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.


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.


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.

The FastDiet Inventor on Dr. Oz!

Hey, y’all!

If you missed The Dr. Oz Show episode about fasting recently, he interviewed Dr. Michael Mosley, one of the authors of The FastDiet (aka, the book that changed my life). Check it out if you have some time. He talks about why he started it, how he cured his type 2 diabetes, and responds to the critics who say there isn’t enough evidence to show intermittent fasting is effective or safe.

Link to the episode is in the tweet. Let me know what you think!




Fast Day Ramen!

img_6538.jpgWelcome to all my new readers!! Great news: I can have noodles on fasting days now!

I was watching an episode of the Dr. Oz show about “Zero Calorie Foods”. While most of the stuff they showed was pre-packaged, chemical-laden crap that the doc and his health expert guest denounced, but they did recommend one zero-calorie food. Behold: shiratake noodles.

I never heard of them before, but I found them on Fresh Direct (and Amazon if you don’t live in a FD area). They only have 10 calories per serving!

I love ramen, but the fat content of just one bowl will put me over a normal day’s recommended calorie intake, so I can forget about visiting a ramen shop on a Monday. Here’s what happened when I tried to fashion my own bowl of low-calorie ramen for a fasting day…

img_6542.jpgIngredients: (Makes  2 servings)
Shiratake noodles, 1 package: 20 calories
Vegetable stock, 3 cups: 75 calories
Bok choy, 100 grams: 15 calories
Mushrooms (I used baby portobellos), 100 grams: 13 calories
Garlic, 1 clove: n/a
Eggs, 2: 180 calories

The noodles were easy to prepare. The directions say to rinse, then boil them for 2 minutes to get rid of the “authentic aroma”. That’s just a gentle way of saying that they smell awful, but boiling did the trick. I let them dry for a while and then started to make the broth.

img_6543.jpg img_6547.jpg

I brought the stock, 1 cup of water, and a crushed garlic clove to a boil in a pot. Then I added the chopped vegetables and let them cook while I prepared the egg. I watched a video about how to make the perfect soft boiled egg and it said to bring 1/2 inch of water to a boil, drop in the egg and cook for 6 minutes and 30 seconds. The white inside wasn’t completely set, as I like it. I will let it cook for another minute next time. When time was up, I ran the egg under cool water so it would be easier to handle.

img_6550.jpgWhile the egg was cooling, I put the noodles in the broth and turned the heat off. I stirred to incorporate them and marinate a little while I peeled the egg.

Ramen…assemble! I discarded the garlic clove, poured half of the soup pot into a bowl, cut the egg in half and voila: homemade, fasting day-worthy ramen! Total for this bowl: 152 calories!

img_6558.jpgThe noodles didn’t have a discernible taste and were chewier than real pasta. They also don’t have much to offer in nutritional value, so the egg and veggies give the dish some needed protein and fiber. I saved half the soup for my next fasting day. 152 calories is light even for a fast day dinner. I could have added more veggies or even some chicken…or cooked up that second egg and ate the whole pot of soup! 304 calories is reasonable on a Monday.

The taste? Not as great as the bowl of authentic ramen I had last week, but that’s not fair. Pork makes everything taste better.

F**k Cheat Days

cat-709987_1920Which would you rather do each week?

Diet 6 days and have 1 “cheat day”


Eat like a normal f**king human being for 6 days and diet only 1 day?

If you’re seriously thinking about this, then we can’t be friends.

Oh, by the way: I HATE the concept of “cheat days”.

Cheating, by definition, is wrong. If you look up the definition of “cheat”, other undesirable words  come up with it: dishonest, trickster, hoaxer, fraud, fake, snake oil salesman (still not sure about the origins of this one, but it sounds gross).

Most people with a conscience feel some sense of guilt when cheating on anything (with the possible exception of death). I notice this theme when I read diet blogs and first-person articles about people who incorporate a day of indulgence into their otherwise healthy routines. I also notice they don’t go all-in on their cheat days. They hold back because they feel guilty and are afraid of possibly ruining the progress they’ve made.

That last part is understandable. Dieting is hard and setbacks hurt, but I think if you’re going to adopt new habits to improve your health, then you’re not doing yourself any favors if one of those new habits is feeling guilty about enjoying yourself. It’s like trading one problem for another.

When it comes to food and eating I am GUILT-FREE and I owe that to intermittent fasting.

On Mondays, I get all my sacrifices out of the way and eat whatever I want Tuesday through Sunday. All the fatty, sugary, alcoholic stuff I eat goes down nicely knowing that what I’ve been doing for the past 2 and a half years has been working to keep me at my goal weight and feeling healthy in general.

Does fasting 1 day/week make me a cheater? I don’t necessarily think so, even though I may joke about it sometimes. There’s a price to pay for everything. I pay that price and happily reap the rewards.

Oh, the time I save

I know. I’m the worst.

