Showing posts from 2021

Day 40 from First Day of Fasting

I am 10 days out post fast and the world is a very sobering place I must say. I gained 3-4 lbs during refeeding and another 5 lbs. during my home time. I always knew home time was where the hardest work would be, and here I am. My friend from Pasadena Michele said “don’t beat yourself up, get up and make it work.” Good advice. I feel that my gains are slipping through my hands. When Joni Mitchell broke up with Graham Nash in 1971 just before her seminal work Blue 50 years ago, she sent him a note at the age of 27 and said “if you squeeze sand in your hand it will run through your fingers.” Somehow I am feeling it applies in this situation.  I liked the new me, but now I feel that I am slowly returning to the old me, the one I was leaving  behind. Maybe the new me never really was…. I am in an intense burst of back to back visits of inlaws and family vacations, steeped on the excesses of food and alcohol typified by these visits. I feel like the outsider looking in on their partying and

Last Day - Leaving TrueNorth

  This afternoon I leave TN for San Francisco where I will be staying  overnight near the airport and will be catching a 6:10 am flight early Thursday to Albany NY.  Yesterday I made it to Bodega Bay on the ocean for a great afternoon with my friend Michele from Pasadena. It was a lovely ride through the Redwood Forest and through the rolling meadows overlooking the ocean.  Today I say my goodbyes to friends made and an enchanting place with a mixture of thankfulness, sadness, and wanting very much to return home. I am pleased that the chef will be packing me up with food to go on my journey home,  helping me avoid the airport food along the way.  More thoughts coming while I fly out tomorrow. 

Day 7 of 9 Days of Refeeding

  Expanding my palate to include grains and starches. My body is tolerating these added foods well as I rejoin the eating world. Weight has stabilized.  Ventured out to do some shopping with some friends today while maintaining daily checkins with medical staff. Gearing up for 100 degree weather during the last two days here, with plans to visit the redwoods tomorrow just before the heat hits the area. Life is pivoting to my new normal. 

Day 6 - Refeeding- Wim Hof Method of Breathing

  Today I attend a class titled “Mindset” with instructors Sadiq and Nanda. After an overview of how thinking, eating and doing are inter related, and how important breathing is to full body health, we go through a group exercise from youtube of Wim Hof breathing.    This youtube video takes you through a series of 30 breaths, then holding you breathe for 1 to 2 minutes, then breathing in again for 15 seconds, then all repeated two more times. This was followed up with a guided meditation. The result was extraordinary. I have lone lots of different mediations throughout my life but have never had the calming serene experience like I did after this exercise. It was truly amazing. Most everyone in the group of about 30 were totally affected.  The take a way for me was that this should be built into a daily practice as part of my returning health plan, to stay focussed and centered, and as a premium method of self care. So much of what I have learned here at.

Day 5 of 9 - Refeeding - Approaching Normal Eating

  Slept about 5 hours last night, not untypical for most people staying at TrueNorth. I am getting back into the routine of 3 meals a day and it feels good so far. Everyone here are so cordial you feel that you can just walk up to anyone and talk and be accepted.  I attended a workshop this morning about functional movement. At the risk of repeating myself, the center of all human movement is the core. Without core integrity and proper functioning, the rest of the body has to find ways to compensate and this can through everything off. Backpain, shoulder pain, hip pain, can be mitigated by proper spine posture and by building strong core functioning through breathing and practice. When the core is inflated through a deep diaphramatic breathe it adds strength and support for the rest of the body. When we were infants that is how we learned to breathe naturally, now it has been unlearned by us and the goal is to get back to the deep belly breathing and core strengthening. This is a lesso

Day 4 of Refeeding - Mobility Evaluation

  I am  doing well eating fruit and veggies and I will continue with this diet and will also add steamed veggies as well tomorrow and Saturday.  My body is feeling well and slept 7.5 hours last night, which is an improvement.  I had an mobility assessment today to prepare my self for running when I return home. The assessment taught me about how I can strengthen how to rewire my brain so that my muscles and my core will assist my arms, legs, back, hips, etc. I also  learned how important breathing from my diaphragm is in building a strong core. I will be practicing all that I have learned daily when while I am at TrueNorth and while at home.  I met a woman today from NY City today who has osteoporosis and has found that her numbers in regards to osteoporosis have dropped in half over just a few days.  I also found out that her last name is Proctor, and she believes to the original family of Proctor in my home town. This should be a pretty interesting discussion. I can’t wait to see Che

