I thought I would make this post as I wouldn't like any of our brethren in humanity to suffer.
As some will know - I am an avid faster and believe in its efficacy whole-heartedly but I want everyone to be aware of the following before they embark on their own fasting journey - as it could be life saving.
I still am pro-fasting... but I am urging others to be more cautious and not as gun-ho and throw so much caution to the wind, as I had.
To put this in context: (many will already know so pardon the repetitiveness - skip if you've heard this!)
I have alternate- day fasted for over 6 years.
I have done several 2-3 week fruit fasts
I have done countless 3-4 day fasts
I have done several 8-12 day water fasts
I genuinely believe fasting is good for the body.
I eat clean organic food, limited grains very rarely meat - maybe at the uppermost limit - twice a month, mostly fish, egg and broth on rare occasions. I ate lots of fat and plants.
August this year I did a 10 day fast, with some significant detox.
35-40 days later I did a 30 day fast with the aims to shrink ovarian cysts. There was only extreme minor shrinkage of the cysts - as much as the previous 10 day fast.
WHY? I think I know the answer (and God knows best!)...
NOW - here is my warning/ caution!!
I don't care what any textbook, fasting expert says: MY 30 DAY FASTING DID NOT DISCRIMINATELY EAT ONLY BODILY DEBRIS! Autolysation DID NOT OCCURE! IT ATE MY muscles! I am living proof that this can happen - if the conditions are primed to do so.
Prior to fasting I was lean and muscular and was quite fit running 3 times a week, sometimes twice daily, and doing aerobics. Now look like a recovering anorexic. My muslces, including my organs, (some vital, like the heart) were depleted. I was decomposing inside out - and smelled worse.
And now I know why... Please apply this to your own fasts.
I usually ate limited protein, as I have seen too many suffer from acidic issues, and uric acid causing a tremendous amount of health issues (cancer, gout, kidney issues, joint pain... yada yada yada).
My protein levels after the august 10 day fast were obviously very low. I kept to 95% plants during my re-feeding after the 10 day fast, and then fasted again for 30 days - in suit with almost all of the fasting literatures advice.
In my 30 day fast my body cannibalised muscle, fat, (and most likely my poor braincells lol) and anything it could get its appetite on until - little did I know - but I was pretty close to the end (according to those around me). But I was unable to see this, until after I ended the fast. I went from 51.8 kg to 40 kg, BMI 14 skin and bones, painful to sit and clothes would rub my bones and hurt me. Frightening to look at.
I was in starvation - I wasn't fasting! I didn't have the protein nor fat reserves to fast! My body had to eat muscle to survive. and so it did.
Lets not be arrogant NO specialist/scientist/doctor or any expert have figured out the human body completely and what it can and cannot do. Lets be humble and submit that we DONT have all the answers and the body is far more complex than we can imagine. We cannot simply look at a frog autolysing its tail, or bears hibernating in winter, or horses gaining lean muscle from grass. We don't have rumans, we aren't amphibious, nor can we endure our own winter-coma. We are a different species. If I am in a fight with someone, I cannot automatically, defensively drop my extremities off and hope that one will grow back because Im not a lizard. I'm limited to my human ability.
I have had terrible re-feeeding symptoms, It wasn't until I spoke with my doctor recently that I was able to remedy the issue. I was on a purely plant based diet - which only make things WORSE - much to my surprise!
She has worked in Africa with starving children and had to re-feed many starved/malnourished individuals and knows very well the signs of HYPOPROTEINEMIA (CHRONIC PROTEIN DEFICIENCY)
-body will not accept food and rejects everything via the bowels
-no digestion, insufficient digestive enzymes
-inability to sleep
-constant snacking to compensate for lack of protein
-edemea/swelling of face, ankles
-muscle/joint pain and weakness
-low blood pressure
-nervous system issues
These are but SOME of the symptoms. There are more, and much more serious at that! The only thing that is abating these awful sensations - much to my surprise, IS PROTEIN! I thought my body wouldn't be ready, I thought of all things it would be too heavy to digest, I thought it would only make swelling, pain, increased bowel motions, all much worse... I wasn't even remotely interested in proteins, I was happy (and simultaneously suffering) on my plants... but it is protein that is getting me out of this little hole I find myself in.
I have been trawling the internet for info to help me with my symptoms and to move me through this process (nutrition sites, health sites, dietician, alternative, bodybuilding, EVERYTHING!), and despite not having an eating disorder, the only sites that actually describe all that I am experiencing is Anorexia re-feeding literature... And it doesn't paint the same pretty "cleansing and healing picture" as Purposeful Water Fasting does. It talks about damage and repair happening when one slowly started the painful and difficult path of re-feeding. It is really not a nice thing. I was fitter, and felt healthier after all the shorter fasts, most certainly before the 30 day fast.
It will take a very long time before I will be back to my old self. Many months, 6 months being on the lesser side, a year if the damage I have cause is severe. Sure I am growing all new, less toxic, undamaged cells. But shorter fasts could have also done that... so could have my continuous alternate day fasting.
So the take home message is:
-Fasting by the books isn't going to work for everyone - I don't think Shelton has every single answer... Just a good starting point and lots of food for thought.
-Don't bind follow those who say fasting at low body weight is A-OK - its not. Your body cannot support your nutritional deficit like someone of normal weight. Your only just scraping by in a sense.
-Check your nutrition prior to your fast. Plant-based diets may not be adequate in some cases, or you may need to build your proteins up over a longer re-feed interval.
-Re-feeding on plant based diet can actually exasperate your re-feeding symptoms, making you experience more pain and suffering - its not about just healthy gut flora... If you have insufficient proteins all the fantastic flora in the world won't help you, you NEED the protein for your body to do the work or it will just plain spit it out and all the money you just spent of sourcing the finest organic ingredients to rebuild your cells upon will literally end up down the drain.
-non-soy plant proteins are going to take a considerably longer time than non-plant proteins to restore ones body - as much as that is disliked by many - its a cold hard fact.
-DO NOT TAKE DESCRIMATERTY AUTOLYSATION OF BODILY DEBRIS as a COLD HARD FACT! my body is proof. I cannibalised to SURVIVE, and only scraped by. It will eat its self if it needs to, It will eat its own heart! its own brain!... don't be fooled, your body will do whatever it can to protect its-self - which means when you re-feed, no matter WHAT you do it will leave your extremities skin and bones with a thin layer of fat, and pile on lots of fat onto the trunk/abdomen to protect its organs and will do so until it trusts that you won't starve it again. That could be years. And any exercise could potentially scare it even more to grab onto that torso fat as it anticipates stress... you will look like the emaciated children of third-world countries, or better yet, pregnant! stick limbs and a bloated unevenly fat distributed body. Thank God I only have a mild version of this but I can get worse. So much for fit, active healthy lifestyle... Now I have to eat more than I would like and exercise much less than I would like.
-Listen to those who know you and your body well... inside a Water Fast you cannot see yourself the way you really are... As soon as you break your fast, everything becomes clear and you can see what state your body is REALLY in. So trust those that love you, they can see you better at that point sometimes
so much more but the post is already so long.
I do secretly still love the 30 day fast and would never rule out doing another one... I would still love the shorter ones, in a heartbeat. But one has to be very very knowledgeable about where exactly their body is at. I would have considered myself one of the most healthy-eating individuals I know. I would have considered myself strong, fit and active... but that fast has set me back a very very looooong way.
Peace and Pineapples to all
Just my large 2c in hopes to help all on this path!