Category Archives: Diet and Nutrition

Completed 7 day water fast!

For the last 3 years I have been practicing intermittent water fast, which is basically similar to normal muslim fast. Fasting for 18 hours (include sleep) and dining once or twice, drinking water was allowed. 2 years ago I felt the normal fast was… Well… Normal… Not a challenge, the dehydration was a bit, but not so much. So I decided to take it to the next level. Extended Water fast. Which I would be breaking my fast with only water, and no food… For 7 days. I have read others have been able to do for 14 to 21 days, world record was a year, but with medical supervision and supplements.

1st one 2 years ago, I decided to do during fasting month, less temptation, but i failed in he first week as those temptations crept up during the break fast, but I managed to do it in the 2nd week. I was even maintaining my active lifestyle, a relax 1 hour cycling before the break. Did it in 7 days, feeling I could extend but didn’t.

2nd try was last year, i wasn’t cycling, but I was hiking, the first few days was awesome, knowing I could push my self. But on 5th day I started to feel weak, and on the 6th day I couldn’t push myself anymore, as my wife who usually trails behind, was way ahead, and I was the one who needed a break. (Knowing what I know now, I should have supplemented with salt during my break fast). So that time I only water fasted only 6 days straight.

This year I didn’t maintain my active lifestyle, and I failed to do it the first half of ramadhan. On almost the final week, visiting my father-in-law for a family iftar, I was inspired to do it again, as my brother-in-law law who previously had practiced 14 day fast, shared he also hadn’t done it this year, but he was gonna do the remainder of the fasting month. Not so long after that my wife shared she was interested to to try, so we did.

This year has been the most challenging I have ever done. either because we did at the late stages of the fasting month, or the last meal we had.

First 3 days was fine, but on the 4th day I experienced diarrhea, after the water break fast of more than 2 litres, I had to go to the toilet. So I tried to reduce my water intake to reduce the diarrhea, I ended up the 5th day extra weak, so without any research, decided to do what I usually do with any diarrhea, drink more water to flush it out, adding ginger powder and tea. It kinda worked, the diarrhea stopped, but the ginger left a burning sensation in my belly. 6th day I noticed my tongue was white in the morning, and slightly yellow brownish in the afternoon. It was only that night I researched and found information on my experience and some remedies. Basically I needed some salt and something called psyllium husk, I will share more in the next paragraph. On the 7th day, I felt a bit more energy after implementing the remedies, but i experienced a funny taste in my mouth some extra saliva seemed to seemed to be produce, which recognize preparation before puking ( I know because I used to suffer from sea/motion sickness), but I didnt puke. a bit of abdominal pains and maybe acid reflux, what I think most people I know call it gastric. I found that releasing air through belching and occasional flatulence relieved the symptoms temporarily. 2 hours before the break I had to sleep for an hour to catch my sleep and to get thru the pain. At my food break fast I had the psyllium husk in a cup of water and proceeded to eat normally. Thankfully the diarrhea didn’t pop up, but now I was bloated with too much food. 😅

I think the major reasons for my complications this time around was due to the food I ate, the timing of the fast (last instead 1st half), but most importantly the need to supplemnt to avoid the complications.

To conclude I will share the complications and its remedies and the source.

  • bad breath, may be accompanied by white tongue (the bad breath may actually be acetone produced from fat burning), need more water. And brush teeth and scrub tongue more.
  • constipation, (due to no food intake this to be expected, but to move last meal…) magnesium citrate, and exercise (this is where it differs from previous years) If its really bad, MCT (coconut) oil with tea.
  • Diarrhea, may make lethargy worse (constipation and then diarrhea?! On a disgusting note, surprised to see how long stuff gets stuck inside the intestine, I noticed a few cucumber seeds in there 4 days after my last meal) a teaspoon of psyllium husk in a cup of water. Don’t take too much or else constipation. So find a balance.
  • Lethargy or tiredness or weakness, (I usually feel this after day 4) need more salt, a pinch of salt as is, or with water, or in soup. (I personally take a tablespoon, note that I sweat a lot and like the taste of salt)
  • acid reflux (first time I experience during extended fast, might have been the salt), a tablespoon of unfiltered apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice. Avoid cure for lethargy. (I may need to find balance between acid reflux and lethargy)
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Watch “Why do animals have such different lifespans? – Joao Pedro de Magalhaes” on YouTube

I know its comparing animals but tempted to think these life extending factors can apply to human lifespan.

