21 July 2021

How to Fast: 7 Fasts to Help you Maintain Physical and Mental Health.

Dear Lissy, 

Ah, Sweet Thing!  You are only a few weeks away from your Freshman year of college.  Time has flown. 

I suspect you'll remember me fasting when you're thinking back on your childhood.  I fasted often for both medical and prayer purposes.  At some point, you may decide to try it yourself.  I want to be able to help you enjoy the benefits of this lifestyle while avoiding the mental and physical pitfalls.
This letter isn't medical advice.  You need a doctor* to give you the green light and support you in your fasting goals.  

Summary: I have chosen a fasting lifestyle. Short fasts are a regular part of my personal fitness. I do not fast longer than 5 days unless a serious medical condition known to respond to fasting is present.

  • I fast from 12 -17 hours daily when I am on plan.  
  • I incorporate a 24 hour fast once a month for prayer or mental health
  • A couple of times a year I fast for 36 hours to return to a clean eating plan.  
  • If I get a head cold that moves to my sinuses, or a run of bad blood pressure numbers, I fast for 72 hours to 5 days. Days 2 and 3 are miserable. 
  • On the rare occasion I have a more serious medical issue, I will fast longer using the "hopscotch" method.  If I fast longer than 5 days, I experience hair loss and immense hunger/cravings during refeeding.

1. The weight normalizing fast:  Fasting between meals and 12 hours overnight.

You've been on and off the No-S diet throughout your teens, so you're familiar with this protocol.  If you want a refresher, pop over to this letter.  No S isn't a quick fix.  It's learning to say "no" to seconds, snacks, and sweets most of the time. We only drank water between meals. Followed consistently, your weight will normalize AND stay off.  Fasting between meals and at least 12 hours overnight yields dozens of medical benefits, including higher HGH levels, reduced inflammation, and more energy.  This simple diet was how most people ate prior to 1970.

2. The weight loss fast: 17-18 hours

If you've put on more than a few pounds, consider fasting at least 17 hours a day until your weight is within your goal range.  Based on my research, the popular 16:8 fast falls just an hour shy of some awesome medical benefits from autophagy.
  • A 17-hour fast can either begin after lunch and run through breakfast the following morning or begin after dinner and run through lunchtime the following day.  Sleeping for 7-8 hours of the fast helps keep the discomfort to a minimum.
  • I only take water during this fast.
  • As an added benefit, a 17-18 hour fast promotes anti-aging, provides an immune system boost, and aids in cancer prevention.  
  • The food eaten during the window should be high quality.  The eating window isn't an invitation to eat an entire pizza or hit the drive-thru.  Generally speaking, you should enjoy two moderate "No S" meals during the allotted time. 
  • The 17-hour diet is the only fasting I now use long-term for weight loss purposes.  Fasting longer than 17 hours consistently causes fatigue, hair loss, and a rebound gain for me.
3. The Brain/Gut Fast:  24 hours (Also called "OMAD", or One Meal a Day, if used long-term.)
This amazing fast is one of the easiest ways to heal depression/anxiety, give mental clarity, or heal any intestinal/autoimmune/swelling/bloating issues. I try to incorporate this fast into my eating plan at least once a month.
  • Fasting from dinner to dinner is easiest for me, but any 24-hour window works. 
  • Only take water during the fast. Tea, coffee, or diet drinks often promote hunger pangs for me.
  • I use this fast for prayer and mental health purposes most of the time.  
  • OMAD, or "one meal a day", protocol is a favorite of the fast weight loss community.  I was never able to consistently keep this diet because of Dad's unpredictable schedule. I also experienced hair loss using this diet strategy long-term. 
  • I had great results all through high school and college with a variation of this diet that permitted keto meals for 2 meals a day and a carb-rich meal for the third.  
4. The Reset Button Fast: 36 Hours (Also called the EOD diet when used long-term.)
I use this fast -- only water after supper on day 1 to breakfast on day 3--to reset my eating or start a new diet once or twice a year.  Most of the time, fasting for 36 hours depletes my body of excess sugar stores, sheds my water weight, and gives me the ability to eat clean, healthy food without cravings.  It also improves insulin sensitivity, an important factor in weight management.  While you will experience waves of hunger pangs, you avoid the "keto flu" with this shorter fast.

