After the Fast: Results are In and More

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I wish I could say that things went just as I thought they would. That would be less than truthful. However, I do believe that I received just what I needed.

With each fast, there is always something that I learn about myself, the way I relate to myself and my life, and at the end it is like being at an impasse or fork in the road. Actually, there were times in the 21 days that I was at an impasse. Josei Toda is quoted as having said, “An impasse is a critical turning point. Do you give up and throw in the towel? Or do you stand up with indomitable resolve, determined to go on fighting? That difference in attitude is what determines victory or defeat.” There were times when I could barely drink water because of the taste – I didn’t stop. There were times when the toxins cause my skin to itch so bad – I didn’t quit. And, there were times when I was dizzy while teaching – I didn’t quit. Yes, there were times I wanted pizza, cheese, or a quesadilla (my favorite) – I didn’t quit. The impasse them was whether to stop or just manage how I could. I chose to manage how I best knew.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 2.26.57 PMWhat the Fork?

At the end of the fast there is always a fork in the road. My intention was to get to certain weight, clarify where I wanted to go with my life, and begin to takes steps clearly towards the life I want from here forward. One of the things you have to do when coming off of a fast is to consider how you want to eat. Yes, there is a process of returning the body to foods. I shared that in the last blog entry Behind the Fast with detailed information from Robert Johnson. When you cleanse the body there is the choice of returning to the pizza, burgers, cake and ice cream, and other things or going with healthier choices. Returning to the old way returns the body and mind to old problems. However, modifying your lifestyle to increase healthy choices intentionally takes declaring the choice, and living by that. “An impasse is a critical turning point,” where you look at the fork in the road and choose how to proceed. After all that work, I have no desire to regress, but will to move forward. Will I falter at times? I am sure I will. As I said before, I love quesadillas and Mercado Juarez. In fact, just today I shared with someone that I will be visiting Killeen, Texas and cannot wait to go to Yank Sing my favorite Cantonese buffet. What I have learned over the years is to choose wisely. I don’t deprive myself of the things I like, I eat them in moderation. And, I have broadened my interests in foods as well. So now that fork in the road leads to new, exciting, and fun foods that work for my health.

The Results Are In!

Everyone wants to know the physical results so I will share those – LAST. Briefly, the personal results are going to take time to manifest, but the choices have been made. What does that mean? What are they? Great questions.

  1. Career: I started a doctoral program and stopped it in November. During the fast I am clear that I will take the National Counselor Examination (NCE), become a Licensed Practicing Counselor (LPC), and incorporate concepts of health and nutrition into my practice fr a holistic perspective. That includes being trained in yoga, nutrition counseling (in some manner), and personal training.
  2. Finances: I have focused on obtaining a full-time position in my area(s) of interest, joined a group to support my focus, and am adding in other streams of income.
  3. Relationships: It is important to me to have an intimate relationship. I did not always admit that, but is something I enjoy. I enjoy having a person to share the journey of life with so I am willing to expand my circle and how I view myself.
  4. Parenting: I love my son dearly, and it is time to further loosen the strings so he can go further, bump his head, and learn to be stronger because of it.
  5. Holistic Health: It has become clear to me that ove the past 15+ years my health, spirituality, and persnal development have been a focus but unintentionally. It has not been integrated seamlessly, but now I see how much that is important to me and will further that integration. The way I eat, exercise, build a career, interact in relationships, and express my spirit are all one.
  6. Choose Happiness: No matter what I have to choose to be happy regardless of the circumstances.
  7. FAITH LIKE FLOWING WATER: BE WATER! One mantra I have held onto is “Be Water.” Bruce Lee said, “Be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves…Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” I love that. And, I believe that I have to have faith like water to achieve my mission and vision. What does that mean, “The belief of some is like fire while that of others is like water. When the former listen to the teachings, their passion flares up like fire, but as time goes on, they tend to discard their faith. To have faith like water means to believe continuously without ever regressing (Nichiren Daishonin, Two Kinds of Faith, p. 899)” I want to be water.

Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 2.47.35 PMHERE YOU HAVE IT: THE PHYSICAL!

January 1: 192lb; TODAY: 177lb

Arms: left – 13″,  right – 13.375″; NOW: left – 12.5″; right  – 12.75″

Chest: 40″; NOW: 39.25″

Waist: 35.25″; NOW: 33.5″

Hips: 43.5″; NOW: 41.25″

Thigh: left – 24″, right – 24″; NOW: left – 22.75″; right – 23″

OVERALL: 10″ and 15lb.

PICTURES TAKEN YESTERDAY AND TODAY!

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Is It Over?

Nope. This is just one part of the year. One part of my life. And challengeScreen Shot 2016-01-24 at 3.58.16 PM met. I’ve declared this my Year of Daring Greatly. Daring to be innovative, creative, vulnerable, and transform in the way I see myself, the results I get, and how I live my life. It is a new way of being in the world. A year of daring greatly is all about new experiences for me and those who know or meet me. It is about putting myself in new experiences, outside of my comfort zone, being willing to transform myself, and looking for something completely. Something I have never experienced in the arena of life. Many may have read the excerpt of “Citizenship In A Republic” delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910 by Theodore Roosevelt. It is often referred to as either “The Man in the Arena” or “Daring Greatly” either way, here is the excerpt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

To complete a 21 day fast it takes daring greatly, being in the arena, and putting in effort. To take on the things that are struggles for me in life is Screen Shot 2016-01-24 at 4.14.22 PMdaring greatly. To take on myself in all arenas is daring greatly. But, if I am not in the arena I would not be giving myself the chance at victory. So, I am daring greatly in life, love, finances, and the arena of life. And, I invite you to do the same. Challenge whatever there is for yourself no matter what the critics (friends, family, or that voice in your head) say. Be vulnerable enough to ask for help, admit your desire for transformation, and just do it. Be water, flow with it. Go for what you have never had before. It is through the mud that we get the lotus flower! Go through the mud to blossom!

Thank you for following this part of the journey, but it come back – it’s not over!

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Behind the Fast: The Right Way to End it All – It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye

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When I decided to take on my first water fast in 2013, I had limited knowledge of how to start, what to expect, and how to end it. Because I was in such a desperate state I started without knowing “how”, but spent many hours researching what expect, reading the experience of others, and came across the website of Robert Johnson – Fitness Through Fasting. The information on that site helped me to understand different types of fasts, water fasting, and the healthiest way to end a fast to minimize impact on my body as well as reduce the chances that I would return to my old ways of eating.

What follows is what Robert Dave Johnson wrote about ending a fast safely. Please take this seriously. Each step is important.

 

BREAKING A FAST: INSTRUCTIONS ON BREAKING A FAST PROPERLY FOR MAXIMUM HEALTH, DETOX AND WEIGHT LOSS BENEFITS:

INTRODUCTION:

Not breaking a fast the right way is the top reason why people fail at fasting. I have seen folks sacrifice their time and resources to fast for long periods of time, only to succumb to hunger at the very last moment and wolf down a pizza or cheeseburger as the picture to the right depicts. The result is demoralization, shame, regret and, most of all, great danger to their physical health.

 

If a bear is asleep and you whack him on the head, do you Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 9.24.25 PMthink he will react positively? Probably he will come after you and be very angry.

 

The same is the case with the digestive system. When breaking a fast (especially one lasting longer than 72 hours), you have to remember that your body’s digestive functions have slowed down dramatically. Your entire digestive system has, in essence, gone into a period of hibernation.

 

 

The body has shifted its from feeding on the food you eat daily, to feeding on the fat storages. If you needed firewood for a fireplace, would you go out and get more lumber if you already had stacks of wood inside the cabin ready for the blaze? Probably not. So, when fasting, you are no longer cutting fresh food (eating), but the body is still “feeding” on the stored wood (fat).

