Thursday, May 27, 2010

True North... A Peaceful, Restful Oasis

WOW!!!! Now this is more like it!!! Today is the day I have been waiting for!!! I feel like a million bucks!! No pain, nausea, vomiting... nothing! Great nights sleep and ready to enjoy the day of reading and working on some new fitness training programs! Yesterday, I started my 2nd week of water-only fasting.

As you can see by these pictures..... northern California is beautifully green & luscious. This is the True North Center in Penngrove before they moved a little north, to the city of Santa Rosa. I love the new place....but I so miss this little residential oasis hidden in the hills just east of Penngrove.

And just check out that cactus garden! Those cacti where were as tall as me!

When staying at True North Health and Wellness Center....the first thing we water fasters do when we awake is..... RUN..... to the bathroom! Drinking a gallon or more daily.... really keeps us busy!! Then back to bed. The doctors come in daily...around 8am to check your blood pressure, temp, pulse and urine. Ya can't be up moving around before they visit as this will skew the readings. Once a week, it is blood work time. Blood is drawn to check the electrolytes and several other factors to ensure everything is cool.

After you get the "OK" from the docs, you can enjoy some time alone or dress and head down to one of many great lectures given by any one of the most brilliant minds in the natural health and wellness industry. These usually last a couple of hours or so. After the lecture, I usually sit out around the beautiful courtyard in the warm California sun... with the cool fresh breeze to get a little sun... about 20 minutes worth. Then back to my room for a nice long nap.

The afternoon offers another lecture series or an educational DVD to enjoy. When refeeding you have the opportunity to attend cooking classes given by the chef and others to learn how to prepare some of those dishes below that make you drool. By now, it is time for some chit-chat with the other fasters and then back to the room for the evening doctor's visit. After that some movies, TV, reading, knitting...whatever. I am pooped after the busy day & bedtime, for me, is usually early as I awake early... around 5:30a.m. (Gotta love that west coast time zone... the sun is already up and shining by then!)

The length of fasts varies from person to person. Some only need a week, some 10, 12, 14, or 18+ days. It just depends on why you are there and what the doctors determine what is best for you. For every day you fast... you need 1/2 day of refeeding time. 10 day fast.... means 5 days of refeeding... totaling a 15 day stay.

Oh!! speaking of refeeding!! OMG!! The food is heavenly!! EVERYTHING you consume is fresh, California, whole ORGANIC foods.... free of oils, fats, sugar, sodium, and animal protein. CHOLESTEROL FREE, baby! The chefs use a lot of wonderful spices and herbs for flavoring.

It's tough to describe just how delicious the juices and food taste. So flavorful and what I love is the unbelievable "smell" of the food........ The cukes, romaine lettuce, cados, carrots, celery...... all smell so amazing!! Try that with regular grocery store produce! True North offers a yummy buffet serving raw veggies, fruits, steamed veggies, potatoes, beans, greens, quinoa, rice, oatmeal, millet, stews and soups. Everything is prepared fresh, daily, by their fantastic and very talented new Chef Bravo and his team. They even offer delivery and take out service from the True North Kitchen! You can call in and have a whole weeks worth of meals ready for you to pick up!! All organic and fresh. What I would give to have something like that here!!

There is a meticulous plan of refeeding. Depending on how long you fast, you have days dedicated to specific foods in a specific order. Remember, the digestive track has been completely shut down for a lengthy period of time, so refeeding should be very carefully implemented. The first phase of refeeding consists of drinking juices. These juices are very tasty and after not having anything but water for days and days or weeks.... there ain't nothing like a tall glass of freshly juiced watermelon!! Fruits and veggies are juiced, fresh, everyday all from O.J to watermelon to veggie/fruit combos.

The second phase is raw veggies and fruits. As you cruise the buffet, you have so many choices...not only just "ordinary" fruits and veggies; but also, some choices like jicama, Japanese mushrooms, golden yellow beets, chayote, lime-soaked radishes, mangos, & papayas.