Fasts 5-7 should only be taken with the approval of your own MD or DC who knows both your medications and lab numbers. 

5.The Blood Pressure/Chemo Fast: 48 Hours 

Day 2 of a fast is unrelenting fatigue, headaches, and muscle cramps for me.  I rarely recommend fasting for only 2 days.  If you endure the misery of day 2, keep going! But if your blood pressure is an issue, this is the fast for you.  
  • Keto tonic -- a can of seltzer, a Tablespoon of ACV, and a dash of NoSalt over ice--will alleviate a lot of the headache and muscle aches from "Keto flu" as your body transitions from sugar to fat stores.
  • A 48-hour fast is a powerful fast hormonally. Dopamine receptors are reset, HGH increases exponentially, and the body releases a flood of antioxidants.  The result is a new ability to "feel" joy and a sense of deep well-being.  
  • I've never had chemotherapy, but the 48-hour fast before chemo is the current protocol to reduce side effects.  I think I would probably try the 36-hour fast first and then bump up to 48 hours if 36 hours was not effective.

6. The Healing Fast: 3-5 days

Once or twice a year, I fast for 3-5 days to avoid a sinus infection, clear up a nagging chronic health issue, or help an acute injury heal.  After days 2-3, I normally feel light and energized.  My energy goes through the roof.  When I first began a fasting lifestyle, I would go without eating for weeks.  Unfortunately, after 5 days, refeeding becomes a serious issue for me.  I also experience hair loss about 3-6 months after a fast longer than 5 days.
  • Plan for Keto tonic (see Fast #5) at mealtimes on days 2 and 3, otherwise, drink plenty of water.
  • I avoid both coffee and tea.  I find they exacerbate the hunger pangs without providing any real benefit.
  • I often have difficulty sleeping after day 3.
  • Your first meal after this fast should be a cup of chicken or beef broth followed by a low-carb vegetable meal (salad, stir fry, grilled veg plate).  
  • I generally eat very low carbs and protein for the day or two after a long fast.  This serves two purposes:  I won't binge on low-carb/low protein foods, and my digestive system has time to wake back up.

7. The Hopscotch Fast: 7-40 days, alternate fasting days with keto days.

If you need to fast longer for deep healing, you can cheat the system a little bit by interspersing a day or more of eating full Keto in between 3-5 fasting days.  Without carbs, your body will quickly and painlessly drop back into fasting mode.  I use this fast once in a while if my blood cholesterol or blood sugar numbers on a lab report are not where I want them to be.  If I am following Fasts 1-6 above faithfully, I don't need this fast.

What to Expect...

Day 1:  Mental difficulties skipping meals, waves of hunger that pass in 10-20 minutes.
Day 2-3:  Hunger in waves, headache, fatigue, body aches, nasal discharge depending on the quality of the previous diet.  Symptoms generally fade throughout Day 3. Keto tonic is a game-changer.
Day 3-5:  Hunger has passed. High energy, clear thinking, good mood.  Coated tongue and bad breath are common.
Sleep:  I generally sleep more during Day 1 & 2, but fewer hours after Day 3.
Exercise:  Current research is split on whether or not vigorous exercise is healthy during a fast.  I choose to do short powerwalks a couple of times a day when fasting. I nap a lot during Day 2.
Fasting tolerance:  The more I fast, the easier each fast becomes.  Much like working out, the body "learns" fasting.
Refeeding: For fasts 72 hours to 5 days, I generally have no trouble refeeding if I keep my carbs AND proteins low.  I choose eggs and baked fish as my protein for the first day.  Once carbs are reintroduced, I notice a strong return of hunger signals.
Weight Loss: Excess fluid/swelling is one of the reasons I fast.  I lose about 3% of my body weight during the first 24-36 hours of a fast. Some of that water returns when carbs are added back to the diet. For fasts 24 hours or longer, fat loss is equal to about 1/2 pound a day for the first 2 weeks.  My weight loss slows after Day 14. For me, fasting longer than 17 hours supports the body chemistry/hormones for weight loss and maintenance, but is not a good way to lose weight permanently. 

