This is part of my fasting series, including a detailed journal of my 21-day fasting experience and my personal tips on fasting. If you’re new to fasting, get the full background on what fasting is, its benefits, and more below. Access all articles: The Fasting Series.
“The most vehement objections to fasting are made by those who have never missed a meal in their lives.” – Dr. Herbert Shelton (1895-1985)
In the past couple of days I’ve been reading up about fasting, specifically water fasting, with much interest. I intend to try a water fasting experiment myself starting 4 Feb, 2011 (Fri) and will be updating daily with a journal of my experience.
Disclaimer: Please note that this guide is only provided for informational purposes. I’m not a fasting expert or medical doctor and I’m only sharing my experience with fasting. Fasting has its risks. You agree that you use this resource at your own risk.
What’s Water Fasting?
Fasting is the process where you abstain from food and/or water for a set period of time. In water fasting, you don’t get to eat but you are free to drink as much water as you want. A popular form of fasting is juice fasting, where you consume nothing but juices (greens or fruit juice).
Fasting shouldn’t be confused with starving, where one suffers from severe lack of nutrition, vitamins and minerals. During fasting, your body burns your fat reserves (adipose) for energy. The person does not suffer any deficiency of protein, vitamins, minerals or fatty acids. Starving happens when a body has no reserve fat fuels to burn (happens for anyone with body fat from 7-10%; I will elaborate further below) and starts eating into its own muscles and organs for energy instead. Carrington (Physical Culture, 1915) put it well in these words:
“Fasting is a scientific method of ridding the system of diseased tissue, and morbid matter, and is invariably accompanied by beneficial results. Starving is the deprivation of the tissues from nutriment which they require, and is invariably accompanied by disastrous consequences.”
Starving happens when fasting ends. The amount of time one can fast without going into starvation mode depends from individual to individual, such as the fat %, body weight, body condition and so on, but the average person can actually last 40 days just drinking water alone (please do not attempt to do this yourself without doing due research first). According to A. J. Carlson, Professor of Physiology, University of Chicago, he states that a healthy, well-nourished man can live from 50 to 75 days without food, provided he is not exposed to harsh elements or emotional stress. Loren Lockman, the founder of Tangle Wood Fasting Center, has been supervising people through pasts in the past 10 years from fasts as short as a few days to as long as 10 weeks. If you do a simple search on Youtube for “water fasting log”, you’ll find vlogs of different people who have completed 10-day, 25-day and 40-day fasts.
Why Fast? (Benefits of Fasting)
Why fast? That’s a perfectly valid question. I first heard about fasting when I was young, in primary school. At a certain point in the year, there would be references to people who were fasting. For example, during PE classes, the teachers would exempt certain students from doing sports because they were fasting. Most Malay students would also not eat during recess breaks. I later found out that this was a practice followed by Muslims, whereby they would refrain from eating and drinking (from sunrise to sunset) for one month (Ramadan). This would happen every year.
At that time I never thought much about it. I thought it must be an act that required a lot of discipline and self-control, so I was respectful of those who followed that. I didn’t think I would be able to get through a day, from morning to night, without food. I’d probably die or become nutritionally deprived.
Fast forward to today, and things have changed. 🙂
Natural Way To Heal
In the past few days, I’ve been reading up about fasting. I’m quite intrigued to learn about the practice and the many purported benefits of fasting.
Apparently, there is a small, but actively growing, interest in fasting as a holistic form of therapy and wellness. I won’t turn this article into a fasting literature, but suffice to say there have been many accounts on how fasting is the natural way for the body to heal. (I’ll include links and resources at the end of this post where you can check out.) When left on its own, our body is capable of healing itself of many ailments and illnesses. Eating and taking medication interfere with our body’s natural ability to heal. This is why we rarely have appetites when we’re sick, because the body does not want to ingest anything and wants to go through the self-healing process. Check this excerpt by Loren:
…Virtually all symptoms that we experience are evidence that the body is attempting to heal itself. Sinus congestion, fever, swelling, even pain, are created by the body on purpose, and are nothing more than evidence that the body is working to address some problem and restore balance, or homeostasis. When the body is given an opportunity to cleanse and heal, all manner of symptoms may arise, and they often do.
