Insane Water Fasting Secrets That Will Change Your Life

Article written and reviewed by Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH
Published February 19, 2019

Podcast Transcript

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: That was an interesting turning point because I re-fed… They keep you there for a couple of days after a short fast. So, I was there for five days of fasting and three days of reintroducing food, but I went home and what was interesting is the healthy food actually tasted good, and it tasted so good that I could actually tolerate eating it and I craved nothing but the healthy food. Swiss chard tasted salty to me, potatoes were like incredible, carrots were candy that was like… It was a big turning point because I stopped craving these junk foods.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Welcome to the Mastering Diabetes Audio Experience, where we teach you how to sit in the driver's seat of your diabetes health for the rest of your life. We'll teach you how to reverse insulin resistance, achieve your ideal body weight, gain energy and get your best A1c following more than 85 years of evidence-based research in the Mastering Diabetes Program.

Robby Barbaro: Our program teaches you how to reverse prediabetes and type 2 diabetes, and how to simplify your life with type 1 diabetes by maximizing your insulin sensitivity, using food as medicine.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: We're on a bold mission to reverse insulin resistance in 1 million people. We're glad to have you joining us.

Robby Barbaro: Welcome to the Mastering Diabetes Audio Experience. Thank you so much for taking the time to listen. We have an eye opening episode for you today.

If you're a longtime listener, you may remember Episode 36, with Dr. Alan Goldhamer, where he talked all about water fasting. Today, we have one of his students on the Podcast, Dr. Nathan Gershfeld, and he now has his own fasting facility, and he's going to talk about the benefits of water fasting, which is just an absolutely fascinating topic.

I've actually had the pleasure of witnessing people go through this process. I did an internship during college at a fasting retreat in Costa Rica, and I saw 12 people drink nothing but water and rest for 26 days and that was an incredible experience. I could tell you, it's very rejuvenating, people see amazing results. It's just incredible to see that their skin change, their eyes change and how they regain their weight and they regain their energy. It's really interesting.

So on today's episode, you're gonna hear some more details about water fasting, and you might just want to do it yourself. Now, before we get into the episode, I would like to read a few reviews that people have left for us on iTunes. We really appreciate these reviews, we read every single one, it helps us have this Podcast reach more people, so we really appreciate it.

CatherineM999, she writes, “This is a wonderful podcast, highlighting evidence-based information on diet as it pertains to diabetes and other chronic conditions. They interview well respected doctors, researchers and other experts, in addition to having personal testimonials of people who have improved their health by changing what they're eating”. It's a great review, thank you.

One more I want to read is from BoogerBasket, what a great username right there. He says… Oh, it could be a she, you never know. “I don't miss a single Podcast, as all are more than helpful and informative on my journey of eating a low-fat, whole-food, plant-based diet. Highly recommend.” Thank you so much, appreciate that. If you guys could take some time to leave us a review, a written review on iTunes, that would be amazing. We have 73 customer reviews right now and we would love to get to 100. We also have 161 ratings with an average of five stars, which is awesome, so thank you so much for rating the show. But if you could take the time to write review, that would be super appreciated. Thank you very much. Okay, let's get into the show. Appreciate all your guys's support.

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Cyrus Khambata, PhD: We are super excited to be here today with Dr. Nathan Gershfeld. Now, after having a life changing health experience, Dr. Nathan Gershfeld changed careers from electrical engineering to chiropractic, following an internship under the tutelage of Dr. Alan Goldhamer. He joined the staff of doctors at the world renowned TrueNorth Health Center from 2011 to 2014.

And since 2014, Dr. Gershfeld has maintained a private chiropractic practice in the Orange County, Los Angeles area, and he also runs The Fasting Escape, an inpatient fasting retreat center in Yorba Linda, California. Today, we're going to learn all about his experience with fasting, the benefits of fasting for people living with type 2 diabetes, with prediabetes, with type 1 diabetes, type 1.5 diabetes, and he's going to give us real good insight here into what the benefits of fasting are, and when it's applicable. So thank you so much for being here with us today, Dr. Gershfeld.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: It's real pleasure to be here with you, Cyrus and Robby.

