Friday, January 06, 2006

Food? What food?

I know today's the day to write about food, but I've hardly had any this week what with the four-day fast and all. Let's see....

A couple of you asked about my fast so I'll give you a bit of a run down - basic points to spark your interest so that you might do further research on the topic. Now, please take this information as stuff coming to you from a layperson, a friend. I may be studying holistic nutrition, but I have no certifications yet - I encourage you to personally be in touch with a naturopath or some other holistic practitioner if you really want to get in on this kind of stuff and heal yourself. So with that being said...

The reason you might want to do some sort of fast or cleanse is to give your body a bit of a break from all that effort you get it to put into digestion (40% of your body's energy goes into digestion - that's a lot!) and allow for some of that energy to be put into expelling toxins and healing instead. The toxins we carry around from day to day can lead to allergies, mental health issues, disease, and cancer - so it can be a good idea to lighten the toxic load. There are milder ways to do this than fasting - like increasing your water intake, drinking the juice of half a lemon in warm water first thing each morning, upping your consumption of fresh vegetables and fruit, eating more raw foods, eliminating or reducing stimulants (sugar, caffeine, alcohol, drugs), exercise...
And there are lots of different kinds of fasts and cleanses to chose from - water fasts, fasts that involve drinking salt water or water with lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne...

You've got to have a pretty whole-foods diet before you begin - in (at least) the week before you start you want to be:
* drinking 8-10 glasses of filtered or spring water everyday
* eliminating "non-foods" such as alcohol, sugar, coffee, chocolate, white flour...
* eating a diet of primarily clean (ie organic) food, including lots of veggies, fruit and non-glutenous grains (like rice, quinoa, millet, buckwheat) and a very minimal amount of animal products (if any).

How you go in and out of a fast is just as important as what you do on the fast, so take it just as seriously or you may get sick. I've seen it happen - it's a drag.

With all this being said, here's what I consumed on my liquid fast (the recipes are adaptations from The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women's Health by Sat Dharam Kaur ND, et al.):

"Just like Liquid Apple Pie" Fibre Drink

1 1/4 cups filtered or spring water (chlorine-free)
1/3 cup organic apple juice (contains apple pectin)
1 tbsp. freshly ground flaxseeds (fibre source, bowel lubricant)
1 tbsp. liquid bentonite clay (attracts heavy metals, absorbs toxins)
2 tsp. psyllium seed husks (fibre bulking agent)
1 tsp. chicory root extract powder (contains inulin, a prebiotic)
1 tsp. wheat bran, if tolerated (fibre that removes methymercury)
1/2 tsp. slippery elm powder (soothes intestinal lining, anti-cancer)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (discourages unhealthy bowel flora, normalizes blood sugar and insulin)
1/4 - 1/2 tsp. probiotic formula containing Lactobacilli acidophilus and Bifidobacterium longum (measurement depends on the quality of product - I like Genestra HMF Super Powder)

Shake this in a 500 mL glass jar and drink immediately, chewing each mouthful a few times before swallowing. Follow by refilling the jar with water and drinking that down, too. Drink this 4 times daily (say at 7am, 11am, 3pm and 8pm) for the duration of the fast.

Metal Clearing Alkaline Broth Soup

2 large sweet potatoes (high in beta carotene, alkaline)
2 large onions (liver support, antibacterial)
4 medium carrots (high in beta carotene and potassium, alkaline)
3 celery stalks (alkaline, high in sodium)
1 bunch parsley (kidney cleanser)
2 cups organic spinach (rich in minerals)
2 cups cilantro (pulls out heavy metals)
4 large cloves garlic (liver support, antibacterial)
4 liters/quarts filtered water (plus 4 more later)
2 tbsp. turmeric (liver support, anti-inflammatory)
1 tbsp. dulse powder (rich in minerals, alkaline, restores thyroid)
1 tsp. cayenne (increases circulation)
brown rice miso (or freshly ground flaxseeds if intolerant)

Chop vegetables (I ran them all through my food processor one after another with either the slicer blade or the multi-purpose blade where appropriate). Fill a large soup pot with water and add veggies. Mix in turmeric, dulse and cayenne. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. Pour through a strainer into another pot. Compost the veg and keep the broth, or freeze the veg and add them to another soup at a later date.
Three times a day (say 8am, noon, and 5pm), in a large mug or bowl, measure out 1/4 cup of cooled broth and mix with 2 tsp. of miso (if you do not tolerate miso, or have a problem with candadiasis, substitute fresh ground flaxseeds for miso). Add an additional 1 - 1 1/4 cups broth and add an equal amount of just-boiled water (1 1/4 - 1 1/2 cups). Drink up!
The soup should keep refrigerated for 4 days. Freeze any extra in half-full glass jars.
After your liquid fast, continue to consume the soup a few times a week, with the veg included, for another month to help with metal detoxification.

... And also fresh pressed vegetable juices (including carrots, celery, kale, beets, apple, gingerroot, and garlic if you can stand it) with 1 tsp. of spirulina. 3 times daily (at say, 10am, 4pm and 6pm).

Do not take supplements during this time (only stay on prescribed meds you need).
You can't expect to go about the rest of your life like normal during this time, or for the first couple days at least. I hibernated (unplugged everything and bundled up alone in my apartment) which felt ideal for me. Don't exercise, but do gentle yoga. Meditate and read books on natural health if you like. Don't watch the food network or read cookbooks. You can expect symptoms of detoxification during a fast like bad breath or body odour, sleepiness/brain fog or restlessness and insomnia, darker urine, heachaches, higher emotions, skin breakouts...

I was willing to stick with the fast for a week, but after three days I started fantasizing about millet so I decided I was nearing the end. Do something that feels right to you. A week would be great, but even two days could be helpful.

Typically you want to take half the time of your fast to come out of it again. So if you were fasting for a week, you'd take 3-4 days to get back to your normal diet. In my case, I fasted for four so I took two days to come out. You want to reintroduce foods in this order, and you want to eat slowly and chew really well:

My reintroduction looked like this: Day 1: an apple, then some celery, some steamed swiss chard with grated garlic and dulse powder, a coupla rice cakes. Day 2: cooked millet and amaranth with cinnamon and unsweetened soymilk, carrots and rice cakes with hummus, soy yogurt with stevia, sesame kale soba with arame. (So the ideal order of reintroduction would be fruit, veg, non-glutenous grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, glutenous grains, then animal products if any). And I'm still drinking lots of water and herb teas and the fibre drink twice daily.

Related health practices worth looking up:
* body brushing
* hot/cold showers
* togue scraping
* sauna therapy
* clay baths
* bowel cleansing enemas

Note! If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or have an seroius health condition, this is not the time to be fasting and mobilizing toxins. Go and consult with a proactive health care provider.

Books I like:
The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women's Health by Sat Dharam Kaur ND, et al.
Staying Healthy with the Seasons, Staying Healthy with Nutrition and The New Detox Diet by Elson M. Haas MD

Gawd, one a' these days I'm gonna get booted off all these knitting blog rings...
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"Domestic affair... do you think it's a funny title?" I asked a friend.
"Funny ha-ha?" she responded, "well, no not really."
"But 'domestic affair', it's like what's going on in the nation, but it's also me, being drawn to all these domestic tasks - knitting, cooking, caring for small children..." I tried to explain.
"I like that it has the word affair in it," she concluded.

jae's first book!

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