I’m alive

Here I am dancing at the Walk to Cure Arthritis, all relieved that my site is secure!

I realize I left you all hanging after my 3-day fast even though I promised an update on how I’m feeling. Sorry about that. Let me explain…

As a new blogger, things were brought to my attention that I naively was unaware of: site security, data back-ups, and the prospect of hackers gaining access to my site and holding it hostage for money. I have to laugh at someone thinking this site is worth the effort of hacking into with its 40 weekly views and 15 subscribers. I mean, you’re all worth something to me <3, but I would much rather start over from scratch than negotiate with terrorists.

That said, I took me a while to figure out how to install all of that stuff and get it working. I think I’m safe (or at least backed up) for now and I feel comfortable writing again without worrying my work is going to get hijacked.

So….how am I doing? Well, fine, I guess.

I was feeling good coming off the 3-day fast. I didn’t really have an appetite in the days following, which was to be expected. I started eating solid foods again shortly after, but soft stuff: scrambled eggs, smoothies, protein shakes.

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My first chewable food! I even ate a salad, you guys!

On Saturday, I had my first real meal again: a BLT with avocado, egg, and a side salad. I expected it to hit the bottom of my stomach like a brick and just sit there, weighing me down. It didn’t. It felt good to eat again. Later that night I had some Chinese noodles for dinner. That went down fine too. I felt pretty damn good.

I woke up Sunday with no pain and thinking I beat my gastritis. Then, brunch happened and I went a little overboard. In my defense, I was at Colicchio & Sons. As in TOM Colicchio of Top Chef! Let’s just say a duck pizza, a brisket sandwich, pork belly with polenta, chocolate soufflé, and wine were ALL involved.

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I’m still in pain from this pizza, but it was oh, so delicious 😛

I was full for the rest of the day and didn’t eat anything else, so I started my weekly fast right after brunch (around 2pm). Still feeling good. I broke my fast Monday at 2 with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I was starving!

As of Monday evening the pain has returned, though. It looks like it’s going to take a lot more than fasting to heal me of this problem…but what? That is the question. The doctor said eat a “soft diet”. For how long? She doesn’t know. Well, that’s not going to work for me. I’m going to dinner at another chef-lebrity’s restaurant tomorrow night and I have a busy weekend ahead of me. So this pain will probably be with me for a while again.

So the scoreboard reads: Gastritis – 1, Mara’s 3-day fast plan – 0.

But I don’t consider it a total failure. Now I know what doesn’t work or that the plan needs tweaking.

I will get to the bottom of this and hopefully soon.

Can I heal myself with a 3-day fast?

Publishing this post is the hardest thing I will do all day because now that I’ve written it down and sent it out to the world, I have to do what I’m about to say…or have a damn good excuse why not.

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In a previous post, I mentioned that I was considering a 3-day fast. I believe the time has come to stop considering it and actually do it.

Why?

I knew you would ask.

Let me start with the problem that I’m having: gastritis. It’s inflammation of the stomach lining and it sucks. It’s usually caused by an infection, but I don’t have one. I do have reflux, but I couldn’t get a clear answer from the doctor as to whether or not that is causing this problem. She put me on a soft diet and told me to take Prilosec for 2 weeks, but that did NOTHING. I felt better for a little while but here I am again, in pain.

Fasting does help me feel better, especially the day after the fast. My stomach feels more relaxed because I’m still eating light, but then when I go out to dinner later in the week I go back to square one and have pain again. I can’t live like this: stuck between only eating food that doesn’t need to be chewed or being in intense pain.

One of the reasons I started intermittent fasting was because of the healing properties of fasting. You can find the scientific research to back up this claim in The FastDiet, but the simplest way I can summarize it is like this: Most of our immune system lives in the gut (intestines and such) and if we constantly bombard the gut with food to digest, then it doesn’t have time to heal whatever is wrong in our bodies. When we fast, we give our bodies a rest from digesting all the stuff we eat (difficult considering all the processed food in our diets) which frees it up to start repairing our damaged cells.

In the book, Dr. Mosley started his fasting journey with a 4-day fast under the supervision of Valter Longo at USC. He has published studies about how fasting for a few days can reset parts of the immune system. Is this what I need? I don’t know. What I do know is that fasting for a day makes me feel better. So I hope fasting for 3 days will give my body more time to heal.

Obviously the whole process will take more than 3 days. I’m planning a pre-fast cleansing day and a few recovery days after the fast. I’m going to blog about it everyday so you will know if I survive each day and so you can witness this human experiment in progress.

And it starts Monday.

Take it Easy Tuesday

Let’s talk about Tuesdays.

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**This meal was not consumed on a Tuesday.

I know I’m abnormally excited about Tuesdays. I have thus far spoken of seeing a rainbow outside my window every Tuesday morning and comparing the feeling I get to waking up on Christmas Day. They’re just normal Tuesdays to everyone else, but they’re milestones for me because I have already fought what is usually my biggest battle of the week: Monday fasting.

If Monday is the best day to fast, Tuesday is the worst day to go to a buffet.

Fasting, even for a day, does change my body — specifically the size of my stomach.

I have tried to take out my “hanger” on burgers and pasta the day after a fast and came to realize it was not smart. It only turned me from hangry into angry because eating all I wanted made me feel stuffed and sick — feelings that are totally acceptable on Thanksgiving and select other occasions, but not on an average Tuesday.

Here are some things I do on Tuesdays to check myself before i wreck myself:

*Wait until I’m hungry to start eating.
I let my stomach tell me when it’s ready for food.

*Start off by eating something light.
Fruit, oatmeal, or scrambled eggs. This is not the time for bacon, pancakes, or bagels.

*Eat slowly.
It takes me a little while to tell when I’m full. If I eat slowly then my brain gets the message that I’ve had enough before I go too far.

*Avoid the “spite” junk food.
Sometimes I really want to grab a doughnut on the way to work or buy a bag of chips or a cupcake to have with lunch because “I earned it, dammit.” That’s still the residual hanger talking. If I wake up on Wednesday and still really want those things, then I go for it.

But remember, this post isn’t just about Tuesdays. It really should be called “Take it easy [insert day after whatever day I choose to fast].” Not really catchy.

That’s not to say I haven’t had a burger or a pancake breakfast the day after a fast. I have. And I have paid the price, which is obviously not too high since I have paid it more than once. I’m just more selective and conscious of when I choose to go hog wild.

On Tuesdays, I ease back into eating and the rest of the week is so much fun.