My Fasting Toolkit!
Water with a squeeze of lemon, some ACV, and dried turmeric slices. I'll refill this during the day on hotter days, and add more ACV. Normally, I only use 1-2 slices of lemon per day. On chilly days, I'll drink hot water all day, and add, alternatively, cinnamon, ginager, turmeric, lemon, and ACV.
Regarding salt: after my second EF of 7 days, and feeling like sh** for 3 days, I learned that I should be using a LOT more salt! I use Himalayan Pink salt. I don't like the taste of salt in my water, nor am I in the habit of using prodigious amounts on my food-- as a chef, I believe in using flavourful spices and a touch of salt to bring out flavours, rather than salt overwhelming everything-- so I rarely salt my food beyond what's called for in the preparation of a dish. To get the 1-2 tsps. required each day during an extended water fast, I just gulp down half-teaspoonfuls throughout the day, and chase them with a few swallows of water, then I am back to tea.
I keep a cup of liquid in my hand and drink it throughout the day, so I know I am getting plenty of fluids.
During both my EFs of 5 days and then 7 days, I was also terribly fatigued. This is where salt comes into play. I learned that sodium is what keeps fatigue away. On day 3 and 4 of my last fast, I basically stayed in bed. Finally got advice on salt, and added a teaspoon into my regimen on Day 5, and noticed marked improvement on Day 6. It was a peculiar feeling to notice the differential in energy that slowly increased throughout the day; I actually started feeling quite energetic! Unfortunately, I still ended my fast on Day 7, because on Day 5, felt so crappy I just wanted to survive through Day 7 to have a week-long fast notched into my belt. I actually could have continued to fast beyond Day 7, because the hunger was manageable both psychologically and physically after Day 3 that time around, and I solved the low-energy problem.
I discovered my Go-To Electrolyte mix when I was attending 2-3 Bikram Yoga classes each week and getting horrible dehydration headaches! It's not overpriced like so many of the faddish electrolyte replacement mixes are now ($40 for electrolyte salts, are you FKM!!). $10 for a box of 20 and I'll only use 1 per day, if even that. Only on days I'm feeling really run down. Yes, one pack has 10 kcals from maltodextrin, but during a week-long fast, I have only used 2-3 packs, at most!
I start of my day with some hot lemon water in the morning (good for digestion according to TCM and Ayurveda), and then switch over to tea. I'll have one or two cups of black tea each day, at most. During my studies of Ayurvedic Medicine and TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), I've learned about the healing powers of many herbs and spices, so I add spices and herbs to boiling water to make "tea": cinnamon, cardamom, cayenne, lemon juice, nettles, ginger, turmeric, fennel.
During an EF water fast, I can't drink bone broth or coffee or HWC (Heavy Whipping Cream) in coffee or excessive amounts of tea due to the fact that the calories and caffeine spike my insulin and create hunger, which I have found unbearable during my longer fasts (and the calories inhibit autophagy anyway). During my first fast, which lasted 5 days, I had just started reading Dr. Fung's books and discovered thefastingmethod.com, and thought using bone broth and coffee would help me. Unfortunately, I discovered the opposite: they do not work for me, though they are great tools for many others! The calories and caffeine (caffeine spikes cortisol, which then spikes insulin, which then spikes ghrelin, the gremlin that increases appetite) made me famished and irritable from the constant and painful rumblings in my tummy! Plus, I found myself using HWC in my coffee and drinking coffee all day long, which was just a substitute for eating, so I really wasn't fasting after all, just drinking 500 kcals of HWC each day!! The hunger was so uncomfortable, I ended my fast after Day 5.
This time around, on my third EF, I expect everything to be easier...at least physically! I know I can survive the initial hunger pains that are most strongly felt Day 1-3, and I'll take enough salt to prevent fatigue. All I have to do is face the emotional insanity that surfaces, and this time, I have a plan to address those issues! My goal is to complete at least 10 days, but I think I might finally be able to make it to the elusive 21-day mark, if not 14! And at any rate, I plan to address the emotional challenges I've faced the last few weeks during and after my last 7-day fast, related to fasting and eating, so that the times I spend rebuilding (eating) between periods of healing (fasting), will also be easier!
I can do it!
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surprised it is 2020! Holy crap when did that happen!