3-Day Fast Complete!

Just completed my first 3 day water fast and I am on day 4 now.  

I think I’m starting to get into ketosis but not quite there yet.  Down 7 lbs but mostly water.

I used some additional supplements that helped me get farther this time so wanted to explain, also more info on refeeding.

This is what I’m taking daily – most say 0 cal but those actually add up to 10 calories when I put them into the Lose-It calculator.   Total of 31 cal/day, you need to stay below 50 calories to maintain a water fast.  It would be be better to take nothing but I’m at high risk for refeeding syndrome:

  • Magnesium, natural calm – 1-2 tsp (up to 325 mg)
  • Jigsaw electrolyte – 1 pouch
  • All remaining vitamins are EZ Melts sublingual brand: Multivitamin, 2 tablets
  • B12 – 5,000 mcg
  • B6 – 50 mg
  • B1 – 100 mg
  • One scoop Perfect Keto Base (exogenous ketones)
  • 2 cups black coffee
  • 1 oz pacific chicken broth
  • 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt

The B12 has helped with energy and the exogenous ketones help with fat conversion.  Hopefully by tomorrow I can remove both B12 & ketones & the coffee once I am in full ketosis and more energetic.  I feel much better today but not quite there yet.

On a more serious note, for any Celiacs out there like me, apparently fasting carries a very high risk of Refeeding Syndrome for Celiacs and others with malabsorption issues after 5 days.  

I have had re-feeding problems after only  1 or 2 days of fasting.  Both times involved fast food burger, shake & fries.  First time I ate the whole thing & threw up for 4 days.  Next time I ate the burger wrapped in lettuce, about 15 fries, 5 sips of shake and about 15 small jellybeans.  I didn’t throw up but had unpleasant electrolyte issues the whole next morning.  Note:  in neither case was this my first meal.  It was several hours later.

I found a student nurse’s presentation on You Tube that breaks down the risk factors for refeeding and I am high risk, so I will follow her suggestions for refeeding high risk patients after fasting.

They advise only 10 calories max per kg of body weight  for the first two days (about 5 cal/pound).  Then gradually increase calories for the next 5 days.  I know from experience the food should be lowfat, mostly fruits & veggies.  No wine, dessert, or  junk food.  Apparently even after the first 7 days you can STILL get refeeding complications up to 2 weeks after that.  So basically stay away from junk food for 3 weeks after a fast of  longer than 5 days if you are Celiac.  

Also that you tube video recommended the same supplements I’m already taking so I’ll continue them for 3 weeks after the fast. (Most people wouldn’t need as high a dose as I’m taking, the video recommended a daily multivitamin, B complex and B1 Thiamine along with an electrolyte supplement).

My plan is to continue until Friday this week (9 days total) and break my fast Friday night, but if I don’t feel well I’ll end it sooner.  

Every time I fast the circulation & sensation continues to improve in my feet.  I never thought they could recover to this degree.  Pretty exciting!

**DISCLAIMER –  I am not a doctor, I am just recounting my own N=1 experience here, and you should consult your own doctor before attempting a water fast, especially if you have health issues or are on medication.**

UPDATE:  Well I made it to the end of day 4 but my ears are plugged up and ringing, my chest is tight and my breathing is a little congested.  Also developing a headache.   It’s probably fine but I’m going to break my fast with an Atkins shake.  My previous fast was 62 hours so I still beat that record with 96 hours!

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My Third 48-hour Fast

I have done a couple 36 hour fasts since my last post.  Today I completed my third 48 hour fast and I am much better adapted.  I could just eat normal food, although not much, about 1/2 cup of food to start.  Not the usual re-feeding issues with electrolytes though.

I did supplement with EZ Melts Multivitamin, B1, P5P (B6), B12.  I also took Natural Calm Magnesium and a Jigsaw electrolyte both days. And one watered down black coffee. And water…….

Earlier this week I tried  a dose of exogenous ketones again and didn’t get sick at all so I think my body is finally fat adapting.  Only down 7 lbs but my biceps are getting harder even though I’m not working out.  So hopefully rebuilding a little muscle.

I found a new food delivery company Model Meals – they are Whole 30- compliant Paleo.  Making my life so much easier!!

