Fasting: Day 5

This is Day 5 of my 21-day fast in Feb ’11. If you’re new to fasting, get the full background here: Fasting Experiment. Access all articles on fasting: The Fasting Series.

Fasting Experiment

Day 5 of  my water fast is over! Here are my stats for the day:

  • Today’s Weight: 133.8lbs / 60.7kg
  • Diff vs. Yesterday: -1.8lbs / -0.8kg
  • Total Difference: -10.6lbs / -4.8kg
  • Water consumption: 2.5 liters
  • Body Temp: 35.5 C / 95.5 F

Overall Review

Today was pretty rough. There was nothing severe but the feeling of nausea was stronger than yesterday. If I was not doing anything it’d be okay, but if I was taking in too much stimuli, say watching a video with a lot of flashing and switching of scenes or reading a chat screen where someone was bombarding me with a lot of technical information, I’d feel somewhat nauseous. I think even looking at the monitor computer for a while would give that effect. I didn’t feel like doing anything at all, so I pretty much slept for a large part of the day.

(Note: It’s actually Day 6 as I’m writing this review (1:20am to be exact), and I’m feeling a lot better – which is also why I’m writing the post now.)

Water Consumption

Because of the nauseous feeling, I didn’t drink as much water as compared to Days 1-4. My consumption was 2.5 liters, which is actually still more than what an average person drinks anyway, just to give some perspective. My lips are slightly dry though so I’m taking that as a sign to drink more water. I’ll continue to drink as long as it doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable.

Hibernation Mode

For Day 5 my body felt like it was in hibernation mode. Mentally I was awake, feeling great and I had all these things I wanted to do, but physically I just wanted to lay down and not do anything. I believe it was compounded with the nauseousness. When I tried to do something the nauseous feeling would arise, so I decided to just rest instead. I did manage to get some simple stuff done such as making calls, clearing administrative stuff, etc before I went back to rest. I slept for a good part of the day.

Later in the evening I woke up but it was the same thing (physically inert but mentally conscious), so I decided to lay on the bed and play some personal development podcasts so at least I could do something rather than feel like a vegetable. That actually worked out really well. I was able to absorb a lot of information from the podcasts while giving my body the rest that it was asking for.

Energy Flow: Inward (Healing) vs. Outward (Physical Action)

I see the hibernation mode as the body channeling energy for the inner healing, vs. expending it outward to the world. While I could get out there and do stuff, it would take energy away from the inner work the body is trying to do. Say you have 1,000 units of energy a day. By choosing to do a lot of physical activities, you expend 500 units of energy. This leaves 500 units of energy left for the inner work, which slows down your healing process. Whereas if you conserve your energy and do minimal work (or even none at all), you get to preserve a large chunk of the 1,000 units, which the body then uses to heal and recover (through processing the toxins).

A common misconception people have about fasting is that they think they lack energy, that they’re becoming weak and exhausted. It is partially true – physically you may feel tired, especially entering into ketosis (Days 4 onwards). You may also lack natural physical energy vs. normal days.

However, on an overall energy level, you’re not lacking any energy for survival. Like I mentioned in the fasting article, all of us have fat reserves that can last us for 40 days, and some even longer (especially those who are overweight or obese). (The people who are pregnant, overly thin, emaciated, etc don’t apply – the same list of exceptions I listed in the original post.) Our fat reserves have all the nutrients, vitamins and minerals we need for the entire 40 days or X number of days of our fast. This mean you can literally go to a deserted island without food and maybe 50 tanks of water and emerge totally fine at the end of 40 days. (probably a whole lot healthier and cleansed to boot)

The difference isn’t in your level of energy but how your energy is being channeled. During fasting your body wants to use all your energy to heal internally. So physically you may feel less energy, but rest assured that you’re not running out of it.

Complexion

Today I noticed my skin is clearer than before. I normally have oily skin, occasional breakouts and zits, but since I started on the water fast I haven’t had any new pimples. My face is also brighter, and less oily.

