7 Day Fast In Hopes Of Resolving Autoimmune Symptoms

After the last 4-day Bone Broth Fast (23rd – 26th Dec), I broke the fast at my extended family’s Christmas gathering where I ate mostly AIP-friendly food. That night however I was still hungry and stuffed myself with 4 slices of a freshly baked gluten-free Coconut Flour Banana Bread with kaya and grass-fed butter. It was a new recipe I found thus I was eager to try it. Actually the bread wasn’t AIP friendly as there were walnuts and eggs in them, the butter and kaya too.

That very same night, I could not sleep well at all. I started aching all over, especially in my joints and previous sights of injury. I felt feverish as the inflammation flooded my system again. Getting out of bed took me literally minutes and my feet hurt terribly from walking to the toilet.

How did the symptoms return so fast?? In a matter of hours!

I began to suspect it was because I did a bone broth fast instead of the traditional water-only fast. I later found out that Bone Broth has high amounts of the amino acid Glutamine which can be easily converted to glucose. Any ingested glucose (carbohydrates) or protein will cause an insulin response and put me out of ketosis or the fasting state. Also, that one big starchy meal could have been the stick that broke that donkey’s back. I resolved to start a water fast the very next day.

Summary of my 7-Day Fast

Initially I had intended for this fast to be a strict water-fast. I did this for Day 1 . However I made some errors and gave in to temptation on days 2 and 3. I drank 3 bowls of bone broth in total for those 2 days and found that that made me even hungrier. (I had not found out about the Glutamine in bone broth then.) Besides the broth, I also consumed many cups of green tea over the first 3 days.

I then resolved to be very strict on the water-fasting and from Day 4 to Day 7 (3pm), I only consumed water. After 1 day off from the broth, the hunger pangs disappeared!

Energy

Starting from Day 3, I was feeling very low on energy and much more zombie than human. My body kept reminding me of this as it deliberately slowed my movements down. I would take long naps in the middle of the day just to feel a little better and productivity went down the drain.

On Day 5, I decided to try a remedy I had heard from Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof Radio Podcast. It involved drinking a cup of water with some sea salt (quarter teaspoon) first thing in the morning. This did the trick and I no longer felt zombiefied for the rest of the day! I continue to do this every morning since. I think its related to blood pressure which happens to be low for everyone every morning.

Hunger

Besides the hunger from the broths mentioned earlier, I did not feel any more hunger from Day 4 to the night of Day 6 (10pm). For some apparent reason, that night my stomach started rumbling incessantly. I tried to brush it off and went to bed with another cup of water.

However the next day I was still feeling hungry. It was okay as long as I kept my mind busy with other work but by noon I was feeling very low on energy and starting to wonder if I should listen to my body and consume something. Maybe I had reached my body’s limits for now and any more might induce some undesirable damage.

Fortunately, for the past few days I had been doing a lot of research on fasting and had found something called a Fasting Mimicking Diet. Developed by Dr. Valter Longo of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, it is a diet that tricks the body into thinking it is fasting while allowing the person to eat. Certain foods are allowed such as those with a high fat content but low in carbohydrate and protein. After much more research on what foods these might be, I decided to eat a bowl of 1 avocado and 150ml of coconut milk with a dash of cinnamon.

That meal wasn’t particularly savoury but was rather filling and I did not have anymore hunger pangs or suffer from low energy related light headedness for the rest of the day. In fact, this morning on Day 8, I still fill rather full!

meal-on-day-7
The Fasting Mimicking Diet Meal of 1 Avocado, 150 ml of coconut milk and a dash of cinnamon!

Physical Changes

Starting weight: 54 kg

Ending weight: 50 kg

Blood Pressure: averaging 103/62

I’ve definitely lost a lot of mass and experienced significant muscular atrophy. This is a loss I’m willing to accept since the more important issue is to resolve the autoimmune flare up and heal my injuries. Muscles can always be gained back.

I’ve also noticed quite a number of pimples have popped up on my face due to the fasting. This was unexpected since I’ve been sleeping at least 9 hours every night and my pimple problems have resolved since I’ve tweaked my diet and lifestyle 2 years ago. I guess its a stress that the body feels from not getting any nutrients in. I’ve read of similar side effects in other people such as rashes all over the back but those usually go away in a matter of days once starting to re-feed. I hope these go away too.

Injury Healing

Injuries wise, I’m glad to say 80% of my injuries have resolved or have recovered significantly. The only ones left bothering me are the left hip strain and my right ankle.

The left hip strain was a very serious one and I accidentally strained it again (rolling over in my sleep…) 2 weeks later just when it was recovering smoothly. Thus I’ll have to be patient and continue my go-to contrast therapy which has been accelerating my recovery significantly. The right ankle pain is just a consequence of the left hip strain where I have been constantly leaning on my right leg thus the added weight has put considerable strain on the weakest joint in the leg (I presume). To treat these, I have been doing consecutive contrast therapy, switching between the hip and ankle every 5 minutes.

