While I was home between my travels I decided to endure a 15 day fast. Yup! Nothing, but water for a whole 15 days. It may sound crazy, but it was an amazing experience – one that I may describe as life changing.
Other then the mere act of exercising self-discipline, there was a lot of information and research that I came across that inclined me to take on this endeavor.
A friend had introduced me to Dr. Robert Morse, a naturopathic physician, biochemist, and herbalist who is concerned with restoring the human body back to health and vitality naturally. Morse’s quirky videos had enlightened me on the importance of the lymphatic system, and that it is responsible for much more then our immune system. Essentially, our lymphatic system is responsible for accumulating and getting rid of metabolic waste. However, since most peoples lymphatic system is not functioning at its full capacity, disease has become more common then well-being.
So why is this?
Well, it seems that acidic food hinders the lymphatic system and other organs ability to excrete metabolic waste…
If you don’t already know…let me tell ya why this matters.
Our blood is neutral at a pH of 7.35-7.45, eating acidic foods such as meat, dairy, eggs, sugar, alcohol, and coffee causes our blood pH do fall below 6. In order for the body to bring the blood back to neutral, alkalizing minerals from the body need to be released.
Okay I know! When you typically think of acidic foods you think of lemons, limes, citrus fruits etc, but your body actually considers those foods alkaline forming.
“A food is considered to be alkaline forming or acidic forming based on the residue it leaves behind after being metabolized.”(1) This residue determines whether a buffer is needed to rebalance the blood.
Alkaline foods such as fruits, vegetables, plant based grains and seeds and some nuts on the other hand -of course- contain alkalizing properties, therefore when they are metabolized a buffer doesn’t need to be released.
So perhaps you’re thinking, ‘Oh my body can handle acidic foods whats the big deal?’ I go into more detail of why this is significant in my post From Eating Meat to an Alkaline Diet, but in regards to your lymphatic system…
Acidic foods inhibits oxygen from reaching cells, which prevents organs from performing critical functions. Eating an overwhelming amount of acidic foods then prevents the excretory organs which involve the lungs, kidneys, and skin from successfully ridding cellular waste from the body (acidosis). This cellular waste then becomes backed up in the lymph vessels and nodes thus damaging surrounding cells and causing illnesses, inflammation, and disease. (2)
For the past 20 years of my life my diet was mostly acidic foods…because they’re considered normal foods, everyone eats them! However, it is clear to me that the world has been ‘health conscientious’ about the wrong things.
Dr. Morse typically suggests detoxing with fruit to allow the body the opportunity to rid itself of this excess waste.
I did not opt to do that because I then stumbled upon Dr. Valter Longo who studies the role of fasting and its affects on longevity.
He had brought to my attention that when fasting long term our organs shrink, this is because cellular autophagy is enhanced in order to provide energy for surviving cells. So we are getting rid of old un-useful cells and holding on to cells that are needed.
Fasting allows our bodies to clear out built up cellular waste and it also activates stem cells. When we begin to reefed the body – it rebuilds the organ systems with new cells.
Dr. Longo also brought to my attention that as we age we tend to have more myeloid cells (red bloods cells) then lymphoid cells (white blood cells), which corresponds to the correlation of illnesses/diseases and aging. However, after long term fasting the ratio between lymphoid cells and myeloid cells correlates to the ratio that we have at a youthful age (amazing)!
The regeneration that takes place after long term fasting is similar to how our bodies grow when we are first born. When we are first born our body is functioning properly and as a whole, so it is able to take the food or milk we ingest to build our organs and body with new available cells.
This generation typically never happens again, because our body stops working as a whole. The body is constantly concerned with metabolizing food it is never given an opportunity to eliminate old un-useful cells in which it is definitely not concerned with producing new cells.
Over our life span instead of helping our bodies run properly we put things in and on it that causes it stress. We deem this beating as normal… as though our body is made to handle such stress…but it is apparent that it can only handle it for so long before disease, aging and death arises.
What if instead of hurting out bodies, we ensured that it was able to function properly and to its full capacity?
I think we would find that disease and death is not a result of old age, but that disease, old age, and death is a result of the constant consumption of acidic food. (healthy mindset and minimum stress would be important as well 😉)
Just to be clear… I was interested in this endeavor not to lose weight, but as a reset… to eliminate metabolic waste buildup, regenerate my organ systems, and as a great lead way into an alkaline diet. Also Dr. Longo does not suggest fasting for 15 days, this was an amount of time that I decided based on my own thoughts and research. However, it does seem to be known that fasts less the 15 days don’t have the same affect.
The actual fasting experience was interesting…
The first 3 days …
Were the hardest, because my body was adjusting. It was still expecting its daily dose of food in which the hunger pangs were apparent. It then became more of a mental challenge…to refrain from pushing the fast off to another time…but I was determined.
My mom was like ‘Are you serious?’ Of course she was not fond of this idea, calling it starvation… but I insisted – that we don’t need food nearly as much as we think and that I will be fine.
During these days the daily cravings had dissipated and I started to gain immense mental clarity. I was super cold during these days (like going to bed at night in sweatpants and a hoody, cold) ( I typically wear just a t-shirt and have my window open, even in the winter). My heart rate was super high, it was a bit alarming…but I obviously survived. My body was definitely clearing things out, I was sneezing and mucousy. Some breakouts appeared which I didn’t expect, but they were in places just last year I applied an antibiotic as a quick fix removal...I have come a long way😅. However, it would seem that fasting allowed these toxins to come forth and to be eliminated!
