I just spent 8 days without food.
No food? 8 days? “Why?” people ask. And it’s a good question.
Why I Didn’t Eat
The main reason is I’m up for experience, and I’ve never experienced a fast.
The second reason: when you fast your body apparently turns all its attention and energy to the nasty toxic stuff that has accumulated and been stored in your body. It breaks it down, gnaws on it, and kicks it out! I’m 36 years old and have never fasted. So I figured it was time to give this body an overhaul.
Sometimes it was easy, and sometimes it was difficult. But here’s the biggest thing I got out of it:
“I got to FEEL the difference between eating for food, and eating for entertainment.”
I got at a deep level how I crave things that have nothing to do with sustaining my body. I crave them for taste, for distraction, for gratification, and to FILL my body and bring my energy DOWN. Particularly salt and sugar.
All of these are valid reasons to crave and eat. I believe all entertainment has value. But then I started wondering: How would I feel if I only ate things that GAVE me energy? And dropped all the things that DRAINED my energy? I mean it makes sense – why haven’t I done it? So I finally looked into it, and here’s what I’ve discovered….
How You’re Poisoning Your Body
It’s been suggested to me that I don’t have to focus on what I eat. If I just stop eating what’s poisoning me, I’ll feel great!
You probably know the obvious poisons like alcohol, salt, and lots of processed sugar. But here are some things that were new to me (or I’d heard but never really embraced).
Meat – bad.
Sure I’d heard it wasn’t so good – but I’d never thought how our bodies are not made to hunt down and kill a deer. With our hands and teeth, we’re more made to eat fruits, grains and vegetables than to chase down, rip apart and grind up an animal with our measly fangs. Add to that the ENERGY it takes our body to break down meat and get any vitamins that are left by the cooking process, and the rotting of the meat in our loooooong human intestines, and meat was starting to make less and less sense….
Dairy – bad.
Now I’ve heard good things about dairy – mainly from the Dairy Associations. But I’d never considered that human babies and calves actually stop drinking milk quite early in life. Why doesn’t nature provide for milk once we hit twenty? (Surely our mothers wouldn’t mind?) Then they told me that in adults, milk does not so good things to the digestive system, and actually makes it HARDER for us to get vitamins from anything else we eat. Meaning we have to eat MORE food, and place more strain on the digestive system just to break even.
OK – so cheeseburgers seem to be losing quite a few points.
Processed Food – bad.
What!? Now you want to take away my processed food? Which is like 90% of food sold?
Most of what we eat has had SOMETHING done to it along the line. I assume this is either to make it taste more attractive to us, or produce it cheaper, or make it last longer.
Well – these crazy hippy health-freaks said they weren’t ‘taking away’ my processed food – just pointing out it takes a LOT of energy for the body to try and squeeze what nutrients are left from this homogenized, pasteurized and preserved can of something I just pulled out of the pantry.
Sadly, I crossed white bread off my list….and almost everything else I had every fondly considered ‘food’.
The Last Straw – cooking our food.
The biggest shock to my food world was the concept that cooking – an accepted core part of my life – doesn’t actually help my body. In fact it makes everything harder.
What? My mother was a cooking teacher at High School!!!
Yet, when I think back to when I was very young, I remember my mother saying, “Oh – we don’t boil vegetables now. Latest thing is that takes the vitamins out. We steam or microwave them”.
Apply this principle to everything, and we pretty quickly see that cooking food equals killing it. Its value as a food source gradually approaches zero the longer we kill it. For example, if we cooked it to ashes the nutritionally value would be very close to zero. Not only that, but our body has to USE UP energy to try and extract what’s left.
So the question becomes – how long will I let someone kill that live piece of food in front of me before I snatch it off the hotplate and suck up what nutrients are left?
So what’s left? Rice?
Nope. They took that away too. Rice, bread, pasta – gone. Milk, butter, cheese – gone. Meat, fish, eggs – gone (although I’m not convinced on the fish yet). Anything processed – gone. Anything cooked – gone.
In fact, the crazy hippy freak at the Raw Food store just took away bananas, carrots, corn, beets and dates! I won’t go into it, but he had his reasons why these are not ‘happy body food’. I, of course, turned to the soy/tofu stuff, but OOPS! That’s processed.
So do we just starve to be healthy?
Well – I initially thought so. And sure, I tried that approach for 8 days. But fortunately I pulled back from the brink of breatharianism. You see…it turns out there is SOME GOOD NEWS!
Fruit – is good! (Oh, thank God). And, it turns out there are a LOT of different fruits out there, (including tomatoes and cucumbers thank you very much).
Vegetables – are good! I know, you’re surprised, right? I’m sure this is news to people. Add a few healthy dressings and these can taste really good.
Nuts and seeds – good! (yeah, even though the guru isn’t a big fan – he says they are still way better than cooked, processed, or cooked and processed food).
And the Raw Foodists have been creative putting together lots of combinations of healthy things that actually taste better than the poisonous thing.
Of course you don’t have to go nuts (“oops, sorry”, said with Austin Powers accent). But it’s pretty easy to bring 80% of this into your life right now.
10 Tips to Shift Your Thinking, Your Energy, and Your Body
Try the following for 30 days (what have you got to lose?).
1) Have fruit for breakfast, and a salad for lunch. It’s quick and easy, and tastes great.
2) Every 3 nights make up three days worth of salad and take it to work for lunch. Get creative – you can throw interesting things in salads like strawberries or sun-dried tomatoes. Throw in some pine nuts for protein, and take some croutons on the side. (But don’t tell my food guru about the croutons.)
3) Cut back meat to a couple of times a week. When you sit down to eat fill up on salad first so you can’t fit a lot of meat in. See if you can have 3-4 meals a week which are uncooked.
4) Buy a bunch of nuts and seeds and dried fruit to snack on when you get hungry.
5) Buy Almond Milk, Almond Butter, and ditch your milk, butter and cheeses.
6) No junk food; no fast food; no canned food; no packet food – or at least cut WAY down.
7) If you do eat something you know is not good for you, notice the drop in your body’s energy. Conversely, notice how good you feel after a healthy meal.
8) If you want to ROCK your system to change your habits, consider a 5-10 day fast before switching to this new regime. You’ll get a WHOLE NEW appreciation for food.
9) Get hold of the book that shook me up: “A Way Out” by Matthew Grace www.MatthewGrace.com
10) Don’t take anything too seriously. There’s no need to go way overboard with anything. (Which is how I justify still eating Ben and Jerry’s ice cream occasionally!)
I’m not sure really. I was having a ball before. I love ice cream, chocolate, bread, cheese, alcohol, lime tostitos, and buffalo wings (hot chicken wings). I mean I REALLY love this stuff.
And consider I haven’t gained a pound in 20 years. I’ve been 5’10” and 150 pounds even if I stuff myself for weeks on end, and don’t exercise for years.
But I know at a deep level that healthy eating will free my energy up for bigger games to play on this planet. And in ways I can’t foresee.
It will free my attention from my food fetish, and make it available for …..who knows?
Plus, I’m feeling really healthy right now, and enjoying all the Raw Food I just bought at the hippy freak store in the East Village. It actually tastes great!
And finally – if I keep feeling this good, I’m not averse to living the extra 10-15 years this will probably add to my life.
Whatever you decide…