40-day Fast

Water Only

Oct 2014

Water-Fasting for 40 Days
"A long fast is a journey of restoration, and a time-out from the daily grind."

My NFT (Next Fun Trip): I'm not a stay-at-home, but every few years I go on a journey where I do just that.

This journey was a stay-at-home water fast, in which I take in nothing but pure water. Something this drastic and prolonged is not recommended without medical supervision, but for those who might be interested, here's a video Fasting Can Save Your Life (DVD). The program shows what it's like to endure a long fast.

The purpose of my fast is to let the body clean out the toxins, sludge and fat resulting from all the convenience-store and junk food that I had been eating for the last few years on the road. And also to lose the excess weight associated with consuming that type of food. At home I normally eat healthy, with lots of salads and daily green-smoothies; but on my motorcycle trips I usually don't have that kind of choice.

The table below is my log in which I recorded my cumulative weight loss (in pounds). The pictures were taken in our yard. Because of the nature of my present journey, I'm focused on the beauty of my surroundings. So just thought I'd share.

Day 12014-10-19: Hungry but no lack of energy. 
The lovely and spectacular Grandiflorus cactus. Blooms only once a year. Most of our neighbors have similar plants, and because they were all taken from the same plant, they all bloom the same day.

Day 22014-10-20: Famished, mild headache, and lack of energy.3 lbs *
A clutch of quail eggs in a flower pot on our front porch.

Day 32014-10-21: Famished, mild headache, and lack of energy.5 lbs
Jenny laying pavers in our back porch area, prior to laying a bit of sod.

Day 42014-10-22: Trip to San Diego, Jenny drove. Famished, mild headache, and lacking energy. Greatly tempted by our favorite restaurants. 
Here in the Sonoran Desert we don't get much rain. But we do get a few flash floods that submerge our back yard. The air is so dry, that most of the water evaporates within a few hours, no harm done.

Day 52014-10-23: San Diego. Hungry, lack energy, somewhat tempted by the food. 
This Eucalyptus tree was about 150 feet tall and growing directly across the street. Hit by a bolt of lighting, it exploded and sent chunks of wood flying. Most of the houses in the vicinity were damaged. The explosion was so violent that it even loosened a few nails in our drywall.

Day 62014-10-24: On the drive home my brain was in fifth gear, and during the five hours I dreamed up all sorts of inventions. Not so hungry any more. Very unenergetic.10.5 lbs
This squash grew naturally from our compost pile. Life will find a way.

Day 72014-10-25: The hunger has left me, but so has the energy - both in body and mind. But I feel like I'm over the hump (punched through the trail shock). My sinuses have cleared.12 lbs
This cactus is ten years old, and this is first time it has bloomed. Well worth the wait.

Day 82014-10-26: No hunger, no energy. In evening had a 2-hour period where every cell of my body felt like it had a headache. After that I was back to feeling fine, but light-headed every time I stood up.12.5 lbs
A 10-inch lizard looking for bugs on the side of our house. A common sight.

Day 92014-10-27: No hunger, extreme lack of energy, but feeling fine. Must admit that this journey is not fun (NFT-not). But neither is it difficult. It takes a tremendous amount of will power every time I walk into the kitchen to get more water, and see food. Also it takes tremendous dedication to allot that much time-out in the otherwise busy lifestyle. But difficult? No.13.5 lbs
A pair of Saguaro growing in our front yard. We planted these from seed 12 years ago.

Day 102014-10-28: The body weight is plateaued for the moment, but I still feel the deep cleansing effects of the fast, as the body slowly burns the sludge. Its the feeling of connection to every cell. No hunger, no pain or malaise, but just a gnawing discomfort as though something beneficial is happening deep within. A long fast is a journey of restoration, and a time-out from the daily grind. The low energy requires plenty of rest, so I'm not getting much work done; but that is what it takes.13.5 lbs
A male Tarantula stops by our back porch in its quest to find a female.

Day 112014-10-29: Low energy and periods of low enthusiasm - but it's all good.15 lbs
A Mourning Dove using its wing as a rain catcher, on our back fence.

Day 122014-10-30: Moderate energy, got a fair amount of work done today: making Snatch Hooks for our Net-Tent Kits, and cutting lengths of cord for the Tarp Kits. (all while seated  16 lbs
This Hummingbird, nesting under the eaves of our house, has been a resident of our back yard for several years. She doesn't migrate, but stays around year long.

