Chapter 5 — My Six Week Fast
Once inside this three-storied mansion, I observed people who were in varying lengths of a fast and people who had already broken their fasts and had been eating. It seems they were all discussing one subject-food. (Later on, I too would succumb to this pastime.) I noticed the furnishings were modest and there was a cleanliness that shone throughout. There was a characteristic aroma which permeated the air. It was from a marvelous vegetable soup brewing in the kitchen.
I asked to see Dr. Gross. In a few minutes, I was warmly greeted by a beautiful young woman who introduced herself as Mrs. Joy Gross, Dr. Gross' wife. Since I didn't have the strength to carry my luggage, Joy went outside and brought the suitcases in. Then she grabbed the suitcases under one arm and me with the other arm, because I was so weak, and took us all upstairs to a room on the second floor. This was to be my home for a while.
It was a bright, cheery room with two beds. (For the first few weeks I occupied this room, I had it all to myself.) At the time, I really wasn't interested in the physical layout. I was too sick, too weak and had a widespread infection in the bowel, accompanied by a fever. My only desire at the moment was to just drop into bed and stay there, which I did after quickly unpacking.
Perhaps I should explain here that hygienic institutions are not fancy, plush spas with matching fancy prices. They are clean, pleasant, and are within reach of the average person's finances. The costs could probably be compared to a stay at an average motel-but in addition you get the doctor's care and attention several times a day, plus his being available 24 hours a day. The food is included when you are eating and you also benefit from the doctor's advice and educational programs concerning your new way of life.
If you compare the cost of a stay at a hygienic institution and the cost of a stay at a general hospital, you will find the cost of one week at the hygienic institution will equal about one day in the general hospital. You will learn and build good health in the hygienic institution, but I doubt if you will in the general hospital (barring emergency care, certain "necessary" surgeries, etc.).
I fell asleep almost immediately, but was awakened soon after by a knock at the door. It was Dr. Gross. He sat on the edge of my bed and we talked for a half-hour or so and he told me that I would be fasting-no food, just water. I was mentally prepared for that, but I didn't know for how long, so I asked him, but he wouldn't commit himself because he really did not know. He told me that each individual is different and each problem is different, so we would take each day as it came. Dr. Gross had an idea of approximately how long he would like me to fast, but, of course, he wouldn't tell me. In our previous little interview he sized me up quite well and knew not to give me a projection too far in advance
Dr. Gross saw how tired I was and told me to try and get some sleep, after which I was to weigh myself and keep a daily record of my weight changes. When I awoke, I put myself on the scale and recorded 140 pounds in the first page of my diary. I was starting this fast on Thursday, September 3, 1964, at 140 pounds, a 30-pound deficit from my so-called normal weight of 170 pounds (too heavy). I spent a good part of this day sitting outside and getting a little sun. ( The first week was spent almost entirely in bed, except for the frequent bowel activity which necessitated me ambulating to the lavatory. Even though I was to abstain from food, except water, for the next six weeks, there was bowel activity every day except for the last few days of the fast. It took about nine or ten days for my body to eliminate the infection and bring down the fever. At no time were any drugs, vitamins, or supplements administered. Everything accomplished was by the body's own ability when left unmolested.) This first fasting day was rather uneventful. No unusual thirst or hunger. Malaise and weakness present. About a dozen B.M.s (diarrhea) with no blood. Slept fair. Short periods of insomnia and restlessness; but not as intense as before coming here. Up twice during the night for B.M.s.
Here follow selections from my diary for the period of my fast and recovery:
Friday, September 4, 1964-Fast, 2nd day: My weight this morning is 139 pounds; a loss of one pound. Sensations of hunger at scattered intervals. Very weak and tired. Some light-headedness on getting up, due to decrease in blood pressure. No headache. No unusual thirst. Six watery B.M.s. today and no blood. Feet, legs, and thighs have dull ache. This, coupled with insomnia and restlessness, makes it difficult to fall asleep. Very poor night due to uneasiness plus four or five trips to the lavatory.