Sometimes, those who don’t understand this will believe that the fast has made them sick. In fact, by ceasing to squander the body’s energy on unnecessary activities (including, temporarily, eating!), much more energy is available to cleanse and heal. The appearance of symptoms simply indicates that these processes have begun. It is always the body that heals itself. Remedies of all kinds generally treat symptoms, not causes, and it is only by eliminating the cause of a problem that we can expect to solve the problem.
Taking a decongestant may relieve the discomfort, but it does nothing to eliminate the actual problem, which was a toxic substance in the body. With its means of elimination paralyzed by the drug, the body is forced to store these toxins, furthering the body’s build-up of them, and eventually creating chronic disease.
If you’ve been eating a Standard American Diet for 20, 30, 40 years or more, your body probably has a lot of stored debris. Additionally, as the body becomes overburdened with the toxins brought in from outside (exogenous) sources from our diet, water, and the environment, it’s also becoming overburdened with toxins created inside the body (endogenous). These endogenous toxins are the waste products of cellular metabolism. When a system is heavily burdened, it’s unable to process and eliminate the cellular wastes quickly enough, and these wastes build up.
These very same toxins are kept in our fat cells, or our adipose tissues. Since we’re constantly eating every day, we provide our bodies with a ready stream of glucose for energy, which leaves our bodies with little reason to break down our adipose tissues. Glucose is our body’s immediate preferred fuel. Only by cutting out our glucose source (by not eating or by reducing our caloric intake) will our body turn to our fat reserves for energy (this process is called catabolism/ketosis – read further on in the article on the five separate stages our body gets energy from). This is when the toxins finally get processed, broken down and released, resulting in a physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthier you.
Benefits of Fasting
There have been many reported benefits of fasting, including but not limited to:
- Weight loss
- Fat loss
- Improved physical complexion
- Increased mental clarity
- Emotional detox / Purging of past baggage
- Physical detox / Body cleanse
- Vividness of dreams
- Increased spiritual connection
- Increased creativity
- Improving one’s relationship with food
- Reset poor eating and lifestyle habits from the past
Why I’m Embarking on this Fast
1. Immense Benefits of Fasting: Mental Clarity, Increased Creativity, etc.
My interest in taking on fasting is multiple-fold. Firstly, I’m very curious about the many benefits I’m reading about fasting and would like to test it out for myself to see if they’re true. I’ve been reading accounts of how people feel heightened levels of mental clarity, significantly increased creative output, inner calmness, a new-found relationship with themselves, supremely vivid dreams, and so on during their fasts. These tend to happy from Day 3 onwards of their fast. One of the big reasons is because since there’s nothing to digest, our body stops diverting energy to our digestive systems and instead directs them to our brain, leading to higher level output (i.e. thinking and creative work).
In particular, I’m quite keen about the whole benefit of “increased creative output.” 😀 I’ve been experiencing increased bouts of creativity and “flow” with the raw food diet, so I can imagine how much stronger it’d be during a water or juice fast (where the body doesn’t need to digest the food).
2. Emotional Purging
Secondly, I’m also quite keen about the whole emotional and physical purging process. I can imagine my body has lots of toxins piled up from all the years of eating meat products (before I turned vegetarian), and then all the cooked/fried stuff I ate (before I turned to a raw diet). It’d be nice to do some major cleansing in my system through this fast, kind of like a system reboot.
When I first went on a 21-day raw-food trial back in 2009, I went through a phase in the middle where I had a sudden craving for meat. That was immensely bizarre because I had totally no desire whatsoever to eat meat ever since I switched to a vegetarian diet in Jan ’08! In my mind I was going “What the * is this about?!” After pushing past it, that craving suddenly disappeared totally and in its place were anger and latent memories of a past experience (which I subsequently processed and would eventually blog about here). This was one of the first times when I realized that many physical sensations (including hunger, cravings, ailments) are actually unprocessed emotional and mental baggage that manifest themselves on a physical level. Given that food is something that we ingest daily to become part of our body, and that food/eating is commonly advertised as a synonym for happiness/love, it’s not surprising that a lot of our issues get buried in food/eating as well. So I’m really quite curious to see what comes out of experiment this time with fasting, where I’m not going to get to eat at all.