Robby Barbaro: We're really excited about this. This going to be a really, really good episode, a lot of information that people can't really hear at many other places, people talking about what you're doing, so we're excited about this.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: It's really great to be here. It's an honor to be part of this little Podcast. I've talked to a couple of people, patients actually, who've come here as well who've told me about www.masteringdiabetes.org and it's just incredible. It's my honor.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Great! Well, Dr. Gershfeld, why don’t we start at the top here, why don't you tell us about your background? Tell us what got you into wanting to learn about the benefits of fasting in the first place.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: The story actually starts when I was a lot younger, where my mom and dad would feed me good healthy food, but I really had a taste for the unhealthy food. So, they would feed normal food and I'd go take bike rides and stop at the donut shop, or stop at the local convenience store and get junk food, and this continued all the way through high school and college. I mean, in high school, I would eat the food that my mom would pack me, but I was connoisseur of vending machines and had a lot of foods in there that weren't very good for me.

This continued into college and this all kind of culminated to where, one day my mom noticed that I had a tumor in my neck, and went to the doctor. I had a tumor, they found out it was… That I also had Hashimoto thyroiditis, and hypothyroidism, and I learned later all that was result of my poor diet and lifestyle.

At the same time, my grandmother, who was a chiropractor as well, had always been talking about diet and lifestyle, diet and lifestyle, diet and lifestyle. And she talked a lot about it in her practice. And I remember growing up and she would come and visit us, and we would have to hide all the candies and cookies because if she found them, she would throw them away.

So at this same time, I started thinking, “How is it that I got this tumor? How is it that I got unhealthy? Even though I was fit, exercising constantly, 20 years old…” And turns out my grandma had said was probably true. So I asked her some advice, she pointed me in certain directions of reading about. I think the first book she asked me to read was by Arnold Ehret, The Mucusless Diet. And then I read some raw food cookbook by Victoria Boutenko and all kinds of different books. And kind of went down…

Robby Barbaro: Was that Green for Life?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Yeah, I think that was Green for Life. Yeah.

Robby Barbaro: Classic.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Yeah. And it was interesting, that was like the first window into the health world, that was outside of the normal medical mainstream. So, I was reading all kinds of different books and my engineering brain just refused to take anything I read at face value, so I kept reading, and reading, and reading, challenged my doctor at that point a little bit, my doctor… I probably challenged him a little too hard because he end up sending me a letter saying, “If you're not coming back, don't come back”, but no, it was very interesting to see how this process all unfolded.

But the first thing my grandma told me was, “You have to stop eating junk food, you have to change your diet” because she linked it as, you have a car and you're putting in bad fuel inside of it, how do you expect the car to run well? If that's true of a machine that was designed by humans, why isn't it also true of humans that were designed by nature? You have to put in good fuel, and you have to put in the fuel that you were designed for, so that made some sense.

And at the same time, what I was finding was trying to eat the healthy food, was actually really difficult. Before then, I just thought, “Well, if I just put my mind to something, I can do it. And if I try something really hard, and I know it's the right move to make, I can just do it”; It wasn't the case with food. Now I was dealing with cravings, I'm going through withdrawals: Coffee withdrawals, fast food withdrawals. Now I eat really healthy food and then, few days later, I'd be on a good kick and then I'd be craving all kinds of salty, oily, you know, fast food. That was really interesting.

She also pointed me in the direction of some crazy water clinic, she called it a juice fasting water clinic, in San Francisco. So I looked it up, found out it was TrueNorth, the original TrueNorth Health Center, which was called the Center for Conservative Therapy, and read some more information about it, touched base with my dad and mom who were kind of interested in this, they were of course, as parents, they were very worried about me because none of us knew anything about what this meant. And talked to Dr. Goldhamer, scheduled a fast and went up there, and did I was supposed to do a 30 day fast and that was supposed to get rid of the tumor, get rid of everything and I'll be back to normal. But turns out I wasn't as tough as I thought I was, because five days in I was sneaking into their kitchen and eating one of the apples in the kitchen because I felt so miserable. I felt so miserable.

So, I mean, imagine the engineer mentality, “I can do anything if I put my mind to it”. It's like, “I can't do something as simple as not eat for for a few weeks, and I can't eat the food for… I can't stick to a diet for a few weeks”. That was eye opening and humbling.