I’d also like to mention that when I went on the raw food diet during 14 Jan this year, I experienced the same effects too. Less oily skin, no pimples/zits, no weird breakouts. However when I tried eating cooked food a couple of weeks later (during Chinese New Year), the same skin condition from the past came back. For sure I definitely see a high correlation between the kind of food I eat and my skin.

(The next comment is about menses and is addressed to females, so males skip ahead to the next section on Detox.)

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Usually before my menses, I’d have quite a breakout (like 3-5 medium to large pimples around the face). However yesterday, I had my menses and my skin was perfectly fine – no new pimples like I mentioned above. No pain or cramps either, though I have never had any problems where my menses is concerned so I can’t comment much about it. I won’t be surprised if people who usually face difficulty with their menses experience a positive change when they go fasting.

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Other Detox-related Signs

Besides the nausea feeling, I also sneezed a couple of times today, out of the blue (it wasn’t chilly or anything like that too). But there was nothing after that, so it might or might not have been a detox symptom.

By the way, my left eye is no longer red anymore, so that’s good.

Heart Rate

I experienced a higher heart rate during Days 4 and 5. At first I thought maybe it was because I didn’t sleep as much as I should, but today I slept a lot and continued to feel the higher heart beat (happened only when I was not lying down).

I checked up and found that it was a normal sign (excerpt from Symptomatology of the Fast).

The pulse varies greatly during a fast. It may run up to 120 or even higher, or it may drop as low as 40, per minute. Indeed, Mr. Macfadden records a case in his practice in which the pulse went down as low as 20 and was so feeble it could scarcely be felt. It is the usual thing to have the pulse rate increase at the beginning of the fast and then, after a day or two, to drop.

In chronic cases that are confined to bed during the fast, the pulse usually, after its temporary rise, drops to 48, or 40, where it may remain for a day or two days and then mounts up again to 60. After a few days it will settle at 60 and remain there until eating and activity are resumed.

It is, of course, understood that the pulse is subject to all the variations, while fasting, as at other times of life, and that where there is “disease” of the heart, or nervous troubles, it will often vary greatly from the above standard. Where stimulants are employed during a fast, these occasion more heart activity than if taken when one is eating.

(Normal resting heart rate for humans is 60-80 by the way)

I’ll continue to monitor and update in later posts.

Blood Pressure and Whether Fasting Helps It

Yesterday someone asked in the forums whether fasting was appropriate for people with high blood pressure. Here’s what I got from my research:

Quote from Dr Ben Kim, who runs a residential fasting and chiropractic clinic in Ontario (source):

Q. Can fasting cure specific conditions?

A: It’s important to keep in mind that fasting is not a cure for specific health challenges. Rather, it is an opportunity to give the body a prolonged period of rest to do what it does best – heal and restore itself. The same healing mechanisms that are at work during a fast are also at work while a person is eating. The difference is that during a fast, all of the body’s resources are channeled toward its self-healing and restorative mechanisms.

Conditions that tend to respond favourably to fasting and dietary modification include high blood pressure, asthma, allergies, chronic headaches, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease), irritable bowel syndrome, adult onset diabetes, heart disease, degenerative arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, eczema, acne, uterine fibroids, benign tumours, and systemic lupus erythematosus.

From Loren Lockman, experienced faster who has supervised fasts for 9-10 years (source):

…Heart disease affects 50% of all Americans. Last year, a peer-reviewed study published in a medical journal proved that fasting is three times as effective as hypertension medications at reducing high blood pressure.

…There are some typical symptoms that one may expect to experience. As mentioned earlier, fasting is the most effective way to treat high blood pressure. Within days of beginning a fast, most people will see their blood pressure begin to drop. In cases where there is a lot of arterial plaque, blood pressure may go up first, as these fatty deposits are broken down and released into the bloodstream, thickening the blood.

For myself my blood pressure is in the lower side of the healthy range (90, where the regular range is 80-120), so the fasting led to a lower blood pressure which I believe is why I’m experiencing light-headedness that I mentioned in Days 3 and 4. I’m addressing that by getting up very slowly when moving from different elevations, and it’s been helping.