Saturday, September 5, 1964-Fast, 3rd day: Weight this morning is 137½ pounds a loss of 1½ pounds from yesterday and a total loss of 2½ pounds in two days of fasting. Coating on tongue, foul breath and taste beginning, as is the thickening of saliva. (This is normal on a fast and occurs in varying degrees, as the body eliminates its wastes or toxic load, which has been accumulating for years. There were many mornings I'd have to take a knife blade and scrape the coating off. I could taste salt, plus many of the drugs coming through the mucous membranes of my mouth. There is nothing known to man that equals the fast as a means of increasing elimination of waste from the blood and tissues.) No hunger or desire for food, although I can taste certain foods in my mind as I think about them. Very comfortable day. Weakness and tiredness has decreased since yesterday and I feel more alert. Very little thirst. Five B.M.s. today (diarrhea with some blood). Low back (sacral) pain makes it difficult to get from lying to sitting or sitting to standing position, supposedly due to breaking up of calcium deposits in that area, which most people accumulate as age increases. This is quite common and lasts only three or four days, followed by comfort and increased suppleness in the area. Much insomnia and restlessness-very annoying. Blood pressure a little low, but good quality pulses. Must be careful on standing up. If too rapid, lightheaded to almost blackout. Difficult to sleep-restless. Up twice during night for trips to lavatory. Could feel spasms in the large intestine. Blood pressure 118/75.
Sunday, September 6, 1964-Fast, 4th day: Weight this morning 136½ pounds; a loss of one pound from yesterday and a total loss of 3½ pounds after three days of fasting. Walking labored. Sense of well-being all day. Light-headed in upright position. Occasional but negligible nausea. No natural hunger or true desire for food. (Usually, sick people like myself have no desire to eat anyway, even though we are forced to as part of medical treatment. The sick body does not have the capacity to properly digest and assimilate or absorb food and this weakens the body further. The fast provides the needed rest for the digestive organs. Now, the average person will experience hunger for about the first three days, after which it subsides and the faster becomes comfortable. I've heard many people state that they tried fasting, couldn't tolerate the hunger, and swore not to fast again. The problem was that they didn't fast beyond three days -they never experienced the most comfortable phase of the fast.) Low back-sacral-vain quite intense when maneuvering into different positions, but most intense when in a bent-over position and trying to straighten up. (Much gas is present most of the time throughout my fast.) Five diarrheal episodes with clot-like material present. Very bad night. Terrible insomnia and restlessness. Not much sleep. Awakened during night for three bouts of diarrhea. (The average person, by this stage of the fast, has ceased to have B.M.s-not true of those with severe, chronic, ulcerative colitis.) Blood pressure 118/78.
Monday, September 7, 1964-Fast, 5th day: Weight 134 pounds; a loss of 2½ pounds from yesterday and a total loss of six pounds after four days of fasting. Low back pain much eased. Tired„weak, and sluggish, but feel fine mentally and in good spirits. Blood pressure 115/72. Tongue quite coated. Breath and taste very foul. True desire for food absent, but talked much about it and could taste, in my mind, whatever I imagined. Slight increase in thirst, although water is beside me and I drink only when thirsty-never forced. (There is some dehydration when fasting, but depending on the productivity of the fast, our own senses determine how much water is needed. There were some days when a total of two glasses satisfied me and there were other days I used a total of two quarts.) About four poor B.M.s. with much gas. Not much sleep-bad insomnia and restlessness. Two trips to lavatory during night.
Friday, September 11, 1964-Fast, 9th day: Weight this morning 128½ pounds; a loss of ½ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 11½ pounds after eight days of fasting. Blood pressure 110/68. No headache. (I had no headache the entire length of the fast; however, many people may develop one, especially if they had been drinkers of coffee, tea, alcohol, cola drinks or users of tobacco, condiments, and _other indications of "gracious living." There am an crises that may develop during various phases of 1hz_fast; headache is just one. Some others are nausea, vomiting, aches, and pains, just to mention a few. Usually the deeper one goes into a fast and the more toxic wastes he eliminates, the more tendency toward various crises, which all come to pass.) Fair day. Insomnia and much intestinal gas during the night.
Sunday, September 13, 1964-Fast, 11th day: Weight 126½ pounds; a loss of ½ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 13½ pounds after ten days of fasting. The bowel infection I brought with me has gradually succumbed to the body's defense mechanism-feel better generally and fever is gone. Similar day as yesterday, except my nose and, mainly, my feet have become cold. It is quite annoying and I ask for a hot water bottle. (Cold feet are not uncommon during a fast. Many people experience this phenomenon in one degree or another. My feet remained cold for the remainder of the fast, but the hot water bottle helped a great deal.) Occasional hiccoughs all day.