Day 3 of Refeeding

  I finished my two days of eating blended soups and I feel fine as a result. Today I begin eating salad and fruits for breakfast lunch and dinner which will continue for another day. My early morning fasting glucose remains low at 98 which is atypical for me at home usually 130-140. .Blood pressure was remarkably low for me at 104/64; I am hoping this continues. I gain .4  lbs since yesterday.  Kathy Taylor does a workshop this afternoon. Kathy was a school teacher in Macon Georgia who has struggled with being overweight and obese her whole life. She and her 5 brothers were raised on some type of grease or fat in every meal. The whole family was either obese or morbidly obese. Kathy tried all kinds of diets and programs and went to the University of Colorado for a two week program with a year follow up. She lost 80 lbs and gained it all back. She tried Keto diets and became ill. She was on 17 different medications include meds for depression. She came to TrueNorth 1 1/2 years ago and

Day 2 of Refeeding - Confrontation

 (This is a long blog posting today) My time spent fasting required relaxation and restrained physical activity.     Dr Hammer (Director) suggested that ‘use this time for reflection and perhaps evaluate your life like many of the great religions do as they fast.”  During my time here, I attended a number of lectures about sleep, reflexology, self beneficence, physical mobility, “how to return home”, the dangers of salt, oil, and sugar, about raw foods, and a number of cooking demonstration by chef’s and experts. All informative and all supporting a healthy lifestyle. These lectures/demonstrations resulted in introspection related to ourselves and with a greater understanding came self evaluation. For example, understanding the science of sleep in regards to health increased the urgency of understanding our own sleep habits and how they do or do not serve us. When you are learning and thinking, it is hard to not confront yourself. Clearly, the motivation and driver is functioning fully

Day 1 - Refeeding - What Is This?

  As I leave the fasting behind I begin refeeding today. One of the most dangerous times with waterfasting is the refeeding period. There is documented evidence that some people have experienced complications with returning to their normal diet and have overwhelmed their digestive system. Here at TrueNorth, they have over 30 years experience treating 20,000 patients and have developed a gradual and effective reintroduction to food after a fast. The refeeding is long, about half of the time spent fasting, so for me it will be 9 days. I will start out with blended soups of sweet potato and zucchini for two days. I will progress from there to steamed veggies for a couple of days, then on to raw veggies and then add legumes and starches such as rice and white potatoes. This will build up my glycogen stores in my liver and muscles and is the main storage of energy in the body.  This is also  geared towards getting my digestive system fully functioning before I leave and to build the micobio

Day 20 - Fasting Finish Line

  After 2 years of research about fasting last winter I contacted TrueNorth to inquire about doing a waterfast. I was told that the schedule was three months out. I prepared during the three months as best as I could trying to imagine going even a day without food. It seemed promising and terrifying at the same time. Today I think back on the 20 days that I have gone without food and am amazed.  Logic and intuition tells me that my body would suffer without the proper nutrients that daily eating provides. And yet, I do not appear to have suffered these problems as my weekly lab tests show and daily doctor’s visits can attest to. My electrolytes appeared fine except for chloride which was down slightly. One thing I have learned is that the body is truly amazing. During the last 20 days, it has been supplied with all that it needs within existing systems in the body such as body fat and ketones. It gives me a glimpse into the millennium when our ancestors depended on these systems to fun

Day 19 - Passing the Rubicon

  I am here with 1 more day left of fasting after today. 19 days, no food, just water. I maintain good energy levels with no noticeable negative side effects. As I evaluate where I am and where I am headed, I remind myself of my goals. One goal was to get my weight down to 170 which happened two days ago. In conversation with a one of my suite mates who is a physician he told me waist to height ratio was a very important evaluation of health. I used an online calculator and found that I am 1 pound within the range of what is considered healthy. I am very pleased that I went from being 200 lbs and borderline obese 6 weeks ago at my doctor’s visit to landing in the healthy zone today. What this tells me is that I will have to lose another 10 - 15 lbs to be squarely in the “healthy” range. The work will continue.  Resident Chef Bravo cooks with first corn of the season making a hot dish and a cold dish as part of the TrueNorth lecture series.