Day 132014-10-31: Low energy and periods of malaise, as though this is self-inflicted illness. Taking a half of an aspirin every 12 hours to ease the back pain. In the evening, craving for pizza, of all things. Slept good that night, and woke up refreshed. | The accident in 2006 wiped my spiritual side off the map. That place in the brain, that houses it, died. But in the ensuing years the spiritual has made some recovery, as new neurons take the place of the old ones. And during this fast, the spiritual is on fire. I see things under the surface, normally overlooked. It's a wild ride.17 lbs

Day 142014-11-01: Haven't had even a bite to eat in two weeks. Today I had some moderate energy and no feelings of malaise, so I got some work done (while seated). But I over did it, and in the PM the body started to raise serious objections. Woops. Despite last night's bout, slept good and woke up refreshed. 30 or 40 days seems like an impossibly long ways off, but the key is to take it step at a time, which I'm doing. After all, this is a journey. And no journey is easy. If it's easy, it's a vacation. And going without food is no vacation. But it's all good.17.5 lbs
Jenny planted a small patch of grass in our back yard. The dogs just love it.

Day 152014-11-02: This morning I woke up to a lovely glass of ... water. At least I have water in abundance; there have been times when I did not, on various journeys. So I'm not taking water for granted. In fact, on this fasting journey I'm a water gluten, drinking six or seven liters a day. I think the toxin flush is going into my urine because I have no peristalsis. (I've tried enemas to flush the toxins but they don't work for this reason). So I'm thirsty 24/7. Even filtered water out of a plastic container tastes horrible, so I'm drinking out of a glass. I store my water in glass containers, and have recently purchased a distiller. Today mainly just rested. A shower and daily sun bath.18 lbs
A Curve-Billed Thrasher chick, nesting in a Cholla Cactus in our front yard.

Day 162014-11-03: Yesterday was the first day that my body felt good, same with this morning, so maybe I am finally over the detox hump. The four days before that were rough. (I'm writing this, not to complain, but for future reference, for next time.) I don't have much energy, but that is to be expected. Whimsically, I made a mental list of the five restaurants I want to visit when finally off this fast. And all five in the same day.   I'm not physically hungry, but still addicted to the idea of food.

I finally found something to post on my website that nobody will copy and use for commercial gain: details of this fast. Very few people would try something like this. Maybe one in a million. If anyone reading this has water fasted for longer than a month, I'd like to hear from you. It would fun to compare notes ...(silence  
18.5 lbs
Arizona Sunset

Day 172014-11-04: The lack of peristalsis has me thinking. The body is detoxing big time; yet the alimentary canal is empty, and not moving. So those toxins flushing through the colon are just sitting there. Not good. So for the past three days I have been taking half a teaspoon of Psyllium Husks in the morning, mixed with water. These are indigestible and don't have any calories or food value, but they do bulk up in the stomach and give at least some peristalsis. Half a teaspoon is not much, but the experiment seems to be working. Organic Psyllium Husk Whole19.5 lbs
A female Gambel's Quail chose a potted plant on our back porch as a nesting site. So once again we had a close-up view though our window of the hatching. She had nine cute chicks. These birds are wild in the extreme, but nesting sites are extremely rare in our neighborhood, especially those free of coyote threat.

Jenny writes: As Ray's support person during this fast, and to make it easier for him, I try not to leave any foods (like fruit) on the kitchen counter tops. And to reduce any enticing food odors, I have been eating 90 percent raw: salads and green smoothies mostly. I have set up a small camp kitchen in a far corner of our backyard: a small one-burner stove for steaming vegetables or making soup, and a toaster for making toast. And again, out of respect for Ray's dedication to his fast, I eat my meals alone.

As with Ray's previous fasts, this fast has been amazing for me to watch and support. Ray is focused and determined, and does not waver from his goal. And that is how he lives his life, too.

Day 182014-11-05: Today I felt fine, health wise; no backaches or headaches. Great! And not one iota of hunger. But on a scale of zero to one hundred, my energy level was about five. Couldn't hardly walk across the room without getting tired. I'd flop down in a chair and stay there for fifteen minutes before moving on. Not a bad thing, and to be expected considering I've not eaten for 19 days. I experienced several days like this during my last fast. And in the video fasting can save your life (DVD), those guys had days like this also. (I recommend everyone watch this video, for later inspiration if nothing else.) I sleep fine at night, and take several naps during the day, and otherwise lay around listening to programs on the mp3 player and browsing a bit of internet. My programming skills have gone out the window, the brain doesn't have enough energy for that, not even close - and that's what I miss the most. But that's the nature of this journey - a time-out from the daily routine. A time of letting the body do its healing thing. I think the point that most people miss in life, is that health is the most important thing of all. And a good, healthy body is critical to an enjoyable and productive life.21 lbs
And old photo (2002) of a baby Horned Owl that has somehow fallen out of its nest in the tree high above. This was just outside our back yard.

