21 day water fast: day 16

chickenLast night I realised that I’m at the three-quarters point of the fast.  But numbers mean nothing.  They cut up the truth of unadulterated reality.  The truth is, I often can’t even remember which day of the fast I’m on, let alone what day of the week it is.

I’ve had this dull ache in my left quad the whole day.  At first, I couldn’t understand it.  The feeling was and continues to be similar to what can happen during detox, or in the first couple days of a fast while the body is switching over to ketosis (and drawing from muscle tissue in the meantime).  Obviously I’m firmly in ketosis now, but could it be detox?  But if so, why is my right leg fine?  Surely both should be aching if this were the case.  Then I realised.  It was yesterday’s work in the garden.  In everyday terms, it was nothing strenuous.  But I was doing a lot of kneeling down onto my right leg, and then using the power of my left leg to stand back up again.  The fact that such mild exercise can give me a sore muscle the next day is yet another sign of the body’s potential fragility during a longer fast.  Another reminder that I must avoid my usual dive-in-headfirst approach to training and exercise after this fast.  Allow the body to rebuild!

It’s occurred to me that, having passed the two-week point, there’s been no sign of the so-called healing crisis or ‘acidosis’ which many writers describe as often happening around this period.

Having said that, I do feel like I’ve gone into a slightly greater degree of detox since yesterday.  It’s been ever so mild, ever so gentle, though, and it’s only by putting the clues together that the idea occurred to me.  First, if my scales are to be trusted, I’ve lost slightly more weight per day over this period.  My blood pressure been consistently lower (by about 10mmHg systolic).  I’ve been sleeping an hour or two more than the previous four-five hours per night.  During the day I feel a little more sluggish.  In the end, who knows.  I just trust in what’s going on inside me.  Body always knows best.

One interesting observation about smells.  I’m acutely aware of any scent – for instance, I walk into the kitchen and immediately smell the Earl Grey tea, packed away in its box.  But none of it evokes any real emotional reaction.  It’s just all good.  I went outside this morning and smelled the grass.  And it was good.  A passing wave from the blossom of the lime trees.  And it was good.  A waft from the neighbour’s chicken manure.  And it was good…  What really struck me today, though, was that a farmer had spread some slurry in one of the surrounding fields.  Nothing too overpowering – but the smell itself?  It too was simply good.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

On a similar note, I’ve had no cravings for particular foods during this fast (with the one exception of that perfect avocado!).  In contrast, I’ve had cravings in the past either for carbohydrates or, during more recent fasts, for proteins.  I’m guessing that this means I’ve got my nutrition right now.  The period when fasts made me crave proteins also coincided with the first year or two after having become vegan.  I reckon I probably hadn’t compensated for the lack of dairy proteins in the beginning.  Over the last year, though, I’ve made a conscious effort to make sure I eat enough nuts, lentils and beans.  As a result, I feel completely balanced now.

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