The reason I wanted to do a one-week water fast was so that I could eliminate my allergies and food intolerances. I also wanted to lose weight, look more fresh, give my nervous system a good rest and rejuvenate my body and mind. I was hoping that fasting would also help me reflect on my life and ease decision-making in terms of work, etc.
As regular readers of this site know, I report on both good and bad findings. You will find no hype here, as the whole purpose of writing this site is to unravel many myths about health and to compare my own experiences with those of others and to balance these findings with background research.
More about this fast in these articles:
Will It Magically Heal You to Stop Eating for Seven Days?
Water Fasting Diary - Summary of Diary Notes
Friday 10th June 2016
Yesterday was my last day of study (final presentation) and therefore today I started a water fast.
Since the morning I drank nothing but bottled spring water and ate nothing. (My last meal was last night.) Surprisingly, I haven't felt hungry! Only a very little bit here and there but it hasn't been a problem at all... Strange.
Small symptoms I experienced today, which come and go, were: slight dizziness, occasionally little headache and 'tense' feeling around the head, and some ache in the gums. I also have other symptoms which I often have without fasting as well: blocked nose (sinus congestion), feels a bit infected, post-nasal drip (phlegm from nose draining in the throat), tired-feeling eyes, can't see as well as I'd like to. Also, the first symptom of not eating at around 1pm was red cheeks and some feeling of weakness.
I've managed to get a lot done today, and it feels nice to not worry about food or dishes. I feel quite well but resting on the sofa now, took an afternoon nap as well. The detox symptoms clearly haven't fully started yet...
I'm hoping to get the following benefits from this fast: eliminate my food allergies and intolerances (most important), give my body and nervous system a good rest (clear any remaining anxiety and stress), lose weight (65kg now), overcome cravings (for salt, starches and sugar), eliminate puffiness/ fat in the face and abdomen, eliminate water retention, clear sinuses, get clear eyes and skin. I'm also hoping that the fast will make it easy to begin and stick to a new healthy eating lifestyle afterwards (high-fruit vegan?).
9.30pm: Still no hunger. The redness in the cheeks went away quickly in the afternoon. I already look a bit healthier - less puffy - but my eyes are quite red and my jaw feels tense. My energy levels are not very high but enough to read a book (not sleepy). I can breathe better than yesterday or this morning.
Reading the book 'Clean' by Alejandro [...]: I think stress has caused my food allergies and intolerances which in turn cause inflammation and activation of many systems in the body which are very energy-hungry.
Common allergens to eliminate, according to 'Clean', are nightshades. "In ayurvedic thinking they can cause build-up of 'amma' in some body types, when eaten in excess." 'Amma', also known as 'ama' is the build-up of undigested food residue in the body and its organs. It is whitish-yellow and is viewed by ayurveda as one of the biggest threats to good health. Symptoms of high levels of ama in the body can include: feeling blockages in the body, digestion problems, feeling foggy in the morning, feeling weak for no apparent reason, lethargy, demotivation, coughing, becoming easily exhausted mentally and physically, feeling depressed, lack of appetite, frequent colds.
Insulin-spiking foods and trans-fats cause inflammation as well.Water Fasting Summary
Sat 11th June 2016
Went to sleep at about 9.30pm last night, slept quite well, kept waking up every two hours or so to drink water and go toilet. Had lots of dreams, quite boring ones, not especially good or bad dreams.
It's 9am, am getting out of bed but feel quite lazy. Need fruit juice to wake up but of course won't drink it.
My heart has been beating a bit heavy last night and this morning - strange because I thought the fast heart beat I get on and off was always related to foods eaten. The pulse has not been fast, though.
Pulse now 59bpm (lying down).
Weight is still 65kg.
My mouth is very coated. Otherwise feel quite good - no hunger and no headache. My belly is a bit flatter. Nose is very congested and draining in the throat. Jaw feels a bit tense. Ears are a bit itchy. Eyes are red, tired and slightly achy. Head feels tense too. Some of these symptoms I get quite often, even without fasting (red and tired eyes, congested sinuses, 'heavy' pulse).
10.15am: Took a salt-water enema. Don't feel much different afterwards but generally quite good.
10.40am: Starting to feel a bit unwell. Similar kind of 'cold sweat' feeling as with nausea or diarrhea, without the cold sweat itself (if that makes sense). Feel a bit nauseous too, quite weak, shaky, irritable, and my heart is pounding heavily. An uncomfortable feeling.
It seems that the detox symptoms are proper hitting approximately 36 hours into the fast now, assuming I had my last food at 10pm on Thursday night (I don't remember what time it was).
Taking a hot bath.
11.20am: Just got out of the bath. Feel very weak and quite shaky. I feel like walking in a straight line takes effort. Also doing anything, even writing, feels taxing. I have no cold sweat or nausea anymore but heart beat is still quite heavy (though not fast).
I keep being thirsty but want to avoid drinking too much water. Been drinking a lot - all bottled spring water. Mouth feels coated and not fresh even after washing my teeth.
The hot bath felt lovely at first but soon started feeling too hot and uncomfortable. Took a cold shower which felt quite nice. Can feel the heart beat in my lower abdomen.
12.15pm: Feel rough. Heart palpitations (heavy heartbeat), shaky, difficult to write (takes too much effort), lying down still. Restless arms. Drinking more water.
According to some reports online heart palpitations are quite common on a water fast but can also be linked to dehydration or hyperthyroidism, among other things.
I keep thinking about food - especially cashew nuts! Would be so lovely to eat cashews! Also many junk foods and sugary foods seem very attractive... and any food, really, for that matter.
Tempted to drink lemon juice in water, to change the bad taste in my mouth and to help the liver, but I do want to keep this experiment a water-only fast, since that type of fast specifically was the one reported to heal people's allergies.
I'd like to fall asleep but I can't, as I have a restless, nervous feeling in my whole body. Reading and writing seems a lot of effort. Feel cold and then too hot. I suspect the worst thing is just lying in one place concentrating on the feelings. I really hope I feel better tomorrow. If I wasn't 100% determined to fast I would definitely eat something now (the idea of allergies gone keeps me going).
1.40pm: Sweating, feeling very irritable, slight headache, tense jaw (keep biting my teeth together), feel too hot, generally uncomfortable and nervous and irritable feeling. Being in one place makes me feel too restless. Forcing myself to be up and do housework despite feeling weak. Ears ringing.
Today's definitely a lot tougher than yesterday. It feels a bit like what they describe drug withdrawal to be like. I feel like moving my body would be beneficial but doing yoga feels harder than ever (in terms of energy), although at the same time somehow easier than usual (in terms of flexibility).
I feel slightly better after being up for a while doing dishes but very very weak still.
Many people report (in their online diaries) as having aches and pains on water fasts, whereas I don't - I'm very happy about that! Hope it stays that way. I don't feel so shaky anymore but have a slight headache on my temples.
Is this withdrawal from junk and allergen foods? Still no hunger but cravings definitely - all kinds. It doesn't feel difficult to resist them though. What does feel very difficult is feeling unwell and not being able to do anything useful or interesting. I need something to distract me from focusing on these feelings in my body but no motivation to do anything.
2.20pm: Feel a bit better, jaw doesn't feel as tense anymore, and generally I feel less irritable and tense also. The main problem now is my head feeling like it's being pressed from the outside. Gums a bit achy, bad taste in the mouth, ears ringing, eyes tired and a bit dry.
Water fasting is said to starve out parasites, and in my case I suspect there are some that release neurotoxins, causing my nervous system to be overworked. The feelings or irritability, palpitations, etc. are a typical occurence to me (which I usually attribute to food intolerances or subclinical hyperthyroid) and I'm hoping that the fact those symptoms appear today and stronger than usual means that the parasites are releasing toxins as they are fighting for their lives.
