How long did you fast/stay at the Center?
I fasted at the center for 5 ½ days. I stayed at the center for a total of 28 days during August and September 2002.
What is your age, gender, weight before your fast, and height?
I am a 53-year-old male. I am 6′ tall and weighed approximately 127 lbs. when I arrived at Tanglewood.
What was your weight after completing the fast? What is your weight now?
I weighed about 113-½ lbs. after I completed the short fast of 5 ½ days and I now weigh about 120 lbs.
Why did you decide to fast?
I went to the hospital because I was having difficulty breathing and was immediately diagnosed as having emphysema. I had also lost a lot of weight over the past few years due to this condition. All the doctor needed to hear was that I was a smoker and concluded that I should have no hope of recovery. Of course, I didn’t buy into this terminal outlook because I knew that my body still had the ability to heal itself when I was sick or injured. I had fasted many short fasts before and I knew the benefit that fasting can produce. I knew that all animals in the wild fast instinctively when wounded, injured or sick and that they are able to recover very well from all sorts of physical ailments and so I took my cue from them and decided to find a quiet and peaceful place to fast.
What was your biggest apprehension going into the fast?
My only apprehension about fasting was about losing more weight. I had gone from a natural weight of around 155 lbs. to about 125 lbs. by the time I arrived at Tanglewood. I went on a pre-fast raw fruit/veggie diet for the first 12 days at Tanglewood and lost about seven lbs. more before I even started fasting. Even though I was assured I would be in no danger I could not get over the idea of starting a longer fast with such little weight to spare.
Did you ever consider ending the fast during the process? Why and why did you continue or stop?
As I mentioned above the only apprehension I had was losing so much weight. When I arrived at Tanglewood, at 125 lbs., I didn’t think about the weight loss until I had gone from 125 to 114 lbs. while on the raw fruit and veggie pre-feeding diet. By the time I was ready to start my fast I was so skinny that I was shocked to look at myself in the mirror and could not imagine losing much more weight. And so 5 ½ days into the fasting process I had a change of mind and decided to break the fast and continue on with the raw food diet instead. I also decided at that time that I would come back to Tanglewood at a later date when I had gained some of my lost weight back after a time of eating a natural raw food diet for some months, and then go on a fast of longer duration, when I would be more physically and psychologically able to cope with the loss of weight.
Did you accomplish what you set out to do with your fast?
Obviously the goal of complete recovery was not accomplished. However, the time spent at Tanglewood has allowed me to get a start in the right direction and on the right track. What I did accomplish though was to see and experience first hand what can be accomplished with a raw food diet! The benefit I received from just the raw food diet alone stands on its own merit. I was able to read and write without the use of my reading glasses. I arrived at Tanglewood with swelling in both my ankles that disappeared in just three days of the diet. I was able to cold turkey cigarettes quite easily and did not have any problems concerning cravings or withdrawal symptoms, which was a real blessing. I was able to breathe much easier from the third day onward. I was able to sleep through the entire night from the second night onward after having suffered exhaustively from lack of deep restful sleep for month’s prior. I was able to feel completely rested and at ease. My appetite for food returned after the third day, after having no appetite for any food in general for years. And it came back with a vengeance. I was constipated before I arrived and this was gone in three days and my BMs became very regular and natural for the first time in a long while. I was able to do a little bit of exercise, walking down the driveway hill and back without having panic attacks from not being able to catch my breath. I could tell by the condition of my fingernails that something very positive was going on. It seemed as though each day I would see or feel some small degree of improvement and this was very inspirational, to me, and kept me feeling very positive and up beat.
Would you recommend that people have their fasts supervised? Why or why not?
Yes, most definitely. I say this because I have tried fasting on my own on many occasions and I have found it most difficult to fight temptation (to not fast) when in a setting where I am the only one trying to change while everything else around me remains the same. It is very difficult to fast when the kitchen is full of food and drink and everyone else in the household is going about their normal eating routines. I made many mistakes and cheated the process by nibbling and binge eating and then would suffer the lapse of will power with negative impressions about myself and feelings of failure.
Fasting and dieting at a place like Tanglewood, under supervision and with support from people who have knowledge of the fasting process, who care to make your fasting experience a successful endeavor, as well as the camaraderie that practically guarantees success. I didn’t have to worry about failure or temptation because there was nothing there to tempt me. I wasn’t concerned about failure because I didn’t have to depend or rely on myself to be strong willed. I placed myself in the hand of a very knowledgeable staff and I knew they would not let me fail!
Why did you choose to fast at the Tanglewood Wellness Center?
