It’s been over a year since completing my first 5-day fast. My energy is still better than it was 10 years ago, I wake up motivated, I’m now craving clean food, and my once “skinny” pants are now feeling a bit loose on me…
The fast I completed was called ProLon – a fasting mimicking diet created by Dr. Valter Longo, an Italian biologist, researcher and Gerontologist professor at USC. Fasting has been a hot topic in the wellness world these days (and everyone has their own reason for doing one), but my experience with ProLon is much different than any other juice cleanse I’ve tried – which is why I wanted to give you an honest and personal ProLon review.
Given my amazing results from 5 days of soup, crackers, olives and tea, I thought I’d share my honest experience so you can make your own educated decision on whether ProLon is a right reset for you.
What Is the ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet?
The ProLon Fasting Mimicking Diet replicates the benefits of fasting while providing the body with just enough nutrients over the course of 5 days. The diet consists of a combination of teas, nut bars, crackers, soups and olives to promote autophagy. Autophagy is the body’s way of cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells.
What are the benefits of ProLon?
The program has been through multiple clinical studies and thousands of users proclaim to the positive effects of the fast.
Specific benefits may include:
- Enhances Autophagy
- Reduced Blood Sugar and Cholesterol
- Weight Loss
- Reduced Inflammation
- May slow aging and mental decline
Like any other diet, ProLon recommends that you talk to a medical professional prior to starting the fast.
Why I chose to do a fast
I’ll be completely honest with you in this ProLon review- I didn’t go into the fast with the intention of trying to lose a ton of weight. Ok, maybe a few of the quarantine pounds I packed on, but not trying to lose anything drastic. I was more interested in the longevity and deep cellular clean-out the fast offers. I’m in my later 20’s, looking to have kids within the next 5+ years (who knows) and want to clean my body out in the years to come to prepare for it. I believe that staying young and healthy is not about your physical appearance or years you are alive, but more about your biological age. Just because I’m 28 doesn’t mean I can’t have the biological age of my younger, healthier self – and daily exercise, healthy eating and regular detox practices can help you get there.
One box = your entire week of food
After purchasing the program, I received one large box that contained the entirety of my meals for the 5 days, a meal plan schedule, plus a water bottle and Dr. Longo’s book.
Each labeled box comes with the following (depending on the day):
- L-Bars: Meal bars made from macadamia nut butter, honey, flax, almond meal, and coconut.
- Soup blends: Depending on which option you choose, you will receive a variety that may include minestrone, minestrone quinoa, mushroom, butternut squash, and tomato soup.
- Herbal tea: Lemon-spearmint, spearmint, and hibiscus tea (non-caffeinated)
- Dark chocolate crisp bar
- Kale crackers
- NR-1: A vegetable supplement
- Algal oil: A vegetarian-based supplement twith 200 mg of DHA
- L-Drink: This glycerol-based energy drink is given on days two through five when your body has started gluconeogenesis (when your begins to create energy from noncarbohydrate sources, such as fats).
The program recommends that participants only consume whats in the meal kit during the 3 days. The only exceptions include:
- A little fresh lemon to flavor the soups.
- Only herbal tea and water during the cleans (in addition to the L-Drink)
5 days of fasting – my detailed ProLon Review
Full disclosure – this fast isn’t for the faint of heart. Personally, the hardest days were 1-3 (serious caffeine and sugar withdraw headaches) but I felt awesome the final two. When my boyfriend did the fast (you can read his full ProLon review here) he felt like crap until the day after the fast ended.
I chose to start on a Monday so I can slowly transition back into a normal diet over the following weekend. It’s a very good idea to plan your fast when you have no events, social commitments or temptations anytime soon. During the fast, I wrote these notes down daily so that I can give an accurate ProLon review from my personal experience.
Here’s a detailed breakdown:
Day one (Monday)
Energy: declined drastically throughout the day. Not having my cup of coffee didn’t help. I felt depleted by the end of the day and had no energy to work out.
Attitude: optimistic but started to get on edge towards the end of the day (sorry, Dan!)
Side Effects: horrible headaches on and off throughout day.
Day two (Tuesday)
Energy: Very low. I was sluggish and had little motivation to take the dog out on a walk.
Attitude: Cranky, irritable and PMS’ing (if you’re on your period or PMSing during the fast, it makes it that much harder.)
Side Effects: Headaches. All day.