It’s been a while, but I have been working on something else that will hopefully get a lot more people reading this little blog o’ mine. I can’t wait to share it with you all!

It’s almost funny that I have had little time to write a new blog post and I’m now going to talk about how much more time I have when I fast.Watch

I was at yoga class recently and heard a woman talk about going on a “water fast”. She said she did a fast for a day and only drank water. One of her biggest observations was that she had so much more time in the day. Not that she was starving or that it was soooo hard, but that she was able to get more shit done. Bravo to her for having a good attitude about it.

I didn’t chime in because I don’t go to yoga to speak to people. Instead I eavesdropped. Whatev…The point is: she’s right!

I really never gave much thought to how much time eating takes. It’s so much more than just chewing: deciding what to eat, going to get the food, (sometimes) preparing the food, sitting down to eat, not moving around too much after you eat. This isn’t my process for every single meal, but a lot of times it is. The “deciding” part is especially time consuming. How many hours have I spent standing in front of open cabinets or an open refridgerator door unable to decide what I’m in the mood for? Probably the same amount of time I spend standing in my closet doors wondering what I’m going to wear.

When I decide to fast, I’m also unintentionally deciding a lot of other things for the day. Like…

What am I going to have for lunch?

Should I see if some friends are around to go out for drinks tonight?

I’m so bored. What should I do right now?
Blog, dammit.

Fasting at work helps me get things done sooner. Whatever breakfast I do bring to the office is quick to eat. I don’t have to stop working to take lunch and I concentrate harder on my work so I don’t think about food. It all works out well.

When I fast on my days off, I make other plans: run errands, clean the house, do some writing, or even pay my bills! All those annoying things I have to do suddenly become my saving grace.

Of course, sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the week to get everything done even when I do fast.

OK, enough excuses and apologizing. I’ll do better next week.

Krispy Kreme on a fasting day? Yes you can!!

BREAKING NEWS, you guys!!

A Krispy Kreme Original Glazed Doughnut only has 190 calories!!
Maybe you knew this, but if you didn’t: You’re Welcome!

Here’s something else you’re welcome to: You can get a FREE Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut FREE on April 1st! THIS IS NOT A JOKE!!! 

A glazed doughnut and a cup of coffee (w/ a splash of milk for another 10 calories) is the ultimate naughty 200-calorie breakfast on a fasting day. It’s obviously not something I would do every time I fast, but how often do places just give away free doughnuts? And with all the idiots playing April Fool’s Day jokes, this is a well-deserved treat for having to put up with humanity.

I know this video says the doughnut alone has 200 calories, but it was posted 4 years ago and I guess in that time they’ve figure out how to shave 10 calories off of it. Yay for us!

Take it Easy Tuesday

Let’s talk about Tuesdays.


**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.

Fast Recipe: Soup & Sandwich!

IMG_1060I LOVE SOUP!!! I could eat it every day. It’s comforting, filling, and usually very low in calories if it’s water or broth-based. Unless you add bacon and/or heavy cream, it’s hard to make it fattening — in which case it should just be called what it really is: chowder.

I came up with this soup & sandwich combo using ingredients I had at home already. The soup is very simple: frozen peas, vegetable broth, salt, pepper, and a squeeze of lemon. It came out sweet and delicious, but if peas weren’t available they could have been switched out for another vegetable in the freezer.

The “sandwich” is really a quesadilla, but it’s a great substitute in this low-calorie meal. It’s a cheesy compliment to the soup and almost made me feel like I was cheating on my diet. Until I wanted to make a second one. Then reality set in. It has just 2 ingredients: tortilla & cheese. It could only have been easier if someone made it for me.

IMG_1061Simple pea soup

Frozen Peas, 285 grams: 148.5 calories
Vegetable Broth, 1 cup: 15 calories
Salt & pepper to taste: 0 calories
Squeeze of Lemon, About 1 tbsp: 3 calories
Total Calories: 166.5

I brought all of the soup ingredients to a boil in a pot. I then transferred them to a blender and liquified for a minute or 2. I poured the soup back in the pot and kept it under a low flame while I made the “sandwich”.

Simple Cheese Sandwich

Trader Joe’s Wheat Corn Tortilla, 1: 90 calories
Shredded Mozzarella, 1/4 cup: 80 calories
Total Calories: 170

IMG_1057     IMG_1059

I put the cheese on half of the tortilla and folded it over. I heated it in a non-stick pan for 2 minutes on each side until the cheese melted.

Total calories for this meal: 336.5

Other notes:
I used Pam to keep the tortilla from sticking to the pan. A simple spray to coat the pan has no calories. Score!

I do rely on the nutrition information on the packaged ingredients I use. They’re pretty accurate, but what’s most important is to check the calories against the serving size! In this case, only 1/4 cup of cheese had 80 calories. 1/3 of a cup might have put me over my limit.