Sobering statement but true. I assumed that even before I came to TrueNorth, that the real work would be upon my return home. I have been an avid drinker and enjoyed drinking beer and wine with friends and at restaurants. In January I came to the realization that if I wanted better health it could not include alcohol for my body and my situation, others may be different. It’s terrible for diabetes, it is terrible for psoriasis, and only served to increase my weight. The writing was clearly on the wall. Honestly, I have not missed it which surprised the heck out of me.  An important philosophy here is to let the body do what it does best. Fasting is a built in mechanism to cleanse and rebuild. Our survival throughout the millennium depend on that. Fat storage helped us survive times of scarcity. Now we live in abundance, and our bodies cannot handle it resulting in numerous chronic health problems. Cleansing, building new cells, will continue for another 2 days for me and then after ref

Day 17 - Waisting Away

  In the last day or two my weight loss seems to be now focusing on my belly. My understanding is that visceral fat  around the organs is the most dangerous fat and the first to go later followed by other parts of the body. The belly is last. During the first two weeks of my fast I lost 4 inches on my waist. With all the weight I lost I was hoping for a smaller waist. Well my waist seems like it is now targeted as I have lost 1 1/2 inches in the last 2 days. I have 3 days  left on my fast and I am hoping that this trend continues.

Day 16

  Today I am buoyed by the idea that in 4 days I will be done with the waterfast. I am not real excited at the idea of following the fast up with 9 days of refeeding. It is essential to build back a balanced gut biome.  Last night my suite mate shared that people who leave tend to gain back 75% of their weight lost. This is a quite sobering statistic that has my head spinning. It makes sense that if people return to the diet and lifestyle  that got them here, naturally they will get the same results. The lectures and food demonstrations here are a hedge against this slide back. I hear from two other doctor’s that it is just not true.  I send my Primary Care Provider back home my three blood lab reports, and current outcomes for weight, blood pressure, and glucose. I also include a list of my 9 goals here. Hard to say how it will be received, however I am not optimistic.  I am engrossed in a book called “Overstory” about people and their relationship with trees. Redwood trees occupy a g

Day 15 of Waterfasting - Where are the Redwoods?

  I continue to receive twice daily visits from nurses and doctors reviewing my vitals, checking possible negative signs of dizziness, nausea, or lightheadedness and todate I have experienced none. I receive my third and final blood test this morning and look forward to receiving the results.  The past 15 days have been sunny with no clouds or rain and in the 70’s during the day and high 40’s at night, pretty spectacular. I start the refeeding period next Tuesday which will begin with juices for two days, then adding raw veggies for a couple of days, and then adding nuts and seeds and starches. Even though I have only 5 days left of fasting, I am actually only half way through my total of 30 days. This is quite sobering as, as nice as the people and the place is, I am feeling the urge to get back to my life. I remind myself that I am on a journey towards vitality and that there are no quick solutions, and that if I want to realize my goal of achieving optimum health, I must manage one

Day 14 - Two Weeks Without Food Status Report

During moments of contemplation part of me is shocked that I have not eaten a morsel of food in two weeks. It feels like anything but starvation as my body has been nourishing me by burning my unwanted fat maintaining mental clarity and energy. I have six days left on this fast and then 9 days of gradual refeeding.                                   Starting.               Today Weight                        191.2                    173.      -18 Blood Pressure.            130/70.                115/70.  -15  Sleep Apnea.            Wait till sleep study, likely resolved Cholesteral.              Blood test in one week Glucose.                   Lower but variable Psoriasis.                 Clearing slowly Gout.                       No symptoms Unanticipated results: clearer skin, no muscle stiffness or  pain ( previously, occurred daily). Dr. Goldhamer (Director of TrueNorth) presented health information during his lecture. The slides to the left were part of that talk. These statisti