The third phase is steamed veggies like spaghetti squash w/ shitake 'shrooms, corn on the cob, sweet carrots and cabbage, brasied red cabbage w/dried cherries, broccoli, honey sweet acorn squash, artichokes, kale, chard, oven roasted tomatoes w/ arugula..... gheeze.. I could go on and on!!

The 4th phase is when it gets really great because you start consuming more high caloric dense foods..... like basil-curry garbanzo beans, hummus, baked Irish and sweet potatoes, black-eyes peas, & split pea and yam stew.

The last phase are grains like oatmeal, red quinoa salad, wild rice pilaf, millet, oatmeal French toast, brown rice, black bean tamale pie and stuffed bells with rice and beans, spicy carrot-ginger soup, and butternut spaghetti squash.

Nuts and seeds are the VERY last to add in because they are the most difficult to digest.

The sauces, gravies and salad dressings are all homemade. Mouthwatering choices include porccini mushroom gravy, tomatillo salsa, peach sauce, red bell pepper coulis, mango-ginger dressing, roasted red pepper dressing, & pineapple tarragon

And you know what? THERE IS NO CALORIE COUNTING!! You eat as much as you want. Once you have completed the phases and can eat everything, you start with raw and eat as much of that as you can, then go to steamed.... eating all you can, then progress to beans and potatoes, and if you have room.... go for the grains. This makes such a huge difference in cutting down your calorie consumption. Fill your gut up with raw and then you don't eat as much of the other.

Dang! This is REALLY starting to make me hungry!! I hope this gives you an idea of what occurs when I go to the center for fasting. The environment provides a very peaceful and stress-free place to heal, relax, and concentrate on you. Plus, you get to eat all this great food!

Until Next Time.......

GOOD HEALTH TO ALL... and here's to another awesome day!!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Starting the 2nd Week of Water Fasting

As this journey continues, I head into the 2nd week of my annual 21 day water-only fast. The past few days have been pretty much.... SHEAR HELL! H O T, burning ...stabbing pain in my lower back... specifically the SI joints...

radiating down into my hamstrings, calfs and bottoms of feet. This makes it unbelievably difficult to sit or lie down for more then 5 minutes. I stand and walk..... and walk.... and walk. No sleep in 3 days until last night when this phase of fasting has started to subside..... THANK GOD!!! This is all part of my fasting process... and does NOT happen to everyone.

In reading these posts.... please don’t think water fasting is all doom and gloom... vomiting... pain...sleepless days and nights with “goo” extruding from various body parts! After the first 7 to 10 days, most people start to feel wonderful... euphoric in a sense. You will see this later in my posts... I promise!

Last time I discussed the 3 phases of fasting, the different fuels the body uses while fasting, the difference between water-only fasting and "juicing" and other "detox/cleansing" programs, how the body cleanses and why it is so important to get plenty of rest and sleep during a water-only fast.

Your body shows you in so many ways how it is cleansing and healing itself. Dry skin cells form on top of the skin. A simple daily brushing of the body with a stiff bristle brush will sluff off these dead cells..... and as an added bonus..... will stimulate healing circulation throughout the body. There might be some "green goo" coming out of the alarm..... this is yeast of some sort and will at some point abate. Sometimes hunks of wax will collect in the ears...... like the goo.... kinda gross... but is of no harm. The sinuses will react by draining "gunk" from the nose & eyes. Lots of coughing & hacking. "Lovely"..... right? Aren't you so happy that I don't post pix?

The benefits of water fasting are just endless! I was absolutely blown away with my first fast of 29 days when 2 scars and 1 mole on my body.... just disappeared....poof..gone! The body not only uses glucose, glycogen and fat as fuel while fasting, it also feeds on itself by eating scare tissue from within. This explains why my scars disappeared and the mole just fell off. I could not believe it and would not have believed it had I not seen it!

I was also impressed with my blood pressure reading during fasting. My lowest was 92/68...WOW! I love giving my little heart some rest time! I am able to maintain an average of about 116/62 in my daily life!

Do you know that a blood pressure reading of 138/88 has 5 times a risk of a heart attack? Each one point reduction in diastolic will give you a 1% reduction in mortality. 200,000 people die annually of heart attacks and 700,000 leave this earth from strokes. These stats are found in numerous articles on the True North site.

