Big thanks to L-Nutra for providing the ProLon 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet meal program for this sponsored post.
What is ProLon?
ProLon® is a 5-day meal program-in-a-box that is backed by 20 years and $36 Million in research and development.
Ever since seeing this somewhat humorous article in MIT Technology Review back in 2019, I’ve been pretty curious about this ProLon program from L-Nutra. Frankly, I read the complaints the article’s author had and took them as challenges. I’ve got a long history of dietary experiments, and after reading the article I added this one to the short list of things to try.
Before the whole lockdown madness began, I’d been really enjoying the networking and comradery of a local boutique coworking space – we’d all have lunch together etc. and it was really rather idea. I look forward to when all that hopefully comes back. And while I’ve been eating the best things, I can get my hands on for many years now, I will admit that now felt like the right time for a good solid reset.
I’m no stranger to various fasts, modified fasts, etc. and have a natural inclination to do a bit of a reset 2-4 times a year, even if it just means a week of eating a little less than normal. After the holidays last year, I enjoyed a few days of bone broth and low-sugar green juices (definitely much more of the former than the latter) to get back in balance. Many years ago (2002?) I did a strict 10 day “master cleanse” which frankly, I’m glad I experienced, but have no plans to repeat or recommend. (Flash back to the part where I wanted to meet up with an out of town friend and she’s like, “Ummmmmm what’s in the bottle?”)
The opportunity to try the ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet (FMD) 5 Day program as part of a sponsored influencer campaign was too good to pass up – especially since I was feeling the need to do some kind of reset.
What’s in the box? Check it out!Things have been going as well as absolutely possible for me considering the covid situation, but I have been doing a little of what may be easily described as stress eating. When I tell you the sorts of things I’ve been stress eating you will roll your eyes at me for sure (1lb of organic blueberries, ridiculous amounts of organic macadamia nuts, dried berries, Hu Kitchen Chocolate bars, a weird recent need for Neufchatel cheese on Wasa or Ryvita, plain Greek yogurt with freakish wild abandon, almond butter with a spoon…)
Those who know me in real life and from fitness circles know that I carry a lot of muscle, so I do normally weigh a bit more than what people may expect for my size (I’m extremely dense… this surprises first-time huggers). Unfortunately, but fortunately for this well-timed experiment, I’m starting things out at a hefty-for-me 142lbs. ACK! Remember, I’m 5’3” and normally like to hover around 135 (in similar clothing) depending on what I’m working on fitness-wise. As I said to a friend, I’m not irked by the numbers, but I can start to tell from my clothes that I’m “slightly out of spec”. Considering how much I don’t enjoy clothes shopping; I will not tolerate being any MORE out of spec. Time to pump the brakes, basically.
Likewise, I’ve been working A LOT, and pulling crazy hours – and I can feel the mental/physical sludge that comes with that. Definitely time for a reset. Here’s the thing though—I still need to be able to continue to perform (at least mentally) at 90-110%. Even with these stipulations, ProLon seemed like an ideal fit for my situation for the following reasons:
- Everything I’d need for 5 days is in the box. No thinking required!
- It’s not a full-on water fast requiring great caution – the idea of a Fasting Mimicking Diet is that you are still eating and getting required nutrition for safety and mental functioning.
- The “Nerd Factor”: this program is popular in Silicon Valley, so of course I’m curious.
- Seriously though, I’m feeling long overdue for a wee bit of autophagy, and this seems like a quick path to it without excessive effort.
- And OMG I love doing the occasional “influencer campaign” and have been doing so since 2012… which is a whole ‘nother blog post full of stories and observations…
- Other people online keep talking about the olives in the program. I love olives… so much so that while waiting for the ProLon box to arrive, I bought olives and ate them.
- Maybe this will let me win the war I’m currently waging on fruit flies in the kitchen.
- The relative high cost of this 5-day meal plan means I *WILL* do it by the book. This is just part of my weird personality, and also human nature – there’s skin in the game. While I have no doubt that a lot of the cost is relative to the research behind it, I also know that a “high” buy in price brings greater adherence from people, and thus more stories of success and results. The cost is comparable to some of my other food experiments and doesn’t seem out of line—I won’t argue with the fact that my approach to food spending is often “ridiculous” since it’s one of the few areas where I don’t really hold back. Likewise, if I had done my bone broth and low sugar green juice thing for 5 days, I would have gone past the $250 mark easily and would not have had the benefit of the included supplements, and overall tested design of the program. Therefore, the $250 price tag for 5 days of “astronaut very tasty but small camping food portions” in a box actually makes a lot of sense.
