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YankeeDB

Fasting

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I'm looking into this and was wondering if others here have experience or knowledge on this topic.

It seems commonsensical that leaving the intestines alone to heal themselves for a while would be beneficial.

I know this has to be done carefully with attention to health and motivation (i.e., not as a way to lose weight quickly).

I just did a quick look at some fasting books available on amazon .com and was surprised to find that the 3 or 4 I glanced at did NOT mention celiac disease in their indexes. But, one did have several references to gluten.

Fasting is not fashionable these days (in our eating-disorders conscious society) but I know that many doctors endorse it when practiced in specific ways.

There is even a "Complete idiots guide to fasting" now! Who knew?

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YankeeDB,

Wow, it's funny you should ask that! I just recently had a relevant experience, but I hesitated to report it because of the whole issue of appearing to condone eating disorders. (I believe that short fasting is something that can be done unsupervised if you can honestly say that you have NO tendency toward a distorted body image. Extended fasting, or short fasting in an individual with body-image issues, should always be done under the supervision of a doctor or naturopath, in my opinion.) Since you asked, though, here goes:

I haven't been on the board for a week because I was travelling, and for various reasons I was unable to eat anything on one of those days until 7:00 pm. Actually, there were ways that I could have acquired food, but I was under intense stress and probably couldn't have choked it down anyway, so I made the conscious decision to fast until dinner (which I knew would be a light meal--for me, at least--that would be suitable for breaking my fast). Well, I did get hungry, but not hypoglycemic (thank you gluten-free diet!), and shortly before dinner I noticed that my formerly bloated lower abdomen was totally flat! At first, I attributed this to my intestines being entirely empty, but after dinner (during which I took digestive enzymes to help ease the transition to eating again) my belly was STILL FLAT! Previously, I would bloat to the size of a volleyball just by taking a bite or two of food. Now, a few days later, I MAY be starting to bloat a bit again, but it's actually hard to tell! I am astonished that I would see so great a change after so short a fast, but I credit the gluten-free diet for laying the groundwork.

After that wonderful experience, I have decided to undertake the food-based liver cleanse/gallbladder flush procedure described here, which I have been considering doing for quite some time. Today was my first day of apple-juice fasting, and I am feeling a bit crampy inside and slightly headachy, with minor aches and pains in my neck and shoulders that seem to be originating from my gut somehow. I don't know how to explain it, but it's the same sort of pain a patient experiences after waking up from laparoscopic surgery (where they inflate the abdomen with gas). I suppose there is an extremely remote chance that the juice may have contained trace amounts of gluten, but I think it's much more likely that there is simply a good reason why my family always used to refer to tummy trouble as green-apple-quickstep! We'll see how tomorrow goes. I'm not using any of the herbs or the Epsom salts, but I hope I get at least SOME results from this flush. I may not, though, since it is my first. I'm really hoping that it will help with my sleep difficulties, and clearing up my residual acne would also be a nice side effect! If you're interested, I'll let you know how it turns out.

I hope you're doing well, and that you find what you need to make an informed decision about fasting. Good luck!

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Sarah, Hi! I'm VERY interested in how your experience goes, so please post again.

As I understand this, one can do total fasts (water only) for one day or up to about two weeks or so and these are the true "fasts". Then there are "juice fasts" where you have only juice and there are other programs that incorporate specialized nutritional substances.

Since I've only been gluten-free for a few weeks (with several accidents), I'm thinking I want to let my body first get used living without gluten and with healthy food to build up a base level of health/strength. Then, I'll probably try a one-day juice fast of some type and see how it goes.

I got the idea to investigate this when I had to do a liquid diet on the day prior to a colonoscopy (which showed no major problems, BTW) and discovered that after I recovered from the sedatives (double-yuck!) I felt quite good and not at all weakened as I expected to.

I'll definitely check out the link you posted and again, thanks for your post! Ann :)

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Ann,

Well, I got some results from my gallbladder flush! Here's how it went: I survived the two days of apple-juice fasting with no significant difficulty. I had aches and pains in my neck and shoulders and a sensation of pressure under my lower ribs, but no hypoglycemia (thanks ENTIRELY to having been gluten-free for almost four months, I am sure--it used to be a serious problem for me).

