As fasting has gained much popularity over the past years, I would like to start this article by defining the term "fasting": "Fasting is defined as the voluntary renunciation of solid foods for a defined time frame."
There are many ways to fast. Juice cleanses, intermittent fasting, wholegrain fasting, Basenfasten (base fasting), fasting cure and many more. I chose to fast after the principles of fasting cures and therefore, which I will focus on in the following article.
I had read so much about the healing benefits of a fast that I felt, I could only do my body a favor by giving it a little "food break". Through my job, I'm constantly surrounded by food. I love to spend hours and hours in the kitchen experimenting with food, combining new ingredients and trying new creations. Even though the portions aren't big in size and 99% healthy, I continuously feed my body without giving it the proper time to rest and "digest". Besides, I had gotten myself into a few habits which I knew, aren't that healthy. Those were: A "highish" coffee consumption of 2-3 cups per day,, too little sleep (of sometimes less than 6-7 hours per day) and too much mental stress as a result of my new entrepreneurial lifestyle. I knew that my 30 min of yoga in the morning could not compensate for all and felt a growing urge to decelerate. Therefore I thought, it's the absolute right time to give a fasting cure a chance!
There is more and more scientific evidence on the actual healing benefits of fasting. A growing number of studies show for example, that fasting helps to inhibit inflammations, alleviate and even heal chronic diseases and may immobilize age and cancer cells in our genetic material. How this is possible? The scientific term of this process is called "autophagy".Translated into practice this means: If we stop feeding our body with excessive high-caloric foods, we stimulate special cleaning mechanisms in which our old and damaged cells are gradually recycled (if we don't intervene with food). The effect - we feel regenerated, vital and healthy and literally have helped our body to stay young!
In theory, I had planned to follow a classic 5-day fasting cure, which allows for loads of tea and water (at least 2.5 liters per day) as well as clear home cooked soups (in my case vegetable broth) and juices of less than 500 kcal per day in total. Besides, the classic fasting cure advises to start with at least one "discharge day" including an intestinal cleansing on day one of the diet and two to three "recharging days" at the end of the fast. For the "discharge day", the classic fasting cure advices to either only stick to fruits and veggies or, alternatively, mix low amounts of carbs with fresh produce. In practice, this could look the following: 35g old-fashioned oats cooked in water alongside with 200g veggies or fruits (3 times per day).
Preparation: Since I've always been eating lots of greens, I basically jumped into my fast after a very light vegetable/fruit breakfast on day one. That was the last food I had for 4 days. On day one I also an intestinal cleanse with Glauber salt (available in any pharmacy or online).
Food: Throughout the entire fast I drank tons of water and tea (mint & rosehip mostly). On my first day, I also prepared two different homemade vegetable broths consisting 1 organic cooked pumpkin and a veggie mix (1 cooked organic celery, 2 carrots, 1/2 leek, 3 bay leaves & savory). This soup I ate for the entire fast, twice per day. Unfortunately and here I admit, I made a big mistake, I didn't prepare for any homemade fruit juices but instead, sticked to my veggie broth, more than 2 liters of tea and a tiny bit of honey mixed in my morning pot.
To be very honest with you, the fast wasn't easy at all for me. I felt very weak throughout the entire time. I had a very bad headache on day one (potentially from my coffee withdrawal), felt forced to sleep a lot and tried to stress my body as little as possible through physical exercise. I had only planned to continue with my yoga routine throughout the fast. But even that felt super exhausting and I could only do a few very light stretching exercises. Overall, the days felt very slow and were also very exhausting from a mental point of view. I think, one of the mistakes I made during the fast was that I consumed way too little calories in total. As I didn't drink any fruit juices, I bet, I consumed less than 250 kcal per day. So very big MISTAKE which I will definitely change in the future. This is also why I decided to end my fast after 4 days. My body told me, he wants to stop.
And now: Since I have my mental and physical energy back, I feel amazing! I feel refreshed, light, full of energy and thankful for the experience. I bet, I am 10 years younger! No, just kidding. But I am pretty sure, I will do another fast in the future (with good homemade juices though :)). And another thing, I will definitely make sure of is that I have the "fasting days" completely to myself - no obligations, no deadlines, no meeting, nothing.
In summary, my learnings and recommendations to you for a fasting cure are:
1. Choose a fast that fits to you. A fasting cure with only water, vegetable broth, tea and very few fruit juices isn't for everyone. There are so many different ways to fast and do your body a favor. Intermittent fasting, for example, is a way of fasting you can integrate into your life much easier than the full body cleanse I did.
2. Follow the fasting guidelines. Neither eat too little nor too much and drink all the time!
3. Listen to your body. Even if you set a certain fasting goal, end every fast when it you feel it's time to end it. Don't torture yourself. If your body is craving nutrients, it does for a reason!
4. Take time to fast. Don't plan anything for your fasting days if you go for a full body cleanse. Prepare your favorite book, watch the series you always wanted to watch, do light exercise (walks in the park for example) and try to do yoga or meditation throughout the entire time.
5. Pay attention how you end the fast: Your body won't be able to go back from zero to 100 in seconds. I for example, started with only soup, fruits and veggies on day one and stayed with this delicious veggie soup for 3 days in total, while I slowly added more and more foods back into my routine. I even waited for an entire week until I felt ready to reintegrate coffee back into my routine. If you're curious about the soup I ate for three days in a row, here's the link. And last but not least, I added probiotics into my diet in for of a probiotic bread drink (unpaid advertisement), which I think works true wonders. I am currently considering making this drink a staple in my diet.
The veggie soup is basically made of veggie soup "leftovers", which I made on day 1 of the fast. (After prepping the broth, I pureed the veggies and froze them until I prepped this soup). For the soup, I used
- Veggie Puree (1/2 Pumpkin, 1 Celery, 2 carrots, 1/2 leek)
- 1 Garlic Clove
- 2 Onions
- 100ml Almond Milk
- 3 Tbsp White Miso
- 400ml Water & 400 ml "leftover" veggie broth (which I didn't eat during the fast)
- 1/2 Lemon (added at the end, non-cooked)
- 6g fresh ginger (added at the end, non-cooked)
- Herbs & Spices: Salt, Pepper, Savory, 1 small Tsp ground Turmeric
- Toppings: Avocado, Sprouts, fresh Tomatoes, Parsley, Basil
Preparation: First I diced the onion and the garlic. Then, added the frozen veggie puree as well as all other ingredients (expect of the ginger and the lemon). I added ginger and lemon right before serving to preserve the nutrients and added a bunch of addition nutrient-loaded toppings in their "raw stage" (fresh parsley, basil, tomato, sprouts, avo).
In the following, I will list a few websites where you can find more infos on fasting cures, intestinal cleansing and explanations on why fasting is so beneficial for us (Links are in German).
1. GEO (2020): Verzicht heilt: Warum fasten so gesund ist (7. September 2020)
2. Cara Care (2020): Schritt für Schritt Anleitung zum erfolgreichen Fasten (7. September 2020)
3. DGE (2020): Heilfasten (7. September 2020)
4. Ärztegesellschaft (2020): Leitlinien zur Fastentherapie (7. September 2020)
All products & services mentioned in this article are unpaid advertisement. Bakd& Raw does not have any business relationship to the above mentioned brands.