Why did I decide to fast?
For the last few years I have been having some digestion issues, and even after reducing wheat and lactose and sugar in my diet, nothing has really changed.
a week or so before starting I just stopped feeling hungry, and was eating out of habit, but then I woke 2 nights in a row with stomach pains, so adding two and two together, it appeared the car park was full and no more cars could fit, so for two days I just ate a few fruit and drank water.
Warning! rant ahead
I have been interested in Buddhism for a while and opposed to using pharmaceuticals, unless I will die without, I am a strong believer in the power of nature and the human body is natural, I don’t subscribe to the corporate propaganda propagated by the media on behalf of corporations, pharma’s and food producers, who’s only interest is profit and power, the bad food we consume pushes us into the hands of the pharma’s, a cycle of slow death of the population for a very healthy profit for these corporates, on the opposite side of the spectrum we have nature, food that is not interfered with, water, and the amazing natural power of the human body, no one can make a profit out of that so it’s often ignored and people are often pushed to put more interfered with substances into it, anyway let’s move on. Rant over!
What was my logic
Ok so during my two days of indigestion and discomfort, supported by my not liking of doctors and the knowledge that they will probably just give me some laxative pills, I decided to look into doing a fast, as this is something people have purposely been doing for as long as there have been people, for religious purposes, I also found examples of many people who do this for health reasons, with very positive results, it’s used during kemo therapy, when we have a virus our appetites stop, back when we we’re living in the caves we could only eat when we found food, perhaps nt for days, our bodies store enough energy that we can survive for more than a month without eating, so 10 days seems like nothing really, here are a few of my sources,
but mainly my research involved a Google search and then reading through the many results, good and bad, I believe cross referencing is the key to getting accurate unbiased results for myself, rant: I did notice that anything that was part of institutional medical organisations such as the NHS and medicMD websites practically condemned fasting, without any evidence or just that there have been no trials or data properly gathered on the benefits of fasting, WHY NOT? Where as the sites that support fasting have extensive evidence and there are endless examples of people who have very positive results from fasting, but no one profits from fasting do they, I think there’s a clue, and for me this shows up the medical institutions as being partly controlled by the pharmaceutical corporations, though I’m sure there are exceptions, but doctors do receive benefits from these, according to google.
I asked myself how many risks do I take in my life everyday, driving a motorbike, crossing the road, eating food from random street vendors, I wanted to allow the power of nature inside my body, the same power that animals use in the wild, have a chance to prove itself and heal me, and besides I really could not eat anything after 2 days of a full car park.
Learning about the world and myself
To take full advantage of your fast, the extra brain power and energy you will for thinking and hopefully getting some exciting realisations about yourself the world or whatever, do some enlightening reading before, I recommend “The Power of Myth” by Joseph Campbell, for me this was a biggy, but as with our thoughts and what we feed them everything comes down to timing, but from this I dropped my dislike of religions and instead I see them as a necessary guide, when taken metaphorically, we need a guide sometimes, that fits with our inner narrative, they are all based on the same story, the story we all have inside use, this is why religions with no knowledge of each other when founded had the same basic stories, very interesting read.
I decided on the ten-day fast because I felt that I really needed a proper detox after 37 years and especially after 2 years of digestion issues, I researched what to expect, one thing that is very important is preparation, the main thing that can kill a person I believe, from research, is the shock of toxins that suddenly start entering your kidneys and liver, these toxins depend on how healthy you are, I had been reducing my meat and fish intake for several weeks, as well as sugar and have avoided processed foods and drinks for a long time, and no coffee for 2 days, so I felt generally healthy and sure my body could cope.
Rant: all this goes to show how much rubbish we eat, effectively we are constantly blocking our bodies from properly cleaning and clearing the toxins, through keeping it busy and preoccupied with digesting and trying to process more of the same, often whether we are hungry or not, just following the daily habit and enjoying the taste, I do also love food, but it can be a poison, like too much of anything, is it a wonder why cancer, heart disease, etc, are so common and profitable of course! Imagine if it was possible to prevent these conditions through mindful consumption and the occasional fast, during my fast I had more energy and woke earlier, my mind was even more clear, proof to me anyway of the amount of energy processing food takes up, surely it should energize us not drain us!
Day one, not eating was pretty easy, because I had not felt hungry for a few weeks already and I knew if I ate I would probably wake in the night with stomach pains, I just drank water, lots of it! I was working, teaching in the morning for three hours, not too taxing, only 15 mins mbike drive, normally I cycle but if you exercise when fasting muscles get consumed, so thought this wouldn’t be wise.
Day two, not much difference, I just continued drinking water, taught in the morning, I think I then went and did some photography in the centre of Saigon for a few hours, walked quite a bit, did feel really tired after that. Had a mild headache in the evening, I expect this was caffeine withdrawal, I was having coffee every morning before and would feel at a lose without it.
Day three, woke about an hour earlier than normal, went and did some artwork, drinking water, every time I drank I needed to go for a wee. Off to school to teach for 3 hours. My legs started aching getting worse and in the evening my leg muscles started to ache a lot, actually I could not sleep because of it, i researched this and the body stores toxins it can’t process into the large muscles in the body, my body was processing these, my sweat had started stinking also, this was also toxins leaving through my skin, the rest would be channeled into my blood stream and processed in my kidney and liver, something to look forward to, or not! Around this time I had a woopsie!
