As a reasonably fit man in my 70s, I have water fasted once or twice a year over the past 5 years to deal with several health problems, reset my system and strengthen my immune system. I had been getting a bit of osteoarthritis in one of my knuckles, recently developed a Baker’s cyst behind my right knee and was becoming concerned with high systolic blood pressure readings. I was hoping that all these things would improve…
My fasts have been of various durations – 4 days up to 8 days, with my recent fast of 4 days in August. I reduced my food intake for two days prior to starting, focussing on fresh salads and fruit.
The first 2 days are usually the most difficult and I felt hungry with a bit of a headache and low energy. Days 3 and 4 were much easier although I still felt hungry, especially smelling the food my partner was eating! However, I began to feel clear-headed and rejuvenated. On day 5, I broke my fast with 50% diluted fruit and vegetable juices. These were made from cucumbers, carrots, pears, spinach, beetroot and ginger. The flavour is amazingly intense and which I found very exhilarating.
It is important to rest and drink plenty of filtered water during the fast. I have a Reverse Osmosis water filter at home and it is surprising how refreshing a cup of hot water is for variety. Although I physically rested, I did use the time to catch up on work on my computer. This is certainly not recommended as your brain also needs to relax too. I enjoyed some short walks in the garden with fresh air and sunshine which always makes you feel better.
From day 6, I began eating easily digestible plant-based foods like watermelon, papaya and salads. As a whole food plant-based advocate, I avoided any processed food for 10 days. I follow the natural health society guidelines, which is “what you eat 95% of the time is important”. I have chosen to be dairy free and try being gluten-free and my digestive system feels much better.
I am in good health and in my experience undertaking a short fast at home is fine. This may not be the case for others, especially people who take medications or have other health issues. Despite my good health I still use supervision and monitoring and would recommend this approach especially for the first time or for a longer fast. After 3 days, the body enters a ketosis state which means it uses the body fat for its energy and helps the body to detoxify.
You can see from the following table that I lost 5kg and my blood pressure reduced considerably. It does vary during the day but the overall trend is important.
|Weight Kg||Blood Press 1||Blood Press 2||Blood Press 3|
Some of the benefits:
- The good feeling of being rejuvenated and being light on my feet.
- The Baker’s cyst on the back of my knee has nearly disappeared and I have no discomfort.
- The arthritis in my knuckle has disappeared.
- My blood pressure has reduced.
- It was an opportunity to reassess the effects of certain foods, by gradually introducing certain foods back into my diet (eg gluten).