The fasting lifestyle has allowed me to reverse or prevent a number of medical problems through my 30s and 40s.  I also find that nothing promotes mental health as quickly as a fast followed by a healthy diet and exercise.  I hope that you will at least consider these fasts to manage your own health and mental well-being as you enter adulthood.

Hungry for a Hug, 


*If you are interested in adopting a fasting lifestyle, find a chiropractor you trust to support you.  The chiropractic community has been leading the research and practice of fasting for several decades.  

27 March 2019

5 Reasons We Choose To Vaccinate

Dear Lissy,

Spring is in the air once again!  We've had a long, cold winter, and we're ready to be out and about.  You're just recovering from your first round of pneumonia and an aggressive antibiotic regimen.  While you've been down, another burst of measles has spread a couple of states away, and the vaccination debate has resurfaced.  I want to share our philosophy with you here for when you have to make that choice for the grands.

1We wanted you protected from diseases that could kill or maim you for life.  Meet some of the diseases that present a real and present danger here.

2. We wanted you to be able to attend camps, college, and serve the Lord overseas (missions, armed forces, medical teams, etc.)  Every one of those future paths requires vaccination.  Exemptions are becoming increasingly rare.

3.We wanted to protect the very young, aged, and infirm that are in our family and church.  See #9 on the list from the National Foundation of Infectious Diseases.

4.  We believe that a vaccinated population prevents the viral outbreak of fatal disease, and we are responsible for being a part of our community's health.  The University of Oxford gives a short and excellent explanation here.

5. We understand the science and statistics behind vaccination.  The CDC does an excellent job of presenting the science behind vaccination here and the statistics from the NCBI are here (Skip to the conclusion).

If you have those in your church and community groups who refuse or are hesitant about vaccines, this article can help you talk to them in a loving way about the subject, but ultimately vaccination is still the parent's choice.

In a future letter I'll cover some of our other medical philosophical choices (psychoactive drugs, antibiotics, herbs/oils, vaccinations for STD, etc)

 Love you!

14 December 2018

Experience the Magic with eShakti's NEW FX Feature!

Dear Lissy,

Guess what, guess what, guess what?!?!  You know how much you love to choose and customize eShakti dresses?  Now you can instantly SEE the custom design changes you choose appear right on the model when we order dresses on EShakti FX!  Hooray!

And...wait for it...they still have pockets.  It just doesn't get any better than that, does it?
Instantly see if your changes work well together.
Modesty issues show up so you can SEE the difference!

I guess we should probably explain our excitement for those who read along with my letters to my daughter, Lissy.  eShakti just added a new feature that works like magic with their FX line of dresses, and asked us to pop over to their website to check it out. 
We were both surprised to find out with the new eShakti FX line we could see the changes on the model in real time as we clicked to alter necklines, sleeve lengths, and hemlines.
We've both wanted this feature for years.   Changing one element on a dress affects the overall proportions of the whole garment.  The ability to play with the various features and adjust the proportions so they all look good together is a welcome upgrade.  And fun!

Here's one of the enchanting dresses we played with, the "Ombre Star Print Georgette Pleated Empire Dress".
Original design by eShakti.  As cute as this looks on the model, the neck and sleeve styles will not work with our face shape or large upper arms.

We tried adding a scoop neck, but didn't like the look. Moving on...

A high square neck keeps closer to the original design, but flatters our faces and builds.