Then I concocted and drank the "vinaigrette" mixture of extra-virgin olive oil and a freshly-juiced organic grapefruit. I was quite pleasantly surprised that it tasted neither greasy nor sour! I went to bed for the night immediately afterward and slept on my right side as much as possible, as instructed. Before I drifted off, I noticed increased pressure under my right ribs, so I figured the procedure was working. I experienced very mild queasiness as well, but nothing I couldn't ignore.

In the morning, my bowels started churning as soon as I woke up, but I didn't pass any recognizable stones during my first visit to the toilet. I then went and drank a quart of warm water with un-iodized sea salt added, which wasn't entirely pleasant (though nowhere near as bad as I hear Epsom salts taste!), but it got things moving along. I made several trips to the bathroom after that point, and each time I passed liquid stool with little "bumps" in it. Each "bump," it turns out, was a gallstone that was about the size of a plump raisin and a rich emerald green! Because I couldn't resist, I retrieved one and discovered that it was malleable but quite solid. No way could anything like that be produced by cider + oil + grapefruit juice! I'm not sure how many I passed in all (I couldn't see any that didn't float), but it was definitely at least a dozen, plus a plethora of smaller "pebbles."

The one part of the procedure I ended up finding impossible was the requirement to eat only soft-cooked vegetables on the day of the flush. I had serious appetite and hypoglycemia problems, so after it became clear that my bowels had emptied, I ate some turkey breast and a couple of rice cakes, and I had two uncured turkey hot dogs and some (too many!) dried apple slices at bedtime. I was feeling stressed out for a number of reasons, so I didn't get to bed until 2:00 am, but my sleep was improved. I still woke up during the night, but not as fully, and I had no trouble going right back to sleep. This morning my stool was very loose (and it may have contained a few lingering stones), so I have started taking a probiotic to help reestablish intestinal harmony.

Now that I have this experience under my belt, I will be repeating the procedure every two months or so until no more stones come out. Maybe I'll be able to sleep straight through the night then! What a concept!

I hope you found this an interesting (if necessarily somewhat graphic) read! Take care!

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Sarah,

Graphic, Yes, and very interesting and informative. But I'm now puzzled after reading what you had to say about the Flush: It helped to know that you actually handled one of the "stones" and it was, you said, definitely solid, and I suppose you were tempted to do this in answer to the arguments that these so-called stones are not stones but are really congealed olive oil. I went to the Andrew Weil Website to find out his take on this. He says, referring to what he calls "...the folk remedy known as the liver flush....The day after you manage to down the olive oil, you pass green globs that you may think are dissolved gallstones but are actually the residue of the olive oil you consumed."

Lately I've found his answers to many questions to be fairly conservative and seemingly less willing to probe very deeply into issues that stray a bit too far from the mainstream. But I'm reluctant to put his answer to this one in the same category. It seems to me that one should be about to discover the facts in this case very easily. And being the head of an Integrative Health Program at the Univ. of Arizona, he should, you would think, have had plenty of opportunity to have checked this out. I

I'm particularly interested in this because, with members of the family, including many relatives, having gallbladder issues, I thought of doing it myself, but held off because of "experts," like Weil, who are critical of the procedure. I don't doubt that you found something that felt solid, Sarah, but can you be sure that it it was a gallstone, and not olive oil wrapped around some partially digested food stuff? Forgive the question, but I find it hard to fathom why a matter like this is still being debated when it could so easily be answered quickly by a simple clinical testing procedure. Aldo

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Instead of fasting to give the intestines a rest, you could also go on a low-residue diet. I've been doing that for the past three days, and it ain't fun to say the least (I have always been a fruit and veggie eater - often raw), but my hemmorhoids told me I needed a break from... well, you know. It's probably not quite as thorough a break as regular fasting or something else might be, but a compromise.