That was an interesting turning point because I re-fed… They keep you there for a couple of days after a short fast. So, I was there for five days of fasting and three days of reintroducing food, but I went home and what was interesting is the healthy food actually tasted good, and it tasted so good that I could actually tolerate eating it and I craved nothing but the healthy food. Swiss chard tasted salty to me, potatoes were like incredible, carrots were candy, that was like… It was a big turning point because I stopped craving these junk foods. Every once in a while, I'd have little pull, but it was nowhere near what it was when I was struggling at first.

So six months, I think a couple of months go by, and I kept eating the food, and I had kept the blood order the Dr. Peter Sultana, the medical doctor in TrueNorth, had given me to retest this once I'm kind of back on track. I go get the blood test, go get another ultrasound, my tumor shrunk by 80%, my Hashimoto thyroiditis had reversed itself.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Wow.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: My antibodies actually went back to normal. And my hypothyroidism, my TSH level went back to normal. So I was like, if you can say sold when it comes to healthcare, like I was sold.

Robby Barbaro: That's incredible.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: And that was just five days. I've been trying really hard for the six months before, the nine months before, then eating healthy, so I'm sure that had something to do with it, but that was incredible. And I remember thinking to myself, this was like my… I had done the fast a month after I graduated from engineering school.

So here I am, waiting to start my master's program in applied mathematics and robotics, and I was thinking “Gosh, I really like this kind of stuff. I really like the food and the healthcare, maybe I can help other people do it, maybe I can help people through their journey” because I felt like I'd gone through such a struggle, and have such a good result. So went to visit a chiropractic school, applied, got in, of course they wanted an engineer there and I was starting in September, and I remember getting there and just from that point on, it was like, I knew that, what I had changed my careers to. That's what I love, that was my path.

So, I called Dr. Goldhamer up when I was getting ready to start and I said, “I read your book, I really like what you're about. I've read every article, I've read… Watch…” This was before YouTube, so I couldn't have watched any of this talks.

Robby Barbaro: What year was that you did the fast?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: It was about 14 years ago, 13 years ago or so. And I asked him if he could let me come in and just follow him around, things like that and I promised him that keep my mouth shut, my eyes and ears open, shiny shoes, washes dishes clean, as long as he kept me, as long as he let me come. He said, “No, you don't do any of that, just come in. Just be willing to work hard”.

I did that before school and learned, I mean, here's the cool thing, is everything that was written in that book, The Pleasure Trap, and everything that he had written in his articles and everything that I've heard from him. I saw… Patients were actually getting better, people with lupus, people with type 2 diabetes, people with high blood pressure. Even type 1 diabetics, who can't fast on water only; they were improving their blood sugar control just on doing a good healthy diet.

I was sold immediately. I spent three weeks there at first, and then that set up a relationship where I could go back during my school breaks and I kept doing that throughout my entire schooling, but before I graduated, we had an option in school to do our final semester at a doctor's office, so I put in the paperwork and I did my last four months, I think, of my last semester at TrueNorth where I was there full time, and invited me to be on staff, one of the staff doctors. I got licensed and was on staff there for about 3 years, and then moved down here, a couple years after that, and now I'm starting my own little fasting escape center.

Robby Barbaro: This is fantastic and I'm excited to talk more about fasting, but I'm just curious: So, your tumor went away?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: The tumor did not go away. It got about 80% smaller, and then I stopped checking it.

Robby Barbaro: We got it, we got it.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: And that's with five days of fasting, right?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Right, right. So, what had happened was, in the 9 months or so, between when I found out about it and did a fast, it went through ups and downs. So I had been trying these herbs, or some cleanses and stuff, and not really doing very well and doubled in size. And then, after the fast, it actually reduced by 80% from its original level. So, it's still there, but it's like a tiny, tiny thing, and I really haven't done many fasts since then.

Robby Barbaro: Okay, so tell us: What exactly is water fasting, and who is a good candidate for water fasting?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Fasting is defined as the complete abstinence of all food and drink, except for pure water in an environment of complete rest. So, if you're doing a fast, but you going to work and you're exercising, that's not a fast. If you're doing what you think is a fast and you're doing juice and broth, and cayenne pepper, and lemonade, maple syrup, and all that stuff, that's not a fast.

