I have made a lot of changes to my eating, activity, and focus in my life in the past 10 years. One of my major values is good health and in that I began to do New Years fastings. A fast with healthy intentions to reset my pallet and get in touch with attachment to food. A journey that is bound to test food allergies as well. I pay a lot of attention to the style of fasting that I do and what I might like to gain at the end of it.
In 2015 I moved to Colorado and now have access to a wilderness that can inspire my physical exercise. Since gyms are not my favorite place to exercise I am more interested in exercising outdoors. This past year I noticed an inconsistent ability to catch my breath that I wanted to be sure was not food related. I had tested myself for “Gluten Induced Ashtma” a couple years ago with mixed results. I think a couple years ago I wasn’t as in shape as I am today, now living in Colorado. So in order to be sure before I took other measures to handle my breathe I wanted to test this possible gluten sensitivity.
I also wanted to reset my pallet after an exciting and fun summer traveling and visiting different places. When traveling its not always easy to keep a good diet although I have figured out some great strategies that save money and support good health while on the road. But after a year of breaking this rule and that rule, you can easily find yourself a little away from your once healthy diet.
My other goal with my fast is to reset my eating and chewing habits. Paying attention to how long I chew my food, what I am doing while I am eating my food, and portion measuring. These are basics to losing weight and paying attention to how we eat is a big part of losing weight.
My fast is designed just for me but follows an Ayurveda guidelines. I choose to only eat fruits and vegetables for 3 days. Then I added grains and soon I will add dairy. Each time I eat I try to create a comforting space or quality time with someone I love. This way my meal has even more meaning. I work at taking my time, putting down my fork between each bite, and chewing my food all the way. On the first day I tried to keep my foods super simple like nuts, carrots, apples, bananas, kale and other vegetables but finding my way to at least 1100 calories. A low number yes but a good healthy number for my height & weight. I also am sure to drink a variety of herbal teas in order to aid in digesting and detoxing. Then I slowly add other foods, starting with grains. Later adding things like dairy and sweetener like honey. I try not to add sugar at all and I haven’t eaten meat in almost 10 years.
This time I learned a lot about my apparent gluten allergy. Seems I was right about my suspicions of gluten and my breathing struggles when I was exercising. I have been able to breathe so much easier since I took it out of my diet. I feel like my vegetarian diet is well balanced and diverse. After my 3 days I feel like I am back on track. My head feels more clear and I feel stronger in my body.
Today I walked up to the mail box, which used to seem like such a feat, but I was able to practically run up to it and I took a fast walk up the hill past it. I don’t usually find it easy to breathe if I walk fast up a hill but now with no gluten in my diet I found clearer breathing. Although I still find myself craving cakes and sweet things I know that eating them only makes me feel sick. That knowledge can take you far. I never noticed how sick those things made me feel though, until I did a fast.
I also discovered just how much I was psychologically attached to bread, much like my sugar addiction. I noticed I was resistant to the experiment because I didn’t want to just let bread go. I love to bake and I love whole wheat. I love sweet breads and bread with my pasta. I realize that like sugar I was attached. When I quit sugar I was so depressed in a worry that I might never have a sweet treat again, although later I realized that I would have it sometimes. I had to think my way through my attachment to bread as well. Telling myself “Its not like you will NEVER have wheat bread again, you just need to find an awareness of what it does to you.” This way I don’t eat it before I go on a hike! I know how my body struggles with it now, making it less attractive.
I worked with my need for comfort and am working towards finding ways to comfort myself other than with food. So when I want breads and sweet things I usually notice I am actually desiring comfort. So in that I used the hot teas as comfort. I also asked for support around me in making sure I get the comfort I need. I pay attention to how yoga comforts me. Reading and listening to music is also comforting to me. The fast has helped me become aware of my need for more comforting.
As I come out of my fast I am grateful for the experience and have learned a lot. Finding ways to slow down my eating, chew my food completely, and eat healthy portions has been reset by bringing practice into each meal. I feel cleaner, healthier and ready to proceed. One thing I am considering is maybe doing this at the next change of season. Short fasts more often is my goal.
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