Day 8 – Reintroducing food

June 18, 2018

Today was definitely a climactic day, and while I was hoping I would be able to keep fasting a bit longer, I saw some indications that my body was ready to quit the fast. I had not eliminated since day 5, so I knew my digestion had been completely cleaned out. I’ve had clear urine for several days. My eyesight has improved and my energy levels have dropped so low that I got dizzy just walking around the house.

I went to my second “vibrational therapy” session which did quell my stomach pain somewhat. When I got home, I had received an email notifying me that one of the two jobs/life paths I was considering was no longer an option. Despite the blow to my ego, I felt mostly okay with this. But a couple hours later something unusual happened. Almost without warning, I went into hysterics. In the moment I couldn’t really have explained what was wrong, but I was wailing and cowling like an infant. It kept on for 10 minutes or so and then passed. I listened to some of my favorite songs and felt better. It was at this point that I decided it was time to reintroduce food. As cleansing as crying like a baby was, I took it as a definite sign that baby needed to be fed. In retrospect, it was a portent of impending separation.

Throughout this process I have been trying to find a home for my cat. We will be moving from Ireland on to Spain in 1 week, and then on to Japan in September. While it would be technically possible to bring the cat with us, I felt this would not be in her best interest. So as I’m preparing my first meal in a week, a prospective family came to visit the cat. They were the perfect fit; they own the home they live in, had no small children, and just lost their own pet cat a few months prior. My cat seemed to like them immediately and they were ready to take her home right away. I didn’t hesitate either. As I was putting her into her carry bag and saying my goodbyes, she sprang up and hugged my neck with her arms and head so tightly, just as a human would. It was the most amazing gesture. I will miss her so much.

And that’s how the story ended. My cat found a good home just in time for our departure. A door closed and I made up my mind on moving to Japan. I learned some lessons about letting go, and I thought a lot about being intentional about the foods I prepare and eat.

So here are the final stats:

Total days without food: 7.5

Total energy used: €3.29

Total weight loss: 18 pounds (198 down to 180)

I technically had a small amount of bone broth on Day 7. So I chose to try some solids on Day 8. I drank about 6-8 cups of bone broth earlier in the day. Then I ended my fast with cucumber, plain greek yogurt, and sautéed spinach. I started with only yogurt and cucumber, then moved on to sautéed spinach and yogurt a couple hours later. I ate very small amounts and chewed everything profusely, taking care to listen to my body’s response to each step. I waited 2 hours in between each meal. It did not take long for my appetite to return, and I will look forward to going to spin class tomorrow. (I’ve been way too low energy to exercise for the past several days.)

Was fasting easy? No. It was more painful and difficult that I expected it to be. I did try to exercise as much as possible but the last few days I couldn’t really do much of anything.

Would I do it again? Absolutely. Especially if I had another unique block of time like this when I didn’t have many obligations and could spend most of the time in solitude. I would definitely go to a fasting retreat if the opportunity presented itself.

Did I achieve my goals? Yes. I achieved clarity. I made a decision. I was able to let go in major ways. I exceeded my weight loss expectations. This may have been why my body was ready to quit after 7 days. Losing 18 pounds in 7 days is a lot more than I expected, but I think my body really needed to do it.

 

 

 

 

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Day 7

June 18, 2018

Day 7 kind of passed in a blur. The lack of sleep was definitely getting to me, and I had to constantly drink sparkling water to keep my stomach pain under control. I had very low energy and couldn’t do much other than lay around. I decided to try making some bone broth. The supermarket had some very bony oxtail on sale, so I boiled a couple quarts of broth but in the end I was only able to drink about 2 cups. This meant I had to turn the fridge back on to keep the food. But I forgot to read the meter, so I’ll sum up my energy usage tomorrow.

I went to the sauna again for a half hour or so, and the rest of the day I was laid up. I have had quite a bit on my mind lately and on Day 7 it was difficult to stay out of my head. I’ve been debating between two possible options for the future, both of which involve moving abroad. I spent a good deal of time talking to one of my friends who lives abroad about his experiences. I stayed up late into the night talking to my wife online and got up early the next day for an appointment. I noticed I have been losing some weight, and my eyesight was notably better today.

day 6

June 17, 2018

Energy usage: €1.17

The day started out pretty rough. My back pain was still present and I was dealing with some pretty intense pain in my stomach. I cleaned the house thoroughly, then I went to the gym a did a little bit of cycling. Then I sat in the sauna for a good 45 minutes. Afterwords I felt even worse. I did some researching online and found that back pain is common because toxins expelled from the lower intestines can seep into the muscles in the lower back. The intestinal pain was also related to detoxing. A recommended remedy was drinking sparkling mineral water. So, I tried this and it did help a lot. After some rest I felt much better. I was able to get some studying done, though I did use more energy running the heat and using light to study late into the night. It felt good to finally have the mental clarity to do some work towards my goals again.

