This is Part 4 of 4 of my Accidental Fast series.
The morning of Day 3, I felt much better than the morning before: no nausea or hot/cold flashes. The first meal I got to eat was breakfast (how appropriate…break fast). The evening before, I had planned all the goodies I would consume: bagels with cream cheese, raisin bread, butter bread, and coffee! However, my stomach felt sensitive, so I had a small cup of coffee with non-dairy creamer, some pineapple slices we had dehydrated, and a slice of multi-grain bread with a dab of butter. With my stomach shrunk, this meal filled me!
Kevin congratulated me sincerely, telling me how proud he was of me and that he knew I could complete it without quitting. ❤
Eating felt great, but swallowing was weird. But I felt more energetic almost immediately and had no problems getting to work (nearly) on time and making it through the day.
I hated yet enjoyed the fast. Though I didn’t use my extra time wisely, I had a lot more of it available when I didn’t have to prep, eat, and clean up after dinner or go to the gym. However, my energy was so low that I didn’t feel like I had the strength to do anything useful.
Is it something I would do again? Yes. There are so many scientific articles that detail the positive effects (for one’s mind and body) of fasting. When it does not have to digest food, the body flushes and repairs itself in some pretty amazing ways. In fact, some studies have shown that fasting while undergoing chemotherapy can actually reduce the growth of cancer. So, ideally, I’d like to do this once a month—a short, 2-day fast—but maybe next time I’ll do it with Kevin so that neither of us has to fall prey to the delicious smells of the other cooking dinner.
Hunger has a new meaning now. As I write this, I feel myself becoming hungry. My breakfast was 3 hours ago, and usually I would describe myself as starving around this time of day, the time I normally consume my midday snack. Now, however, the hunger feels like an old, much milder cousin of the hunger I experienced during the fast. Most people in America never get to experience being hungry, because they don’t have to. Thanks to factory farming and consumerism, most of us never have to travel far to find whatever food we could possibly desire to shove into our mouths. We don’t have to plan or think or scramble. But I think hunger is something worth experiencing, especially if you are at all interested in testing the strength of your mind.
But, as Jonathan Safran Foer explains in Eating Animals, eating has always been a communal activity tied to tradition and culture. It’s difficult to break those ties, not only to our traditions but to our cravings. I grew up eating meat-heavy meals followed by dessert. In fact, as I child, I saw dinner as merely a means to an end: cookies. It has taken me a long time to change my eating habits, to reach for an apple instead of a cookie and to replace meat with meat substitutes.
Of course, the rest of my family still eats like we did during my childhood. My dad refuses to substitute ground beef for turkey, let alone tofu. He turns his nose up before even considering the health benefits and taste. On a survey Kevin filled out for my bachelorette party, my sister asked him what food we eat when we “splurge.” Kevin wrote Oreos. It’s true: we only buy them when they’re on sale as a treat for ourselves. My sister and mother found this hilarious because it’s something they stock their shelves with all the time.
Most people seem to find the idea of a fast (or even drastically changing their diets) appalling and/or unfeasible. While it certainly felt that way, my fast boosted my confidence: I was able to use my mind to control my body and this primal, intuitive need for food! How awesome is that?
The biggest drawback for me was my inability to not focus on food, especially on the second evening. That’s something I really need to work on next time. Also, being that hungry made me pine for foods I only recently swore to never eat again. I craved a greasy Zaxby’s chicken sandwich and a McDonald’s cheeseburger (things I didn’t eat even before I stopped eating animals), so that was frustrating. Hopefully, with repetition and more training, I will be able to completely detach from these thoughts.
Oh, and unlike Kevin, I had zero sharts.