How long can a parasite survive without food and sugar in the blood? They love mucus and plaque in the gut so hopefully those will clear off quickly and make my body clean of parasites.
5pm: Managed to sleep for 2.5 hours - luckily! It's a good way to pass the time and today is a difficult day. Even the the fast feels perfectly 'doable', however. I find myself dreaming about coffee & walnut cake and wondering whether it can be made raw.
I feel better, but have bad breath and bad taste at the back of my throat, still a bit of headache, water retention, heart palpitations. But my head feels better than before and my ears are not ringing as much. Energy levels are better.
Could it be that the worst IS over, or are there more detox symptoms to come tomorrow? Sinuses feel a lot less congested but still 'numb', like I can't smell anything properly. (They've been like that for many years now - sometimes more, sometimes less.)
6.10pm: Went to shop, it's 5 min walk away. Carried back 6 liters of spring water, it was quite hard work. I can't fill my lungs properly afterwards - any exercise, whether fasting or not, seems to give me breathing problems.
I enjoy smells more than usual. Plants have a more complex smell than I'm used to. At the same time, I can't stop thinking about food. My tongue badly wants some flavours. A couple of cashew nuts or a piece of dried mango would be heaven. Will try to read a book to distract myself.
Still not very hungry, though. If I started eating I could eat a huge meal but I have no stomach pain or clear physical feelings of hunger.
I've decided to drink lemon and ginger tea (from fresh ingredients and spring water). Ginger apparently helps during fasting to kill parasites. Lemon gives antioxidants to the liver, which is working hard during detox.
This fast is making me very demotivated to do anything (extreme lack of energy) and I'm feeling quite down today. Also, these heart palpitations make me a bit worried. If I could sleep through this it would help but I don't seem to be able to sleep right now.
This fast is not physically that tough but mentally quite hard: boredom, lack of energy, unmotivated mind. Time goes slow. Worst things are food cravings - needing some nice flavours on my tongue. Hopefully the fresh lemon and ginger tea will be helpful to feel a little better.
The tea was nice but the main cravings I have seem to be for calories - it didn't help much. Also my boyfriend juiced a lot of ginger and mixed some juice in my spring water. I drank it all.Water Fasting Summary
Sun 12th June 2016
Woke up at 8am. Feel quite normal but definitely not any better than normal. I'm annoyed that my eyes are still puffy after two days and three nights of juice fasting.
Weight: 63kg in the morning and 64kg last night.
Pulse: 66-67bpm sitting down. I'm surprised because that is quite a high morning pulse for me. My heart is still pounding a bit heavy too.
9.20am: As I got up, drank water, and started washing dishes, I started to feel quite poorly again. I have a bad taste in my mouth (it came back after washing my teeth), feel a bit weak, some slight lower abdomen ache (maybe menstrual problems healing?) and I feel a bit worn-out and down again. Not as bad as yesterday though (at least not yet).
Being on my feet (washing dishes) has exhausted me and I'm annoyed about the bad taste in my mouth. Feel quite irritable again generally and silently angry about a lot of things too. Definitely my mind is not in a good place today, or yesterday.
Drinking fresh lemon tea (juice of 1/2 lemon in boiled spring water). I have a slight headache again as well not the same 'tight' feeling around my head as yesterday.
Feel better after drinking the tea and sitting down on the sofa. But now I feel cold, even though the temperature in the flat is 22 degrees Celcius.
Took a hot bath earlier and got very sleepy afterwards, slept for quite some time, dreaming a lot again.
4.40pm: Just came back from a 30-minute walk outside - I walked around the park and along the river. Any exercise seems to give me heart palpitations (heart pounding heavily). Also I got out of breath this time just from very slow walking. Taking the walk seemed very tough as I don't have enough energy for it. I walked in a lot more lazy way than usual and definitely didn't experience any heightened energy (vibrations) from being outdoors in nature. I couldn't even be bothered to look at nature much.
Before the walk and afterwards I began to get lower back and leg ache. It got quite strong, however, there was no more headache. The backache feels like it's some inner organ ache (perhaps radiating kidney or ovary ache) and nothing to do with the spine, joints or bones.
8pm: The back pain finished some hours ago. I still have bad breath and feel very bored with not having the energy to do anything. Even reading a book, which I normally love, seems not to appeal to me.
I feel obsessed about food, just watched a lot of food programs on tv. Strangely, however, it doesn't seem to make sticking to the fast any more difficult.
Weight is dropping fast now, 61kg. It has to be water weight since I haven't had an bowel movements since yesterday.
I really hope I feel mentally more up-beat tomorrow, because I hate wasting many days of my life feeling crap, and not being able to do much. I really hope this fast gives me good results but am not holding my breath... It's meant to get rid of allergies and other health problems, overcome cravings, and make you look radiant. However, in my past experience fasting makes me crave foods and even junk foods more - especially starch [which is calorie dense and provides quick energy]. But those were juice feasts, maybe this time will be different.
My pulse is 70bpm, sitting down. Really surprised it's that high.
10.30pm: Just took a water enema (no salt) - boiled (and cooled) spring water. Feel absolutely knackered afterwards. Going to bed.Water Fasting Summary
Mon 13th June 2016
Woke up at 8am. Pulse: 71bpm sitting down: not very good, too high morning pulse. Weight: 59.5kg.
At night, any time I would wake up to go loo, I would have heart palpitations when lying down again. Any even small exertion seems to cause it.
Did a few light exercises (yesterday also). They made me have slight asthma-like symptoms where I can't breathe my lungs full (feels like the chest is too tight).
I have a headache this morning. Also, some acid coming up my throat yesterday and this morning (acid reflux).
I should definitely be in ketosis by now, according to what I've read, as your body switches to it at day 2 or 3 when no carbohydrates are consumed. It seems that not everyone feels the excess energy and clear mind in ketosis, as 'advertised'.
9.30am: Took a hot bath, did skin brushing, to help move the lymph, and chalk (rock) powder face mask, to deep clean the skin. Feel exhausted after, the heat from the hot bath seems to expend a lot of energy.
Reading other people's water fasting diaries, I think I might be getting away with quite easily. Others report very bad pains in different body parts, nausea, throwing up, not being able to sleep at night, etc. Some people don't feel a lift of energy until day 6 or 10, and even then they continue to feel weak, just not as bad as before. Many people also don't report any mental clarity, just feeling normal in the best moments of the fast.
My mental state has definitely not improved. My mind and body feel very fatigued and I can't do much, which makes me extremely bored and that in turn makes me feel quite down. I watch some telly here and there but don't really like it in general. I read a bit at points but nothing really seems to interest me too much.
Some people report keeping a normal daily routine during a water fast, including work and exercise. I don't know if they are being honest, since many natural health experts and doctors seem to advice as much rest as possible during water fasting, with some very light exercise and stretching, and perhaps some walking. In any case, if it is possible to feel energetic and light during a water fast, I think that only happens to a few people whose bodies are very clean and accustomed to fasting. Even then, I don't know if it's possible to feel energetic while not intaking any nutrients or calories.
The toughest part of this fast is the boredom. The cravings are not as bad today as yesterday. The headache is almost completely gone and I have enough energy to be sitting up at the computer, instead of just lying on the sofa.
My tongue is coated white, thin coating. Mouth feels sticky and not clean. Back of my throat also has a most horrible taste/ smell which seems to stay since day 2. The gums in my mouth are also hurting and yesterday I briefly had some sharp pains in my throat.
Drinking a hot fresh lemon tea since it always seems to make me feel a bit better, and some fasting proponents say that you need some electrolytes, even during a water fast. There are not enough calories in a it to stop ketosis, probably almost zero calories. The lemon tea makes my mouth taste a bit better and feel clearer.
