The Ultimate Guide To Breaking A Water Fast
Re-build and Re-populate
The way you break your fast is almost in-arguably the most important part of the whole experience. Although the hard work is behind you, the next 3 days in particular are crucial for maximizing the benefits of the fast- and ensuring you build back a strong, healthy body. The autophagy process your body underwent during your water fast cleared out a lot of baddies, and left your stomach and gut as somewhat of a blank canvas. The weakest part of your immune system has been shed, you've starve down your bacteria- but now is the time to rebuild that immune resilience, as well as the stomach and gut lining, and re-introduct and re-populate your micro-biome.
It's important to remember that every single fasting experience is individual in nature, and the way your body feels/ reacts will depend 100% on whats going on inside of you. When I came off my 7-day water fast, I felt so good that I was tempted to keep going, and had no signs of hunger. But I decided to break the fast at the 169 hour mark anyways, with some easy-to-digest cooked, and fermented foods. Easy to digest is really the key here, and cooked and fermented foods provide your body with abundant bio-available nutrition that it can assimilate with ease. You really want to avoid animal products to start off, as protein rich foods require more digestive burden (I actually take HCL+ pepsin with most meals richer in animal products). You also want to avoid simple raw food (like raw vegetables) which also place a higher burden on the digestive system than their cooked counter parts. Think of your digestive tract like that of a baby's: would you feed a baby a big ol' steak? Didn't think so. Although it will only take a few days to build back up to your "regular" diet, these days are crucial to support your body through the transition.
I've read experiences whereby ravenous folk gorged themselves with take-away Thai food, only to deeply regret it immediately after. If you gorge, you genuinely risk doing more damage to your body than if you had never done the fast in the first place. You've made it this far, just stick with the process for a couple of more days. You've got this.
Here is a highly suggest list of foods to stick to while coming off your water fast. Note: I normally NEVER refer to calories, as they are legitimately the most useless form of information ever (both physically and mentally) but the idea is to give you a rough estimation that you ease your way back into regular eating (calorie recommendations come from fasting expert Dr. Daniel Pompa). Basically, take it easy, chew your food, and don't gorge yo-self.
Your body after a fast is very vulnerable, which can be the best or worst thing depending on how you break it. I’ve heard post-fast-horror stories that result in months of a destroyed digestive system. This is the opportunity to rebuild a healthy micro-biome (hence all the fermented foods and probiotics), rebuild a strong healthy gut and stomach lining (bone broths, glutamine, and healthy fats), and really nourish your body.
There is a LOT of conflicting information out there, but this is what works for me. It's derived from a tonne of research, as well as intuitive wisdom of my own body. Ultimately, you are the most powerful resource for determining what your body needs, so do your own investigating and trust yourself.
Day 1 (women: 500-800 calories / men: 800-1000 calories)
- bone broth
- soft cooked organic veggies (preferably cooked in the broth)
- 100% organic vegetable juice
- organic berries + low glycemic fruit
- organic avocado
- organic sauerkraut
- high quality (grass-fed/ organic) unpasteurized cottage cheese (raw), organic coconut milk kefir yogurt, coconut yogurt
- glutamine powder
- magnesium gel (topically)
Day 2 (women: 800-1000 calories / men: 1000-1200 calories)
- same as day 1 + organic pasture raised eggs (if you tolerate eggs)
Day 3 (normal diet)
- same as day 2 + reintroduce organic pasture raised meat (I take HCL+pepsin with protein heavy meals), and all veggies (cooked or raw), all fruits, nuts, seeds, adaptogens, supplements, etc.
*note: moving forward from day 3 I say consume a "regular" diet, but keep in mind that my "regular" diet is 100% organic, no processed anything, no wheat, no dairy, no refined sugar whatsoever and basically nothing that spikes my insulin (high GI foods). If your “normal” diet is filled with not-so-healthy foods, I highly recommend sticking to a “whole 30” type diet for AT LEAST a week, while your body regains strength, immunity, and to truly reap all the long term benefits (like spike is HGH, testosterone, stem cell production, etc). Also, this is a great opportunity to shed any unhealthy habits that you don’t actually want to partake in moving forward. For plenty of mouth-pleasureous and nutrient dense recipes, hit the recipe button on the main bar for breakfast, lunch/ dinner, snacks, drinks, and dessert inspo...I GOTCHU.
Diary of exactly how I broke my 7-day water fast
- As explained in my 7-day water fast experience blog post, I regained energy on Day 7; so despite thinking I would rest throughout the week, I got in a pretty decent bicycle ride before breaking my fast at 4/5pm that day.
- I completed my 7 day fast at 4pm, and around 5pm I had my first meal of a big cup of beef marrow bone broth that I had been simmering for 48 hours, and in it I cooked carrots and celery. I had this soup along with a probiotic capsule, and a bowl of coconut milk kefir yogurt and that was it for the day.
8:30am: I had some lemon water in the morning and shortly after another bowl of broth with the carrots and celery, a glass of cold pressed vegetable green juice (contained collard greens, cucumber, rainbow chard, celery, ginger, kale, pea sprouts, and sunflower sprouts) and a bowl of coconut milk kefir yogurt.
10am: before hitting the gym I had a glass of water with a full dropper of marine phytoplankton, and ate a few tablespoons of coconut butter. (gym session was weakAF compared to my normal strength/ stamina, but it felt good to move and get back into it)
1:30pm: next meal was (you guessed it) a big bowl of bone broth with carrots and celery, along with some carrot-ginger-cabbage sauerkraut, and a few handfuls of toasted coconut chunk (which are f’ing delicious btw).
4pm: a big plate of sauerkraut, olives, avocado, and cucumber, and oven roasted sweet potato fries.
horray! day 3 aka “back to normal day” (aka reintroducing meat).
woke up and had a glass of lemon water, with a full dropper of marine pytoplankton, then 5,000 IUDs of vitamin D drops, and 4 drops of nascent iodine.
breakfast: morning tonic time! oh how I’ve missed my tonics. This morning was 1 cup bone broth + 1 cup wild chaga tea + 1/2 tsp rhodiola + 1/2 tsp pine pollen + 1/2 tsp astragalus root. (I’m going to stay off all caffeine for another week, so no matcha). Also made a big smoothie bowl with wild blueberries, cauliflower, zucchini, raw grass fed beef liver (yep), avocado, jerusalem artichoke, carob, ginger, he shou wu, and e3live, on a base of a herbal infusion that I made yesterday (red raspberry leaf + stinging nettle + dandelion + milk thistle) topped with a swirl of coconut milk kefir yogurt, and toasted coconut.
lunch: roasted veggies with pesto, and a bowl of soup, sauerkraut, cucumber, olives, a green juice
dinner: beefy mushroom lettuce tacos with cucumber, avocaco, watermelon radish, and a big a$$ bowl of japanese sweet potato fries.
* My pre-fating gym routine was seriously intense and about 6x a week, but my strength/ stamina is not up to par yet, so I took the day off the gym today and am really easing back into it.
That's it folks. Pretty basic, but incredibly important. Be patient with your body, give it time to regain strength and it will bounce back stronger than ever before. Jump the gun on diet/ exercise and you risk seriously damaging your body. It took me an entire week to regain my gym strength/ stamina. Check-in with your pre-fast intention throughout the process, but especially at the end. Remembering why you started is a strong motivator for ensuring you complete the process smoothly.
And congratulations, waster fasting is no small-feat. Now, you ready for the next one? I sure as hell am!