I am halfway to the weight my doc and I want me to be at. Can I get a W00T? My fave skirt fit beautifully for Mass yesterday – with room to spare. I felt great.
More than that though is how I’m feeling physically. My joints feel fantastic. I managed to squat down – a full squat – yesterday AND get back up without holding for dear life to someone or something. That is a huge accomplishment for someone who, just a few months ago, couldn’t dress without help. I’m feeling more flexible, stronger, and more energetic. These headaches might just be part of the healing crisis – which is always crummy. But it passes. And it will. Keeping calm through this week will help… if only I can keep calm with all of the bustle.
Now that I am nearing the end of my intended fast (just until this Friday), I am thinking that I will only take a day or two from the fast and continue on to at least 40 days, possibly for the remainder of the summer. I want to take advantage of the availability of fresh organic produce and beautiful weather to get shaped back up inside and out – body, mind, and spirit.
I just want to be clear, because I’ve already had some concerned messages about what I am doing. Folks who have known me for a long while also know that I am very concerned about holistic health, and ways to enable the body to heal itself. I am NOT doing ReBoot, though I signed up for membership on their site (solely for the purposes of finding some more interesting juicing recipes). I feel that their approach – or what I understand of it – is actually dangerous for most people. I am not keeping a strict juice fast, and I am allowing myself one meal each day. It is a large salad with plenty of protein in the form of beans, cheese, eggs, or meat. I’m not eating anything processed (except for the cheese, which is totally natural milk cheese, not that creepy factory stuff). I am not eating breads or pastas at all.
While I had some fun with my first post (about having gained a bit too much weight, which I have), I am also using this opportunity to renew my body from the inside. I have been blessed – some would say cursed – with several autoimmune diseases. I have Hashimotos Thyroiditis, Psoriatic Arthritis, asthma, migraine, and have tested positive for anti-cardiolipin antibody and SLE (lupus, most likely because I have autoimmune diseases to begin with). I used to have heinous seasonal and other allergies, which don’t seem to bother me anymore.
More than eight years ago, after a second round of oral chemotherapy which left me tired, weak, and feeling like I was being burned by acid from the inside – and a host of other medications – I decided I’d had enough. I decided to start researching holistic alternatives, believing firmly that our bodies were made to heal themselves, and that with a few exceptions, they can do without conventional medications. That is, provided that the body is properly fed.
And periodically cleansed. An important part of cleansing is fasting. Fasting restricts calories. Wise fasting also nourishes the body with as little impact to the digestive system as possible. That is, juice fasting. Almost anyone can do a three-day juice fast. If you intend to go longer, you should have a good idea of your health status, or a thumbs up from your health care provider.
In 2004, I discontinued my medications and began to cleanse, followed by a radical change in diet, which our whole family has largely maintained since then. I’ve written about it before, and I will again, as I go along. Basically, if God didn’t make it, we don’t eat it or make things from it. We eat as close to nature as is practical for our family. But every so often, life gets crazy busy, which makes my body much more sensitive. That busy-ness often also results in eating what is convenient rather than what is healthiest. And that begins a dangerous downward spiral for me. A diet that is not ideal + Stress = inflammatory response = pain = sedentary living = weight gain, and so on, and so on… And that is when I need to cleanse and fast again…
Which brings me to where I am now, and was over eight years ago. I stayed off of my medications, maintained a remission of my auto-immune diseases, achieved a healthy weight, regained my fertility. I became pregnant and delivered a healthy baby girl (easiest delivery to that point), followed by a healthy boy 17 months later, and two other healthy, beautiful children, ending with our little Joséphine 18 months ago.
All of the bustle of buying and restoring a large old home, commuting 40 minutes each way to farm, working, homeschooling, and school for Brian and me has taken a toll. Last winter I had one of the worst flares I have ever experienced, in the midst of which, I became pregnant. After we lost her, I woke up to the fact that it had come time – again – to renew my body.
Fasting is the first step in returning my body to normal health. For me, fasting includes an ample amount of protein from various sources to maintain muscle mass and function. Exercise is vital to continue building that muscle – work on the farm, walks, building, bending, play… Prayer, laughter, and recreation are also essential components to the Fit in 40™ plan.
In just under three weeks, Brian will be ordained to the diaconate. We will become a deacon’s family. An auspicious occasion, to say the least. On such occasions, it is traditional to fast and pray, in order to prepare oneself in body, mind, and spirit.
But it isn’t a completely pious pursuit. I have become concerned that I won’t fit into my new suit. And in the interest of responsibly stewarding our hard-earned income, I would like not to have to buy another. And anyway, I could do without another try-on session in a department store fitting room that is equipped with hideous lighting and an evil trick mirror which makes me look like… well… never mind.
This beautiful bunch of produce will soon be transformed into a drink worthy of a 3rd grader's fondest gross-out fantasy. It's actually not terrible - and it is really quite good-for-you.
So, I’m doing a juice fast for the next couple of weeks. I’m hoping that I’ll drop a dress size and get myself a headstart to feeling and being better. Giving up solid foods for three weeks is going to be a challenge. I love food – I love the smell, the look, the taste… I love thinking about cooking for my family and inventing recipes. I look forward to enjoyable meals.
It’s going to take an awful lot of prayer to get through these few days. I’m going to be relying heavily on my prayer rope and rosary to get me through. Lots of begging for mercy, which is why the Jesus Prayer and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy will come in handy. I may need back-up beads.
Mortification… Dying to myself to become the person I was made to be.
I think I like this type of mortification better than the type that comes from inserting my hoof into my mouth.
I turned to the Lord God, to seek help, in prayer and petition, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes. – Daniel 3:9 (NAB)
Good Daniel did know a thing or two about avoiding overindulgence in choice food. I’ll be foregoing the sackcloth and ashes this time. What I will be partaking in is some “Mean Green Juice”.