Apparently during a water fast your pancreas becomes inactive and therefore it is important not to break the fast with too sugary fruit (e.g. bananas, mangoes or pineapple). Water melon, it is said, should be fine and steamed vegetables as well.
Apparently it can take four days after the last day of the fast for the pancreas to function normally again.
12 noon: Almost at the mid-point of this fast now.
Even though my symptoms are not as severe as other people's, I find this fast mentally difficult because I like to feel happy and motivated, whereas the fast is making me feel very bored, unmotivated to do anything, and a bit down/ depressed. Before I started I thought it would be a welcome rest for the mind as well as the body, as I've just finished a stressful year of architecture studies... I thought I could just chill out, sleep a lot, read many books, think inspired thoughts, and perhaps work on this website as well as job applications. I thought I could be more productive than normal (I was but only on day 1) and that I could enjoy walks and some mental clarity. I was expecting some of the same mental benefits as I've experienced on juice fasts... but it's true what they say, water fasting is a lot tougher and if your body reacts to water fasting the same as mine has, be prepared to be very bored, unmotivated and even to feel a bit depressed for pretty much all the time.
These mental challenges feel very similar to those I had when I tried very low-carb diets. They really didn't work for me - my brain didn't have enough energy and I began to feel down/depressed. The caveman diet trial was fine, however, since it included more carbs.
I keep the windows open a lot, since apparently fresh air can be a big help when fasting. Shame that I can't get any sunshine as that is said to help too: the weather has been cloudy and at times very rainy, and is set to continue like that all week.
Honestly, I don't know if I'm doing myself harm or good with this fast - though other people report many benefits only after completing a water fast. What keeps me going is the hope that my allergies will be defeated.
Went to shop and carried back 6 liters of water. This didn't feel as difficult as last time, perhaps my energies are starting to get a bit better! But carrying the water up two stories of steep steps still got me quite out of breath. In any case I slept for one hour after coming back.
1.30pm: No headache. Sitting up at the computer, working.
2.30pm: After working at the computer for one hour I feel like I need a break again, feeling a bit weak.
4.40pm: Slept a bit again. Back at the computer. Feel a bit better but have heart palpitations, lower back ache, and some eye ache. Made a fresh lemon tea again.
6pm: Stopped working. I seem to always feel a lot worse towards the evening. Now I began to feel quite tired and a bit nauseous. Slight headache, slight lower back pain, any time I get up and walk I still get heart palpitations.
Was just smelling the food my boyfriend had bought: jam pastry smells nice but has a slight 'pork' smell to it. Boiled egg smells rotten, not appetising at all. Fennel seeds and cherries smell nice.
10pm: I think I have fever. I can't find the thermometer but my boyfriend says my forehead is hot and I feel quite poorly too. My body is aching a bit all over and I feel very cold, with a slight headache and congested sinuses. Drank juice of one lemon in water, hoping it strengthens me a bit. Trying to sleep...Water Fasting Summary
Tue 14th June 2016
Woke up at 8am. Weight this morning: 59kg.
Kept waking up last night because of back pains - upper back and lower back. I think it's from lying down too much. Did a few exercises at night and it helped, but later the aches started coming back. [Note: I later determined the back ache was almost certainly not from lying down, but more likely something to do with kidneys or the ovaries.]
My eyes are still a bit puffy, but less than usual.
No more heart palpitations although I just got up and walked around! Very happy about that! No more fevery feeling either or headache. Bad taste in the mouth persists, however. Feel fairly well this morning apart from back pain.
Sitting pulse is still 70bpm, quit high for the morning.
5.40pm: Feeling very weak again, just slept for many hours. Been sleeping for most of the day today. I've had aches coming and going: lower back (ovaries?), upper back near the neck, arms, legs, head, left-side on the lower lower belly (where I normally get pains during menstruation). Haven't been up much today, felt weak. Sleeping seems to always reduce the pains.
Did skin brushing earlier in the bath and had a back massage from my boyfriend.
Drank fresh lemon tea with one whole lemon squeezed in. Normally I like the taste but now I had to force myself to drink it - tasted way too acidic.
9.25pm: I feel fevery again and I've had heart palpitations pretty much all through the day. I seem to drink less water as the fast progresses - I get a bit nauseous feeling sometimes when I drink it.
I think today has been the weakest day of the fast so far. I had to spend most of the day in bed. I wanted to do some work on the computer but just did not have the strength. Legs are aching now, and head a bit too.
I wonder if the fever is retracing the very high temperature fevers I used to have as a child?
Still feel down, very very bored, and my mind is out of energy. Read a book for a little while though, about water fasting. I have no hunger but would like to eat to feel better. Trying to meditate while lying down seems to help a bit to take attention away from the uncomfortable feelings in the body.
Weight: 57kg (9 stones).Water Fasting Summary
Wed 15th June 2016
Felt good this morning, almost back to normal. Tongue seems a bit less coated, the bad taste in the mouth is not as strong.
Slept quite well through the night, although I had to wake up about every three hours to drink water and go to toilet. I still haven't had a bowel movement, just one at the very beginning... Apparently that is normal on a water fast.
I feel good but as soon as I start walking around I start feeling weaker. Therefore I am not fooling myself: will get some work done early in the day and go sit out in the sun (not walking far so as not to strain myself) and fully expect to feel unwell again later on. That seems to be the normal pattern.
Still some phlegm in my throat, sinuses not completely clear, cough a little bit here and there.
Went to lay down in the park for maybe 15 minutes, got some sunshine, and had my bare feet on the grass for grounding. I felt like I got some energy from this trip.
Feel a bit more upbeat this morning too. My moods seem directly linked to my energy levels. I don't believe that this is a case of emotional detox, but simply the brain and body not having enough energy during most of the fast to be happy, or anything else than bored or depressed. I do believe in emotional detox too, I think, as I seem to have experienced it on raw food diets before... unless they were food allergy/ intolerance reactions... But during this fast my body seems to have other priorities of healing than emotions, day two perhaps having been an exception.
I still get heart palpitations any time I walk and I keep thinking about food a lot all through this fast.
I have made a list of foods to eat and not eat after this fast, partly based on the books 'Clean' and 'Pleasure Trap', which I have been reading. More on these in the post-fast diary notes.
11.25am: As soon as I began to work on the computer I started feeling a little bit nauseous. Drinking lemon tea helps a bit but not feeling 100% anymore. Even though there is only the juice of 1/2 lemon in the tea it tastes very bitter. I used to love fresh lemon tea but now I seem to dislike it.
Blowing some phlegm from deep inside my sinuses/ head - quite liquid.
Worked for about 2-2.5 hours. Rested and slept. Had some lower back pain which went away with sleep.
Went supermarket shopping (my boyfriend drove, I wouldn't trust myself driving during this fast) for Friday morning, when I will start eating again. I bought a watermelon, fresh berries, frozen fruit, raw beetroots (for cooking in the oven), olives, capers, asparagus, mushrooms, broccoli. I felt quite tired afterwards, very out of breath from carrying bags, but generally I feel quite well today, as long as I don't strain myself too much and take rests. I also spent some time earlier reorganising the kitchen and throwing away stuff I wasn't going to eat post-fast.
11.40pm: Still feeling quite good, quite normal.Water Fasting Summary
Thu 16th June 2016
Woke up late: 10am. Weight: 56kg! Almost my ideal weight.
Feel quite good, not 100% energetic though. Not sleepy.
Slept well, apart from waking up a few times to go to toilet and drink water. At one point of the night I had very 'restless feet', worse than I ever had before. Usually I get it when I drink alcohol, eat a lot of sugar or am very dehydrated - but this time none of those applied. I think this was a 'retracing' of old conditions - i.e. the body working on healing the 'restless feet' condition.
