Last night I had a meal at Jason's Deli. We eat there almost every Monday night with friends. We make the 90 minute drive to Texarkana to our chiropractor, get our adjustments, then we eat at Jason's Deli and then shop for food. It has become the norm on Mondays and I really really like it. However, this Monday's meal was a bit different. It was the first meal any of us had eaten since Friday evening.
You can google "3 day fast" and learn a lot about the benefit of doing one and how to safely go about doing it. It's an amazing way to boost your immune system and reset your metabolism by promoting stem cell growth and a myriad of other proven biological miracles. They are also, very very, very, very difficult to get through. Which is why we all did it as a group. I've done many 24 hour fasts but I was nowhere near prepared for what was ahead of me.
The places your brain will go when you haven't eaten any food for 24, 36, 48, 49, 50....hours! I thought about food in ways I didn't think possible. Eating clean has been so life changing for me and I really believed that I had killed all my sugar addiction demons but did they every come screaming back with flaming vengeance. Gnashing teeth and whatnot. At one point, my caffeine headache was so bad and my craving for chewy sweet tarts was so intense that all I could do was sit on the couch and hold myself together. Full-on, complete, unadulterated withdrawal. I haven't eaten chewy sweet tarts or anything of the nature in over a year and haven't even thought about wanting them. I accepted the craving as a lesson. That lesson is too complex to write about in what is supposed to be a brief blog, but in a nutshell, no matter how tough you think you are...you are always susceptible to fall back into addiction at any given point.
I was relieved that I also had the most intense craving I've ever had for an apple. I kept imagining biting down into the flesh. Cold, crisp, sweet, juiciness flooding my parched mouth. Oh I wanted it so bad. So so so bad. I wanted cashews, roasted cauliflower, cabbage, butternut squash soup, tomatoes, mushrooms, zucchini, olive oil drizzled on all the things, and every single thing I saw posted on Instagram and Facebook that was food-related. I became alarmed several times about my state of mind. The most alarming thing was thinking that as soon as the fast ended, I was going to eat and never stop. I was going to gain all my weight back in a DAY. I couldn't imagine that I would ever be satiated again. It was a trip. Uncharted territory. And it was very very good for me to go there.
Wow, this is turning out longer than I expected, so...onto my epiphany.
This was my first meal after the fast. I was a mad woman at the salad bar. I dipped into just about every single container. I usually don't put cheese on my salad but was totally justified in doing it after what I had just come through. Dried cranberries?? Oh YES! TWO croutons?? You betcha! Would you like bacon and cheese on your cup of potato soup? Dang straight! And please gimme a cup of guacamole.
I drizzled the whole thing with balsamic vinegar and was very generous with the olive oil. I watched it hit the veggies with lust. It was food porn if ever I had seen it and I wasn't even a little sorry for the deep aching desire that was burning in my soul.
We prayed really fast and dove right in. The bliss. The satisfaction. The quenching of desire. I wanted to taste every little molecule. I wanted to put my hands in it and rub it in my hair. Chewing had never felt quite so satisfying. My taste buds were exploding. I could actually feel my body rejoicing. Every little cell in my person was having a party. There was dancing and laughter and music.
And then, slowly, it started to happen. I was full. I couldn't eat anymore. My plate was still half full and I couldn't bear to go on. I nibbled on chunks of melon, forced a couple of strawberries and pineapple bits but, I was done. It had come to an end. I was, in fact, completely and totally satisfied.
It didn't take long, maybe a half hour and my energy was back. Like completely. I thought I was going to crash but the opposite happened. I was ready to take on the world so I went shopping for jeans...and bought 2 pair. That's a big deal for this girl.
The epiphany came on the ride home. I was talking to Rodney about how odd it was that I became full so quickly. I told him about the fears that I had been having during the fast that I wouldn't ever want to stop eating again in my life. I told him about my fears that my addictions to sugar were sure to come back to nab me. Then I thought about my meal. It was loaded with nutrients. Spinach, dark green leafy lettuces, a myriad of colorful veggies, fruits, nuts, and healthy fats. And, of course, that bowl of Irish potato soup WITH bacon and cheese, thank you very much. It just makes sense that feeding your body at the cellular level is going to fill you...even if you haven't eaten in days. It only takes what it needs. Then I started in on one of my rants about fast food and processed junk and how we had bought into that whole lie for so many years and I thought about McDonalds french fries and I asked this question. Have you EVER eaten enough McDonalds french fries? Even if you order a large? Aren't you always looking for loose ones in the bag and seeing if your buddies are done with theirs? Can I have the rest of your fries?
The reason you can never eat enough french fries or ever be completely satisfied is that you simply aren't nourishing your body. You are actually starving it. It is a form of psychosis or something. We just put in this conglomeration of chemicals, preservatives and fried, salted goo and are literally starving our poor bodies. We just pack it on in fat and toxins and are never happy or satiated. Just give me more and more and it's never enough.
I'm only saying this because I was there. I believed cheerios were good for me. I believed McDonalds was a grand American institution that was serving us inexpensive, convenient food that kept us from having to cook and, that was just so wonderful! A salad was something to have on the side but don't forget to pour on the ranch dressing. And don't bother to read the list of ingredients on that either...you couldn't pronounce half of the 25+ in it anyway.
Rodney refers to our new lifestyle as an "awakening". I love that. Being awake is the most amazing way to live life. It can also be highly unsettling when you are surrounded by people who seem to be sleeping. You have to find other people who are awake to talk to about all of this stuff. You can share it but it generally just annoys people. I remember being annoyed myself. It was because I didn't want some chipper awake person to disturb my slumber. But boy when your eyes do fly open...the world becomes this magical, amazing, astonishing, breathtaking, wondrous place. It is also full of glorious, nourishing FOOD. I'm so excited about every little thing I eat now.
I read once about a prisoner of war who, when released, was asked what she wanted to do now that she was free. One of the first things she wanted was to taste and eat and lavish in every kind of food there was. She said she had never eaten a mango before she went into captivity and, after years of starvation and being fed only beans and mush she couldn't wait, in her liberation, to taste all the things that God had made. I'm not comparing myself to someone who spent years being abused and starved by radical guerrillas but I do think that I have had the same kind of fire kindled in me. Food has taken on this whole new dimension. It serves to give me energy to think and work and love and live. It brings me joy when I shop for it, prepare it, grow it, wash it, chop it up and cook it. And, it is pure delight to eat it. To partake with so much gratitude that every bite is precious.
I'm not suggesting everyone do a 3 day fast, and if you do...make sure you know as much as you can first about how to do it safely. I'm just sharing what happened to me and, if that makes one person consider choosing even one meal with a little more intention and gratitude...then my mission is accomplished.
You are welcome.