3. Enabling Others To Learn and Grow
The third reason is that I’m always looking to explore new territories of growth and to share them here so others can learn from my experiences. By taking on the fast and publicly sharing them here at PE, I can imagine that this will be a helpful resource to those who might be interested to try this for themselves in the future.
4. Weight Loss
Weight loss is another obvious benefit from a water fast. Those who have fasted properly, broken the fast the right way, and maintained a healthy diet thereafter have actually kept the weight off, so that’s definitely a very big plus.
My weight has been creeping up over the years, largely because I tend to emotional eat. About 8 years ago I was about 58.5–60kg (which is 129–132lbs), but the past few years I had been gaining about 0.9kg increase each year, and at this point of writing (Feb 2011) I’m 65.5kg. That’s not overweight for my height of 1.7m (5′ 7″ — I’m considered tall for an Asian female), but if I continue the same pattern, I would likely be overweight in a few years to come.
I hope that through this fast I get to remove the excess weight that I’ve gained over the years and reset my diet on a fresh start. As I mentioned in my original kick-off post, there are many reasons why I’m starting on this fast, with weight loss being one of them, so this isn’t the only reason I’m doing this. There are really many larger emotional, mental, physical (detox) and spiritual benefits that come out of a water fast, so just bear that in mind!
Of course, it’s important that you totally change your relationship with food and revamp to a 100% healthy diet after your fast. If you go back to poor eating habits from before, then whatever weight you lose before the fast will surely return.
I will be sticking to a healthy diet post-fast, so I’m looking forward to shed off excess weight and keep them off.
5. Building a New Relationship With Food
And last but not least (somewhat related to the second reason), I’m interested to build a new relationship with food. After moving into raw foods, it made me see food in a whole new light and made me realize how much I was using food as an emotional outlet (even more so than I realized). It also made me understand on a whole new level what it really feels to be hungry and require food, vs. when it’s just a desire to eat and fill out an emotion. The answer is that probably 99.9% of the time it’s the latter and not the former. The fact that pretty much all processed foods and cooked foods include sugar, salt and additives in one way or another and they affect our sense of true hunger, which aggravates emotional eating problems.
I read with interest of Frederick (a raw vegan expert)’s 23-day fasting account, where he lost the physical sensation of hunger after the first 3 days. For the remaining 20 days, he literally stopped feeling hungry for food. I thought that must be a really interesting state to be in – it basically rips apart everything we hear about food and eating today, where we need to have 3 meals a day, that skipping a meal is bad for health, and so on and so forth.
Fasting, not eating food, will probably make me see food in a different light than how I’m seeing it now. The people who’ve undergone fasting talked about how they felt hunger in the first 1-3 days and stopped feeling any physical hunger after that. It also made them realize what true hunger really felt like. Real hunger isn’t the feeling that most of us think it is – signs like emptiness of stomach, stomach growls, thinking that you need to eat, gastric pain (by the way, abdominal pain stems from deeper issues, so if you get it you should get it checked), etc are just what we think is hunger. Real hunger is felt from the throat (not stomach nor head). The average body has fat reserves (complete with the nutrients, vitamins and minerals) that can last one at least 40 days without food. (unless you’re very thin, pregnant, emaciated, etc)
Someone who has a true ideal relationship with food and his/her body will eat only when truly hungry, stop when body is full, not experience any sudden cravings or desire to eat, and will be in a healthy body weight and fat percentage, because the body has no use for any excess fat whatsoever (unless you live in an extremely cold climate like Antarctica).
How Long Should One Fast?
