Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fasting and Prayer, or, How I Accidentally Poisoned Myself

My church is doing a 21-day Fast. They do it every year in January to start the year off right and hear from God. This year I'm sort of participating. I suppose fasting isn't any more difficult for me than it is for anybody else. But it makes me feel better to think that it is.

It's not difficult for the reasons you might suppose. I can go quite a while without eating or drinking anything. In fact, I do it inadvertently throughout the year. I take after my Mother and Grandmother.  They are both part camel. 

Here's the problem: I get really... let's say "weird", when I don't eat at regular intervals. My husband can attest to this as can my mother, who previously didn't believe it was true until she witnessed my hunger induced transformation first-hand. We were at the mall one day just before lunch time when it hit. I went from being my normal, funny, fairly rational self to being extremely short-tempered, confused and irrational. My mother stood there with her mouth opened unable to believe what was happening to me. The whole time I had no idea that I was acting any different at all. We stopped at the food court and three bites into a chicken sandwich I was back to my normal self again, feeling calmer, but unaware that I had been anything but pleasant.

The point is, I need to eat. Everyone around me needs me to eat.  So fasting can be a bit of a problem for me.  Fortunately, there are many different kinds of fasting.  You can do a full fast, which means you don't eat anything at all and only drink water.  You can have broth if you start feeling too weak.  This is not a good option for me.  It would take about 20 minutes before I would go for the broth.  The Daniel Fast lets you eat only fruits and vegetables.  Not a bad way to live everyday, but I love bacon too much to make that a permanent lifestyle.  My kids are fasting TV, video games, and sugary snacks on different days during the week.  They're doing a great job and I'm really proud of them.

I decided this would be a good time to jump-start some better eating habits.  I found a 3-day cleanse on the Dr. Oz website that looked good.  It's supposed to re-set your hormones and boost your immune system.  It sounded great, so I went and bought all the fruits, vegetables, supplements, and weird food products that I needed from the Natures Marketplace section of the grocery store that I generally avoid because I'm no hippie.  I even bought the Epsom salts and lavender oil drops to take the nightly Detox Ultra Bath.  I don't generally take baths because sitting in a pot of my own filth is not something I generally enjoy, but I sat in the hot, salty water until my fingers got all pruney because I was committed to doing this thing.  It turned out to be pretty relaxing.  I didn't like it.  Relaxation is very uncomfortable to me.  I wrote a blog all about that here if you want to know why.

The breakfast drink went down pretty well on day one.  It was a little more banana-y than I like, but it was still okay.  The lunch drink was very, very thick and pulpy.  It made me gag and what bit of it I managed to get down burned my throat.  This should have been a red flag to me, but I ignored it.  Four large stalks of celery turned out to be too much.  I think I put too much cayenne pepper in the dinner shake the first night, because it made my throat feel like it was going to bleed.  I used cinnamon the next day instead.  It was much better.

The irony of me being taken out
by a nut is not lost on me.
I was well into day three of the cleanse when I made an important discovery.  I was so dedicated to being totally committed to doing this thing right that I missed a very important detail.  I don't like to admit it, but I have a slight allergy to almonds.  It isn't bad enough to keep me from grabbing a small handful of my sister's homemade seasoned almonds, but it is bad enough to keep me from breathing comfortably.  I consider comfortable breathing to be an optional luxury when compared to eating toasted almonds coated in cinnamon and sugar.  I don't want to admit that I can be defeated by a nut and believe that my increased sensitivity to them is a punishment for my general intolerance of food allergies, so I mostly just ignore the problem.  Until I realized that the reason I was feeling sick, tired, and lethargic while drinking smoothies that were supposed to make me feel energized and refreshed was because they were made of almond butter and almond milk. Yes, I was slowly poisoning myself.  And yes, it took me three days to realize it. 

I was going to finish the cleanse, but my husband insisted that I stop.  About two days later I was feeling just fine, breathing in and out without incident.  I tried it again a few days later, without the poisonous ingredients. 

I guess what I learned most during this fast is to listen more carefully to that still, small voice inside of me that says, "Hey, Dummy, you're poisoning yourself."  Maybe that voice should be a little louder.

Hey, Dummy.  You're eating poison.