Monday, September 14, 1964-Fast, 12th day: Weight 126 pounds; a loss of ½ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 14 pounds after 11 days of fasting. Blood pressure 90/64. Not quite as tired, weak, or lethargic. Slight increase in energy. Morale fine, especially when I receive letters from home. Bowel activity all day. Restlessness and insomnia gone, but I sleep only at intervals of several hours or less. (Sleeping became a frustrating problem during the fast, since most of the time is spent resting in bed and napping at intervals all through the day. This made it quite difficult to fall asleep-I was all "slept" out.) I try not to nap during the day and go to sleep as late as possible. I think a lot about my family and how they're getting along. I have their picture on my bedside table.
Tuesday, September 15, 1964-Fast, 13th day: Weight 125½ pounds; a loss of ½ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 14½ pounds after 12 days of fasting. Continued bowel activity with much gas formation throughout intestinal tract. Some weakness, but I feel more alert and in good spirits. (I feel much better at this point than when hospitalized 1½ years ago and forced to eat a high-protein diet three times a day plus a nighttime snack. This was too much food, improperly combined and too difficult for a weakened digestive system to handle. It continued to overwork the colon, which needed the physiologic rest now being given.) No insomnia, but sleep sporadic.
Wednesday, September 16, 1964-Fast, 14th day (2 weeks): Weight 125¼ pounds; a loss of ¼ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 14¾ pounds after 13 days of fasting. Several B.M.s. with mucus, pus-like material containing some blood. Average day, except blood pressure is 84/60. Dr. Gross enters my room and asks me if I am going to fast all day. I stare at him rather surprised, until he laughingly tells me that today is Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement. Being Jewish, I have fasted every year on this holiest of days. I have lost track of time here and forgotten about this day, the ironic thing being that I have already been fasting for two weeks. I tell Dr. Gross I am accumulating a 14-year advance reserve for future Yom Kippurs. (As of this writing, at 46 years old, 12 years and many long fasts later, my one-day Yom Kippur fasts are "snaps" because the cleaner the internal environment of the body, the easier the fast. This is why I find it so fascinating and even humorous-my friends and relatives should forgive me-when I observe Jewish people at the end of Yom Kippur day in various throes of agony such as headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, and even helplessness. A truly healthy individual finds a one-day fast very comfortable and the rest it affords the body very beneficial.)
Thursday, September 17, 1964-Fast, 15th day: Weight 124-¾ pounds; a loss of ½ of a pound from yesterday and a total loss of 15¼ pounds after two weeks of fasting. Blood pressure 90/60. Basically same day as yesterday. The days have been sunny and mild, so I've been sitting outside when I'm up to it, occasionally ambling over to the solarium for short periods of sun "au naturel." I'm quite bony now-somewhat resembling a concentration camp inmate, but not quite that bad. It is a rather strange feeling to see myself in the mirror, but as time progresses I shall look worse before I look better. I remind myself of a science fiction movie I once saw entitled "The Incredible Shrinking Man." The subject of food preoccupies our thoughts and conversations, but no true hunger or desire to eat.
Sunday, September 20, 1964-Fast, 18th day: Weight 124 pounds; no loss from yesterday. Blood pressure 90/66. More mentally alert today. Not as tired or weak. Tongue very coated-have been scraping it each morning. Breath and taste are quite foul with much salt coming through tongue and mucous membranes of the mouth. Can't seem to quench thirst. Occasional B.M.s, very foul and consisting of pus-like material. Sporadic sleep.
We are able to fast for long periods of time, particularly while resting, because our bodies live off our stored reserves which we all have in varying degrees. The body has its own wisdom and takes only what it needs from these reserves, no more and no less. Weight loss is also controlled and rationed by this wisdom. Contrary to "popular" belief, the body doesn't go into ketosis or acidosis (a low alkalinity of the blood) from the breakdown of fat, thereby causing death. True, there is some ketosis, but again the body's own innate wisdom keeps this under control. None of these things I've just touched upon happen by chance. None of these things occur haphazardly. There is an order based on natural laws-, physiology-whereby our bodies, when left unmolested, automatically and efficiently govern themselves and strive to maintain biochemical balance-homeostasis.
Monday, September 21, 1964-Fast, 19th day: Weight 123¼ pounds; a loss of ¾ of a pound from yesterday and a total loss of 16¾ pounds after 18 days of fasting. Blood pressure 94/78. If I include the 30 pound deficit from the illness when I began the fast, then the total weight loss becomes 46¾ pounds. Thirst decreased. No headache or vomiting and very little nausea or other untoward reaction thus far. Several fetid, puslike B.M.s. Comfortable day. I experience an amazing phenomenon this 19th fast day: a new surge of energy, no weakness or tiredness, legs have strength with no weakness (previously, walking was slow=motion), can rise from a sitting or lying position without light-headedness and am unusually mentally alert. The more toxic load thrown ofd by the body, the clearer the mind and all senses become. These last three or four days have been quite a period of detoxification through the pus-like rectal discharges and copious amounts of horrible tasting excretions from the tongue, mucous membranes, and salivary glands.