Normally putting cold water on my feet helps but now it wasn't enough, the restlessness moved up to my calves. Then I got up again to shower my calves as well with cold water which helped a bit. I tried focusing on my feet, trying to get to 'know' the feeling and perhaps its origins - that made the restlessness a LOT worse.
In my semi-dreamy state at some point in the night I though to myself: 'The legs don't want attention, they want to be left in peace' and I tried to take my focus away from them, focusing on my breathing instead. That helped massively and I was able to go back to sleep. Also, I was sleeping with a too warm cover which can cause restless feet for me (and too warm room too) and I changed to a lighter one.
The two types of water I have been drinking on this fast have been Highland Spring spring water, drawn from organic land and ASDA still Eden Falls natural mineral water. Mostly I drank the first, as there seems to be no guarantee that the second is actually clean natural water. I was surprised to find out late in the fast that both types of water contain chloride, however. Highland Spring: 6.1mg per liter and Eden Falls 12mg per liter. Chloride is said to potentially kill bacteria in your gut and therefore may cause dysbiosis.
As far as I know, chloride evaporates into the air if kept in open containers and boiling may help to evaporate it quicker. So the best option would probably be to use the real spring water, and empty the bottle to a jug which is left to 'breathe' for some time before drinking.
During water fasting drinking the best quality water seems important, and I have been avoiding tap water like the plague although I do still bath and shower in it, which apparently absorbs to your system too. Distilled water is also a bad idea in my opinion since it is unnatural and can draw minerals out of your body. Also check any bottled water for added fluoride - you don't want that!
Just took a hot bath and it made me exhausted again. The water wasn't even hot but I suspect that it's either the heat or the quality of tap water (which gets absorbed into your system through the skin) that causes this. I have heart palpitations again and am forced to rest on the sofa.
I still have post-nasal drip and I keep having to clear my throat - so I drank 2 drops of oregano oil in water (a potent anti-viral, reportedly). I also did steam breathing with the oregano oil. Hopefully this will help my immune system clear my sinuses quicker. It helped to immediately clear my sinuses a bit but not completely.
My eyes are clearer now but I have faint dark rings around my eyes. I look a lot slimmer, my face is not puffy anymore, and eyes are only slightly puffy although they seemed to get temporarily worse when I used the make up remover this morning and rubbed my eyes with a towel.
Heart palpitations are still there. I'm feeling slightly hungry, keep thinking about food. My belly has gone almost flat (not completely), my eyelids are a lot less droopy - makes me look a lot younger.
I haven't worn make-up much all week so that may contribute to less puffy eyelids - although I did wear it yesterday (no foundation though) and slept with make-up on too. This morning my eyes were not any more puffy than yesterday, until the make-up remover.
Breathing is fairly easy now but still can't always fill my lungs completely, the chest feels 'tight', as if there were a tight band around restricting it.
The little fatty benign tumour I have in my lower belly on the left hand side is still there - I was hoping the body would have 'eaten' it by now for energy. They say the body uses bad cells and tissue for fuel during fast. Perhaps there were more fundamentally important things to attend to.
12 noon: Suddenly started getting quite hungry, for the first time during this fast. Then it got less strong. Not sure if this is because of the oregano essential oil that I drank (two drops only) which may have stimulated digestion (it is very strong oil). Or is this a sign from the body that I should stop the fast and eat? I will wait and see if it comes back, right now the hunger is almost completely gone again.
2.05pm: Feeling fairly energetic today, only a bad taste in my mouth and shortness of breath, no other negative symptoms. Of course I can't do any physical work, however, as it would be too straining.
I feel quite hungry though - not 'ravenously' hungry as they say you will when it's time to break the fast - but more hungry than I felt at any point during this fast previously.
The sitting (resting) heart rate = 81-82bpm which is very high for me. This is usually a sign of food allergy/ intolerance but I haven't eaten anything!
6.30pm: Just woke up, fell asleep on the sofa. Earlier I went on two walks: first to the post office 5 mins away. Then I came back and drank fresh lemon tea, before going to a short meeting about 10 mins walk away. So much walking and going up and down many stairs, as well as walking uphill some of the time, made me very tired, out of breath and weak. When I came back I fell asleep on the sofa.
While sleeping I got a very brief seizure-type feeling, once properly and a second time weaker. The feeling focuses on my head and is very uncomfortable. Again, I believe this is retracing as I haven't got this for a while but used to get it sometimes at night - it would wake me up from my sleep. Perhaps the last I got this feeling was a year ago or longer - and I always thought it might be linked to painkiller consumption, but wasn't sure.
Although I'm close to the end of the fast now (!) I will still wait through the eighth night before eating, and break the fast tomorrow morning, in the hope that some additional conditions may be cleared during the last night. Nights are the easy part of this fast anyway.
9.20pm: I'm so, so bored. Watched a bit of tv, thought of reading a book, but all the books on my shelf seem to require too much concentration - I just don't feel like I have enough mental energy to focus to read.
Foods I'm most looking forward to eating tomorrow/ the following days are: oven-roasted grated beetroot, cooked mushrooms, black pasta made from black beans (no wheat), chickpea flour bread and pizza (vegan), raw crackers with vegetable paste and pineapple, strawberries.
I feel like I would also love to eat potatoes, cheese, and lots of junk food, but obviously I won't eat those. I'm confident that I can cook/ prepare tasty-enough healthy food to satisfy my taste buds.
Some people say that a water fast is a good way to reset your taste buds, but my experience from previous juice fasts (feasts) has been that once I take one bite of a certain food after the fast - the desire to eat lots of it becomes overpowering. In a way fasts in the past have increased my need to eat a lot + a lot of not-so-healthy food also. We shall see how it will go this time.
00.40am: Not tired, slept too late this morning. Dry mouth, some heart burn (acid), keep trying to swallow, a bit phlegmy feeling throat.
I tried to go to sleep at 1am but as soon as I lay down ready to sleep I got restless legs, which kept getting worse and worse. It ended up being the worst case of restless legs I've ever experienced, even worse than yesterday. I tried to shower my legs down with cold water, holding them under the cold water for ages. I tried 'polar frost' cooling gel on them. I massaged them and propped them up higher than the rest of me. Nothing helped. Meditation didn't help, in fact it seemed to make it worse. Finally I opened both windows in the room wide open to bring cold air in quickly, and left them open for the night. That seemed to help quickly and I fell asleep again.
First fell asleep at 2am but spent some time awake around 4am again.Water Fasting Summary
Fri 17th June 2016
Weight before eating: 55kg - I lost 10kg in one week! Amazing. I'm now at my ideal weight.
8am: Ate a thin slice of watermelon. Tasted a bit different from usual, sweeter, but not much different. Had a few cashew nuts also, made sure to chew them well, they also had a slight different taste from normal, slightly sweeter and more intense.
10.30am: Was still feeling good so had another little slice of water melon and a teaspoon of cashew nut butter. The latter tasted very, very good.
Decided to cook beetroot bake, with grated beetroot, olive oil, salt, pepper and crashed cashew nuts. Ate a little bit of it maybe an hour later but it didn't taste as amazing as I remembered. With some more sea salt and olive oil added it tasted quite nice.
My taste buds definitely have not adjusted to a degree where I could eat vegetables without salt!
I grated too many beetroots so decided to make beetroot burgers as well (vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free) - [recipe to follow]. Also had a small piece of a dehydrated raw food cracker from the fridge I had made before the fast.
12.20pm: Something's sitting heavy in my stomach, perhaps not digesting well. My eyes have gone less clear than yesterday. I recognise this feeling and suspect that the beetroot is too fibrous, even though it's cooked and even though I only ate a little bit of it. Alternatively the problem might be the unsoaked cashew nuts. Ate a few strawberries.
I've been drinking a fair bit of water today as well and get thirsty if I don't.
