Well, I have silenced the screech of the coffee banshee; it is locked so deeply that I can no longer hear its wailing, or it has left the building entirely. Just like Elvis.
My tastes have changed remarkably during this last 8.5-day fast. Over the course of the last three days of my fast, coffee intake kept decreasing naturally. First, I started by gradually replacing HWC with ghee. By Day 7, I only wanted 2 cups instead of 3. Day 8 I drank 1 cup that was kind of meh, even after adding in more HWC. The morning of Day 9 (8.5), I tasted it and poured it out. There was no fixing it to make it better: regardless of HWC, or 1/2 & 1/2, or ghee, all I could taste was bitter coffee.
That was yesterday. I’m back to tea. Prior to fasting, I enjoyed a Chai or Earl Grey with a bit of soy milk. I thought a cup of creamy Chai would be tasty. I had planned the night before to remember to use ghee instead of 1/2 & 1/2. Well, I forgot. Visualizing the taste of plain black tea made my stomach roil, so I used 1/2 &1/2. That didn’t taste very good, and I wasn’t enjoying it. Aside: one thing I’ve learned during the past two months of IF is to eat ONLY foods I am truly enjoy, especially after a long fast! I tried again with ghee; once again, my stomach roiled. I fixed a third damn cup of tea (I had already awakened really, really, really late after not sleeping well, and so was an hour behind on some duties for which I am responsible in the morning). It was passable. I really enjoy (or used to!!!), my morning tea as a vital component in my morning writing/reading ritual. It’s like brushing my teeth — can’t do without it! I suppose I just need to give my digestive system time to start again. It is interesting that this change—which seems sudden, but probably is not-- in taste buds occurred around day 6 or 7 and extends beyond the period of fasting. More accurately, I noticed these changes earlier in the fast; specifically, my Electro-mix electrolyte powder, and my growing dislike for salt. I guess I will drink less tea for now and drink hot lemon water until my stomach can handle other tastes. I want a bit of caffeine though! As soon as I can find good Chinese green tea, I’ll buy that and I can drink that all day long! Another odd observation: though my tummy dislikes the creamy coffee and tea, when I ate for the first few times yesterday, I had no problem with the broth or creamy veggie soup. I added some Cheddar cheese to the soup, but the consistency turned me off. Later I tried some cream cheese, and that was fine.
Yesterday, upon breaking the fast, I was not taking in more than 1 measuring cup of food (in liquid form) at a time, so I was feeling hungry more frequently. I gave myself permission to eat when I was hungry, regardless of time, on Day 1. I still experienced a bit of resistance to eating such a paltry amount of food. After the last 7-day fast, it was Kindergarten portions. This time I am eating like a toddler! But the resistance felt more physical than emotional, because I was actually physically hungry! I ate slowly, but I noticed my eating time was about 5 minutes! I mean, even savouring and sipping slowly, one cup of soup will not last long! I persevered, and kept my portions toddler-size, as I am determined not to overeat and feel uncomfortable like I did after my last fast. I kept reminding myself that I could eat again when I was hungry and eat enjoyable food. That helped. I waited a while after each baby-feeding, and within 20 or so minutes, felt immensely full, but not overfull—which was key!
I am trying to get in the habit of asking myself two things prior to each meal:
1. Is my body hungry?
2. Is my heart hungry?
I want to offer myself more awareness and kindness. If the answer to #1 is “No”, and the answer to #2 is ‘Yes”, then I will pause and try to figure out what my heart needs instead of food.
This is monumental work!
I am so grateful to be in a place physically, mentally, and emotionally, to do this work. I have the time and space to heal and I am so grateful at this moment; writing these words of recognition is bringing tears. (A special thank you to my friend, T., for giving me this healing space and time, and supporting me! I love you and appreciate you! I will pay it forward 200%, this is my promise to you!)
I am also reminding myself before I eat and as I eat:
* I can always eat again later, when I am hungry.
* I can have more food later, when I am hungry again.
* I can eat foods I like and enjoy.
* I want to feel good and I want to honor my body.
* Food is for nourishment, not to harm my body or to cope with feelings.
* What am I feeling right now? Sit with it, allow it to pass; practice awareness and acceptance.
As I mentioned previously, feel a physical desire to forgo the black tea until my tummy has recuperated and my digestive juices are flowing at full force. I did not give my body time to reintegrate after the last 7-day fast and my tummy felt really awful the first week, and slightly awful week 2. I will be gentler with my body this time. I want something nourishing in the morning while I write or read. Nettle tea comes to mind, and perhaps I’ll experiment with a few Yupan leaves for caffeine (First Nation People’s herbal leaf which has caffeine and is indigenous to N. America). The deonjang* broth I have been drinking has felt phenomenally nourishing to both body and soul, so that’s another option. In fact, it’s time to end this post and drink some of my lovely Korean fermented soybean paste broth*!
Cheers to Day 2 of my Rebuilding Phase! I will continue to be kind to myself, listen to that part of myself which is my lovely body, and exist in ease.