Sometimes the modern world and society is simply overstimulating.
Sometimes it is necessary to escape the hustle and bustle and get back to our roots.
To hit the reset button and get centered.
That, is what I decided to do.
For 3 days in the woods of South Jersey.
I knew a camping trip in nature was in order to balance out my life and get into a better state of mind. I needed clarity on some big things that are on my horizons (moving to a Colorado). Time in nature gives insights into different ways of thinking and presents a unique hue to the lens in which life is viewed.
When entering the woods something magical happens. The trees dance with gentle grace of the wind. Sunlight bounces all around the earthy tones, emanating life everywhere. Once becoming aware of the ease and simplicity of the great outdoors, I synced up with vibe of nature and automatically calmed down, becoming a component of my surroundings.
I hiked a peaceful journey for six miles to a campsite. Being the only person on the trail lead me to calibrate with nature. With each mile my stress and stressors melted away. Just me, the Pinewoods and my essentials (backpack that held: tent, sleeping bag, water, clothes, journal, and the book Stealing Fire)
Theres a real disconnection from our natural habitat with a vast majority of society. Our ancestors were outside on a daily basis and were highly in tune with nature. The fact that we are indoors for hours on end is weakening our relationship to nature. When in nature we are easily more connected to something bigger than ourselves. Being in nature is something the modern world lacks innately.
I truly believe that there would be less depression and anxiety in the world if more people were to dedicate more of their time to being nature. It is now scientifically shown to improve ones overall vitality in life.
A simple 30-min walk on a nature trail does wonders for the soul.
Being outside among the trees, plants, and wildlife we are forced to witness the simplicity of life. This in turn teaches us to SLOW DOWN and not take things so seriously.
The notion being by myself was therapeutic and challenging at the same time. This facet proved being important by providing me time and space to listen to what was going on in my own head. Disconnecting from social media and my phone led the way for less distractions. I used my phone only as a GPS in the case of getting lost (which happened = an extra six miles of hiking). I’m not the biggest talker and am somewhat of an introvert, so the no talking to people part wasn’t to bad.
The duration of the expedition was a whirlpool of emotions and feelings. The first night I got scared shitless as something was sniffing and investigating the corner base of my tent. Glimpsing “Beware of BEARS” posters at the campsite check-in, helped my subconscious into being in a state of fear as I tried to fall asleep. Bouts of loneliness came and went but were not severe. The first night I had the whole site to myself. The following days only a couple of other campers were present.
My mind was in a constant state of flux while submerged in the wild. Oddly enough I did not get bored as much as one may think. Being alone was refreshing and exciting. Gratitude and peace flowed through me at times. The simpleness around me reflected how alive and expansive life really is. An odd thing did happen as I was infiltrated with flashbacks from other exciting times in my life. My friend Phil latter told me that this was most likely me experiencing state dependent memory.
Now some of you are scratching your head asking yourself WHY THE FASTING!
Always being a fan of intermittent fasting which is a fasting of sorts that takes place on a daily basis – in short – it is cutting your eating window to that of a smaller one (i.e. 16/8 , 18/6 this is where you only have an eating window of six or eight hours a day and fast the rest)
Fasting is not just some spiritual pursuit of enlightenment but so much more. Modern studies are scientifically showing how withholding our temptations to consume food pays major dividends by improving one’s health, body, mind, and yes spirit. Science is presenting material that fasting helps with inflammation, aging, mental cognition, digestion, fat-loss, and muscle growth to name a few.
According to research conducted by neuroscientist Mark Mattson and others, cutting your energy intake by fasting several days a week might help your brain ward off neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s while at the same time improving memory and mood. – John Hopkins Health Review(2016)
It is not till the last century or so that food has been so readily available and hyper-palatable. This is why we have an obesity epidemic on our hands in the US. WE TRULY ARE OVERFED AND UNDERNURSHISHED. We are not hard-wired to be eating at the top of every hour. Think back just even to 200 years ago we didn’t have drive throughs and convenience stores – we had to hunt and grow our own food – we fasted out of necessity.