Tuesday, September 22, 1964-Fast, 20th day: Weight 122¼ pounds; a loss of 1 pound from yesterday and a total loss of 17¾ pounds after 19 days of fasting. Very little gas and only one B.M. during the night. No hunger, but my mind is flooded with thoughts of many succulent and delicious foods this entire day and evening, but for some strange reason all through this fast my mind continues to see, smell, and taste hot dogs and beans (one of my favorite dishes when I was a boy). I think of my wife and children each day and anxiously wait for mail to come from home each day. I eagerly look forward to several nights during the week when I allow myself the luxury of a long-distance telephone call so I may talk to my wife and hear her voice. I also think about my practice and whether or not it is still afloat, but periodic letters from my good friend, Dr. Newton Karp, assure me he is keeping it solvent. That puts my mind at ease because all my expenses are continuing.
Thursday, September 24, 1964-Fast, 22nd day: Weight 122 pounds; a loss of ¼ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 18 pounds after three weeks of fasting. Blood pressure 88/64 with good pulse quality. Feel wonderful physically, mentally and spiritually, except for a slight weakness which is understandable at this stage of the game. Mild light-headedness if I sit or stand up too quickly. Thick, foul drainage from the sinuses all day, resulting in the clearest breathing I've had in years. Two liquid bowel actions today. Dr. Gross checks us in the morning and again in the late afternoon or early evening. His home is just a few hundred yards away. I have been asking him to give me some idea how much longer it would be until my fast would be broken. (I didn't realize at the time that the more serious problems usually require a longer fast. Dr. Gross knew he would prefer a long fast, if possible, for me. He knew that to break the fast now, when I'm progressing, would not be in my best interest. Yet he understood my impatient nature and took me through the remainder of the fast by degrees and subtleties. In other words, I would ask him when the fast would be broken and he would say something to the effect that since it's mid-week, let's wait until the weekend. Then when the weekend would roll around, I'd pose the question again and he would give me some logical excuse or reason for fasting a few more days. This is the way he guided me and it helped because psychologically it divided my fast so I would not have to envision long weeks ahead.)
Friday, September 25, 1964-Fast, 23rd day: Weight 121¾ pounds; a loss of ¼ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 18¼ pounds after 22 days of fasting. Blood pressure 90/65. Slight fuzziness in the head. One B.M. containing some type of unhealthy tissues from the intestinal tract that the body is finally breaking down and casting out. Very comfortable day, but I don't look forward to the long night ahead, because of being in bed most of the time and taking naps. Furthermore, I find fasting to be one long 24-hour day with no breaks, such as when one is eating three times a day. I stay up late, read a little until the book drops out of my hands, and then try to get to sleep at one o'clock in the morning. Then I wake up wondering how long I have slept, look at my watch and see it is only 10 or 15 minutes later. So I concentrate intently, fall asleep, and wake up thinking the sun will soon be up. But I glance at my watch again and it is perhaps only a half-hour later. This is the battle I fight almost every night during my fast. I'm thankful for my little radio.
Saturday, September 26, 1964-Fast, 24th day: Weight 121¼ pounds; a loss of ½ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 18¾ pounds after 23 days of fasting. Blood pressure 100/60. More salt being excreted through my mouth-causes mild stinging of the tongue. A wonderfully comfortable day, the only annoying problem being the almost complete dryness of my tongue and mouth with a slight pasty-like mucus. True hunger and desire for food absent. Almost no intestinal gas. Several small, fetid, pus-like rectal discharges. I'm amazed at how fine I feel generally. In fact, this is the best I have felt thus far. I feel as though I could continue the fast indefinitely. The further I get into the fast, the cleaner the mind and body become as deepseated poisons and wastes are eliminated. This produces profound changes. (From here on I experience unusual clarity of mind, increases in visual acuity, hearing, and smell, greatly increased mental endurance, and an extreme general awareness. For example, I brought with me a variety of crossword puzzles, books, and a chess set. Ideally, one should refrain from anything that taxes any of the senses and burdens the mind during a fast; that also includes television. however, a little occasional light reading does help pass the time. During the early stages of my fast and even before fasting-I could do a crossword puzzle or two, work out a little problem with my chess set, or read to my tolerance, which would be about 20 to 30 pages. But from this point deep in the fast, until its termination, amazing things happen: as a fairly decent chess player, I now become unbeatable; as a good crossword puzzle solver-but always finding it necessary to use the dictionary for such words as xerus or xat, etc.I now have instant recall of words that I would ordinarily have to look up in the dictionary; and my mental endurance allows me to read not just double or triple the number of pages I mentioned before, but entire books of 200 to 300 pages without tiring. I don't do these things to set any records; nor do I do them to pass any endurance tests. In fact, I don't make all these things a daily routine because I don't want to jeopardize my chances for a successful fast. I only cite these examples to show some of the marvelous, positive benefits that can accrue from a fast.) The comparative inactivity of the colon at this point is a blessing.