This is something I would eat on a non-fasting day, although probably in a bigger portion. Recipes like this make fasting so much easier. I almost feel like I’m getting to eat whatever I want 7 days/week…almost.

5 reasons Monday is a great day to fast

One of my mantras is: I don’t eat on Mondays.

Try bringing that up on a first date without getting a weird look.
But hey, if there’s going to be a second date, at least he knows it’s not going to be on a Monday. There are lots of reasons why I’ve chosen to make the most hated day of the week a little worse for myself. Here are some:

1 – Mondays suck anyway.

Since the weekend is over, there’s usually a cloud hanging over Monday anyway. So, why not add just one more sucky thing to it? It’s like intentionally creating a rainstorm in your life, but you know what they say: after the rain comes the rainbow. I actually feel like there’s a rainbow outside my window every Tuesday morning. Isn’t that nice?

2 – There’s lots of time on Sunday to prep.

Sunday is usually the day many of us prepare for the week ahead. I plan out most of what I’m going to eat for the week and Sundays give me extra time to prepare fresh fasting meals, which do take a little more time to make since they involve careful measuring. This saves me a lot of time on Mondays, not only preparing what to eat, but also thinking about what to eat, which is not something you want to do on a fast day.



3 – It’s an excuse to go all out on the weekend.

I thoroughly enjoy myself on the weekends and I feel no shame, guilt, or worry about it. I eat too much, drink too much, and it I’m a lot of fun because of it.

4 – Super fun things rarely happen on Mondays.

Who goes out on a Monday? Some people do. I definitely have a couple of times in my life, but I find most fun, “let’s go out”-type things don’t happen on Mondays. Most people are still recovering from the weekend. They use Monday to reset and get back to a routine before making fun plans. Also, lots of service and entertainment businesses (restaurants and such) are closed on Mondays because they too need a break from working all weekend. The point is, I don’t feel like I’m missing out on much, but on the rare occasion something fun and exciting does come up on a Monday, then I fast on Tuesday instead. Simple as that.

5 – The rest of the week seems like a breeze.

One fast-day down! When I was in the weight-loss stage and fasting 2 days per week, once Monday was over, I felt like I already fought half my battle. Getting one fast over with early made the rest of the week much easier. I could choose my second fasting day whenever it suited my schedule. Now that I’m only fasting once a week, I wake up on Tuesday feeling like the hardest part of my week is behind me. Now that’s a lot to accomplish on a Monday.

To breakfast or not to breakfast?

There are a lot of “Rules” out there about food and eating.

“Thou must eat breakfast” is probably the most common rule I’ve heard from one person or another throughout my life:  parents, teachers, doctors, health magazines, and mostly cereal companies pushing their products.

A few posts ago, I laid out The Rules that I live by. You’ll notice breakfast isn’t one of them.

It’s just one of many oft-advised, well-intentioned “rules” that I have come to ignore since I started intermittent fasting. I also ignore all the sub-rules that come with it like when to eat breakfast (within an hour of waking up) or what to eat for breakfast (protein, carbs, and low sugar). The point of these rules, as I’ve come to understand them, is to jump start your metabolism and curb your hunger throughout the day to help manage your weight.

Yogurt & green tea…because I ran out of bananas and didn’t feel like coffee. So there.

I’m convinced the only thing these rules have ever done is prevent me from losing weight.

Back when I started intermittent fasting, waking up after a fast day was like waking up on Christmas. I was so excited about being able to eat again that I would pour a big bowl of cereal, or make fancy oatmeal with fresh fruit, or cook 2 eggs instead of 1. Then as I started to eat my celebratory meal didn’t want to take more than a few bites. It was even making me feel sick. Trying to eat when you’re not hungry almost feels like trying to eat when you’re full. Gross. This was especially true the day after a fast. My stomach had shrunk and feeding it when it didn’t want food just didn’t feel good.

I started listening to what my body wanted and sometimes that meant waiting to break my fast (that’s why the first meal of the day is called ‘breakfast’, btw. You’re “breaking the fast” that occurs while you’re sleeping). Sometimes I wait so long, my first meal qualifies as lunch. I found out the world didn’t come crashing down around me if I ate a late (or no) breakfast. My progress wasn’t hurt either. I was still able to lose 25 pounds without eating breakfast every day.

Maybe you think I’m making a big deal of something so many people do every day, but for me it was a big revelation. It was drilled into my head that missing breakfast was almost detrimental to my health. I’m not saying it is a good idea for everyone. It’s a personal choice and you have to do you.

These days a typical breakfast for me (fasting day or not) is a banana and a coffee —  sometimes not consumed until close to 11am . Yet here I am: still at my goal weight, not scarfing down a huge lunch because I didn’t “eat all day”, not worrying about what my metabolism is doing, and not missing cereal or oatmeal or eggs.

This is what Bill Maher would call a “New Rule”. I wish I had a punchline about not eating breakfast to go here. I’ll update if one comes to me.