Prior to this trip, I only completed a 36-hour fast (one day plus a sleep cycle). I never really had the time/discipline/or motivation to try a 3-day fast, yet knowing of all the good that could come from it.
The fast I chose to do was a 3-day water fast. Strictly just consuming plain water. Adding a fair amount of Pink Himalayan Salt (a heaping teaspoon per each gallon of water) for added electrolytes that would not break the fast while keeping my body hydrated on a more optimal level. High quality salt also helps with water retention and has a plethora of micronutrients.
The fact that we spend so much time and energy on what, where, and when to eat motivated me to fast – not eating allowed for more time to simply be in nature.
Next hearing the science behind fasting for at least 3-5 days potentially kills off the majority of your weak white blood cells while replenishing new ones thus enhancing the immune system. Also giving the digestion system a break, more energy can be allotted for deep thinking and contemplation (granting the brain an advantage it wouldn’t have otherwise).
One more motivating factor reading that fasting produces more BNDF (Brain-derived neurotrophic factor) to our brain thus enhancing our memory and brain functioning.
Acquiring inspiration from a beautiful friend of mine (Cody), pushing me to spend time in nature which gave me the timeframe to give this experiment a shot (many thanks). Then lastly is a matter of discipline: planning, deciding, mapping out where to go, how much water to bring, getting off work, saying “fuck it”, and doing the research.
JUST DO IT in simple terms.
I brought 3 gallons of water for the whole trip. One gallon per day.
An emergency protein-bar packed in the case it was needed.
Overcoming the urge to eat was definitely tough. One will need a sense of grit to battle their own hunger. When your stomach signals to the mind that it wants food, you just drink water – this tricks the body and mind into thinking it is full. Your appetite will dissipate with the consumption of water over time.
Overall the trip was one to remember. Walking around barefoot at the campsite, taking in the quietude, swimming in the murky river, reading my book on a aged log, and just being okay with doing nothing for three days was just the shake up that my equilibrium demanded.
Leaving the site a sense of accomplishment and new life exuberance felt available.
To break the fast I drank some green juice. My body grateful for the nutrients. I was rewarded with a warm fuzzy sensation. Returning home a mix of feelings arose. Tired and energized at the same time (a feeling that is hard to describe). My mood and energy: high, still knowing that my body had gone through some drastic stressors that would benefit my wellbeing in the future.
This voyage was also a fast from technology and social networks which easily become addicting, producing slow-drips of dopamine that get us coming back for more. When we subtract something like social networks we see how our minds feed of this need to see what everyone is doing. We then become distant from our own lives and well being.
The fact of challenging the norm is what I am here to spread awareness of.
So many people are willing to discredit fasting yet they have never even tried it themselves. Those people are closed minded and afraid of going outside their comfort zones. By self-experimentation I report to you that proof is in the pudding.
One thing learned early in life is to put other peoples opinions to the side and listen to your intuition and take educated risks that will award you with more colorful life.
So by being in nature, fasting, and having no distractions in front of me I paved the way for a healthy get-a-way. Being out there was a true feeling of freedom and a sense of adventure. Rewarded with an awesome experience and a true knowing that fasting from a personal account gives ones life a renewed vitality.
As I finished writing this, Audible just releases a book called the 3 Day Effect.
The 3-Day Effect takes a look at the science behind why being in the wild can make us happier, healthier, and more creative. Whether it’s rafting down Utah’s Green River, hiking in Utah’s wilderness, or walking through Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC, scientists are finding that the more exposure humans have to nature, the more we can benefit from reduced anxiety, enhanced creativity, and overall well-being. (Audibles description)
Please feel free as always to leave your comments and concerns down below if you feel called to do so.
Thanks as always for tuning in!