Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fasting: Days 4-8

Fasting Preparations Wrap Up

Days 4 & 5 were that last days of my five-day preparation for the actual fasting. I fudged a little on the raw food diet when I went to lunch with some friends and ate some vegetarian dishes with only cooked vegetables in them, and also when I ate some sprouted wheat and zucchini in spaghetti sauce which had been heated in a microwave. I figured these were OK exceptions since they had no dairy or meat in them. For my last meal, I ate some Chinese-style vegetables which were extremely satisfying and delicious. I've included the recipe below. My weight loss leveled out on these last two days.

The Actual Fasting

Friday was the first day of fasting and it went pretty normally. I didn't have any food or drink until I had been at it for 24 hours. I fast like this at least once per month and I didn't experience any discomfort. The only sad thing was that there was a big party at work on Friday afternoon with lots of delicious food and I had to go home without having any. L

Saturday was an interesting day. I began drinking plenty and I felt good enough to take part in a couple of projects. The first project was to help a neighbor move out of his apartment. That was pretty light work that lasted about an hour. Of course, my neighbor brought donuts for everyone to enjoy. That was sad, but I let my son eat mine. He ended up feeling sick later because he ate three! My next project was much more taxing. I spent five hours with my son refinishing a friend's garage door outside on a hot day. It was a very strenuous tasks, but I still felt up to it in spite of not having eaten for over 36 hours. On Saturday night, I started to feel my first discomfort in the form of heartburn and a little dizziness. This is similar to what I felt last time.

Today, Sunday, I felt pretty tired. It's not a sleepy, worn out, kind of tired, but rather like the energy pathways to my muscles are constricted. I've been maintaining my morning exercise routine as an experiment and I have not noticed any weakness, just this odd sensation of wanting to lie down all the time. Anyway, I went to church with my family and felt good enough to attend all the meeting and enjoy them. I started drinking an herbal drink for use during fasting and that seems to help a little with how I feel. (Recipe below) I've been at this now for about 71 hours. I definitely want to continue another day and see how hard this is to take at work. I'm a little worried about how this will affect my performance, but I haven't felt any degradation in my thinking abilities. (Hopefully evidenced by this blog entry. :) )

Other Obervations

I started tasting ketones in my mouth on Saturday morning and this flavor has been increasing through today. It is not very pleasant by it is tolerable. As I expected, I have had no hunger pains at all. All I have had is the light sensation of an empty stomach that comes and goes, and I don't feel it very often. I attribute this to the five days of preparing by switching to raw foods. I've felt a little minor light-headedness on the third day of fasting. My weight has also been plummeting. I have been losing about 2-3 lbs per day during the fasting.


Chinese-style vegetables, lightly cooked.
1 onion
2-4 cloves of garlic
2 small zucchini
1 Bell Pepper
1 Large head of Broccoli
1 C sprouted wheat
Olive Oil
Vegetable Bullion

½ C Soy Sauce
½ C Rice Vinnegar
Thumb-sized chunk of Ginger
2 T brown sugar

Make the sauce by mincing the ginger and stirring all the sauce ingredients together in a small bowl. This will go on top of the vegetables later.

Dice the onion into large chunks. Mince the garlic. Set these aside in a small bowl. Cut the vegetables into bite-sized pieces. Dissolve the vegetable bullion in ½ Cup of hot water. Heat 3 T of olive oil in a wok on high heat. When the oil starts to smoke, add the onions and garlic and stir for 30 seconds, then add the rest of the vegetables and stir for 1 minute. Then add the vegetable bullion and cook for another 30 seconds or so. The onions will be clear, but everything else will be lightly cooked. Servers 2-4 depending on if you eat anything else with it.

Herbal Drink Recipe
8 cups of water
4 teaspoons each of cumin and coriander powder
8 cardamom pods
4 teaspoons of crushed fennel seeds
2 pinches of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder (or 3 slices fresh ginger)

Mix all ingredients in a pan and bring to a boil. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from heat and keep covered for another 15-20 minutes. Strain through a sieve and drink it warm throughout the day.

