A journalist delves into the history, science, and practice of fasting, an ancient cure enjoying a dynamic resurgence.
When should we eat, and when shouldn’t we? The answers to these simple questions are not what you might expect. As Steve Hendricks shows in The Oldest Cure in the World, stop eating long enough, and you’ll set in motion cellular repairs that can slow aging and prevent and reverse diseases like diabetes and hypertension. Fasting has improved the lives of people with epilepsy, asthma, and arthritis, and has even protected patients from the worst of chemotherapy’s side effects.
But for such an elegant and effective treatment, fasting has had a surprisingly long and fraught history. From the earliest days of humanity and the Greek fathers of medicine through Christianity’s “fasting saints” and a nineteenth-century doctor whose stupendous forty-day fast on a New York City stage inaugurated the modern era of therapeutic fasting, Hendricks takes readers on a rich and comprehensive tour.
Threaded throughout are Hendricks’s own adventures in fasting, including a stay at a luxurious fasting clinic in Germany and in a more spartan one closer to home in Northern California. This is a playful, insightful, and persuasive exploration of our bodies and when we should—and should not—feed them.
“Hendricks’s book is a remarkable blend of authoritative history, illuminating science, and endearing storytelling. In The Oldest Cure in the World, Hendricks gives us the wonders of fasting—too long neglected by doctors and scientists, too often misunderstood by most of us, yet so potent a therapy—with marvelous clarity, page-turning crispness, and appealing humanity.”
“Steve Hendricks set himself the Herculean task of weaving together the long history and deep science of fasting with his own revealing self-experiments—and has succeeded brilliantly in turning out a captivating tale. The Oldest Cure in the World is an engrossing tour de force and offers a bona fide strategy for slowing the aging process.”
“Few people know that science has shown fasting is a key that unlocks ancient restorative systems and mobilizes some of the body’s most powerful regenerative mechanisms. In The Oldest Cure in the World, Steve Hendricks proves to be a master of explaining the multitude of benefits that various kinds of fasting can unleash. Fasting is a core part of my integrative cardiology practice. This book is a must-read for those looking for a long healthspan.”