I chose the Tanglewood Wellness Center after surfing the net while looking for a place to fast. I wanted to got to a place that had a natural setting, someplace that was not in some neighborhood somewhere with Bar-B-Q neighbors, or quick-stop-stores outside the front door, or traffic outside the windows zooming along at rush hours, and fast food restaurants around the corner. I also did not want to go to a Bed and Breakfast type of place, in someone’s three bedroom converted ranch where members of the household sat around eating potato chips and guzzling cokes because they were “not into fasting” and that kind of stuff. I wanted a place to go where it would be peaceful and quiet, natural and serene. I had seen Tanglewood when it was in its previous location and I made a note because it was in my affordability range but I still kept looking. Then, I came back some weeks later and discovered that they had moved to the present location on the side of a mountain with acreage surrounding it. I knew then that this was the place for me. Another criteria for my selection was that I wanted to go to a place where I could see stars at night. As it turned out Tanglewood was everything and more than I had hoped it would be. I had mentioned that it was so quiet that I could almost hear the leaves falling. On clear nights the Milky Way could be seen clearly overhead in the deep starlit sky. The wraparound deck faces out on a forest of treetops with trees with girths of three and four feet that must be a couple hundred years old and two hundred feet tall. I watched as deer and fawn grazed in the grasses on the hillsides below the deck on numerous occasions. I was able to feel the peace and quiet of the sounds of silence as well as listen to the music of the wind breezing through the leaves of the trees. Tanglewood was a blessing to me.
What was your experience at the TWC like? What did you do all day?
I would have to say that from a strictly personal-life point of view the time I spent at TWC was probably the best time I have ever spent anywhere in my entire life. I say this because at no other time in my life was I able to do the things, on a personal, inner level, as I was able to do in such an ongoing, concentrated state. I was able to spend many h ours reading and writing, meditating, deep breathing, resting and relaxing, sleeping, exercising, and contemplating. I was able to focus on the here and now and enjoy the presence in the present moment like never before. I was able to not have to be concerned about day to day things that take up so much of my time while at home in the real world, which in an d of itself was a form of freedom that I was scarcely unaware that I had lost.
A typical day would start when I would wake up and get out of bed. After a while I would have breakfast, usually fresh fruit or melons. Then I would sit out on the deck in the morning sunlight for an hour or so, perhaps reading or writing in my journal. Then I would relax in side and meditate for a while. Then I would do a number of repetitions of the five rites. Then, I would have some lunch, usually fresh fruits and nuts on occasion. Then I would often go for a hike down the hill and comeback up again. By this time it was usually mid-afternoon and I would meditate, read, write, relax, sit out on the deck and just “be there” until it was time for dinner, which was usually a fine green tossed salad prepared by one of the interns. After dinner I would return to the deck or spend the rest of the early evening reading and making entries in my journal. I was usually with lights out about 8:30 or 9:00, sometimes a little later. This was a typical day while I was eating. While I was fasting I spent most of my time in my room relaxing, conserving as much energy as possible. I did not do the five rites nor did I go for any hikes while I was fasting.
What did you experience during the fast?
My 5 ½ day fast was so short that I barely was able to get into it before I felt the need to cut it short. All in all it was a very intensely personal experience. I had thoughts of eating favorite food for the first few days but not after the third day. I felt very positive the first two days, very centered. Focusing my attention seemed much easier. It was sunny and bright outdoors, very pleasant. The third, fourth and fifth days I was feeling blue and melancholy. I was really missing my family and home. The third and fourth days it was overcast with sprinkles and showers on and off, rather gray days. Didn’t have much energy to spare and didn’t feel up to doing anything except resting in bed. Didn’t even feel like reading or writing very much either. Felt weak on the fifth day, little or no energy at all. Broke the fast at dinnertime on the sixth day with a few small pieces of Gallia (sp?) melon and immediately felt much better, mental and emotionally very up. I did have the sensation of being somewhat lighter on the sixth day but I experienced no improvement in the heaviness in my chest or that condition in general. I did feel better after the fast was over though.
Just purified water? Did you get hungry?
Yes just purified water. I drank about three or four quarts each day while on the fast. I never did get hungry. The first two days I did have thoughts about eating some of my favorite foods but it was purely mental. As soon as I turned off the thought of eating I had no more thoughts about it and after two days I had no thoughts at all about food in general. This is what makes fasting so easy; there is no real hunger to have to deal with.
Did you get weak?
Yes, but not extremely weak. It was more a feeling of blah, bland or lethargic.
What was the best part of the process for you?