Floyd landis everyscape cown king az ruben studdard wedding mike gallagher fairfax cryobank sweetwater casino rock band 2 deven trabosh angel food ministries

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

15-Day Gastronomical Reset

OK, I’m starting up a five-day fast and I’m going to blog about it here.


I’ve been interested in so-called “cleansing fasts” for the past few years.  While some aspects of them seem a little extreme to me, I think there is some potential in the practice to improve health and spirit.   This journey started a few years ago when I did a three-day fast as a trial.  The experience lasted nine days- I switched to raw food for three days first, water fasted for three days and then went back to raw foods for three days.   Amazingly, I never felt hungry during the three days without food and the overall experience was very good.  


I wanted to try a longer fast, but my biggest obstacle was time.  With wind-up ad wind-down time, a 5-day fast requires a little more than two weeks of altered eating habits.  (Not to mention that I’ve also been a little nervous about going without food for five days.)  But now I’ve blocked out some time and screwed up my courage and I’ve begun my 15-day journey.  I really don’t like the term “Master Cleanse”, as is popularly applied to fasts like this.  I like thinking about it more in terms of just resetting my body to like foods that are good for it.


So anyway, I’ve already started and I am now in day 3 of the whole process.  The overall plan looks like this:


Days 1-5 (Sunday – Thursday) – Switch to (mainly) raw foods, cut out all meat and dairy.  I hear this is to make my diet more “Alkaline”.  I don’t know anything about that, but I feel it is pleasing to God that to generally avoid consuming meat, so going all vegetable with emphasis on fruits and grains seems like a good idea. 


Days 6-10 (Friday – Tuesday) – Water fasting.  I will be consuming only water that is tinged with lemon juice (to make it more palatable and offer trace nutrients) and salt (to replace electrolytes).    I may also drink an herbal tea I’ve read about that Hindus use during long fasts.  I timed the fasting part specifically so that the 48 mark will happen on Saturday night.  I remember this being the toughest part of the fast and I want it to be at a time that will be the most convenient.


Days 11-15 (Wednesday – Monday)  - Back to natural foods.  I will start off with some vegetable broth, then the vegetable soup, then resume eating raw foods.  It has always been obvious to me that it is important to come off of a fast gradually.


Some people who do fasts like this also decide to give themselves enemas or natural laxitives to clean out the intenstines, but I’m reluctant to do that mostly because those things seem like man-made interventions and not very natural.  So, I’m just going to let my body figure out what it needs to do.


The experience so far


Just on the raw food diet, I’ve seen my weight drop about 3 pounds.  (My BMI is around 23.4, the high end of healthy.)  I’ve felt a little bit light headed on occasion, but I am not noticing any other side effects.   The raw foods at this point are not very satisfying.  I am hoping that will change as I figure out what to eat and my body chemistry adjusts.   I made a list of raw foods I wanted my wife to get for me from the store and it all sounded very delicious to me. 


I took my daughter to a ball game last night and I ate some popcorn, which was pretty much the only vegetarian thing on the menu.  It tasted bad. 




The bulk of what I am eating is spouted wheat.  Here is how to make it:  Soak one cup of wheat submerged in two cups of water for about 10 hours.  Drain and cover with a wet paper towel.  Rinse every 8 hours until the roots are about ¼ inch long. (About 2 days total)    The result is little sprouted wheat berries that have a good texture and slightly sweet and pleasant taste, though a bit bland.    I am also eating raw rolled oats and lots of fruits and vegetables.  


Here are some inventions that I have tried that I like enough to try again:


Oats and millet cereal

1 cup of rolled oats

¼ C millet

1 banana (chopped)

1 T brown sugar

1/8 C chopped walnuts


Mix together with enough water to get the texture you like.  I was surprised by how good this tastes, and it is very satisfying.   I’ve been eating raw oats for a while and they taste a lot better than one would think.  The millet adds a pleasant texture and nutty flavor.  I’ve tried sprouted wheat in this mixture, but didn’t like it so much.  Serves 1.