Also, my energies are still not very high so have to relax on the sofa every once in a while to regain my energies.
I can't wait to see what it will be like to be fully energised again!
I have to remember to be careful with fiber!
My body generally seems to be fine with good quality fat, fruit and berries, as well as soaked and sprouted seeds and maybe nuts. Insoluble fiber seems to be a problem though.
12.45pm: Heart-rate when lying down on sofa: 75bpm. Still quite high but not as bad as yesterday. I still get some heart palpitations also but less.
1pm: I hate this feeling that there is food stuck in my upper belly. It's uncomfortable. So seems like the fast hasn't strengthened my digestion enough to be able to deal well with insoluble fiber and/or unsoaked nuts. (I have to find out which one is the problem.) Or maybe my digestion is just slow to get used to these foods again?
I couldn't resist eating one beet-burger when they came out of the oven - it tasted so nice! [recipe to come] It could benefit from some pickles, but anyway. I took one digestive enzyme (Udo's Choice) before eating.
(Note that for the beetroot bake and burgers I was using fresh, raw beetroots, and they may have been easier to digest if they were made from pickled or boiled ones.)
2.30pm: Ended up eating another beetroot burger. The first one seemed to digest better than the beetroot bakes - possibly because it didn't have nuts, or because it had more protein in it, or because it was cooked slightly longer, or because I took a digestive enzyme before eating it.
I'm starting to feel a little better, not so much indigestion.
I have to remember to include a fair bit of protein in every meal/ dish.
My hunger/ cravings don't seem to be satisfied, I constantly keep feeling like I should eat more, but am trying to hold back. (This seems to be a typical feeling for me when coming off a fast.)
5pm: After cooking and cleaning, I fell asleep for quite long time, maybe for two hours. I ate another beetburger after that.
Either being up and expending energy working in the kitchen, or just digestion, has sapped my energy and I feel really tired now. But also, the more I eat the more hungry I feel. I crave something sweet and sugary but won't give into that since apparently it is too early for the pancreas to handle.
Boiling black bean pasta (ingredients: black beans and water) with mushrooms, onion, olive oil and spices. [Note: This probably included cayenne pepper but don't remember.]
The message my body seems to be giving me now is: eat, eat, eat! So I might aswell listen to it. Will try to have just a small bowl of 'pasta' and maybe take another nap.
Grapefruit tasted quite amazing on its own as an evening snack.
10.30pm: Starting to feel happy now - the fog is lifting. Fruit seems to be the most satisfying food that makes me feel the best also. Tastiest.
Had some black bean 'pasta' with mushrooms, plenty of olive oil, onions, tomato puree, spices, fair bit of salt. Fried it in a pan. I don't think fried food suits me very well (plus it was too oily) - it sits heavy in my stomach despite the fact that I took a digestive enzyme before eating it.
Ate a few slices of pink grapefruit - so lovely.
Weight: 57kg - gained 2kg as soon as I started eating again.
Went to sleep at about midnight, but got restless feet again, even though one window to the room was open. I put 'Polar Frost' gel on my feet and calves, it takes a while to take effect but eventually it makes your skin feel very cool and it helped and I fell asleep.
Woke up at night with restless feet having made a come-back and this time I tried to put a little Tiger Balm (white) on, which has menthol, and three drops of eucalyptus essential oil on each foot. That worked in a similar way to the Polar Frost gel - it took a while to take effect but cooled my feet down and I fell asleep easily. I'm happy about these new discoveries. I also took one sachet of iron water because I read that sometimes - though not always - restless feet are linked to an iron deficiency. Not sure if it was a good idea to drink that since iron can also feed bacteria and parasites.
[Later note: During the next days I didn't suffer from restless feet anymore, and therefore I felt that maybe this was another case of 'retracing' old symptoms while the body healed underlying imbalances.]Water Fasting Summary
Sat 18th June 2016
Woke up 8am. Morning pulse while still lying in bed was 65bpm - glad that it has gone back to normal!
I keep waking up at 4am these days feeling only a little bit sleepy - but I go back to sleep. Perhaps I should stay up.
I listened yesterday to a TED talk by a guy who started a habit of waking up at 4.30am and sleeping about 6-7 hours each day. He said that it worked very well for him, made him happier, and he has become a phenomenon, with many people repeating his 21-day challenge, and getting used to waking up earlier.
10.40am: Drank water. Having beetroot burgers for breakfast. (Ate six beetroot cakes, was hungry.)
When walking outside, I was feeling very good mentally and physically. The cool wind on my skin felt especially nice and refreshing. I think my dopamine and happy hormone levels are up - I get a similar feeling usually when having supplemented with rhodiola for a few days in a row. My stomach was still feeling a bit heavy though, seems that beetroot is not the ideal food for me. It seems ok, no allergy symptoms, but probably too much of the wrong kind of fiber to be eating it in excess. Soups might be the best type of cooked food.
2.30pm: Ate some fruit salad: freshly-squeezed orange juice, sliced banana, watermelon, apple, cinnamon, vanilla drops. Felt some tiny 'spikes' in my chest, only very slightly painful, after eating the fruit salad. Maybe it was too much sugar at once without protein accompanying it [although there was no added sugar].
Feel tired, going to sleep a bit [been on my feet, active, or working at the computer all day]. Energy levels are still not completely back to normal after the fast.
I don't seem to feel fully satisfied after eating. It seems that I crave wheat, sugar and cheese. I don't want to try whether they would satisfy my cravings, however. Hopefully if I stay away from them long enough, my body won't want them anymore. I might be more addicted to them than I thought, since even a water fast didn't clear these cravings.
I feel optimistic going forward thought. I think the water fast has made it easier for me to resist cravings and maybe made the craving sless strong or different also.
Slept for 2.5 hours on the sofa, ate beetroot burgers (3) and one avocado with salt and olive oil drizzled on top. Later I ate a lot of fruit salad too.
9.45pm: Eating raw cherry tomatoes from Sainsbury's to test for allergy/ food intolerance. Pulse before lying down: 71bpm. Pulse rose only to 72bpm > no allergy :)
The beetroot is definitely not digesting very well because there were undigested bits of it in my stools. My digestive system seems to have a problem breaking down fibrous foods - specifically tough vegetable fiber (insoluble fiber). Maybe it's because I've eaten too much of it over the years? Perhaps everyone has the same problem? Seems that I should only eat insoluble fiber in small quantity.
"... insoluble fiber attracts water" - SFgate.com > Healthy Eating. That explains why I get thirsty after eating too much fiber.
High fiber foods can cause gas and bloating, as bacteria breaks down some of the fiber in the gut. "While fiber consumption helps maintain our healthy gut bacteria, less is more. [...] Clearly the health benefits of consuming large amounts of fiber are overstated and need to be balanced with the risk of digestive problems that can be caused or exarcebated by excess fiber." - DigestiveHealthInstitute.org
So from this brief research (read Harvard School of Public Health Information on fiber too) I can gather that my digestion is probably not weak, since it can't handle lots of fiber-rich food, but is probably quite normal and I should eat some insoluble fiber, just not overdo it.
A possible reason for why I crave cheese and wheat so much is because they are easy to digest (not too much fiber) and provide energy. What healthy foods are there that don't have any or much insoluble fiber? Are there any that provide quick energy?
1) Dairy & fat replacement: coconut, avocado (and limited amount of fibrous nuts and seeds).
2) Wheat & carb replacement: fruit (Refined white flour product may be easier for digestion but spike the blood sugar, are addictive and fattening.)
3) Protein replacement: fish, peas, algae, spirulina, greens (and limited amount of nuts, seeds and beans with shells removed). Sprouted beans, seeds, wheatgrass.
Good, healthy eating is all about balance - it can be misleading to have 'good' and 'bad' food lists since moderation and balancing of nutrients is key.