The only way I can really answer these questions and relate my experiences is if I use the entire time spent at TWC since my fasting time was of such short duration. The best part of the entire process for me would have to be broken down into three parts, because they are interconnected. The three parts would include the people, the place and the process.
The people at TWC made my stay there a very rich and rewarding experience. Loren Lockman, Dr. Robert Sniadach, Lyzette, Inga, Harmony and Kim all were instrumental in helping me get back on the right track and on the road to recovery. Loren and Robert made me feel assured and quite comfortable with their knowledge and understanding of the fasting process. I felt very confident in their expertise and judgments concerning my pre-fast diet as well as the re-feeding diet once my short fast was concluded. I can only say that I was very happy to be there and that these two were there to help me through it. I joked to both Loren and Robert that I was going to talk to the Pope and ask him to canonize both of them for sainthood because I felt from the bottom of my heart that the world needs more people like them! They were always there to help and listen and I was very thankful for their attention. I was truly touched by their compassion, their warmth, caring, openness and professionalism.
All the members of the staff and the interns on duty during my stay there, all contributed, each in their own unique way, to my return to health and feeling of well being in a very fundamental way. They all showed a tireless willingness to make my stay as comfortable and pleasant as possible and were ever vigilant to any need that I might have had. They looked after me with a purpose not unlike that of a doting parent. They were also very knowledgeable about the fruits and vegetables served at mealtimes and I learned much from them concerning proper dietary combinations, preparations, mono-diets, how to determine ripeness and much more. I felt fortunate to have all these people helping me to recover my health and I thanked God many times for allowing me to find Tanglewood.
Tanglewood is not just a building, it is a beautiful home. It is bright and spacious and has, I believe, six bedrooms. The kitchen is modern and well stocked with a variety of organic raw foods. There is a small library where daily meditations are held. The living room is off the library and has a cathedral type ceiling. The décor is very comfortable and for the most part made of natural materials. All the blankets, sheets and towels are made of cotton. Everything there seems naturally fitted for comfort and utility.
Outside, the deck wraps around half the house on the downhill side and affords a view of the treetops to the east and the hillside away in the distance to the south. The forest is lush with tall timber while the forest floor is relatively clear and passable. There are streams that run down the hillside and help shape the terrain. The nearest neighbor is about and eighth of a mile away, down the drive and around the corner out of sight.
There is a captivating quality to be found in the presence of a pristine and serene landscape. The grounds amid the trees at Tanglewood have that captivating effect. It is peaceful there. It is tranquil. In the stillness of the silence the senses are soothed. The mental stream becomes less turbulent and flows more in accord with the rhythms of its natural environment. The emotions are elevated and become more sympathetic to the beauty revealed in the balance. The body, whether fasting or feeding, becomes relaxed and renewed. This, I am sure, you will also find to be true with your experience at Tanglewood.
The process of fasting was not new to me, having studied the process in the many books I have in my home library on the subject, written by many notable authors with considerable experience supervising fasts, and I was able to draw from my own experience of having fasted many times in the past. What was new to me, however, was the raw food diet of fresh fruit and vegetables. It truly amazed me to witness first hand how quickly lesser health problems of long standing seemed to be corrected and disappear. This was the easiest and most rapid development to identify as positive, constructive changes taking place within my body. Each and every day I cold sense, feel and see these physical changes taking place and these physical changes mirrored an inner reflection of an outlook growing brighter and an attitude positively becoming. I would have to say that this is the single most important lesson I learned while at Tanglewood. I believe in supervised fasting because there are many signs and crisis points to be aware of and watch out for that inexperienced faster might not be able to identify on their own, but everyone can enjoy and benefit from a raw food diet and you don’t have to worry about getting in over your head.
What was the most difficult part of the process for you?
There was no real difficult part of the process of fasting or dieting for me. The only difficulty I had was coming to grips with missing my wife and daughter, and the slow passage of time. When I arrived I had planned to spend 60 days at TWC. This amount of time would be the longest time away from my six-year-old daughter and it was difficult in the early going until I was able to come to grips with that fact. It was also difficult to have to leave TWC early, after only 28 days because of a family emergency that necessitated my return home.
I should add to this answer and reiterate that I did have difficulty with the amount of weight lost before I started the fast, but this was due to the condition I was in when I arrived and did not arise out of the fasting process itself.
Was it ever painful?
I never felt anything anywhere near pain. At times while fasting I did feel lethargic and out of sorts but I took these sensations to be signs that my body was throwing off its toxic load and that it was something to be expected and that it would soon pass. Was the process ever painful? No, certainly not.
What did you experience after the fast?
