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.  







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