I don't remember having any sugar cravings today.Water Fasting Summary
Sun 19th June 2016
Woke up at 4am again. The sunrise today was at 4.43am but at 4am there was already a nice twilight/ dawn.
Did a few light exercises and stretches. Still don't want to do too much so soon after the fast.
Had lentil soup for breakfast which I started cooking late last night and it let it sit overnight which finished the cooking process and it was perfectly ready in the morning. A good way to cook soup actually.
I seem to need something warm, filling and protein-rich in the mornings - and I now want to respect that body's message whereas before I didn't.
Annoyingly my eyes were a bit puffy this morning, whereas during the fast this problem slowly but surely went away.
The soup tasted very acidic, perhaps because I put too much lemon juice in before cooking. I added 1/2 teaspoons of soda bicarbs just before warming it up this morning to try to counter the acidity. It didn't seem to help much although there was a chemical reaction and the soup foamed. I also added some maple syrup to try to counter the acidity but it didn't go well with the soup taste. In terms of acidity it only helped a little. Was it only the red chilli I was tasting (with my readjusted taste buds) which I mistook for acidity? I was quite confused about this. Does this mean I can't eat chilli anymore? I used to be able to eat quite hot chilli but in this soup it didn't seem to have its usual nice taste. Can I still enjoy chillies after the fast? [My boyfriend later tasted the soup and thought it wasn't acidic at all, but had a lot of chilli.]
5.13am: Eating the soup and sitting on the sofa made me tired again. Back to bed! [Later note: This turned out to be an allergy/ intolerance reaction to chilli and/or nightshades in general.]
5.23pm: Pulse 79bpm. Definitely an intolerance reaction to the soup. The soup had a lot of nightshades in it - tomato (canned, cheap brand), fresh chilli and cayenne pepper. I instantly got tired after eating the soup, and my nose became congested and runny. Of course it's normal for the nose to become runny after eating chillies but the sudden congestion was unusual, as well as the instant tiredness, and racing pulse and heavy heartbeat (palpitations). I also began to feel a bit stressed out, which is my unique, personal food intolerance reaction that I've gotten used to.
This means, unfortunately, that the fast did not make me food intolerance free as I had hoped.
I took thyroid calming tincture and trying to sleep a bit more.
6am: Can't sleep, getting up again. My eyes are more puffy now. Suspect a nightshade allergy/ intolerance. I also remember getting a very flushed face in the pub previously soon after eating a lot of potatoes - although it could have been caused by one of the other many ingredients in the food too.
Possible potato intolerance/ allergy symptoms from Foodmatters.com include: morning stiffness, nervous system problems, heartburn, anxiety, asthma, pain, inflammation, insomnia, rhinitis, shakiness, depression, gut problems, calcification (and many more symptoms not related to my health history).
Interestingly, I didn't react to the two cherry tomatoes eaten yesterday - but did react to other tomatoes previously - and did react to the soup this morning. Quantity of food matters for food intolerance, which may be one explanation for this. One may react much more severely to large quantities of the offending food and not to small quantities. Also, perhaps only some types of tomatoes are problem-causing - I have noticed this before as well.
Also, it was curious that yesterday my pulse was 71bpm before eating the cherry tomatoes, then dropped to 66bpm after eating, and then rose to 72bpm. So the initial reading may have been a bit faulty, perhaps?
I will have to stop eating nightshades and see what happens. Apparently sweet potatoes and yams are fine to eat for those with nightshade allergy, just white potatoes cause problems.
Nightshades include: goji berries, ashwaghanda, and paprika, in addition to the more well-known ones: white potato, chillies, all peppers (except black pepper), eggplant. Paleoleap.com has a report on nightshades where they explain that nightshades are probably not dangerous for healthy people, but those whose gut or immunity are compromised, and especially those with autoimmune disease, should avoid them. Arthritis and other conditions that involve pain have been reported to greatly benefit from nightshade avoidance.
"If you suffer from inflammation, joint pain and cracking, avoiding nightshades will lessen your pain, whether or not the nightshades are the true source or pain." - Garrett L. Smith, Weston A. Price Foundation
"During a famine in 1782, Scottish highlanders complained of dropsy (an old term for edema or swelling, often associated with congestive heart failure) when they ate abundantly of potatoes." - Smith, as above
"Increased consumption of peppers is associated with an increased risk of [...] stomach cancer. Researchers found seventeen times [!] the risk of stomach cancer in people who self-rated themselves as high consumers of peppers." - Garrett L. Smith, as above.
"All nightshades contain nicotine, which is why they can be addictive." - Smith, as above.
Capsaicin in peppers is the active ingredient in pepper sprays, and is an irritant in humans. It can shut down the lungs. Asthmatics should avoid it.
Six week avoidance of nightshades should clear the symptoms. One way to test yourself is to have a 'nightshade party day' - eat plenty of them and see how you feel the next day. Be careful though a some reactions can be dangerous and also can greatly stregthen after abstinence. Note that the symptoms are often (not always) delayed.
Slept from 6am to 9am. Noticed that my throat got swollen and quite sore, my nose got more blocked, and I kept coughing a bit for a while after eating the soup.
11.20am: I ate an apple, peeled and sliced with cashew nut butter.
2pm: Ate two pieces of chickpea flour pizza, quite oily, with soaked cashew nuts, nightshade free.
2.30pm: Abdomen feels a little bit bloated.
3.20pm: Ate another two slices or 'pizza'. Makes me feel heavy, perhaps because of a lot of oil... or because of the chickpea flour... But generally good healthy food, just not as light as fruit, raw crackers and green juices... Had 1/2-hour nap at 4pm.
4.50pm: Got a high pulse again. I think something in the pizza caused an allergy/ intolerance too! Probably some of the preservatives in the pickles - hopefully it wasn't the chickpea flour or cashew nuts.
I took two digestive enzymes, thyroid calming tincture and ate two more slices. I was cooking most of this morning and don't want to cook anymore but had to eat something... My allergies really haven't cleared and I still have to be extremely careful with what I eat. Very disappointing!
Ahhhh, I have to be much more careful tomorrow with what I eat... Hopefully it will be an allergy-free day.
8.10pm: Drank a smoothie of frozen fruit (mango, pineapple, passion fruit puree), fresh raspberries, soaked cashews, scoop of hemp protein, tap water.
8.20pm: Pulse still (again?) beating quite fast so not quite sure if there is an intolerance there or not - if there is it must be cashew nuts or frozen fruit - or hemp protein! Oh, so complicated!
My energies are better today, day 3 after water fast. I didn't need to sleep much during the day anymore.
Tomorrow I'm looking forward to a good day, with early rise, no nightshades and feeling well.
9.30pm: Took a hot bath, now cooling off a bit and will maybe try to sleep soon. My lower abdomen is very bloated today - could be because of the nightshades and/or the excess fiber consumption making the bacteria have a field day. Hopefully it's one of those so that it can be reversed in the next few days easily.Water Fasting Summary
Mon 20th June 2016
Woke up at 7.30am. Weight: 60kg. Pulse while lying down: 67-68bpm.
When I woke up at night my eyes were very very puffy. At least it's clear now that it is caused by a food allergy reaction, and not another type of allergy, since it clearly went away during the water fast. I also have sore throat, post-nasal drip, runny nose, congested sinuses (blocked nose), red eyes, slightly cloudy vision, stiff neck and I generally feel a bit unwell. My lower belly aches a bit which I think is a sign of inflammation. I also have a bit of a cough.
I was really hoping and looking forward to feeling well after the water fast but the allergy symptoms have really hit me.
I think the main thing causing the puffiness (water retention) is nightshades, since the reaction after the lentil soup was so strong. I'm making another lentil soup this morning without nightshades to test if my assumption is correct. The fact that my eyes puffed up so much and straight after eating the soup is a clear sign that something in the soup is the primary culprit.