A fast is a complete restful period, where your body can rest, and relax, and go through certain changes that can reverse certain diseases. Now, what a fast is good for. There's a number of conditions that fasting effects, we know this from a certain studies, especially Dr. Goldhamer put out a study about, I think was 18 years ago, maybe 20 years ago, on blood pressure. It turns out that the blood pressure is the number one risk factor for all cause mortality and death from everything, and drugs can lower blood pressure by about 12 points, but it turns out eating a healthy plant-based diet, low in salt and doing exercise, can lower blood pressure by about 17 points, but fasting can lower it by about 37 points.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Over what period of time can it low it by 37 points?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: About 11 day fast. This is anywhere from 5 to 28 days, was the study parameters where they looked back on patients, 174 consecutive patients and their data, and what's interesting is the people with the highest blood pressure, the stage three high blood pressure, their average drop was about 60 points.

And the results that I saw at TrueNorth after reading the study, when I was an intern and on staff, the patients that I saw in, the patients I see here, it is consistently outstanding. People who have high blood pressure, typically… And if it's not from kidney tumors, and brain tumors; if it's from the dietary access, they can reverse this if we put them on a good healthy diet and do a water fast.

The other thing that can be affected by fasting is diabetes. We don't fast people with type 1 diabetes because it's not safe to do so. Type 2 diabetics, however, because this is a problem with insulin resistance, what fasting does is it can reverse this problem, so if people have blood sugar that's high enough, consistently enough, their body gets desensitized to the amount of insulin as you guys know, you guys are the Mastering Diabetes experts. What fasting can do is, it can cut with this process and can reverse, and stop, the insulin resistance that's going on. It can happen with a good healthy diet as well, but sometimes with fasting can happen a little bit quicker.

Type 1.5 diabetes is where a type 2 diabetic is diabetic for long enough, and they've now start to, the pancreas loses the ability to create insulin, are beginning to lose the ability to create insulin, so they're getting close to type 1 diabetes. This is a big problem because we want to get to this as quick as possible and change their diet and lifestyle, so they don't have to be dependent on insulin for the rest of their life.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Okay. Could you go a little bit more detail here about why it's actually ill advised/potentially dangerous for somebody who is insulin dependent to fast?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Yeah because, when you start fasting, after a couple of days, your body stops burning as much glucose and, instead it burns ketones for a source of energy. When you're a type 1 diabetic, insulin is necessary to shuttle the glucose into the cells, but insulin does not shuttle ketones into the cells. So, it's a big problem if we have type 1 diabetic because their blood sugar keeps rising, and rising, and rising, and they can get into a coma.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Got it. Okay, for people who are insulin dependent, living with type 1, or type 1.5 diabetes, the answer is no fasting for you, but how about somebody who's living with type 2 diabetes who happens to be using insulin, even though they may not actually be biologically required to inject insulin? So, let's just say, their doctors prescribed them to be injecting insulin, they inject 20, 30, 40 units per day. If they wanted to fast, what would they have to do in order to get to your fasting retreat and actually perform with us?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: So, there's two issues. One is, they can eat a health promoting whole-plant foods diet, free of salt, oil, sugar, flour, alcohol, and coffee for long enough, so that they can decrease their own insulin, and if they do that, so that the doctor can decrease their insulin, their blood sugar stabilizes. Once they do that and they get off the insulin, they get off the medications, then they can come in and do a fast. Sometimes that's not posible, sometimes it's just hard to do alone. So in that case they can come to a center, like TrueNorth, or Fasting Escape, and we actually can feed them the food and have them in a controlled environment, where there's nothing that they can't eat here, whenever they want to eat, and then they can improve these numbers on their own.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: I see, so people can come to your retreat center and they can either just eat and use a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet to gain metabolic health, lose weight, improve their insulin sensitivity, or they can choose to actually do a fast with you if you feel comfortable fasting them, given their current state of health.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Correct.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Got it, that makes perfect sense. Okay, so could you go into a little bit more detail here? You and I have talked offline a lot about the difference between eating a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet at home, versus eating a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet under your supervision. What is the difference? Because I think a lot of people might be thinking to themselves, “Well, I can do this at home, I don't need to go somewhere and pay someone money to eat a low-fat, plant-based, whole-food diet, I can do it. Why would I do that?”