My eyesight improved and my nose was much more sensitive.
I also found myself falling asleep exactly at ten and naturally waking up at 6 am it was as if my body was realigning my circadian rhythm.
It was really weird one day my entire right leg was really uncomfortable, then the next day my right leg was fine, but my left leg was uncomfortable, then it moved up to my right arm – a sore, achey feeling, then the following day it was my left arm. It was bizarre…as though something was moving through my body, maybe a form of healing.
I was still Uber driving (yes it was safe, I felt completely fine) only because I was concerned with saving for my upcoming travels. If I didn’t have an upcoming trip I would have ensured I had spent these days completely relaxed. It was interesting however, to observe the emotions that arose from dealing with inept people and not ideal occurrences ….the anger and hate that arose was unlike anything that I had ever felt before. I also had waves of intense love and compassion for family members; it was quite a roller coaster ride. Which makes me wonder if these feelings were due to a lack of eating or if they were suppressed emotions that were able to arise due to fasting. Perhaps a mixture of both.
Were a time warp of days just coming and going. I noticed I was looking forward to when I could finally eat again. The coldness had gone away, but my moods fluctuated a lot. In the morning I would feel amazing and by the end of they day I was quite grumpy. My tongue was gross, all furry… which is an indication of all the toxins that needed to be eliminated from the body. My skin was finally looking amazing! Although I would never break the fast, I noticed that I was most inclined to eat when I had a difficult day in which it became apparent that I associate food with comfort… but then again who doesn’t?
The last three days…
Were the most challenging because I was quite over being weak, being miserable and the dizziness (I had stopped driving by this point). I don’t think I could have safely gone more then 15 days – which is good to know for next time. Perhaps 15 days was too much for my body and 12 days would have been enough or maybe getting to the lowest of the low is where ya wanna be. I honestly don’t know.
My first food was mashed avocado…a food never tasted so good.
If I could go back… or when I take on this endeavor again
I would take much more notes on how I felt day to day and exactly what I experienced. This is a large reason why it took me so long to write about this experience, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to say.
I would also be much more careful with the re-feeding phase. At first I was very careful – reintroducing food slowly (only alkaline foods) eating small amounts. But by day three I was so sick of feeling weak, I had lost 13 pounds (weight that I didn’t need to lose)…I just wanted to feel normal. In which I feel that I may have bombarded my body with too much food too quickly (with fruits and vegetables I don’t know if its possible, but I would eat and never feel full!).
Although I was physically weak, there was mental euphoria…which also prompted me to eat…it was as though I couldn’t bear to feel so good 😅. So I am curious if I ate minutely for longer if this euphoric state would have lasted as well.
And perhaps you’re reading this and feel as though my mom did and are saying, ‘no you should eat’… but I feel as though the self-discipline required at this part of the experience was even more important then what was required to do the fast. Nevertheless something to improve next time.
Overall it was a great experience
I can’t say that it was hard, because past day 3 I had no inclination to eat, perhaps it was also because I was transitioning to an alkaline diet… so foods that were once appealing to indulge in were no longer on my radar.
The experience was enjoyable, it was a challenge, something different. I love tasks that involve self discipline, it didn’t matter to anyone, but myself if I fasted for 15 days and I felt quite accomplished afterwards.
My favorite aspect of the experience was the mental clarity! I was working on a project at the time and it made it so much easier to get done. I also enjoyed really feeling emotions rather then ignoring them by distracting myself with food.
As for results…
Well …I’m young, I’ve always worked out, always ate healthy (as I previously deemed healthy at least), I don’t have any diseases nor do I ever get sick… so as of right now I haven’t experienced any huge differences. However, being a sun lover I did have some crows feet and they as well as some other face lines are gone! Which I am pretty thrilled about. And maybe a few years from now I’ll realize I haven’t aged a bit… we shall see!
I can only imagine the results of someone who is extremely unhealthy or has serve issues. Even something as simple as a cold, fasting is deemed beneficial. Or something as extreme as cancer…cancer thrives in acidic environments so for people who have cancer and continue eating… especially eating acidic foods are thus feeding the cancer. The problem is that people don’t want to give up the burgers, the ice-cream, the bread, the alcohol, and the Starbucks.
It took Dr. Longo over 5-6 years to get 18 cancer patients to comply to fasting and even then he had to propose a fasting mimicking diet (calorie restriction) to get them onboard! I know another problem is that people aren’t educated about food in this way. Four months ago, I though pizza was relatively healthy…’oh its just bread, cheese, and tomato sauce’…all of those ingredients are acidic. But even if people were educated, I have a feeling that a lot of people would still continue to consume acidic foods and wouldn’t be inclined to fast.
This realization is taking healthy to a whole other level… that people don’t want to go to.
Which I get…but my thoughts on that should be discussed another time.
Definitely check out how I went from Eating Meat to being a Vegetarian to an Alkaline Diet for more insight!
Also here is Dr. Robert Morse’s video I recommend to watch to understand the importance of the lymphatic system. Here’s another where he discusses the importance of foods, the information he provides is good, but I’m warning you he’s quirky😅
And this video is Dr. Valter Longo being interviewed by Dr. Rhonda Patrick, which was where I received my understanding of fasting and its affects. A great video – provides immense insight!