 

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Making the transition from dormant digestion to feeding from stored fat takes anywhere from three-to-nine days and, in my mind, is a very sacred process.

 

If you had a loved-one who had spent months toiling to remodel a filthy, delapidated warehouse into a beautiful, clean office would you show up with garbage and dump it in the lobby? I’m sure you would not.

 

So why do it to your own body? What the body is doing on your behalf, I submit, must be respected. Breaking a fast has to be done properly and with much caution. If you allow hunger and desperation to grip you, you will no doubt diminish the effectiveness of the fast and possibly harm your body. Here’s a wall-of-shame moment from my own experience to help illustrate this point.

My Fasting Debacle

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Breaking a fast should definitely be planned in advance. Waiting until the last moment to determine what one is going to eat and drink is a recipe for disaster. Take it from me.

 

I have done amazingly-foolish things in years past. One time I broke a thirty-day water fast at a friend’s birthday celebration with burritos, pizza, hot dogs and soda. What a great guy, huh? NOT!

 

 

The “celebration” was short-lived. I was bed-ridden for almost a week afterwards and my stomach blew up like a balloon. I had severely irritated the digestive system which was NOT prepared for all of the trash I had abruptly dumped into it.

 

I thought I was giving myself a “reward” for reaching my fasting goal. Instead, I got egg in the face and one heck of a health scare. What I did was not only ridiculously foolhardy but also VERY dangerous.

 

At least my shame is now your gain. Those bitter experiences gave me motivation to research fasting and become as adept as possible in breaking a fast.

Let’s look at the best way to help you make the transition back to eating and active digestive-system function. I will start with instructions on breaking an extended water fast, then will bring in those who are breaking a prolonged period of juicing.

Breaking a Fast

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The most important thing for you to remember is that: Breaking a Fast has to be done in phases. It is not a one-day occurrence. So this process will require patience and self-control. You will basically still be fasting for another 1.5 weeks, with the exception that you will now be eating and drinking A LITTLE.

 

So don’t make reservations to a steak house for tomorrow night! In fact, why not consider changing your entire eating habits and lifestyle? Ok, enough said. If you have been WATER fasting for anywhere between 3 to 40 days, here is what to do:

 

Day One

Drink an 8-ounce glass of 50% water and 50% combination vegetable and fruit juice. I personally like tomato and grape juice, although I don’t expect that to become a popular recipe. Juice. Some 100% vegetable juice combinations are pretty good also. Here are some mixtures for you to consider:

Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 9.45.02 PMHere are some recipes.

Carrot and Orange Juice

Celery and Carrots

Tomato, Celery and Lemon

Celery, Apple, and Fennel

Pineapple, Pear and Celery

Papaya, Lime, and Cauliflower

Carrots, Watercress & Orange

Papaya-Lemon

Carrots, Parsley, Green Pepper & Orange

Carrots, Pineapple

Grape, Celery

Spinach, Celery, Asparagus, Tomato & Grape

Carrot, Strawberry

Carrot, Spinach, Lettuce & Orange

 

You can, of course, make up your own. But whatever combination you choose for breaking a fast: Make sure the juice is watered-down! I recommend that you start with 50% juice mixture/50% water.
The digestive system has been sleeping and we want to take it real easy. Make it a point to use BOTH vegetable and fruit juices in the mixture.

 

Using too much fruit juice alone could spike your sugar levels, which is not what we want – especially if you have any type of diabetic or pre-diabetic condition. This is very important and should be rule of thumb you always keep in mind when breaking a fast. Let’s awaken the bear slowly and with “kid-gloves” ok?

 

Also, I’m not going to tell you that you MUST extract your own juice with a juicer. If you don’t have the time or disposition to do so, then go ahead and purchase natural fruit and vegetable juices at the supermarket. Obviously, it would be best to juice your own because of the huge shot of fresh nutrients that it provides.

 

Since your digestive system is clean from fasting, the environment is optimal. But if, for whatever reason, you cannot do this, then at the very least make sure to purchase natural juices (preferably organic). Breaking a fast with Kool-aid or any other type of artificial juice is unacceptable.

 

 

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I advice you to minimize the use of lemon juice, just because it is very acidic. One more thing: From here on, when I refer to juice, I am talking about the combination of both fruit and vegetable juice.

AGAIN: When you start breaking a fast, do so by FIRST drinking only ONE 8-ounce glass of the water/juice. Your appetite will sound alarms asking you to drink a gallon of the juice.You must use maximum restraint and not succumb to this urge. Now continue water fasting for another 4 hours.

Once the four hours have passed, drink another 8-ounce glass of 50% juice and 50% percent water. If you felt dizziness or stomach pains since you drank the first glass, then dilute it further to 75% water and 25% juice. Again, do not allow hunger to lead you to drink more than 8 ounces.

 

These two glasses of juice have begun to awaken the digestive system, and it has already started to assimilate and break down the nutrients. It hadn’t had to process any new nourishment for some time, so take it easy.

It is as this point that many people lose their resolve and just eat a sandwich, a salad or even a plate of steamed vegetables. Again, based on my experience, that is not the best way to go. Stay with me. Be patient. Drink the second glass of juice and continue water fasting for another 4 hours.

 

After 8 hours, you will have had two 8-ounce glasses of 50-percent juice and 50-percent water. Now go ahead and drink a STRAIGHT 8-ounce glass of juice. This will be the most amount of sugar your body will have received in a long time.

Drink it slowly. Look at a clock and make it a point to drink the juice over the course of at least 1 minute. Once you drink it, walk away … continue water fasting for another 12 hours. Time this in a way that the 12-hour lapse coincides with bedtime.

 

Days Two & Three

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The second day of breaking a fast will be similar to the end of Day One, although today you will be able to drink 4 more ounces of juice per serving. Upon arising, drink a 12-ounce glass of 100% juice.
In other words, you no longer have to water it down. But, make sure that the fruit/vegetable juice mixture is comprised more of the latter than the former. Go 85% vegetable juice, 15% fruit juice, is my suggestion. We’re breaking a fast and also watching our sugar levels, ok?

 

When drinking this first glass of non-watered-down juice, time yourself. Provide at least 2 minutes to drink it. This will be the first full taste nourishment you will have tasted for some time. The urge to drink rapidly will probably be strong. Resist it! Continue water fasting for 4 hours and then drink another 12-ounce glass.

 

 

Have as many as four 12-ounce glasses, making sure to wait a minimum 4 hours between each one. In addition, it is important for you to continue to drink at least half a gallon of water per day during this entire process of breaking a fast. So it should definitely NOT be just juice, juice, juice. Please add lots of water, water, water!

 

Be careful. You will probably feel great (possibly better than ever) and want to just eat solid food and get it over with. It is possible that at this phase of breaking a fast you may be hungrier than you have been for some time. You may even feel a sense of desperation related to food and eating. Don’t react to it.

 

If you have made it this far, then apply the same commitment and complete this process appropriately. After swimming for months in the deep blue ocean, why drown at the beach now? Be patient. Drink your 4 glasses of juice on day 2 and GO TO BED!

 

 

On Day Three, repeat EXACTLY what you did on Day Two. Today your digestive system is more awake and beginning to put the wheels in motion. You may even have a bowel movement at this point of breaking a fast. That is good.

The human body is soooo loyal. It always comes through for us even when we abuse it and eat irresponsibly. Do the right thing and the body will forgive you immediately. Therefore, give the digestive system as much time as it needs to wake up. Be patient. Don’t pout!

 

Days Four & Five
(If You Are Breaking an Extended Juice Fast (5 + Days), Start Here
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On Day Four the digestive system is a tad more awake and can process some fruit. For breakfast, cut up an apple or pear in four slices and sit down to eat.

