It’s so easy! Rev cellular detox with low-protein days
Activating autophagy—the body’s cellular detoxification process— allows the body to more effectively repair and renew at the cellular level to release fat, revive dull skin and increase energy. “Many women feel frustrated, like they have to turn their lives around 180 degrees to get results,” says natural-health expert Naomi Whittel, author of Glow15 (Houghton Miff lin Harcourt,
2018; Hardcover $26, Kindle $15, Nook $15). But, she asserts, the beauty of autophagy is that getting the benefits doesn’t require deprivation or long sweat sessions.
The key to setting this process in motion, Whittel says, is triggering minor physiological stress by cycling protein intake throughout the week. “Your body can’t create protein. So when you deprive it of protein, it kicks your body’s recycling program—its autophagy—into overdrive,” she notes. “But being in a constant state of low protein can actually contribute to aging in the form of muscle wasting, so you can’t restrict your protein all the time.” To strike the ideal health-boosting bal- ance, Whittel recommends eating a low-protein diet three nonconsecutive days each week and a higher-protein diet the other four days. (See meal plans at right for details.)
For best results, Whittel recommends intermittent fasting on lowprotein days, so you’ll eat all the day’s meals within an 8-hour period (say, between noon and 8 pm). This gives the cellular detox system even more time to repair damage and flush toxins. “Briefly restricting eating is a key activator of autophagy,” says Whittel. “In fact, this is the most natural way to put your cellular cleanup crew to work.”
To ensure the pounds melt away during the cellular detox, Whittel also recommends eliminating processed foods and refined sugar, which can impair autophagy. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday of each week, you’ll combine intermittent fasting with a low-protein food formula. To do: Skip breakfast—this will allow you to keep all the day’s meals within an 8-hour window (say, between noon to 8 pm). Then stick to 25 grams of protein daily— that’s roughly the amount in 3 oz. of meat or poultry, 4 oz. of fish, 4 eggs, 1 cup of Greek yogurt, 1 cup of lentils or 12 ⁄3 cups of beans. You can spread that 25 grams across all the day’s meals and snacks.