On Fasting And How It Changed My Eating Habits

   I was requested to share a bit more about the fast that I did. The original idea was my husband's -- he wanted to fix his messed-up digestion bacteria. I have fasted before, but this was a bit different -- it was a detox fast that aimed at cleaning out the digestive system and repopulate it with good bacteria; as well as restore the correct pH level in the body. An over-stressed digestive system is the cause of many problems and diseases, even in other parts of the body -- including skin problems.
    Fasting has been a part of most cultures, and it is recommended in traditional medicine of many cultures, for example Ayurveda. Fasting gives the body a break from digestion (which takes up a lot of time and energy) and allows it to detox and clean itself.
    The fast is much more than just not eating -- actually even during the days of "total" fasting we were still drinking a glass of carrot juice in the morning and a glass of beetroot juice in the afternoon, plus vegetable broth for lunch. Then there were several things that helped to cleanse and detox the digestive systems: like eating flax seeds and clay, enemas as well as chlorella and milk thistle supplements, and a herbal fasting tea. Then there were aids that established healthy bacteria, like drinking Sauerkraut juice and Bread Drink (Brottrunk). The full program lasted two weeks, with three days of preparation, one week of proper fasting, and then again three days of ending.
    The fast we did was based on the book Vitalität Pur Durch Heilfasten by René Gräber. The book is a pretty good guide, although it does have some small inconsistencies as to the exact program. It explains in detail not only what you have to do, but explains the why in detail and gives a lot of tips on healthy eating in general.
     If you are interested in fasting, I insist you find a good book or a good program, and follow it to a T (read reviews online to find a good one). Don't try to randomly fast for longer periods without guidance and information. If you have heard that fasting isn't safe, its because some people do it without guidance, and do dangerous things like smoking during a fast. Obviously if you have a medical condition, do your research -- fasting can help in many health problems but can be dangerous in others.

     How did we manage to do it? It is not easy to not eat, but most the problem lies in the head. I realised how "comfortable" I have become: I dislike hunger, heat, cold, exertion... I haven't roughed it out since years. When you fast, the hunger goes away after the first 3-4 days, but the first few days can be a bit tough if you are used to immediately eating whenever you feel hungry. There were days where we felt cold and didn't want to move, and then there were days filled with energy and euphoria. At the end of the fast I felt very light and energetic!

   So now you probably want to know the effects I experienced: no, I didn't lose weight. Maybe a kilo, but that's all. I did lose fat and the bloating went away, and was told that I looked very toned. I did gain a bit in breast size due to the milk thistle supplement, about which I will write in another post. My and my husband's digestion improved greatly, and the pH level went from acidic (off the charts acidic in his case) to slightly alkaline.
    Then there are the psychological effects of fasting. The hard part of the fasting was in my head: I couldn't (mentally) tolerate hunger. Only during the fast I realised that I had been eating almost all of the time, always grabbing a snack here and a snack there. I wasn't used to being hungry. Worse, my brain interpreted the state of completed digestion as hunger. And I was addicted to the feeling of being very, very full. Also, I tended to wolf down food very fast, a habit I picked up when my daughter was just a baby and would always start yelling for attention at meal times. When breaking the fast we had to chew pieces of apple very very slowly and mindfully.
    The fast helped me break these habits. Since the fast, I have been much more mindful of what, when and how I eat. I don't eat between meals, and if I do it is one, deliberate snack instead of a constant nibbling. I feel the emptiness of my stomach between meals (especially when I eat easily digestible meals) and realise that it's perfectly normal and fine, it doesn't mean that I will die if I don't eat AT ONCE. I notice when I'm full and (usually) don't keep on eating just because the food is delicious / there is still something left on my plate. This effect of the fast is something I am really happy about. 

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