 

Eat each half very slowly and chew it until it dissolves in your mouth. Resist the desire to eat quickly. Chew each piece of fruit at least 20 times prior to swallowing. Count each chew. DON’T CHEAT!

Spend at least 2 minutes chewing and swallowing each of the four pieces of fruit. That means that you should spend roughly 10 minutes eating your “meal“.

 

To wash down the fruit, drink a 12-ounce glass of 50-percent water & 50-percent juice. We just gave the body some solids for the first time in a while. It is best to water down the juice and be cautious. Now continue to water fast for 4 hours.

 

Once the time has passed, repeat the breakfast meal with another piece of fruit and another watered-down glass of juice. Wait another 4 hours. Have a third fruit/juice meal. Mix the fruits.

You can, for example, have an apple in the morning and pears in the afternoon and evening. Steer clear of citrus (you can drink orange juice but hold off on eating oranges). Stick to apples and pears for now. Go to bed. Eat nothing else. Stay away from the kitchen!

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.09.52 PMOn Day Five of breaking a fast you are to repeat the EXACT SAME process as day four – an apple or pear in the morning, afternoon and evening with a 12-ounce glass of watered-down juice.

 

Watch your thoughts and emotions very carefully.The mind will attempt to trick you into eating a full-course meal.

You may find yourself rationalizing why it’s ok to eat this, eat that, etc. RESIST! The digestive system is shifting back from feeding solely on stored fat to relying (again) on the daily consumption of food.

Bowel movements should appear with greater frequency by this time. We want the benefits you received from fasting to last, right?

 

 

Day Six

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On Day Six of breaking a fast you can introduce salads. Eat an apple in the morning with juice and have a medium-sized plate of lettuce, cucumbers and baby tomatoes for lunch. NO DRESSING OR SALT! You can get away with a tiny sprinkle of olive oil and vinegar, but that is all.

Do not go overboard on the salad. Keep quantities small. TIP: Go to the supermarket and purchaseScreen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.14.50 PM several pre-made salad kits. Choose the simple kits, which usually include lettuce (Sidney Note: kale, Romaine lettuce are acceptable), carrots, cabbage and the like, nothing more. We’re looking for a basic “bare bones” salad at this point. Eat half a bag per meal. That way you take away the need of having to prepare a salad and hang out in the kitchen. Half a bag of a pre-made salad kit is more than enough for starters. If the kit you purchased comes with dressing and croutons, DISCARD THEM! Add food types and amounts slowly.

 

When it comes to breaking a fast, slow is fast. What I mean by that is this: If you are thorough, cautious and meticulous from start to finish (without rushing), then chances are pretty good that you will not have to repeat the process.

 

Going through the sacrifice of a long-term fast only to gain the weight back later is truly heartbreaking. The time is now for you to start mastering your appetites and learning that just because the body says it wants it, does NOT mean you have to give in to it.

 

If a little baby got angry because you took away a butcher’s knife he was playing with would you feel bad about it? Would you feel guilty when the baby started crying and throwing a tantrum? Of course not. The same is with the stomach and our appetites. They MUST be disciplined sometimes forcefully.

 

Have another salad for lunch along with an apple or pear and some juice (you don’t have to water it Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.19.37 PMdown anymore if your body is responding well). For dinner, you can add a small plate of steamed vegetables without butter. I like broccoli, carrots, squash and cauliflower. You can sprinkle a tiny dab of olive oil for taste. Make sure to drink lots of water at least half-a-gallon daily. All in all, today (Day Six) you have given your body salads and vegetables in addition to the fruit and juices.

 

If at any time you start to feel stomach discomfort, add another 24 hours of just juices and fruit. When breaking a fast, always step BACK at least ONE day if you feel your body needs more time. Listen to what your body is really telling you.

 

Don’t make a decision based on hunger! Rather, close your eyes, go past the hunger and listen to what the body is saying. Is the digestive system processing the fruit, salad and vegetables properly?

 

Are you having trouble having a bowel movement? If you are straining to pass stool, then you are forcing the body to process way too much food, too soon. Slow down if you are in doubt.

Again I repeat: SLOW IS FAST!

 

 

Day Seven and Beyond

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On Day Seven of breaking a fast, you can start to eat small pieces of lean poultry. You can steam-cook a breast of chicken very nicely on a pan with its own juices, a little water and a tiny sprinkle of olive oil. Be very light on the salt when seasoning.

 

If you have a broiler, use it. This piece of meat is not intended to be a gourmet experience. In fact, it should be pretty bland. You are eating it not as a fine-dining experience, but rather to continue awakening the digestive system.

 

And very important: Chew slowly! Resist the urge to gorge at all times.

For dinner, try this: A small chicken breast with a salad and half a baked potato without butter. One Screen Shot 2016-01-18 at 4.31.43 PMcup of brown rice is also a good choice. I like the boil-in-the-bag type because it cooks quickly and actually tastes decent. (Sidney Note: I recommend eating according to your blood type. This has been the best way for me to maintain my weight, eat well, and stay healthy. You can read more of my experience and get information here.)

Sprinkle a dash of Parmesan cheese on the potato for taste. The key at this phase of breaking a fast is to keep the portions small. If, after you eat a meal on Day Seven you start to have stomachaches, then you know you ate too much or you added some spice that was not permitted.

 

Beyond Day Seven, continue to eat the same foods I have just described. (Sidney Note: Or according to your type.)

You can exchange chicken for fish. You also can eat different fruits according to your taste. If you eat red meat, I strongly encourage you to NOT eat any for at least ONE month after breaking a fast. Your body is clean!

 

This is a great time for you to take some serious stock of where you have been, where you are and where you want to go. If you look back and realize that you do not want to go back to the way you were, then as I said earlier the TIME IS NOW to make some definite lifestyle changes and pay whatever price you have to pay for the sake of your health.

 

A FINAL RECOMMENDATION

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When breaking a fast the body is clean of toxins and is thus much better able to absorb nutrients. For that reason, I want to recommend that you try Himalayan Salt. Himalayan salt has very powerful properties that can give your body a powerful boost once you have finished fasting.

Add two tablespoons to a half-gallon of water and make it a point to drink it in its entirety over a 24-hour period.

You can do this EVERY-OTHER-DAY for the first SEVEN days after breaking a fast. Then continue to do it semi-weekly at least once. Make sure to have plenty of plain water also as the salt will probably make you extra thirsty.

 

Himalayan Salt is known to contain energy and healing properties that assist in bringing the body’s regulatory system (homeostasis) into balance. This fosters improved blood pH, digestive system functions, brain activity, respiration, and it also helps remove heavy metals from your body, another of the powerful benefits of water fasting.

 

***Sidney Tip: Now that you know what has to happen, focus each day on drinking your water. Begin to research juices that you would like to use. I am partial to pear, carrot, orange, and pineapple. Carrot and orange I usually mix together. Specifically, I buy Bolthouse Organic Carrot juice, Evolution Orange juice or Simply Orange, and mix them. Do not forget to add in vegetable juices as well. Because I do not own a juicer, I blend vegetables in a Ninja Blender. You can buy juices as well. I’ve been told that Evolution vegetable juices are good. Look for recipes that suit your taste, AND be adventurous. Two years ago, I was adamant that I would not like any juice that included beets. I was proved wrong! It is one I love, and here is a recipe close to it (I do not use lemon in mine at all). Here are some other recipes.

Please feel free to leave questions. See you on Friday….maybe Saturday!

Screen Shot 2015-12-13 at 6.39.16 PM“Some people are afraid of what they might find if they try to analyze themselves too much, but you have to crawl into your wounds to discover where your fears are. Once the bleeding starts, the cleansing can begin.”

