Water Fasting in Paradise

tanglewood

My 26-Day Water Fast at Tanglewood Wellness Center

I originally went to Tanglewood Wellness Center in Costa Rica with the intention of fasting for 21 days.  However, when I got there, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there were four other young women starting the fast with me going for 26 days.  So I figured, what the heck?  Start together, end together! Little did I know I would be kicking myself on day 21, when my food cravings had kicked into full gear!

Why did I choose to fast?

Many people have asked why a seemingly healthy 28 year old would need to do something like fasting in order to get healthy. My interest was sparked in raw foods, juice fasting and water fasting about four years ago, a few months after my father died of colon cancer.  The experience was traumatic for me on so many levels, and maybe partly why I have lost so much faith in disease-related aspects of modern medicine.  I’ll never forget the way the doctor so passively said “we can do chemo, or not, it doesn’t really matter”. That was the only form of care they offered.  I asked about food, exercise, any. other. option, but they couldn’t even humor me.  So I watched my father waste away, clueless as to what monster of a god would allow such an illness to exist.  Point is, cancer and heart disease run rampant on both sides of my family.  On my father’s side, you’d be one of the 10% if you make it past 65.  Our family history is so poor that a doctor once said to my cousin, “you better enjoy life now”.  On my mother’s side, cancer has reared its hideous head on too many occasions, but thankfully, more often than not it has been cured.  Not without its trauma, surgeries, medical bills and medication dependencies though. In my own household, I am the only one who hasn’t had a cancer scare.

Aside from my seemingly justified fear of cancer, I’ve had several health issues that I really needed to face.  I had been secretly dealing with anxiety since I could remember, and bouts depression with suicidal tendencies since I was a teenager.  By my mid-twenties I started getting adult onset acne and dermatitis, hormonal imbalances and felt bloated a majority of the time.  I was always tired, and could never find the energy to do the exercise that I knew would make me feel better (a vicious cycle).  Most importantly, I was completely out of touch with myself, and had a voice screaming at me every day to make a change, which I was only able to ignore for so long.

Somewhere along the way I decided I’d had it with my lifestyle.  I knew that if I didn’t change my ways, in a very extreme way, I would be headed on the same path of illness and unhappiness.  I slowly began thinking in different ways… learning about and experimenting with raw food, juicing, healing, fasting and fad diets.   I even started experimenting with meat after almost 15 years of vegan/vegetarianism.  After three years of contemplating and experimenting I was overtaken with courage.  In a few months’ time I ended an unhealthy relationship, quit drinking and smoking, put my job on hold, committed to overcoming my fears, booked a fast at Tanglewood.  That done, a deep depression and 8 months later, I moved to Costa Rica for four months.  (More than a couple checks off the bucket list).

Have I had any other experience with fasting?

I have done several juice “fasts” (and I quote, because I no longer believe them to be fasts, but feasts), some for extended periods of time.  My first experience wasn’t very positive, because I had too many fruit juices.  After I learned that lesson, I began making only vegetable juices.  These feasts were extremely emotional for me.  They brought out a lot of anger and sadness, which I realize now was very healing, and may have lead me to my breaking point.  During these feasts I also found that I had candida and intestinal parasites, which was an extremely frightening discovery! More on that later.

Before coming to Tanglewood, I did a 7 day water fast on my own, just to see if I could handle it.  I learned a few huge lessons on water fasting then. You can read about that experience here: anasanablog.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=3&action=edit

Journal of My Fast at Tanglewood

Warning: Graphic and Gross.

