Saturday, May 31, 2008

Spring Cleanse - Day 5

Yesterday was an extremely productive day. I experienced fleeting moments of hunger but nothing to write home about. Aside from the white coating on my tongue - which is less today - there were no other detox symptoms that I noticed. Today I still feel great. I was ravenous for the first hour after getting up this morning but after drinking several glasses of lemonade I feel ready for the day.

I've successfully completed many, many 24-36 hour fasts but have never gone beyond five days. Once today is under my belt it will all be downhill, which is to say it should be a breeze considering how it's been nearly effortless so far. I have to attribute the ease of this fast to my past four months on a 100% raw diet, and the previous year or so on 80-100% raw, as well as all the shorter fasts I've done leading up to this one.

Before I get too cocky I should keep in mind that the serious cleansing may not have begun yet. As I approach the midpoint I wonder what old and entrenched toxins might be released in the second half of this ten-day fast. I also wonder whether such a potentially liberating experience will be unpleasant. I guess I'll find out soon enough.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Spring Cleanse - Day 4

Day 3 was a bit more challenging than the first two days, but still went very well. Here are the detox symptoms I experienced:
1. I had a dull headache on and off but it didn't persist and was easy to ignore.
2. At one point I felt irritable and impatient when I would normally be more grounded, but I got over it quickly.
3. I was also tired earlier in the evening but I'm not sure if that was due to the fast or because of my hectic schedule this week. I haven't been very active physically and I've cut back on my meditation because of my deadlines. I can't do it all, so I do my best. On one hand fasting has been very convenient because I'm so busy and I don't have to take meal breaks, but on the other hand having the luxury of time for light exercise and more rest would be ideal.
4. I developed a thick white coating on my tongue - a sure sign that toxins are being released - that required a few brushings to remove. This morning the coating was back.
5. For some reason I had a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. Insomnia is not usually a problem for me - although it has been in the past.
6. Oddly enough I didn't get very hungry. There were a few tough moments, but the lemonade works like a charm. A gallon a day seems to be the right amount for me.

This morning I woke up feeling famished and I drank three tall glasses, one right after the other, and then felt fine. Right now I'm feeling great and have tons of energy. Aside from my usual morning activities with Vito and our four kitties I've worked in the garden - growing my own food is a definite priority; worked on a section of my book - another priority; written a press release - part of my gallery curatorial duties; finally made time for thirty minute sessions of both yoga and rebounding - couldn't put it off any longer; meditated for one hour - aahhhh, and am now getting ready to run a few errands and get to the studio to work on my art! No detox symptoms except for another white tongue. I'm very optimistic as I make my way through day 4.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Spring Cleanse - Day 3

Yesterday was as smooth as day 1, I'm happy to report. The evenings seem to be when I experience the most hunger, but last night it was easy to ignore. I even made nori rolls and sweet potatoe soup for my partner Vito, and I wasn't at all tempted to taste any of it. I've always loved to cook and even after going raw we continue to prepare some of our favorite dishes, making raw versions for myself. I no longer taste to see if the seasonings are right; instead, I trust my sense of smell as I take in the aromas. It works like a charm.

I believe the raw diet has helped me get through the first 2 days of this fast so effortlessly. That and the fact that I'm mentally prepared, although that hasn't always worked for me in the past.

So far I'm doing really well - no hunger at all this morning. The first three days of the fast are typically the toughest, so I'm not sure what to expect as the day progresses. I've been very busy without doing anything too strenuous and drinking a gallon of the lemonaide keeps me satiated. As soon as I feel hungry I drink a tall glass of it and I'm fine.

Today it will finally warm up to 74 degrees, so that should put an end to the chills I get from fasting. I may post again today if the fast becomes more difficult. Writing should help me tough it out. I remain possitive that today will go well.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Spring Cleanse - Day 2

Day 1 was not at all difficult. I was busy most of the day and consumed 1 gallon of the lemonaide to keep me going. My energy level was good and I didn't experience hunger until late in the evening - after a forty-five minute sauna session - but by that time I was ready for sleep anyway.

Today has been a breeze, but it's still early. I didn't exercise yesterday (except for a bit of gardening) and I haven't gotten around to it yet today. I usually do twenty minutes of yoga followed by twenty to thirty minutes on the rebounder several times a week depending on my schedule. I may do a condensed routine today. It's sunny and cool in Detroit, but not as cold as it was yesterday. I expect today to go as smoothly as day 1. We shall see.

Spring Cleanse

Today I begin my seasonal fast. I decided to forego the weekly fasts nearly four months ago when I transitioned to a 100% raw diet, but I may resume them next month. (The raw diet is going very well, but that's another story). My plan is to do the ten-day Master Cleanse, which I believe to be powerfully cleansing and somewhat pleasant, as fasts go. The longest I've gone is five days, and I now feel physically, psycologically and emotionally ready to go the distance. I also plan to blog about it daily, which should help me get through the toughest moments.

I've written about my residual "tumors" in past blogs and I may include images tomorrow and at the end of the fast for comparison. Without the work of digesting solid food, my body will spend the next ten days cleaning up waste, including these nodules. At least that's my hope.

The winter here in Detroit was bitterly cold and the spring has been very chilly, making fasting difficult. Today the weather is still very cool, but I don't want to put this off another day. So here I go. To read more about the benefits of fasting, click here to read my report:
Whole Body Detoxification (Part 2): Fasting

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Eat More Fruit!

