By now, the idea that beauty starts from within is pretty much an accepted fact. But it wasn’t always that way. When Naomi Whittel, the founder of Reserveage Nutrition, came up with her idea for a supplement company that used collagen and resveratrol—the antioxidant found in the skin of red grapes—it was pretty revolutionary. “I walked through retailers’ doors back in 2009 with a collagen beauty supplement and it was the first they’d heard of it; the category didn’t exist and there was no media coverage to support it,” Naomi recalls.
As a pioneer of inside-out beauty, Naomi is back at it, re-revolutionizing the way we think about beauty and aging. In her new book Glow15, she exposes what she believes is the secret to looking younger and more vital for far longer than we ever thought possible—actually reversing the aging process. By making small changes in how we eat and live, Naomi says we can stave off age-related weight gain and wrinkles, and boost our overall sense of wellbeing. How? By activating something most of us have never heard of before: autophagy. It’s poised to become the wellness world’s newest infatuation.
WHAT THE HECK IS AUTOPHAGY?
Translated literally from Latin, “auto” means self and phagy means “to eat”. In other words, autophagy refers to the natural process by which a cell repairs damage and gets rid of toxins so that it can continue to function at optimal levels.
“This process, when activated efficiently, cleans and repairs our cells. I took the science behind autophagy and assembled some of the world’s most renowned doctors, scientists, and researchers in the field to translate that science into the lifestyle plan to help us live younger and longer. My goal is for women to not just survive, but thrive,” Naomi says.
In Glow15, Naomi offers a 15-day plan that uses the power of autophagy to help you reverse the signs of aging. The basic theory is that if you put the right kind of stress on your cells through diet and exercise, you can trigger autophagy. “Within 15 days, I experienced weight loss, more energy, better sleep, and less stress. I have suffered from eczema since I was a child and I noticed a decrease in inflammation—an actual glow to my skin,” Naomi remembers.
FAST INTERMITTENTLY AND CYCLE PROTEIN
Naomi recommends intermittent fasting and protein cycling to encourage the body to burn fat as fuel and trigger autophagy. On three nonconsecutive days you fast for 16 hours of the day and eat only during one eight-hour window. During those “low” days you eat very small amount of protein. On the four other days a week, called “high” days, you eat when you want and consumer “above average” amounts of protein. The result is sort of akin to flipping a switch on and off in your body, sparking detoxification and cellular repair.
EAT FAT FIRST
Like the ketogenic diet, which is a high-fat (Naomi likes avocado), moderate protein, low-carb eating strategy, Naomi’s plan recommends consuming high amounts of healthy fat early in the day to piggy back on the fasted state you are in during sleeping hours. (This of course assumes no middle-of-the-night snacking.) Carbs—high quality, high-fiber sources, only!—are saved for evening hours, when you can most use their serotonin-inducing relaxation effect. “My go-to carb is socca bread,” Naomi says.
It’s no surprise that working out helps keep us young, but according to Naomi, doing the right kind of exercise can kickstart autophagy. “The good news is less is more,” she says. She’s switched from running for an hour to doing high intensity interval training (HIIT) sessions and strength training. “I only exercise four days a week for no more than 30 minutes; this is the peak amount of time to boost autophagy and to achieve the brain and body benefits.”
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