Sunday, May 28, 2017

24 Hours Without Solid Food ~ Have I Turned A Corner | Day 25 Keto Challenge

Several sources have indicated that it can take 4 weeks, and even more for some people to become adapted to burning ketones versus glucose for fuel.  We are nearing the end of our first month on the 30-Day Challenge, and I believe I may have finally turned a corner yesterday.

Day 26 of the 30-Day Challenge ~ Have I Turned A Corner?

My three main priorities for beginning this 30-Day Challenge have been to:

  1. Reduce circulating insulin, and fasting glucose
  2. Eliminate potential food triggers to help restore healthier digestion and elimination
  3. Lose excess fat gained around the middle (low abdomen thru thighs ~ one of the signs along with high fasting glucose, and high triglycerides with low HDL cholesterol that are markers for metabolic disorder (I have all these signs)
One of my life-long issues has been with constipation.  Even while eating a very high fiber diet, devoid of any animal foods including dairy, I still had irregular elimination.  The last 10 days have been pretty disappointing on that front.  Not much number two going down in the 'lieu.'  

Surprisingly, the scales have held steady at 102.  However, perhaps once the flow improves, the excess fat will melt off.  (Remember, I'm under five feet, and have unhealthful fat accumulation around the middle.)

I've also been experiencing bloating when I have some fruit or excess plant foods, as I showed in past posts.

Despite my growing lower belly kangaroo pouch from very little to no waste material coming out, and much food going in, I've continued on, believing I just need to be patient.  (Constipation and patience mix like oil and water!)

Throughout that morning, perhaps because of my growing lower belly pouch, I had a strong sense to wait to eat.  I actually had a taste for...nothing!  NADA!  That itself was astounding, as I almost always have a sense of some type of food I feel drawn to eat.  I decided to do a longer fast yesterday.  And that decision paid off!

As the morning progressed, I was a bit concerned how I would handle being around food while smelling Don's breakfast cooking, and preparing our second meal.  Typically, I cook breakfast plus our second meal all at the same time.  Then we eat, and pack the rest to go.   However, it felt weird ~ to me ~ to prepare food when I have no taste for anything.

Much of the alchemical magic when cooking  ~ for me anyway ~ is intuitive.  I have an internal sense of flavors I'm desiring, including what combination of ingredients, and which and how much seasoning to use.   I can 'taste it' in my mind before it ever hits my mouth.  Perhaps you have this experience as well?  So to cook with no sense of taste or connection to food felt utterly strange.

After a near life-long history of imbalanced blood sugar wonky brain episodes which put me in constant state of flight-or-flight, I subconsciously cultivated a 'fear' of 'not having my needs met.'  I dreaded getting caught in a blood sugar drop episode without some food to curtail the crash.  That fear  has become hard-wired into my psyche, and embedded into my nervous system, and tissues.  My reflex was to eat to avert a crisis.  I had to eat by the clock, rather than according to my natural hunger cues.

Hence to think about having to go to work and be functional while in a fasted state had me a bit nervous, and filled with questions:

Questions, Questions, Questions

Would my 'parts'  that are addicted to eating 'in case' or to 'provide energy' cause me to cave in on my resolve, despite my 'gut' feeling ~ pun intended  ~ to take  a break from food?

Have I been successful at changing my mind ~  and physiology ~ to trust in my own intrinsic energy stores, rather than always needing to 'pay it forward' eating in advance of depletion?

Can I step into a more Wholly (& Holy) integrated Trust that the Great Universal Life Force / God / Creator Source will continue to provide what I need when I need it ~ in All Ways ~ as has Always been the case all along, despite my apparent doubts or fears?

Is this challenge in itself a means to shake out any remaining residual doubts to my full faith and Trust in my True Nature, wherever they may be lodged within the crevices of my psyche?

Can a change of diet be that emotionally and spiritually transformative as well?

I certainly initially believed that switching from paleo to plant-based the first time would have helped me align more fully with my values of great care and stewardship towards the Earth and all her creatures.  However, Nature did not support that belief, only my mind hoped for it to be the case.

My Ultimate goals for Freedom, and to Live as joyously, enthusiastically, and harmoniously from that Divine Alignment with My True Nature, is now coming into ever sharper focus.  Living from that place of Trust and Faith is an incredibly liberating experience!  When we have faith, we drop our doubt, and gain inner peace and confidence.  It's a win-win!

Imagine a world full of people all living from that Divine centered place of alignment, each of us following our hearts and trusting our True Nature?

I'm happy to report, my gut won!  I managed the morning just fine!

Happy days for me when I managed to get through my hump of the food preparation time period.  Don made his own eggs, and I had previously cooked bone broth that just required reheating.  He added some chopped celery, carrot, and onion.  We also had simmered brats the other day, so we added a little of the sweet flavored, fatty broth from simmering the brats to the bone broth, cut up the brats, and made a nice soup.  I packed it to go ~ just in case I needed it before going home for lunch.