Weight Loss

Today I’m at 133.8lbs / 60.7kg, which is a difference of -1.8lbs / -0.8kg vs. yesterday and difference of -10.6lbs / -4.8kg since I started. Again, it was really nice seeing my weight register at this number in a long while. While I was looking at the mirror, I noticed my face has slimmed down a little bit; my hips and my tummy are definitely smaller. My overall body frame is also slightly smaller from before. I haven’t tried some of the nice clothes I bought but never wore because I was conscious about how I’d look but I’m sure they’re going to fit a lot better if I keep this up.

Standing on the scale has become a daily highlight nowadays. :lol: Of course, fasting has a lot more benefits than just weight loss and the diet you go back on post fast is really critical – else one can gain back all the weight (and more) post fast (I’ve read about a faster who fasted for 40 days, lost lots of weight, and regained all the weight post fast, plus some). Which brings me to my next point.

Food and Thoughts about the Raw Diet

It’s becoming quite obvious to me that if I wish to retain all the benefits post the fast, I’ve to switch to a raw vegan lifestyle permanently, or at least a dominantly raw vegan diet.

First of all, it’s always been a matter of time before I make this change. 2 years ago when I first read about raw veganism, I knew in my heart that one day in the future I would eventually transit to this lifestyle. For the past half year, I became increasingly passionate about the raw food diet – I love the raw way of living, I love raw foods and I love the new possibilities that raw brings to my life. However, I have always found difficulty to do so because of one reason or another, such as mainstream society having no place to support such a diet. There are no raw restaurants in Singapore at all other than salad bars, and I’m already well able to prepare my own delicious salads.

There is also the social aspect – it’s very difficult to integrate this socially while still trying to retain the same structure of social outings. I personally would love to go to a restaurant and be able to order food that I want together with my friends, and not have to keep seeking alternatives like looking for restaurants that have salads which I don’t even like and can make better ones myself, or even to bring my home-packed meals there. The tough part is again, there aren’t true blue raw restaurants in Singapore (at least not that I’m aware of). The same thing goes for outings like birthday parties, house gatherings, and so on.

It’d be nice to be able to served a meal sometimes than be making your own meals all the time. I’m fine with having to make my own meals which I did for the large part when I moved to raw in Jan this year, but having to do it every day can be quite tiring. Some days you just want to sit back and not be doing all the prep work just to have something nice.

Secondly, when I try to intermix a raw and cooked food diet, a lot of times the raw aspect goes out of the window simply because cooked food is just so readily available. My family eats it, every eatery in the society serves it, it’s just there all the time. Also, there are so many varieties of cooked or processed food that it makes you feel that you’re missing out on the raw diet (not true though – I’ll elaborate below). All these and the above reasons make me reincorporate cooked food into my diet each time, which makes it a dominant part of my diet again. This really isn’t what I want – inherently I have no interest in eating cooked food anymore. The only reason why I have it anymore is because of the reasons I stated above.

The above are some of the key difficulties I face with trying to go raw for the past 6 months. But however tough it may be, it doesn’t change my fundamental desire to want to go raw. It’s a matter of working around the issues. The good thing is I have at least 16 more days to create a full-fledged action plan before the fast ends.

Right now I’m addressing one part of the problem by deep diving into raw recipes and learning how to create raw meals. Not just the basic fruits and salads which I did in January, but raw gourmet food, such that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on the regular diet. Cakes, pancakes, rice, pasta, burgers, pies, ice creams, brownies, cookies, soup, lasagna, burritos, etc (yes, it is possible to make raw meals, and extremely delicious ones too!! I was blown out of my mind when I first saw them! I’ll surely update in the future with more on this). I’m intending to buy a few recipe books to jump start my progress in this area.

Will update more when there’s stuff to report!

UpdateDay 6 is up!

This is Day 5 of my 21-day fast in Feb ’11. If you’re new to fasting, get the full background here: Fasting Experiment. Access all articles on fasting: The Fasting Series.

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  • Daniel Harmon

    Awesome article! I too am thinking of becoming a raw vegan.

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