Day 192014-11-06: Low energy, as before, no hunger, and feeling fine. Helped cook Jenny her lunch of authentic Mexican tostadas while documenting the process with photos. This is one of my favorite meals. The cooking was fun and the food smelled good - but I had no desire to eat any of it. Not even a taste. Not even licking a spoon. My brain is deprogrammed for eating. Not my doing, just a part of the fasting process. For those who might be interested, see Ray's Healthy Home-Made Tostadas. It starts with a bag of pinto beans, a sack of masa harina, and a few roasted chilies - and a tortilla press. It's mighty good.22 lbs
A pair of Mourning Dove chicks on the nest above my office window. We tend to have five or six dove nests around the yard, and the parents produce two chicks at a pop. And after fledging, the parents start again. During the nesting season, which last for half the year, the parents go at it continually for three or four cycles. We are churning out doves left and right. Most don't last long, for one thing because of the hawks in the neighborhood. But we enjoy having them around.

"I am enjoying your fast out of curiosity, but more so with the photos which are great. I'm amazed at the variety of wildlife your house is blessed with.
On a different topic, I also wanted to say I have benefited from realizing that I'm not the only one to push through that last minute malaise to get out the door, and never once have I regretted it. You made a similar comment to this, and one showing how our brains play tricks on us to get us back to our comfortable life. To realize that someone with your hiking resume gets this surprised me, and has helped me greatly enjoy my hiking or kayaking trips immensely. Also, looking at your accomplishments since the accident, I would never have known, and can only imagine what you had to fight through. Congratulations on that, and thank you in general (love my tarp/spitfire/quilt/pack!)." -Brian W.

Ray replies:

Thank you Brian. and yes, the Sonoran desert is said to have the greatest biodiversity on earth, second only to the Amazon. And we can go hiking all through the "winter." Thanks also for the condolences on the accident. I learned a bunch of things about the brain, and was keenly reminded that none of us are immortal. But the thing I wanted to share about this, is, serious as it was, it was not a show stopper. I punched through, and managed some amazing trips. Sheer will can be a powerful force. If it happens to anyone else, don't just lay there and play victim, but get back on your feet and adopt my "recover by sheer will" frame of mine.

"Hi Ray,
Good luck with the fast! Two of my friends did a thirty-day one, the thing they stressed was really important was a very gradual recovery to normal eating habits - one of the friends wasn't slow and disciplined enough in his recovery and had subsequent health problems for a while as a result.
They've also mentioned that it's important to keep a positive attitude towards the fact that you're not eating, but I wouldn't suspect you'd have a problem with positive attitude  
Regarding the length of the fast, a book I've started to read recommends against fasting for much over thirty days, as one then runs the risk of irreversible changes in the body. The indicator to ending the fast is mentioned as having a cleansed tongue and a renewed feeling of hunger. The book also recommends against taking in solids during the fast, as the body then starts up the peristalsis and switches from endogenous nourishment to wanting to want to intake nutrients from outside, so one is then starving rather than fasting." - Dan D. from Prague

Ray replies:

Thank you Dan, and it sounds like you are thinking of fasting too. Good on ya! And about taking in solids, good point. Half a teaspoon of psyllium husk flakes is not much, but was enough to upset my stomach, so have quit doing that.

To anyone interested in fasting, good on you too! I have done a whole bunch of fasts, most were the three-day type. I recommend that approach until your body gets used to it. Or start with only one day. Its all good and beneficial. But if wanting to do a month, cold turkey, best sign up with a clinic.

At the end of the first day, one may develop a nagging headache. This is mainly the effects of the coffee withdrawal, and can be stopped with a small amount of aspirin or a few sips of coffee.

To anyone taking prescription medication, don't fast on your own. Go to a fasting clinic where there are doctors to insure your safety. Watch the above mentioned video to see how it works.

Dove chicks on our back porch.

Day 202014-11-07: My energy level has been five out of one hundred for the past several days, but today was a solid 15% so I got some work done. Made the How-to photo essay of the Tostadas, and of all things managed some high-level programming. Slept good last night and woke up refreshed, if not to say energetic. Low energy feels like you're moving through life in molasses in body and brain power. Meanwhile the higher self and the subconscious mind are positively soaring. The day-to-day trivialities, which occupy a person's mind 24/7, begin to fade, leaving the brain open to deeper thoughts and higher learning. Instead of "Why is that person making my life miserable," for example, it's "Wow, I'm glad to be alive. The beauty in every thing around me, the fresh air, the unlimited water supply, the wife's love and care." The higher self is not concerned with the day's pettiness, so it's the 180 degree opposite of depression. Meditation attempts to achieve this, but it is only fireworks compared to the ballistic effects of a long fast which sends the mind into orbit.23 lbs
Meep-Meep the roadrunner. A common sight in Arizona but rarely seen in the cites. This guy used to live across the street, and one time came to visit our pet macaw. Here, he is in our back yard ten feet from the macaw. The two birds are about the same size. Large.

Day 212014-11-08: Three weeks and counting and I'm doing fine. No hunger, no malaise, but today was the lowest energy day of all. About two out of one hundred. Slept most of the day, but otherwise rested in bed. If I had a bed. I don't even have a bed; I sleep on the floor. On top of the carpet I lay a bed sheet, then sleep on that, covered by a light quilt. The purpose of the sheet is so that I can wash it every few days. I used to use a foam pad, but have found the floor more comfortable. Also, this fast has made me a water drinking machine. I have to drink so much water, its unreal. And have a humidifier going night and day, to keep the mouth and throat from drying out. The body works in strange ways, dumping the toxins into the urine.