Later that night, I got news of some major unforeseen expenses and this got me down. I’ve been living on a shoestring budget as we travel and this unexpected challenge kicked me into some negativity. One of my biggest personal struggles is believing in my self and trusting in my own path. I’ve always made it a priority to follow my heart and defy conventional wisdom’s approach to life. This is not always a rewarding way to live, and when I hit setbacks I tend to take it out on myself. But this morning I woke up and was able take some better perspective. I’ve been reading Tao Te Ching and it’s reminded me of the temporality of things. I chose to address the setbacks with an attitude of release and positivity and it worked. I am feeling a renewed sense of faith in my path.

I know that my greatest successes in life are built on luck and willingness to change course. To attract opportunity, I’ve got to stay open and radiate positivity. Thinking about all the ways I could have taken less risks in life or could’ve taken a different path shuts down my spirit and closes me off to new opportunities.

When I think about my dad’s life, he changed course so many times and was judged for not doing things the conventional way. There were times when he was so broke he couldn’t visit us but in the end things lined up for him in a major way and everyone saw his vision. I don’t think he could have explained it in the moment, but his life demonstrated what it looks like to improvise and blaze your own path. I have full faith that if I keep my frequency high and my chin up my path will take me where I want to be in time.

day 5

June 16, 2018

energy usage: €0.11

Day five was weird. My wife is back in America now, so I’ve been stay up until or waking up at 2AM to talk to her. I haven’t been sleeping well. Also, after a couple days of stillness I’ve been eliminating again, usually in the morning.

Some recommend getting a chiropractic adjustment before and during the fast. The nearest chiropractor to where I am staying is an hour bus ride away, so this is not at all convenient for me. There is, however, a wholistic practitioner who does energy work and vibrational therapy just 15 minutes walk from my apartment. I’ve always wanted to try energy healing, and now seemed like the ideal time.

So I had my first session today. It was not at all what I expected. There was no discussion of causes, just a brief discussion of symptoms and the goal, which was to release the negative energy caused by wounds inflicted by the ego’s interpretation of past events. It was a kind of silent reprocessing that I did myself.

I can’t speak for the results yet, but one thing I did notice was that I fell asleep for like 4 hours after the session. And, for the rest of the day and the following morning I was eliminating even more. I can’t believe that after 5 days of not eating at all that there is still anything in my intestines. What’s come out has been very yellow and watery, almost like bile. Perhaps the energy work helped my body release even more toxins?

Overall, I don’t feel great. My stomach has started to hurt, I was super low energy and feel weak as if I had a fever. Fasting is hard. I managed to do some cleaning and go for a walk but really I couldn’t bring myself to accomplish anything yesterday. And I stayed up all night (it gets light at 4:30 am here) so that hasn’t been helping the cause, I’m sure.

On the plus side, I’ve started to see a difference in my skin. My face looks very clear, my lips are looking full and very sharp, I dare say I didn’t look this good even when I was a teenager. I still have a potbelly and am carrying extra weight elsewhere, but I didn’t expect this to change that much. My biggest hope is that the fasting will help to reset and heal my digestion. But man, it is sure not easy. I can see why people go to fasting centers to do this.

days 3-4

June 15, 2018

Energy usage: €0.72

I used some energy during these days. I took a shower and ran the heat for a bit one very cold evening. Overall, days 3 and 4 were better than day 2 in terms of headaches, but I did have to deal with some very bad lower back pain. I think this is because I went a little too hard on deadlifts on and squats at the gym at the beginning of day three. Without any nutrients/protein to rebuild the muscles after exertion, I would up with a very achy back. This actually made it pretty hard to sleep, and that made it hard to focus. So, while I was able to do some studying, I was pretty easily distracted and had low energy and watched A LOT of food porn. Despite my back pain I was able to swim a bit and attended a spin class on day 4.

I’ve been dealing with waves of negativity and self-criticism. The worst one came at the end of day 4. I felt like my brain was bringing up every time I’ve chosen to move on from a job or living situation in pursuit of something greater, and chastising me for it. Like I had given up the very last opportunity I would ever have and all of my ships had sailed. That I was too slow and ignorant to realize the good fortune I had fallen upon in the past.