Day four, I woke early again, sweating a lot and smelling bad, sorry students! My calves were still aching and uncomfortable, that day my kidney or liver, also started aching for an hour or so, it was in my right side and I have had that sort of feeling there before, so it didn’t alarm me too much, but thankfully seemed to do the job it was designed to do without quitting, and only lasted about an hour and a half, was as active as normal that day, I did start feeling a little longing for the taste of food. I had a rock salt and hot water that evening. Still didn’t feel hungry! I found that I was always thirsty though, throughout the fast my focus was just on thirst and apart from mental images I didn’t drool at food or have a hungry stomach, a couple of whoopsies today!
It takes 3 days of fasting, before our bodies enter into ketosis mode, (also why I decided on a ten-day fast) this is when our bodies start using the fat stored in our cells, this also happens when we sleep, normally throughout the day time we get energy from glycolysis from what we consume, most of our cells can get energy using these alternate methods.
Days five to eight, each day woke early, feeling more and more bored as no tasty food to look forward to, starting the mornings with a hot water with honey, lime and half a teaspoon of rock salt, I was avoiding table salt due to the sodium chloride, the honey really helped give me some energy and as its natural and very easily digested is recommended for people who are fasting.
I had random aches and pains throughout my body, for no apparent reason, but apparently during a fast when the body has more energy to use and isn’t busy digesting it goes about repairing past injuries and even rebuilding stuff, let’s see in the months that follow. Another whoopsie at some point!
Around day 8 the weird stinkiness had cleared up, as far as I could tell anyway.
I’m sure I noticed a clarity of thought, better memory access, whilst doing my usual Vietnamese learning it felt like I was able to remember things that normally I wouldn’t have, also whilst teaching on Friday I felt my thinking was clearer and able to process more, less muddled, I also had some really clear creative realisations, revelations in my life, summarising all I have known and done so that I can find my direction for the future, these thoughts were very clear and certain, normally it is very difficult to come to such a definite.
Meditation, focus on the moment, a little mental holiday
When you fast, you have more time for thinking, or to stop thinking and centre yourself, the mind and the body are deeply connected, stress causes physical sickness and visa versa, I have been using meditation or focus on the moment to turn off my thoughts and bring calm to an anxious and stressed mind, fasting does require strong will power and taking time to stop and breathe really helps get you through, and take advantage of the extra energy available. Another little whoopsie?
Day nine, woke normally, Saturday so a day off, thankfully I discovered that it’s best and safer when fasting to rest and not work etc, so I decided to take the last two days as slow as possible, at some point ta day I felt a fuzzy sensation around my neck and have had that again since, I imagine something going on with my glands, I did keep picturing food n my head that day, no matter how hard I tried not too, though I did not feel hungry! A little whoopsie!
I maybe had about 50 visits to the little boys room, and about 90% were yellow, despite drinking 90% water! normally I would be passing only white liquid, a lot of toxins perhaps, and during days 3-5 my pee did really stink, in sync with my weird stinky sweat.
Day ten, woke early, completely relaxed, felt normal, excited at the prospect of enjoying flavour in my mouth again, my stomach visually a lot smaller and without the bloated feeling I’ve had for a year or more, feeling very happy and with a different attitude towards food and my body, and mind,
For a clear mind we need a clear body
For a clearer mind have a clearer body, often were not hungry we’re just thirsty, I’m no longer going to eat because it’s that time, instead I’m going to eat if I’m hungry, and really look at what foods To eat that will give me a clearer mind and body,food is not just for entertainment, it’s what our body needs for survival and the balance is delicate, give it poisons and toxins and it will waste a lot of energy to process keep us safe from them, and storing them away from our vital organs keeping them safe from harm, http://drbenkim.com/toxins-cleansing-detoxing.htm
Post fast, day one, I drank orange juice and pomelo juice later, apple for lunch and rice porridge with an egg in the evening, felt ok, not great in my stomach but ok, I still didn’t feel that hungry, but this is normal as the body can take a bit of time to be coaxed back to normal digestion mode.
Post fast, day two, didn’t feel hungry at breakfast, just had an apple and a smoothie for breakfast, felt really hungry around 1 so went and had rice with tofu, my appetite is definitely less and my stomach smaller, I am from now on living by the rule of stopping when full, rather than the one of “eat all your food because some kids somewhere are starving” also had a black coffee, which was quit invigorating, but I really want to keep coffee to the minimum, during my fast with no coffee I rarely missed it, and after I have little desire for it, like I had before.
For me fasting has been a life changing event, similar to the experience of walking across Spain on the Camino de Santiago, for me this is even better as I can do it anytime, any place, so this is something I plan to do yearly, it is an essential thing to be able to centralise and find yourself simply and from within and not have gone far and give up all things and pay a lot of money to do it, then it’s always available when needed, meditation is a vital element, and fasting is a way to physically centralise and reset, also to prove we can do something that seems impossible and learn about our bodies and their true power. Meditation is just a word for taking time out to breathe and relax, not think, absorb the surrounds and let go of the self just for a short while.
That’s it for now, I’m happy to answer any questions, if I can and look forward to sharing my art and photography very soon.