I invite you to check out the 3 published studies done by Dr. Alan Goldhamer, Founder and Director of True North Health and Wellness Center in Santa Rosa, California, Dr Douglas Lisle, the Center's Psychologist & co-author along with Dr. Goldhamer of The Pleasure Trap, Dr. T. Colin Campbell, Author of The China Study, along with Banoo Parpia, PhD, & Scott V. Anderson, MD. The results are fascinating about the effects of water-only fasting has on hypertension and diabetes.

1. Medically Supervised Water-only Fasting in the Treatment of Hypertension

Medically Supervised Water-Only Fasting in the
Treatment of Borderline Hypertension

Initial Cost of Care Results in Medically Supervised Water-Only Fasting for Treating High Blood Pressure & Diabetes

Another great benefit from water-only fasting is ..... of course... the weight loss. I lost 50 lbs during my first fast five years ago. Just one of the many horrible side effects from popping all those steroids to “treat” my systemic lupus.

I hope you are enjoying (?) LOL! or maybe at least learning something about water-only fasting and how miraculous the body is in my journey posts.

Here’s to the start of another week!! Hang with me... and see what this week brings... I have a feeling.. it might just be a fabulous one!!

Until Next Time....


Saturday, May 22, 2010

More Stuff About Fasting... Part 2

Ya know those symptoms of fasting I listed last time? Well, let's just say.....It's been a tough day and a half for sure. This is day 4 of 21 days. 17 days left of my water-only fasting journey & I spent the last day or so with nausea and vomiting. But, don't "freak" this is just part of fasting for me... so I can deal. Later I will explain why some people have these symptoms while fasting.

According to Dr. Alan Goldhamer, Founder and Director of the True North Health and Wellness Center in Santa Rosa, California, there are 3 phases to water-only fasting. This explains the difference between juice fasting ("juicing") and other "detox" programs. From his article, Therapeutic Fasting, Dr. Goldhamer elaborates on the definition of "true" fasting:

"Therapeutic fasting is defined as the complete abstinence from all substances except pure water in an environment of complete rest. There are no substitutes. When therapeutic fasting is indicated, nothing else can be considered “just as good.”

Going without food ­-­­ even for a few days ­­- while working, exercising, worrying, etc. is not therapeutic fasting. A noisy, high stress and/or non-supportive environment will not provide the body the opportunity to maximize the self-healing mechanisms. To maximize the benefits of therapeutic fasting, complete rest is essential.

Eating only certain foods or drinking only juices is not therapeutic fasting. The physiological and clinical impact and benefits are different. This is not to say that juice diets or so-called elimination diets do not have a role. But they are not the same as therapeutic fasting.

When properly applied and conducted, therapeutic fasting is one of the most potent tools available for assisting the body in healing itself. When abused or applied injudiciously, harm can result. The most important advice I can give anyone regarding fasting is this. If you are going to undertake a fast, do it right or don’t do it."

During the time of the fast, the body uses different sources for fuel depending upon the phase. From glucose, amino acids and fats in phase 1, (the first 6 hours) to glycogen in phase 2, ( the first 24 to 48 hours) to phase 3 (14 to 40 days) where the body switches solely to fat metabolism. I invite you to read the complete article to learn about this miraculous body of ours and how it physiologically heals itself thru these phases. I think you will find it just fascinating!

When your body is given complete rest and sleep while fasting, this allows it to go to work. Cleansing and detoxing occurs in every inch of the body. The digestive system, circulatory system, muscles, joints, all internal organs, lungs, heart, brain, skin, hair, nails, ears, gums, teeth, eyes, & sinuses all benefit from fasting.

The body heals itself by releasing toxins and poisons that have been stored in all these areas from an unhealthy food plan, from pollutions in the environment, & from all the xenoestrogens found in all the plastics around us. All these toxins and poisons are flushed into the blood stream, enter the gastrointestinal track and then eliminated thru the urine and or regurgitation, sinus drainage, wax build up in the ears, eye drainage, coughing up mucus, belly button discharge and the white-gooey coating on the tongue. Depending on how quickly this process occurs will dictate the fasting symptoms or side effects people will experience.

