Coach’s Corner

DIY Fasting Mimicking Diet for Powerful Results


Jeni O'Neill

August 26, 2022

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    In Dr. Hartman’s article on the Fasting, he introduces several different methods of fasting, including the Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD). Are you intrigued? Reaping the benefits of fasting while still being able to eat is a great option for a lot of us.

    What’s the Difference Between the FMD & the Prolon Diet?

    The Fasting Mimicking Diet is based on Dr. Longo’s research and is a structured, 5-day, vegan, low-protein diet with very specific calorie counts and ratios of fat, protein, and carbohydrates (macronutrients). It is designed to be done for 5 days on and 25 days off for 3 months. You can learn more about the Fasting Mimicking Diet by reading Dr. Longo’s book on his research titled The Longevity Diet.

    The Prolon diet is a specific product sold to make the FMD easier and more convenient. It includes everything you need for a 5 day cycle of the FMD, and includes bars, soups, drink mixes, olives, crackers, and supplements. It is my understanding that the the Prolon product was originally developed for the hopeful future use in clinical settings. The FMD has shown such promising results in treating a vast array of diseases and it is my personal hope that it will be used to treat patients very soon! Imagine a loved one with elevated blood sugar in the pre-diabetic range who was prescribed 3 months of Prolon. It’s fairly easy to execute and could be a truly powerful intervention.

    However, many of us, especially much of our audience that already eats a clean, unprocessed diet, might prefer to get the benefits of the FMD while eating real food. That’s what I set out to do and what I’d like to share with you today.


    Why I Tried the FMD with Real Food

    I first discovered the Fasting Mimicking Diet while looking for a way to reduce my cholesterol in 2019. I’d read Dr. Longo’s book, the Longevity Diet, and was convinced that it really could make a difference in my cholesterol numbers. But I wasn’t crazy about the processed food option or its cost.

    I did some research and came up with my own plan based on what I’d found. Using MyFitnessPal to plan my food for the 5 days, I worked out the macronutrient ratios from Dr. Longo’s studies, which I’ll share below. Then I made a shopping list from that plan, and the experiment began.


    My Results

    Like Dr. Longo’s studies, I did 5 days of the diet 3 times over several months. To measure whether this effort was truly helpful in my goal of lowering my cholesterol, I had bloodwork done before and after the experiment. The results shocked me:

    • Total Cholesterol Reduction of 13% into normal range
    • LDL Reduction of 22% into almost normal range
    • Triglyceride Reduction of 33% (this was in “normal” range before)
    • HDL (“good” cholesterol) Increase of 8%

    As a bonus, my fasting glucose came down 16 mg and I lost a few pounds.

    I was thrilled with the results, although my LDL was still not quite in the normal range of <100 mg. However, 6 months later it was exactly 100 and a year later it was 86. In that time period, I did an occasional 24-48 hour fast, but did not do any more FMDs cycles.

    Outside of the FMD days (total of 15 days over 4 months), I did not substantially change my diet. I still drank whole milk from our cow share in my coffee, still ate our pastured eggs nearly every day, and still ate grass-fed beef about 2 times per week.


    How Did I Feel?

    What did I REALLY think of the actual diet, while I was in the middle of it? I’ll say right up front that it’s not my favorite thing to do. To be honest it was a significant amount of extra work since I was also preparing dinners for my family. But I could keep going, knowing that in 5 days I would return to my normal routine. There was some planning, measuring, chopping, and preparing. Meals were actually satisfying since the large servings of vegetables were filling. I was still able to fit in a couple of cups of coffee (with almond milk) and even a square of dark chocolate on a few of the days.

    I did feel hungry some of the time, but found that drinking a lot of water and green tea with electrolytes and inulin helped tremendously. When I did feel hungry, I drank some of the green tea concoction and the hunger passed quickly.


    What Did I Eat?

    Here is a sample of what a DIY FMD could look like. As I’ve done a real food FMD at least 4 times now, my food choices have varied each time. In general, it includes mostly vegetables, a few whole grains or sweet potatoes, and fats in the form of olives, olive oil, avocados, and a few nuts. I used a digital kitchen scale to measure the food as the specific quantities are very important. You can find a simple digital scale at Walmart for $10. It’s definitely a must if you’re going to tackle an FMD on your own.

    Day 1 (1100 Calories)

    Breakfast smoothie:

    • 100 g avocado
    • 1 c spinach
    • 1 med banana
    • 1 c unsweetened almond milk

    Add to blender with a little ice and blend.

    Mid-morning:

    1 Quart of half green tea/half water with half a packet of LMNT electrolytes and 1tsp inulin *

    Salad for Lunch:

    • 2 cups mixed greens
    • 150 g of tomato
    • 85 g of carrots
    • 100 g of cucumber
    • 40 g of avocado
    • 1/4c cooked brown rice
    • 5 olives
    • 1 tsp olive oil

    Squeeze of lemon with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of herbs
    5 Simple Mills almond crackers (Enjoy these! Or you can swap them for some almond milk in your coffee.)

    Snack:

    • 10 olives
    • 200 g cantaloupe
    • 1 Quart of half green tea/half water with half a packet of LMNT electrolytes and 1tsp inulin *

    Dinner:

    Note: vegetables here are measured raw, then “sautéed” in a little water or just steam them to taste then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of dried or fresh herbs.