23 lbs

I made Jenny's breakfast this morning. With no desire to eat, I'm over the hump and no longer tempted by food. So I can cook nice meals for Jenny without problems. During my 33 days fast, three years ago, I did the same thing. Cast aside the temptation and you're free, baby.   (But only for a short while.)

"Honey" the barn owl, previously injured and unable to return to the wilds. For a while Jenny worked at a wildlife rescue center, and often went on exhibits where the public could see some of these magnificent birds and other rescued creatures. Unfortunately, the shelter had to close, so she lost her position. And they lost a great bird handler and caregiver.

Day 222014-11-09: Energy level is back up to 10%, and I got a little bit of work done. An hour of high-level programming, and Jenny helped me break the nut on the front sprocket of the Dakar, a job that I've been trying to do for three days. Finally a blow-torch solved the problem, combined with backing up the bike to an immovable object, a four-foot extension on my break-bar, and with Jenny holding down the brake peddle and manning the fire extinguisher. I had torqued it to spec, but probably used too much lok-tite. The motorcycle work left me drained, but that is to be expected after 22 days of not eating. Low energy levels aside, I'm doing just fine. Feeling good, no headaches or backaches, and I dare say a wonderful attitude. The water fast is not fun, exactly, but neither is it hard. And it's cleaning out the toxins like nobody's business. I'm feeling more healthy, more alert, and more alive. And more torpid as I lay in bed for hours at a time  24.5 lbs
This is Mort, the Sonoran Desert Toad, taking a bath in the dog's water bowl. He (she) has lived in our back yard for 10 years. Tame but highly toxic so we leave him alone. And the dogs are trained to do the same. And yes, we washed the bowl after Mort got out. In fact we have to do that every day that Mort is active. Same with the dog's wading pool, which Mort loves. Normally he is inert, buried underground somewhere. But when active, he spends many of his nights on our back porch, catching insets. We have many funny stories about Mort; he is quite a character.

I made Jenny's breakfast again this morning. Oatmeal with chopped apples and almonds, a tablespoon of almond butter, half a teaspoon of cinnamon, a teaspoon of honey, and a slurp of rice milk. Quick and easy, and so tasty and healthful. Jenny asked for more, as tomorrow's breakfast to fuel her race. So I made another round, and put it in the refrigerator.

Day 232014-11-10: The body has reached a state of homeostasis, apparently, and the toxin flush is not causing nearly as much discomfort. So I'm feeling fine, and again have a good mental attitude. Did a half hour of work on the bike, and a wee bit of programing. The trade-off is the profound lack of energy. I feel like the energy bunny with a nearly dead battery. It's on trickle charge, and once or twice a day I have a spurt of energy. But it doesn't last long, and then I'm on the floor again feeling like I weigh 500 pounds. Not complaining, but just documenting the process for future reference.

I bought a baking stone for Jenny's oven, and I suggested she go ahead and make herself a pizza. The baking filled the whole house with aromas, but I wasn't tempted. It's not a matter of resisting temptation, when the temptation is not even there. Nothing to resist.

One disadvantage of doing a long fast, learned from last time, is the recovery takes a long time. Maybe another month until the the energy levels have fully recovered. But I have planned for that also, and have worked it into my time schedule. A month's long fast requires two months total.
24.5 lbs
We found this little sparrow on our front porch, half-naked, cold and hungry. So we took her inside, named her Simon, and started nursing her back to health.

Simon is two weeks old, and doing fine. she has become the center of our attention, almost a member of our little family. We take her outside as much as possible to get her used to being outside.

Simon is five weeks old, now, and lives outside, but hasn't yet learned to find her own food, so comes chirping at our back door when hungry. In another week she will be fully integrated with the flock, and will come swooping by, every now and then, to say hello.

This little sparrow reached out and touched our lives. And through it all, Simon has taught us much. We already knew how much we both love animals, including birds and so forth. But what we didn't realize was how important a wee little sparrow can be, to us and no doubt to the grand scheme of things. For us, Simon also became a powerful metaphor - that no person is unimportant no matter how ordinary he or she might seem. And that a person should never give up, no matter how bleak the circumstances.

Day 242014-11-11: Did three hours of programming today. The job had to be done, so I worked on it for fifteen minutes at a time, then flopped down on the floor and rested for fifteen minutes, then got back up and repeated the cycle until the job was complete. Never say never. Can't imagine someone doing that in an office environment; but at home its possible, sort of.26 lbs
Day 252014-11-12: Actually got some work done, in short spurts. Removed the Dakar's swingarm, cleaned it, took the linkages off, and took the bearings apart and greased them before putting them back. Next I will install a new chain and re-install swingarm. Then the bike will be ride-able again. Not that I'm planning to ride it any time soon. The extended fast has left me unable to focus my eyes too well - another facet of the run-down batteries. So I don't dare ride the bike.

