I just completed a 10-day water fast at the True North Health Center. It is a medically supervised way to perform a health reset. The requirement is that for whatever length one spends fasting, half that is added to the end for carefully re-feeding.
Nancy has done this 3 times before. This was my first time and I made it for the planned 10 days. A doctor supervises your visit and you are visited twice per day by med techs to take your vitals and twice per day by doctors making the rounds. Blood and urine samples are collected every 5 days or so. They have a complete set of requirements and protocols. It’s not a luxury spa as it’s just a converted apartment complex, but they do have a variety of services like massage, chiropractic, coaching, etc.
The True North Health Center is known as a major advocate for a Whole Plant Food Vegan Diet without SOS (Sugar, Oil, Salt). I have teased Nancy that it’s vegan cult. When she first went 4 years ago I agreed to convert to vegan. We were really good until the tail-end of COVID. So going back for a refresher and reset worked out well.
The key book that describes their philosophy is called The Pleasure Trap. A fundamental premise to the book is that people have been optimized to seek out the maximum calories as fast as possible. Today’s industrial agriculture makes that too easy, hence the obesity epidemic that is so pervasive today. The book talks about many strategies to overcome this. I’d say one of the most critical they discuss at the TNHC is the concept of calorie density. They, of course, suggest not eating meat, fish, fowl, eggs, etc. But they also recommend filling up on low density foods first and then add the higher density foods. This way one fills up without taking a big calorie load. Eat until full, but it’s still healthy. In order to do this, one needs to understand the calorie density rankings of critical foods. Click into this slide show for some examples:
The True North Health Center Fasting Program is sometimes called an adult prison camp. I told my work colleagues that I am spending my time at a prison camp. Several offered to break me out. During this time I changed my zoom background so it looks like this:
They had lectures and presentations on fasting (science, psychology, etc.) and on cooking and many such videos stored on their TV network. I really thought the cooking demos were cruel and inhumane punishments while we were fasting. I am sure there has to be something in the Geneva Convention against it. Nonetheless, many of us starting dreaming about new vegan recipes. I can hardly wait to try some out.
I’ve lost a lot of weight this year, so this added on to that total. I lost 15lbs during the fast, but most likely will gain 5 lbs or so back as I get food into my system. My main goal was a health reset. Cell autophagy begins after day 5, which helps to clean out old and bad cells. New cells will be grown and this should be helpful. Also, fasting helps to break food addictions and to reset the taste buds.
It was a bit uncomfortable, but not bad. It’s tough to take so much downtime, but so far it seems to be worth it. Some key health objectives (e.g., blood pressure) seems to have been helped. I am actually so satisfied that I have already signed up for a year from now for a three week session and I will try to go for 14 days of water fasting this time.