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: The truth is that if we can actually eat a whole plant foods diet at home, that's actually favorable, you don't need to come here and pay money to just live in a house where someone makes you three meals a day. The problem is that sometimes, the unhealthy food sneak in where we're not aware of, so if you can't do that, and one of the measurements by the way, that we can see if someone is eating the food, and they are actually not losing weight, appropriate at the rate that we expect them to, then they're either violating the laws of thermodynamics or they're not complying with the food plan, okay?

The first option, which is they're violating the laws of thermodynamics, is actually pretty cool because if they come here to the center, and we feed them a controlled food supply, and they still happen, if I the laws of thermodynamics, then we apply to win a Nobel Prize and use the funds for studying what the heck's going on with that.

Robby Barbaro: So that's very unlikely.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: That's a very unlikely situation, but it's exciting. As an engineer, that's pretty exciting.

The second option is, if they actually complying with the diet. And this happened, I've never seen this not happen, but if they come to a center and they eat the food, all of a sudden, the magic food, the magic water, the magic beds, who knows, but all of a sudden they start losing weight, they start getting healthy. And so once in a while, there's too much going on at home, and at work, and in your own environment, where maybe there's something sneaking in that we're not aware of. If that's you, if you think that you're on the diet and you have been completely compliant, but you are not losing weight, or something's not moving in the direction that we expect, then that means we're missing a piece, whether it's a underlying comorbidity, or it's just something about the food, that's sneaking out.

So that's where I recommend that people come into a controlled environment and that way we make sure, and it doesn't take that long. We could… If it takes a week, we'll figure it out, people will start to lose weight right away on this type of diet. And if they don't, then we start to explore what the heck's going on.

Robby Barbaro: Yeah. So, just to expand on that. Basically, what you're saying is, in your case, when people come to your center and they follow the diet diligently, to a tee, because you're feeding them, you see results every single time otherwise, you would have won the Nobel Peace Prize. Is that correct?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Yeah, I'm kind of disappointed, but I'm actually happy.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Yeah, I'm still holding out for you one day. I think it's possible.

Robby Barbaro: I mean, I'm glad to hear you say that because we talked about that a lot as well. When people in our program, if you're not getting the results you're looking for, then it's like, “Hey, wait a minute, how well are you doing it? How much of the green light foods are you eating? Are you ready to go to those foods exclusively?” So here's somebody like you have the same experience is quite valuable.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: And it's also useful to do this in a controlled setting because we can get appropriate blood work as well, because very, very rarely, they may be some comorbidities that will cause people to not be able to lose weight, not in the sense of not being able to lose fat, but they're actually retaining fluid from other comorbidities. So it's useful to be able to follow up on that and know that “Okay, the diet is correct, something else might be happening”.

Robby Barbaro: Got it. What if somebody wanted to do a water fast at home, is that safe? How long can somebody do a water fast at home?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Everybody does some sort of a fast between dinner and breakfast. That's why we call it “Breakfast”, break fast, okay? This is normal, and if we look at our ancestors, even 100 grandparents ago, our ancestors would fast periodically, when they went out to hunt, or when they went out to gather food, and it turns out some other animal ate the food. So, we'd have to fast for a day, or two, or three on our own, sometimes a little bit longer.

Nowadays, because people are on so many medications, it's tough to recommend longer fasts on your own, because there's so many things that can go wrong if people are fasting on medications, but a fast of one, two, three days usually is okay, no big deal. If you're on medications, I don't recommend any fasting on your own beyond a day, but if you're not on any medications, people can fast for a couple of days on their own, just to rest, relax, cleanse the palate.

If they're working out, and they're going to work, and they're exercising, or they're doing all kinds of normal routine, then it's not as effective. The best thing to do is, if you're going to fast on your own, go from Friday to Sunday, or Friday to Monday, and just sleep, rest, relax, you know, take some time off, plan out your environment, so that you can have better chance of succeeding after you're done fasting. But any longer than that, we start to run into a lot of withdrawal symptoms that can mimic symptoms that you actually need to break the fast. And it's useful to do this under clinical supervision, because here we'll take baseline data, we'll check your liver, your kidneys, all the rest of your organs, your blood, to make sure that whatever is happening in your body, when you're fasting in a longer time is actually good for your body. Or if it's bad for your body, we can break the fast immediately, so it's useful to do that.

