As his 50th birthday loomed on the horizon, Indigo Herbs founder and director Steve Mckewon felt that he had reached a turning point in his life. Having headed up a herbs and superfoods company for the last 15 years, he decided that it was time to really step up and put to better use all of the knowledge and healing plants that were at his fingertips. He felt that there must be a way to slow down, if not turn back the aging clock.
That was 2 years ago, with this series of articles being written to follow Steve's journey, the protocols he has successfully used and what he has accomplished so far. Using a combination of fasting, diet, natural skincare, herbs, superfoods and cutting-edge products in the world of natural health, Steve wanted to share with his Indigo customers the discoveries and subsequent results he has achieved.
The first thing that needed to be addressed was diet. Feeling that this area of his life had declined, Steve decided to reboot his gut and digestive system with a juice cleanse, liver cleanse and a series of colonic irrigations. This also had a strong detoxification effect, so care had to be taken to support the body as it ridded itself of unwanted toxins.
The juice cleanse entailed 6 days without any solid foods, consisting of homemade vegetable juices with extra cleansing drinks. Two colonic hydrotherapy sessions were included, alongside a liver cleanse that aimed to release unhealthy fats and a build-up of gallstones from the liver. You can read a detailed account of the cleanse here.
Already following a vegan diet, Steve followed up the cleanse by 1 month of eating very light foods then repeated the process.
He now follows a 98 percent vegan diet which is supplemented by vitamin B12. Every day he drinks at least 2 litres of fresh, clean water and four times per week he substitutes lunch for a super-smoothie:
After the cleanse, Steve found he had a renewed sense of vigour, a positive state of mind and boundless energy, enabling him to focus on exercise and a better healthcare routine. Getting rid of compounds that stress the body and replacing them with healthy nutrition and healing herbs had allowed Steve to regain focus and retain a clear head.
Eating Your Way to Longevity?
Ridding the diet of processed foods and their addictive chemicals has been found to have a great impact on the aging process. Furthermore, there are many studies confirming the strong link between diet and longevity.
Telomeres (which we go into in more detail in the next instalment of this blog series), are thought to be key in the aging process. They protect the DNA by acting as buffers at the end of chromosomes.
In 2009, the scientist Elizabeth Blackburn was awarded the Nobel Prize for her discovery of telomerase in 1984. Heralding a ground-breaking new age of exciting discoveries in the fields of longevity and anti-aging, telomerase is an enzyme that rebuilds telomeres and keeps DNA from fraying.
Several studies have since been conducted, finding that a plant-based diet rich in carotenoids can stimulate telomerase activity and is positively correlated to longer telomeres. Carotenoids are the organic, brightly coloured pigments that give many fruits and vegetables their vibrant colours.
In 2008, Dr Dean Ornish, a physician, researcher, and founder of the "Preventive Medicine Research Institute" in Sausalito, California, published a study in "The Lancet Oncology". The results showed that just three months of eating a plant-based diet significantly boosted telomerase activity. A follow up study, published in 2013 in the same journal, noted that telomere length had actually increased in the plant-based diet group.
Another 2018 study, published in “Nutrients”, found that a healthy diet characterised by a high intake of fibre – particularly the type of fibre found in plant foods – exerts a protective role on telomere health.
Anti-Aging Benefits of Fasting
Another area attracting attention in the world of science-based nutrition is fasting and intermittent fasting to combat the effects of aging. One of the most common forms of fasting used by biohackers is intermittent fasting, otherwise known as “time restricted eating”. This method of fasting restricts daily calorie intake (normally reducing overall intake by 15% - 40%). The calorie allowance is then consumed within a certain time frame in the day.
Evidence shows that this type of fasting helps cells become more resilient to the cellular stress associated with aging. Furthermore, it triggers “autophagy”, the self-recycling of cellular waste. As we age, autophagy slows down, decreasing the body’s ability to recycle cells under stress. Thus, by fasting and increasing autophagy, we can slow down the aging process by keeping the body primed to deal with cellular stress.
Prolonged fasting (lasting over 48 hours), has been shown to stimulate physiological changes such as reversing immunosuppression, reducing inflammation and activating a number of anti-aging pathways within the body.
Other benefits of fasting include; helping to build lean muscle, lower blood sugar and healthy weight loss.
By performing a system re-boot and eating a 98% organic, plant-based diet, Steve had laid down a solid foundation on which to build the next phase of his anti-aging masterplan!
Next Instalment – Carbon 60 (C60) – The Next Generation in Anti-Aging?
Clear headed and a few pounds lighter, the next part of the journey beckoned for Steve. A period of intense research into anti-aging herbs, superfoods and a recently discovered natural health product known as C60, bring surprising results.