It’s no secret that I run in health/wellness/biohacking/fitness circles, and autophagy is something that comes up in casual conversation surprisingly frequently.
After placing the order, I was encouraged to schedule a call with a one of their coaches to learn what to expect, how to prepare, and to answer any questions I might have about the 5 days – and afterwards.
The coach was able to further personalize the ProLon experience for me too – considering that I am in overall extremely good health I might only want/need to do the ProLon fasting mimicking diet program twice a year instead of the standard quarterly recommendation. I was amused to see this line up with my instinctual pattern of a near-fast 2-3 times a year. But also really liked the idea that I could use a scientifically designed “all in one” solution for this instinctual impulse.
He added some very important info which I had checked on before agreeing to this campaign: I would be able to have ONE cup of black coffee or tea at the beginning of each day. Some of you already know about my “special relationship” with caffeine and that cutting it out would be a deal-breaker since I’m still very much responsible for a lot of projects and business stuff right now. It was good to read it and also hear that that single, wonderous cup of coffee would be allowed. I may have a problem, but that’s fine. I accept that.
We then began the discussion of what happens AFTER the fast – and the transition diet which begins on day 6. The general recommendation is to keep meals small, and on the lighter side starting with soups (I have a box of organic roasted red pepper soup, and bone broth with a dab of miso in mind) and continuing with light meals including small portions of proteins. I’d been concerned because one pamphlet in the box suggested adding rice and pasta, then another suggested avoiding them for the transitional diet. Given that these starchy carbs are not normally part of my “normal healthy diet,” I was pleased to hear that there were some oven roast vegetable recipes coming in a PDF guide and not a carb-fest. I do love sweet potatoes for instance.
Following our call, the coach promptly sent along the pdf guide as promised and I was quickly relieved to see that the “plant based” transition diet was full of things I liked to eat and not as starchy as I had imagined. Roast veggies and walnuts? Sign me up! I’ve been obsessed with red peppers over the past year but again, that’s a whole ‘nother blog post…
Armed with all this info, the next step was to wait for the box of goodies to arrive! When it did, I was pleased to see that here was a box of 10 L-Nutra “Fast Bars” inside. These were a surprise and I needed to do a little research to see how they fit into the plan. Turns out they are to be used outside the 5-day program as a tool to extend an intermittent fasting session as necessary. The ingredients seem to be the same as the bars included in the 5-day program – which is good news because I really like those bars! I can see this being part of my regular “Sunday plan” or those mornings where I have to really hit the ground running online going forward. These might also be good for a certain friend who continually “forgets to eat” and wonders why he feels loopy. You know who you are.
Day 1 (Sunday):
Normally on Sunday I meet up with my advanced client and we do a crazy workout. It’s usually early enough in the day that I either do this fasted or semi-fasted just because I want to sleep more rather than get up early enough to eat and digest something. The 1,150 calories didn’t put me off (over time, I’ve learned how I respond to 1,000, 1,300, 1,500, 1,800, 2,000, 2,200, 2,500, 3,000 calories in a day) and generally, one day at 1k after a week of big eating won’t really slow me down. A week of it will – and two weeks of it make me a bit weird… (Last year I did an experiment eating 1,000 calories per day for 2 weeks… long story, but I can sum it up as NOT RECOMMENDED!)
We proceeded with our usual sort of workout, adjusted for the extreme heat of the day, but it went extremely well and was a lot of fun – we got out the kettlebells of course, the battling rope, Neuro-Grips, etc. Again, it’s solidly intermediate-advanced and uses a lot of equipment—and the reasoning behind that is “just because we can… and we both wanted to ‘play’ with a lot of stuff”.
