On A Longer Fast

As I men­tioned in my Lenten 2015 post, I kicked things off with a 48 hour fast, my longest one yet. I had pre­vi­ously done a 24 and a 36 hour fast but most of the stud­ies out there point to the min­i­mum nec­es­sary as 48 hours (and the stem cell regen­er­a­tion stuff is say­ing at least 72). My last meal pre-fast was Tues­day night at around 9:30 after Mas­ter Nat­u­ral­ist class. Before start­ing, I did a lit­tle research on longer fasts and as with any­thing on the Inter­net, advice was con­flict­ing at best. This site seemed the most infor­ma­tive but also made it sound like fast­ing bestowed super human pow­ers on you. In my pre­vi­ous 36 hour fast, I did not turn into Super­man but after day 1, I did notice an increased abil­ity to focus up until about the time I ate. I don’t think this was observer bias since I wasn’t aware of the pos­si­ble benefits.

For this fast, day 1 was def­i­nitely the hard­est though noth­ing ter­ri­ble. I had my first tem­po­rary hunger pains around noon on Wednes­day. In my lim­ited expe­ri­ence, these are almost always minor and can be mit­i­gated with cof­fee and sub­stan­tial water. The more dif­fi­cult hunger hap­pens for me around 20–24 hours. In the arti­cle linked above, the author says this is your body try­ing to stay in home­osta­sis. This makes a lot of sense in our mod­ern world where for most of us (at least the ones read­ing my blog), hunger is a very abstract con­cept. Our bod­ies are used to eat­ing every 6 hours and when we miss a cou­ple of cycles, minor panic sets in at a nutri­tional level. But in the grand scheme of things, long term home­osta­sis with­out any stress to the sys­tem results in frailty. Think about sit­ting on your couch for a week. Your body doesn’t like that. There is some evi­dence that expo­sure to cold brings the body out of home­osta­sis and increases metab­o­lism. A reg­u­lar feed­ing cycle con­di­tions your body to never feel hunger and there­fore never acti­vate impor­tant mech­a­nisms like attack­ing free rad­i­cals which hap­pens dur­ing fasts. What I did to make the 20 hour hunger pains eas­ier was drink more water and imag­ine my body destroy­ing can­cer caus­ing free rad­i­cal cells. Obvi­ously this is likely a stretch but it helped with will power.

On day 2, I found it much eas­ier to ignore being on a fast. I was never actu­ally hun­gry in a phys­i­cal sense. What I did encounter was my brain try­ing to con­vince me to stuff some­thing in my mouth. Again, I think this was as much habit/homeostasis as any­thing. We have a cat that if you don’t feed her every 6 hours, she turns into a meow­ing kitchen timer. The thing is, she’s prob­a­bly 3 pounds over­weight and could go 4 days with­out food just fine. That’s what I thought about my brain on day 2. Of course, it didn’t help that some­one brought fresh fruit and donut holes for break­fast to work along with a work­ing lunch that would have included free sand­wiches if I had par­taken. Temp­ta­tions aside, the real strug­gle was just mak­ing the real­iza­tion that my hunger seemed to be largely psy­cho­log­i­cal men­tal panic and not true “I may die” hunger.

Mid­day, I started tak­ing half a tea­spoon of glu­t­a­mine in my water every 4 hours or so. This came on the rec­om­men­da­tion of the site linked above. I’m not sure if it helped but I’ll def­i­nitely use it more con­sis­tently on future fasts, espe­cially since I have 8 ounces of the stuff. He sug­gests daily use and I’ve heard other peo­ple talk about amino acid usage dur­ing inter­mit­tent fast­ing. I’ll prob­a­bly play around with it and report back.

My goal was a 48 hour fast but I was kind of hop­ing to make it 60 hours into Fri­day morn­ing. How­ever, even­tu­ally the men­tal hunger panic won out at the 47 hour mark. I ate pretty healthy start­ing out with an orange and then lean turkey. Hav­ing a lit­tle more expe­ri­ence with fast­ing helps avoid going crazy com­ing off of it. Not to men­tion, most sources say to go easy com­ing off longer fasts.