Sunday, September 27, 1964-Fast, 25th day: Weight 120 pounds; a loss of 1¼ pounds from yesterday and a total loss of 20 pounds after 24 days of fasting. Blood pressure 90/60. Very little gas formation. Several small, liquid B.M.s. I can describe, in one word, the way I feel at this point-healthy! Weak as I am, I can feel health coursing through my body. But within this weakness I feel a tremendous inner strength. It is difficult for me to describe this feeling because one must experience it to understand. Thoughts of food preoccupy my mind. The monotony of routine annoys me. Slept at intervals.
Monday, September 28, 1964-Fast, 26th day: Weight 119¾ pounds; a loss of ¼ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 20¼ pounds after 25 days of fasting. As I get deeper into the fast, I find myself having more and more positive thoughts and a feeling of well-being. There seems to be a profound inner calm. Through this experience, so far, I have learned a wonderful self discipline. Today was similar to yesterday. Missing my family is what bothers me most now. I think of my children often. I think of my wife and the joys we shared together before I became sick. I want very much to be home with them. I feel myself getting better with each passing day. I'm going to make it! There is no doubt in my mind. I actually tremble with anticipation.
Tuesday, September 29, 1964-Fast, 27th day: Weight 120¼ pounds; a gain of ½ pound from yesterday. I could not believe that after 26 days of fasting and living off my stored reserves there would be a weight gain. It just couldn't be possible. I went to three different scales, but each gave the same reading. My blood pressure today is 96/66. I'm eliminating so much "junk" from my system that the foul taste keeps me on the brink of nausea. In fact, there are times I find it necessary to take a half of a grape and brush it across my tongue to prevent vomiting. At this point, I can taste some of the drugs being eliminated through the mucous membranes of my mouth, the most predominant being phenobarbital. Wide awake and alert. Have been going outside to sit in the sun at intervals. I have incentive. When I perspire, it is not salty. I also notice that if perspiration from my forehead runs into my eyes, there is no stinging or irritation. This evening, Dr. Gross introduced me to a man who had just arrived at the Manor. He had suffered a heart attack six months prior to coming here and his doctors gave him up, but he found out about fasting, etc., and decided to give it a try. The man was afraid to fast. He didn't believe anyone could survive without food for any great length of time and this is why I was introduced to him; so he could see someone who has been fasting for four weeks and is not only alive, but recovering health. This meeting helped him make a decision to fast-and the results were nothing short of fantastic. (In another section I'll mention some of the dramatic cases I observed and followed up over the years, so you can understand the amazing recuperative powers that reside within us if the conditions of health are supplied.)
Thursday, October 1, 1964-Fast, 29th day: Weight 118¼ pounds; a loss of ½ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 21¾ pounds after four weeks of fasting. Blood pressure 85/60. Tongue remains heavily coated. Breath and taste extremely foul, almost to the point of nausea, as the body is still eliminating its toxic load. No hunger. Only one B.M. today, which was foul and puslike. Much belching associated with vague, all-over chest discomfort and discomfort in my neck and throat when I swallow. This is known as a "crisis" of which there can be few or many different types during a fast. Must be careful on rising to a sitting or standing position since light-headedness is yet a factor. (One morning, for example, there came a loud knocking at my door. It awakened me and I jumped right out of bed to answer the door. I blacked out immediately, but before I hit the floor I caromed off the walls like a billiard ball on a table as I fought to stay on my feet. That was one thing I didn't repeat.) This chest discomfort is accompanied by a rather persistent cough. I note this because there is a lessening of muscle control and a weakness of the diaphragm and other muscular units which aid in coughing. This makes coughing quite difficult and is a strange sensation, since it requires great effort and then the cough really does not come out as a cough but as a forced expiration.
