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Igniting Your Survival Engine

September 1, 2003 12:21 PM

The fear of getting weak, fat, sick or old makes people shove all kinds of stuff into themselves, which more often than not provides little benefit.

In fact, some nutritional products contain dangerous chemicals and harmful fillers which can cause serious metabolic setbacks including vitamin, mineral and hormonal imbalances, in addition to possible allergic reactions.

The nutritional supplement industry puts its spell on a scared consumer who can't trust his primal instinct to nourish himself. People generally assume that the human body ought to be treated like a machine. If you provide it fuel, it will work, and if you don't, it won't. Under that assumption, people consume multiple meals and pills during the day in a desperate attempt to fuel their bodies.

However, all these daily fueling routines don't change the fact that modern humans today are physically weaker, fatter and more dysfunctional than ever before.

The "Virtual" Modern Man

Our lifespan has indeed increased. However, we often depend on drugs that keep us "virtually" alive. A typical modern human would not be able to survive the environmental conditions to which ancient humans have adapted over many years of evolution.

The truth is that behind the facade of all the cosmetics and expensive outfits, there lies a biologically dysfunctional modern human who may likely be considered an evolutionary setback by future anthropologists.

Ironically, many people today can have money and property but can't have sex. The modern human, capable of achieving incredible things -- reading books, creating art, building computers, reaching the moon - still can't figure out how to go to the bathroom without laxatives.

Eating, eliminating and reproducing are the most basic biological functions of any living species. The inability to perform these biological functions leaves many people living virtually, in bodies that are gradually shifting from their original self-sustaining nature toward an increasing dependency on chemicals and calories.

If this trend continues, future generations of homo sapiens may become "homo chemicalis".

The Secret to Immortality

In spite of the gradual degradation of the modern human body, deep inside each of us there is a primal survival mechanism that can direct us on how to follow our biological destiny and thereby reach both physical and mental superiority.

There is no manmade machine that can do what your body can do--that is, to recreate itself. The human body, like any other life form, is preprogrammed to continuously recreate itself. It is this regenerating mechanism that literally carries within each of us the secret to immortality.

Deep within each of us is a primal switch that once turned on, starts a regenerative mechanism to recycle old tissue, build new brain cells, improve the muscle to fat ratio, enhance immunity, ignite energy and keep us vigorous.

The failure to understand that fact and instead follow wrong feeding cycles keeps this regenerative switch shut off. Poor diet may indeed be the culprit for most health problems including chronic diseases, advanced aging, weight gain, obesity, sexual dysfunction, depression and mental impairments.

How to Trigger the Mechanism that Regenerates Your Body

The number one principle governing all forms of life is survival. Our bodies are pre-programmed to activate certain survival mechanisms that are necessary to keep us alive under tough and stressful environmental conditions.

Physical strain, danger and famine are perceived by the body as biological stressors that must be dealt with. Therefore, physical stress like intense exercise, as well as fasting or undereating, would likely activate these survival mechanisms that force the body to generate very powerful anabolic regenerating actions, thereby countering the catabolic effects of prolonged, intense stress or lack of food.

Recent studies demonstrate that certain feeding cycles which involve periodic undereating and overeating can effectively stimulate metabolic actions that rebuild and strengthen brain tissue, enhance immunity and increase life span.

Activation of stress proteins such as heat shock proteins, stress activated protein kinases or mitogen activated protein kinases, due to fasting, undereating or exercise, can in fact induce growth factor actions that generate new brain cells from stem cells, as well as build new muscle tissue from fibroblast cells.

It is possible then to assume that the same stressors can trigger the mechanism that forces the body to recreate both brain and muscle tissues. "Mind and muscle power" isn't just a phrase, they literally go hand in hand. Most important, triggering this most powerful primal mechanism that generates new brain and muscle cells involves no fueling. In fact, it is the lack of food fuel that triggers overall rejuvenation.

At the cellular level, undereating and exercise induces the actions of cellular factor cyclic AMP. Cyclic AMP is necessary for all processes that involve hormonal stimulation (including steroids and growth hormone).

Cyclic AMP is also the cellular factor that forces the body to detoxify, burn fat and inhibit fat gain. When you realize how powerful your body could be under nutritional and physical stress, you may conclude that incorporating a lifestyle that involves intense training routines combined with feeding cycles that involve periodic undereating would possibly trigger this awesome mechanism within your body to rejuvenate mentally and physically on a daily basis.

Undereating and Exercise

A daily undereating phase can practically last ten to eighteen hours (after the previous day's food is digested) and may be quite stressful for most people. Combining that with physical exercise may make it even harder to handle.

Enduring both nutritional and physical stress requires adaptation time and stamina. In order to be able to handle these stressors, the body must utilize enough energy (mostly in the form of fat burning during the day).

Fat utilization for energy during physical stress and a lack of food requires a strong and efficient metabolism that fundamentally depends on body conditioning, mitochondrial capacity and nutritional support. Due to the general confusion over the meaning of nutritional support, further clarification and possibly a redefinition are necessary.