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Aldo,

What had me convinced that these lumps came from my gallbladder was not so much the texture as the color. Have you ever noticed that in medical drawings, the gallbladder is always colored green (often bright green)? I believe it really IS that color in vivo because of all the bile inside it. The lumps I passed were a rich, dark emerald green, a far cry from the rather pale yellowy-green of even extra-virgin olive oil.

Also, I collected four gallstones and set them aside on toilet paper, then forgot about them for a few days. When I remembered them and went to look at them again, they had started to disintegrate (unsurprisingly, since they were made of a fluid substance and were not hard as rocks to begin with, and they were sitting on an absorbent surface). There were no bits of undigested food mixed in with the stone fragments. They appeared entirely homogeneous.

One other bit of evidence I have that my gallbladder was expelling stones is that I experienced increased pressure under my right lower ribcage the day after I drank the "vinaigrette." It waxed and waned a bit, then waxed and stayed that way for several hours. During this time, I found it difficult to bend over, and it really felt like a (small) stone was stuck in my bile duct. I slept on my right side that night in the hope of passing it while I slept, and I felt normal again when I woke up.

The bottom line is, no, I can't be 100% sure that I passed gallstones, but I have reason to believe that I did. I chose to try the gallbladder flush procedure because it requires only ordinary food to accomplish and because it is simultaneously a diagnostic and a therapeutic procedure. I asked myself, "Is there any reason I can think of why I should NOT give this procedure a try?" And after considering it in the back fo my mind for a couple of months, I concluded that the answer for me was NO. I don't feel 100% better since the flush, but I did not expect to, and I did see some improvement. We'll see what happens after subsequent flushes.

I hope this is useful to you. Take care!

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Hi Sarah,

Yes, your post was very useful, so much so that I've spent many hours since, tracking down as much info as possible in order to make a well informed decision concerning whether I should be doing the Flush. In doing so, I became convinced that whether the procedure is for everyone, I believe we all should be aware of this treatment option that seems to hold so much promise not only for everyone who is having liver/gallbladder problems but for us with celiac disease, in particular. Because of this, I thought it was important to start a new topic: "Gallbladder Flush" so that it can be given the attention it deserves. (It's posted in the Post Diagnosis Forum). Thank you for bringing this treatment option to our attention. --Aldo

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Sarah,

I tried to e-mail you. I am interested in reading what your celiac disease symptoms are, because some of them that I have read here and there in the boards are like mine! You once mentioned something about "pressure points", and "hypoglycemia. I have not yet been diagnosed--I had suggestive bloodwork and am having endoscopy at end of month. I am very thin (always have been, but the rest of my family is not). I am "prone" to diarrhea--I don't have it every day, but I go through phases of it. I usually have it a few times a month--some months a lot more than others--I am almost never constipated. I have bloating a lot which has gotten worse since going back on birth control (everything I think has gotten worse since birth control). I have these pains around my umbilicus (not all the time--on an off, but usually everyday), that are tender when I touch them. The last month the pains are about 2 in above my naval (now I am documenting stuff). I have occasional heartburn/belching stuff that I never had before about 6 mos. ago. I can look 5 mos. pregnant after eating! I thought this was normal for people, but I guess not--I have always been that way. I cannot say I have these symptoms with relation to when or what I eat. It is just on and off all the time and I am not gluten-free. I have other stuff that has started over the past two years or some before that: joint pains, frequent upper resp infections, headaches, numbness and tingling. These things come and go to. When I was pregnant I had to consume obscene amounts of calories in order to gain weight--they threatened to put me hospital with feeding tube if I did not--so I literally ate like a pig despite nausea and vomiting. My kids were born healthy, but my daughter had to be induced due to placental insuffieciency--my placenta started deteriorating despite that I am not a smoker, drinker, diabetic or otherwise high risk for such. I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia a few years ago after a five hour glucose study--the doc said it was pretty common for small active high metabolism women. Sorry this is so long and am VERY sorry to use this thread to try to contact you, but I am really seeking answers, and it seems you may be able to help. I apologize again.

