7 day fast

Part of the annual Smart Drug Smarts Water Fast Week, I’ll be spending the next seven days with no food and no coffee (unless it gets unbearable, the I can have a cup of black Joe). Just water.

I’ll be chronicling the experience as part of a Nightly journal, updating it below:

Day One

Very Tolerable. I visited my parents for dinner water and realized how much food improves human interaction. A shared meal is a relationship ritual, a pleasant medium to help build bonds and spend quality time. If nothing else, you talk about the food. Could humans have civilization without lunch or dinner?

I’ll be writing this post very stream-of-consciousness, trying to capture the unedited state of my brain.

Day Two

Today was rough. Fortunately the hunger was manageable. Instead my brain was in a haze. I was spacing out throughout the day, trouble focusing, and my short-term memory was shot. I’m sure the lack of caffeine didn’t help either. Felt like I was performing at 30% efficiency.

Went for a long walk during my “lunch” break. It took a lot of will power not to just sit down somewhere and rest. I realized that this fast is a good practice for serious illness. If I get really sick, will I have the Will to fight the illness, get out of bed, exercise, and get back to living life? You never really know with things like that, but this is certainly good exercise for it.

Day Three

So much easier than day two. My liver was probably using the last of its glucose stores on day two, finally switching to ketosis around the end of the day. With Ketones feeding my energy-starved brain, I was ready to attack the day with full force.

I felt so much better. Sharp, focused. I had one pretty big bout of hunger around 12:30, but a cup of boiled water helped quell that. Otherwise I was my happy, focused self today.

I’m getting a lot of slack from people for doing this. Here are my three reasons:

  1. Immense health benefits. There is a growing body of research arguing that cancer is a metabolic disease. Meaning, what we eat, especially refined/processed sugars, feed the cancer cells. On the other hand, a fast and deep Ketotonic purge those mutated cells. In addition, fasting improves insulin sensitivity, reduces inflammation, strengthens the immune system, detoxifies the system (by burning toxic fat stores sitting in the system from years of unhealthy eating).
  2. Endurance. If I can put my body through really hard tests, then I’m much better prepared to handle challenges when life throws them at me. “Hard choices, hard life, easy choices, easy life.”
  3. Gratitude and humility. I want to explore my relationship with food. I want to appreciate it more. I want to appreciate what people suffering from famine and illness are experiencing. This is a humbling experience, reminding me of my mortality, putting me back in touch with my humanity.

Day Four

Felt extraordinary for the first half of the day, then when that lunchtime hunger kicked in, things started to go downhill. The hunger was manageable, but tough.

Walking back from work, a deep sadness was added to the hunger. I can’t eat for another three days. The first four days were tough enough, considering the latter three, it’s a daunting proposition.

But I have a soft bed waiting for me at the end of the day.

I signed up for this as an endurance test, and I’m getting exactly what I asked for.

Day Five

Much, much easier than yesterday. Funny how the odd days of this fast seem to go way smoother than even. Let’s hope that trend ends tomorrow.

I met a friend for coffee water before work. Being in a food place, I could smell the wonderful aroma of meat and eggs frying on a stove. One wiff and that smell brought me right back to my childhood, my dad frying up meat and leftovers with eggs for breakfast.

And I realized that food is nostalgia. It’s the memories formed around the meals we eat and the people we eat them with.

My grandfather isn’t alive anymore, but when I smelled a cup of coffee the other day, it brought me right back to my grandparents apartment. Me at ten years old, sitting in the kitchen, my grandpa making me a sandwich while the smell of his coffee percolating on the stove permeates through the apartment. A magical moment, brought back by a starved constitution smelling a familiar scent.

Food is more than fuel. It’s our evolutionary imperative, it’s the foundation of our civilization.

Day Six

Why am I doing this to myself? An ever-present hunger and a stubborn drive to fight it to the last minute. Day-after-day telling my body, “nope, sorry, no food today.”

Felt pretty crappy for the first half of the day. Some time in that period I realized, not many people choose to go without food for six days. If the richness of life is measured by unique experience, this is one of the most unique experiences a person can have. Your whole body changes, chemically, neurologically. You build resilience and rugged willpower. You start to look at the world from a completely different perspective. I’ll carry this experience for the rest of my life, likely to spend weeks mining it for insights about myself and the world around me.

As the fast nears its end, I will say that it has SUCKED. But like many of the most gratifying things about life, the struggle is what makes them so rewarding.

One more day.

(Updating in real time, so check back daily)

Originally published at vladdit.