-Tori Amos

Categories: Holistic Health | 1 Comment

21 Day Water Fast: 16-21+: Can I Get a WOOOT!?

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No matter how it has gone it has been worth it. The thing about a fast is that no two are alike and it is not a linear journey. This is definitely no different. As I shared, I have had rashes before, but this time it came earlier than usual. And, just as I thought it was leaving, another round came to the same area (my chest and left shoulder) and then to my back. That was NEW! To add to it, I had lower back pains that I read often is due to toxins settling, and the location of the colon, lower intestines, and kidneys. I increased my water intake and rested. Speaking of resting, I think I have slept more during this fast than I have in the past 3 years of fasting experiences. It should be said that I was in graduate school 75% of that time and could rest most of the day. This time I have been working a regular schedule, so the weekends are full of sleep. Next, the weather and the fast have conspired to bring on what seem to be cold symptoms. Howeveeeeeeer! That too can come from fasting because the body is ridding itself of mucous. Well, my body is doing a wonderful job of that. My investment in tissue has increased. There are many different physical reactions to fasting.

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All of this is a part of the process. And, with the last days looming I am thinking about the hiccups too. For a few days, I felt like I had failed because I was forced to drink coconut water because I just could not drink the distilled water or even the Glacier water I already had at home. And, yes, I had some dark chocolate (shameful, sorta). During the day, I was feeling way too light-headed at work and felt it was necessary to add something to help my blood sugar levels. It would have been terribly ugly to be sprawled out. Although the feeling of being light-headed has not completely left, it is manageable going into the home stretch. I’ve learned that there are times to have a “stick-to-it” spirit and times to be smart, that was one of the times.

For the rest of this journey, that ends on Thursday, January 21st, there is a focus on patience as well as action. TheyScreen Shot 2016-01-17 at 6.58.36 PM seem counterintuitive or opposites, right? Not actually so. While learning something new you have to have patience with yourself, but also be taking the actions to properly acquire the skill. That is where I am. I am looking for a permanent position, new vehicle, new home, and preparing for the national counselor examination, increasing my dating life (that should be interesting, pushing Popliciousness, and being Mom (24/7, you know how that is!), but it all takes patience as well as action. You don’t get hired by sitting around, a new vehicle doesn’t drive itself to your home (unless there is something I don’t know), dates don’t happen if you are Screen Shot 2016-01-17 at 7.06.12 PMnot engaging with people, popcorn does not get sold if you don’t work it, and young men (I have a 16 year old) don’t simply do everything without guidance. It all takes action, but patience for things to come together. The next 4 days will be a focus on where I am not patient or in action, taking those things on, and going after what I want. A few years ago, I endeavored on a Patience Journey, and I revisit that off and on because I am reminded how impatient I can be when things do not come as quickly as I believe they should. It brings the mirror to my face and forces me to look at what I am or am not doing to transform things in the areas of my life that matter the most.

Going off the fast is the right way is the most important thing I can do for myself. THAT takes patience! On Tuesday, I will publish the blog detailing how to safely go off a water fast and the website I have used for information pertaining to fasting.

Day 15

                                  Day 15

 

Day 1

                          Day 1

 

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       Day 13: Second Outbreak, Red bumps

Stage 4 (Day 16 to 30)
The body is completely adapted to the fasting process. There is more energy and clarity of mind. Cleansing periods can be short with many days of feeling good in between. There are days when the tongue is pink and the breath is fresh. The healing work of the organs is being completed. After the detoxification mechanisms have removed the causative agent or renders it harmless; the body works at maximum capacity in tissue proliferation to replace damaged tissue. While a short fast will reduce the symptoms, a longer fast can completely heal. Homeostatic balance is at optimum levels. The lymphatic system is clean except for a rare discharge of mucus through the nose or throat. After day 20, the mind is affected with heightened clarity and emotional balance. Memory and concentration improve.

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“Patience is, in and of itself, a great challenge and it often holds the key to breaking through a seeming impasse.” – Daisaku Ikeda

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21 Day Water Fast: Day 8 to 15: Healing Scars

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Alright, so it is day 9 and the healing has begun – for the most part. Evey time I have done a fast there has been a reaction. The rash comes out and I itch. This time was no different, it just happened earlier than usual. The rash usually shows up after day 7, this time it was apparent on day 3. Now, I am wondering what is next! Below is the progression of the rash. It is the way that my body reacts and how to toxins exit my body. When it begins to heal, as you see on the last picture, it turns dark like a healing scab. So, I call it my tiger strips since it takes a BEAST to get through a fast. Here are the pictures of day 3-8.

Day 3

Day 3

Day 4

Day 4

Day 5

Day 5

Day 6

Day 6

Day 7

Day 7

 

Day 8: Healing Beginning

Day 8: Healing Beginning


The wish for healing has always been half of health.
– Lucius Annaeus Seneca

This time of the fast seems to bring out all of the stuff of life, not just physically. What I think about are the times I have been in a process and allowed myself to thwart a process because of whatever excuse I allow. Then, I end up regretting having somewhat sabotaged what could have been. What I do know is that I have always gotten back on track after seeing myself as a cheater. That sounds terrible, but there are places in my life where I have cheated myself out of great results because of my own excuses. Haven’t you? So, from today forward I am going to be aware of my excuses and choose wisely. Let the rest of the fast BEGIN!

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Stage 3 (Day 8 to 15)
On the latter part of an extended fast, you can experience enhanced energy, clear-mindedness and feel better than you have felt since childhood, On the downside, old injuries may become irritated and painful. This is a result of the body’s increased ability to heal during fasting. If you had broken your arm 10 yrs before, there is scar tissue around the break. At the time of the break, the body’s ability to heal was directly related to lifestyle. If you lived on a junk food diet, the body’s natural ability to heal was diminished.

During fasting, the body’s healing process is at optimum efficiency. As the body scours for dead or damaged tissue, the lymphocytes enter the older-damaged tissue secreting substances to dissolve the damaged cells. These substances irritate the nerves in the surrounding region and cause a reoccurrence of aches from previously injured areas that may have disappeared years earlier. The pain lasts as the body is completing the healing process. The muscles may become tight and sore due to toxin irritation. The legs can be the worst affected as toxins accumulate in the legs. Cankers are common in this stage due to the excessive bacteria in the mouth.

RESULTS:

I did take my measurements before starting and weighed myself. As of this morning I am down 13lbs.

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NO MUD. NO LOTUS.

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21 Day Water Fast: Day 3 to 7: Everything Looks Yummy Edition!

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Here we are at day 3. The following is a breakdown of what to expect for the next 4 days. But, before that let me share – or vent – depends on your perspective. Don’t get me wrong with the whole fasting thing, I love food. I’m a lover of bread, homemade butter (yes, I make that), pizza, cheeses (glorious CHEESE), cakes, cookies, beef, and love to explore new foods. Fasting is not an easy thing to do….Oh, and I love popcorn! I HAD to get that out so I could concentrate! Yesterday, I walked to the kitchen and was offered red velvet cake and Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits! May the Force be with ME. What I have learned with fasting is that all the things that would stop me from completing the fast become magnified.

 

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This morning I washed my hair in the shower and as I stood there I could feel my hands quiver a bit. Immediately I thought about the things that will happen during the fast, how THAT popcorn was just around the corner, and then I thought about the end game as well as those who are participating with me. I get to see where I tend to make excuses for my lack of commitment. The following quote was shared with me by a coach in a meeting at Landmark Education – the time I was a head coach in the Self-Expression and Leadership Program (my favorite of them all). It reminds me that all too often I am in my head with all the fearful questions, doubts, excuses, reasons, and ways out that seemingly rationalize the choice I am about to make. But, the choice is usually getting out of something instead of staying in it. It is that “fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around like rational hesitation,” that always comes in.