I don't mean to give the impression that I was busy all day. Far from it. An hour of work in short spurts and 23 hours of laying torpid like a beached whale. I can't even watch a movie without getting tired. On the other side of the fence, I'm progressing by leaps and bounds in my higher-skill set. This is a golden opportunity for that, and I'm taking full advantage of it. Also my body is making huge gains cleaning out the arteries and organs. Internally, my body feels alive like never before.

Again, I have lost my appetite and have no desire for food and drinks. And I'm not looking forward to the end of the fast. I could go on like this for a long while. But of course, I know my body will start raising serious objections when the stored fuel runs out, and last time it happened on day 33. So I don't know how far I can make it this time. Only the body will tell.

26 lbs
Day 262014-11-13: Today early I asked Jenny to drive me to a grocery store, my first time out of the house since our trip to San Diego near the start of the fast. Early, because that's when I have the most energy. As with the San Diego trip, I lay on the back bench-seat in the car, flat on my back. Jenny let me out at the store's entrance, then I wobbled in, with Jenny joining me after she had parked the car.

Ordinarily a trip through a grocery store is fairly pragmatic; a person examines a few things, but otherwise gets what he or she needs and returns to the car. But not me. It felt like I had been a castaway Robinson Crusoe just returning to civilization. I had to examine every little thing. And ended up with a cart full of odd food stuffs that a person would never think of buying otherwise. I took it slow during the 45 minute tour, so had no trouble other than my eyes had trouble focusing on the food labels. And other people kept tailgating, cutting me off, or otherwise getting in my way - probably because I was moving through the isles so slowly. We returned home from our little expedition with a load of interesting items that I had no intention of eating, but that I could use to prepare some unusual and tasty meals for Jenny.

Later, I worked on the bike for half an hour, and then played beached whale for the remainder of the day.

Next day: Jenny doesn't plan to run this morning, so after she is up I'm going to make her a breakfast of Huevos Rancheros with homemade corn tortillas smothered in 505 green chile sauce, with home-cooked pinto beans and ham on the side, topped with shredded lettuce and diced tomato.
28 lbs
Ray's Huevos Rancheros with homemade corn tortillas smothered in 505 green chile sauce, with home-cooked pinto beans and ham on the side topped with shredded lettuce and diced tomato. And another tortilla on the side.

Jenny writes: Thanks, Ray, that was absolutely delicious. Even better than the fabulous Huevos Rancheros I remember so fondly from The Red Sails Inn in San Diego. And to think you prepared this wonderful breakfast just for me on Day 27 of your fast! You are doing just fantastic, and I admire your dedication. Way to go!

Day 272014-11-14: Today I prepared Jenny's breakfast, as mentioned, then throughout the day got some work done, in short spurts. When working for a short period I feel fine, but the body will let me know, in no uncertain terms, when it's out of energy. Every cell of my body starts aching a dull and steady pain that gets sharper the longer I'm on my feet, or even sitting in a chair. So the trick is to quit before that happens. This is a good exercise in body awareness, to know when the "maxed-out" point is coming. I think most people on an extended fast just remain in bed, but I have a built-in spring somewhere in my body and spirit that wants to get me out of bed, and keep me moving and productive. Once again, I'm not complaining, but just trying to describe what's it like. And the bottom line is I'm doing well.

People are afraid of doing something like this themselves, but I don't think they should be. It's wonderfully therapeutic and not that hard, and normally very safe when at a fasting clinic, attended by doctors. I'm doing it at home, but don't have a trace of medication in my blood and body, prescription or otherwise. So I don't have that to interfere. And even water fasting for 24 hours can be highly beneficial.

Then there's the weight loss. I'm not doing this to lose weight, per se, but it is a big plus, and heaven knows I need it. But the main point is to clean out the body, arteries and organs of the sludge accumulated by years of poor eating.

One might think, after viewing the photos of the food I have prepared for Jenny, that surely I have taken a few bites. To think this is to wholly underestimate the power of a long water fast. When water fasting for this long, the body builds an aversion to eating, so the food is UN-appetizing in appearance, aroma, or taste. And even licking a spoon would cause an upset stomach. Eating just a small bite would cause a severe upset stomach that would last for hours. Incidentally, that's also why it's hard to end a fast, and why one must do so very gradually.
29 lbs
Day 282014-11-15: Today I had a look at my firefox bookmarks, for the first time in many years, and was shocked to find a bunch of tracking data attached to each bookmark. What will those clever programmers think of next? Well, being a programmer myself, I wrote a regex to get rid of this nasty data. The regex took me all of four seconds to write, and here is how I used it: In Firefox, export the bookmarks to a html file, then back it up. With a regex capable text editor, in the search & replace area, copy this: ICON="data.+?\" to the search box, and replace with nothing. Then run search & replace all. Boom! Tracking data gone. Save this new file. Then in Firefox delete the old bookmarks, then import the new ones.

