Friday, February 4, 2011
Re-Feeding--Days 6, 7, and 8
Saint Blaise, Patron of Wild Animals
Today (February 3) is the Feast Day of Saint Blaise on the Catholic calendar. Saint Blaise was a physician who lived in the 300s (4 th Century) who was asked to serve the local Christian community in Armenia as a Bishop. There were many persecutions of Christians occurring during his time, and he was forced to flee into the wilderness in order to protect himself.
Unfortunately, his whereabouts were eventually discovered by the Governor's men. When they finally located him, he was living as a hermit in a cave. Those who came to arrest him were flabergasted to find wild animals of all types (vegetarian and carnivore) who were sick or injured hanging around his abode waiting to be healed by this good and generous man.
When Saint Blaise was being escorted back to the Governor, a woman with a young child knelt in front of him and ask him to heal her child who had a fish bone stuck in his throat. Saint Blaise quickly and easily extracted the bone from the child's throat, and many people with throat aliments have found healing through their prayers of petition to Saint Blaise.
I am surprised at the difficulties I am encountering in breaking this fast. With all of the other fasts I have done in the past (lasting between 2-3 weeks) I never had these kinds of problems. However, I was always in complete control of what I chose to eat because I was at home. The last fast I did 4 years ago was 18 days and I was on my raw paleo program of raw meat, olive oil, and raw greens, and those are the food I used to break my fast. I did not even have a juicer at the time. I just re-fed with a small size normal meal and had absolutely no problems whatsoever (I blended the greens though). Of course, I do not feel that the raw paleo diet is a healthy choice for the long term, and I don't like eating animals, so I don't intend to go back there. But it is interesting how much easier the re-feeding experience was with foods that you would think would be a lot more difficult for the body to process. I wonder if it wouldn't be better to just start re-feeding with a small balanced meal, instead of just fruit or just vegetables that leave one feeling hungry and dissatisfied and incline one to over eat them.
In Dr. Edward Hooker Dewey's book The No-Breakfast Plan, he presents several case histories of individuals who did long fasts and re-fed with the exact same foods they were eating before they went on the fast.
A 57 year old gentleman (Leonard Thress) who was dying from pneumonia in 1899 when he commenced his fast went without food for 50 days before he became hungry. His pneumonia and several other chronic health problems cleared up during the fast. When his hunger finally returned, he broke his fast with a a slice of whole wheat toast with butter and pickled pigs feet jelly. He enjoyed it and felt well afterwards. He did not eat again until the next day at which time he consumed a dish of mashed potatoes, red cabbage, another portion of pickled pigs feet jelly, applesauce, and a cream puff for dessert. He enjoy this meal and felt still better afterwards. His case was written up in the North American.
Another 54 year old gentleman (Milton Rathbun) did a 28 day fast in May of 1899 and a 35 day fast in January of 1900 for weight loss and cardiovascular health (we was 5'6" and weighed 210 at the start), working at his business the entire time of both fasts. When hunger finally returned after each period of abstinence, he recommenced eating with beef broth, followed by several oranges, followed by a dozen oysters on crackers (at night), followed by crackers and cream (in the morning), followed by clam broth, 6 steamed clams, a bowl of mock turtle soup, a half of a chicken, canned peas, fried potatoes, and a lemon ice for dessert (for lunch). From this point on he continued with his usual routine of The No-Breakfast Plan which he had followed for 5 years prior to either of his fasts. In the New York Press, he was quoted as saying that he never felt better in his life. He ended up losing a total of 85 lbs of superfluous fat.
A 22 year old woman (Estella Kuenzel) who had been diagnosed with severe depression in 1899 and was sent to an asylum was taken into the care of one Mr. Henry Ritter who believed a fast would be of considerable help to her. During the first three weeks of her fast she was completely bedridden, but after that she began to feel well enough to walk. During the last 23 days of her 45 day fast, she walked every day. On her 44 th day, she walked 7 miles and went to an all-day Exposition without experiencing the slightest fatigue. With every passing day of her fast, she became happier and brighter, "life became once more a joy instead of a burden." When her hunger finally returned on day 45, she broke her fast with one poached egg and two slices of whole wheat toast. This meal amply satisfied her for the day, and she did not get hungry until lunch the next day at which time she had the same meal again. She had a light dinner that second evening and from that point on continued with The No-Breakfast Plan. She weighed 140 lbs at the beginning of her fast and 120 lbs at the end of her fast, so she only lost 20 lbs during her 45 day fast. Her case was reported in the Chester County Times.
Don't these stories give you pause for thought?
On Day 6, all I had was celery juice all day and I started to feel a great deal better by the end of the day. I then had some steamed vegetables and still felt okay.
On Day 7, I woke up hungry and had a celery juice for breakfast. Got really hungry, did not eat anything, hunger went away after an hour or so, felt pretty good all morning. Intestinal inflammation much less and the pain in my lymph nodes below my ears was 50% less than the day before. I had a second celery juice at lunch and then decided to try some more steamed vegetables even though I wasn't really that hungry. I felt terrible almost immediately and for the next four hours. I had vegetable broth in the evening and felt hungry (probably more in my mind than my body) and decided to have some more steamed vegetables. I immediately got a headache and felt terrible. My reaction to the steamed vegetables today is really confusing to me since I seemed to do okay with them last night. I don't really think that the problem is the cooked vegetables per se but, rather, that my system has been thrown off balance by the garlic, black pepper, or something else that was in the food prepared at TNH, and now I am reacting to something that should be totally fine.
On Day 8, I felt like crap when I woke up. The pain in my intestines and lymph nodes is not any worse, but I have a lot of mucous in my throat and right sinus area, a general feeling of dis-ease in my head, a burning throat, and no real appetite. When I first came off this fast, I was doing brilliantly with the juice and steamed vegetables, but then I ate something that my body did not like at all (I think it was garlic, black pepper, or some other spice in one of the soups at TNH) and it seems to have shut down my digestive system even to the foods that were working originally. Its like throwing a wrench into some gears and preventing them from operating properly. When the gears are out of alignment, nothing works. I really don't want to have to go back on the fast, but it may be necessary to get my body back on track again.
I went ahead and had a celery juice in the morning and that felt okay and the mucous began to clear. At noon, I had another celery juice and that too felt okay, so I decided to try some Stahlbush frozen organic raw ripe blueberries. I did good with those, so then I had some romaine lettuce with some sweet ripe cherry tomatoes. I still felt okay after this and, in fact, started to feel much better in general. For dinner, I had another celery juice followed by blueberries and then I went out on a limb and had buckwheat with the lettuce and tomatoes. It has been several hours since I ate dinner and I am still feeling okay from it, and I feel considerably better than when I woke up this morning. Maybe I just need to eat mostly raw for now. I do feel like my digestive system is still off though, but I am hoping it will gradually work through it without my needing to stop eating altogether again.
Goodness is the only investment which never fails.
Henry David Thoreau