As I’ve mentioned above, our body has sufficient fat reserves to last us for 40 days, with some even stretching as long as 10 weeks. Our body will not burn muscle as an act of natural preservation. By default, our body gets energy in this order:
(Note: I’m not a scientist nor do I claim to be one. The information below is derived from my personal research and is outlined for your benefit. When in doubt, do your own research.)
Stage 1: Daily food
Glucose from our daily food consumption.
Stage 2: Glycogen from liver (Glycogenolysis)
Glycogen from our liver. Converted via Glycogenolysis; this happens when we don’t eat for four to eight hours. This lasts us for about 12 hours.
Stage 3: Glycogen from our muscles
It’s easier to get energy first from glucose, then protein, then finally fats. This is why our body tries to get energy from glycogen from our muscles after it finishes burning the glycogen from our liver. This can happen for a day or two before our body realizes that something is amiss. It then switches to ketosis.
Stage 4: Full Ketosis (Fasting)
Stage 4 occurs when our body realizes that it needs to stop wasting muscles, since it’s needed for survival. It then switches to ketosis, where it burns fat from our adipose tissues, i.e. our fat resources. This is known as the protein or muscle sparing mode because our body knows that our muscles and organs are important for the proper functioning of the body, and upon realizing no more energy is coming in, now switches to fat as the energy source. Our fat is converted into ketone which can be used for energy. This happens as long as there are no more fat reserves left — equivalent of less than 7% or 10% body fat for males and females respectively.
Since each pound of fat is 3,500 calories and our daily energy expenditure is about 1,500-2,000, that’s quite a lot of calories for the body to burn during the fast before it’ll move to the next stage (starvation). For most people, it’s around four weeks to 10 weeks (or even longer) depending on your fat percentage, body weight, body condition and so on. Girls tend to have higher fat reserves/percentage than guys, while guys tend to have a higher absolute body mass.
During water fasting, it is said that full ketosis is usually reached at approximately 48 hours for women and closer to 72 hours for men. Note that there will still be muscle loss during full ketosis. Dr. Fuhrman, who has fasted thousands, states that it decreases to less than 0.2 kg per day once full ketosis is reached. (Source: All About Fasting)
Stage 5: Starvation (eventually leading to death)
Here, our body gets energy from the protein in our muscles and organs. Our body will only get energy from protein when our fat reserves run out in stage 4. This is the starvation mode and highly dangerous – it will eventually lead to death. Fortunately, our body alerts us before we enter this stage via a sudden, intense urge of hunger (whereas in stage 4, there will not be any physical hunger sensations). Real hunger is marked by a hunger sensation from the throat (not the stomach or the mind). Most fasts end before one ever reaches this stage.
Because of this, fasting for 1 day or 3 days (depending on how long you take to reach ketosis) is incomparable to the benefits one can experience from a longer duration of fasting, say 21 days, 30 days or 40 days. Firstly, when you just fast for one to two days, your body never enters full ketosis (Stage 4), which means the toxins never get processed. Not only that, your body burns your glycogen (stored in your liver and from your muscles) on typically days 2-3, which means you lose a percentage of your muscles. End of Day 3 is right at the point when your body is about to enter ketosis. That means not only do you not get to detox, you also lost a portion of your muscles which you’ve built for no reason! Whereas if you’re fasting for a longer duration, at least the initial muscle loss is offset by the benefits you’ll experience from ketosis.
Hence, if you want to really experience the full effects of a fast, it makes sense to do a fast longer than just a few days, such that you’re experiencing the true detoxification benefits from burning your stored fat cells. For whatever fasts you choose to do, please do your research and get proper consultation before you proceed. There are fasting centers where experienced professionals supervise the process if you prefer doing it in a center.
Update: Seems like Dr Ben Kim, owner fasting and chiropractic clinic, has the same opinion as well from his article: Is Fasting 1 Day a Week Good for Your Health?
Death during Fasting
It should be noted that it is possible for one to die during fasting, though in such (extremely rare) cases the cause of death isn’t due to the fast itself, but because there are damages in the body which are absolutely irreversible.
