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Steve Solomon is the creator and editor of soilandhealth.org, a free online library of public domain hygienic and other books. He has written several regional garden books with specific information for a climate, in a wish to engender independent living and non-dependency. When his health started deteriorating due to self-damaging dietary and drinking habits he discovered Natural Hygiene in the 1980's through a local hygienist Isabelle Moser, who became his wife. He fasted, changed his dietary, improved, healed and learned. Find an interview here.
My fasting experience 2004
by Steve Solomon
Subject: [INHS] Fasting
I am fasting ON WATER right now. I do this annually. Or almost. Duration: uncertain. Average duration about 16 days; last year was 23 days. Today I am in day number three of a water fast.
Why? Because I am not a perfect eater and have backslidings. Get toxic. Get tired. About eight or so months from the last fast I start to have occasional bad nights. Minor symptoms--aches, sorenesses, sniffles. A touch of the old rheumatiz.
So I rest the body and let it heal its own organs. My energy level is declining. Soon I will be horizontal most of the time. Profoundly resting. It is an annual vacation, albeit a bit boring for a vacation. But the best vacation possible, IMHO.
If anyone is interested I'll post occasionally about this fast.
Subject: [INHS] Fasting progress report--day 7
I write this progress report late in the afternoon of the seventh day of my water fast.
Looking back from here, the first three days were really quite mild, with increasing energy and well-being, usually the case, which comes from a reduction on the liver's load. Then, as I've read, the liver runs out of glycogen and the body begins burning fat and begins detoxifying more in earnest. As you might expect, days number four through six were rather rough. The old timey hygienist/fasters call this stage "acidosis." For me, they were a constant experience of aching muscles, irritated joints, and extreme tiredness. I slept a lot, took hot baths for relief, and mainly just toughed it out. This morning I awoke with a slight sense of relief. I was not experiencing any particular discomfort, and I slept late. I took this occasion of relative better-being to drive 8 k into Exeter to visit the post office box and then napped and read and napped and read through the rest of the day, sitting by the wood stove; it is getting on to winter here. The achies haven't returned yet, and I am hoping that this phase of acidosis is well and truly over--although as the body normalizes, heals and rests through the rest of the fast, there may well be periods of intense discomfort.
I am expecting steadily increasing weakness from here with increasingly long periods when I experience increasingly intense inner well-being accompanying that weakness. My usual over past years has been that when this well-being becomes constant and stable then the fast is over.
Subject: [INHS] Fasting progress report
This is day eleven of my annual water fast. I had periods of very good energy today; went to the garden (250 metres from the house, downhill) and thinned a few beds of winter lettuce and picked a bucket of salad greens for Muriel (who is eating). Finished processing some leek seed that has finally dried out enough to rub and crumble the flower heads. Read some. Worked on Henry Lindlahr's "Practice of Natural Therapeutics, Vol 2" for the website. Tedious, that. Got tired and napped for a few hours. Starting to notice a slight dizziness when I stand up; it'll get more so as the days go on. Walking up the hills from the garden want slowly. Basically I'm losing physical strength and the blood sugar level is lowering.
A lot of little symptoms are fading away--the sore left shoulder where I had a motorcycle wreck in the 70s--it never really healed and lately has been inflamed so badly that I couldn't lie on that side when in bed. Now I can. The aching legs from a form of sciatica have stopped aching. The whole body is becoming comfortable to inhabit.
I'm also finding sleeping at night, all night, more difficult. Soon I'll probably abandon any thought of a regular bed time and just sleep when I sleep, nap when I nap, and be awake when I am awake.
When I fast my feeling of "havingness" goes out the window and I crave. Not food. Last year's fast I craved Japanese kitchen knives and bought several very good ones after spending hours comparative shopping over the internet. This time I'm craving a Cessna 152 or 172, I can't decide. Now I could afford $150 worth of kitchen knives, but I'm not going to buy a $50,000 to $80,000 aircraft. I will, however, have a lot of information come in about them and dream about it.
Tuesday week coming up, June 1, there's a garden club meeting, our locality food gardeners group. I have to give them an important presentation about importing seeds suitable to Tasmania because none of the Mainland companies have the right stuff for a lot of vegetable species, being as they are in a different climate. Tasmania has too small a population to attract anyone of integrity into the vegie seed business. That's going to be an interesting experience, seeing as I'll be in my 19th day of water fasting. I certainly won't stay for the bring-a-plate lunch after the meeting. Maybe I'll have Muriel drive me the eight km to the local community centre where we're meeting.
I am just rattling on at 1:44 am, sleepless. I'll give you a break and sign off. Next report will be when it happens.
Subject: [INHS] Fasting report---Day 14
Fasting Report--Day 14
On a physical level, nothing much new. Slowly increasing weakness, slowly increasing inner well-being. Enemas (every other day) indicate huge quantities of bile being dumped. Liver is WORKING HARD.
Last night something quite interesting happened on a mental/psychic level--I was "attacked" by "demons." Now, demonology is a most interesting subject, and one paradigm that explains the multiplicity of aspects in a person's personality, the conflicts in their thoughts and emotions is to assign different identities, or entities to them. There is the big being--you--and then heaps of little beings--entities. All inhabiting the same body. At any rate, last night I started being bombarded by counter-intention thoughts:
You have fasted long enough.
Your body has detoxed now and as John (Fielder) said, what you mainly need to do is live simon pure and all will be well. So you can quit fasting now.