I’m now doing 19/5 intermittent fasting daily as of this past week – when not doing a water fast.  So only eating dinner, in a 4-5 hour window.  That and cleaner eating has really helped me with the water fasting.  Every time I do a water fast my feet get noticeably better! Much more sensation and less inflammation.

I was reading online that coffee on a fast can stress your heart so I cut from two to one and added water but I feel nauseous if I cut it out completely. Baby steps!

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My Second Two-Day Fast

Just finished my second two-day fast.  It went great!  This time I started on Friday.  I did work about 3 hours today but my job is super demanding  and a regular 12 hour workday, conference calls etc was too much on Day 2 last time.

Last time (2 weeks ago) I needed a LOT of electrolyte supplement.  This time I took my EZ Melts multivitamin & B1 daily and I needed 1/4 less electrolytes.  The first day I drank a 1.8 liter bottle of bubbly Smartwater, the 2nd day I didn’t and I noticed a difference.  I also put a big bottle of Evian by my bed.  Both contain electrolytes but taste better than the jigsaw mix which is kind of like Gatorade lemon lime flavor.  I still had about a 1/2 dose of the jigsaw supplement over two days also.  Had about 1/3 teaspoon of pink sea salt daily too.  I just put a little right in my mouth, not in water.

I broke my fast with an Atkins vanilla shake and 2 slices of cucumber.

An hour later I had a cucumber/raspberry/watermelon/lime/coconut water shake (Daily Harvest).  Also a packet of Macadamia butter (about 1 oz).  Maybe the nut butter was too much fat but otherwise I’m doing ok.  

Seems to get easier every time I do it!  My feet are tingling it’s REALLY improving my circulation.

I was down about six pounds before I started this fast probably will lose another pound of fat from this one.  I lose more but regain it, probably some is water and some is muscle rebuilding.  Which is great, my muscle is really ravaged by Celiac disease.  

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My First 48-Hour Fast = Awesome!!!

Wow!!  I did my first 48 hour water fast this past  weekend and it was life-changing in a good way!  

I have been doing intermittent fasting for the past year, mostly just skipping breakfast and about once a month skipping lunch as well.  Recently I did a 36-hour fast with great success and then a 24-hour fast 2 days later.

This week I did 48 hours.  I wanted to do 72 but my family wanted me to pick them up at the airport so I broke my fast the night before.

I can already feel a huge improvement in my nerve sensation and circulation.  I had to cut back on thyroid meds because my energy is through the roof and I couldn’t sleep (3 days after the fast).  Now 5  days after the fast still feeling amazing energy.

My family is still in town so I’ll do another 36-hour fast this week after they leave, and then I plan to start doing 3 day fasts every weekend that is free.  I’ll start Thursday night 7 pm and fast until Sunday 7 pm and then just do smoothies and blended soups for an additional day.

Some cautions for anything thinking of trying this:  START SLOW.  I only skipped breakfast for the first year.  I then gradually did more.  Also please do lots of research online especially regarding refeeding and muscle wasting.  Apparently it’s not recommended for anyone with a BMI of 20 or less.  You also need to at least supplement with sea salts or other electrolytes.  And know what symptoms to watch out for to stop fasting and know how to introduce food back in. You should also talk to your doctor about health risks and your medication, and check out you tube /google for all the “fasting almost killed me” stories so you will recognize any danger signs (i.e., dark urine, vomiting, fainting etc).

Since I am Celiac and already have B1, B6 and B12 deficiencies (self-diagnosed) as well as electrolytes, this posed  a special challenge.  I drank mineral water and took 2 jigsaw electrolyte supplements in water, also 2 teaspoons of Natural Calm Magnesium in water AND about 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt PER DAY.  I still had low B1 and electrolytes after the fast.  I had a few Atkins shakes after the fast which really helped – they have lots of electrolytes.   I could tell my B1 was low because I get this weird pouch by my eye above the tear duct when B1 is low.  When not fasting I normally take 50-100 mcg of B1 per day.