 

“The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating — in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around like rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life.” – Anne Morris


As I sat speaking with a friend about the need to get another car, he was giving me plenty of options, but my mind took on that little “rational hesitation” for many good reasons. Of Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 3.25.43 PMcourse they are all rational, but not real – at least yet. But, it is my commitment to a vehicle that matters. Just like it is my commitment to health, holistic living, a loving relationship (yes, I’m single!), caring for and supporting my son, and my other goals/values that matters. They may not always look like I want them to, but remaining committed is important.

With all that said, the third day presents a milestone. It will represent the reduction in hunger, and usually a time when headaches disappear. I haven’t had a headache and my hunger has subsided. Besides thirst for water, and the annoyance of seeing red velvet cake and cheddar bay biscuits, I’m good!

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DAYS 3 THROUGH 7

Stage 2 (Day 3 to 7)
Fats, composed of transformed fatty acids, are broken down to release glycerol from the gliceride molecules and are converted to glucose. The skin may become oily as rancid oils are purged from the body. People with problem-free skin may have a few days of pimples or even a boil. A pallid complexion is also a sign of waste in the blood. Ketones are formed by the incomplete oxidation of fates. It is suspected that the ketones in the blood suppress the appetite by affecting the food-satiety center in the hypothalamus called the appestat. You may feel hungry for the first few days of the fast. This effect is temporary. The desire to eat will disappear. Lack of hunger may last 40-60 days.

 

The body embraces the fast and the digestive system is able to take a much-needed rest, focusing all of its energies on cleansing organs and the lungs are in the process of being repaired. Periodically, the lymphatic system expels mucoid matter through the nose or throat. The volume excreted of this yellow-colored mucus can be shocking. The sinuses go through periods of being clogged, then will totally clear. The breath is still foul and the tongue coated. Within the intestine, the colon is being repaired and impacted feces on the intestinal wall start to loosen and are autolyzed.

From the third day onward the rate of the breakdown of fatty acids from adipose or fat tissue continues to increase, hitting its peak on the tenth day. This seven day period, after the body has shifted completely over to ketosis, is where the maximum breakdown of fat tissue occurs. As part of protein conservation, the body also begins seeking out all non-body-protein sources of fuel: nonessential cellular masses such as fibroid tumors and degenerative tissues, bacteria, viruses, or any other compounds in the body that can be used for fuel. This is part of the reason that fasting produces the kind of health effects it does. Also, during this period of heightened ketosis the body is in a similar state as the one that occurs during sleep – a rest and detoxification cycle. It begins to focus on the removal of toxins from the body and the healing and regeneration of damaged tissues and organs.

 

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Behind the Fast: I’m YOUniquely Financed

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Hmf! This fast has started off with a bang. Not literally, but figuratively so. Whenever I begin a fast I usually am prepared for everything I desire, want, and need to be a struggle. Everything becomes a challenge because of the focus. This time is no different.

The irony of commitment is that it’s deeply liberating — in work, in play, in love. The act frees you from the tyranny of your internal critic, from the fear that likes to dress itself up and parade around as rational hesitation. To commit is to remove your head as the barrier to your life. – Anne Morriss

 

I just left gongyo celebrating the new year and checked my bank account. THE SHOCK! THE HORROR! UGH! Let’s just say I was not impressed by what I saw. And, so, I began to think about all the things I have been striving for and put at stake with this fast – one is financial increase and stability. With that in mind, I am aware that what I saw was not devastating, but it was a result of being in survival mode for so long and my inattention to details as I once had done. Now that I am clear about that, I can sorta breathe and take on those things that will support my goal of financial increase that will create the stability. Makes sense right?!

 

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What makes me excited about this mishap, well kinda sorta excited, is that I know I have talents that can bring about stability. Over the past 10 years I have consulted, written training manuals, done executive and personal coaching, refurbished furniture, worked at a cemetery/funeral home (yes, I did!), contracted writing adoption reports, been a truancy mentor, been a program coordinator, and stated a gourmet popcorn business (I LOVE POPCORN! Check out Popliciousness on FB.). I’ve been told to “pick one thing”, but I have also paid attention to Warren Buffet who speaks about multiple streams of income. He says, “Never depend on a single income, make investments to create a second source,” and surely he can’t be against more that a second source considering he is worth $66.7 billion. That did not happen by only working at Whataburger all his life and being a miser. It’s called diversifying – read about it.

 

YOUniquely Me.

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It has taken me a while to be alright with saying I have many talents and letting them be exposed. We are all too often conditioned to “pick one thing” and forget about the many talents we have been given. They are there for many reasons. I remember not having a job while in graduate school and needing money to pay bills. What did I do? While driving home I stopped at the flea market, picked up two bamboo chairs, bought sand paper and spray paint as well as shellac. It took me two days to complete the projects and I make $75 which paid my cell phone bill. I refurbished an Army footlocker and was offered $275 for it! have coached people looking for internships, and been paid well for it. To stop being me to make others feel comfortable about how things should be is inauthentic for my life. I love teaching, cooking, exercising, coaching, laughing, training, researching, and them all well because that is who I am.

 

During this time of fasting I am going to work every aspect of my talents and gifts to create financial stability. That means being aware of where I am, what steps will Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 5.21.08 PMmove me forward, and moving quickly. Steve Maraboli says that the universe doesn’t give us what we ask for in our minds or thoughts. Meaning, just thinking something does not make it happen. He goes on to say that the universe gives us what we demand with our actions. When we take action towards goals, desires, wants, or needs the sheer energy of our actions begins to move things towards having the goal achieved. When I do nothing, I get more of doing nothing. My thoughts will not make popcorn be sold, but my action will. My thoughts will not have a book sold, but my action will. My thoughts are useful in creation, yet, without action they are only dreams. Daydreams can come true if I am willing to take action on them. Daydreams, for me, are where I see things coming together, get great ideas, run through scenarios, and kill other thoughts or dreams that don’t fit. That is the mental lab, but again, taking action is where the physical lab begin to take shape and produce results. All results are not going to be the immediate success I desire. The results to tell me what works, what doesn’t, if this is a good idea, how much money is being made or lost, and whether I put in enough effort (time, thought, and money) in it all.

…BUCKLE DOWN & EXPAND…

So, here I am at day 2 of 21 and the financial perspective has shown up. That only pushes me to buckle down and expand my thinking and reach as well as use all of my talents and gifts to reach my goals. I’ll start by researching such things as Digit, Acorns, Mint, and Level Money. Well, since I have mentioned them it seems only right that I begin researching each and write a review. That’s what I get! You’re welcome. Anywhoo….Let’s go Popliciousness – the ideas have been flowing and the action has come as well. Take action with the things you love, have talent to do, are skilled in, and watch what happens. Let’s see what January 22nd holds in finances.

 

 

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21 Day Water Fast: No Mud, No Lotus

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The secret to happiness is to acknowledge and transform suffering, not to run away from it.
– Thich Nhat Hanh

Fasting, for me, starting as a desire to rid myself of the depression, fears, frustration, guilt, grief, and anxiety that had been plaguing me for may years. I could rehash a variety of stories, but I will simply share with simplicity.

In 2002, my mother died; 2004, my maternal grandmother died; 2004, I moved with my son to Georgia; 2007, my father died; 2008, two of my homes were foreclosed on; 2009, I ended my relationship; 2010, I moved back to Ohio and began graduate school; and 2011, we moved to Texas. Now you have a snapshot. Here are some tidbits, when I got to Ohio I had $700 to my name, we left Ohio with 4 bags and shipped everything else, and during the majority of this time I was overweight and not confident. Off and on I worked out, but also could not find employment even with a degree. When the fall of 2012 came around I was overwhelmed, sad, anxious all the time, frustrated, and tired of it all. I purposely stopped communicating with many people – a self-imposed desert experience. In December 2012, I decided I needed to do something drastic and the only thing that came to mind was a fast. It was the most drastic thing I knew to do that could possibly reset everything. So, I took it on for spiritual, mental, and physical reasons.