Day three (Wednesday)
Energy: Extremely low. Not only did I have my period, I had a nagging headache and struggled finding motivation to get up and walk around throughout the day. Thank God I was working remote or else it would’ve been a struggle in the office.
Attitude: On edge and cranky (probably partially due to my period.)
Side Effects: Horrible cramps. I got my period on Day 2, although I was getting odd cramps in my legs and traps throughout the day and night. My good friend who was doing this had neck and trap cramping as well, so I took a look into it. Cramping is a known thing for those who start to enter into ketosis- lack of minerals, specifically magnesium, will trigger cramping. I decided to not take anything for it because I wanted to ride this fast out entirely without modifications.
Day four (Thursday)
Energy: This was the first day I had a burst of energy since starting the cleanse. I woke up before my 6am alarm, which is completely out of my normal routine! This energy stuck with me throughout the day.
Attitude: Optimistic. Felt like the fast was finally starting to pay off.
Side Effects: Slight cramping in my legs, but nothing unbearable. My sense of smell was also at it’s all time high this day.
Day five (Friday)
Energy: Outstanding. Maybe because it was because I was so happy that this fast was almost over with, but I had the energy of my 18-year-old self.
Attitude: Positive, optimistic, and willingness to get more done.
Side Effects: I still had some slight cramping, but much less than the day before. Sense of smell extremely high, and I had zero cravings for any sweets or grains.
Day six (Saturday – transition day)
I felt like I was on cloud 9. I woke up without hunger and with a ton of energy. I decided to work out before breaking my fast, and I felt strong and energized! I broke my fast with a cup of bone broth, then I treated myself to a colonic to top it all off. I had soup for lunch, and had a light meal of grilled veggies and a small piece of salmon for dinner. I felt light, energetic, and truthfully haven’t felt this good since my teens.
Food: 3/5. It’s bland, but better than eating no food at all. One of the only things I was bummed about was that the food is not 100% organic. But I will admit, it was nice not food shopping for the week and the pre-packaged days made the fast extremely easy to follow.
I wish there was a way to choose exactly what soups you get. I chose “option one” while by boyfriend did the second soup option, and we both had our favorites and least favorites. But overall, its not about what meals you’re eating – it’s about giving you the specific nutrients and calories needed in order to enter the fasting state.
Program guidelines: 5/5. Extremely easy to follow and straight forward. You get one box thats labeled with everything you need for the day and week, with detailed instructions on meals and how to prepare each one. The complimentary book was a nice read during the 5 day fast and gave me more understanding and insight on the science behind the program.
Overall experience: 5/5. I feel amazing. I feel a true shift in my attitude, energy and outlook on food and healing. I came to the realization that I do better with less grains, I need to have a full glass of water before I eat – when I think I’m hungry, there’s a good chance I’m actually dehydrated. I’m already for my next fast and plan on doing it bi-monthly to keep up the positive effects.
ProLon Tips and Takeaways
Hydrate. I realized that If I was feeling hungry, most of the time I was actually dehydrated.
Rest and plan on skipping workouts. I allowed my body to rest during the fast and I’m glad I didn’t push myself to work out. I physically couldn’t have done a workout on days 1-3, although I probably could have completed light workouts on days 4 and 5.
Plan ahead on when you want to start the fast. I planned mine out so that I could start on a Monday, finish on Friday and have the weekend to transition back to normality. My boyfriend, after watching me complete the fast, decided to start his on a Friday so he can experience the worst of it over the weekend (and not during the height of the work week.) Since we’re in quarantine, It’s a perfect time to do the fast (sadly) mostly because there are no social pressures to go out to eat or celebrate. Your senses will be heightened, cravings will skyrocket at times, so not being around temptations is key.
On a female-related note, having my period on the fast didn’t effect me too too much other than day 2-3. But I am curious as to how my body would respond if I did it on another week of my cycle, which I’m planning on doing the next time around. Also, if you’re looking for a man’s perspective on ProLon, my boyfriend finished his fast and posted his honest ProLon review here.
Talk to your doctor before you start. If you’re pregnant or have any other health condition, talk to your doctor to see if this fast is right for you. Depending where you’re at with your health, you could be doing more harm than good. Although, looking back at my healing journey with Lyme disease, I think this may have been a great way to kill off some other co-infections and mycotoxins in the gut. But again, speak with a qualified health care professional before pulling the trigger on ProLon.