If you started eating you could go flying.
Think of those three perfect cauliflowers heading up in the garden. By the time you quit--if you go the full 25 days you have time for--they'll be blown up and inedible. You'll miss them.
At any rate, I resisted. Being tired, late at night, I couldn't do what needs be done with demons. If you use force against them it doesn't work. Force, like forcible eviction, or barriers, or . . . The only thing that does work is compassion. By "telepathy" you have to get into communication with each of them and find out like a good therapist, their problem and how they ended up being in such a low condition that they could do no more than inhabit the third bump on your left elbow--and chatter in your thoughts when they were awake and stirred up. Maybe I'll be able to handle them today. But unfortunately, my own concentration is at lowering ebb.
Onward and downward.
Subject: [INHS] Fasting Report
Day 17, end of day
I am starting to sleep or doze frequently during the day, and am getting rather weak. For example, to bring in a wheelbarrow load of firewood takes two stages with a rest in between.
Healing is happening. The tension in my fingers is disappearing, the joints are more comfortable. The sore left shoulder (motorbike accident in the 70s) is far less uncomfortable and I can reach overhead without a wince. What is going on in my organs I couldn't say but there is an increasing feeling of well-being along with the increasing weakness.
Seventeen days was the duration of my first water fast in 1979, so this is a milestone.
Subject: [INHS] Fast Report, final
Thought to tell you about the conclusion of my 19 day water fast and my conclusions about it.
When fasting I always listen to my body; when it says "enough," then it is time to quit. That happened to me during the evening of my 19th day this year and so the next morning I started eating. That was one week ago now. I've been on food now for seven days.
For the first day of eating my body seemed to majorly want to recharge its "batteries." But I maintained control and only fed it a small amount of fruit every two hours. Second day, same, it still wanted to eat all it could; I added some leafy green salad, but still, quite small portions and I "looked" at my stomach frequently and made sure it was entirely done processing the last lot before I let it have another. Day three I had a bit of cooked (lightly steamed veg) but still mainly eating raw. And the quantities were a bit more normal-sized.
I am proud to say that I experienced NO digestive upsets; did not over-eat once.
Day four the bowels moved for the first time and I started to feel relatively normal and not desperately needy for nourishment. I have a pretty good sense of well being. A lot of minor diseases seem gone. Muriel remarked that my swollen finger joints have gone down to normal size; I have no aches in hands or arms or . . . . I am comfortable.
One thing different about this fast; it is taking me longer to "come back" to full energy than in previous years. I attribute this to ageing. Here it is, now, day seven and I am still feeling a bit puny. I nap for a hour or so during the day as needed. This sudden onset of great tiredness is lessening daily. Yesterday I turned over a bit of the garden's compost heap, but at about 1/4 through the task was quite weary and set it aside. I'll get back to it in another day or so.
I am suspecting that this bit of annual fasting is workable for young, fit bodies that can handle the stresses. Fasting for weeks will serve as an emergency measure for someone with a life-threatening condition, knowing up front that the way back to full well-being will be a lot longer than the duration of the fast itself and will involve a long period of right living after the fast ends. But for an "old" guy like I'm starting to be I think that in the future I'll have to be putting my efforts and attentions on living day-to-day in a more healthful way and cease considering an annual water fast as a way to pay the piper wholesale for a year's worth of ongoing dietary indiscretions.
I hope this sharing has been of some use to some on the list.
> just an update of what happened after day 7 - are you back to normal?
I started eating again on day 20, making a 19 day water fast. I ate only raw fruits and veg for the first five days; then I added finely ground up oily seeds--sunflower, linseed, poppy, sesame. I've been making "lollies" out of them, with honey and dried fruit, and eat several small ones daily. This seems to digest well and agrees well. Then, about day ten I boiled some lamb necks, removed all the fat by chilling, and added a heap of finely shredded cabbage-family leaves--brussels sprouts, kale. NO STARCHY Stuff in the soup! That agreed fine; there's something in the bones/marrow that the body likes. I wouldn't eat that every week. The raw liver, yesterday, was the first major meat. That would have been about 14 days after resuming eating. I would say my digestion is back to normal (or better than what passed for "normal" prior to beginning the fast.)
> I have been thinking of introducing animal foods relatively early after my
> next fast, as a test - what do you say?
Raw liver is not hard to digest. I probably could have handled it after five or six days of eating, but took my time; the body didn't "want" it unti nearly two weeks.
> Just after a fast would be a good time to test everything that seems
> distasteful now - since then it would probably look much better....
Now, that's for sure! Not only appeal more, but your body's reaction (s) would be more immediate and sharply perceived, being as it was clean, non toxic. I remember once back in the late 70s I did a two week fast, and then about day five after resuming food I went to the corner store and bought a wine cooler. A big, strong one. Made me feel immediately sick in exactly the same way I felt the first time as a child I drank alcohol; I went around the Passover table after the meal and drank all the bits of wine left in the adults' glasses.
> Did you experience any cravings? -- I am asking since Dr. Bass says it is
> better to avoid fruits just after the fast - to avoid triggering any
All bodies are different. I ate half an apple every few hours for the first day; then started alternating apple halves with small green salads every few hours, and did that for several days. Then I added ground-up oily seeds to the salads. Then I added a bit of lightly steamed veg (not starchy ones). I still am not eating starchy veg. They don't agree with me well. I think I am better off with raw meat than with cooked starch.
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