Week One.  Energy-wise, I felt amazing.  In a sense I was elated, so happy perhaps to finally be around like-minded people.  I couldn’t have asked for a better roommate. My brain was foggy and I was unable to concentrate on reading, but I was just happy to talk to other people and not feel judged.  I was having sharp pains in my lung area, chest and back (tobacco detox?) and uterus, especially at night.  My mind raced. I got my period, which was very normal, but strangely enough I continued to have spotting over a week afterwards, which has never happened to me.  I’m hopeful about it being, since the last time I was at the gyn she told me I had a small polyp.  Within a couple of days I had a full blown sinus infection, and was eliminating the grossest looking snot ever (sorry, but this will get more and more graphic as you go on!).  It was dark, smelly, dry and old… any ex-smoker will know what I’m talking about.  My ears were clogged. {140 lbs – 63.5 kg}

Week Two.  Inner peace and inspiration washed over me like a wave on week two.  My mind was much calmer, and I was able to concentrate on reading.  I felt inspired and creative, and felt a huge emotional release.  My anxiety went down, and my mental clarity skyrocketed.  It was a huge boost in self-confidence.  I found I was beginning to trust my thoughts and doubt myself less.  I got a lot of perspective on what I hope to create in my future, and planned a few awesome trips with my dog.  My sinuses cleared, it felt so good to be able to breathe, but unfortunately, I could now smell my stinky-ass breath.  My tongue was fairly coated, and my gums were coated and started bleeding every time I brushed (both part of the detox process).  My skin, though still smooth as a baby’s butt, started to dry out.  There was a lot of action going on in my stomach, lots of gurgling and movement.  At this point, my pee is incredibly yellow and smells, even though I’m drinking about 5 liters of water a day. {129 lbs – 58.5 kg}

Week Three.  What happens when you water fast is that the residue in your small intestines becomes rehydrated.  This is called mucoid plaque, and I can tell you right now, it’s not a myth.  The reason it accumulates is because we have a very dry diet of mostly cooked foods, and we don’t take in enough water.  The body absorbs as much water as it can from our food to use for basic functions, leaving our food dry and stagnant… unable to move through our system.  It then sits there, putrefies for months, years, or even decades (B.O. anyone?).  Well, it certainly has become very well hydrated, and is waiting in line to exit, though not as soon as I would hope.  Some people in the group have had bowel movements, though for most it doesn’t happen until refeeding.  Most people had strong food cravings in the first week.  I had none.  They all decided to come after 3 weeks, meaning nachos, sushi, jelly doughnuts and mushroom pizza took up a majority of my thinking time. My humor went from elated to pretty damn grumpy in a couple of days.  It could have something to do with the nausea, the desire to poop, or the fact that I hadn’t eaten in 20+ days.  There were slight things that irritated me to an extreme.  I decided I’d never ever go to the Chicago area after listening to a girl from Wisconsin speaking to her family.  Oh, that accent!  What a miserable excuse for an “A”!  Just a week before I thought it was charming.  The sound of some peoples’ voices was enough to make me want to smack them. (Anyone who knows me may get a kick out of this totally out of character attitude).  I must say, I hardly spoke, but I probably said the F-word more times in a couple of days than I have all year.  Just get me a fucking jelly doughnut.  {123 lbs – 55.8 kg}

Week Four.  Though a short week, it felt the longest and was by far the most difficult.  Starting on day 21 I had consistent nausea until the morning I started refeeding.  I felt as if my stomach were filled with toxic sludge and my breath and sweat smelled so bad that anyone would need a HASMAT suit to come near me.  Fortunately for others, I was extremely irritable and had no desire to speak with or listen to other people.  My energy was low and I spent most of my time in bed listening to music.  On a positive note, my skin, which was as dry as a croc for two weeks, began to peel off in thick layers and reveal a rejuvenated, healthy and smooth layer of new skin underneath!  Some scars have been dramatically reduced.  My gums stopped bleeding and my tongue was cleaner. My eyes became much brighter, and some have even said bluer than before.  I had to cut my fingernails for the second time this month because they were growing so fast and strong (I’ve never had to cut my nails before, since they were so soft they’d break off if they got too long).  The resistance I had toward raw veganism and some of Loren’s philosophies has started to come down.  The raw food diet is started to make perfect sense to me, and I found the inspiration I needed to commit to a new lifestyle. {120 lbs – 54.5 kg}

Refeeding in progress.. Post to come!

4 Replies to “Water Fasting in Paradise”

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