This has been a great year, right off the bat. In January I received the great news that my tumor marker had dropped to well within the normal range. That was followed by more good news when my PET scan in February showed no signs of cancer. I've been on a plant-based diet since the cancer recurrence in 2005, with about 50% raw food, until last year when I tweaked my diet to 80-100% raw. I believe that’s what finally sped up the healing process. I’ll get specifically to the fruit part shortly.

My research into raw foods has been relentless, and after receiving the PET scan results in February I decided to fine-tune my diet even further by going ninety days on a 100% raw vegan diet. Although I’m now cancer-free I still have some health issues that need to be resolved and I reasoned that a 100% raw diet would contribute to further healing.

When the cancer came back it spread to several places, including my skin, in the form of nodules all over my neck, torso, back, underarms, and – the nastiest of all places – my eyelids. The latter aren’t noticeable to most people but they certainly make their presence known to me. They’ve clogged my oil glands, leaving my eyes chronically and unbearably dry and without lubrication. The other nodules have receded and are nearly gone but there are still some small stubborn ones, mostly on my neck.

Even though these are residual “tumors” with no cancer cells remaining, as verified by the PET scan, I want them GONE. So, no more grains. Forget about beans. Not even an occasional organic egg. I was surprised to find how easy the transition to 100% raw has been and I can only attribute that to the fact that I had already been at least 80% raw for nearly one year. My cravings for cooked food were short-lived once I went all the way raw. The ninety day mark recently past but I'm not yet ready to incorporate cooked food back into my life.

Last week I received the results of my three month follow-up which showed that my tumor marker is virtually unchanged – still well within the normal range. I can now say with even more confidence that I am cancer-free. This is wonderful for many obvious reasons, but perhaps most importantly because of what I’ve learned about fruit, of all things.

I’ve always loved fruit – who doesn’t? However, there are many contradictory reports when it comes to fruit sugar and cancer. Some experts say to limit fruit because sugar – even natural sugar – feeds cancer. Others say fruit is OK. I found it impossible and undesirable to stay away from fruit. I trusted my instincts and ate fruit daily but was unsure if I was eating too much or not enough. Cautiously, I limited myself to about four or five pieces of fruit daily.

Malignant cells have a tough protective membrane that makes it difficult for the immune system cells to penetrate and destroy them. Sugar feeds cancer, right? Intuitively, or perhaps because I love fruit so much, I aligned myself with those who believe that the fruit sugar is a transport vehicle into the cancer cell – a sort of Trojan horse – that once inside releases its antioxidants and destroys the cancer.

When I went 100% raw in February my fruit intake nearly doubled. Everything I eliminated was replaced by luscious fruit, but as I approached my three-month follow-up I wondered if I was doing the right thing. Would my tumor marker increase? Could cancer still be lurking, just waiting for some more sugar to feed its growth? Needless to say I was very happy to learn that my markers have stayed put.

On the other hand, why haven’t the markers dropped to zero? While I’m doing extremely well with the 100% raw lifestyle, the nodules have not dissolved in this relatively short period of nearly four months. So, once again I’ve recently taken my diet to the next level. And I do mean recently – in fact it’s only been a few days.

I’ve read quite a lot about the various forms of raw vegan diets and the one I’ve been following since February actually has quite a lot of fat from nuts, seeds, avocados and oils. Perhaps that’s why the transition to raw wasn’t too difficult – I was still consuming a high fat diet, which is standard for most Americans.

The diet which has resonated most with me while at the same time seems difficult to adhere to is the “80-10-10 raw vegan diet", AKA the low-fat vegan diet, or in shorthand: “811rv”. This term was coined by Dr. Douglas Graham in his book “The 80-10-10 Diet”. The numbers refer to nutrient ratios, with a minimum 80% of calories from carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables); a maximum 10% from protein and no more than 10% from fat. Food is consumed as it comes from nature: an abundance of raw, whole, fresh fruits, greens, vegetables, and a very small amount of nuts and seeds. I know it seems radical and it’s taken me some time to embrace this concept but I now understand the science behind it and am giving it a try. I’ve read some remarkable accounts of healing from this very diet, or I should say “lifestyle”.

With the 811rv diet fruit rules. Greens and vegetables are also important but fruit supplies the majority of calories and provides ample energy and the bulk of nutrients. I no longer have a love-fear relationship with fruit and am getting used to consuming many more times the amount of fruit than I’ve ever been accustomed to. Like I said, this is a recent change and I’ll have follow-up reports with my progress, but so far I don’t get hungry or tired provided I get enough calories from fruit – not fat.

For those shaking their heads in doubt or wondering about fruit fueling diabetes or candida – I have one thing to say: It’s not the fruit sugar you should worry about –it’s the fat! Fruit digests very quickly and gets energy to your cells within minutes, while fat takes anywhere from 12 – 24 hours to make its sluggish way into your cells. If you eat fruit while there’s still fat in your bloodstream (maybe from a high-fat meal the night before) it has a tough time getting to your cells. Fat slows everything down and your blood sugar increases, fueling the growth of candida among other troubles. I’m writing a report that will go into more detail about this and other plant-based diets, so watch for that. And don't be afraid to eat more fruit!