If you want to delete the ADD_DATE and LAST_MODIFIED, use ADD_DATE=.+?\" and LAST_MODIFIED=.+?\"

On much the same subject, most people know how to delete their cookies, in Windows C:\Users\Default\Cookies\ and C:\Users\[Username]\Cookies\ and they should do this every day. But very few people know about the flash cookies. They are found at C:\Users\[Username]\AppData\Roaming\Macromedia\Flash Player\#SharedObjects\[something]\. Take a look, and you, too, will be shocked. You should delete the [something] folder every day also.

Also, go to Tools, Options, Privacy and in the History box select "Firefox will Use custom settings for history," and "Keep until: I close Firefox."
30 lbs
Day 292014-11-16: I seem to be getting close to the bottom of the body's reserves. My body is beginning to vacillate between feeling OK and feeling rather not OK. And the energy is running out. Got a little bit of work done on my bike, in a few ten minute shifts. But otherwise had to rest and sleep all day. Not complaining but just documenting the process. Last time, three years ago, I documented almost nothing, so have nothing to compare the present fast with - except for the final two days which were rough. That was day 32 and 33. I'm going to try to punch through that, but we'll see how it goes.

On a brighter note, I've been planning some NFT's for next year and have some pretty exiting trips in mind. Can hardly wait! Of course I'm not taking anything for granted (as I learned back in 2005) but just planning for the best.
30.5 lbs
Day 302014-11-17: I've been fasting for a month now, eating no food and drinking nothing but pure water. And today was a good day. Felt pretty good, energy levels were not rock-bottom although not enough to work on the bike or anything else. Tried watching a movie in the late afternoon but fifteen minutes of that gave me a headache so had to quit. Fortunately I'm not an entertainment junkie. Had trouble staying hydrated, drank volumes throughout the day but still dry throated - despite the humidifier going full blast. A long fast would be much easier in a humid climate, rather than a bone-dry one such as here in the Sonora Desert. But overall I'm feeling remarkable well considering that I've not eaten for 30 days.

Dan D. from Prague made a couple of excellent points in a post a few weeks ago (see Guestbook) A book he was reading recommends against taking in solids during the fast. I tried half teaspoon of Psyllium Husks for a few mornings, mixed with water - to get the peristalsis going. But the stomach started rejecting this, so had to quit. So, right about that. And he also mentioned the "indicator to ending the fast is mentioned as having a cleansed tongue and a renewed feeling of hunger." My tongue is coated heavily and has been for three weeks, despite brushing it every day, while brushing the teeth. Anyway, I'm keeping an eye on it. The feeling of hunger left me on day five, and hasn't returned. During my last fast, three years ago, when finally I had to stop on the morning of day 34, it took me 45 minuets to eat a piece of toast because it was so unappealing. And it took the next three days for the hunger to kick back in.
31 lbs

Day 312014-11-18: Today was the best I've felt in weeks. No backaches, no low-grade headaches, and no nausea. I'm still quite dehydrated with a dry throat because I can't seem to drink enough water - even though I'm drinking several liters daily. But it's still not enough, mainly because its so unappealing. Otherwise the body has settled down, and I have gotten the hang of regulating the effort to match the available energy, which is not much. I feel sort of like I'm wearing a deep-sea diving suit while climbing a mountain - when in fact I'm just walking across the back yard. But after 31 days of not eating, I figure a person is entitled to feel like that.

The bottom line for today is: I'm still hanging in there, and have no intentions of stopping without good reason. Last time, three years ago, these reasons materialized on day 33; so I'm holding my breath and crossing my fingers in hopes of getting a ways beyond that.
31.5 lbs
Day 322014-11-19: Felt much the same as yesterday - great! If all days of the fast would be like this, the journey would be a breeze. Part of the secret is energy management, which I'm slowly learning. Don't over exert. In a fasting clinic this would be easy, because the doctors make you stay down. The occasional short walk through the gardens, and a short stint sitting in an easy char in the common lounge. But otherwise, bed. Spring-loaded me, on the other hand, has to be up and doing things. And that's the wrong approach, and is what makes the fast tough. It takes very little work to over exert, and the body starts objecting with various aches that run all though the body, and that last for hours. So today and yesterday I felt good because I did almost nothing but sleep and rest. This is boring in the extreme, but is what the body needs. A time-out from virtually all activities, to allow the body to heal itself and purge the bloodstream and organs from the contaminate build-up ingested in a poor diet.