External factors

  • frigid cold environments causes lower heartbeat and metabolism, can be achieved by living in cold places and doing not too much activities. Not sure if I am willing to move and live in a colder environment. Although I do love swimming relaxed in the cold water like a whale.
  • As much low activities may be low heartbeat and low metabolism. Studies have shown that people who exercise tend to get lower resting heart rates than those who are sedentary. High intensity exercises may increase metabolism. I guess I can focus on long slow endurance when I do swimming, cycling and running.
  • Fasting does lower metabolism. I don’t eat as frequent anymore. Fasting during the month of ramadhan may help once a year, but I practice intermittent and water fasting more often on other months throughout the year as well. Although I may lose weight on this and negate the size factor later…

Internal factors

  • Evolution and Genetics, these is unfortunately the luck of the draw, interestingly, there are genetic therapies being developed, potentially we can identify the genes that are responsible for ageing and extend our life by altering them. Lets see if this happens in our life time.
  • healthy immune system, these is also partly genetic, but also on how well we avoid getting sick and in addition recover from them. Medicine has come a long way in assisting us to these very well. Let’s just hope the germs don’t win the biological war against us.
  • bigger size, partly genetic, partly nutrition. The bigger the organism the less predator they have, in addition, metabolism can be lower as the body does not need to produce heat too much to maintain body temperature. May also allow bigger animals to eat less per body weight, which lowers the metabolism again. Although my fasting might reduce my weight and thus reduce the size effect.

Day 30 – dreamt of lailatul qadr, henna wife’s hair, house cleaning 

Woke up at 4am, drank 750ml of water, couldnt go back to sleep, so I read online stuff again, slept after 5am. Woke up after 8am. That last sleep I dreamt of seeing lailatul qadr, keep in mind I am not saying I saw it, I dreamt what I think it would look like, in my dream anyway. Must have been that fake picture that people claimed what it looked like, found out that it was actually pictures of an annular eclipse.

In my dream I saw at night alongside the new moon was a faint circle, that if looked at closer was a reflection of the earth, in my dream I was even rationally trying to explain the phenomena scientifically. It was either the angle of the celestial bodies or the weather conditions.  In any case I woke up wondering how it would look like in reality. Apparently no one has, or at least no one has seen it has posted, and then there those who posted a few fake claims that didn’t make any astronomical sense to me. Maybe lailatul qadr isn’t of what it looks like, but more of what it feels like. I guess I may never know. Looking up, lailatul qadr either means the night of power, or the night of decree. It is only said that the night will be quiet, and the sunrise will be clear with no rays.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laylat_al-Qadr
Almost mid day and my wife asked me to help her with dyeing her hair with henna, looked up a few articles and youtube videos for some guidelines. It took a painstaking long time. Especially in order to make sure every strand gets covered. I understand why saloons charge high for this type of services.

Today is one of the rare days we didn’t go out, our break was water, kurma, maggi noodles 🍜 , an egg 🍳 , some biscuits 🍪 for dessert and later veggie juice.

Spent the night cleaning house, while the the neighbours were playing firecrackers. (It is actually illegal without permission.  But people are able to acquire and pay them any way). While cleaning found a lot old lost items. Cleared out a few expired items in the kitchen. 

Today will be the last day of ramadhan,  but it won’t be my last post. I will be posting on open houses and food I eat during syawal, as well as my training and sports events. Hopefully intermittent fasting during syawal and a few training will maintain my weight loss and improve my performance.