Nutritional Support

The term nutritional support means dietary methods that support the supply of all the essential nutrients to the body. The body's nutritional demand is the sum total of two factors: i) all essential nutrients (those that the body can't produce by itself and therefore must be supplied by dietary sources) and ii) a sufficient amounts of calories (to satisfy energy demand).

When food fails to supply all the essential nutrients, nutritional deficiencies occur. Essential nutrient deficiencies can often lead to impaired metabolic functions including low immunity, indigestion, lean tissue waste, hormonal imbalance, fat gain and decreased energy.

Interestingly, the body is capable of sustaining itself for a relatively long period of time on a low calorie supply (weeks and months). However, essential nutrient deficiencies can adversely affected the body within hours.

To avoid metabolic decline, complete nourishment is a must especially for individuals who try to take advantage of periodic undereating and engage in intense physical activity.

The best way to ensure complete nourishment is to first define what essential nutrients are and then try to incorporate a nutritional support system that supplies the minimum essential nutrient intake that is necessary to avoid a nutritional deficiency.

Essential Foods and Nutrients

Essential nutrients could be defined as all vitamins, minerals, trace minerals, essential amino acids and essential fatty acids. To that list, one should add probiotics, fiber and polysaccharides.

It's important to understand that food is the best and most viable source of nutrients, in particular those which are essential to the body. Consuming vegetables and fruits mostly of green, yellow, orange and red color will likely supply your body with the essential vitamins, minerals, fiber and antioxidants.

Ingesting complete protein foods such as meat, fish, eggs and dairy would likely supply all the essential amino acids and further enhance mineral and antioxidant intake.

Eating mushrooms, whole grains, legumes, herbs and spices would give the body essential fiber and polysaccharides as well as immuno-supportive compounds that help support all basic metabolic functions.

Eating nuts and seeds or consuming essential oils that contain omega-3 and omega-6 EFAs should supply the essential fatty acids required for all metabolic functions. Eating fresh yogurt or naturally pickled (fermented) food would supply the body with probiotics.

It's important to note that there are also conditional essential nutrients and those are nutrients that the body can produce, however, not in sufficient amounts to satisfy its own requirements. For instance, conditional essentials are certain amino acids such as glutamine, branch chain amino acids (BCAA), in particular, leucine, L. Carnitine, tyrosine, and cysteine.

Vegetarians should consider lysine as conditionally essential since it is missing from most plants-derived protein foods.

Considering the above, one may conclude that consuming such a long list of essential foods is a practically daunting task. For simplicity's sake, let me then note that eating greens, complete protein and fermented food as well as consuming EFA oils would likely give your body all the minimum essentials it needs.

Nevertheless, life isn't always about getting by on the minimum. Those who wish to excel and trigger overall growth and rejuvenation should view nutritional support as more than just covering the basics or simply getting enough calories.

It's important to realize that diet and lifestyle should always come first. There are no nutritional supplements that can compensate for poor eating habits and a lack of exercise.

Nutrition should never be regarded as fuel per se. When trained properly, the body can be more efficient in turning fat storage into energy than in turning a bagel into energy.

While undereating or exercising, all the body needs are the essentials in order to burn fat and utilize energy in the most efficient way. Nutritional support should therefore serve as an ignition to a most powerful innate engine that burns fat, produces energy and builds muscle and brain cells.

Undereating and exercise during the day triggers a mechanism that forces your body to recreate itself. However, complete nourishment is just as important for self-rejuvenation.

Eating at night finalizes the feeding cycle and helps the body recuperate from the stress of undereating and exercise. Incorporating all the essential nutrients in your diet is a must.

Nevertheless, if you choose to support your diet with nutritional supplements, start with the essentials first. Those who are engaged in intense physical training can opt to additionally supplement their diets with conditionally essential proteins including BCAA, glutamine, carnitine, tyrosine and cysteine.

Athletes and bodybuilders should also opt to increase their daily essentials intake as necessitated due to high oxygenation and thus the increased need for protection against free radical assault.

To Sum Up

Following a lifestyle that involves periodic undereating and exercise would likely trigger a primal survival mechanism that forces the body to regenerate itself. Supplying the body with all the essential nutrients will help it ignite all the energy needed for that process to occur.

Final Note

Make sure that your nutritional support is based on reliable food or an organic source that your body can fully utilize with no chemical additives, harmful fillers or preservatives, alcohol (of any kind) and synthetic coloring.
When taking nutritional supplements, in particular, vitamins, minerals and EFAs, the balance (or the ratio) is critically important. Do not take too much of one essential on account of another. An overdose of some essential nutrients may cause deficiencies of others as well as overall toxicity. More is not always better.

More Information
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Ori Hofmekler is the author of the books The Warrior Diet and Maximum Muscle Minimum Fat, by Dragon Door Publications (, 1-800-899-5111). For more information, Ori can be reached at, by phone at 1-866-WAR-DIET or on the Internet at A href="">

For personal consultations with Ori Hofmekler, E-Mail Ori at: or call us toll free at: 1-866-WARDIET (927-3438)