During my first 29 day fast, I suffered more from the pain of the systemic lupus then from the symptoms of the fast. My 2nd fast of 22 days, I really had a tough time. I went into what’s called a healing crisis on the 4th day. Healing crises occurs when the body cleanses at a faster rate then the body can eliminate these toxins and poisons. Severe vomiting, nausea, and dehydration can occur. This is why it is so very important to do the water-only fast under medical supervision and in a qualified fasting facility like True North.

Ok, so now you know the difference between true fasting and juicing or other detox programs, how the body cleanses and why it is so important to get plenty of rest and sleep during a water-only fast.

In my next blog I will share more info regarding how your body heals itself during the fast, reactions and some interesting facts, research and studies performed regarding water-only fasting.


Until next time.....


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Everything You Wanted to Know About Fasting.... Part 1

Ok.. so yesterday was day one of my 21 day water-only fast. I shared how water-only fasting has been around since way before the days of Christ and was used as one of few medical treatments. Because we are the fattest, sickest people on earth and modern medicine of the 20th century is just not working... water-only fasting is making a big come back. The ability of the human body to heal itself is a miracle that cannot be ignored.

This is day two...... 19 more days! (unless I suffer a healing crises and have to break it early. I will discuss healing crises in a later blog) As this journey continues, you'll know all about the symptoms, side effects, & results of what occurs when the body is working hard to rid itself of toxins and poisons. Yes.... the good, the bad and the ugly. Some will be strangely bizarre....... from "green avocado-like goo" oozing from the belly button to pulling out pea sized wax from the ears. The normal cycle of detoxing includes sluffing off dry skin cells, metallic taste in the mouth, gooey white blanket that covers the tongue, indigestion, sinus drainage, nausea and headaches. But.. for yesterdays and last nights experiences.... not too bad at all.

The first day I always suffer from hunger....but I get past that by the evening. I did wake up early this morning .... around 2:30am with a bit of nausea and a slight headache. I soon went back to sleep and feel much better.

Now, it's time to share the preparation for a lengthy fast. The best thing to do to make your fast successful and less intense is about 3 weeks before you plan to start the fast..... go all raw. Raw veggies and fruits. No nuts, no bread, no cooked foods, no alcohol and no caffeine. Drink nothing but water. This will make the detox experience easier to endure.

What do you need to fast? Lots and lots of water and lots and lots rest. Drink about 1 gallon of either reverse osmosis water or water from a home distillery, daily. Nothing from the tap or the grocery store. It is very important to drink the water every day or dehydration can result... very quickly.

Getting plenty of rest is the 2nd most important factor of fasting. You cannot live your regular everyday lifestyle. This means, no going to work, no work at home, no running around town, no housework, and no taking care of the family. When you fast, you need complete rest and relaxation because you are not consuming any calories.... so your body has no fuel from which to burn. This would be like putting water in your car and then trying to start it up and driving..... just won't happen. Sleep and rest allows the body to do what it needs heal.

No contacts can be worn during the fast as eyes tend to dry out a bit. No showers or baths can be taken because the warm water will draw the blood away from the brain into the extremities and the chance of fainting is high. No lotions, oils, or toothpaste are allowed. There should be nothing absorbed thru the skin or swallowed.

During my fasting, my time is spent sleeping, reading, listening to music or audio books, & watching movies. I love to use the time to reflect on my life and what plans I can make for the future. This is also a perfect time to spend some quality time in the sun & will make the fast a more pleasurable experience. 15 to 20 minutes a day is all that's needed. Minimal clothes and of course, no sunscreen.

Check out tomorrow's blog. I will discuss the physiological effects of the fast and what exactly occurs in the body during the fasting experience.

Thank you for coming along on this fascinating journey with me!


Until Next Time.....


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Water..... The True Gift for a Healthy Life

This Human body is designed to work and perform so perfectly when we take care of it. I had no idea how truly miraculous this body is. The abilities of its defense mechanisms to keep us healthy and protect us from harm are simply extraordinary.

