Tech workers have embraced the ancient practice of fasting in an effort to boost their health and mental clarity. The catalyst is an online group called WeFa.st made up largely of tech workers and startup entrepreneurs who follow strict rules for fasting.
Followers of the fasting regime believe that by limiting their food intake and eating only at approved times they are enhancing their minds and developing the ability to focus and adapt in a rapidly changing environment.
There is a range of fasting programs for followers to choose from, with names like the Monk Fast and the Warrior Diet. The most extreme is the Himalayan Fast where followers must abstain from food for 60 hours.
While members of the WeFa.st online community follow different fasting regimes, they synchronize their “feeding window” (the term used for periods when they can eat) in order to meet on Wednesday’s at 8am at a San Francisco café.
These weekly “biohackers” breakfasts are attended by some of the movers and shakers of the tech industry. One of the recent attendees was Clinton Mielke, a data scientist and director of a startup company focused on improving life-expectancy.
Mielke believes that the way of the future is not in software, but in life science startups which have the power to unlock the secrets of the human source code. As evidence he points to Google’s investment in the startups Verily and Calico.
As you would expect of such an educated following, there is some scientific basis for the “biohackers” belief in the power of fasting. Research has shown that abstaining from food can increase metabolism, combat diabetes and improve longevity.
Admittedly, most of this research has been on mice, but fasting for health is far from a new idea and can be traced back to the practices of Ayurvedic medicine. Other members of WeFa.st think the attraction lies in the ascetic lifestyle fasting offers which stands in stark contrast to the conspicuous consumption of their former lives.
The WeFas.st group was set up on Slack by the six employees of Nootrobox, a company which sells mind-improving supplements. Unlike other online groups dedicated to fasting which tend to attract bodybuilders and dieters, Wefa.st members are more interested in enhancing the human brain for maximum mental focus and longevity.
Feautured Image via Buzzfeed.