I came home after the workout and was pleased to see that yes indeed on Sunday there are quite a bit of things to try – it’s almost a “preview” of all the goodies you get during the 5-day program. While the meal program “menu” is a suggestion, the main rules are that you have to eat the items on a given day ON that day only – the order of the items doesn’t seem to matter too much, and you can have as much herbal tea (sans any sort of sweetener, etc.) as you want. I took this as a challenge of course and have not only been partaking of the included lemon spearmint, spearmint, and hibiscus teas, but have gotten out my box of mint tea, turmeric tea, etc. When you see “tea” listed in the menus in this post, you can assume I mean caffeine-free herbal teas like the ones I’ve listed in the previous sentence.
Day 1 Menu (Approx. 1,150 Calories):
Algal oil (2 capsules)
NR-1 (2 capsules – they’re a vegetable powder pressed with vitamins/minerals)
L-Bar (Choco crisp)
Overall, not an unusual Sunday other than I didn’t make my usual stop at the gloriously less-attended Fresh Market on the way home for those delicious chicken roll ups I like to bake (chicken breast with goat cheese and spinach inside… YUM) as a treat on Sunday. Yes, I eat two of them usually with a giant salad. Instead I enjoyed trying the new ProLon foods which would be sustaining me for the next few days.
The “nut-based bar” is especially good – but how can you go wrong with macadamia nuts being the first ingredient? There’s a bit of honey in it which really stood out to me as I typically don’t consume much sugar at all, natural or otherwise. Not complaining though, it was good – I would eat these on the regular.
I decided to try the minestrone soup for the first meal and prepared it on the stovetop in my very handy “4th burner” pot which was ideal for this small amount of liquid. The powdered soup mix has very specific instructions and be sure to follow them for the best experience – there’s a lot of dehydrated veggies in there which need the extra simmering to come out. Both soups are formulated to have a fairly rich texture and are not watery at all. This is a very good sign.
Pro Tip on the tomato soup (and the vegetable soup): if you do decide to prepare it in the microwave choose a large mug, then choose a larger mug. Otherwise you’ll run the risk of a heartbreaking boil-over and the loss of precious, precious thick tomato soup that you really REALLY want to eat every bit of. Spare yourself and chose a comically huge mug or prepare it on the stovetop. Actually, if I can give you a lifesaving tip, if your microwave has one of those removable glass turntables inside, go ahead and give that a good scrub before you heat any soups on there during your 5 days… that way you won’t be grossed out when you opt to save the parts that boil over should that happen… You’ll be glad you did.
The kale crackers, olives, and “Choco Crisp” L-bar are all very tasty, a bit small on the serving side, but that’s to be expected, right? I was glad to see they were fully flavored and seasoned. Nothing in the kit is what I’d describe as bland, though nothing is over seasoned as well. The olives reminded me that I can’t wait to make some of my favorite zucchini noodle “zoodles” with grass fed beef next week https://giryagirl.com/weekday-grassfed-ground-beef-sauce-and-zucchini-noodles-zoodles/ … or maybe with spaghetti squash…
Though the cliché goes “hunger is the best spice” the flavor choices in all the items thus far are spot on, which frankly should be the case given the overall cost. I also like the thoughtfulness of including a taste of the upcoming next days on the first day. In some odd way it’s nice to know what to expect and to look forward to.
Day 2 (Monday)
Woke up with a slight headache, not entirely surprised by this. It went right away after that one cup of black coffee – as predicted. Yeah, I know… look, I stopped drinking over 10 years ago, and I genuinely enjoy coffee in all its myriad of forms… anyway. There were TWO packets of olives on the menu today, so I was looking forward to that for sure. I was relieved to find out that I wouldn’t need to do a live HIIT workout broadcast today (Monday) as my beta-testing team had to cancel for the day for an emergency work meeting (their workplace… well via Zoom but same diff). My energy was dragging for sure – and I was glad that I’d left the calendar clear today (Monday). Normally Monday is my truer “day off” as I crush things on Sunday late until the evening for a large client, and they also typically have so much going on on Monday that I don’t hear from them until later in the afternoon. I also wasn’t feeling especially creative, so it was a good excuse to catchup on some small chores and tidying between emails etc.
Early in the day I vowed to not make any strategic or creative decisions all day, and to just make note of any ideas so that I could decide to implement them or not.
