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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Interesting Thing of the Day: Fasting: "On a few rare occasions I had fasted for a day at a time, but Visser was talking about extended fasts�those lasting more than a few days. According to Visser and other sources I consulted, an extended fast has some fascinating characteristics I had never contemplated. For one thing, hunger is supposed to disappear after the first three or four days. The body adapts to the absence of intake and more or less goes about its business without complaining. Intriguingly, the mind purportedly becomes more alert, less sleep is needed, and thinking becomes clearer. On the downside (or perhaps not, depending on your point of view), sexual energy and desire diminish. Accumulated toxins are also released, which can be healthy for the body�s organs but has a side effect of significant body odor and bad breath. All this continues for anywhere from three to six weeks, depending on a variety of factors including the size of your body and overall health. At that point, hunger returns, signaling that you must eat soon in order to survive. Ignore this sensation, and your muscles, bones, and organs will rapidly deteriorate, leading to starvation."

So I tried it, and in the last few years I’ve undertaken three extended fasts so far, ranging in duration from ten days to three weeks. (I have not attempted to go the proverbial 40 days and 40 nights without food.) The experience was indeed quite interesting and not nearly as unpleasant as I thought it would be. Each time, the overall pattern was about the same. The first two days were quite difficult; the third was excruciating. I felt intensely hungry, weak, and light-headed, and had tremendous difficulty concentrating. But by the fourth day, all these symptoms began to subside rapidly. By the time a week had passed, my body and mind alike had become accustomed to not eating, and it no longer felt strange. I also found myself needing less sleep, and as expected, feeling more alert and clear-headed. I don’t want to overstate this mental clarity: it wasn’t overwhelming, but definitely noticeable. I am reliably informed that my body odor and breath were not more objectionable than usual during my fasts, but then, I also did not consider it necessary to abstain from bathing, using deodorant, and brushing my teeth.

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eureka, California, United States
As Popeye once said,"I ams what I am." But then again maybe I'm not