Sprouted Wheat Stir-Fry

1 or 2 C Sprouted wheat

¼ Bell Pepper

2 green onions

1/8 Purple onion

1 small carrot

1 stick celery

4-5 cilantro leaves

1 clove garlic

¼ t salt

½ medium tomato

2 T Olive oil


This is delicious! Put the wheat in a small bowl.  Chop up the remaining ingredients and add everything except the tomato to the wheat and mix it together.  Heat 2 T olive oil in a frying pan on medium high.  FRY FOR ONLY 30 SECONDS.  You don’t want to cook the food- just heat it up to release the flavors and make it pleasant to eat.  Mix in the tomatoes and remove from heat.   You can mix and match vegetables, but the important ingredients to keep are the garlic, onion, and cilantro.  Serves 1.  







Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Isaiah 37: The Lord Delivers!

Chapter 37 of Isaiah breaks down into the following narrative:


-          Hezekiah, upon hearing the challenge of the Assyrian invaders and realizing that this a critical moment for Israel, goes to Isaiah for his counsel because he is a prophet

-          Isaiah prophesies that the generals will depart on a rumor and that the king of Assyria will be murdered.

-          Rapshakeh, the Assyrian general, does indeed leave on the rumor of an Ethiopian invasion, and on his way out, he sends a parting letter to Hezekiah, saying essentially, “Don’t get your hopes up, because we’ve wiped out everyone in our path, and you are no different.”

-          Hezekiah takes the letter to the temple and makes a very firm and faithful plea to the Lord for deliverance.

-          Isaiah delivers the Lord’s reply.  The Lord says that Assyria is powerful only because he made it so, strengthening them and while weakening their enemies.  But their delusions of grandeur and blasphemy will be their undoing- The Lord will lead them like an animal back to the stable.  Finally, the Lord fortells that in three years, the remnant of Israel will be back in the land unhindered.

-          An angel destroys 185,000 of the Assyrians and they leave.  Back in Assyria Sennacherib is murdered by his own sons in his idolatrous temple. 


This story from Isaiah is especially interesting because there is some independent historical verification of Hezekiah and the siege of Jerusalem.    The Assyrian account says that Hezekiah was “shut up like a caged bird”.  It also mentions the huge tribute paid by Hezekiah, and yet interestingly makes no mention of why Jerusalem was never taken.  The Egyptian account says that the Assyrian army had been infested with mice that destroyed their leather armor and other perishable gear, making them easy prey for attacking forces.  All three accounts verify or suggest that Jerusalem was not taken and I think all three mention that Sennacherib was murdered.


In reference to this account, I read the correspondence between Moroni and Pahoran in Alma 61.  Pahoran  says that God does not require the Nephites to submit to bondage, so they resist.    I think Hezekiah was following this same principle with the remnant of Israel.  Hezekiah did something that seemed very shocking to me when I first read it.  He took of the treasures of the temple to pay a tribute to the Assyrians!  But as I thought about it more, I realized that Hezekiah, as a steward, was doing everything in his power to secure the liberty of his people, even sacrificing their worldly wealth.    Hezekiah seems to understand, as almost none other, the difference between material treasures and the worth of souls.   Remember, he was the one who destroyed the brazen serpent, a priceless artifact from the days of Moses, because people were worshipping it. 


When Hezekiah had done literally everything he could to save his people, he knew he had the right to approach the Lord for the blessing.  I’m going to quote his prayer here for reference and I want to point out the incredible faith in it.  He isn’t pleading for some imagined rescue, he is calling upon his God with confidence that he will deliver:


15 And Hezekiah prayed unto the LORD, saying,

  16 O LORD of hosts, God of Israel, that dwellest between the cherubims, thou art the God, even thou alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth: thou hast made heaven and earth.

  17 Incline thine ear, O LORD, and hear; open thine eyes, O LORD, and see: and hear all the words of Sennacherib, which hath sent to reproach the living God.

  18 Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations, and their countries,

  19 And have cast their gods into the fire: for they were no gods, but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone: therefore they have destroyed them.

  20 Now therefore, O LORD our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that thou art the LORD, even thou only.


This is a lesson to me that I can rely on the Lord’s blessings only when I have put out my best effort first, then I can in confidence approach Him for help.


I didn’t know much about Hezekiah before embarking on this study of Isaiah, but the more I learn about him, the more I am impressed with the man.  What a great example of leadership, faith, wisdom, and courage.  May we all be faithful like Hezekiah.