From Hygienic Review: Fasting by Herbert Shelton, Chapter 27:
Mr. Macfadden records the case of a man whose heart beat fell to twenty and was so faint it could scarcely be felt, after three weeks of fasting. It quickly rose after the patient took some nourishment. (Natural Cure for Rupture–p.p. 36-37). Abnormally slow pulse is seen in rare cases of extreme debility, especially in those who have for weeks, months or years prior to the fast, been in the habit of taking stimulants. A complete withdrawal of the stimulants results in a great slowing up of the habitually excited activities of the body. Mr. Carrington says that some of these cases die, although I have not seen it.
He says: “The long-deferred crisis is at hand. Either the patient will recover the expended powers, and live; or, if wasted to such an extent that recovery is impossible, will die, during the fast. This is the most frequent, if not the only cause of death that occurs during cases of protracted fasting, when death occurs before the return of natural hunger. Such cases never die from starvation; it is a physiological impossibility for them to die during a fast before the return of natural hunger–unless the vital powers have previously been so wasted as to render their recuperation impossible–death being due to this failure; and it will thus be seen that the real cause of death is, again, previous mal-treatment–death occurring in spite of, and not on account of, the fast. Had the fast been instigated, in such cases, at an earlier period, the vital powers might have been sufficiently strong to have withstood the shock–recuperation instead of failure would have resulted; i.e., instead of death.”–Vitality, Fasting and Nutrition.
I intend to fast for 21 days, starting from Friday, 12am (4 Feb) to Thu, 11:59pm (24 Feb). I’ll not eat anything in these 21 days and will only drink water. Coincidentally it’s also the same length of time I recommend when it comes to cultivating new habits (though I don’t see fasting as a habit, at least not in the conventional way as habits like flossing teeth or meditating daily). My other work appointments during this 21-day period are 1-1 coaching and should be manageable.
I intend to post about my fasting experience via daily logs at PE. During this experiment, I’ll share what I’m going through as transparently as I can, from the pros to the cons. This includes anything that I experience, including emotional (emotions, mood changes), mental (insights, thinking, mental power), physical (weight, looks, complexion, physical sensations), spiritual (vividness of dreams, etc) where relevant. I’ll also measure and record the amount of water I drink daily. I intend for the journals to be helpful to those who are curious about fasting or who intend to try out fasting themselves in the future.
I just posted about the experiment in the forums yesterday and so far a few members have expressed interest in joining in. If you’re interested to participate (even if for a day), feel free to join us in the forums! Even if you’re not, you are still invited to join in the discussions. Note that isn’t meant as a big scale challenge like 30DLBL or 21DHL but a personal experiment that I’m sharing with everyone at the blog. Join in if you want to; otherwise just watch if you prefer. Either way I’ll be doing the fasting experiment and sharing it with you guys on a daily basis.
Fitness / Exercise
During a fast, your body is in healing mode. It’s burning away the waste in your fat cells, unlike the normal days when it’s burning from glucose. Trying to engage in any physical activity or normal routine will result in precious muscle being burned just to keep-up with your energy needs, since muscle is a more efficient fuel of energy than fat. Not only does this prevent the healing from taking place (burning of fat cells), you also waste precious muscle in the process.
To experience the full benefits of a fast, you should be resting as much as you can, and limit the more physically challenging aspects of your regular routine. I’ll be using my energy for brain work during my fast. I might go for light strolls, but otherwise that’s about it.
From what I’ve read, the first 1-3 days are the hardest because that’s when your body adjusts to not getting energy from glucose. After the initial adjustment is done, the physical sensation of hunger disappears. The days beyond should be progressively easy, as long as I keep my activity level light.
Throughout the fast, I’ll also be listening to the signs of the body on whether I should break the fast before-hand – if I suddenly feel intense hunger or I get some adverse reaction, I’ll break the fast.