I separately packed a thermos with this thick chocolate-y drink I made.  It was a thick hot Coconut Cocoa Drink with 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder, .5 tbsp. cinnamon, 1 tbsp. coconut oil, and somewhere between 1/4-1/2 cup of coconut cream.

At twenty hours post my last meal, I drank the Coconut Cocoa Drink.   That held me over until lunch time, 24 hours after my last meal.   I enjoyed the broth from the thermos of soup with our lunch, and saved the brats for another meal.

I went for 24 hours without solid food!  

In fact, this was probably my most clear, calm, and steady day yet!

All month has felt like a detox from a dependency on carbohydrates for fuel ~ in far more of a similar manner of an alcoholic than I ever would have imagined.  In fact, 80% or so of alcoholics tend to be hypoglycemic.

A meal timing recap & recipe intermission:

On Wednesday afternoon, the day before my fast, we happened to participate in a corporate wellness fair.  They provided a lunch for us.  I watched the ladies pile the salad and broccoli onto their plates.  That would have been me not too long ago.  Instead, I skipped the food, and opted instead for a little coffee.  (We had lunch simmering on the stove for us back at home.)

I made a strong, dark roast coffee from the machine, and put about 2-3 ounces in each of two cups.  I then proceeded to add 6-8 of those little half-and-half containers of cream ~ to each cup!

It's really amazing how well that kept us going.

Thankfully, we had food waiting for us when we got home, as we had to eat fast and run to the clinic. I finally made a nice tomato sauce with eggplant, mushrooms, onion, garlic, bone broth, and tomato paste, and we put the remaining leftover (LO) meatballs in the sauce to simmer all day.

Meatball Recipe:

Meatballs Recipe:  A blend of grass-fed ground beef & pork (1.5-1.75# of meat total), 2 eggs, .5 diced onion, 2 small cloves garlic, crushed, a big bunch of fresh chopped parsley, 2 Tbsp. soaked raisins & splash of soaking liquid, 1/4c ground almond, 1-2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast, 1 tbsp. beef tallow, optional (good to add if using low % fat meat), ground fennel, oregano, bit of sea salt & cracked pepper.  Mash together, roll into balls, bake at ~ 375º until done, roughly 30 minutes.  Good w/ the Eggplant Marinara, below, and with pesto, which I'll share in another post.

Eggplant Marinara Sauce Recipe:
Eggplant Marinara:  Sauté in 2 tbsp. olive oil 1 chopped eggplant (I first sliced it, then added olive oil & sea salt, and let it sit to tenderize it, but you can skip this step), several chopped mushrooms, .5 diced onion, 1-2 sm. cloves crushed garlic, 2-4 fresh diced roma tomatoes (or 2 bigger tomatoes), 2 tbsp. tomato paste, a pinch of sea salt, oregano, and any other Italian seasoning you like.  Add ~ 1 cup bone broth/other broth, and let ingredients simmer, covered on medium-low while meatballs cook.  Have as is, or let the meatballs simmer in the sauce once ready.  Garnish w/ fresh basil.  Add any other veggies you like as well.  Shredded carrot, or chopped beet or zucchini will help sweeten the sauce.

We finished eating around 4:00, give or take on Wednesday.  I drank hot water, and took some Gentle Lax Chinese herbs and bitters Thursday morning.

(As an aside, Swedish Bitters can be helpful to take before meals while adapting to higher fat diets.  It helps the bile stimulate bile acids, which emulsifies fat.  If one has been eating a very low-fat diet for an extended period, the production of bile acids would have diminished, and for some women, can lead to gall stones.  Classic profile for gall bladder issues = 3 Fs:  Female, Over Forty, Following a Low-Fat diet)

On Thursday afternoon, a client had signed up for a 1 hour energy healing beginning at 12:40.   I often work up a lot of heat during these sessions, and I am continually attempting to hold a Mountain pose stance, which can burn up some qi!  So at about noon, 20 hours post our Meatballs w/ Eggplant Marinara Meal pictured above,  I figured I better have the Coconut Chocolate Drink prior, 'just in case.'

As it turned out to be a shorter session, I may have been fine waiting, but I felt calm and energized after the drink.  In fact, I felt completely fine until lunch, which we ate around 3:30-4, 24 hours post our last meal.

For lunch, we reheated more of the lamb bone broth with several items I wanted to use up.  I ended up calling this Crazy Soup, as I've never made such a combo before!

Leftover (LO) brats, lamb neck meat, and turkey kidneys all simmered in the bone broth with some separately sautéed onion and celery, and previously roasted beet and carrot.  I also added fresh tomato, oregano, and a little paprika.  It tasted like a Lamb Stew, and was surprisingly delicious and satisfying!

I felt great all day eating just the one main meal.  Motivation, energy, and focus were pretty high, with less energy spent digesting food.  It was very liberating in deed to feel so even keel all day!