Robby Barbaro: That's a really important point about doing it safely, and the blood tests involved the people like you do, and I know TrueNorth does that as well.

Let's talk a little bit about breaking the fast, and what happens after the fast because I know this is a very important part of fasting, and a lot of time and effort can be wasted if it's not done properly. So, how do you break fast?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: We break fast in a gradual progression. It's all individualized, but what I'll share with you is the general approach. The general approach, may change this a little bit depending on if they're more sensitive to raw fruits and veggies, or steamed veggies, but the general approach is, the less concentrated food goes first. If we do a long fast, we do it with juice, then we raw fruits and veggies, then we do steamed veggies, then we add grains, then we add beans, then we add nuts, avocados and seeds. And that's we add… It's additive. So, by the end of the persons stay here, they're eating full meals that could be something like salad, steamed vegetables plate, some potatoes and then some beans, maybe some rice as well. We will make veggie burgers, we'll make actual dishes here by the time people are done. But that's kind of the strategy.

But you make a really good point, which is that if people don't re-feed properly, they run into the risk of undoing some of the changes that have happened, the positive changes have happened during fasting. And to that I say you're exactly right, what we want to avoid when people are doing these type of fasts is treating a therapeutic fast like a medication, okay? Where you're living an unhealthy lifestyle, maybe it's not ideal for what you're trying to achieve and you just take the fast for a week, and then you go back to doing whatever you were doing. What we want to do is avoid that by using the fast with a purpose, it's to rebalance, reset, reboot and recalibrate the taste buds, so that healthy food actually tastes good, so we can get back onto a healthy diet and we can maintain the results of the fast.

Robby Barbaro: Can you talk to us about, how long does it take for your patience to get back to 100%, after doing either short or an extended fast?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: It's going to depend on how long people have fasted, how good in shape they were before they started fasting, and whether or not they did a fast long enough. So, if someone, for example, does a short fast, maybe 3 or 4 days, but they were a big toxic waste dump before they started and they were eating nothing but trash, and they got into fast immediately, well, it might be that in the middle of 3 or 4 days, they're now feeling extremely horrible as their bloodstream is flooded with all these endogenous substances that your kidneys are trying to filter out. So, if you break the fast prematurely, people can be incredibly tired, and weak, and miserable for a long time after they're done fasting, as your body… What is essentially done, is slow down the fast with the food, and this detoxification process is just going to happen slower than did on the fast.

So, number one is: We try to make sure that people don't break their fast in the middle of a healing, what we call a healing crisis, and that's the first step. I've seen people who just don't feel this, they don't feel good when they're going through this healing crisis, so they want to terminate the fast immediately. If they can be convinced not to do so, maybe wait a day or two, it turns out they're actually gonna feel much better at which point they even want to keep going on the fast, or then we terminate the fast and they actually feel much better. That would be one strategy to avoid the tired and weakness after a fast.

The second strategy is, and also, if you're not in that great of a shape before fast, then we want to build you up in terms of being able to walk around and do some exercise after the fast, and so the strategy is, we usually go 25% the first couple of days of doing, maybe walk around the house, then go to walk around the block, and then do a little bit walking trails, but we go 25%, 50%, 75% then 100%, that's all over the course of maybe 10, 15 days. I had a very in shape person come here, just doing a short… We can have fast, lose a little bit of weight to get back in shape and re-calibrate taste buds. So, was a marathon runner, and she had scheduled a half marathon a week after she finished her fast.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Oops, that sounds like a mistake.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Oh, she was she was getting ready to do it, and I talked her about of it and I said, “Could you at least wait for another month until you've got your marathon scheduled?” She ended up postponing it, but she was running a mile or two a day, three days after the fast. So, you're going to find some variability between what people can do after fast and what they can't do after fast, but if someone has fasted a very long time and they didn't have a lot of reserves to begin with, then there's a good chance that the recoverie is a lot longer. So someone who's doing a 3 or 4 week fast is going to take, can take up to 4 to 6 months to recover, and they were thin to start with, versus someone who had a lot of reserves and they only did a 10 day fast. It's going to be a lot of variability, but yeah, we try to move everybody through that, so that by the time they get home, they can carry their luggage to the airport.

