I’d been very skeptical about the fasting diet my girlfriend had been trying.
She was trying a variation on the 2000 year old ‘Daniel fast’ and only allowed a limited amount of fruit and vegetables; no tea, coffee, dairy, eggs, fish/meat, or alcohol.
Side effects were exhaustion and headaches.
Because it was an excellent way to detox, loose weight, and potentially ‘reboot’ or ‘reset’ the human bodies immune system.
And it had seemed to work well for her, improving her skin condition.
It’s not a convenient diet to do, depending on your work, life and social situation.
But I wasn’t working that week and after seeing her positive results figured that it was worth a shot.
One axiom in life I follow is that you should try anything once. You never know unless you try.
How would I survive without my morning cuppa cha? (translation: cup of tea)
How would I cope with being hungry?
One problem I’ve suffered with pretty much all my life, or at least from my teenage years – I can’t remember much further back than that – is that I’m very regularly hungry.
I’ve never been fat as such as it just makes me feel terrible; I’ve veered towards the overweight border a few times and felt so bad I’ve quickly cut back on my eating or exercised more to get my weight under control. But I’ve struggled to keep ‘the perfect weight’ without having to be very careful with what I eat and ensure I exercise regularly – mainly because I seem to have a problem in filling myself up.
Up until recently, I’ve had to eat pretty much every 2 hours. Occasionally something would fill me up for 3; and yes, I could stuff myself to last longer but then I would feel bloated and sleepy.
It’s not that I could ignore the hunger – a deep rumbling noise that could be heard by anyone in the near vicinity would vibrate through my bowels.
And it would hurt.
If I did ignore it, it would go away. For 10-15 mins, a maximum of 30 mins.
But then it would return.
And this time it meant business.
It would really start to hurt, and I’d have to eat.
On the few occasions I’ve been caught short and was unable to eat, I’d be in pain for a while, and it would finally pass, but then my stomach would be very displeased with me. When I’d finally come to eat something, it would feel like lead in my stomach. I could then have stomach pains for the next few days.
Was something wrong with me?
My work colleague Dave would joke that I had worms and I was feeding them to keep them happy.
I knew he was joking, but I decided to do some research and even asked the doctor once.
It wasn’t that – it was just the way my stomach worked. I needed to eat regularly.
I’ve been assured that this is a healthy way of eating by my once nutritionist and fitness instructor brother.
But trying to get the balance right and eat healthily, in a work environment, or out and about, is tricky, and you end up having
I won’t go further into this now as I will cover it in my other posts. But recently I’d manage to ‘train my stomach’ to not have to eat so often, via a combination of the Montignac method (see Montignac Diet: Part 1 and Montignac Diet: Part 2) and using Slim XL (post/link coming soon).
Back to the Daniel Fast. I figured I’d give it a go.
Due to my recently improved diet and ability to last a bit longer between eating, I was no longer waking up starving. I was able to get up, refresh myself and dress and check my emails, before making myself a cup of hot lemon water.
Half an hour or so after this, i.e. about an hour after waking, I was starting to get hungry.
So I ate a bowl of tomatoes and onions with a dash of salt and black pepper.
Tasty, but I overdid the onions.
My stomach hurt.
It hurt for quite a while and I wasn’t too happy. I drank some more lemon juice.
Eventually my stomach started to settle. I couldn’t work out if I was hungry or it still hurt. But I concentrated on doing some work on the computer and stopped thinking about it. I had an apple herbal tea that helped settle my stomach further.
I had an apple. It went down ok.
Then some of my girlfriends delicious lecho; basically a ratatouille – i.e. a stew of onions, courgettes, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines with a bit of chilli powder and other herbs.
I survived the day.
I didn’t even get a headache – just a dull ache early in the evening that lasted about half an hour.
I hadn’t struggled with being hungry.
I did feel absolutely bloody knackered.
I collapsed into bed and slept for about 12 hours.
I woke up feeling very refreshed the next day and got up and cracked on with a few jobs around the house.
For the first hour, I’d even forgot about drinking or eating, aside from a glass of water when I’d first woke up.