One aspect of the fast that I've forgotten to discus is the body's ability to generate warmth. With low energy comes the inability to stay warm, and this requires bundling up in all manner of clothes and bedding. This varies day to day, but generally I have to sleep and rest under my heaviest quilt, and wear an insulated hat and jacket under that. For a few days, early on, I had to even wear mittens - under my thickest quilt! Mahatma Gandhi during his fasts slept with a young girl on either side, as bed warmers, and I can tell right now it wasn't sexual. Like the loss of a person's appetite for food during an extended fast, the sex drive goes out the window. Food looks like cardboard and pretty girls trying to be sexy with heavy makeup look like cardboard cutouts. A couple of heating pads or a heated blanket would be just the thing, but I hate to use the electricity so just bundle up.

32.5 lbs
Day 332014-11-20: Today was amazing. High energy (20%), no problems generating enough warmth, and no internal aches or pains. It's like I have crossed the threshold and left the detox behind, and I've got a new, clean body inside. How long that will last is anyone's guess. But today I got a fair amount of work done. Finished the rear-end on my bike, installing the swingarm and new chain. It's almost ready to ride. And helped Jenny with the business. My weight has stabilized, even though I'm not eating, and I think its because its retaining more water. My theory is its using less water for flushing the toxins. Anyway, this is definitely new and uncharted territory. Last time, three years ago, I had to end the fast because the body was breaking down. This time I feel better than ever.

Last time, in 2011, on day 30 I wrote "I had a feeling that I could do this for at least another month." Then a few days later - crash! So maybe the same thing will happen a few days from now. Only time will tell. But for now I'm doing great, and shooting for 40 days.

32.5 lbs
Day 342014-11-21: Today was about like yesterday, feeling GREAT. Energy 20% so got some work done. For one thing, I finished the bike. Mechanically its ready to ride, though physically I would not be safe riding, not even round the block.

Before embarking on this fast, I set out on a moto trip of the AZ backcountry. But on the first day the bike developed problems with its rear brake, so eventually had to return home. Hence all the work in the last month - installing a new brake disc and pads, and so forth. The old disc had become too thin, and quit working. I knew it was thin, but figured it would work for one more ride. Wrong. But on the way home from that one day's ride, I had a feeling that I was meant to start the fast. This was something I had been planning to do sometime this fall. But now it had developed a sense of urgently. The time was ripe, never mind that the riding season had not quite run out, and this bothered me greatly for a while. But after a week of fasting I began to see how important it was.

After a month of water fasting, the mind becomes more clear, and it sees things in a more realistic vein. And one thing that stands out - of many - browsing the internet, is all the brainwashing people subject themselves to. So I'm going to take a few minutes and give an example that everyone might use, to guard against some of it. And you don't have to be fasting to see it.

The words "Scientific research has shown that ..." has a magic effect in opening a person's mind, and he or she will believe anything in the sentence that follows. Same with "Recent studies have shown that ..." Never mind that whole sentence is baloney. So when you see those words, please know that the whole article is BS and intended to convince you of the merits of some company's products or get you to align with some untruth.

If you will watch for these words, you may begin to see them everywhere. Just pause and ask yourself "Who's trying to benefit from this?" And that is "Ray's tip for the day."

33 lbs
Day 352014-11-22: Today was even more amazing than yesterday, with a higher level of energy (30%) and a better feeling of well being. Got a bunch of work done, not in short spurts, and not collapsing in a chair after each one. The body weight has stabilized, or at least the weight loss has minimized, and why I don't know - I'm not eating, so where is the energy coming from?

But this fast has led me to a few new theories. When I quit eating, the available energy dropped to 30%. That is, I could do light work for thirty percent of the day. The other 70% I had to rest. Then after a day or so, the detox began to kick in, and this dropped the energy level to almost zero, and caused all sorts of aches and discomforts. Then after a month of detox, the energy level began to rise to 30% and the discomforts went away. The detox requires all available energy, and makes a person feel terrible. So therefore, when a person starts fasting and stops eating, the lack of energy is not due to the lack of food. Instead, it is due to the detox - and that's good.

Another observation: For the first two weeks of the fast, I avidly studied and practiced the spiritual, or higher conscious, or whatever a person wants to call it - to each his or her own. Then after the initial two weeks, I began to lose interest. And this is mighty unusual for me, because ordinarily it is a big part of who I am (or who I think I am). But now, on Day 35, it's gone. The same thing happened after my accident in 2005, and it took more than a year for the spiritual side to come back.

Same with my programming. Normally I spend at least an hour a day studying programming or high level apps. But during this fast, that dropped to almost zero. This has been most regrettable. Because of all the time I have on my hands, I was hoping to study a lot. But my desire to learn dropped to almost zero, (temporarily I hope). And that right there has blown me out of the water.

But once again, I'm doing fine. Remarkable really, considering I've not eaten anything or drunk anything but pure water for 35 days.
33.5 lb
What to do on Day 35 of a fast. Cut 100 knife sharpening boards to length.