In the end, I didn’t achieve Super pow­ers. How­ever, I did notice that get­ting out of bed this morn­ing with only 6.5 hours of sleep was pretty easy. One of the sup­posed ben­e­fits of fast­ing is less sleep is nec­es­sary though that’s entirely anec­do­tal. I don’t have any­thing mea­sur­able at this point. I’m 45 days into a 90 day reset hop­ing to vastly improve my lipid pan­els so that will be the first mea­sur­able moment. The proof will be in the pud­ding. Now I want pudding.

Lent 2015

I don’t have a lot of tra­di­tions but Lent seems to be a con­sis­tent one that I uphold. For me it’s a jour­ney of both sac­ri­fice and growth. I give some­thing up to expe­ri­ence the sac­ri­fice inher­ent to the orig­i­nal Lent and I try to find some­thing cre­ative to do each day as a way […]

On Exporting Deflation

Return­ing to our char­ac­ters of a few weeks ago, we remem­ber that Bob and his coun­try had increased the sup­ply of waf­fles thus mak­ing the export of Bob’s organic grass-fed but­ter cheaper. This hap­pens because other coun­tries like Nigel’s can now get more waf­fles on the pas­try cur­rency mar­ket and can buy more of Bob’s […]

What I’ve Been Reading

Part of my morn­ing com­mute usu­ally involves catch­ing up on Twit­ter and most recently the finan­cial infor­ma­tion com­ing out of Zero Hedge along with a cou­ple of other sources from Maudlin Eco­nom­ics. Many of these arti­cles prob­a­bly don’t war­rant a full blog post but I thought I might start aggre­gat­ing them on Sun­day morn­ings with […]

On Maintenance And Repair

When I was a kid, not so many years ago geo­log­i­cally speak­ing, I found a .22 rifle in the barn at my grand­par­ents farm. It didn’t really work and it was hard for me to ascer­tain exactly why given my rudi­men­tary gun­smith skills as a 13 year old. But I didn’t have a .22 rifle […]

On Defining Goals

I recently read an arti­cle in Gar­den & Gun (an excel­lent mag­a­zine if you love the cul­ture of the South) on three women who returned to their fam­ily farm to make a liv­ing off what they could grow and cre­ate from their own labors. One of the women was a musi­cian who had strug­gled through […]

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Imag­ine if you will the fol­low­ing sce­nario: Nigel lives in the Land of Peo­ple with Below Aver­age Den­tal Hygiene (LOPWBADH). Bob lives in a neigh­bor­ing coun­try, the Land of Guns and Large Bor­der Fences (LOGALBF). Both Nigel and Bob own dairies. Nigel makes excep­tion­ally good clot­ted cream in his dairy while Bob makes organic grass […]

Easy Summer Breakfast

It’s the height of tomato sea­son around here and we’re over­whelmed with toma­toes. I may or may not have over­planted this year but I just picked a pound of yel­low pear toma­toes and there are more on the vines. With that kind of pro­duc­tion, you have to find inter­est­ing ways to eat more toma­toes. I […]

The Blood Moon and Inflation

Last night at around 3 AM I watched the blood moon eclipse from the back­yard. It was a fas­ci­nat­ing expe­ri­ence that felt pri­mal as if I were liv­ing 400 years ear­lier when an occur­rence of a total eclipse would have been some­thing peo­ple revered or even feared. Watch­ing the moon go dark would have been […]

Consistency Is Hard

One thing I’ve learned from try­ing to write every day for 40 odd days is that it’s very hard to do. Even if you aren’t par­tic­u­larly wor­ried about qual­ity (and it’s clear I’m not), doing any­thing other than eat­ing and breath­ing for 40 days in a row is dif­fi­cult. Other things get in the way […]