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Fasting For A Sharper Brain!

Written by: Rachel Paling, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


So, about six weeks ago I decided I needed a mind and body kickstart. I definitely felt the need for this, because I was noticing an extremely hyperactive, “jumpy” brain. As an entrepreneur, I am used to working a lot, juggling a lot of plates in the air at the same time, dealing with a lot of people and needing to harness my energy and direct my focus and attention in the right place at the right time. So, experiencing this easily distracted, jumpy brain, actually meant it was difficult to really focus in and, more importantly, to stay focused.

For this kickstart, I started to explore new things. I began to think about massage, metabolism, hormones, cortisol, insulin, yoga for the endocrine system, adequate food, inadequate food and drink and to rethink about exercise. All of these as ways to stimulate mind, body and soul. I also booked myself in for a four-day retreat with only juicing as my meals. I had already been there before and may I say that I absolutely love this retreat. It is extremely well organised with a timetable of activities throughout the day, which you can choose to do or not, plus superbly organised meal times where you can choose daily whether you wish to juice or eat vegan food. The added bonus is, it’s in a part of Spain where the weather is gloriously hot and they have two swimming pools one of which is with magnesium in the water.

So off I went. You know, juicing isn’t for everybody, however I confess that I really love it, especially when they are freshly made for you. The first 36 hours were pretty grim. As someone who adores coffee, that lack-of-caffeine headache started to kick in after the first 18 hours and the feeling that the whole body is starting to crave and scream for its normal intake. The evening of the second day, after a day full of yoga, water aerobics, massage, more yoga, an intense uphill two-hour walk, I lay on my bed at 8 PM, aching and with a heavy head and decided literally to go to bed there and then to get some sleep. Do you know this was my first 12-hour sleep in years and the next morning at 8 o’clock I woke up feeling awesome. And that is when my energy started to kick back in. From day three on, I was full of energy, extremely happy and had definitely regained more “sharpness” in my brain.

Isn’t it amazing that through history we can trace the impact of fasting? As far back as the ancient Greeks, Plato actually said “I fast for greater physical and mental efficiency”. More recently, there have been studies on the impact of reducing energy consumption of rats and mice, which then leads to these animals living longer by 30-40%. In his Ted Talk, Mark Mattson Professor of Neuroscience at the John Hopkins University explains how fasting can bolster brainpower and definitely, I am feeling it!

Now 2 weeks after my retreat, I am STILL juicing. In total it is now 19 days on the juice and only on three occasions have I eaten some soft vegetables as juicing was not available. I am also extremely proud of myself because for these 19 days I have been doing yoga every single day plus other exercises, like the gym and/or swimming and, of course, paddle-boarding. Not only am I noticing the impact on my body, but my mind is definitely sharper and clearer and I am absolutely full of energy and glowing. So many people are noticing and commenting on how great I look and how high my energy is. My “mojo” is really on fire.

Mattson talks about the benefits of fasting on the blood, the liver, the heart, on fat cells, on muscles, intestines and, of course, the brain. In particular, fasting stimulates the production of BDNF - Brain-derived neurotrophic factor - which helps to support the survival of existing neurons and promote the growth of new neurons and synapses. It is active in the areas involved in learning, memory, also higher thinking and is important for long-term memory.

Obviously, fasting and juicing may not be for everyone. I can only share the impact it has had on me. This has been my third experience juicing and it has totally confirmed that whenever I feel I need a mind, body reset, all I have to do is get out my juicer and my yoga mat to boost my brain back into gear.

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Rachel Paling, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine Rachel Marie Paling is an International Game Changer in Education, in particular, the education of languages. She has created the method and approaches Neurolanguage Coaching, which incorporates professional coaching and neuroscience principles into the learning process. She coaches and trains teachers worldwide, transforming them into certified and ICF accredited Neurolanguage coaches and has created the Neurolanguage Coach network with over 700 NL Coaches in just over 70 countries worldwide and is now bringing the approach to schools and institutions over the world through her licensed trainers and in nine languages. Rachel started teaching language at 17 and has a BA Honours in Law and Spanish, MA in Human Rights. She is a qualified UK lawyer, MA in Applied Neuroscience, and a PCC ICF Life Coach. She is the author of the books Neurolanguage Coaching and Brain-friendly Grammar and has written numerous blog articles about learning, coaching, and neuroscience. She has spoken at many international conferences, and her company was awarded the Bronze Award at the Reimagine Education Awards 2019 in the Science in Education category. She is dedicated to the shift in education and is currently establishing an educational foundation to bring coaching, neuroscience, and heart science into educational processes.



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