Day 362014-11-23: Feeling fine, but theories aside, energy level dropped to near zero. Spent the day in bed, mostly sleeping. The energy levels fluctuate so much that I'm worried that I will barely reach day 40 by the skin of my teeth. On a personal level I'm breaking new ground and don't know what to expect. But it's all good.33.5 lb
Day 372014-11-24: Feeling fine, energy level has increased to 10% which is not much but enough to allow me to get up for short periods. During this fast I'm experimenting on myself and reporting the findings in this report. Hence the seemingly petty details. Ordinarily I would not make a fuss about any of this. Anyway, I did manage to get a lot of work done, while reclining in bed, in the form of researching my next couple of NFT's. In fact I have four trips in mind within the next three months. So I have stacks of books and maps by my side, and also am using a laptop to browse the internet on these topics. The thing that most people don't realize with these trips is how much work is involved in the planning stages. I spend about the same number of hours researching, planning and getting my gear ready, as I do on the actual trip. Its a lot of work, but well worth the effort.34 lbs
Day 382014-11-25: Feeling fine, energy level has increased to 20% but even so, spent most the day resting, and researching on the laptop. Am excited by these next few trips, and can hardly wait to get started with the preparations. For one thing, I need to ride the bike in the surrounding desert several times to make sure it's mechanically sound, before taking it to Baja for two weeks on a solo ride. After that, more hiking with Jenny this time. But meanwhile, here I sit - all energy depleted from not eating, and I know from experience that the energy will come back only slowly after I start eating again.

I'm just two days away from my goal of 40 days, and the chances are looking good that I could continue for a while. But I have so much work to do, that if I reach day-40 I'm going to stop the fast, so I can get on with life. Besides, I'm starting to get hungry. Not famished by any means, but am starting to think of food. Namely, I like to have just one cracker. Just a passing thought, and easily dismissed because this feels only physiological. Besides the one cracker, I can't think of anything else I want to eat. In fact, I'm still repulsed by the thought of anything else. But I'm starting to think of a few restaurants that I want to take Jenny to. So it's the idea of dining, not the food per se, that's on my mind.
34.5 lbs
Day 392014-11-26: Feeling fine, energy level has increased to 25% so got some work done today, for one thing helping Jenny cut a round of corner guys for the next hundred Tarp Kits.

Its day 39 and I'm planning to end the fast tomorrow, but not looking forward to stopping. Like any good and meaningful journey, it has become almost a second lifestyle. I envision myself hiking a long trail to a better and more healthful self. So it will be hard to go back to my former life of eating. But at least I'm consoling myself with plans to return to this long trail again one day, seeking further knowledge and improvements.

In fact, the very thought of eating anything is somewhat nauseating, and I'm not looking forward to putting any food in my stomach. With no peristalsis I will have to take things slowly, eating only small bites every once in a while. Stopping my last fast, three years ago, I stared at the first piece of applesauce covered toast for fifteen minutes before forcing a small bite, and then it tasted like cardboard.

At this point I have extended the fast for another week, beyond my former 33 days. And unlike last time, I don't have to quit. I feel like I could go on, at least another week - whereas last time I had to stop because my body started falling apart. So again it's like a long hike, where the second time I have more endurance.

35 lbs
Day 402014-11-27: Today will be the final day of the fast. Feeling GREAT. My energy level is at 15% so I got some work done, helping Jenny build kits, and also doing a bunch of research on the upcoming Baja trip.

Then towards evening I reached the end of my 40 day/40 night goal - which had begun at dinner time on the 18th of last month. So I started thinking about eating. But hemmed and hawed for three hours. I just couldn't get myself to eat. I was feeling fine, and my body wanted to continue the fast for as long as possible. I talked it over with Jenny, and she was good either way, whether to stop or not. As much as I wanted to keep going, my mind (inner voice) said that I should stop. Might sound corny, but I have learned to listen to my inner voice. It has nearly always guided me with the right thing to do, whatever the situation.

So biting the bullet, I asked Jenny for a glass of fresh green-smoothie (spinach, pear, and banana). I looked at that awful thing for another half an hour. I couldn't get myself to take a drink.

Finally I relented, and the first sip blew me away, it was so indescribably delicious so full of flavor!

35 lbs
Thanksgiving Day and the first food in 40 days. That first sip of green-smoothie blew me away, it was so indescribably delicious and flavorful (hence the big smile).

Jenny writes: What am I thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day? Many things, but mostly that Ray has completed his 40-day journey in good style. Forty days is a long time and I am beyond proud of what he has accomplished. It was obvious to me that this journey was not easy, but the important thing was that Ray stuck with it, right to his goal. And this is such a great example, whatever the challenge. My hat is off to you, Ray. Thank you. And thank you for showing us what can be done!

Ray, Your 40 day fast is beyond my comprehension. You never cease to amaze with what you do and the integrity, honesty and complete commitment with which you do it. Thank you for being you! -Fred E

* Cumulative weight loss.

Back in 2011: 33-Day Fast

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