The first thing I experienced was how wonderful and delicious the food tasted to me. Everything I ate tasted like the best thing I had ever eaten. Re-feeding was a delightful experience but especially so in the very early days after the fast. I was also aware of an excitement of going forward with the post fast diet, knowing that I could accomplish the recovery of health and well being by continuing on with the healthy diet as well as fasting again at some time in the future. I was able to introduce certain behavioral modifications in my day to day routine while I was still at TWC that were somewhat ingrained by the time I left to go home. This was a big help in keeping the process going for me once I did return home. The transition from TWC to being at home was/is not an easy one but I have been able to maintain the raw food diet and water drinking to 85-90% of my intake. I am able to do some exercising and find that I am able to do small jobs around the house and yard without having panic attacks. I am able to do my own shopping again and go for walks and be more active with my daughter. I have more strength now than I did before the fast/diet. I certainly have more stamina and vitality. My appetite has continued to increase. All in all, I can say that the difference in how I feel now opposed to how I felt the day I walked through the door at TWC is a difference as clear as night and day. I have positive weight gain. I have a positive outlook. I believe in the tools of fasting and diet and can testify to the therapeutic power of eating and drinking the way back to health. Even through I know I am still in the early stages of recovery I can say that now I can see a light at the end of the tunnel, instead of not being able to see any future at all. So, this in itself is a very worthwhile experience.
What kind of diet did you follow after the fast? Was eating difficult afterwards?
The re-feeding diet of fresh organic fruits and vegetables, along with some nuts and seeds, I have pretty much maintained since I came off the fast at TWC. It has not been so easy being at home as it was while at TWC but I have continued to eat fresh fruit and vegetables, and drink distilled water, which constitutes about 85-90% of my entire diet. I have strayed from the natural food on a few occasions, as I am sure I will stray again in the future. But I will continue with this dietary discipline without a doubt. I eat fruit for breakfast and lunch, usually one kind of fruit at a meal and for dinner I have a simple tossed green salad with a lemon juice dressing. I eat mangos a lot for breakfast and eat at least one avocado with my evening salads as these are newfound favorite foods and I enjoy them. I do not find this diet to be boring at all. I enjoy the raw food diet because I know it is food that is alive and nourishing to every cell of my body.
I have had no difficulty eating at all. I am able to digest everything I eat and elimination has been regular and natural.
Would you fast again?
Yes. After I regain some of my natural weight back I will fast again at TWC for sure. I am sure there is much more benefit I can derive from a physical health standpoint by fasting again, for a longer period next time. This short fast was just the beginning of a long road back to health. I also want to fast for the mental and intuitive aspects of the process. This is the part of the process I missed out on by not fasting for a longer period. I believe fasting, the cessation of nutrient intake, allows the body intelligence to take over and heal itself of sickness and injury. I also believe that fasting produces cleaner blood in the long run and that cleaner blood nourishes the brain and every other organ, fiber and cell of the body with a cleaner food supply, which, in turn, allows the mind to function more properly and at a higher level. This is the part of the process that is most exciting, stimulating and sought after for me. Yes, I certainly will fast again and I look forward to the day when I will return to Tanglewood for my next supervised fast.
How could your experience here be improved?
The only criticism I have of my stay at Tanglewood was having to suffer through the heat waves without air conditioning. Even through the air conditioning was turned on once during my stay, when the temperature went well over 100 degrees, the rest of the time it was not in use. For people with conditions like mine, breathing problems, respiratory ailments, suffering through those heat saves was a torture. I can’t speak for the other fasters but I know they suffered through the heat as well. My experience at TWC could have been improved by climate control during heat waves.
What piece of advice would you give to other fasters?
Keep a positive focus on the desired end in sight. Be aware of the slow moving passage of time. The act of fasting frees the attention from normal time consuming thoughts about shopping for food, preparation of food, what to eat, when to eat, where to eat and so on and so forth, because you will find that you now have much more time on your hands. I would tell them to keep a diary or journal of their fasting experience to use as a reference point, to document signs and symptoms in the fast as it progresses. This way the cycles of the fast can be easily seen and recognized when looking back at it. I don’t have a lot of experience to draw from as far as being able to give other fasters advice but I will say that first and foremost, fast with competent supervision.
I would advise potential fasters to find the right place to do the fast. I would suggest a fasting center that was in the country where it is peaceful and quiet instead of the centers located in the city. There is too much noise and pollution to deal with in a crowded hustle bustle environment. The country provides a tranquil setting in which to rest and fast. I would certainly say that anyone considering going on a fast or a raw food diet would be hard pressed to find a better, more beautiful, more peaceful place than Tanglewood.