                                  Me (2012)

During that 40 days, I did not have a car, was not working, and remained in graduate school. In fact, I traveled to Atlanta for a Residency while fasting. The whole experience showed me what was possible for me. I had people who thought I was crazy for taking it one, others who thought I would damage something, and, then, there were those who completely understood the stance I was making for myself and my life. One person asked me why and I said that I felt like if I wanted something I had never had before I needed to do something I had never done, and the fast was it for me. I lost 48 pounds, my skin cleared up, my tastes changed, I saw clearer both physically and mentally, and haven’t turned back. It has not been easy, but I am aware when the depression comes, when anxiety shows up, and I regulate it with diet and exercise.

            First picture after the fast. February, 2013

I am committed to being healthy in every area of my life that takes attention and balance. My commitment is evidenced by my withdrawal from a doctoral program for Industrial and Organizational Psychology to pursue certification as a personal trainer, investigate homeopathic medicine and/or herbology, and pair them with my Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. However, before that my desire was to meet people in my area since I was new. I started running at a local park and one day I saw a group of Black women running. It struck me because I had been to that park before, but never had I seen so many Black women there. When I inquired I found out that they were a group from Black Girls Run! Dallas. That was the end of June, the next month I ran 100 miles by the 31st! I pay attention to what I eat by following the Eat Right 4 Your Type plan for my blood type as well. My life has changed drastically since February 2013, and my first water fast because I was willing to take on the mud of my life as well as do something drastic.

                   Comparison: 2012 and October 2015

“No mud, No lotus” is a reference to Thich Nhat Hanh and the lotus flower. Often when we go into a fast it is because we are coming through the mud of life looking for something new. A lotus flower grows through mud to expose its beauty. It is the muddy water, a metaphor for suffering, that makes the lotus so unique. Thich Nhat Hanh acknowledges that because suffering can feel so bad, we try to run away from it or cover it up by consuming. We find something to eat, turn on the television, spend time in large groups, or avoid facing what needs to be faced. But unless we’re able to face our suffering, struggles, challenges, and at the basic level, ourselves we can’t be present and available to life, and happiness will continue to elude us. It is through fasting that we can recognize the strength in ourselves, uncover the wonders that we are, see the possibilities in the world and become happier and healthier. Come through the mud to reveal the lotus.

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“It’s like growing lotus flowers. You cannot grow lotus flowers on marble. You have to grow them on the mud. Without mud, you cannot have a lotus flower. ”-Thich Nhat Hahn
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21 Day Water Fast: Day 1 & 2: Headachin’ and Hangry Evening Edition!

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WELCOME TO THE FIRST DAY OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE!

I’ve seen plenty of social media posts about new attitudes, working out, and those who shame others who are doing detoxes, cleanses, etc. Here is what I believe, people live in their own truth, how they need to at the moment, and if it doesn’t directly impact me I pray the best for them. And, still if is does I have the choice to release myself from the relationship or connection, and in the case of social media just don’t read it. It really is simple.

With that off my proverbial chest, there are things to expect from your fast today Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 6.21.14 PMand tomorrow. It is easy if you choose to see it as a part of the process. We eat all the time! We are driven by our desires for the most part. I love popcorn, Mexican and Mediterranean foods, ice cream (which I should not have), and Boston Cream donuts. When the feeling hits I might get two Boston Cream donuts and be elated with my choice. The fact is that they are d@mn good – yes, I said it. Such cream-filled, chocolate glaze topped pillows of lovely fried goodness. Why must they be so good?  Good to me, not necessarily good for me. And then, there is Mexican food! I Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 6.24.34 PMneed help with this one. ¡Aye dios mio! I love it all. My favorite restaurant, right now, is Mercado Juarez and it is way too close to my home. However, the beef, sour cream, guacamole, flour tortillas, chips, refried bean, flan, and probably their whole menu are not the healthiest. Is there a way to eat at Mercado Juarez that is healthy? Probably. But, honestly, I don’t go there to be uber healthy. I go there to enjoy every bite. And, the consequences are seen in the toxicity in the body.

What does all that have to do with day 1 and 2? I’ll tell you. With all of the foods we love come impacts to our health. They can be good and bad. With all of the foods we love come impacts to our mental health. They can be good and bad. The first two days are where many people are ready to quit because they are not used to being uncomfortable, eating to soothe themselves, having that soda or coffee to drink, or having dessert. Automatically we go into a survival mode that psychologically says “I MUST EAT RIGHT NOW!” and you have to be prepared to win over the mind.

Knowing what is going on through the process will help you tremendously. Here is Stage 1 breakdown:

Stage 1 (Day 1-2)
On the first day of fasting, the blood Sugar level drops below 70mg/dl. To restore the blood to the normal glucose level, liver glycogen is converted to glucose and released into the blood. This reserve is enough for a half day. The body then reduces the basal metabolic rate (BMR). The rate of internal chemical activity in resting tissue is lowered to conserve energy. The heart slows and blood pressure is reduced. Glycogen is pulled from the muscle causing some weakness. The first wave of cleansing is usually the worst.

Effects: Headaches, dizziness, nausea, bad breath, glazed eyes and a heavily coated tongue are signs of the first stage of cleansing. Hunger can be the most intense in this period.

Many of the most dramatic changes that occur in the body during fasting take place on the first three days of the fast. These occur as the body switches from one fuel source to another. Normally, the primary form of energy the body uses for energy is glucose, a type of sugar. Most of this is extracted or converted from the food we eat. Throughout the day, the liver stores excess sugar in a special form called glycogen that it can call on as energy levels fall between meals. There is enough of this sugar source for 8-12 hours of energy and usually, it is completely exhausted within the first 24 hours of fasting. (However, once the body shifts over to ketosis or fat as fuel, this new fuel is used to also restore the body’s glycogen reserves.)

Once the liver’s stores of glycogen are gone, the body begins to shift over to what is called ketosis or ketone production – the use of fatty acids as fuel instead of glucose. This shift generally begins on the second day of fasting and completed by the third. In this interim period there is no glucose available and energy from fat conversion is insufficient but the body still needs fuel. So it accesses glucose from two sources. It first converts glycerol, available in the body’s fat stores, to glucose but this is still insufficient. So it makes the rest that it needs from catabolizing, or breaking down, the amino acids in muscle tissue, using them in the liver for gluconeogenesis, or the making of glucose. Between 60 and 84 grams of protein are used on this second day, 2-3 ounces of muscle tissue. By the third day ketone production is sufficient to provide nearly all the energy the body needs and the body’s protein begins to be strongly conserved. The body still needs a tiny amount of glucose for some functions, however, so a very small amount of protein, 18-24 grams, is still catabolized to supply it – from 1/2 to 1 ounce of muscle tissue per day. Over a 30 day water fast a person generally loses a maximum of 1-2 pounds of muscle mass. This conservation of the body’s protein is an evolutionary development that exists to protect muscle tissue and vital organs from damage during periods of insufficient food availability.

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I recommend that you go to a few sites to read as well. They helped me to check in on my own symptoms and see what others experienced.

Additional tip: Considering you are attempting to remove toxins, I recommend only natural lotions, soaps, and oils for your skin. I don’t wear much make-up as it is, but endeavor to use less when fasting. A combination of shea butter and coconut oil can be sufficient as a lotion – I will share the recipe later. Eventually, you will probably not have a need for deodorant or find that you need very little.