Day 13 - The Joys of Ketosis

  After several days of waterfasting, the body shifts from burning glucose for fuel and energy to burning Ketones. Ketones are manufactured from the liver and take fat and  create ketones which are then used for fuel. It just so happens that the brain thrives on ketones as they provide more energy than glucose. As a result, the brain becomes clearer and sharper and functions more optimally. One of the many advantages of waterfasting is bathing the brain in keytones. This occurs also when people are eating and do restricted eating or intermittent fasting on a regular basis as it provides the brain with keytones during those times without food and helps the brain maintain peak functioning.  PAIN WORKSHOP I attended a workshop on the nature and treatment of pain. I learn about how joint or muscle pain can present itself and that the cause can come from multiple sources, such as stress, emotional conflict, poor diet, sedentary lifestyle. Oftentimes our movements are not in synch with the w

Day 12 - Food Astronaut

This I have learned inthe workshops I have attended.... Most of our chronic health problems are associated with diet and lifestyle. Amazingly, we have control over much of our future health. By adopting a health supporting diet as opposed to a disease promoting diet we can avoid many of the calamities headed our way and significantly reduce our cancer risks and enjoy a quality future. UPDATE My glucose has had a steady rise for the past 4 days which has been concerning to me. In talking with the doctor this morning he explained that my liver and my kidneys are working overtime during the fast in this typically causes a spike in glucose readings.....not to worry. 

Day 11 - Horse Latitudes

Feeling like I am in horse latitudes with 11 days in and 9 to go. It has been good to take a step back from regular life and relax and chill, but today I am missing Vermont and all that it brings me. Soldier on....   Today starts like all other days, waking up after a good nights sleep, read the NY Times, visit with the nurse for vitals and blood sugar test. Vitals are good, blood sugar is acting stubborn and after initially dropping is now trending upward (2 days).  I attend an inspiring lecture from self proclaimed food addict George Taraviras who has fasted at TrueNorth 26 times. He offers helpful practical advice about health promoting eating at home, restaurants, and with family and friends. 

Day 10 - Waterfast Midpoint

  Arriving at this point feeling amazed that I have gone for 10 days with no food and still feel with good energy and no noticeable signs of not eating. All the while my body steadily burns the excess fat I have been hauling around for the past few decades. Amazing! As I look at the next 10 days I am a bit bewildered about not eating for another 10 days. I am told by a new friend that I will be cruising to the finish line from here on out.  Roommate John leaves today after a 9 day fast back to Chicago to his high stress job. He leaves today after making progress with his chronically high levels of cortisol which got tamed by a waterfast. We wonder who will join us next in his room. I hear that TrueNorth is so backed up with people wanting to come that some are waiting till September to start their fast.  I attend a cooking demonstration with Chef Ramses Bravo our resident chef. Today tells us the the first corn of the season has arrived and decided to make

Day 9 - Feeling Well & Raw Food

  Days are starting to blend into each other here at TrueNorth. Weather has been idyllic and in many ways it feels like a resort without the drinks or pool but the vibe is so chill and all the docs and nurses and staff are positive and helpful.  I meet with my doctor today and go over my initial blood test and one conducted yesterday. The levels are encouraging and some adjustment is needed on my B12 intake when I leave.  RAW FOOD DEMONSTRATION I attend a raw food demonstration from a doctor at          the research department who only eats uncooked food. This is not an area that I have much familiarity with and attend this workshop with some curiosity. Today she demonstrates various techniques she uses to make salads and salad dressing all SOS free (no added salt, oil, or sugar). I find the dressing intriguing with her use of mangoes and nuts combined with red peppers.The homemade tahini dressing looks creamy and delicious. I will remember this when I return home to make dressings

Day 8 - Feelings of Wellness

  I start the day with an early blood test performed every 7 days, I am told it takes 2 days for results. I will be interested in the results. As the doctor monitors my electrolytes one thing to watch out for is potassium. In talking with a fellow faster I learn that if that occurs,  instead of just giving you a potassium pill they take a more informed approach. The thinking here is that a reduction is an indication of your system not taking well to the fast and that just giving you a pill to solve the potassium issue would miss other things going on that are not detected. So, the response here is to put a person on a juice fast for the remainder of the fast. I am impressed with their understanding of fasting is such a deep level, obvious from over 30 years providing this service.  During my daily doctor’s visit I have a discussion about the importance of taking my pulse. She indicates that one of the things she is listening for is a skip. If that were to occur, it would also indicate