ThANKS,

Karina

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Karina,

I apologize; sometimes I neglect or forget to check my e-mail for several days at a time. My symptoms include hypoglycemia, tender pressure points, and a tendency to bloat after meals (though it's not nearly as bad now as it used to be), as well as this list I excerpted from a very old thread here on this board:

I've displayed clusters of the more obscure celiac disease symptoms for pretty much my entire life: canker sores and frequent infections (I got mono when I was three!); gingivitis, cavities, and nocturnal bone pain; acne, migraines, and endometriosis; severe depression, anxiety, and chronic fatigue syndrome; lifelong problems with a furred tongue and periodic vertigo; and finally, after I went wheat-free for my breastfeeding baby's sake, cramps and unique-smelling diarrhea when I ate barley (or rice that I cooked afterward in the same pan!). I have had all kinds of episodes of pain or other symptoms doctors could not explain that, in retrospect, I am sure were acute exacerbations of celiac disease.

I suspected celiac disease only when my second child developed foul-smelling, bulky stools after I began giving him rye crackers to teethe on. His older brother had had EXACTLY the same symptoms but hadn't been wheat-free, so his pediatrician had blamed fruit juice. Our new pediatrician explained (when I asked) that she would not suspect celiac disease in their cases because they are very tall (80th-95th percentiles) and hitting all their milestones--but when I explained my symptoms and reported that I had had a non-zero salivary anti-gliadin antibody test (performed as part of a chronic fatigue syndrome panel) even after months of consuming virtually no wheat products, her eyes got wide and she started talking about false-negatives and family history and maybe getting both boys tested for celiac disease!

There may be other symptoms as well that I just can't remember right now! I hope this information is helpful to you as you seek answers of your own about gluten intolerance. Good luck!

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Sarah,

Thanks for expounding on your symptoms! I assume you are feeling better now? Have you been formally diagnosed with celiac disease? By endoscopy? Just curious. Also, are your tender pressure points on your abdomen like mine? Or do you mean fibromayalgia pressure points--I researched these and none of them are on the abdomen. I guess I am mostly concerned about these abdominal pains/pressure points because I don't here many other people experiencing this. Anyway, thanks for your reply!

Karina

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Karina,

Yes, I am feeling a whole lot better. I have seen improvement in areas where I didn't even realize I had been feeling bad! I have not been formally diagnosed with celiac disease, not even by blood work, because by the time I realized that gluten was most likely responsible for my generally suboptimal health I had already been wheat-free for several months. I will not consent to a gluten challenge because of my personal ethics, so I intend to order the gene test from Enterolab for myself and my kids as soon as I can afford to.

The pressure points I was referring to are not on my abdomen; I think they are more like fibromyalgia pressure points. I DO remember localized abdominal aches that I had assumed were muscular in origin, and I sometimes get a dull pressure/pain under my ribcage (either on the left side, which I assume is caused by stomach fullness or bloating, or on the right side, which I assume is related to a sluggish gallbladder). Also, I went to the emergency room when I was 6 years old for severe pain under my lower right ribs that prevented me from taking a deep breath. I don't remember whether I had a fever or not, and I do remember vomiting a few times, so maybe the diagnosis of gastroenteritis was accurate, but I'm not totally convinced. I also spent the night under observation for appendicitis once while I was in college, but I had no fever and the pain was centered...a couple of inches above my navel. They never did figure that one out!

So, I MAY have experienced something similar to your pain, but certainly not on a regular basis. I hope your doctor can help you uncover the mechanism behind your discomfort, so you can avoid it or at least stop worrying if you find out it is likely to clear up once you go gluten-free. I wish you the best of luck!

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Sarah,

Thanks for sharing. I am learning a lot by reading various posts, including yours. I feel like evetually I will figure out what is going on with me. I have that endoscopy at the end of March so right now? Right now I am going to eat all the gluten I can :lol:

Karina

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I just want to caution you about viewing endoscopy as the definitive means of diagnosing celiac disease. The latest newsletter contains a very detailed and informative article concerning this very matter. It blows holes in pretty much all of current traditional medicine's thinking as far as what will accurately diagnosis celiac disease.