Remember if you have any questions or comments please level them below. Most notably, I am not a physician and would never present myself as being one. If you have health issues a fast can be beneficial, but I do recommend doing your research as you go through the process.

 

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21 Day Water Fast: What to Expect

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The following is from Ralph Cinque about fasting. For those who are taking on their first fast, please read this with the intention of gather further information about what to expect. Enjoy. -Sidney

What to expect on your first fast.
Answers to the most commonly-asked questions!
By Ralph Cinque D.C.

INTRODUCTION: Fasting has been an integral part of Natural Hygiene care for more than 100 years. Many thousands of people have restored their health through fasting. Some, ill and distraught from years of discomfort and discouragement, try fasting as a last resort.

Some of the conditions that respond well to fasting and aggressive dietary changes after the fast are headache, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, colitis, psoriasis, lupus, and uterine fibroids. Fasting to heal oneself can mean the difference between living life pain-ridden and dependent on drugs, going from one doctor to another for relief and living a normal, pain-free existence into old age.

Health Science (1996) asked longtime Hygienic physician Ralph Cinque, D.C., to describe some of the experiences a person might encounter while considering and, ultimately, undertaking their first fast.

If you have never fasted before, you undoubtedly have many questions about it. Perhaps you have read a book about fasting, and you are hopeful that fasting will help you overcome a particular problem and improve your general health.
But since fasting is not yet a regular part of medical practice, it may be difficult for you to seriously consider it. This is unfortunate because fasting can have a powerful effect in reversing pathology and establishing a foundation for health. Fasting is not an all-encompassing solution to every health problem, but it has great promise to bolster the recovery process for many ailing people.
In order to make an intelligent decision about fasting, you need reliable information that is accurate, Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 8.40.01 AMfactual, and scientific. It is good to talk to people who have fasted and to doctors who are experienced in the use of fasting. Dr. Herbert Shelton (1895-1985), who was one of the founders of the American Natural Hygiene Society, probably had more experience with fasting than anyone else who ever lived. It is estimated that he supervised more than 40,000 fasts. Dr. Shelton used to say that “the most vehement objections to fasting are made by those who have never missed a meal in their lives.
Think twice before accepting condemnations of fasting from those who know nothing about it and have no experience with it, whether they a physicians or lay persons. if you objectively look at the evidence about fasting, you will see that it has improved health and life for countless people under a broad range of circumstances.

Benefits of fasting
The first question you might ask “Why should I fast?” A thorough answer to that question could comprise an entire book. The short answer is that fasting helps the body to normalize itself
Think about what happens when you go to sleep at night. Your body immediately goes about the tasks of repair and recovery (as much as possible) from the wear and tear of the day’s activities. A renovation takes place in your brain and throughout your entire body that enables you to arise refreshed and raring to go the next day.
The restorative power of a night’s sleep involves many factors, and the process is not completely understood. But one factor that definitely helps facilitate this process of rejuvenation is your nightly fast. While you are sleeping each night, you are not eating—you are not adding to your body’s digestive work. This period of digestive rest allows your body to devote more of its energy to its nightly restoration.
You probably know from experience that eating a heavy meal late at night interferes with the quality of your sleep and leaves you feeling groggy the next day. Heavy eating late at night, much like heavy drinking late at night, can leave you with a hangover.
Abstinence from food at night facilitates the process of biological renewal, allowing your body to proceed with its repairs and restorations. Of course, one does not remain asleep throughout a fast, but when fasting is combined with rest, your body treats it as an extended period of renovation and renewal.
During fasting, your senses become more acute, including taste, smell, and hearing. Even sight has been known to improve during a fast, although that does not always happen.

 

Balance and stability
Most people are familiar with the term homeostasis, which refers to the body’s balancing, centering, and stabilizing mechanisms. Homeostatic mechanisms are what enable your body to adjust to the relentless changes in your external and internal environments.
It is easier for your body to maintain homeostasis when you are resting and fasting than when you are eating and engaging in activity. The conservation of energy during such a profound period of rest creates a favorable condition for the biological process of healing. The human body is programmed to always seek normality, and a properly conducted fast supports and encourages that process.

 

Absence of hunger
Your next question might very well be, “Won’t I be hungry all the time when I am fasting?” The surprising fact is that after one or a few days of fasting, most people experience little or no desire for food.
The desire to eat is dictated by a combination of physiological and psychological factors. It is thought that hunger is triggered by the activity of certain brain cells within the “appetite center” of the hypothalamus which respond to the blood glucose level.
During fasting, the body begins to burn fat as a fuel, and the appetite center becomes temporarily desensitized to blood glucose. This makes it possible to fast without a gnawing hunger.
Most people report little desire for food while fasting. They do not have a powerful, overwhelming urge to eat. This helps make it possible for most people to fast comfortably for several weeks or longer.

 

Psychological factors
It is important to recognize that psychological factors c an affect people differently during fasting. Some people have a habit of thinking and talking about food much of the time — whether they are hungry or not. Some people even dream about food while fasting. But most people experience little or no psychological discomfort about not eating for a period of time. Some even enjoy the feeling of lightness and freedom they get while fasting. Do not assume that you will feel like you are “starving” because you won’t be starving. You will be fasting.

 

Fasting, not starving
There is an important difference between fasting and starving. Fasting is a period of abstinence from food during which the body’s nutrient reserves are adequate to meet the body’s nutritional needs. Starvation can occur only if you abstain from food beyond the point where you have sufficient nutrient reserves.
The differences between fasting and starving are unmistakable to the trained eye, and that is why it is important that you fast under the supervision of a member of the International Association of Hygienic Physicians (IAHP) who is certified for fasting supervision.

 

 

Will I experience discomfort?
While fasting, everyone tends to experience some “locomotor Screen Shot 2016-01-01 at 8.37.14 AMweakness,” which refers to the withdrawal of energy from the muscular system as the body tries to conserve energy. Sometimes it is surprisingly mild. Some people fast for two weeks without becoming discernibly weak. They move about as easily as they did before they began their fasts.
In general, those who are large and heavy tend to remain more energetic than those who are small and light. The body enforces an earlier slowdown of caloric expenditure in those who have the least reserves. Thin people can become weak rather early in a fast. Interestingly, women tend to hold up better energy-wise while fasting than do men. I presume it is because women tend to have greater fat reserves, on average, but hormonal factors also may be involved.
Symptoms may arise during fasting, such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and skin eruptions.These all are related to the increase in your body’s eliminative activities during the fast, and they are considered to be constructive. Dr. Shelton used the term “orthopatbic,” which means “right suffering,” to describe these events. Nevertheless, they can be uncomfortable and distressing.
The vast majority of people are able to fast for a sufficient period of time without major discomfort.The most frequent complaint I hear from people who are fasting is that they are bored. However, there are instances when a situation arises that may necessitate terminating the fast.That is why it is important that you fast under the supervision of a physician trained in fasting supervision.

 

Low blood pressure
Blood pressure tends to drop during a fast, which is a good thing if your pressure is too high. But if you have normal or low blood pressure, this further drop in blood pressure during fasting can occasion orthostatic hypotension—a sudden feeling of weakness and lightheadedness that occurs when you try to stand up too quickly. While fasting, you must be careful to move around slowly in order to give your body time to adjust to different postures.
There are special receptors in the neck called baroreceptors which regulate the blood pressure to the brain. These baroreceptors tend to respond more slowly during fasting; they take longer to read conditions and elicit a response. People have been known to faint while fasting, but the only danger in fainting is that you may hit your head on something hard or sharp as you fall down. The way to prevent such a mishap is to be slow and careful each and every time you shift positions during fasting. Pause between postures to give your body time to adjust to the effects of gravity.
Sometimes it is necessary to end a fast because of low blood pressure. How low you can allow your blood pressure to drop during fasting before terminating a fast depends upon what your blood pressure was originally, and your size, age, sex, and other factors.An experienced physician can make that evaluation.