Day 2 Menu (Approx. 800 Calories… YIKES!):
L-Drink throughout the day
NR-1 (1 capsule – vegetable powder pressed with vitamins/minerals)
Minestrone & Quinoa soup
L-Bar (Choco Crisp)
Good unintended side effect of trying ProLon right now – I’m on the heels of some very large projects that I’d pushed myself to the limit a bit in terms of sleep. My coffee consumption is a bit out of control (even for me) so part of this whole thing is getting it down to one cup a day for 5 days to see what happens. Plus, knowing that I actually physically NEED rest and to slow down during these five days is really making me stick to setting some boundaries, and to make a point to set aside extra time for rest and sleep. This is worth it already.
Day two is the introduction of the proprietary ProLon L-Drink. Day two is also when the challenge gets a bit interesting as the calorie count is very low and will remain that way for the rest of the experience. Two packages of olives were very exciting to see, but the crackers would have been nice too.
The novelty of the whole ProLon experience was more than enough to keep me on track, even though this was definitely a challenging transitional day. Fortunately, I’d timed things correctly and Monday was reasonably slow with work things—I’d really crushed it over the weekend on purpose so that I’d have a lighter workload this week.
The mushroom soup was a little lackluster, but savory overall, no biggie. The addition of the quinoa to the minestrone soup at dinner time was very welcome – it added a little more texture to it. I prepared the soup in my short 4th burner pot (one of these was in the ‘extended stay’ hotel I stayed at near where I taught a workshop in Austin, TX a few years ago and I had to get one when I got back home because they’re SO useful). It’s really interesting how the soup mixes end up being surprisingly satisfying. Make sure to follow the directions on the packets, they’re not exactly what you may expect.
Toward the end of the day I was dragging pretty hard – and thankfully had the foresight to save the small Choco-Crisp L-bar for that eventuality. Btw, I should add that this “flavor” of L-Bar is about 1/3 the size of the ones that are described as “nut-based”. But it’s got a great flavor and has a satisfying chewiness to it. I took tiny bites as to make eating it last longer. While that sounds sad, it’s another “pro-tip” for your ProLon experience. I then drank a whole lot of water and more mint tea.
Day 3 (Tuesday):
Woke up with some odd leg cramping which went away for the most part after I got up and started moving around, getting water, the coffee, etc. I also added a bit of my electrolyte drops (no-calorie) to a glass of water and downed that just in case. Was bummed to see no olives on the menu today. Definitely was feeling less than optimal today, but still managed to handle all of my responsibilities and then some. Amusingly, I woke up with great HRV and a lower resting heart rate—even though I didn’t feel at my best physically. Huh, ok, welp, good to know.
In general, I continued to give myself some leeway for extra rest and such, and absolutely using the ProLon program as the “excuse” I needed to make this happen. I feel very fortunate to have a lot of work right now, and so I have this idea that I’m obligated to go as hard as I can. You may have noticed I haven’t been updating the blog here as regularly (not to worry, I’ve been saving things up for you, I just need to type ‘em out). For months I’ve been operating under the assumption that something else could happen in our crazy world and it could “all go away” next week, next month, etc. That’s not an entirely realistic expectation on my part, but it’s part of how I am coping with the recent changes. But I’ve reached the point where I need to at least take a couple half days off, and now the ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet is nearly physically MAKING me do this. Quite frankly I’m finding great value in that.
Unfortunately, also on Tuesday I also got some sad news that I need time to process—my beloved local boutique co-working space in Carrboro, Perch, announced that they would be closing that location due to all the people who have had to cancel their memberships. The Pittsboro location will remain open and I’m planning to at least do day visits there after all this virus crap is over. I’ve been paying my co-working space membership fees this whole time and have felt like it’s still been worth it. I can’t tell you how much I gained from working there on a daily basis before all this began. The collaborations and networking have been priceless, and it has transformed my business in so many ways. I’m sad to see it go, incredibly sad.
On the heels of that I also found out that my two local friends who I sometimes refer to as my “outsource team” are moving away because one of them has a new research job in another state. Planning to still have them work on small online tasks for me here and there, but I’ll miss our fun meetings, ping-pong mini tournaments, and their great attitudes. Getting these two pieces of news on one day was a bit much. I described it to a close friend as a “mega-bummer” … But, anyhow… here we are, and pivot we must. So, I took it easy on myself on Tuesday—using it as a day to catch up on some small organizational things which may have fallen through the cracks, some short “power naps” here and there etc.