In addition to B vitamins and electrolytes, if you are Celiac be super careful about “re-feeding.”  I keep reading that you can just have a snack like some nuts or an apple and then eat normally an hour later once the blood gets back to  your digestive system.  Um……NO.  That’s true for 24 hours or less.  In future I will only eat watermelon, smoothies or soup I have run through a blender the first 24 hours after a water fast.

I could barely get down 4 spoonfuls of soup at first.  Then I waited 15 minutes, had some more, waited 30 minutes and had a Quest bar and some pistachio nuts. MISTAKE – tummy cramps.  I was good the next day but had 1 more Quest bar each for breakfast & lunch and then for dinner a bunless burger, a few sips of vanilla shake and about 1/3 order of fries.  I think just the burger would have been ok but I should have chewed more and eaten much more slowly.  I was SO FULL.  Like Thanksgiving dinner full.  I kept it down though. At lunch I had also eaten watermelon and more veggie  soup which I tolerated just fine  (bone broth, zucchini and onion puréed in blender).

Next morning after the burger I felt like I had been hit by a truck.  Luckily I can work at home but I just wanted to lie down, I had a bunch of calls I had to do on the computer and felt super sick.  The Atkins shakes and more jigsaw /natural calm and EZ Melts Multivitamin and B1 helped.  I was fine by lunch.

So lesson learned about re-feeding.  Go slow!!!!  But now I feel AMAZING.  I’ve had chronic fatigue for a few years but now I have so much energy!!!

I will continue to be super careful but am excited to pursue this further!

UPDATE:  I decided to be conservative and stick with 36 hour fasts only for a few more weeks maybe 2-3x per week.  Then I’ll try a 48 to 72-ish hour fast again.  I think that therapeutically the longer fast shows better results than the shorter fasts  though.

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Continued Recovery from Celiac Symptoms

Wow it’s been awhile since I posted!  My health is continuing to improve daily.  Last 2 recent doctor visits to gastroenterologist & endocrinologist went great – instead of 6 month to 1 year interval for colonoscopy it is now 3 years!!!  Longest interval in 16 years since original colon cancer diagnosis.

My allergies are still gone, now my moles are disappearing too.  Numbness in extremities significantly improved.  Insulin levels also normalizing, blood sugar just a tiny bit over average.  Nearly out of pre-diabetic range. When I had blood drawn recently it looked like regular blood that swished around and not like jam.  Huge difference.

My doctor approved me for intermittent fasting!!!!  I was skipping breakfast but now I just started alternate-day fasting .  I  can finally walk or dance about 10 minutes per day.   My eyes and teeth are still not terrific but I haven’t broken any toes since Xmas (knock wood).  Adrenals still not great and regained most of my weight lost recently but I’m going through menopause.  Fasting really takes the weight off quickly though.  Really helps me focus at work too and I don’t get sleepy in the afternoon.  Once I get to my ideal weight I’m considering eating just one meal per day.

I need to lower my carbs more but work has been  stressful lately.  Moderate carb paleo plus intermittent fasting is the magic formula for me I think.  I think the fasting will speed recovery from Celiac damage – the fact my moles are disappearing is a good sign.  I heard scars can disappear too – so yay! 

For sure read up about water fasting (especially about re-feeding syndrome) before trying it for more than 24 hours, but it’s making a real difference for me! I recommend Dr Jason Fung’s book The Obesity Code for good info.

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Success with Thiamine Supplement

Last time I shared that Thiamine (B1) was maybe the last piece of my puzzle.  I was right!

MUCH more energy and improved mood.  My circulation & edema in my feet/legs has improved also.  My mental cognition and focus are noticeably better. My thyroid is less fragile and I can eat lower carb than before and lost a few pounds.  I had these weird little pouches next to my eye tear ducts for the past 15 years that are gone. 

I did have some weird side effects in the beginning, like my eyes turned yellow first couple days and it felt like bugs were crawling in my eyes.  Also my feet buzzed and tingled for a couple days.   I think my muscles will take longer to rebuild but I broke my little toe anyway and can’t work out.  Once it heals hopefully I’ll have less muscle breakdown/injury after workouts – no more calf muscles eviscerating while stretching for a top shelf hopefully.   Continuing to eat lots of gelatin/bone broth also.  I think 10 mg is a good daily amount of Thiamine I’ve settled on for now.  I found a great brand, EZ Melts on Amazon.com that is more bio-available, and got their B12 and multivitamin too.  Their multi has a couple mg of B1 also. (Ps – oops it’s actually 100 mg dose I’m taking,  not 10!)