Day 29 – servicing the car, fuel traffic jam, and eid moonsighting announcement

Woke up at 4am, but didnt sleep till sun up. Booked an appointment for car service today by calling last Wednesday. Thankfully Saturday morning was available. Got picked up and went to post office at airport lama to try to get a package, but the mislabelling on the card didn’t state it was supposed to be picked up at sengkurong instead. I guess I will pick up on thursday when all government offices are open.

My car has been making screeching sounds ever since I drove through floods a few months ago. Before that the engine has been rattling when it goes up hill. Apparently, it was related to the fan belt. The workshop also recommended replacing the air filter. I just accepted. It all amounted to $215. That used up a bit more than my usual car budget. With the recent bike purchase I need to tighten my own belt.

Planned to buy fuel, but every fuel station was jam packed. I guess everyone was preparing for their long trips on the first day of raya. I decided to forego until convenient. Slept most of the afternoon replacing my lack of sleep in the morning.

Broke fast with air bandung, fried noodles, sardine puffs, and dessert with mangoes. Checked whatsapp for any updates regarding the moon sighting,  but it was mostly filled with jokes. A few reliable sources shared.  But from past experience, it was best to wait for the official announcement. At 7:30pm, the announcement came, no new moon sighted. I bet its due to the weather. So Brunei wipl celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri or Eid on Monday. Later found out that. Malaysia and Indonesia announced that they will celebrate it on Sunday. Its funny how Brunei doesn’t follow Malaysian ruling on moon sighting anymore. It was even more funny to think about the consequences of crossing the border to Malaysia on a Sunday. Would I fast? Or do I celebrate raya? Especially considering the first day of raya is haram to fast. In any case I would be grateful in either case.  If eid was on Sunday,  then it would be 4 consecutive days of raya.  If it was on Monday it would just be 3, but it would be an extra day to fast in ramadhan. 

Slept early, expected to sleep in on sunday morning.

Day 28 – small workshop, afternoon cycling, and an amazing swim class

In the morning had a business plan workshop, it was disappointing to have a significantly smaller number on the last day of the workshop, but not unexpected. Kinda felt tired, but that might be from the disappointment, at the end of the class, a few people left early. I dont blame people for being unable to come or that they have to leave early, as I understand people have priorities.  The last friday of ramadhan is often a day where families visit graves, also considering pay day a few days ago and raya is upcoming, some people might need to go to the bank today in the morning.

The friday sermon or khutbah today was started with something about how complicated and fragile the human body is, and ended with the importance of masjid, or the place of worship. Mentioning on the newly (and amazingly quickly) built masjid in mentiri. It burnt down in early April 2017, but it was finished this late june 2017.  That’s like 3 months to build a structure that can house hundreds or maybe a thousand people. Which just shows with power, money a stong desire, a lot can be built in a relatively short amount of time. Inspires me to be rich and powerful to do something as great. 🤔

In the late afternoon after a power nap, my wife and I went out on a bike ride, me with my new bike. Originally she felt lazy, but she incentivize herself to bike by requesting to eat out afterwards. So I agreed. I was setting up, I realize how many important accessories I need to buy for my new bike. A new saddle bag for emergency repair kit, maybe a bag to put extra items, and some lights. Temporarily I transferred from my old bike to my new bike and we went out. And then due to larger frame and taller saddle, I had to remove both wheels instead of the usual front wheel only, in order to fit 2 bikes in one car. Also testing out my new bib shorts and cycling jersey that arrived yesterday. Which coincidentally matched the colour of my bike. I think green might be my new colour.