Conclusion & Points of Improvement

All in all, I believe this 7-Day Fast has achieved its objective of reducing inflammation in my system from the autoimmune disease flare up and aiding in recovery of preexisting injuries.

However next time if I were to do a water-fast again, at least now I know that I cannot drink any bone broth during the fast. I shall have to be very strict with the water fast.

Also in the future I might try the Fasting Mimicking Diet which allows consumption of up to 2 avocados a day and 4 tablespoons of greens powder. Or only use the recipes when my body really needs it like on Day 7 of this fast.

If I had the financial means in the future, I would also do blood work to track my immune markers like IGF-1, White Blood Cell and Lymphocyte counts, buy a blood ketone and glucose monitor to monitor ketone levels and fasting blood glucose and do a DEXA scan for changes in body composition (muscle and fat percentages).

1st-meal-after-fasting
My First Meal after breaking fast on Day 8! Bone Broth with assorted veggies, 2 cubes of grass-fed Beef, Turmeric, Pink Salt and 2 tsp of grass-fed Argentine Desiccated Liver!

Journal Entries / Data Tracking

Day 1

Journal: 28th Dec 2016, 0955

Injuries: 

  1. L.ITB – 8/10 *
  2. R.Plantar – 7/10
  3. R.Ankle – 6/10
  4. Upper Back Muscles – 7/10

Pain (19:45) – After one day of water fasting, the ITB pain has subsided significantly! I’m also feeling much better in terms of less aches and no feverish feelings whatsoever. Did not accomplish much of anything today. Was feeling very depressed and moody again.

I sincerely hope these 7 days will be enough to put my Ankylosing Spondylitis back into remission for good.

Day 2

Journal: 28th Dec 2016, 0955

Injuries: 

  1. R.Ankle – 7/10*
  2. L. Hip – 5/10
  3. L. Ankle – 6/10*
  4. Upper Back – 4/10
  5. R.Plantar – GONE!
  6. L.ITB – GONE!

Pain – Miraculously, I did not experience any aches or pains last night! Today the only real pains bothering me are in my ankles.

Movement – Feel more alive and mobile today. But still limping pretty badly because of the ankle pain and left hip. Able to lift left leg up a little higher than yesterday – good sign of a steady recovery.

Energy – Pretty stable throughout the day but can slowly feel weaker and weaker as the fast progresses.

Hunger – Didn’t feel hungry whatsoever but was tempted to drink Bone Broth for lunch and dinner thanks to my mum.

Consumption 

  1. Bone Broth (strictly liquid) – 1 bowl for lunch and dinner
  2. Green Tea throughout the day
  3. Fish oil – 1 capsule
  4. Probiotics – 1 capsule

Day 3

Journal: 29th Dec 2016, 0900 

Injuries: 

  1. R.Ankle – 7/10*
  2. L. Hip – 4/10
  3. L. Ankle – 4/10
  4. Upper Back – 3/10

Pain – R.Ankle was very red, swollen and painful last night before sleeping. Thankfully this morning it went down so I guess the Bone Broths I drank didn’t affect the fast much.

Energy –  Very very very loooowww on energy today. Worst I’ve felt throughout all the fasts. Could it be the Bone Broths I’ve been drinking causing this? Previously when it was a strict water fast I didn’t feel so low on energy. In fact it was pretty stable throughout.

Hunger –  Hungriest I’ve been since starting any fast! Previously when I was on the Bone Broth Fast, I was consistently consuming Bone Broths so maybe that helped mask the hunger I would have felt. This time I’m only drinking the broths when I can’t tolerate the hunger anymore. Maybe I should not have consumed those 2 broths yesterday!

Consumption

  1. 1 bowl of Bone Broth for Dinner (strictly liquid)
  2. Green Tea throughout the day
  3. Fish oil – 1 capsule
  4. Evening Primrose oil – 1 capsule
  5. Probiotics – 1 capsule

Day 4

Journal: 30th Dec 2016, 0900

Injuries:

  1. L.Hip – 3/10
  2. L. Ankle – 1/10
  3. R.Ankle – 4/10
  4. Upper Back Soreness – 6/10 *

Pain – Day after day I’m feeling slightly better. However this morning I woke up with more ache and stiffness in my upper back and neck muscles. I suspect its the few table rows I was doing yesterday. Will rest today.

19:35 – after today, I’m starting to feel pain in my plantar fascia again. I wonder if I’ve been walking too much? It only hurts when barefoot which isn’t bothering me since I’ve been wearing shoes with orthortics all the time now.

Movement – Walking much more normally now; limping much less. Hope to return to normal soon.

Energy – After yesterday’s record low, this morning I feel a little low on energy but definitely better than yesterday. Hopefully it gets better from now on.

Hunger – No signs of hunger whatsoever. Will stick to just plain water from now on. Am thinking the green tea and bone broth may have contributed somewhat to the low energy and hunger I felt over the past 2 days. I did not feel this when I was on the strict 3-Day Water Fast.