Robby Barbaro: Yes, and I just got to say there are so many nuances when it comes to fasting. Cyrus and I say this all the time, we really, really recommend people do it with professionals, and you and TrueNorth are the two best places in the United States to do fasting. It's something not to be taken lightly; there is a lot of things and if you're going to do it, if you don't take the time to do it, you really want to get the most out of it and make sure you're doing it safely. So, can you tell us some specifics about your fasting retreat? How people can find it, where it's located?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Absolutely, we are at www.fastingescape.com and we're in Southern California. And if you go to www.fastingescape.com, you can take a little tour of the program, and you can read something about what we do here, but what essentially it is, is this is a healing place where people can come. Dr. Lisle describes us as an introvert's paradise. So there isn't a lot going on, as far as classes and lectures; it's a place where you just want to come and reboot, maybe you just want to come and just catch up on some sleep, get some healthy food, do a fast, and just relax, maybe read a book that you hadn't read for a while, but every room here is a private room with a private bathroom and a walk-in closet. And there's four bedrooms here available, it's a very small fasting clinic. I live on site, in a separate part of the house and I monitor people, check them every day, and monitoring people make sure they're achieving the goals that they want to. And when people are not fasting, we're having meals here, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and things like that. So that's The Fasting Escape. If people are curious about this, they can go to Fasting Escape.

If you also want a visual tour of The Fasting Escape, go to the Facebook page, Fasting Escape Retreat Center, and the Chef AJ and I did a webinar where we actually did a video tour of the entire place where walk through everything. It's a place where people can come and just relax, you know, and get back to healing. It's a completely safe place where there's nothing here that you can eat, so everything here is safe food wise, fasting wise. It's completely serene and calm, we have meditation, yoga classes once a week, stretching classes with that, I give a talk couple times a week. Once in a while, we have a cooking demo from Shayda, Dr. Lisle comes and speaks here every once in a while. We have a fun group and people meet each other from different areas of the world, but they're all on the same journey, which is they're trying to get healthy through their own means.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: For sure. I remember when I first started learning about fasting and the fact that you could get this done at TrueNorth. I got nervous thinking, “Oh, this sounds like a great idea, but my God, this must be real expensive. This must be something that you know, is going to break the bank in order to get some real results here”. So, is it true? Is it expensive? Can you, you know, talk about the price?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Yeah, the price here is $199 per night and that includes everything, so there's no hidden costs. All the blood work is included, that I need to do for fasting, and all the lectures, food. Everything, everything is included. So, however many nights you're going to stay here, just multiply that by $199 and that's the final Price. Whether or not it's reasonable, that's for the market to decide, so I'll put it that way, but I would consider this: The average employer in this country loses about $1500 per year, per person that's overweight and has type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure. This is just the employer, from the fact that the person costs them more health insurance workers comp claims, the fact that there's more sick days being used, even the fact that there's a concept called presenteeism, where you're actually at work, but you're not as efficient and not as not as good as someone who's not having health problems, and so even as an employer, it's actually more cost effective to pay for a program that gets people healthy than to continue losing this amount of money per person per year for the next 20, 30 years. And so what's the cost, $199 per night? It's a nice vacation, as a result that people get get some diseases reversed and that's good for everything.

Robby Barbaro: You can't put a price on health. I mean, it's actually really, really affordable and this is awesome. There's not that many options of people who have the training that you've had, the experience that you have. Hopefully there are more options as more people get into this, but it's you or it's TrueNorth as far as we're concerned, right?

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: Yeah. We have currently, we're booking into the end of February and the beginning of March and if people are interested, please plan ahead and you can set up a free phone consultation with me, through the website fastingescape.com and we just talk about what you're dealing with, and whether or not we think of fasting program might be useful and then we can schedule it, but yeah, please plan ahead, because we are now getting booked up as the words getting out that there's another fasting clinic. TrueNorth is so amazing that they they're now booked out until May, I believe, and we're getting close to that as well.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Well, Dr. Nathan, this has been actually really cool, very, very informative. I only learned about the fact that people can come do fasting with you less than two months ago. Up until that point, I thought TrueNorth Health Center was the only place that people could go and get a medically supervised fast, but the fact that you are trained under the doctors that run TrueNorth, and that you've opened your own center, and that you have effectively a 100% success rate is fantastic because fasting is something that so many people can benefit from, and most people have either have no idea about the benefits of even a short duration fast, let alone an extended duration fast and the amount that they stand to benefit is immeasurable.