We still need to make a decision about the sleeves.  We decided we liked the look of 3/4 sleeves the best.  The "elbow length" ended right at the waist, which visually increased the size of the bust/upper arm area.  Both bracelet and long length were full at the cuff, which is not a look either of us liked with this dress.
For our figures and taste, this sleeve length works well.  I think we're done.
The hem has choices of Knee length (top of the knee), Below the Knee (shown), and Mid-Calf (as designed).  All three are good lengths for this style of garment, but Above the Knee is going to give us modesty issues walking and sitting, while mid-calf is a terrible choice visually with our proportions.  We'll choose Below the Knee.  Boom, done.  And we can see just what our finished garment will look like BEFORE we put down our hard earned dollars.

If you haven't been over to eShakti lately, click over and see all the changes they've made.  Take a few minutes to pick out a dress and play with it on FX.  Their new zapelle line has a more sophisticated, modern look, while the Wayward Fancies line offers up interesting fabrics and free-spirited styles like the one we played with here.  The classic eShakti fit and flare dresses are still there, too.

Need a special occasion dress?  Find beautiful, inexpensive bridesmaid's, mother's, or party dresses that can be custom cut for a perfect fit on your big day.  Dresses only take 2-3 weeks to arrive after ordering, too.

Want to add a little magic to someone's Christmas?  Send them a gift card so they can design their own eShakti original.  eShakti carries a full line of tops, jackets, skirts, and pants in addition to their dresses.  Once you create an account on eShakti, the gift card option is at the bottom of the screen.

eShakti has been a tremendous resource for us as Lissy has transformed into a young lady.  We hope you'll enjoy shopping there as much as we do.

Love you, Sunshine!


P.S.  As affiliates, we get a small percentage of every garment ordered through the links in this post.  The dollars fund Lissy's education (and occasionally her wardrobe!) without costing you anything extra.  Thank you for helping our family in this way.

30 November 2017

Keeping House for One: The "Daily" Dilemma

Dear Lissy,
Good morning, Sweetie!  December is bringing a month of near insanity, so this will be my last letter for a little while.  We started this series by dealing with the biggest time and budget buster, meals.  I then wrote fairly long letters adapting my 2D weekly plan and 3D space & storage principles to apartment living.  Today we'll dive into the simplest but hardest facet, daily time management (4D) and apartment upkeep.

Clean As You Go
Cleaning up after yourself as you go is the simplest way to keep up with your apartment.  The requirement here is leaving yourself enough time to do a quick pick up.  If you have to leave your apartment by 7 to get to work on time, and it takes you 45 minutes to get ready, it will take 55 minutes to clean as you go -- you can't hit the snooze button 3 times.
  • After you shower and get ready, swipe down the shower with a squeegee, wipe down the sink and commode (in that order) with a disinfecting wipe, hang up or straighten bathroom items, and then leave the bathroom.  
  • Wash all your dishes after every meal, camping style.  Put the leftovers into Tupperware, wipe down the counter and appliances, and Swiffer the floor.
  • Don't leave the living area until you've picked up and straightened the room.  
  • If you're working on a craft or project, pack it away at the end of the night.
  • Leave your sleeping area neat and hang or put clothes in the hamper. 
  • Extend this principle by using your commute to either work or church to run errands. 
The same principle is true at bedtime.  If you fall asleep in front of the tv or reading in bed, and leave the apartment a mess, you're not going to have time to clean it in the morning.  Do up the dinner dishes before you relax.  Bangerang your apartment and set your things out for tomorrow before you snuggle in for the night with a book or show.
If you can train yourself to never leave a room messy, the weekly chores take almost no time at all, and can even be skipped once in a while.
Saying "Yes" is Always Saying "No"
If you say "yes" to one thing you are always saying "no" to something else.  We've taught you to value relationships over things, and to think of others.  Keeping up your own apartment, especially if you don't have a roommate, can feel selfish.  It is not.  You are an adult now--your home is an extension of your outward self, just like your clothes or personal grooming.  
A messy apartment hinders your ability to minister. A lack of discipline maintaining your space means you may slip into bad habits elsewhere:  staying up far to late reading or watching a show, eating poorly, neglecting exercise. You have less energy at work.  You may choose not to use your home to minister because it's too much trouble to clean.  Skipping church services or activities is tempting because laundry or the kitchen has reached a stage where it has to be handled. 
When you choose not to maintain your home to a level where you are able to maintain personal discipline or minister to others, you are saying "no" not just to yourself, but to your employer, your friends, and your church.  
What about last minute crises or opportunities?  Plan for them.  Set aside one evening a week for either catching up on housework, getting together with friends last minute, or just getting an early night in.  If you have to bump something to that night, it becomes your #1 priority -- no more bumping!  If the week is light, and it ends up being a truly free night, enjoy the extra time.