Friday, October 2, 1964-Fast, 30th day: Weight 117¼ pounds; a loss of 1 pound from yesterday and a total loss of 22¾ pounds after 29 days of fasting. Blood pressure 82/56. The chest, neck and throat discomfort greatly eased, but the weak coughing phase continues. Still have some bowel activity after all this time. Felt wonderful today. Very alert. Since time weighed heavy, I found several ways to make it pass more quickly. First of all I would think of food, which was on my mind constantly. I was able to close my eyes and visualize many dishes. I could, in these visions, smell and taste them. (I also conjured up some recipes which I thought could be used when I returned home. And you know something? We use these vegetarian recipes at home to this day.) The point of this daydreaming is that time would pass. While I'd mentally concoct these dishes, the hours would slip away. I'd glance at my watch thinking 10 or 15 minutes had elapsed, but in reality it would be an hour or so. Slept poorly. I'd drop off to sleep, awaken and assume I slept for several hours, but when I checked the time it would be maybe 5 minutes or 20 minutes later. This is the way it went for me most of the time.
Saturday, October 3, 1964-Fast, 31st day: Weight 117 pouuds; a loss of ¼ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 23 pounds after 30 days of fasting. Blood pressure 102/60. Discomfort in neck and throat when I swallow, which gradually subsides at night. Periodic coughing continues with an occasional sneeze added, but both have a very weak intensity, similar to slow motion. A most unusual experience. Several usual B.M.s. (Another game I played to pass the time and at least break up, my day into three parts was called "watch the others eat." It was most successful and satisfying. I would look forward to breakfast, lunch, and supper for those whose fasts had already been broken. Then I would gape at the people eating, watching every bite, every chew, and imagine myself in their place and mentally experience the taste of each piece of luscious fruit or vegetable or whatever they were eating. Then I would sit back, relax, and look forward to the next meal.) Slight fuzziness in my head accompanied by a slight general weakness, but otherwise I feel mentally sharp with a sensation of physical and mental well-being. I feel wonderful and have had a most comfortable day. I have enjoyed most of the evenings because from my window I can watch the sun lower itself beyond the Hudson River, caress the mountainous foothills, and finally slip out of sight, leaving a warm glow hovering in the western sky. Then darkness comes and the sky is ablaze with stars of such magnitude as I had never seen back home where the city lights block out this heavenly artwork.
Sunday, October 4, 1964-Fast, 32nd day: Weight 115½ pounds; a loss of 1½ pounds from yesterday and a total loss of 24½ pounds after 31 days of fasting. Blood pressure 98/58. Mild discomfort in neck and throat, but lessening. At last, no B.M.s. today. A most comfortable day. I feel alert and wonderful. Small, multiple warts and other skin blemishes have completely disappeared or are disappearing. All facial pimples are completely gone and have been gone for quite some time. Coughing and sneezing greatly diminished. Just could not lie in bed today; too much pent-up energy and emotion. For the first time in years, I feel alive! I had to get out or I'd bust. In my weakness I feel a tremendous inner strength. Took a slow, slow walk about the grounds. Visited the gymnasium, which was donated by a woman who had fasted here and recovered from arthritis. To one side of the gym was a beautiful flower garden. Further along, I discovered a pond stocked with large goldfish. The water was ice-cold, the pond being spring-fed. The area is heavily wooded and an occasional rabbit goes skittering between the trees. There is a continuous symphony which is given by the wide array of birds by day and crickets, frogs, and owls by night. The majestic Manor house, with its three stories and Ionic-like columns, occupies a central area on the slope of a hill overlooking the mountains and Hudson River in the distance, and giving all viewers a front row seat to the most spectacular sunsets. A short distance away from the main house are the "units," which are six self-contained motellike rooms for those who might prefer more privacy. The air smells clean and fresh and there is a certain quiet so necessary, so vital, for fasting and obtaining peace of mind.
Monday, October 5, 1964-Fast, 33rd day: Weight 114¾ pounds; a loss of ¾ of a pound from yesterday and a total loss of 25¼ pounds after 32 days of fasting. Hurrah! No B.M.s today. Discomfort in chest, neck, and throat gone. Coughing and sneezing stopped. More elimination through mouth causes nausea due to terrible taste. Fleeting sensations of hunger. Usual weakness and ness present but otherwise am alert, sharp, and feel wonderful. Odd sensation to look into the mirror and see what's looking back at me. What happened to that hand some devil that once looked back? One good gust of wind and someone could tie a string on me and have the first human kite. Dry heaves during the night with some bile coming up. Very nauseated. Tiring and exhausting-night -so little sleep -Blood pressure. My skin has marvelous tone, texture, and color.