I will not be using any enemas or salt water flushes during the fast. I’m actually not a big fan of methods that use forceful expulsion (whether through vomit or cleansing systems) because (a) I believe strongly in holistic healing and the body’s ability to self-heal (b) such methods usually vacuums out everything, including the bad and the good stuff. If it’s something that should be healed, I believe the body will be able to cleanse it itself.
For the same reason, I’m also not intending to take any supplements.
Safety? / Concern
Most reactions surrounding a fasting decision will probably be rooted in fear. I know because I can imagine myself reacting that way if someone tells me that he/she wants to fast.”What? You want to fast? No! It’s dangerous! You’ll die! It’s not good to go hungry!“
I appreciate whatever concern that may be sent my way, but honestly I’ve been reading very extensively on the subject of fasting and I’m very informed about what I’m doing right now (as informed as can be without having gone through the process). Without being brash, there’s a high likelihood I know more about the topic than you do due to all the research I’ve already done, unless you have direct experience with fasting (of 1 week or more). I’ve named it as an “experiment” not because I’m just jumping in and winging it — it’s because I see this as a first-time trial and I’m curious to see if the benefits purported by fasting experts are true.
At this point, the only way for me to truly know whether this is good or not is to do it myself, which is what I’m doing now. Anything else will just really be speculation based on hearsay, personal beliefs and mental projections on whether it’s good or bad. Right now I’m keeping an open mind on its merits and downsides, via the results I experience in this journey. This is also why I’m transparently sharing what I’m going through on the blog here every day.
Once again, our body has sufficient fat reserves to last us for at least 40 days. I’m well in the acceptable weight range with sufficient body fat that can be burned before I enter starvation mode.
Of course, I’m not going to press on and force myself not to eat if I’m convulsing and suffering some averse bodily reactions or anything like that. I’ll stop if something seems amiss. I’m doing fasting at my own risk, and by sharing this guide I’m not endorsing or recommending fasting to any of you in any way, but simply sharing my own experience.
If any of you have any concerns about fasting or healthy fasting duration, I highly recommend you re-read what I’ve written above and also check out the resources at the end. These include materials by doctors and experts who have been doing it and overseeing others’ fasts for almost all their lives.
DISCLAIMER: Do Your Research Before Trying Any Fasts
If you’re interested to join in the fast, do spend time to read up (I’ve provided resources below) and proceed at your own risk. I’m not a fasting or a medical expert. I also cannot be made responsible for the decisions you make on your health. What I’ve written may be subjected to errors but it is the best knowledge I have based on my own extensive reading on the topic and my own experience with the fasting process. I’m writing this series and journaling my fasting process as a way to share my fasting journey in case any of you are interested. It should be meant as a supplementary and not the primary resource you use should you decide to fast yourself.
It goes without saying that fasting is not for pregnant ladies, thin/extremely thin people who have limited fat reserves, people taking heavy medication, people with severe illnesses and conditions, etc.
According to Albert Mosséri, a fasting expert who has more than 50 years of experience supervising fasts, the following people should not fast (source):
- People suffering from a true heart condition (Mosséri distinguishes a “true” heart condition from a simple diagnosed heart condition).
- People suffering from tuberculosis.
- Severely underweight people.
- People who take tranquilizers or sedative drugs regularly.
- Diabetics who take insulin or other drugs and have been taking them for 2 years or more.
- People who had their thyroid gland taken out.
- People with severe mental illness.
- Elder people of 80 years or more of age.
- Pregnant women.
- Cancer cases.
Here’s what Loren Lockman, an experienced faster with a decade of experience supervising fasts, has to say with regards to age limits for fasting (Fasting Interview with Loren Lockman, Q2):
There are no limits. If one is alive, they would benefit from fasting. Our oldest client turned 91 while fasting with us, and our youngest was 2.5. The 91 year old suffered from cancer of the larynx and showed up with a tumor in his throat so large it was painful to swallow, breathe, or speak. He fasted 32 days and when he returned home after 6 weeks, they rushed him to the hospital expecting to find that the tumor was much larger and threatening his life, and planned to do an emergency tracheotomy. They could not find a tumor.
