Lessons from 30 days of Vegan and a 5 Day Water Fast

Photo by Vitalii Pavlyshynets on Unsplash

Note — Not medical advice.

I’ve been screwing with my diet lately. I’m no health, workout, or spiritual guru. Not in the least. I’m a normal, curious man on a mission to discover my highest self. This journey can’t even start unless you’re in health.

Unfortunately, my wealth of knowledge is vast, aka just scratching the surface of many topics when it comes to wellness. I say unfortunately because sometimes I wish I knew nothing of diet and what foods potentially do to me. Potentially is the keyword. We’re all coded differently. This lady lived until at least 104 drinking 3 Dr. Peppers a day and this man lived until at least 109 smoking 9 cigars, eating ice cream, and drinking whiskey!

It’s obvious we are far, far, farrrr off from the way our ancestors were living and eating. We go to gyms now to workout. How boring. Our foods are processed. Some people swear by eating zero meat and others will eat only meat. There’s convicting evidence for both sides, so what is one to do?

My Vegan Experiment

Some of the Costa Rica yoga squad. Yes, heavily lacking testosterone.

So I went vegan for 30 days. Mmhm. I’ve never gone a day in my life without meat (besides fasting days). Kinda wild. My media consumption aka echo chamber preaches that meat heals and plants are poisonous survival food (thanks to bitcoin twitter and carnivoremd). While I still think this could be true (for some people, including myself), I knew that I’d have to try vegan before knocking it. What I found disappointed me..

Vegan was easy. I didn’t even crave meat. I did a yoga teacher training for the first three weeks at Vida Asana (highly recommend) in Costa Rica, which served 3 mostly organic vegan meals every day. Every meal was incredibly delicious and satiating. My body felt great. I did lose a couple pounds, but this was probably due to excessive yoga and surfing and no weights.

Yoga teacher training gave me a clear mission, eliminated any food prep or thinking of food, and surrounded me with great people. I was doing exactly what I wanted to do at that time. My brain was clear and focused at the task at hand.

Back in college, I ate whatever the caf fed me. And.. I felt great! I was surrounded by great people, had a clear mission, and was working towards it everyday just like in teacher training. Food didn’t seem to matter.

5 Day Fast

Blood sugar and Ketones on day 5. Lost about 8–10 lbs.

Fast forward to writing this blog (a few weeks later). I’m 4 days and 18 hours in to a 5 day fast. The first couple of days were tough. I had chores to do, bills to pay, invoices to write. I felt slow, hungry, and bummed out. On day 4, I did things I like to do, like paddleboard, surf, play chess, and catch up with friends. I had energy on day 4, because I was doing things that I like and make me feel good. Would the first few days have been easier if I was doing fun things? Maybe.

Yes, not eating is brutal. Apparantly, it’s also very healing. I went through periods of cravings. Sometimes I’d stand up and feel like blacking out. I supplemented magnesium and pink Himalayan salt which seemed to help.

“Avoidance of boredom is the only worthy mode of action. Life otherwise is not worth living”. — Nassim Taleb This quote lives rent free in my head since I read it. It strikes a chord within me. How much of our lives are spent doing things that outside sources prescribe us? I got bored and decided not to eat for 5 days.

Living a prescribed, reactionary, defensive life bogs us down and detours us from doing what we find interesting, fun, and worth doing. Yes, rent needs to be paid and so does the tax man (something I’ve struggled with). But we are animals at our core. We are survivors. We can eat plants to survive or animals to thrive;). We can even go 40 days without food like Mr. Jesus.

I’m stoked to have finished this challenge. It’s something I’ll probably do yearly. My brain felt awake and clear throughout the whole 5 days. When I wasn’t thinking about how much I wanted food, I felt connected to people, the present, and myself. I’d definitely recommend trying a fast. I’ve done probably 20 36 hour fasts before this and one 72 hour fast before trying the 120 hours.

Final Ponderings

How much does your knowledge of good and bad food affect whether that food damages you? What happens in your brain when you feel guilt about what you just ate? Why is that guilt there in the first place? My grandma is the perfect example of this. I just walked in on her eating and eskimo pie after tending to her garden for a few hours. She doesn’t feel guilty about this. She just likes the ice cream! I think she’ll live til she’s over 100 like her mom did before. The chemicals we make in our brain are perhaps more important than sticking to some popular diet ← not science, but science.

I don’t think a life without doughnuts or ice cream is worth living. “Everything in Moderation. Nothing in excess.” — Socrates. Perhaps this is the way.

How much of what we eat actually matters vs. who we are surrounded with on a daily basis? How much of what we think about the food we ingest affects how the body processes it? For example, eating a doughnut and hating yourself for it vs. savoring the doughnut and being grateful for its deliciousness.

Note — my experiments were only 30 days of vegan and 5 days of water fasting. Either could have negative affects on health. We’re constantly discovering new truths about dieting and each body is different. Experiment with caution :)

*To break my fast I ate a whole pack of bacon, a ribeye, and avocado. A couple hours later, I had a mango and some melon. I felt fine. A little sleepy and quite full, but all systems normal now day after the fast. Check these videos out for some real science.

Ciao for now!

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Occasionally writing, acting, working, modeling, or surfing. Always living. https://linktr.ee/paulkeating paulkeating03@gmail.com

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Paul Keating

Paul Keating

Occasionally writing, acting, working, modeling, or surfing. Always living. https://linktr.ee/paulkeating paulkeating03@gmail.com

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