A 16-Day Water Fast with My Dog Sasha

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My Dog Sasha had been unusually tired for many months, so I decided to take him to a holistic veterinarian and have some blood work done. He does have fair sever hip dysplasia and the fatigue could simply be due to the pain and discomfort from this chronic condition, but I wanted to be sure it was nothing more serious than this. The first set of blood work did have a few worrisome abnomalities: 1) elevated ALP liver enzymes; 2) elevated eosinophils; 3) moderate levels of acanthocytes. There are a number of reasons that any or all of these could be elevated, some serious, others not so serious.

Acanthocytes are abnormal red blood cells that look like they have little spikes sticking out of them. They are often found in the presence of a type of cancer known as hemangiosarcoma to which German Shepherds are susceptible. Therefore, Sasha’s veterinarian recommended doing an ultra sound of his abdomen to see if there were any growths visible. Fortunately, the ultra sound was clear. All of his organs looked good except for his spleen which was enlarged. Apparently, it is common for German Shepherds to have enlarged spleens, but since hemangiosarcomas frequently begin in the spleen this did not instill confidence. I have fed Sasha a Bones and Raw Food diet (a.k.a. BARF diet a la Dr. Ian Billinghurst) for his entire life, but I have  fed him a lot of commercial grade chicken for economic reasons. I am now trying to feed him better quality meats, with emphasis on beef and lamb.

Sasha’s veterinarian encouraged me to keep a close eye on the acanthocytes because hemangosarcomas can sneak up on you. She recommened doing blood work again in 3 months. However, I decided to take a more proactive approach and do a water-only fast to give Sasha’s body a chance to do some internal house cleaning. I have done many fasts over the past 25 years, and I have experience beneficial results from all of them. One of the best books on the subject is by Dr. Jack Goldstein, a physician who almost died from severe ulcerative colitis. He completely regained his health through a series of very long water-only fasts. His book is now out of print, but it can be down-loaded for free through the Soil and Health Library here: Triumph Over Disease by Fasting and Natural Diet.

Because I love my dog more than anything else in this world, I was not about to eat in front of him while asking him to fast. Therefore, I did the fast with him. My orginal goal was to go for 21 days, but my own waning strength made it necessary for me to end the fast sooner than I would have liked. Sasha did absolutely awesome on the fast and could have easily made it 21 days. He was tired and slept a lot during the first 10 days, but then his energy began to improve. During the last 6 days of the fast, he actually got stronger. On the last day of the fast, I took him in for new blood work and the result were little short of remarkable. The ALP and eosinophils both fell by more than half, and the acanthocytes were completely eliminated. Sasha’s veterinarian said that she has never seen ALP fall that dramatically in any of her canine patients before. Needless to say, she was VERY impressed.

First set of blood work BEFORE the fast:

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Second set of blood work AFTER the fast:

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Oddly enough, while I was in the process of doing this fast with Sasha, I posted about it on Facebook. Much to my surprise, a number of my so-called “friends” decided that I was committing an egregous act of animal cruelty and called both Animal Control and the Police to complain about it. An Animal Control officer actually came out to check on Sasha, but the minute he saw him, he said, “Clearly, he is fine. Please take your post off Facebook because we are being innundated with calls to both Animal Control and the Police about this.” I told him what I was doing, that it was a therapeutic intervention for a health issue, and that I was working with a local veterinarian. He was an intelligent man and could see that Sasha was being well cared for. Anyways, another interesting experience…LOL… one the one hand, I am glad to know that they take complaints like that seriously, but on the other hand, I am quite taken aback by the fact that some people actually think I would do anything to hurt my dog. Fortunately, the results speak for themselves.

If you are interested in learning more about fasting in the context of a Zero Carb diet, please join us in the Facebook group Principia Lenta.

 

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My First Four Months on Zero Carb by Ginny Walker

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Prior to finding the Zero Carb diet, I was eating very unhealthy. I was eating a lot of sugar and a lot of starchy carbs. I did not limit the amount of foods I ate. I ate without thinking about what I was putting into my body. I ate when I was hungry, bored, sad, depressed, etc. Food was more of an emotional crutch instead of a fuel for the body.

I have always had an unhealthy relationship with food. In my teens and early 20’s, I suffered from binge eating and bulimia. Through out my adult life I have tried numerous diets only to fail repeatedly and return to food, especially sugar, as my addiction. Eventually, my weight reached 278 lbs. This was the highest it had ever been in my life, and I was miserable.

In August of 2014, I was diagnosed with polyostotic fibrous dysplasia. I have benign bone tumors in 7 ribs, my entire pelvis bone, my femur, my skull, and my right facial bones. I had been in severe dilating pain for a couple of years and was on prescription pain medication that made me feel like a zombie.

This bone disease has no known cure and pain management is the only medical approach. I knew my weight was contributing to the pain and that I needed to make some changes to help myself. I did some research and came across this website. The information and stories inspired me and I started this way of eating on March 6, 2015. That was the beginning of my new life.

My transition to a Zero Carb diet was moderately easy. I really liked how simple it was to understand this way of eating. There is not a lot you have to learn in order to put it into practice. Eat meat, drink water. It is a mindset. Once you decide to do it, you just do it. I really want to live a better life and have better health, so I have decided I will do this to improve my life. I also want to be a better example for my children.

I did experience a few symptoms in the beginning. I had some mild headaches. I believe this was from sugar withdrawals. I also experienced some weird itching and tingling sensations on my skin that lasted a couple of weeks. That was mildly annoying and a bit alarming. I believe my body was detoxing in some form. After a month or so of Zero Carb eating, I experienced no more itching or tingling and my skin is now clear and refreshed looking.

My daily food intake: I average at least one and a half lbs. of beef a day and some days 2 lbs. I eat until I am full and satisfied. I usually consume one meal a day on average, but occasionally I will have two. I eat a lot of ground beef. I have two strips of bacon with every meal.

Sometimes I add cheese, but I try not to eat too much dairy due to weight loss plateaus it has caused in the past. I cook every meal in pure butter and drink water. I will have the occasional cup of black coffee with nothing added.

The biggest benefit I have experienced so far:

A 60 lb. weight loss in just over four months. I still have several lbs. to go, but this is huge for me!

Equally significant is that I no longer have bone pain from the bone tumors, and I am off all of my pain medications.

Although I am now 43, I have the energy of a 20 yr old.

I have been able to discontinued the medications I was taking for high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes.

My skin looks amazing.

I no longer have insomnia, and I have normal sleeping habits for the first time in 6 years.

Additionally, my overall emotional health has improved tremendously.

I am looking forward to seeing what other benefits Zero Carb has in store for me in the future!

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Please visit my Testimonials page to read the stories of others following a Zero Carb diet.

If you are interested in meeting others who practice an All-Meat diet, please feel free to join us in the Facebook group Principia Carnivora for support.