Day 7 - One Week Status Report

  IF READING THIS ON A MOBILE PHONE YOU MAY HAVE TO TURN IT SIDEWAYS  TO SEE THE DATA CORRECTLY As I complete my first week of fasting, I thought I would share some of the numbers I have been tracking of my health.                             PreFast           Day 7 of 20 ____________________________________________________ Weight:                 191                  179.8         - 11.2  Blood Pressure:     138/72.            109/68       - 29 Blood Glucose:      130                  78.            - 52 Comments: WEIGHT - I have been losing about 2 lbs a day this week and expect that I will average 2 lbs a day according to Dr Goldhammer. That will leave me at a weight of roughly 155 lbs when I am done (my ideal weight should be in the range of 128 - 158 for my height).  BLOOD PRESSURE: My blood pressure was slow to respond to the weight loss during the first 5 days of the fast however has dropped on day 6 and 7 to 109. For the healthiest levels I will want to get the systolic number

Day 6 - Hammer Time

  Today I am feeling completely normal without fatigue, or any negative symptoms. I lose another 2 lbs, blood sugars are stable at 76, and blood pressure drops to 112/70 which I am pleased with. I go for a short walk around the block and it is nice to see the neighborhood with all the California flora.  My roommate leaves today and I am sad to see him go. He is a physician who wanted to improve his health and as he says “if you go to the doctor and he tells you that you are insulin insensitive (diabetic), ask him how do you change that? He will not be able to give you an answer and he will prescribe you a pill to manage the cell wall insensitivity. A waterfast improves cell wall insensitivity and that is why I am here.” We have another vacant room, it will be interesting who comes into our suite next.                                            Dr Alan Goldhammer - Director of TrueNorth Healthcare I attend a popular lecture today by Dr. Goldhammer who is a captivating lecturer. Alan tal

Day 5 - New Skin

  Fasting is going well today. Hard to believe that I am not eating and have NO hunger. The reason is that my body is in a ketogenic stage and it feeds my brain and the rest of my body with what it needs from my fat reserves. The beauty of humans is that our survival depended on times of food scarcity so we developed a mechanism to store fat (as we all know all too well.) This reserve of fat is burned for energy and provides us with everything we need except for water. I am living on these reserves now and my fat burning starts with visceral fat which surrounds our organs and is bad for our health. Then the fat from around our body starts burning up next. When the fat is gone, muscles are targeted as a source of energy that no one wants to lose, fat  must stop before that begins. That may be the point where starvation begins.  Today as I am lying in the sun I notice that my skin is shinning and glistening. I am amazed to see my skin changing and improving after 5 days of no food. It se


  Saturday - Good night sleep, stomach ache early this morning and sporadically throughout the day, pretty manageable. Casual relaxing day.  My high school roommate leaves today at noon...... We spend the morning doing a puzzle, chatting about his life back home with his grandmother, mother, and two brothers. I ask about his culture as he looks hispanic, which he confirms “and some African American.” As we wait for his mother, they start cleaning out his room for the next person coming and I see him quietly standing there with his acoustic guitar. I tell him I brought an electric guitar with me and he reply’s “I have never held one before.”  I bring mine out and set him up to play it through my ipad and headphones and he is thrilled. We talk about the feel of the strings and he try’s it out. As he is just starting to play it after about 10 minutes, he receives a phone call that his mother and brother were here to take him home. He gets up says his goodbyes and leaves. As I am putting t


I awake today after a restful 7 hours of sleep and feel refreshed and rejuvenated. Yesterday I was feeling sluggish, low energy, had a headache, and experienced some short term memory problems which concerned me greatly! Dr. Soler visits' me and chuckles when I tell him “oh yeah, that is what we call fasting brain, not to worry.” I am much relieved. Combine that with feeling great this morning and this tells me that I caught over the “hump” yesterday when your system converts from glucose burning to ketogenic and fat burning. This usually results in some misery which I experienced yesterday. I am told by my roommates that it has passed and I am cruising ahead on my fast as the weight comes peeling off.  I attend a lecture with Dr Zhu who gives us a lecture on cleansing the liver. It was a reminder for my how important it is to provide your liver with good nutrition for the 500 things it provides to your body and just how much we often abuse it. I will be using this information to g

No Food - Day2 “Fluff and Buff in the Emerald City” - Thanks Josette!