We demand & expect a lot from this body, don't we? We are sleep deprived. We eat unhealthfully. We don't exercise. We work long hours. We rush the kids here and everywhere. We eat too much. We drink too much. We skip meals. We smoke. We take pill after pill after pill. We get stressed from limited time & too much to do. We "bark" at our spouses, partners, friends, and kids. We are obese. We are overweight. We are sick from diseases of excess.

and, yet, this body.. in all its wonder.... keeps working for us.... until one day.... it breaks down like an old beat up 1962 Chrysler that ran out of gas and the tires fell off.

WOW!! What now? We need an opportunity to reboot...reset....recycle.....start over..... we need to heal.

Dr Alan Goldhamer, Director and Founder of True North Health & Wellness Center in Santa Rosa California, states: "Water-only fasting offers extraordinary potential for health and healing and for some conditions it appears to be the most effective treatment available."

Ok.. so I know for most of my Facebook buds and blog followers.... this sounds bonkers....right? I totally understand. I thought the same thing myself 5 years ago before I jumped off and dove into a 29 day water-only fast to treat my Systemic Lupus. After 6 years of what seemed an endless amount of pills, blood tests, and doctor appointments, I took the suggestion of one of my clients whose daughter had just returned from a 40 day water-only fast to cure her health issues.

We forget that water-only fasting has been around since way before Christ. In fact, it was one of only a few methods of medical treatments for centuries. During the 20th century we saw western medical science take over with innovations in surgical procedures, "miracle" drugs, & radiation therapy. Water-only fasting was overshadowed and forgotten.

At the end of the 20th century, we see the U.S. is now the sickest nation in the world....with 2/3rd's of its population sick-fat-unhealthy and our children suffering from these same adult issues.....we realize these 20th century "wonder treatments" are not working. If you are a healthy individual... you are actually considered to be abnormal.

The amazing ability of the body to heal itself thru water-only fasting is resurfacing. In Dr. Alan Goldhamer's article, "Fasting Back to the Future," he elaborates on this new awakening:

"After decades of collective awe of modern medicine and its purveyors, a strong undercurrent of disillusionment began to appear. There came the beginnings of a philosophical revolution that would lead health science in a promising new direction.

This new direction centers on the realization that health and healing are best supported when the biological roots of our nature are understood and respected. This new philosophical approach is based on the awareness that health and healing are natural processes. As a result, the focus of attention has increasingly shifted away from the traditional medical emphasis on drugs and surgery toward an exploration of the circumstances and requirements necessary to unleash and enhance these natural processes."

Today is my first day of a 21 day water-only fast. I take this journey regularly to keep my Systemic Lupus in remission and to keep me medication... free. It's been 5 years this month that I said "Goodbye to my last Plaquenil, my last Prednisone, my last pain killer and my last muscle relaxer." No more monthly travel down to Houston to see the Rheumatologist and Endocrinologist. No more monthly blood work looking for protein in my kidneys. No more visual field eye checks for side effects of the Plaquenil. I have cut the chains and I am FREE.

When people find out that I water fast...... the responses are from one end of the reaction spectrum to the other. Some gasp and their mouths drop with disbelief. Some have a look on their face that says "did she just say she went 29 days with no food and just water?" And some are very interested out of curiosity and wonder. So many people ask me tons of questions about this unorthodox and "off the wall" treatment that I decided to blog this 21 day journey.

I will take you thru the daily occurrences, issues, & symptoms that I experience. Everyone is different when they fast and have very unique and individual reactions. I've fasted long enough now that I know pretty muchly what to expect. However, every time I am amazed at something new and different that occurs as this incredible body of mine takes on its job of healing.

Tomorrow I will share how I prepare for the fast, what is needed to fast, and what I do with my time while fasting.

Meanwhile... checkout the True North website to read more about the reawakening of the miracle of water-only fasting.

I invite you to come along on this journey with me. Live it thru my eyes and experiences. You might decide it is something you want to try.


Until Next Time.....