I tried to sit with these feelings and while they did cut deep, eventually I was able to return to my present self and felt a glow of assurance and confidence that I was on the right path. Today at the start of day five I woke up and felt much more energy and positivity and hopefulness for the future.

 

 

day 2

June 13, 2018

Energy Usage: €0.14

The second day was notably more difficult. The first night I dreamed about eating. I felt a lot of mental hunger, like a regret for not having gone out to dinner more often when I had the time/money. I’ve also felt regretful for giving up cooking as a hobby. When I was young I was an inspired gourmand, and loved to impress my friends with my exotic and creative cooking abilities. But somewhere my elaborate cuisine was replaced with cooking simple, quick, budget meals in order to allocate more funds to weed and booze.

I’m realizing that its not shameful to love to eat, and especially to love to cook and eat very flavorful, very delicious food. For me, very delicious food is memorable and maybe worth more time and money than I’ve given it in recent years.

In a couple weeks I’m going to travel to the UK with my sisters, so I’ve taken the time to make a list of all the best vegan and gluten free eats I could find in Edinburgh and London. This again is something that usually falls by the wayside when I travel. I tend to enjoy living in the moment and going with the flow, embracing what I find wandering around in new places or saving money by eating from grocery stores. So this time, I’m going in armed with a rolodex of great healthy restaurant options so that every meal on the trip will be exceptional and memorable.

In addition to the food obsession on day 2 I dealt with some awful headaches and my productivity was low. I went to a spin class at the end of the day. Spin is great because you can choose your ideal level of resistance. I did about half as much work as I’d usually do, but I was able to keep pace. Afterwords I felt fantastic and my headaches subsided.

To boost morale, I watched a documentary called “The Science of Fasting” which was remarkably enlightening. As it turns out, water fasting has been used in Russian public healthcare for years to treat asthma, bronchitis, arthritis, digestive issues and even mental illness. There’s been loads of research on it’s effectiveness and the results have been statistically significant.

There are fasting centers in Europe where people go to retreat while they fast. There are also some public hospitals in Germany with floors dedicated to water fasting patients, and their treatments are covered by public health funds. In both Russia and Europe, fasting is always coupled with exercise and the gradual re-introduction of food, starting with bone broth soups, at the end of the fasting period. In the USA, there has been some research on how fasting during chemo treatments can help the body resist the negative side effects of the “pharmaceutical” poisons used to treat cancer.

I do hope the fast will help me with my digestive issues. In recent years, I’ve pursued a variety of different nutritional philosophies; pescatarian, juicing, gluten-free, dairy-free, keto, and of course the tortilla-chips-and-takeout-based “vegetarian” stoner diet. Nothing’s ever really been a clean fit, and I have had perpetually bad gas and troublesome bowels.

In Colorado whenever my stomach bothered me I’d pound down Kombucha and smoke weed, but since leaving these things have been much more scarcely available and I’ve also cut back on drinking considerably.

In addition to seeking physical healing, I am doing this fast to seek clarity and release from mental illness. I have held onto negative, limiting thoughts about myself, others and the world. Some of these were the result of grief, PTSD and institutionalization. Regardless, I’ve realized that I missed out on my potential bliss because I’ve held myself captive to negativity.

On this second day of my fast I’ve become very aware of how reclusive I’ve been since being institutionalized in high school. I have only in very few circumstances opened myself to new relationships. In college, I didn’t start making friends until my last semester, and then most of those people left my life. As a working adult and vagabond I’ve been very reluctant to go out, have hobbies or make connections outside of work. In the 4 years I lived in Denver, most of my friends came from work or through connections from highschool.

I have a complicated set of reasons why I don’t think I can make friends, and I’ve gone out of my way to avoid social situations as much as possible. Now I see that I’ve limited my perspective on the world by spending a little too much time getting high by myself and playing videogames with my cat instead of pushing myself out of my comfort zone and advancing my own storyline. The people who know me don’t see me this way. Some might even say I can be the life of a party. So there’s a dichotomy, but my biggest regret is not making more new connections. It takes a lot of time and introductions to find people worth being friends with and in my 20’s I just didn’t care to make the effort.