When I tested the bike previously, it was around the stadium, so I couldn’t go full speed at extended periods. This time around I wanted to see how well I would do on the highway. We started off easy, as a warmup. I cant fully experience going fast on a steep climb yet on the highway, as we went sliw and relaxed. My wife didn’t want to go too far so we settled for the 8km mark and made a u-turn. It was only then on the way back with a lot of descents that we went fast, I thought I might have gone too fast and left my wife far behind, but she was doing well keeping up just behind me, so I was able to go faster with her keeping up. I was surprised how I could maintain my speed, and even more surprised that my wife could keep up. Well for a while anyway, but it was still impressive. We went fast downhill and maintained a bit of speed uphill as well. Going downhill with my urata, I would have to pedal faster to avoid the dead zone to convert the pedaling to get speed, but with the smaller teeth of 11t vs a 13t, I was able convert more of that pedalling to speed without any dead zones. That means I could potentially go faster. Our last ride was 44 mins, this time around with the longer wait at the u turn we did 42 mins.

Looking at the speed graph below, potentially without the warm up, we could have averaged 30kmph. Previously with my urata, and withput drafting. I struggled to get to and maintain 30kmph. 27kmph would have been the average. What a difference a higher end bike makes. Of course I think the power I have built up with the urata over the years helped. The bike’s function is to convert that power into speed. And oh boy, did that new bike transferred that into speed. I feel more confident that I can keep up with the big boys. I look forward to riding with a group, or joining a cycling event. Just to see how much my speed is improved with a better bike. 

As we finished, I shared with my wife how impressed I was with her ability to keep up. Her faced was flush red from her attempt. I remembered this time around to do some stretches for myself an my wife, before we headed home.

We got home and prepared to go out. It was only then I realized I had a few invites that day, one was a function nearby. I decided to forego the functions and just treat my wife for her achievements today. Unfortunately a lot of restaurants were full for the iftar. So we decided to delay my break (and her treat) and went off to buy some bike accessories instead at the bike shop. Bought some lights and a bottle cage, will have to look for the saddle bag elsewhere. 

When we went to the restaurant,  they were a few available tables. We noticed that there were others that were waiting to be served as well. We were prepared for some slow and possibly bad customer service. My wife really wanted her treat, her reward, so she was willing to wait. For starters the table we got want wiped clean yet. Then it was a few minutes before we got the menu, thankfully we knew what we wanted and ordered on the spot. There a few food items that were out of stock, but there were acceptable alternatives. We noticed while waiting, a few other people left as they weren’t serviced fast enough. I acknowledged my wife for being patient as she used to be one of toys impatient people, but she shared she knows what she wanted, and wouldn’t go any where else, as if she did age any where else or anything else, from past experience, she knows she wouldn’t feel satisfied.  So the food was worth the wait. 

The cucumber and carrot slices with the sambal paste and ambuyat sauce came first. A few more minutes passed by before the ambuyat came along with leafy vegetable, we waited a bit longer before the plates and the utensils were provided along with the hati buyah, and finally our drinks. We noticed that the service was improving as one staff from the 1st floor kitchen came down and coordinated their efforts. We empathize with the workers at the restaurant, it is not often that they have a full house. I wondered when if they did at all, broke their fast. The service was uncharacteristically slower, but it was not bad. Aminah Arif was having a good bad day. Good that they have a lot of customers. Bad that they couldn’t keep up.

Done with the main course we dropped by a convenience store to buy some snacks as desserts. Soft drinks and ice cream. Then my wife dropped me off to the swimming pool for my class.

During non-ramadhan my classes were 4 sessions x 1.5 hours. But because the pool only opens at 9-10pm during ramadhan, my classes turned to 6 sessions x 1 hour. So my syllabus changed a bit. But then again, my syllabus is very flexible, as it accounts for different people’s abilities. Tonight is the 2nd last class, but 1 out of 2 of my students were able to do 50m non-stop at the basement pool. But she has the advantage of being a floater. Their next session will involve swimming at the lap pool above, after refining their technique a bit more.

If it wasn’t for the rain and my wife waiting in the car, i would be tempte to run. So we went staright home. When we arrived, we were so tired and sleepy. My wife wasn’t able to juice as she usually does , and I went straight to bed and dozed off.