By most standards, I still kept a high output, but there were no meetings on Zoom, etc. so I did maybe slum it a bit. I can’t overstate the mental benefit of “hey I’m eating like 800-calories a day, I need to take it easy” to slow an overachiever like myself down. If nothing else, this is again a great benefit for some of us type-A maniacs.
Towards the evening, the leg cramping intensified to an almost very uncomfortable degree, so I found my topical magnesium and used that before bed – and also prepared a serving of the ReMag supplement in a large glass of water that I drank as well. I am making a point of being more diligent about this supplement post-ProLon. Part of the issue is that it’s liquid and thus separate from my usual regimen which is organized in a little supplement box that I set up each week on “vitamin box day” (don’t ask… it’s a thing I enjoy doing… and yes, vitamin box day has a theme-song and you don’t want to hear it.) After taking the ReMag and gently stretching, I could feel things ease off as I drifted off to sleep.
Day 3 Menu (Approx. 800 calories):
L-Drink throughout the day
NR-1 (1 capsule – vegetable powder pressed with vitamins/minerals)
No olives! No Choco-Crisp L-Bar! Oof! Well… I do like those kale crackers quite a bit…
More about the Kale Crackers – it might be because of the word kale, and they are represented by some tiny green flecks, but the crackers themselves remind me a lot of a mild version of the kale chips dressing I make on the semi-regular. They have a satisfying crunch to them that’s difficult to describe. I made sure to nibble them so that they lasted longer. I also held off from having them at lunch and had them at the “afternoon snack” time instead. I don’t regret this one bit.
Another pro-tip with the tomato soup – use a small spoon and just coat it for half the “bites” of soup – it made the “eating” last longer which seemed to almost trick my brain into thinking “this is normal, yeah this is ok” for a bit. The texture of this soup is surprisingly thick, and I found that to be a very good thing. It’s from a powder so I tell myself this is “high performance camping food” or “astronaut food” which of course makes me like it more—the $250 price tag on this box of 5 days of goodies supports those little tales as well. When you prepare and consume the tomato soup, it’s very obvious that it’s specially designed. I wouldn’t attempt this kind of thing with off-the-shelf tomato soup…
Day 4 (Wednesday):
Still woke up with some leg cramping but thankfully that went away pretty quickly upon rising – and I got up early because I would be working with a new kettlebell client socially-distanced style at our nearby park. We were planning to focus on kettlebell swing and get-up fine tuning, so while this may require me to do some demos here and there it would likely be minimal depending on this new client’s learning style. By the time I left the house, I had a feeling of normalcy and only a little bit of leg discomfort. I was happy to get that first L-Bar down with a small amount (what! I didn’t even want all of it!? WHAT!!!?) of coffee. Those little L-Bars are very calorically dense, with the highest calorie count (250) and fat content (healthy delicious fats yes yes) of any item in the whole ProLon program. I was so glad we were able to schedule this session for the morning so I would be able to be somewhat fully fueled for it.
All of the remaining leg discomfort and went away completely when focusing on someone else – what a relief! It was a great session and this client is way further along than they had communicated – we were able to get a LOT of work done, and my brain decided to cooperate in this delightfully normal situation. It was also nice to be outside and talking to another human being – even if they were 6-10 feet away. That’s totally fine. I kept my demoing to an absolute minimum with the kettlebell exercises and brought a 12kg for said demos. It was NOT the time to “show off” anyway, but especially not right now – I’m running on fumes, highly calculated fumes but still.
After, the park I decided to mix up the day’s L-Drink mix in the provided 32oz water bottle (branded with the ProLon logo – so that others know to be nice to you… please). One of the instruction cards in the box had a suggestion to add one of the herbal tea bags to the diluted L-Drink mixture. So, I added one of the hibiscus tea packets to it since I knew it would blend well with the dilute orange flavor of the L-Drink (other days have other flavors). The flavor was indeed enhanced, and the bright hibiscus color was also reassuring to some deep recess of my brain that it meant “Oh, hey! Calories!”