When in doubt, please consult someone with experience in fasting. This does not include doctors or medical experts who do not have any knowledge in the area of fasting.
As preparation for my fast next Monday, I intend to eat minimal fruits and juice over the weekends. This will help me ease into the 7-day fast or however long it’s going to be. As mental preparation, I’ve been trying out a light fast on just oranges and apples today and it’s going well so far. 😀
As my fasting experiment has ignited interest from a number of the readers in the subject of fasting, I’ve taken the liberty to interview Loren Lockman with the top questions from the readers. Please find the completed interview (with 16 questions in total) here: Your Fasting Q&As, Answered.
Breaking the Fast
How you break the fast is extremely important. Below is Loren’s recommendation on how to break your fast:
- Day 1 (post-fast): 2 ozs of watermelon or papaya every two hours from 10 am to 6pm. Choose one fruit for the whole day.
- Day 2: 4 ozs of watermelon every 2.5 hours from 9am to 7pm.
- Day 3: Depending on how you did on day 2, between 6 and 8 ozs of waternelon, papaya, canteloupe, or other melon every 3 hours from 9 to 6.
- Days 4-7: Increase quantity by about 4 ozs or so each day, eating 4 times between 9 and 6 (every 3 hours.) You can add one acid meal per day starting day 4 if you feel up to it. (Acid meal means food that are acidic in nature, including meat, dairy, french fries, highly acidic fruits, etc. Refer to this table on heartburn food.)
- Day 8 and beyond: Whole, ripe organic fruits and simple green salads. Nothing dehydrated, very little fat.
The principle is to consume food that is easiest on your digestive system as it eases back into regular mode. The order of food to consume is this: Fruits -> Vegetables -> Cooked, plant based diet -> Cooked, plant based diet with dairy -> lastly meat-based diet (if you eat meat), with each stage taking an appropriate length of time with respect to your fast. The longer your fast, the more time you should spend in each stage, until you feel ready to move to the next. Ideally, you should take a raw vegan diet (just fruits, vegetables and nuts) for the same length of time as you fasted. Then after that, you can resume your normal meals (if you don’t already eat raw).
Update Mar 2011: I’ve since successfully completed my 21-day fast and broke the fast thereafter. For convenience, you can access all the articles I’ve written on fasting, including logs of my 21-day fast and my post-fast logs here:
- Fasting 101: My Fasting Experiment (The Whats, Whys and Hows) – The article you’re reading now
- Fasting Q&As: My Interview with Loren Lockman
- My 21-Day Fasting Logs
- My Post-Fast Logs
- My Fasting Guide, after having gone through multiple fasts and seen countless people attempt fasts: 12 Tips To Achieve Fasting Success
Some Fasting Resources
If you’re interested to read more, here are some in-depth resources I’ve handpicked for you:
- Overview and Introduction to Fasting
- Fasting on Wikipedia
- Fasting: The Natural Way To Perfect Health
- Fasting Can Save Your Life (by Helbert Shelton, book)
- Fasting and Eating for Health: A Medical Doctor’s Program for Conquering Disease (by Joel Fuhrman, book)
- What Happens During Fasting
- What To Expect on Your First Fast: Overall Expectations | Common Signs | Guidelines on What To Do
- Breaking a Fast: Knowing True Hunger | How to Break a Fast
- Fasting Q&As: Loren Lockman (Personal Excellence exclusive) | Fasting FAQs by me (Video) | Dr Ben Kim | More Fasting Q&As (Video)
- Fasting Series @ PE: 21-Day Fasting Logs | Post-Fast | Fasting Review | Month-1 Update (Final)
- A 23-Day Fasting Account
- How to Be Your Own Doctor (Scroll down to Chapter 3 in the table of contents, which covers the topic of fasting)
When you’re ready, join me in Day 0: Preparation.
This is part of the most complete fasting series you’ll ever find online. If you’re new to fasting, get the full background on what fasting is, its benefits, and more below. Access all articles on fasting: The Fasting Series.
Image: Meditating at beach