Tuesday, October 6, 1964-Fast, 34th day: Weight 112¾ pounds; a loss of two pounds from yesterday and a total loss of 27¼ pounds after 33 days of fasting. Blood pressure 76/50. No true hunger, but some desire is present. No bowel activity. Slept at intervals. Similar day as yesterday. Few dry heaves with bile, but felt better after. One of the first occurrences on a fast is the diminution of sex drive, with eventual cessation of it. (Interesting to note, however, is that this sex drive is one of the last things to return after the fast is broken, but eventually it returns, and when it does-watch out world! It's likened to putting a high voltage battery in a used car.)
Wednesday, October 7, 1964-Fast, 35th day (5 weeks): Weight 111¼ pounds; a loss of pounds from yesterday and a total loss of 28¾ pounds after 34 days of fasting. Blood pressure 82/50. No B.M.s. Tongue appears a little clearer. Breath and taste not quite so bad. Feel wonderful and alert. Desire to eat is stronger. I note some amazing changes after five weeks of fasting: Tartar and plaque gone from teeth; gums, which were red and bled easily, are now pink and do not bleed after a vigorous brushing; after six years of severe diarrhea and intestinal spasms, a slight prolapse of the rectum occurred ( dropping or sagging of the lower end of the large intestine so that each time a B.M. is tried, a portion of this intestine protrudes through the rectum into the outside world and must be pushed back in). This situation is now corrected-so I suppose one could say the problem with the rectum has been rectified; and, of course, that grapevine of internal and external hemorrhoids are now gone, broken down by the body's own marvelous mechanism. ( It's been 12 years since this writing and there have been no recurrences of any of these problems.) Now if this hell-on-earth, this ulcerative colitis could be resolved, this would be truly a miracle-the miracle for which Corinne and I have prayed. I'm hoping, with all the strength in me, that these benefits from my fast can be maintained. Only time will tell. (There's still a long, hard road ahead; but one lesson I shall learn along the way is that you cannot buy health-you must earn it!) My fast is supposed to be broken tomorrow and I look forward to that as much as a child anticipates a Christmas morning.
Thursday, October 8, 1964-Interruption of fast: Weight 110 pound loss of 1¼ pounds from yesterday and a total loss of 30 pounds after 5 weeks of fasting. My anticipation came to an end when a small cup of clear, freshly made vegetable broth was brought to my room. Several tablespoons were given to me, but I didn't enjoy it as I had expected. My mouth was still pasty and with a bad taste. An hour or two later I had several more tablespoons of the soup and it seemed to bloat me. I couldn't understand it. (Long fasts are broken very carefully, sometimes with small amounts of diluted, fresh-squeezed orange juice or small amounts of freshly made carrot and celery juice or tomato and celery juice. The particular needs or situations of each individual is taken into consideration. For example, in my case, citrus wasn't given because of my past history and Dr. Gross did not want to take a chance with any fruit acids irritating the colon. This way, with the broth, I still received some food value-vitamins, minerals, protein, etc.-and the broth was very easy on the digestive apparatus. I was like a newborn infant eating for the first time.) Small amount of carrot and celery juice added at intervals during the day. Some abdominal cramps and indigestion throughout the night. Didn't feel well. Much diarrhea and discomfort. My entire system feels out of whack. I feel weak all over. Food became repugnant.
Friday, October 9, 1964-Fast, 36th day: Dr. Gross advises me to fast a while longer as my body was not ready to have the fast broken and accept food. Each individual is different and some require a shorter fast, while some are in need of a longer fast. (The body has its own wisdom in letting us know when it's time to break a fast-if we have fasted long enough, that is. A few of the signs are: a genuine return of hunger, clearing of the foul breath, disappearance of the rotten taste with resultant appearance of a sweet taste, and a clearing of the tongue which gradually takes on a clean, pink look.) No weight change. Feel more comfortable not eating at this time.