Consumption

  1. Plain water all day

Day 5

Journal: 31st Dec 2016, 0705

Blood Pressure: 103 / 64

Injuries:

  1. L.Hip – 8/10*
  2. R.Plantar – 6/10*
  3. R.Ankle – 4/10
  4. Upper Back Soreness – 4/10

Pain – Last night while turning around in bed, I experienced an “Oh Shit!” moment. I definitely pulled my hip again……. This was evident in the extra pain I felt this morning with every step. My right heel also started hurting yesterday afternoon and still hurts now whenever I go barefooted. Luckily it doesn’t when I wear my orthortics.

Movement – Naturally worse than yesterday due to the hip. Can hardly lift my leg up to climb a stair.

Energy – Still low. Could I have been fasting too many days this month? Today is the 15th day I’ve fasted albeit not all consecutively. Its the 9th day since starting the 4-Day Bone Broth Fast after which I only ate one meal before starting this 7 Day fast. This morning I’m going to try a glass of water with some sea salt to see if it helps with the low energy. Maybe I’m just low on minerals / electrolytes.

*Update (10:00) – That old remedy of a cup of water with some sea salt in the morning really worked! I didn’t feel like a zombie for the rest of the day! I have Dave Asprey of the Bulletproof Radio Podcast to thank for the tip!

Hunger – Nil. Seems like avoiding the bone broth and strictly consuming water only yesterday kept my hunger at bay.

Consumption: 

  1. Glass of water with a quater teaspoon of sea salt
  2. Water all day

Day 6

Journal: 1st Jan 2017, 0930

Injuries:

  1. L.Hip – 7/10*
  2. R.Ankle – 5/10
  3. R.Plantar – 4/10
  4. Upper Back Soreness – GONE!

Pain – last night my hip pain went up by several degrees. It was truly exasperating.. Thankfully it was much better this morning. I have a feeling its my autoimmune disease still acting up as this normally happens for sights of injuries. It always gets worse towards the night and better in the day. Hopefully the last 2 days of fasting is enough to put it in remission..

Movement –  Because of the increased pain in my hips, I’m back to using the crutches again..

Energy –  Much better and stable throughout the day since implementing the cup of water with sea salt remedy every morning!

Hunger – None! As long as I really stick to strictly water fasting and nothing else.
*Update (22:00) – Was feeling very hungry late at night!! Stomach was rumbling too. Could this mean that my body is at its limits?

Consumption: 

  1. Glass of water with a quater teaspoon of sea salt
  2. Water all day
  3. 2 Activated Charcoal Pills before bed for gut detox

Day 7

Journal: 2nd Jan 2017, 0911

Current Weight: 50 kg *

Blood Pressure: 104 / 61

Injuries:

  1. L.Hip – 6/10*
  2. R.Ankle – 4/10
  3. R.Plantar – 3/10

Pain – Generally feeling better as the days progress. Last night I did not feel as feverish as the night before (Day 5). That night I was feeling cold and so slept without the fan on. Last night I felt more normal and went back to sleeping with the fan on. Could this be a sign that my autoimmune disease is receding? 🙂

Have been consistently applying my Contrast Therapy method to my hips at least 5 times a day for the past few days. This seems to be working well enough to reduce pain and increase mobility with each passing day. Have been using crutches for the past 2 days since straining my hips again. Although I feel I don’t really need it today, I’m playing safe and continuing its usage. These old worn out crutches have really been a pillar of support (literally!) these past few years whenever I had a lower limb problem.

Energy – Still rather stable but I’m starting to feel a little less energetic. Naturally starting to move slower. Think my body is doing this on its own. To try to conserve energy.

Hunger – Like I mentioned above, I started to feel hunger pangs since yesterday night (Day 6). Today, it doesn’t bother me much as long as I don’t focus my mind on how hungry I am. I’m seriously contemplating drinking a bowl of bone broth or two and maybe eating an avocado? Yesterday I found out about the Fasting Mimicking Diet where one can eat certain foods and still trick the body into thinking its in a fasting state. The foods include avocados and green powders, water with salt and black coffee.
*Update (15:00) – I was feeling very low by now and decided to take an avocado with some coconut milk. Been doing a lot of research and felt that this would not affect my fasting state!

Consumption:

  1. Glass of water with a quater teaspoon of sea salt
  2. Water all day
  3. 15:00 – bowl of Avocado and 150 ml of coconut milk with some Cinnamon

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4 thoughts on “7 Day Fast In Hopes Of Resolving Autoimmune Symptoms

  1. Thanks for sharing your story and experience with fasting. Did you know that oxalates in foods can trash your gut health, trigger auto-immune issues, and mess with your brain function and joints? I learned this the hard way myself. I just gave a talk about this at http://ahs17.sched.com/. A video will be posted by the Ancestral Health Society within a week. All the best. -Sally

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