8.20am: Eating lentil soup.
But at least I'm making progress. I really hope nightshades are the culprit so that I can start feeling better quickly. It will be more complicated if all the various allergies are involved in causing this inflammation and/or if there are new and complex ones - like sulphites or histamines.
8.47am: Pulse: 71bpm. A bit higher but that's expected since I'm sitting up and not lying down.
It's a common occurrence that when one abstains from eating an allergen for a while, and then eats it again, the symptoms come back stronger. This seems to have happened with me with the water fast. I see it as a good thing, however, because I get a clear message now.
Of course I would have preferred that the allergies got eliminated but I think it was a bit too good to be true for all the allergies to disappear in just seven days' abstinence. I guess the body focused on healing other imbalances while the alelrgies are in a way useful to give me a sign of what not to eat - i.e. things that would distress and wear down my body.
I was eating salt the first day and not much eye puffiness occurred (maybe a tiny bit) so I'm quite certain that it's not the primary culprit.
10.20am: Yessss. I'm so happy there is no reaction to the lentil soup (pulse is within normal limits). Nightshade allergy confirmed (at least tomatoes and possibly chillies too). Eating more lentil soup.
11.30am: Drank chaga mushroom tea - it's meant to help eliminate allergy symptoms. I've felt like I have the flu all morning - and ever since I ate the soup yesterday.
1.20pm: Pulse before eating: 76bpm. Eating home-made chickpea flour bread (cecina, made with olive oil and salt) with avocado on top - testing it.
Chickpea bread and avocado both seem safe, no pulse rise and no intolerance symptoms.
Drank three cups of chaga mushroom tea in total. Snacked on two more cecina bread slices with cashew nut butter on top.
Eyes are clear again but the feeling of cold/ flu hasn't lifted yet though, and my lower belly still feels bloated and full (since yesterday).
Had pears, pecans, maple syrup, cinnamon baked in the oven > all seem to be allergy free.
Until I come out of this allergy reaction completely it will be difficult to speculate on any long-term benefits I may have gained from this fast. I will update here or in the diaries that follow, on health conditions that cleared or posed further challenges.
It seems that both: the beetroot and (based on past experience) root vegetables in general, as well as chickpea 'bread', easily make me want to overeat them so that I end up feeling heavy afterwards. Other foods, like lentil soup, taste good and the eating is enjoyable but I'm not tempted to eat them to excess. Maybe the root vegetables and chickpea flour are too starchy and acidic foods, and therefore addictive? Not sure.
10.35pm: My belly has been quite bloated today and I've had a lot of gas. It's difficult to know what is going on with this bloatedness - is it 1) fiber from the beetroot maybe over-feeding bacteria (both good and bad) which causes bloatedness, or 2) lentils from the soup causing bloatedness, or 3) nightshade allergy causing it? I'm still definitely feeling the effects of eating nightshades yesterday.
Weight: 61.5kg. Midnight: Going to bed.Water Fasting Summary
Wed 22nd June 2016
General notes: Starting to come off the nightshade reaction now. My eyes are much less puffy this morning and there are not so many symptoms of a cold.
My weight has dropped again too: 60kg this morning. It seems that the allergy reactions push my weight up quickly > probably because of inflammation and water retention.
After I ate lentil soup that had tomatoes and chili in it (on day 3 after the fast) I very soon got puffy eyes and cold symptoms. At night the swollen, puffy eyes got a lot worse because the body was in rest more and much less active. The worst reaction lasted about three days (days 3-5 after the fast) and now today there are some symptoms left but definitely clearing.
Eating sushi seems to be ok, I feel fine afterwards. Soya yoghurt on the other hand seemed to give me an allergy reaction. Took GABA to be able to sleep.
I am now hoping that staying away from nightshades will make me feel much better in the long-term, possibly clear the long-term inflammation I seem to be suffering from, and could therefore give me more energy, eliminate water retention, and perhaps even clear other intolerances as a result!?
Note: I use GABA, thyroid calming tincture (from HerbPharm) and digestive enzymes to help clear the allergy/ intolerance symptoms in the short-term. Antioxidants, such as chaga mushroom tea, and eating alkaline, as well as exercise, seem to help to some degree as well. I am on the look-out for any long-term solutions other than avoidance, to clear food intolerances and allergies, however. At the moment the best solution seems to be the complete avoidance of any offending foods, which in my case are many. Probiotics and ensuring a healthy balance in the gut, as well as reducing stress, are generally reported as helping long-term with food allergies and intolerances too.
I can't say whether my allergies got worse as a result of the water fast. I suspect that no new allergies emerged, but I just managed to recognise some new ones after the water fast, as a result of 7-day avoidance and strengthened reactions. I cannot say for sure, however, and part of me always thinks that the more healthy I eat the more sensitive I get to foods. In fact I'm almost certain of it. The million-dollar question is, am I strengthening my body or making it weaker? Are the foods that I'm intolerant to best avoided anyway? Or would it be better to expose the body to many types of foods so that it is forced to strengthen itself and get used to coping with them?Water Fasting Summary
I became quite obsessed with food during this fast. I kept watching cooking shows on TV, and could not find any other programs even remotely interesting. As soon as I came off the fast, I went to my usual self - not really interested in TV at all, apart from maybe a very specific program here and there, and definitely not interested in cooking programs! Not eating can really change your personality.
Also, not reported above, I had a stiff neck and upper back, sometimes achy, almost all through the fast. I didn't mention it because I already had it before the fast started, so I didn't think it relevant.
I may be a body type that doesn't do very well in ketosis for some reason - it could have to do with thyroid function or something else. My previous very low-carb diet experiments were characterised by a similar lack of brain energy that resulted in a kind of a half-dead, depressed state of mind. For some reason I seem to need carbohydrates for my mind and moods to function normally.
Generally I slept a lot through the fast, day and night, which hopefully supported my body's detoxification processes and also made time pass quicker. Luckily I didn't suffer from insomnia like some water fasters do.
If I were to do this water fast again, I would hope to do it in a location and at a time where the weather was good and I could sit by the beach or a lake a lot of the time, soaking in the rays of the sun. That is the only way that I could imagine to overcome the challenge of boredom and depression during a water fast to some degree. And also - I would stock up on lots of recipe books, cooking programs and light-hearted movies! Ideally I would also book massages or other treatments to bring some joy into the days. A good, natural, calorie-free breath-refreshener and something to improve the taste in the mouth are also a must. Also some nice fragrancies for sensory pleasures - essential oils, plants, candles - can come to seem much more important than you would think during a water fast!Water Fasting Summary
Update: 1st July 2016 (1.5 weeks later)
Unfortunately I didn't notice any long-term effects from the water fast, apart from weight loss. My weight stabilised at 60kg after the fast (I started from 65kg and went as low as 55kg after the fast). This may have been partly affected by the fact that I started running every morning once my strength returned.
One clear improvement that I did experience after the fast was only partly to do with fasting itself. Due to 7-day abstinence from all allergenic foods, the reaction to allergens became stronger. It is a very common occurence for food intolerance symptoms to come back more pronounced after avoiding them for a while. Therefore one good way of testing whether foods are good for you or not is to not eat e.g. dairy or sugar for a week, then eat a fair amount of it in one day, and see how you feel immediately afterwards, and how you feel the next day.
My experience after the water fast was that I got a strong allergenic/ food intolerance reaction to lentil soup, which lasted for three days, as has been explained in the above diary notes in more detail. I made the lentil soup again without nightshades and did not get a reaction at all. Therefore I was able to confirm a nightshade allegy and immediately eliminated all nightshades from my diet. (Note: It's possible that this is a chilli allergy and not all nightshades but I avoid them all in any case, as an allergies to different nightshades are usually linked.)
