Physical Wellness Challenge 02: Fasting

My 18-month journey to better physical health continued with another challenge in August. I’m working on monthly challenges to create healthy habits that will lead to a healthy lifestyle. You can find out more about that, my goals and health history here.

The first challenge was to create a hydration habit and I worked on that in July. The second challenge was to incorporate forms of fasting into my routine. The purpose of this is to give my digestive system a break once in a while to heal.

Now, by “forms of fasting”, I don’t mean traditional fasting in the sense of not eating or drinking for periods of time. But more in the sense of replacing a meal with something lighter. Or taking a break from certain foods that I eat too often.

The reason for this approach, instead of traditional fasting, is twofold. One, I get migraines if I go too long without a meal. That’s not something I can really afford since I have kids at home to care for and I need to be at my best.

Another reason is that I want to maintain steady blood sugar levels. According to the dietitian my doctor referred me to last year, one of the reasons I have high blood sugar is because I was going too long between meals. This put stress on one of my organs, the liver if I remember correctly, which had to pump out glucose into my bloodstream to compensate, and then when I eventually ate even more sugar entered my bloodstream. So I’m conscious of that and want to get my blood sugar levels normalized before I attempt traditional fasting in the future.

When August rolled around, I didn’t have a clear plan going into the challenge, but I did have some initial to-dos.

1. I needed to find a recipe for a dish called Kitchari.

kitchari recipe banyan botanicals

Kitchari is an Ayurvedic food made from rice, mung beans, vegetables and spices. It’s very nourishing and easy to digest, and typically used as part of a cleansing routine. You can find more information and a recipe here.

I came across the principles of Ayurveda about eight years ago. I have a Pitta dosha apparently. I don’t follow the teachings per se but it was helpful to know that certain foods don’t suit my constitution. It made sense why I avoided them instinctively. And it freed me from forcing myself to consume “superfoods” that are “healthy” according to latest trends.

I tried Kitchari years ago and wasn’t a fan. This time around went much better. It was a bit bland in taste but I enjoyed it and didn’t feel like I was fasting or depriving myself. I had it for dinner or lunch on three different days during the month.

2. I needed to meal prep.

It helps to be prepared, to have meals ready, because life happens. I made a large batch of Kitchari and kept it in the fridge.

In addition to this, I had several smoothies in the freezer. I used a brand of pre-made smoothies by a company called Evive.

evive smoothies

They are made with whole fruits and vegetables, superfoods and plant-based protein. They’re frozen into cubes and are very convenient to have on hand. A few flavours are available in local grocery stores but much more selection is available online on their website. They also offer a subscription plan so that you can have a box of at least twelve packs delivered by mail monthly. It’s nice to have them stocked in the freezer for a quick and easy snack or meal.

That said, I had only one throughout the month. Frankly, I just forgot I had them in the freezer and didn’t think of them because my mind was muddled from that month’s craziness (more on that below). I should’ve planned out my meals in addition to prep.

3. I had to figure out what I wanted to fast from.

I thought I would give up chocolate that month because I eat it daily. But I didn’t. Instead I stayed away from honey for some reason. This wasn’t intentional and I wasn’t even aware that I had done that until I documented the month. I usually have honey in my tea but omitted it entirely. I also usually add it to my oatmeal but replaced it with half a banana.

I’m not sure how I benefitted from this but I trust that God was leading me in this and He knows far more than I.

4. Lastly, I needed to determine when would be the best time to fast routinely.

Ideally, that would be on the weekend when my husband is home. I generally rest those days anyway. But, I never did figure out when would be the best day or time. By God’s grace, it will be done when needed.

And the results…

Overall, I wasn’t very successful with this habit; at least, not as much as I would’ve liked. August was a difficult month personally with lots of trouble with sleep, for a myriad of reasons.

My youngest had a stomach bug which disrupted his sleep schedule. He was waking at 2 AM and waking the entire family in the process. My husband’s sleep apnea worsened so he also wasn’t sleeping well and compensated by napping on the weekends which disrupted my rest. I’m usually able to sleep through a storm but his snoring woke me and kept me from falling back asleep. And then on top of all that, or maybe as a result, I had random bouts of insomnia myself, flare ups of hives and muscle pain.

I was trudging through my days for the second half of the month; exhausted and not clear minded. Poor sleep affected my ability to focus on practicing this habit with intentionality. However, I’m certain that what was necessary got done because God sustained me throughout this time and His grace is at work in my body.

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I hope you got something helpful from this or you’re at least encouraged to persevere in your wellness journey. Amidst the periods of success, there will be obstacles, delays and difficulties, but we can overcome and learn from them! Be encouraged by the knowledge that the Spirit of God dwells in us and it is He who will accomplish this task, for His glory.

Check out the video linked below to see a flip through of my physical wellness planner and how I documented August.

Joy & Peace, Sister!

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