Thanks for sharing your experiences, Chiron. It is always fascinating to hear about the meeting of spirituality and the pursuit of physical health in a person's life. I am reminded of Gandhi whose entire life was a set of experiments with spirituality and with his physical body.
I am considering a 7-10 day fast later this month but am unsure. One of my problems is that I would not want to and would probably not be able to, much, work while fasting. And I get only a few weeks of leave in a year, so if I fast and refeed then, then I cannot do anything else, like go on a spiritual retreat (although a fast is itself a spiritual retreat, I feel). I have been wondering that people who do long fasts every few months either get leaves from work or are self-employed or do not need to work.
Fasting in the winter was not possible for me either, more than 1 or 2 days. I got very cold. Even though I am in India and it's not as cold as Canada, the indoors heating here isn't perfect and you get cold indoors even when not fasting unless you are dressed in warm clothes.
It is really interesting and strange that after my 7 day fast last month my body just does not want raw vegetables. Fruit is OK, but mostly I want soft, warm, juicy, maybe a little spicy food. This is quite the opposite of what I have been having for almost a year, and I thought I was listening to my body then too. Probably I am at a deeper level of awareness now, more in touch with my vata-ness, or maybe my vata has just aggravated after all the raw food.
My primary health concern now has also been diagnosed by an ayurvedic doctor as a vata illness - difficulty focusing my left eye, which the doctor said is caused by weakness of the optical nerve, and nerve diseases are caused by excessive vata.
These days I mostly eat vegetables cooked lightly in coconut or olive oil with a very small amount of cumin, turmeric, cayenne and Sea Salt . I combine it with brown rice. Grains are not supposed to be good but my body seems to like the brown rice. White rice and any other kind of refined grain feels hard to digest and sugary. People I work and live with cannot eat my food, they find it tasteless as compared to their salty, spicy, cheesy, oily food. On the other hand I am considering cutting down on the few spices I am using.
I've been eating a mostly sattvic diet for 10 years, and bland food goes well with me. My mind and body feel chaotic if I have eaten food with a lot of onion, garlic, chillies, etc.
As you rightly said, we have our own unique bodies and our own journeys to take.