Other than that, I kept drinking tons of water and herbal tea – but that’s pretty normal for me – beverages are very important around here, and I have the kitchen countertop to prove it: electric stainless steel moka pot, specialty gong-fu tea electric kettle, Baratza conical burr coffee grinder, Vitamix, Soda Stream (for glass carafes). Beverages are a priority around here.
About halfway through the day, the odd aches and pains eased off and I started feeling really great, so much so that it was almost a little startling. I finished up a good chunk of work stuff and snacked on the Choco-Crisp L-Bar and tons and tons of peppermint tea before logging into a really cool Zoom-based meeting of a group I used to meet up with a fair amount down in Orlando – the Orlando IoT meetup group. We had all collected the hardware to assemble and debug a small IoT project together online as a “Hack-A-Long” activity. This had been planned for an upcoming (and cancelled of course) conference. Oddly enough the zoom format worked incredibly well for this and we all had a blast! If you’re curious, we were experimenting with Particle Argon boards and motion detectors. Fun stuff! While things were going well, I felt myself getting a bit tired after about an hour and a half. I had completed the project and really needed to eat that packet of soup! I did just that and then finished up with work responsibilities until it was time to read myself to sleep.
Day 4 Menu (Approx. 800 Calories):
L-Drink throughout the day
NR-1 (1 capsule – vegetable powder pressed with vitamins/minerals)
Minestrone & Quinoa soup
I was thrilled to see the TWO packets of olives! And the Choco-Crisp L-Bar is back! YES!
Like the tomato soup, if you choose to prepare the vegetable soup in the microwave be sure to choose a VERY large mug or bowl. Otherwise you will be extremely sad if it boils over.
Day 5 (Thursday):
Woke up feeling startlingly great with zero headache, zero leg discomfort… and woke up an hour before the alarm. WHAT?! Minimal desire for coffee, but I had a full day ahead, so I went ahead and drank my allotted cup of black coffee. Honestly, I like the smell of it too, but we won’t go into my coffee obsession here. I keep thinking about salmon and checked online to see if the local gloriously under-attended gourmet grocery store might have some wild caught variety on sale – oh yes they do… coordinated with the upstairs neighbor via text to see if they wanted in on a salmon feast… Meaning… “hey I have some really great wild coho salmon that I got on sale, do you want to help me eat this?” which also means… “How about I bring up some amazing salmon and you do your grill magic and we all have a nice dinner this weekend.”
I also collected the ingredients for the transitional diet on Friday (Day 6). This was the PDF that the ProLon coach sent over before the program. Amusingly I had many of the items which were not fresh produce on hand already. Before this, I’d tried to make meals from what remained in the fridge, including several red and orange bell peppers. Should also say that I’m now going on 1.5 years of a red bell pepper mania. I can’t explain it, but I’m not about to fight it either. There’s no reason not to eat a bunch of red bell peppers…
The big test of the day would be leading my bodyweight only online HIIT class (private custom program) on this extreme calorie deficit. The ProLon program recommends that you abstain from heavy duty intensity exercise during the program and recommends walking, stretching, yoga, mobility exercises only. I kept this in mind when designing our timed circuits for the day. In “normal” non-pandemic times, this wouldn’t have been a big deal since I would have gone to their building and led the class in their private gym – demoing the exercises then walking around and coaching, encouraging, etc.
The online program though… I have to do the whole thing. And you know me, I’m not going to phone it in. While I did get a little loopy, I didn’t say anything more goofy than usual and completed the workout, the repost, and other admin tasks afterwards with no problem. There were definitely some mind over matter moments, and I’m curious to try the workout again on Monday for the Mighty Monday program to contrast the two experiences in terms of perceived exertion. I’d tried to stack the deck in my favor in this case by eating the Choco-Crisp L-bar about 20 minutes before the class with water and tea, then having the minestrone and quinoa soup right after the class. I don’t feel like I caused myself any harm with this, but I wouldn’t have wanted to even try this out on any of the earlier days.
I even had enough energy to think about the Python Data Structures online class I am taking on EdX and finished one of the programming assignments before going to bed. And needless to say, I went to bed earlier than usual! Oof!