So, thank you for doing, for caring for people's health. Thank you for being a true inspiration and leader. And we hope that if you're listening to this Podcast right now, and you feel like fasting is an option for you, and something that can actually reprogram your taste buds, can reprogram your brain and get you to be unaddicted from processed foods, and unaddicted from high fat, high calorie, animal based foods, we highly, highly, highly recommend giving Dr. Nathan a phone call. He's only a phone call away, he's a brilliant guy, and guaranteed success. You just can't find that anywhere else.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: I appreciate that. What we're doing here, Cyrus, Robby, what you guys are doing, what we're all doing here in the health field Dr. Goldhamer used to tell me that the body does all the healing, we just get to take the credit.

Robby Barbaro: It's so true.

Nathan Gershfeld, DC: And it's really incredible to watch this process unfold. I don't think there's any other profession like it. We're essentially trying to get back to the basics, and that's… I love Mastering Diabetes, I've referred many people there, and it's just incredible to watch what people can do if they're given the right information and they can take action on it.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: Absolutely, totally appreciate it. Thank you again for your time. And we hope that if you're listening to this Podcast, we hope that you found this inspirational and pick up the phone, give Dr. Nathan a call if you feel like it's the right option for you and hopefully, you can get your health turned around in a short period of time.

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD: We hope you enjoyed this episode, and can apply some of these principles to your personal life. Now, we have an Online Group Coaching Program that has helped thousands of people living with all forms of diabetes, reverse insulin resistance, drop their A1c, lose weight, and gain tons of energy. And also reduce their need for oral medication and insulin using, their food as medicine.

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The second tool is even better than the first. We provide you with access to our online community, with thousands of people that are going through this process with you. You'll be able to interact with our team of coaches, including Kylie Buckner, a Registered Nurse who is brilliant. She also happens to be my wife, and is one of the most kind and compassionate human beings that I've ever met. Adam Sud. He reversed type 2 diabetes. He lost more than 160 pounds and he de-addicted himself from both food and prescription medication at the same time.

You'll also get to interact with Mark Ramirez, who lost more than 50 pounds, reversed type 2 diabetes, and is a certified Food For Life Instructor, through the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine. You'll also get the ability to interact with both Robby and myself in the online community. And we guarantee that we’ll answer your question within 24 hours to help you solve problems in real time.

The third tool is a twice monthly Q&A video conference, where you can ask our team of coaches any question that you have about your personal program, and meet others that are going through this process with you. Now, we're proud to say that our coaching program is very popular, and because of that, we've instituted a waiting list to join. The reason we created the waiting list in the first place is because we have more than 2000 active members in our program and want to provide excellent service to our existing members. You can still join the program, but in order to do so you have to put yourself on the waiting list and you'll be notified of when we open next. When we do, we'll send you a personal invitation to join.

To join the waiting list simply go to www.masteringdiabetes.org and click on Coaching in the navigation bar at the top of the screen, or click the link below in the show notes. We can't wait to help you transform your diabetes health from the inside out. We hope to see you on the inside.

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About the author 

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD and Robby Barbaro, MPH

Cyrus Khambatta, PhD, and Robby Barbaro, MPH are the coauthors of the New York Times bestselling book Mastering Diabetes: The Revolutionary Method to Reverse Insulin Resistance Permanently in Type 1, Type 1.5, Type 2, Prediabetes, and Gestational Diabetes. They are the cofounders of Mastering Diabetes, a coaching platform that teaches people how to reverse insulin resistance via low-fat, plant-based, whole-food nutrition. Cyrus has been living with type 1 diabetes since 2002, and has an undergraduate degree from Stanford University and a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry from UC Berkeley. Robby was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 2000, and has been living a plant-based lifestyle since 2006. He worked at Forks Over Knives for 6 years, and earned a Master’s in Public Health in 2019.