Sunday, October 11, 1964-Fast, 38th day: Weight 109¼ pounds; a loss of ½ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 30¾ pounds after 37 days of fasting. Blood pressure 88/52. Some bowel activity again today. Light-headed and a little weak physically, but resting in bed helps the most. Mentally, very sharp. Have been in a different room for the last few weeks and share it with several men. I've enjoyed this because having people to talk to has helped pass the time. There's an excellent view of the dense wooded area as I lie gazing out the window. I notice the leaves beginning to change colors. Very homesick today, so I telephoned home. Just hearing Corinne's voice was the pick-me-up I needed. She was quite shocked to find out I was still fasting, but understood why after my explanation. She encouraged me to have faith. Never did she discourage me or instill any negative thoughts in my mind. (Sure, things were rough with so little income, her teaching duties, raising the children, and managing everything at home, but we both had an ultimate goal and it was all the experiences we shared in striving for and attaining that goal that has brought us as close together as two people can possibly be. )
Monday, October 12, 1964-Fast, 39th day: Weight 109 pounds; a loss of ¼ of a pound from yesterday and a total loss of 31 pounds after 38 days of fasting. Blood pressure 84/56. Light-headedness very prevalent. Most of the day spent in bed, resting all senses. Bowel action stopped. I can't really explain it, but there are great changes taking place. I can feel it. I notice a calmness, an inner peace which seems almost spiritual. There is no negativism; onl positive thoughts come into mind. I feel there is nothing I can't do. The word "impossible" does not exist at this point.
Tuesday, October 13, 1964-Fast, 40th day: Weight 108¾ pounds; a loss of ¼ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 31-'/4 pounds after 39 days of fasting. Blood pressure 82/56. Hands, feet, and nose have been quite cold, but thank goodness for the hot water bottle which has become a most welcome bed partner. Tongue very heavily coated. Saliva has become thicker and is coupled with an extremely rotten taste that causes a constant nausea, which predisposes to periods of vomiting and dry heaves. Even the rubbing of a squashed grape across my tongue does not relieve the taste or nausea. No bowel activity or gas. Strange feeling of well being. Slept fairly well.
Wednesday, October 14, 1964-Fast, 41st day: Weight 108¾ pounds; no weight loss from yesterday. Blood pressure 82/56. Water consumption has been varying up to two quarts daily, but never forced and only when thirsty. Sincere desire for food is more prevalent. My highly developed senses, mentioned previously, are sometimes annoying. My eyesight has become rated as 20/ 10, which is better than normal in that I can see at 20 feet what the normal person can see at ten feet. (This of course was not annoying, but the senses of hearing and smell occasionally caused problems: I could perceive the slightest sounds, perhaps a half block or block away, that would continually disturb my rest, such as someone walking down the front steps of a house or walking on gravel or twigs down the road or someone coughing or sneezing or just talking some distance away. The sense of smell was probably the cause of most of the irritations because I could pick up, like a sensitive detection device, noxious odors in the air. I detected car fumes from down the highway, burning of the autumn leaves, which nauseated me, various "stinking" cooking aromas from several homes in the area, and the worst offender of them all-cigarette smoke. I could smell it from people walking down by the highway hundreds of feet away and I knew when someone on the premises was cheating and sneaking a smoke because it would gag me. I would report these incidents of on-the-premises smoking and sure enough Dr. Gross would ferret out the culprit and all hell would break loose.)
Thursday, October 15, 1964-Fast, 42nd and last day (6 weeks): Weight 108¼ pounds; a loss of ¼ pound from yesterday and a total loss of 31¾ pounds after 41 days of fasting. Blood pressure 90/60 teeth very pasty. Saliva seems to flow a little freer, but there is so much being eliminated through my mouth now, I find the terrible taste gags me into periodic dry heaves. My impatience to break the fast is wearing on me. I know it is pending. I know how I feel, because even with all that is going on, there is a stronger desire for food. Dr. Gross visits all of us at least twice each day and is usually nearby if needed, since his house is just a few hundred yards away. He came in this afternoon and dropped a subtle hint of a good possibility of breaking the fast tomorrow because of certain signs I was exhibiting. Since those of us who are fasting have extremely foul breath because of the elimination of our toxic loads, I asked Dr. Gross how he could tolerate coming into a room containing three or four of us and breathe the rank air. He laughed and said, "It's perfume." He was serious, because when he detects this "aroma" he knows our bodies are working and one of the little miracles of nature is taking place. The bright, warm autumn day dwindles into evening. I knew I'd have trouble sleeping tonight because of the anticipation of eating tomorrow, so I stayed up quite late, hoping to tire myself enough to fall asleep. I weighed myself before going to bed and found I'd dropped another ¼ pound from this morning (now 108 pounds), making a total loss of 32 pounds after six weeks of fasting. As I glance at myself in the mirror, sans clothes, I can't shake off the sad, but morbidly humorous thought that if Hollywood was to make a movie of the inmates of a German concentration camp, I could get the lead role -no contest!
I had fasted six weeks. It was still rather difficult for me to believe; to believe that weak as I was, I felt better than I had in years. Now the "real" test was coming, but there were yet many hurdles to leap.