followed by rebuilding is a natural part of all of nature. Other days focused on gratitude for all that keeps us alive, enjoyment of simplicity in eating and life, and acts of self-care.
I checked in with the Facebook support group each day and found the other participants upbeat and excited about renewing their body and mind. Katrina posted a video with some words of encouragement and education each day, which provided a positive perspective.
I’ve done the fast-mimicking diet several times before, both using the Prolon kit and my own DIY FMD plan, and the food in this version was probably my favorite. Real, whole foods are so much more satisfying to me than the packaged, dehydrated soups from the Prolon kit. The veggie stir-fry with quinoa was probably my favorite meal, and I came away from those meals with my stomach and mind feeling happy and satiated.
Having material to read, listen to, and think about in the morning did help me stay focused on the reason I was doing this fast, which made it easier and more satisfying. The program’s prompts asked me to think about ways I would connect with nature and perform self-care, and I found myself walking in the park more and doing more yoga than I would have otherwise. I enjoyed the fast more knowing that other people were going through it with me and reading about their experiences. The material that came with the Restore You program helped me to maintain a positive focus on what I hoped to achieve throughout the experience. I came out of this experience feeling good about myself and my relationship with food, as well as six pounds lighter.
Recently, Nourish and Be has updated the program to provide more support for your renewal:
- The DIY menu will be included with membership, and every season will feature a new menu option for the DIY based on seasonal foods.
- For those who wish to use Prolon, members will get a $25 discount on their boxes.
- The daily mindset videos will change from season to season, as well.
- The Restore You eBook will, however, remain the same and be available to purchase separately for those who do not wish to become a member. Members will receive the eBook for free.
- An opening LIVE meditation and discussion will be hosted before the start of each group.
Who is this renewal good for: Self-improvement devotees who need a reset of their mind-body relationship, especially around food and health, would benefit from 5 days on the fast-mimicking diet with additional support from the Restore You program. People who struggle with poor eating habits driven by mindless bad habits and emotional eating triggers could come away from this experience with a new attitude toward eating. In his clinical studies, Dr. Longo noticed that some participants came out of the fast with a better relationship with hunger and a better ability to avoid unhealthy food choices. Additional meditation, reading, and connection with others can only enhance that tendency, which is already present with the fast.
Who might want to avoid it: One video talks about “chakras,” which are something which doesn’t have scientific support for their existence. Those who like to rely on only science-based information and are not open to seeing chakras as a useful metaphor or idea regardless of scientific support, may want to avoid the program for that reason.
Dr. Longo recommends you not do the FMD without your doctor’s approval, guidance, and oversight if you are <18 or >70 years old; suffering from pathologies or serious illness such as cancer, diabetes, or cardiovascular disease; pregnant, underweight, anorexic, people with liver or kidney disease, on medication (especially insulin), have low blood pressure, athletes during training.
Disclosure: Nourish and Be allowed me to participate in the program for free in exchange for giving unbiased feedback about the DIY FMD menu and Restore You program.