Evening yoga and meditation last night helped after a day of “lounging.” I really enjoyed it.  Early morning rounds reveals a drop of another 2 lbs since yesterday, yikes! Blood sugar drops further and is normal, blood pressure is OK but not where I want it to be. I set up a Chiropractic visit for tomorrow for an adjustment, my first ever. I skip the morning lecture and hang out with my roommates one who is a physican (actually doing a fast!) and another one who trades in cryptocurrencies. The physician is ending his fast and starting the refeeding which he is very excited about, whole foods for him today.....smiling from ear to ear. I learn from that that showers are frowned upon here. Apparently, when fasting the blood is concentrated in your core and a shower, especially a hot shower, stimulates the skin and diverts blood flow away from your organs and can cause dizziness and falls. Toothpaste stimulates the salivary glands and interferes with  the fast as well. I am not sweating an

Just Water - First Day Without Food

  After a good nights sleep, my day begins with have a visit from the nurse to get vitals and get my blood taken. Vitals look good today and in regards to my weight I have lost another pound since yesterday and the fasting starts today! I am down a total of 10 pounds during the past month which includes 5 pounds in the last 5 days on a vegetable and fruit menu.  After the morning rounds I meet two of my room mates and wondered why I had not seen them in the past day. One person I will call Ed is actually working remotely while on his fast and that is why he was sequestered in his room. The other person Will, was having a particularly bad day on his fast and though he too was working remotely, just felt awful. I learn that both Ed and Will had sizable guts which have disappeared. They seemed pretty happy about that. Our conversation shifted to returning home the challenges that it poses.  The rest of the morning and afternoon is spent between my bedroom and sitting around the water foun

First Day at TrueNorth Health Center

  After taking the 6:30 am shuttle from San Francisco Airport, I arrive at TrueNorth at 9:00 and get checked in. I met some great and wonderful staff and checkin to my apartment suite with 3 other room mates. Only one I meet today and he is a high school student completing a 16 day water fast. Lovely polite young man with a killer smile.  I meet with my doctor and he reviews my history, conducts an examination and helps me set goals for this fast....20 days of waterfasting, with 8-9 days of refeeding is the plan.  I meet with a member of the research team that I had initially signed up with and review more questions with her. I am disqualified from being in this research project because my blood pressure was normal. I had discontinued my bp medication 3 weeks ago at the suggestion of my Primary Care PA and my bp has been borderline. With recent dietary changes I have made it is now normal. Hoping that fasting will result in my bp being at an optimal level.  I attended a cooking class o

Long Distance Masking

  Albany, Baltimore, Chicago, San Francisco - thats my travel schedule today. My prefasting diet yesterday and today is strictly fruits and veggies. So far I have found no fruits or veggies at the Albany  Airport, thankfully Kathy packed oranges and veggies. Airport security opened my bag and carefully examined and squeezed each orange, glad to be able to throw away the handled peels! Withdrawing from coffee during a fast is not wise so my lifelong coffee consumption end a week ago better positioning me to start the fast. On Tuesday, maybe..... My schedule tomorrow is: * I have been asked by TrueNorth researchers to eat all day today in anticipation of my participation in their research. So I will continue to eat fruit and veggies today so that the initial tests will occur during a period of eating.  9:00 Check in at TrueNorth 11:00 Medical examination with  Dr Antonio Soler MD- This is where I will be setting my goals for the fast. Even though I signed up for a 20day fast and 10day re

Starting An Extended Waterfast

  I am flying 3,000 miles and spending some of my savings to eat no food and drink only water for up to 20 days. Why waterfasting and why me!!!! And, when I return home after 20 days of fasting with 10 days of refeeding, I am committed to eating a plant based diet with no meat or dairy and no salt, oil or my local primary care professional said to me “Mike, why are you doing this?”     You are probably asking the same question. My friends in conversation with me  refer to this weight loss program as an extreme action. “ Mike, rapid weight loss is bad for your health” I can hear being said. “Mike, most people who lose weight gain it all back especially quick loss programs. “ Other’s have said to me “oh I can’t go without salt, or oil or sugar, what are you going to eat?” The facial expressions reflect bewilderment and a complete shock at how awful it must be to go without anything to eat a few hours. Impossible, terrible, no way.  So let’s talk about something most of not