Then my stomach reminded me of his presence.
I had a lemon drink, and that kept me happy for an hour.
Then I had a bowl of tomatoes – with significantly less onion than last time. It was good.
I snacked on some carrots grated with apple.
I had a apple herbal tea.
I ate another bowl of lecho.
I snacked on some Polish fermented cabbage, a bit like sauerkraut.
I had more freshly juiced low sugar fruit and vegetables.
I didn’t worry about being too hungry; I was managing to fill myself up.
Apparently, when you are only eating food with low glycemic indexes (GI), you body thinks it’s fasting and goes into a different mode. Allegedly it stops sending the “I’m hungry” message to your brain. If I’d added oil or anything with high calories or a high GI value then my body would have stopped it’s process of burning away the bad cells – i.e. fat, damaged body cells, spots and even moles.
You can get rid of moles with this diet?
Again, I become skeptical.
However there does seem to be research that suggests this works, and that you can cure all sorts of body ailments. There’s even talk of restoring eyesight, healing scars, curing infertility, and dare I say it, healing cancer.
I quote again Dr Ewa Dabrowska from the Medical Academy in Gdansk (as in my first post):
“Contemporary civilization is associated with enormous changes in almost all areas of life, including in the field of human nutrition. Natural Foods lost their biological value being replaced by processed food; refining deprived food of precious fiber, several vitamins and micronutrients, while subjecting foods to high temperatures led to the destruction of enzymes and changes in the spatial structure of proteins. The consequence of food processing was the emergence, on the unprecedented scale, of a number of chronic “civilization” diseases of a degenerative character, such as -inflammation of atherosclerosis, and cancer. And yet 100 years ago, when food was natural, the main cause of death was infectious diseases such as influenza and tuberculosis, and not – as it is today – heart attacks and cancer.
It is known that a man as a biological creature has remained unchanged over the centuries; the cells still have the same needs in
terms of nutrients, as thousands of years ago. If a departure from nature was the cause of civilization diseases, then natural foods based on vegetables and fruits could be an example of causal treatment of these diseases.”
To do all of this though, you need to fast much longer.
I lasted 4 days – which wasn’t bad, considering I’d only meant to do 3 days.
The second day I’d been fine in terms of hunger, but had a swine of a headache for an hour in the evening.
The third day I’d been a lot hungrier, but just ate vast quantities of the delicious lecho stew. I’d been a bit tired later but had no headache.
On the final day I felt absolutely fine and celebrated with a glass of wine in the evening that went absolutely straight to my head!
I’d have been tempted to try a fifth day but we were going away for a few days and it’s just not practical when you’re not at home.
So would I do it again?
Did it cure any of my problems?
My girlfriend is going to do it on an ad-hoc basis. If she has a day where she has no customers or isn’t too busy, is at home and it’s convenient, she will do the diet for 1 day. Maybe even 2 or 3, depending on how she feels.
There’s no harm in doing it, it seems to help her, she feels absolutely fine with it and it also helps with weight loss.
As I do an office job now, with a long commute, it’s not so practical for me to do. On Saturday afternoons I pick up my daughter and look after her until Monday or Tuesday, and we’re are often out and about, and again, it’s simply not practical to do.
But on the occasional Saturday I’ll do it. Or on the occasional day when I can work from home.
Why not? I lost 2 or 3kg – that’s about 6lbs – in 3 or 4 days. And if I’m only doing the odd day here and there I won’t suffer from any headaches or tiredness.
It didn’t cure my red nose and cheeks (possibly Rosacea?) or my damaged tailbone. Nor my -8.5 eye prescription. But I didn’t
expect it to!
It seems to be helping my girlfriend with her skin condition though, so perhaps it could help you.
At the end of the day, people have been doing it for 2000 years, so why not give it a try?
More information can be found in the book Ultimate Guide to the Daniel Fast.
I just want to point out again that I am not a nutritionist, a dietician or a doctor. I’m a computer scientist! So this is just my take on things and it’s worked well for us. When dieting you should always seek professional help if in doubt.