Since I stopped eating nightshades my eye puffiness problem has almost completely gone away. It took some 3-4 days for the puffiness to gradually disappear and it tended to get worse at night. It is not an allergy to anything in the bedroom however because I didn't have the same problem during the water fast, and was sleeping in the same room with same covers, etc.
Eating some other allergens seems to bring the eye puffiness back to some degree, but nowhere near as much as nightshades (chilli). I am almost certain now that the water retention in the eye area (above and below) is linked to and caused by sinusitis, which in turn is caused by allergies/ intolerances. The pressure I feel behind the eyes seems to be linked to the same problems. The intersting question is: Will my eyesight improve when I clear the sinusitis (whether aspergillus-related or not)? Problems with blurry vision and the feeling of pressure behind the eyes seem to get worse when I'm tired.
The red eyes I get on many of my longer work- and study-days in London are not nightshade-related, however, since I still have that problem. I suspect they are related to the make-up foundation cream I have been wearing on my skin ever since I developed a blushing problem. I will have to try other makes of foundation cream and see if the problem disappears. However, the other explanation is that I get red eyes from stress, or certain types of electric lighting, but those both seem less likely for various reasons.
I'm happy that the puffy eyes don't seem to be directly thyroid-related, but to do with infection/ inflammation and mucus/ catarrh in the sinuses. The avoidance of nightshades seems to lessen this problem a lot, and running is helping to clear the sinuses too. However, many other foods - potentially the all the more acidifying processed foods - do make sinusitis worse but not so much as to affect the eyes to the same degree that nightshades (or chilli only) do.
Apart from weight loss and having found this new allergy, the long-term benefits of the water-fast remain a mystery to me. Did my body get a chance to rest and did my nervous system get stronger? Did underlying illnesses get healed? Did insulin resistance improve? I don't know, because largely I feel the same as before the fast.
It has been easy for my body to return to normal after the fast, and apart from the extreme reaction to eating nightshades, everything has quickly returned to normal - including digestion, sugar tolerance and elimination. I still get a weak feeling if I eat too many sugary foods, but only slightly. Whereas soon after coming off the fast the fruit salad seemed to affect me negatively - that was temporary and there is no problem eating it now.
Unfortunately I the allergies and food intolerances did not disappear after the fast. Also the small fatty benign tumour in my stomach has not gone away. Although there has been some adjustment to my taste buds it has not been much, and I still enjoy salty, sugary and fatty foods as much as before. I don't like lemon juice as much as I did before the fast, it tastes stronger, and I don't seem to enjoy animal products as much as before. Some buttery foods seem to have an odd side-taste (not all) and smoked salmon doesn't appeal to me as much as before. I still love eating sashimi, though, but perhaps that is because of the many condimends: pickled ginger, wasabi paste and soya sauce. I have eaten much less eggs than usual too. Cheese, however, still appeals to me and tastes good - so really, not much adjustment to taste buds and cravings are the same as usual.
My will power is perhaps a little enhanced - I began to wake up between 5.30 and 6.30 every morning, and been going for a 20-minute run every day for the last week. I was at some point worried about becoming so short of breath when running as I though it might be heart-related, but then I heard somewhere that it's typical to have this problem if you are not used to running or a bit out of shape. So I began to ignore this problem and run anyway, and I have made quick improvement. While breathing is still not perfect, running has quickly began to feel a lot easier, in terms of muscle strength, breathing and general endurance. I don't know if the fasting has caused me to make faster progress or not, but in any case I hope I will be able to keep this up when I start work. Right now my life is a little bit easier as I passed my course and am not studying anymore, also not teaching anymore, and taking a little bit of time off before starting work again.
Main challenge going forward is still the lack of time to prepare foods, and perhaps money too since I'm heavily in debt due to my studies now and will have to begin to pay those off. I will have to make a clear plan going forward but I suspect that the following will feature heavily as quick everyday staples in my diet:
Most important things will be to stay away from allergenic foods, to avoid inflammatory foods, eat plenty of alkaline foods but include healthy acidic ones too according to the body's needs (e.g. nuts and seeds).
Not only nighthades, but also dairy seems to be causing puffy eyes and water retention to a lesser degree. White flour products seem to give me worse complexion, lessen my energy and cause my eyes to become dull-looking, although it is tempting to eat those since I've found some that don't cause allergy symptoms and are effective in helping to keep me feeling full.
My stomach bloats and becomes quite flat again according to what I eat. Often this seems linked to gas. I haven't found the primary culprits yet but I'm fairly certain that the things on the above 'to eat' list are safe.
Starchy foods seem to be very addictive and probably the cause of much of the bloatedness and lack of energy. These foods include: pasta, bread, rice, rice cakes, bread, pastries, chickpea bread, potatoes, sweet potatoes, root vegetables (beetroots, parsnips), oats, quinoa, etc. I seem to get bloated quickly (face and/or belly) after eating these foods. I have been reading about starch-free diets, and the general message is that they are very difficult (and perhaps not advicable) to implement, but low-starch diets are easier and work well for many people. Such approach is to eat only a small amount of starch at midday and/or breakfast meals, ideally none at dinner. Starches have been staple foods in various different types of human diets for eons. They are quick to digest and provide a fast source of energy. However, they can also spike up the blood sugar as they get converted to sugars quickly, and they can also cause fermentation and dysbiosis in the gut. Starch limitation has especially been adviced to those with IBS.
Quick water weight loss can be achieved on a diet where starch is restricted, simple sugars are eliminated, and plenty of water is taken through the day, according to many reports. I will test this approach going forward.
White rice may be ok, as a transition food away from allergy causing ones, as it doesn't seem to cause allergy symptoms. It is easy to overeat, however, so is another food which is testing of self-discpline. A small portion the size of the palm of your hand eaten for lunch is recommended.
Food combination. I have been trying to avoid worrying about this topic... but it does make sense that certain foods should not be taken together. I tend to make smoothies with a lot of berries and some source of protein and/or fat. I often feel a bit nauseous afterwards and have begun to avoid smoothies as a result. I will test an approach where I make separate smoothies for fruit and berries (and perhaps greens), and separate ones for protein and fat. Green smoothies can be mixed with nuts and seeds, as well as maybe algae. As far as I understand, lemon can be mixed with anything so will add that to the green smoothies.
Following the food combination rules will allow me to make simpler meals as well, saving time in the kitchen. For example: oven-roasted pumpkin on its own with herbs and spices; or: kidney beans with herbs and spices; hummus with greens; green salad with fruit; nuts and seeds as a snack; lentil soup; small portion of rice with steamed vegetables. There are some dishes which don't follow food combining rules but seem to suit me well: e.g. raw crackers made with nuts and seeds, topped with pineapple, greens, olive oil, and salt. Perhaps the starch is the main problem or perhaps a small amount of fruit with protein is ok.
I now believe that it's possible that the tiredness I began feeling many years ago, which was the main reason why I began my health journey, was primarily due to food intolerances and allergies. Of course my lifestyle needed changing too. However, one consistent reaction to most allergenic foods I eat seems to be instant sleepiness and tiredness. To some extent it seems that taking GABA not only eliminates the symptoms of anxiety and fast heartbeat but also the tiredness, fairly quickly.
I'm still chasing and trying to realise my perfect raw food diet. It would be easy if I had plenty of time and money but everyday life doesn't allow for those luxuries now. I keep taking baby steps however and have a lot of hope for finding my perfect lifestyle in terms of food in the near future. I feel like I have not far to go. It's just a matter of ramping up my self-discipline a bit and coming up with some clever solutions to everyday shopping, food-prep and eating. And then life will go swimmingly ever after.Water Fasting Summary `
Ulla is the Editor of Cheap Health Revolution, covering natural remedies and health solutions.