Finally, learn how to say no. A gentle, "I'm not available this time, but please feel free to ask me another time," or, "I'm so sorry I can't help you with that this time," is best.  Telling anyone that you're saying "no" because of housework will sound heartless -- they can't see the big picture.  Anyone who questions (Nosy Nancy) or pushes past your initial decline (Bossybutt Bob) should be given a firm:  "I'm sorry I wasn't clear:  I can't help you this time."

Routines are Your Workhorses

Establish daily routines for morning, after work, and before bed that take all of the daily tasks into account.  You don't need to put most things on your to do list -- just make them habits.  I keep these written down in plastic sleeves so I can pull them out and reboot when my routines fall apart because of busyness or sickness.

Learn to Write CEO To Do Lists

As a newlywed I worked for a demanding office.  One of the things that intrigued me was the manager's daily sheet.  Our office secretary had to go through her tickler and inbox and lay out our manager's day with appointments, meetings, and to do items all organized for him into time slots. He arrived about half an hour later than we did, and would use the sheet to stay on task all day.  If something had to be bumped, she was responsible to get it rescheduled for another day.  Unless you're in an executive position, you won't have the luxury of a personal assistant.  You can, however, create a daily sheet for yourself that will keep you running smoothly.  At this writing, Google Calendar does this seamlessly, but I'm sure there are plenty of apps and calendars that provide the same functionality.  Don't be afraid to say "let me check my schedule," or "let me add that to my schedule before I forget," and pull up your calendar on your phone.  Quickly skim 5 To-Do List Hacks to maximize your to-do list.

Give Yourself Grace and Space to Grow Into Your New Life.

Just like learning any other complicated skill (remember learning to drive?) you're going to have some bumps and starts when you begin running a home.  If you expect a seamless transition from college to career, adjust your expectations, lickety-quick!  It takes time to figure out your own preferences and energy patterns.  
  • Do you prefer to just bang out your to do list before you sit down at night so you can relax, or do you need some crash time to recover from work?  
  • How much sleep do you need now that your schedule has normalized?  
  • How long does it take you to go from sound asleep to punching in at work?  Do you ever have to bring work projects home?
  • How long does it take to go from punching out at work to a full belly and clean kitchen at home?
  • How often do you need time with church family or friends to keep you energized and connected?  
  • How much alone time do you need to feel centered?
  • When do you like to workout?  Have your devotions? 
  • How are you and your roommate going to split up the chores?  The space? How will you handle different standards and expectations?
Not to be unkind, but you're probably going to discover the answer to these questions by making wrong choices.   Even once you've established patterns, changes at church or work or a different roommate can upend your whole rhythm.
If you have the ability, once or twice a year take one day of earned time to create a two day mini break in combo with your regular day off to go through your apartment and car and bring everything back to a good level. Turn off your mobile, crank some tunes, and get to work.  This mini break is unbumpable -- no exceptions.

Again -- for the last time -- progress is more important than perfection!  You are deeply loved by your Heavenly Father and us. Nothing you do or don't do changes that. God is more than enough, and His grace is sufficient to every need.  Even if I don't live close enough to help you through this transition, God is there.  Every answer is found in the Word -- even for something as earthly as time management and your budget.

Love you more every day,