Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Raw Food Wonders

It’s been ten days since I broke my fast and I’ve been sticking with a low-fat raw vegan diet. For the first few post-fast days I incrementally reintroduced food, starting with fruit only the first and second day, followed by fruits and vegetables the third and forth day, and from the fifth day forward I added nuts, seeds and avocados. I haven’t had any oil yet, nor have I desired it.

The first thing I noticed as soon as I broke the fast was that my elimination started almost immediately. I was completely surprised since it normally takes a few days for me to get back on track after fasting. I was doubly amazed, considering the fact that this was the longest fast I’ve ever done and I thought it would take longer than usual to “wake-up” my system.

There was absolutely no fat in my diet for the first four days following the fast and I attribute my rapid and efficient elimination to this fact. That trend has continued – even now ten days after the fast has ended. I find the low fat raw vegan diet to be an absolutely wondrous experience for many reasons and I will remain on it for as long as it feels natural and correct for my body.

This was not always so. I tried for weeks before the fast to reduce my fat intake – not for purposes of weight reduction since that’s normal – but for healing. Since the fast ended it’s become easy to significantly reduce my fat intake. (Watch for the link to my soon-to-be-published report on plant-based diets in the next week or two for more insight into dietary fat reduction for health).

I’ve been on a high-raw diet for more than a year, with the past nearly five months at 100% raw. During this time my weakness has been fats – especially cashews – but that’s changed post-fast. Since increasing my fruit consumption I don’t crave the fatty foods and instead of my usual servings of fat with almost each meal - in the form of oil, avocados, seeds or nuts sprinkled on salads, or in dressings, seed cheeses, pates, dips and the like – I’ve upped my fruit servings to compensate for the eliminated fat calories.

That means I eat mountains of fruit, as well as greens, vegetables and some fats. It seems to be working for me as I remain extremely energized, productive, and euphoric. I’m certain that my body is using this fine-tuned nourishment to continue the healing process.

I experienced an interesting, yet disturbing occurrence at the end of my fast indicating that I had become mineral-deficient while fasting. My toes and leg muscles cramped up while sleeping. (That happened to me in the past after drinking distilled water exclusively for several years. Muscle cramps usually indicate a mineral deficiency so I switched to filtered water and the cramps went away. Then I went back to distilled water with minerals added and the cramps stayed away).

Anyway, after the fast the cramps continued for several days and developed painfully in my hands as well. As I incrementally increased my daily food intake (especially fruit) the cramps lessened. It’s been two days now since I’ve experienced any cramping – a sure sign that my mineral stores are being rebuilt with this low-fat vegan diet. My body wasn’t (and isn’t) craving fat and I believe I’ll continue to do well as long as I consume enough calories to maintain my weight - primarily from fruit, not fat.

Before I started the fast I had some extensive testing done to see if I’m still toxic in heavy metals, (including mercury). The tests may also give clues as to what’s going on in my body that might be preventing the elimination of these neck nodules (a vestige of the cancer I had until recently). I’m still waiting on the results of blood work, hair and urine analysis and thyroid ultrasound. I’ll post again when I have the results to share.

Meanwhile I’ll continue with this pleasurable low-fat raw vegan diet. For anyone interested in more information about this diet I suggest getting the book by Dr. Douglas Graham, called “The 80-10-10 Diet”. It’s a must-read if you’re into health at any level.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Spring Cleanse - Day 10 wrap-up

I successfully completed my 10th day without too much effort. Yesterday I only drank 1/2 gallon of the lemonade. At some point in the afternoon I lost my taste for it and switched to water. This morning I broke my fast with papaya but surprisingly it was very unsatisfying. Despite my hunger the fruit left an unpleasant aftertaste in my mouth. I'll try more fruit later.

All in all I'd have to say that the fast was a worthwhile experience although the skin nodules that I had hoped would begin to dissolve have not budged. Nonethless, I trust that my body has its priorities and will get to that task when it's ready. Today I resume my raw diet, certain that my intelligent body will digest these "tumors" in its own time. I'll also continue to chronicle this next phase of my healing journey with weekly posts.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Spring Cleanse - Day 9

I'm in the homestretch and still feeling great. I've experienced hunger off and on each day of the fast but today was the first day I really felt the urge to eat. It was a nagging sensation that didn't quit until after an hour-long meditation. Thankfully it didn't get the best of me. The white coating on my tongue is nearly gone and there have been no detox symptoms today whatsoever. I'm looking forward to tomorrow and the successful conclusion to my first ever ten-day fast.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Spring Cleanse - Day 8

I'm nearly there - I can see the finish line getting closer. Today has been another successful day even though I haven't rested as much as I probably should while fasting. In fact, this has been one of the busiest, most productive times in recent memory, as I create a new body of artwork while racing to meet multiple overlapping deadlines.

Despite my hectic pace, I've not been tired on this fast; on the contrary, I'm bursting with creative energy. Still, I'd like to give my body a break with more rest, but the timing is not conducive to relaxation.

Yesterday I drank a little more than a gallon of lemonade, with the last glass late in the evening. I think it was too much sugar overall, and drinking it so late in the day gave me energy when I wanted to sleep. Needless to say I didn't sleep much or well last night, but I was still up and raring to go early this morning. To play it safe I drank less lemonade and more water today. My last full glass was around 5pm, so I may sleep better tonight.

There were no major detox symptoms today, and the white coating on my tongue isn't as thick, but it's still there. There was a brief moment when I started coughing and my throat felt scratchy as if I was coming down with a sore throat. Then it passed. Interestingly, my throat used to be my Achilles heel when I was younger. I would get tonsillitis at least six times a year and would take antibiotics without questioning their effects on my body. This started in my teens and continued until my tonsils were removed when I was thirty years old. It didn't occur to me to ask about the ill effects of removing an important bodily filter. At any rate, when I coughed today I was reminded of the fact that I haven't had a sore throat in many years. Perhaps the cough was a healing reaction to indicate that there's more repair taking place in the area of my throat. All in all I'm feeling great, with just two days left to go!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Spring Cleanse - Day 7

The days are rolling by so quickly. Today has been wonderful - I feel as though I've been walking on a cloud. No hunger to speak of, except when I got up this morning. The white tongue persists but nothing else of note. Today I was busy at the gallery and never once thought of food. The day is winding down now with just three days remaining. I'm grateful to everyone who has supported me through this blog and emails. It's great to read your encouragement.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Spring Cleanse - Day 6

I've reached a milestone of sorts, having made it successfully to day six! I've never fasted beyond five days before and I'm grateful that I've made it this far without too much difficulty. I was hungry when I first got up this morning but other than that it's been smooth so far.

Yesterday was tough. I was doing great early on but I physically overextended myself in the garden. I don't mean a little puttering around - I turned over the compost pile, laid some paving stones and transplanted some strawberries. After that I went to work in my studio but my head was pounding so hard I was useless. The lemonade lost its appeal and didn't do a thing for me at that point.

Needless to say I wasn't very productive with my artwork so I came home. Weak, hot, hungry and with head throbbing, the walk down a single flight of stairs and into my vehicle was a Herculean effort.

The instant I arrived home I fell onto the couch for an hour or so and all I could think of was papayas. I was so tempted to break the fast but the thought of not attaining a new threshold kept me going.

Finally feeling better I got up and took a shower, ending it with 40 seconds of ice cold water! Like a miracle, I was renewed. I slept like a baby and today I feel wonderful. I still have a white coating on my tongue which I brush two or three times a day, but that's about it so far. It should all be downhill from here!