Saturday, March 10, 2007

Spring Cleaning - Day 1

Today's the first day of what I intend to be a 21-day fast. In the past few years I've been doing one or two fasts annually. This is the first year that I am committing to a full schedule of seasonal fasting, which means 4x per year—March, June, September, and December. The March and September fasts—Spring and Fall—are the most important and the Spring fast is the most important of all, hence the longest. Probably my Summer and Winter fasts will be three to five days long. In the Autumn, I'll do a ten-day fast.

Conflicting information abounds when it comes to the subject of fasting. Some authorities claim that it's highly dangerous, others will claim that it will cure everything under the sun. The ways and means of fasting are also a matter of contention. I only know what has worked for me and what makes me comfortable. Each time I fast, I stick to what I know, but I'm always learning as much as I can and making adjustments accordingly.

Almost every source will recommend a pre-fast for a day or two, whereby you eat only fruit and vegetables. Again, some will say this and some will say that. What I did yesterday was to eat only fruit in the morning and vegetables in the evening. So sum total, yesterday I had: a banana, some blueberries, some strawberries, a plum, lots of grapes and some freshly squeezed oj. For lunch I had half a bag of baby carrots. In the evening I had a decent-sized salad with mixed greens (mostly romain and butter lettuce), tomato, green beens, carrots, corn, red cabbage, radish and red onion. I did succumb to the bread and butter, but I didn't feel even the slightest bit guilty about it. I was at a restaurant watching my friend devour a shrimp and scallop crepe with wild mushrooms and tomato sauce. So I had a bit of bread. So what?

Today was Day 1 of the Master Cleanse portion of this venture: grade B maple syrup, fresh squeezed lemon juice, steam distilled water, and cayenne pepper. The idea is to drink half my weight in ounces each day. For me that's 64 oz. I can also have a cup or two of herbal tea. Today I didn't care for it, so I didn't have any although I will be drinking an herbal laxative every night during the liquid portion of the fast. That's it for the several days.

I'm not the slightest bit hungry today, although I do have a raging headache. Some people will suffer discomfort in the form of headaches and other complaints, such as cold-like symptoms, during the first portion of the cleanse. This is due to the process of detoxification. I have never suffered any of that. Unfortunately my headache started three days ago, even before my one-day pre-fast, so it has nothing to do with the fasting. I think it's mainly sinus pressure and also the stress of the past few months. I thought about holding off for a couple days, but I decided to stick to my original plan. This is an opportunity to put my money where my mouth is. I think the fast will actually help heal my sinuses. One reason they got inflamed is I haven't been drinking enough water lately. During the fast I'll be very well hydrated. Also since my system will, in effect, be resting, my body can turn its attention to taking care of any ailments in the works.

Unlike Beyonce, I'm not doing this to lose weight, though probably I will shed the elusive one or two pounds that keeps me from being able to wear a couple things in my wardrobe. Again, some sternly warn that exercise is a no-no during a fast. I have found that the Master Cleanse leaves me more than enough energy to do a light-to-moderate workout. For example, three days into my Spring fast last year, I joined my group in a 5-6 mile run. I had no problems whatsoever. But you have to know your body. A day prior to that, I had to walk about 20 blocks in the rain, and I felt very faint and shaky. My gut feeling is that running isn't the best option, but like I said, that day I was raring to go. I plan on doing lots of yoga and stretching and some moderate cardio such as biking and walking. I believe the activity is not only good but essential.

I'm also seeking a spiritual and mental focus and will be using this time to read inspirational material, bolster my meditation and prayer practices and study more about energy/healing modalities. I look forward to these fasts, just as I look forward to breaking them when I've reached my goal. Right now I've got 20 days to go, and I feel great about it.


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