    • 170 g broccoli
    • 14 g sun-dried tomatoes
    • 30 g sliced baby Bella mushrooms
    • 1/2 c brown rice
    • 2 tsp olive oil (drizzled over cooked veggies)
    • 8 olives
    • 4 oz kombucha (I put a splash into some seltzer with a wedge of lime)
    • 1 square of 90% dark chocolate

    Days 2–5 (800 Calories)

    Black coffee in the morning
    1 Quart of half green tea/half water with half a packet of LMNT electrolytes and 1tsp inulin*

    Salad for Lunch:

    • 2 cups mixed greens
    • 150 g of tomato
    • 85 g of carrots
    • 100 g of cucumber
    • 40 g of avocado
    • 1/4c cooked brown rice
    • 5 olives
    • 1 tsp olive oil

    Squeeze of lemon with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of herbs
    5 Simple Mills almond crackers (Enjoy these! Or you can swap them for some almond milk in your coffee.)

    Snack:

    • 10 olives
    • 200 g cantaloupe
    • 1 Quart of half green tea/half water with half a packet of LMNT electrolytes and 1tsp inulin*

    Dinner:

    Note: vegetables here are measured raw, then “sautéed” in a little water or just steam them to taste then sprinkle with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of dried or fresh herbs.

    • 170 g broccoli
    • 14 g sun-dried tomatoes
    • 30 g sliced baby Bella mushrooms
    • 1/2 c brown rice
    • 2 tsp olive oil (drizzled over cooked veggies)
    • 8 olives
    • 4 oz (1/2 c) kombucha (I put a splash into some seltzer with a wedge of lime)
    • 1 square 90% dark chocolate

    * Inulin is a fiber supplement powder that the Prolon product uses in beverages to help with fullness. I’ve only recently started using that and have noticed that it really helps with hunger between meals.
    **I also took an omega-3 fish oil supplement daily, as this was included in the studies (and Prolon) as well.


    Design Your Own FMD Meals!

    Want to make up your own DIY FMD based on your own tastes and preferences? You can use MyFitnessPal to add ingredients you like, then check the nutritional pie chart at the bottom. I find that using MyFitnessPal on my computer’s browser is much easier than my phone, but experiment with both. You’ll probably find that the hardest part is keeping that protein so low.

    Here are some guidelines you’ll want to keep in mind as you design your own meals (data comes from this study) :

    1. The FMD is a plant-based diet (no animal products) designed to attain fasting-like effects on the serum levels of IGF-1, IGFBP-1, glucose, and ketone bodies while providing both macro- and micronutrients to minimize the side-effects of fasting.
    2. Day 1 of the FMD includes ~1100 calories (11% protein, 46% fat, and 43% carbohydrate)
    3. Day 2 of the FMD includes ~800 calories (9% protein, 44% fat, and 47% carbohydrate) per day.
    4. From the Longevity Diet book, Longo suggests that a DIY version (for days 2-5) should include 400 calories from vegetables and 400 calories from fats such as olives, avocados, and nuts. Using these guidelines would be simpler than using MyFitnessPal, but I think would include more than 10% protein. You’d be surprised at how much protein is in broccoli and nuts, for example!

    Other Ideas to Try

    1. Here is a simple no-cook FMD meal idea with balanced macros that I have used before:

      Avocado Toast:

      • 1 slice Dave’s Killer Bread (110 calories)
      • 50 g avocado

      Salad:

      • 2 c mixed greens
      • 80 g carrots
      • 80 g tomatoes
      • 1 t olive oil
      • squeeze of lemon or splash of vinegar, salt, pepper & a sprinkle of herbs if you like

      This meal has a total of 324 calories, 9% protein, 47% fat, and 44% carbohydrates. Two meals like this with a snack fit nicely into the 800 calorie range.

    2. You could try a hybrid approach between real food and a simplified plan with some pre-packaged items.
    3. Some ideas for keeping prepwork to a minimum:
      • Buy the Prolon bars or make your own. There are copycat recipes online. Just make sure to stick with the guidelines above.
      • Use Amy’s organic soups for some or all meals, adding fats or carbs to meet the macro requiremnts.
      • Use smoothies for meals, based on the recipe above or make up your own!
      • Make a big batch of your own soup ahead of time. I made a vegan cauliflower soup during one of my FMD cycles and used that for several meals. This is a comforting and filling option especially during the colder months!

    Do What Works for You

    If this all sounds like too much planning and work, don’t let that stop you from trying the FMD and using the Prolon product. Many people have used Prolon with great success, and part of that success certainly has come from the fact that it’s so easy. In fact, as I’m writing this I have a Prolon box sitting on my desk for my next FMD cycle scheduled for next week. I thought it would be helpful to try it out so that I can speak from experience when coaching clients through the FMD. I will admit that I am looking forward to a week off from cooking. Wish me luck!

    The Fasting Mimicking Diet definitely helped me to appreciate the food I was eating and to eat it more mindfully. Compared to my other options of either taking a statin or radically changing my (and my family’s) diet, it was a piece of cake. Except without the cake. Or any meat. But just for 5 days. We can do anything for just 5 days, right?

    Want some help in designing your own FMD based on your food preferences, time restraints, and calorie needs? Ask your coach for help!

    Have you tried the Fasting Mimicking Diet? Did you use Prolon or make up your own version? Head over to Facebook or Instagram to let us know how it went and what you thought of it!

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