A mole I had on my chin since college is gone and another under my jaw is disappearing…it’s 1/3 of its previous size and drying up.  Weird.  It has a white ring around it.  Maybe a sign my immune system is improving.  Still have not had a cold or flu since cutting out gluten about 3 years now.

Bad news from the dentist – I have 3 non-decay holes in my teeth that might need to be filled.  One is under one of my crowns.  We’ll recheck in 6 months.  Sigh.  My teeth/gums are much better than before but the disentegration continues…..

UPDATE 12/22 – I’m up to about 500 mg Thiamine per day now.  Really dramatic improvement in my overall health!  I take a pill every few hours or if I wake up with leg cramps.  It’s really changed my life!!

Update 7/1/17 – after supplementing a few months back to just 100 mg of B1. It was depleting my B6.  I found if I take Magnesium regularly it helps me absorb the B1 better.

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Final Piece of the Puzzle – Thiamine (B1)

Wow!  I think I may have found the final key to my recovery.  

Over the past couple years, I’ve been supplementing to resolve certain deficiencies due to my gluten intolerance.  First I took 10 grams of Vitamin B12 for a few months, which is a HUGE amount.  I took lots of Vitamin D also.  Now I hardly need any of either, so I think those are resolved. I was tested for anemia a couple months after I stopped taking the B12 regularly, and it came back normal.

I was having ongoing bleeding (TMI sorry) that lasted for weeks at a time.  I almost asked for a progesterone supplement from the doctor, but tried extra B6 and that worked.  It resolved quickly also.

I’m still having ongoing issues with Potassium and Magnesium. I supplement with Natural Calm powder (M) and coconut water (P). I get a little Vitamin D still from occassional Cod Liver Oil and direct sunlight. Still need to supplement almost daily with Probiotics or my food allergies come back.

But I STILL had extremely poor energy after being totally gluten free 2 years now.  I tried Co Q10 – it did nothing for me 2 years ago but now I do feel a slight improvement.  Weirdly, I had horrible muscle cramps for a week, but they passed.  FYI, for new readers wondering why I don’t take a regular multivitamin, I can’t absorb them yet and the liquid ones don’t have much effect.  I didn’t want to add to the other megadoses I was taking, but actually…..I should probably try a liquid multi again, it’s been awhile.

I noticed maybe a year ago that I do better with a B complex that has B1 in it.  Some versions don’t have it listed. I had stopped taking any B vitamins for a few months, but just bought some again and noticed a slight improvement in energy.  I had the Solaray chewable brand which is actually quite moderate in dosage.  Yesterday I re-read the label and saw you can take 2 tablets a day, which I never have done before.

All I have to say is WOW.  What an unbelievably dramatic response I had!  So much more energy than usual but I slept like a baby and felt sleepy at bedtime without needing to take melatonin.

I googled “thiamine deficiency” and YEP.  All my remaining symptoms were right there.

Apparently it’s a rare deficiency, but quite common for Celiacs and women with Hashimoto’s thyroid disorder.  I took 15 mg yesterday and 10 mg (100 mcg) is the recommended dose to recover from deficiency, combined with 250 Magnesium. The usual B1 dose is 7.5 mg in my supplement, and I’ve been taking only 150 Magnesium, and not daily.  So I’d been taking just a little bit less than the amount I need to take.  I took a dose of Magnesium before bed last night.

I woke up this morning and WOW again!  Still feel energy not the usual “OMG no” like when I usually wake up.  Don’t feel the usual adrenal strain.  My feet are buzzing and actually a little bit painful and my hands are tingling too.

Obviously I will continue to supplement (carefully) and will report back on my progress.  If it works, this  deficiency resolves in a few months!  I did read that you have to be careful with thiamine if you have a severe deficiency as it can stress your heart to suddenly start taking huge amounts (if you have cardiac disease) so I ordered a dissolvable tablet that’s exactly the recommended dose of 100 mcg.  Super excited!  

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