 

A good and safe experience
To maximize the benefits from fasting and ensure your safety, obtain professional supervision from a certified IAHP physician. Fasting beyond several days requires professional supervision in order to be safe.
Moreover, there are some fragile and delicate individuals for whom even one day of fasting would be ill-advised without an IAHP doctor’s approval and supervision. Stability is achieved during fasting because of adaptations the body makes, and individuals vary at how well they make those adaptations.
As I mentioned, the biggest complaint I hear from people who are fasting is that they are bored. Here is where mental discipline can be a major factor. No one will deny that it can be mentally challenging to lie around fasting day after day. But, if you take it just one day at a time (and don’t decide ahead of time how many days you will fast), you can get through your first fast without too much difficulty.

ANHS’ Health Science, 1996. Ralph Cinque, D.C., is director of Dr. Cinque’s Health Retreat in Buda,Texas, and has been certified for fasting supervision by the International Association of Hygienic Physicians. Website www.drcinque.com

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21 Day Water Fast: Benefits: That is Crazy! Why Would I Fast Anyway?

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The benefits of fasting are many, and there are dangers. Here are somethings to consider in preparation for the 21 days. This information is from the two reference sources listed at the end.

THE OTHER SIDE: LET’S GET TO THE DANGERS FIRST.
Even fasts of a few weeks or less can have dangerous consequences. Fasting puts two different types of stress on your heart. First, it cannibalizes cardiac muscle for fuel. The human body does everything it can to conserve muscle during a fast, but inevitably some muscle will be sacrificed at the beginning of the fast. After a few days, the body switches over to using fat, but researchers have discovered that protein (muscle) utilization actually increases again later on, even though fat stores are still available. This protein includes the muscle in your heart: weaken this too much, and heart failure will result.

Strict water fasting is also a risk for heart failure because during a fast, the body’s intracellular stores of minerals vital for cardiac function, like magnesium and potassium, are depleted, even though serum levels remain normal. The results of this cardiac muscle loss and mineral deprivation can be tragic.

Another potential downside of long-term fasting is the rate of detox. Fat is your body’s storage organ for everything, including any toxins that may have accumulated over the years. When you lose weight, all these toxins have to be removed through your bloodstream, which can be extremely uncomfortable. During fasting, these symptoms are even more pronounced, since the rate of fat burning is so rapid – many people feel nauseous, sick, or otherwise unwell.

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BENEFITS: THE GOOD STUFF TOO.

Water fasting offers the quickest detox and strongest therapeutic effect. It is also the most challenging fast to perform in the first few days. Careful preparation in the days before a water fast can make all the difference in your level of comfort, but the emotional challenge will still be great.

A true water fast maintains a zero caloric intake. This means water only, nothing added to it. Some call water fasting the only “true” fast and believe that any food allowed into the bodily system prevents the complete resting state desired, compromising the level of cleansing and detox attained.

Water fasting isn’t for everyone, nor is it appropriate at all times. The more toxic your body is, the more intense your discomfort will be in those early days if you have not prepared. Yet, even proper preparation cannot predict the intensity of the detoxification process. Having support is important if this is your first water fast because it can be difficult to continue on your own when the symptoms have become frightening. I remember the toxins being released through my skin, particularly on my chest and shoulders in the form of puss filled pimpled that itched. Initially I thought I was allergic to a medication I had to take for the first week of the fast, but when it did not subside I figured out that it was toxins. The itching was so great that I had to make an oatmeal salve to help because I would wake up in the middle of the night scratching uncontrollably.

The speed at which old conditions can right themselves during a water fast is incredible. It’s amazing the little health “issues” that just go away–the mole that just drops off, the shoulder that’s been achy for years suddenly feels well again, that little patch of “weird” skin you’ve grown accustomed to vanishes without a trace…and those are just the little things.

Water fasters are advised to consume one to two quarts per day of the purest water available or to use distilled water. (While distilled water is not good for everyday consumption, it is good during a fast for its increased ability to bind to toxins.) The first few days of a fast are the most difficult. Besides the emotional challenge of going without food, these first days may have the most intense and uncomfortable symptoms of detoxification. After that, the body adjusts to the new fasting state, and most individuals feel little further discomfort, even hunger disappears.

After 2-3 days, the body goes into a state called ketosis, where it begins to fuel itself internally by burning fat cells. Ketosis occurs around 48 hours for women and 72 hours for men according to Dr. Joel Fuhrman, author of Fasting and Eating for Health. The length of time one can safely operate in ketosis varies from person to person.

Fasting also promotes autophagy, which is like a “spring cleaning” for your cells. Since your body is essentially eating itself, it has a chance to get rid of any junk or waste material that may have built up, and repair the damage of oxidative stress. This is one of the biggest benefits of fasting even for people who are already at a healthy weight, since it has powerful anti-aging and muscle-building properties.

 

One study also found that an extended fast (10 days on average) was beneficial to patients with hypertension, also noting that even though the patients didn’t embark on the fast to lose weight, all of them did – average weight loss was around 15 pounds. Longer term fasting (up to 5 days) may also have some benefits for chemotherapy patients.

Another benefit of extended fasting is purely mental: for many fasters, it’s a way to “re-set” their relationship with food, break free from patterns of emotional eating, or start fresh at the end of the fast. Fasting is part of many religious and spiritual practices because of its value for meditation and mindfulness. Bear in mind that this doesn’t happen automatically: it requires a high level of self-awareness and effort on the part of the faster. It’s a very useful tool, but it’s not a miracle cure.

Many people also fast safely, but it’s worth noting that fasting isn’t a risk-free experiment. Less serious drawbacks also include intense mood swings, low energy, and irritability. Fasting lowers blood pressure, so you may feel weak, dizzy, or nauseous during the fast. It raises levels of the stress hormones norepinephrine and cortisol, probably an adaptation to give you more energy for finding food, but not beneficial for optimum health.

One reporter from Harper’s Magazine lost 30 pounds on a 17-day fast, and suggested that fasting is so denigrated as a cure for chronic disease because it’s just not profitable for drug companies. His article also detailed the case of a suicidal doctor after the Civil War who tried to starve himself to death, only to find that the longer he fasted, the better he felt.

An extremely obese man in Scotland lost 276 pounds on a 382-day fast, while taking supplemental vitamins and minerals. A rarity among extreme weight loss patients, he actually kept the weight off once the fast was over.

One follower of the Perfect Health Diet fasted for 30 days, and reported that his migraines were cured at the end of the fast. However, he later discovered that just eating a ketogenic diet would have the same effect.

Perhaps most usefully to anyone considering a long fast, a blogger named Celestine Chua fasted for 21 days and kept an astonishingly detailed record of her physical and emotional reactions. Although she experienced severe mental and physical “detox,” she reported being glad that she’d fasted, and having a better relationship with food afterwards.

All these reports are biased, of course, because people who try a fast and fail are much less likely to write publicly about it. But they are interesting resources, and we’re not likely to get a randomized, controlled clinical study any time soon, so they’re the best we have for now.

While you’re in the midst of a fast, don’t try to work out at all – this will just cause your body to lose more muscle than necessary. The closer you can get to bed rest, the better. Read, journal, meditate, sleep, listen to music, or talk to people you love. Many people take time off work to concentrate on their fast. Keeping a slow-paced and thoughtful environment will help you really get the most of the psychological and spiritual benefits of fasting.
Resources:
All About Fasting
PaleoLeap: Long Fasts

 

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