Day 5 Menu (Approx. 800 Calories):
L-Drink throughout the day
Algal Oil (1 capsule)
NR-1 (1 capsule – vegetable powder pressed with vitamins/minerals)
Day 6 – Program is over – Transitional Diet (Friday):
The breakfast suggestion in the PDF is a simple form of Avocado toast. Amusingly it calls for a single slice of wheat bread. I can’t actually remember the last time I purchased a loaf of wheat bread, but I do usually have Ryvita or Wasa crackers on hand. In this case, I took 2 Ryvita (they’re smaller than Wasa) and used those in place of bread. This ended up being a delicious swap. The avocado topping was made with ½ avocado, lemon juice, red pepper flake, and I added a little black lava salt on top because it would be especially tasty that way.
It was the best avocado toast in the whole world! At least relatively speaking. Though I found that I definitely was already planning to eat it again the next day.
Lunch got interesting, I’d planned to make the vegetable soup featuring carrots and kale, but Friday got so hectic that I found myself wishing I had another one of those soup packets to just go heat up… the veggie soup with all the chopping and stirring would need to wait. I did have a carton of Trader Joe’s Organic Red Pepper and Tomato soup in the cabinet which would need to suffice for a little while. I had a modest serving of that and some carrot and celery sticks
In midafternoon the work stuff was not slowing down, but that was OK – the transitional diet had an afternoon snack plan consisting of one of the FastBars which they’d been kind enough to send a box of – these are very similar to the L-Bar on the 5 day program but with some fancy ingredients like cocoa nibs. YUM! That and some tea and I was back on track. After the last meeting of the day I went and picked up the salmon… mmmm. It was a large full fillet weighing about 1.5lbs and the three of us ate it ALL. The guys had salad and rice with theirs, but I kept things simple with just fish and salad. I added salt and pepper to the salad instead of dressing to further keep it simple. The salmon was grilled with salt, pepper, and lemon. Not a bite was left over. In fact, it was all so good, that we’re going to repeat the experience in a few days! Works for me!
After dinner I continued with work and creative projects (which are not mutually exclusive) and completed another assignment in the Python course. A good day overall.
Day 7 Extended Transitional Diet (Saturday):
I’m continuing to keep things on the lighter side and casually experimenting with simpler foods. Before the ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet, I had been overdoing it with caffeine, cheese, chocolate, special Swedish protein snack bars, tons of yogurt, etc. and this experience has given me a clean break.
I started the day with one coffee and the avocado “toast” (Ryvita) creation again.
Around lunchtime I snacked on a whole lot of red pepper slices, carrots, celery and an honest serving of almond butter.
Later in the afternoon I had a meal I’d prepared ahead and frozen which was a meal prep container of paleo grass fed beef stew with carrots, sweet potatoes, and simple seasoning. And ¼ of a Hu Chocolate dark chocolate and almond butter bar. If I keep this rate of consumption up, I’m going to start saving a whole lot of money. LOL.
After winning a highly contested eBay auction (I pulled a year 2000-era double snipe strategy, no, I will not share this info) doing 2 loads of laundry, and various other odd tasks (one of which inspired 3d printing a new clipper guard – long story), it was time for more peppermint tea and to make a few more meals ahead. I made a favorite dish for this purpose – spaghetti squash with grass fed beef sauce and finally remembered to document the Instant Pot directions for the spaghetti squash. I had a small portion of the sauce, and a large portion of the spaghetti squash (because I needed the rest of it to fit in 3 meal prep dishes with servings of the sauce after all…
Before more work and creative tasks, I ate more carrot and celery sticks and red pepper slices, and a little of that weird powdered peanut butter stuff that’s surprisingly good—and that I forgot I had.
On Sunday (Day 8):
I woke up at 136lbs with improved HRV and lower resting heart rate overnight. Awesome.
We did our challenge workout, though I opted for only going for 6 rounds (workout partner went for the full 10) since I could tell that I had very little “reserves” and was still working back up from fasting mode. I feel really great though – and when you see the workout, you’ll understand that 6 rounds is not slacking. Looking forward to a seriously productive week next week, and meal prepping accordingly.
