I realized I didn’t give a full update on my fast, so here it is!
During Ramadan I decided to be a vegetarian. I have been thinking about being a vegetarian for a long time for both sustainability and humanitarian reasons, and I found Ramadan to be a good occasion for that. In fact, Ramadan has somewhat evolved for me into a month where I explore various diets and various ways of restraining myself from food.
In the last week of Ramadan, I decided to try another experiment. Rather than just be vegetarian, I decided to live fully off of a food supplement that I bought from 100% Food. I like to call it “Space Food”.
I bought a huge packet that has the nutritional value of 21 meals (3 meals/day for 7 days) and I would add almond milk or water to mix it and drink it whenever I was hungry. Under no circumstances do I consume anything else.
Here’s a picture of the packet. It weighs around 3.25kg. This version is the “double protein” version, which has twice as much protein as the normal recommended diet. They sent the chocolate-flavored version even though I ordered the no-flavored one, but that wasn’t a big deal.
By far I would say this has been the most interesting diet experiment I have tried thus far. I would describe how I felt during that week in phases:
1. The Confusion Phase
For the first couple of days my brain was confused. I would drink the space food, but my brain didn’t process the fact that I was full. I would still feel hungry despite drinking significant quantities of space food. I would try to drink more and I couldn’t because my stomach was completely full. These were definitely the hardest two days, but afterwards I had adapted and I could better tell when I was actually hungry.
2. The Deprivation Phase
For the next two days, while my brain has finally started processing and understanding my new food intake, I still felt deprived of the joys of eating. Smelling the delicious food while I am walking by restaurants or passing by the cafeteria at work and knowing that I won’t be able to have any of that for days was a somewhat difficult feeling to process, but then came the next phase.
3. The Adaptive Phase
By day 5, I felt like I had completely adapted to this lifestyle. Space food was just “the norm”. And, despite being attracted to the smells of the deliciously looking food all around me, I just got accustomed to the fact that it wasn’t for me.
As strange as it may sound, but I felt this feeling of freedom and liberty. I was no longer attached to eating as I was, and I just no longer had to think about it. I did a short trip that week to Santa Cruz and guess what food I packed with me for the trip? Yep, just a large bottle of space food and that was all I had to do. I felt a very strong will against eating anything (including desserts, which have always been a weak spot for me).
What kept me going throughout that entire week was that my energy levels that week were better than they had ever been. I had extremely stable energy levels with no low points throughout the day at all, where in comparison to normal food I experience low points where I feel tired in the middle of the day on a semi-regular basis.
So did I give up food entirely? Absolutely not – chewing remains one of my hobbies 🙂 I do, however, replace a regular meal with space food often if I am short on time or just don’t want to spend time preparing food. Also, my willpower against food has remained and I find myself a lot stronger in resisting temptations of food that I don’t find particularly healthy.