I will open with a confession: I have never considered fasting as a routine health maintenance program. It’s not that I have had the fasting blinkers on, but rather that I’ve always struggled with weight-gain and thus presumed fasting would be dangerous to my skeleton frame. More recently my partner Daniel, vegan professional Muay Thai athlete, began diving into fasting articles online, and dappling with a monthly water fast routine on the New Moon, so the topic was hot on our ‘pillow-talk’ menu when a Facebook post promoting Tyler Tolman’s fasting seminar in Adelaide sprung up on my feed. We bought tickets, and joined over 700 health-conscious Adelaidians at the Adelaide Convention Centre to hear Tyler’s energetic talk filled with eye-opening information about the correlation between emotion and disease, and fasting and healing.
If you’re new to The Anicca Way, you’ll learn here that I am a domestic violence survivor. Whilst having always been an active, sporty and adventurous girl and woman with a fairly rounded awareness of health and nutrition, I have over a decade of stored emotional trauma from domestic violence that I have been working tirelessly to ‘heal’ over the past two years. My initial period of ‘freedom’ included a solid year of partying, triggering a roller coaster of emotions from complete sadness to ecstatic joy to boiling anger. Realizing I was pushing myself further into a vortex of toxicity, whilst simultaneously noticing some severe symptoms of candida overgrowth (ceaseless cough, restless legs, nightmares, red and white skin spots, constant bloating, and, the elephant-in-the-room…thrush), I finally declared enough of the bullshit and vowed to turn my life around. Daniel, being a vegan athlete who had given up alcohol some time before, was, and still is, a major rock supporting my transformation.
So this day we walked into Tyler Tolman’s seminar, I was celebrating six-months in since turning vegan, and almost a year without alcohol consumption. My ears, and stomach, were finally ready to listen seriously about fasting for healing.
My first 24-hour fast went off without a hitch, finishing my last meal at 3pm, flushing my system with water only, and breaking the fast with a green smoothie the following afternoon before a clean, wholesome meal. My second fasting experience went for 48-hours, and proved to be nothing like the first, and I’ll share what happened with you here.
Again, I finished my last meal at 3pm after a solid two days of ‘vegan gains’ at the Adelaide Vegan Festival. Daniel and I committed to this extended fast together, and his job was to prepare multiple litres of boiled rain water for us to consume throughout the fast. The first 24 hours went off without a hitch, and similar to my first fast I went this entire period frequently urinating, failing to pooh, and experiencing no hunger pains even when cooking the kids’ dinner on both evenings. On the second evening, so around 27 hours into the fast, my calm state was challenged with some unpleasant emails from my ex-husband, triggering defensive, angry emotions from deep within my belly – what happened next fascinated me.
By 9pm I was in tears in my mother’s arms, opening up to her with untold tales of the violence I endured in my previous marriage, weeping like a baby in between angry rants. In bed by 10pm, I couldn’t sleep, feeling restless and passing the time aimlessly on my phone flicking through social media. Just past 1am, a surge of nausea swept through me, and I woke Daniel complaining of intense stomach pains and restless legs, and explaining how I felt it would be safest if I broke the fast first thing the next morning. Daniel, ever the optimist, reminded me of the body’s sensitivity during extended fasting, particularly with releasing stored emotions that have perhaps been evolving into physical disease, and opened a Tyler Tolman article on fasting and emotions (https://www.tylertolman.com/health-articles/dealing-with-emotions/), quoting:
“When you do a fast, you can’t stop dealing with your emotions, you can't suppress your emotions through food anymore. As the detox process takes place and fat is broken down and used for fuel, these old emotions are gonna come up and come out. Many people during a fast find themselves breaking down and crying…It’s a very humbling experience, and a beautiful time of release.
The important thing here is to be CONSCIOUS that the fast is going to bring emotions up and that’s a good thing. A lot of times people are unaware of this. If you don’t know that emotions might come up you might start thinking, "Whoa! This fasting isn’t good for me! I need to eat! I can’t do this. I need to break this fast”. And the reality is when you push through these emotions you will get the real rewards. It’s like layers of the onion opening up, and you are truly digging deeper to the essence of who you are.”
These were exactly the words I needed to hear. I began to focus my attention to the physical sensations sweeping my body. Warm, tingly energetic vibrations covered every inch of my skin, and were exceptionally active around my fingertips. I visualized my emotions leaving my body through my fingertips, awed at what was happening as a result of my fast and the timing my ex-husband’s emails had come into my life, feeling joy (despite immense stomach pain) to be releasing emotionally-fueled toxins from my body. The stomach pains turned into a pooh alert and I made it to the toilet just in time to excrete, three visits in a half hour, but with little relief. Another half hour later, I felt the rising sensation of vomit creeping up into my throat, and again I made it to the toilet with little time to spare, this time spewing up liters and liters of yellow-ish, acidic bile, a fluid produced in the liver and passed to the small intestine to help us absorb fats from food. Returning to bed, my throat was burning from the violent vomiting, yet I felt elated. This feeling lasted barely moments, however, and next thing Daniel recalls is me curling up into a little ball, sobbing like a five-year-old girl: “You were crying in a voice I have not heard before, high pitched as if a child.”
I finally fell asleep around 4am, exhausted. The next morning I felt physically weak, but emotionally cleansed; a sense of calm hovered like a ray of sunshine projecting down to Earth through scattered rain clouds. Around 10am we switched from water to a liter each of coconut water, and by noon I was breaking the fast with a smoothie followed by a plate of vegan rice noodles and veggies at the Adelaide Central Markets. In hindsight I should’ve avoided an oily noodle dish, but I could only stomach a third of my plate and took the leftovers home for dinner. It took around 24 hours to build my appetite back up to normal, energy levels following suit, but the mental clarity and motivation that proceeded this extended fast astounded me.
There is no doubt in my mind that during this fast I expelled built-up toxins fuelled by deeply stored emotional trauma. I feel incredibly grateful for this experience, and look forward to regular fasting and its incredible health benefits. In fact, we are launching into a 3-day water fast, followed immediately by a 7-day juice fast, out here in La Mesa de Los Santos in Colombia, where we have just recently relocated, on this upcoming New Moon on November 28th. We'll be documenting the fast and look forward to sharing our experience with you soon.
Disclaimer – fasting can be dangerous if you are ill informed and unprepared. Be sure to consult a professional like Tyler Tolman, or start with light fasting programs such as intermittent fasting. For more information on Tyler’s fasting a d health programs, visit: https://www.tylertolman.com