I am extremely glad I tried the ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet. It wasn’t always easy, but no regrets and I would willingly do it again in 4-6 months. It’s all very straightforward, and the research behind it (and which continues to be done) is rather staggering. The price makes sense in terms of value, support of R&D, and also program adherence. I’m no cheapskate but if I spend $ on something I will will myself to get the full value out of it.
Given my many past experiences with odd food experiments, modified fasts, etc. I would say that the results from this felt much more significant. I haven’t had that profound of different feeling on second and third days with my other experiments. I certainly haven’t had the profound sense that something significant had changed like I did on days 4 and 5. I feel like an actual reset has happened, physically as well as maybe a little bit mentally too.
Over the course of the program I went from 142 to 137.6 without much perceived sense of lean mass loss. My feelings of being “gurgly” from stress eating were gone and I felt like I was back where I needed to be – or close enough to it that I’ll be right at my usual comfortable shredded ideal in a few weeks without any real fuss (other than the heavy kettlebell antics I enjoy so much).
Admittedly, working from home also made this experience that much easier. Others who need to work in an office where coworkers are ordering in pizza, etc. might lose their minds. They would also need to be sure to bring the microwaveable soup mixes in to work and leave the minestrone soups at home for dinner. You might also have issues at home if others in your household are cooking and eating tempting items around you. I could imagine that if you chose to do the program with a partner, this could be either 1. A fun, bonding experience or 2. Maybe the beginning of the end of the relationship. I have no idea what your situation is, so choose carefully.
While I had a lot of work to do during this week, none of it was as intense as the previous 3 weeks – and there were no product launches, lengthy workshops to teach, extended meetings, or contract negotiations.
Observations and Somewhat Unscientific Conclusions:
The idea of calorie restricted diets for longevity have been in and out of the news for years – and there’s usually a pattern. (See Biosphere… no, not the movie) things go well for a bit and the it’s “what happened?” When I was experimenting with raw veganism back in 2002 or so (yes yes this is as shocking to me as it is to you but hold on) I hit a wall after a certain point as well. Fortunately, my love of food and overall survival instinct kicked in and brought me back to an omnivorous more calorically appropriate place before any real damage occurred. But I had gotten closer to “scary skinny” at that time than I should have and was not performing at my best. Around the time this happened, my martial arts teacher was talking about the Hallelujah Diet which was very restrictive – people got amazing results at first including many stories of people recovering from very serious illnesses. But then people would reach a point of diminishing returns much like what I had experienced for a very short period of time.
In my own experience, short term fasting, and short-term calorie restriction certainly do have a place in an overall healthy nutrition plan, but for short term use only. There’s also a very fine line between these kinds of practices and unhealthy crash diet / binge patterns. The program is not for people who may have had past experience with disordered eating. I was glad to see that the warnings and contraindications for the program were loud and clear on the website, in the pamphlets etc. The program is also not for anyone who is underweight (and ProLon provides a chart) … If you must know, I was nowhere near the cut off. People with some allergies may not be able to do the program as it contains nuts, soy, sesame, celery, celeriac. Likewise, people with certain (very common) diagnosed conditions should only do the program under a doctor’s supervision. BUT… in some cases, your doctor may even be able to prescribe the program for you, and it may even be covered by your insurance plan.
I also really enjoy heavy duty kettlebell strength training and need a good bit of fuel to do the types of workout I love the most. Also… while it’s the “cultural ideal” for women to be stick thin, I enjoy being strong, sturdy, and ready for adventures and the unknown. My personal ideal includes a level of resilience—mentally and physically. ALSO… I really love steak, eggs Benedict, occasional fine dining, chef’s table outings, maybe even an extravagant biscuit from Chapel Hill’s epic Sunrise Biscuit Kitchen. I’m not about to give up the occasional treat forever. I also genuinely enjoy my day to day medium-low carb, high quality proteins and fats diet chock full of flavor and variety. So, for a few days a year I am more than willing to take an organized “break” with a program such as ProLon in exchange for enhanced health via a much-needed reset.
ProLon 5-Day Fasting Mimicking Diet$249
- Solidly researched product
- Excellent documentation / coaching
- All in one product
- I really feel a TON better!
- Will do this again!
- A little spendy
- Slow response from fulfilment company after a very odd shipping error on their part (not sure this is a "con" but wanted to mention)