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


zippy890 said...


I do not pretend to know how to advise you. However, I do know the distress of breaking a fast and not doing well. I'm very glad to hear that Day 8 seemed better !

You might want to consider using Alka-Seltzer Gold (or better still Ecological Formulas Tri-Salts + baking soda, mixed about 2/1). This could "buffer" your system while you are trying to readjust to feeding. Just plain ole baking soda ~ 1/4th teaspoon in 3oz of water, about 40 minutes after a bothersome meal/food could represent a good probing action, to see if this has any potential to help you. It may be that you just need a temporary helping hand as your body readjusts.

When I was at a low point, I was able to use the above trick to decrease my body's reactivity to foods (and chemicals) so that I could EAT. It was not the total answer for me. But it was one tool in the tool box that assisted me out of a tough spot, I believe.

Just a thought.

Keep leaning forward,

Esmee La Fleur said...

Thank you, Zip. That is a very interesting suggestion. I don't really want to put any artificial sodium (bicarbonate) in my body because I feel that getting the excess sodium (chloride) out of my cells has been one of the major benefits of this fast. However, I do wonder if the celery juice I drink might act in a similar way to help alkalize the body, as I almost always feel better after having some. I will take a look at the Alka-Seltzer Gold though and see exactly what is in it. I love your ideas as always. Esmée

Anonymous said...

Hello and RS to a "continuing to recover", determined and grateful young woman :)

Sorry to hear of your miseries, but very happy that everything seems to be going better now!! I wonder if you felt miserable after that one time of eating when you were not really hungry?? Our mental state does affect how we digest and assimilate our food also.
Take care and please continue to keep us informed :) Love ya...Mom

Thea said...

I think maybe you should try some picked pigs feet jelly and mock turtle soup (what the heck is that?). It is so odd.. what different people can and do eat and feel just fine.

Alka Seltzer Gold used to be a stand by for me.. it can be hard to find so you might want to order on line. I use Perfect PH by Life Science Products and Ecological Formulas Tri-salts.

And hot sauce is supposed to kill parasites.. you likely know that is why folks in third world countries use hot peppers so much.

I have not found the answers either.. we just keep forging forward.

The Light of God surrounds you, the Love of God enfolds you, wherever you are God is, and all is well.


Ben said...

Hi. I'm going to write what I am thinking upon reading your posts and the difficulties you are having. Please take these thoughts as the mere opinions there are.

First of all, I doubt very much that the black pepper contraption you ate from days ago has anything whatsoever to do with your current malaise.
Second of all, I cannot in a million years imagine drinking quarts and quarts of celery juice following a fast. I don't know what "steamed vegetables" means exactly, but obviously it isn't working for you... and... blueberries and lettuce are. So, eat more blueberries.
From an objective point of view, your body needs calories to recover, rebuild, etc. I would not recommend continuing with a diet that is sparse on calories. If you don't want to eat fruit, then you are going to need to eat cooked starches or high fat foods.
And, if you cannot get your recovery happening to your satisfaction, please put yourself under a doctor's care (either in person or via telephone) and do what they tell you to do.

I wish you the very best and want you to have the optimal health you so much desire. Take care.

Esmee La Fleur said...

Thank you for your input, Ben, I appreciate your concern. What I have learned over the past 15 years is that people who do not have bizaar reactions to foods or spices are completely unable to understand that such reactions are even possible. As I said in an earlier post, I don't need to go on a fast to experience this type of reaction. After I had been stabilized on goat yogurt and raspberries for over 6 months (5 years ago), I decided to try 1 ounce of fresh wheat grrass juice. It shut my digestive system down for two weeks, and my heart rate was over 100 beats per minute that entire time. I was completely incapacitated. This is but one example of many that I have experienced. Garlic has shut my digestive system down repeatedly in the past. Basically, it was just plain stupid of me to try the soup at TNH. I have been to many doctors, both conventional and alternative, over the past 15 years and none of them have been able to figure out what is going on. One arrogant phycisian even decided that I had anorexia nervosa and referred me to a psychiatrist because he, too, "doubted very much that [a food or spice]...could have anything whatsoever to do with my current malaise." And when doctors don't understand, it must obviously be in the patient's head, right? Therefore, I have been repeatly thrown back on my own resources, and so I can only go by what works and what doesn't. Drinking 16 ounces of celery juice 4 times a day feels good to me. I totally agree with you that I need calories, but if I push my body too much when it is already unhappy, I know from experience that I will only make things worse. I think the problems I am experiencing with re-feeding are due entirely to the fact that I injested something that messed up the "programmimg" in my body and now everything I eat is problematic to some degree. I had a fairly good day yesterday, so I am hopeful that I will not need to go back on another short water-only fast to "reset" my body. I know that you mean well and that you have offered your perspective because you care. Please forgive me if I have sounded harsh in my response, but you have hit on a tender point. I am gratefully yours, Esmée

Ben said...

Hi Esmee,

No you don't sound harsh. I almost didn't post because it's really none of my business.
It's hard for me to imagine pepper causing such harm, because I am blessed with a gut that ignores most insults. Point well made and received.
What I meant by doctor was one well versed in fasting and well versed in your specifics. Perhaps no such doctor exists.
When I put myself in your shoes, I imagine finding a food with calories that I tolerate well, one with decent nutritional density, and eating only that food, and as much of it as is possible. But that's drawing on experience with my body (not yours).
I wish you the best of luck in your journey.

Anonymous said...


Just a guess, but could it be that
the transition off a fast is easier
if you stay on ketogenic type foods?

That may be the common denominator
between your previous post-fasting paleo diet and the historical
fasting cases you cited.

For example you could have your goat yogurt,
cream, vegetables, etc... just no fruit and
try to keep your carbs low enough to stay
in ketosis. (maybe 50-70 grams).

Then once your metabolism is back
up in a few weeks you could switch over
to carbs. Although some, like nora gedgaudas
I think, advocate keeping carbs permanently low.

Thanks for the inspiring journey.

Esmee La Fleur said...

Thank you , Anonymous, for your ideas. You make a good observation. I have thought about this, too, but it is difficult to do without adding animal products back inot my diet, which I am not willing to do at this point. I have been doing much better the last 2 days with the inclusion of buckwheat, so I feel confident that my body is working things out. I sincerely appreciate your suggestions, however, and your input is always welcome. Blessings, Esmée

Alicia said...

Hi Esmee,
Your experience is very interesting. One thing I'm learning along my journey is not everything is about the physical. Sometimes deep rooted beliefs, emotions, fears etc. play a big part in how we heal or don't heal. I'm discovering a whole lot about my self limiting beliefs and how they're related to my healing & success. It's been eye opening.
I know if you keep searching and are open, you'll be led to the answers and solutions you desire.
Wishing all the best for you.
Much love,

Esmee La Fleur said...

Hi Alicia, I agree that this journey is not all about the physical. I learned that 6 years ago when I couldn't eat anything, surrendered myself into God's hands, and the very next day had a new found ability to eat goat yogurt and raspberries. I will never forget that experience. I must take the time for prayer and inner work and ask for guidance. Thank you for the reminder. Love, Esmée