I’m ready to let go of this. Just like settling for microwave nachos and curry-in-a-hurry instead of coconut crusted salmon, zucchini pasta and mushroom risotto, being a recluse has deprived me of living my best life. What more, I’ve forgone opportunities to define my personality and interests. This area of my life needs an overhaul. I don’t know how its going to look moving forward, but I’m ready to do the legwork.

day 1

June 12, 2018

Energy use: €0.15

 

Morning:

1 teaspoon Pink Himalayan Salt

1 teaspoon Magnesium Citrate

 

Evening:

1-2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar in lukewarm water

 

I started the fast with a warm water cocktail of salt and magnesium. I kissed my wife goodbye as she climbed onto an airport shuttle parked outside. Just minutes after her departure I was in the bathroom, beginning my cleanse. My mineral cocktail got swiftly to work cleaning out my system. I was not able to leave the house for 2-3 hours, until the diarrhea had subsided. Then I went to the gym and did some lifting. I took a little weight off what I’d been lifting recently and spent some time in the Sauna afterwards. The rest of the day was pretty straightforward. I rested a lot. I did get hungry a couple times, but each time I just laid down or did something to distract myself.

I have always had troubles with digestion, and as my age has crept over 30 I’ve noticed my eyesight has gotten a little blurrier. I hope to see some improvement in these areas. But probably the number 1 reason why I have taken to fasting is to search for clarity about my desires.

I’ve had a very fast-paced and relatively absurd life up until recently. Around the end of last year I started to travel in search of something. Or maybe the search has been an explanation I’ve offered others to justify my lust for chaos. When I’m in motion, changing the plan and having new experiences, being thrown off balance and facing unforeseen circumstances, I feel most in touch with myself. I love this feeling more than anything.

With an increasing awareness of my own mortality I’ve had to answer the call to achieve something. I’ve really been very good at schlepping off this idea of achievement as irrelevant, so long as I am able to continue having unique experiences.

I truly believe in my potential and bet that I could achieve just about anything I’d want to. But I am riddled by a lack of clarity about what I value and how to invest my time. I want to do what I love and love what I do, but in order to do that I need to determine what I love. I want to use this time of fasting as a way to get to the bottom of things, find my frequency again and move along my path with confidence and enthusiasm. I’ve helped many other people do this, but I really struggle with it.

 

Water Fasting

June 11, 2018

A combination of circumstances has led me to begin a water fast. For the past several months I’ve been traveling outside of the USA. I left without a very definite plan. I teach English online and my wife is an artist, so most of our work is done online.  In February we rented out our townhouse in Denver to a friend and headed to Berlin. We arrived with the intention of getting freelancer visas, renting a cheap apartment and living happily ever after as expat hipsters in Germany. After a couple months, we decided we wanted to continue traveling. We set out for Ireland to leave the Schengen region and wait out our 90-in-every-180 day tourist visa period.

We came to Ireland with no real objective other than to live a low-impact life and focus on our online work. So when it came to picking a place to live, our requirements were simple: low rent, good WiFi and walking distance to groceries. We wound up in a bayside apartment complex in Tramore, County Waterford. Our lives here have been simple but focused. I’ve had time to exercise more and learn about nutrition. This week my wife is away on business so I’ve decided to take the opportunity to  fast.

While there are certainly health and spiritual benefits to fasting, one of my main reasons is our power meter. In the apartment where we’ve been living, there is a coin-op power meter you have to pay to use. Like an arcade machine. You put 2€ coins in the slot and every time electricity is used, your energy-credit “balance” is run down. The only thing that isn’t run off the meter is the building internet. Living this way really puts your activities in a different perspective. While fasting, I won’t have the need to cook or keep food cool. I can shower at the gym, so I’ve switched off the unit’s water heater as well. My only power usage should be charging my laptop.

I’m curious to know what it feels like to exist using a minimum amount of energy.

 

flash

March 15, 2015

orange days weigh on my shoulders

while time marches nimbly on

been years since i have felt

my heart beating prosodically

I have a hiraeth on me

for a gentle life in the sun

my hands are blistered

from 10 years of disappointment

Many hearts did I fell in ritual madness

Reaching for light while digging my well

I’ve found neither groundwater nor zenith

In the catacombs beneath my cell

A trembling arrow has forgotten how to fly

belly of the whale

May 11, 2014

It’s a grey, overcast morning in Cheeseman Park

I am the writer and you are the spark

Together we’ve folded and mended and sewn

to prove we are adults and deserve what we own

 

I run my toe along the faultline

counting the creases like a trail of breadcrumbs

leading me back to the folds of my brow

dividing me from all means of qualification

 

I tremor, in sync with that ominous vibration

waiting for crocodile-hill to seize up again

that last glimmer of certainty has been buried

doomed to discipline in the belly of the whale