I have had, for years, localized abdominal pain, in about the same area that you described. I always mentioned it and asked about it when I went in for my exams and there was never an answer. I'm sure that we've all experienced that blank look doctors offer when they have absolutely no idea what you are talking about and blow it off with an off-hand answer. I was told it was muscular, or maybe just something I ate(duh), take pepto-bismal, do more crunches, that kind of answer. I absolutely could not have anyone touch my abdomen without getting sick to my stomache and feeling dizzy.

It's almost completely gone now.

Every day I see more improvement in my health, and every day I feel I take another step towards better living.

Like I've posted somewhere else, I absolutely refuse to partake in a gluten challenge, but may do genetic testing when feasible. I had an endoscopy done a few years ago and got hold of that report...it was for stomache pain, and they whirled around and didn't find anything obvious to their eyes so they labeled it reflux and slammed me on Zantac. What the report actually said was that the villi were blunted, but there were no obvious lesions.

Not everyone's villi will be blunted, it will depend at what point and in what specific area damage may be occurring.

Good luck! :)

Teresa

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Hello, i was diagnosed with celiac disease in Oct,03 after about 3 yrs. It's funny how things work out because just the other day i was thinking on fasting because of feeling so bloated even after making a small bowel movement. I used to fast once in a while before bein g told what i had. I guess i just assumed being gluten free would end all the problems . once in a while i get a burning sensation and pain on my right side , and my bones acke any one have any in put to help me . Also i have interstistal cysticis and have read that celiac disease plays a part in this

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Theresa,

Thanks for the reply! I need to ask my doc what happens if this endo is "normal". He was quick to think I have celiac disease--he said it is much more prevalent than what was once thought (obviously), but he said if I had it I don't have to "do" anything if I don't want. After researching, I am thinking how could he say that? I am a poster child for osteoporosis as it is--why would I not waqnt to do something to help myself? I am already iron deficient now--I was just surprised he was so cavalier about it. If my endo is normal then it is going to be up to me I guess to go gluten-free to see if it helps, but is their a blood test that is diagnostic when you are consuming gluten? I had a celiac panel, but doc says it alone is not diagnostic.

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My daughter was diagnosed by blood test. She had barium scans and all of that, but not an endo, he didn't feel it was necessary since she was positive on the serum test. The latest newsletter article actually mentioned that in that doctor's findings the blood test usually only comes back positive AFTER major damage has been being done in the intestines.

I belong to a huge health system here in NW washington, and their big thing right now is endo endo endo. They are waaaaaay behind in knowledge as far as celiac disease is concerned. It was just a few months ago that they were still running on the idea that all people with celiac disease were emaciated and wasted. I've found doctors to be very cavalier about it.

So, it really is, i think in most cases, up to us to do what we know we need to do.

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I am not sure exacltly what was on my celiac blood panel. A couple of IgG's and a couple of IgA's and one other thing starting with a T I THINK, what I am wondering is what specific blood tests would be considered diagnostic. I ask this because I have noticed that different people had different ones done, and I don't know what the difference is.

Karina

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Karina, my understanding (and I hope others will correct me if I am wrong) is that none of the blood tests are considered definitive for Celiac Disease. Only a biopsy of the small intestine will do that. However, many doctors believe that positive results on the blood tests are sufficient for the patient to try a gluten-free diet and if that helps symptoms to consider the person as "gluten intolerant". Other doctors use the blood tests mainly to decide if the endoscopy is worth it--it looks like your doctor is in that category.

Some doctors think that biopsies can yield a "false negative" which means it looks like you DON'T have celiac disease when actually you do. Interpretation of results is subjective. Also, there is the chance they won't sample your intestine at a spot where there is damage. So, even if your biopsy is negative and your doctor says you don't have celiac disease, you might STILL want to try a gluten-free diet to see how you feel.

The world of medicine is much murkier than I would like to believe.

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