Of course, there is always a but...  

I did have a little uber thick, whole fat sour cream (2 tbsp.) on about 4 chopped strawberries after our last meal.  The strawberries tasted fairly acidic to me, so despite my great day, I ended up getting a little bloated.  Of course, I could have a sensitivity to some aspect of dairy as well, although the whole-fat sources of dairy have very little, if any, casein, the main protein in milk that many people do not tolerate.

I had some congestion during the night, but I also was on my hands and knees doing some major dusting and sweeping during the previous morning ~ something I could do while not cooking and eating food!  

I was tested for allergies as a kid, and dust was among the top allergens, in addition to grass, ragweed, pollen, and cat hair.  Hmm.  Got most of that all around me, all the time!  Especially our four-legged daughter, Jasper.  She can't seem to get close enough to me while (trying) to sleep!

Moral of the story:

For all reading who may be embarking on the 30-Day Challenge, and especially a ketogenic version, ride the waves of ups and downs.  It's all part of the process.  Hang in there!

I believe one of the main things I, or we are detoxing from is decades-long indoctrination that fat, especially saturated fat, is bad for you.

If you would have asked me  what I thought of cream, or dairy foods in general, even 3 months ago, you would have had a response that completely belies the enthusiasm for which I now add half and half or preferably full fat heavy cream to a hot beverage here and there, and the steady, nearly euphoric energy it provides.

To Be Pure or Not to be Pure:

I know there are many food purists out there.  I know that some people would never touch anything not organic.  I know the vegans would say how dairy is the worst of the worst treatment of animals.  I know that there will always be someone who will read this disapprovingly.

Here is my take on these issues:

First, it's easy to get caught up looking at life through only one lens.  The various commercial animal food production industries are not always ideal settings.  There is definitely a lot of inhumane treatment of animals.  Sadly, some of the abusers were people who were also abused as children.  It's all just a symptom of a much bigger cancer that pervades our society.  Yet, one could turn it around and look at the system with gratitude as well.  There is, after all, this system in place that is providing food to masses of people.  That part is not such a bad thing.

There is a heck of a lot of room for improvement, but that is part of our purpose for being here.  Things are challenging, and sometimes dark or ugly.  But there is infinite beauty as well.  It's all what we focus on.  Life on earth is meant to be challenging.  We are here to learn and grow.

When we can see everything, including all the painful and 'dark' aspects of our lives as having a purpose to help us cultivate greater strengths and virtues, it changes everything.  That is when we really open our hearts and feel the compassion pour through our veins.  

Give it a test drive!

As I wrote in the parameters for the 30-Day Challenge, and the Meal Suggestions pages, just let it all go.  For 30 days at least.  Surrender.  Just let your actual senses, not just your mental machinations run the show ~ for a change.  See how it feels to truly and fully trust your true nature.

Let your inner child out to play, and enjoy yourself, and your food ~ just for 30 days ~ in the way your body would.

(Or not.)

Freedom and health are my highest priorities.  Sometimes freedom emerges when we let our guards and high standards down a bit.

The energy of your body will respond in a manner that lets you know whether a particular food, person, or choice you are contemplating is either in alignment or resonance with your energy, or it is not, or possibly if it is neither, making it neutral.

You may experience a subtle feeling of expansion and lightness, or a leaning in towards something that would be agreeable for you.  And you may experience a sense of shutting down, or feeling of resistance or restriction in your chest or throat or somewhere else that, however subtle, is letting you know that the food or choice you are contemplating is out of alignment with you.  But you must get out of your head, and into your body to experience this.

It's not much different than how you may feel after someone says some negative things about you, or yells at you, versus when someone is being supportive or loving towards you.  You feel tension, or ease.  If neither, then the body too remains neutral.

Get out of your head, and into your body, and trust your true nature

That banner to wave (about whatever issue you are passionate about) will be waiting for you afterwards.  You can continue to pick it up, and get on the soap box, and expound on the virtues of eating only organic foods, or the problems with eating dairy, or whatever it may be.

For now, however, see how you feel by giving it a break.

I personally want to be able to improve my health in a manner that anyone ~ no matter where they are on the economic scale ~ would be able to accomplish.  I see myself as no different than someone with lesser means.  

Let me rephrase this. 

 My desire and passion (and Don's as well) is for anyone to be able to align with their true nature, including their most nourishing food choices, and experience vibrant health ~ not just those who can afford all of their food to be grass-fed, pastured, or organic, or who can purchase expensive superfoods and supplements like special MCT oils, collagen, or whatever.  

In short, I want those like Butter Bob who may shop at Walmart to have hope, and know that they can heal by eating the basic foods our great grandparents would have eaten ~ eggs, meat, and possibly dairy, with a few plant foods to enhance the meal.

How are you doing so far on the 30-Day Challenge?  Do share!


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