Mudita Journal

A Therapeutic Water Fast

May 6, 2005 · Filed under: Personal, Water Fast

PLEASE NOTE (3/12/2007) – I’m getting a lot of e-mails, several each day, from people seeking advice about undertaking a water fast. In general, I no longer answer any such inquiries unless it is clear that you have already sought out a doctor to supervise your fast. I am not a doctor — and I am not a replacement for finding a doctor! Sorry.

I’m currently on day 2 of what I expect will be a 7-day therapeutic water fast, where I’ll be ingesting nothing but large quantities of water for 7 days.

Several of my friends have expressed curiosity (to put it mildly) about my decision. “Isn’t that unhealthy?!?”

As it happens, water fasts can be a very healthy and natural way to cleanse the body and eliminate toxins from one’s fat cells and the other places where the body stores toxins. Doctors (the ones educated in something other than pharmaceuticals and surgery) have been using fasts for thousands of years to promote health, and it works.

If you decide to try a fast, you first should do some research, and talk with someone who has experience in the area, to learn how to do it safely. My own introduction to the subject was Joel Fuhrman’s excellent book Fasting and Eating for Health (although it’s short on specifics for how to undertake the fast itself).

I discussed my fast beforehand with a doctor of oriental medicine here in town, who has experience with fasting and was very supportive of my plans.

I’ve fasted twice in the past, once in late 1998 when I first moved to New Mexico, and once in mid-2000. Both times I was pleased with the effects on my body. And the fast itself tends to be a time of resting and relaxation.

It completely changes one’s relationship to food, as well. After the first two days, your body switches to a ketone metabolism and you no longer feel hungry. Spending a week in that space — of not having to find, prepare, eat, or clean up after food — is very liberating, in some ways. You develop a new appreciation for choosing your food wisely, and after the fast, it’s very important to eat a healthy diet so you can maintain the benefits.

When I decided to write this posting, initially I had a hard time finding good information about fasting on the internet; but I finally found a nice summary of what Joel Fuhrman teaches, and also this amazingly good presentation of the topic from Caremark.

If you are interested in the topic and have questions about fasting, feel free to contact me. UPDATE: Actually, if you’re planning on starting a fast, please don’t contact me until after you’ve made the effort to find a suitable doctor to help plan and supervise your fast.

  • http://tenacity.net Miss Tenacity

    So how did the fast go? I have to admit, I’d do a juice fast but a water fast seems a bit too much….

  • e_z_8

    I would love to hear how the water fast proceeded.

    Did you do it?

  • Kathy

    I am on day 4 of a 5 day water fast. For me my fast has been very grueling. On day 1, I did not feel hungry until late in the evening. I slept a lot to keep my mind off of food. On day 2, I woke up and brushed my skin w/a dry brush in a circular motion–according to some, this helps to remove toxins from your body. In addition, I gave myself a wheat grass, kelp and lemon enema. I must say that on this day I was extremely weak. However, it appears as if the enema gave me a HUGE boost of energy! For the record, I have been consuming a significant amount of H20 (distilled) each day. On day 3, I was also extremely weak. I had to force myself to brush my body, shower and make it to work for a 9am meeting, which required my undivided attn. I gave myself another enema on this day–I strongly believe that the nutrients and the supplements that I put in my enema really helped to give me a HUGE boost of energy! I stayed up until 10:30pm. On day 4, I also felt somewhat weak but at this point its purely mind over matter since my fast ends promptly Thurs., morning at 12:00am.

    Also, I am a vegan who only believes in natural/alternative medicine. For some reason I thought that being a vegan would make this fast easier. Perhaps, I am more toxic than I thought.

    the end.

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Kathy,

    Having done 6 or 7 fasts now, I do have a few suggestions. Perhaps they’ll help:

    – Regular enemas can help tremendously. My wife Kathy and I have a rule that we do an enema any time we begin feeling unwell during a fast. Typically we do them at least once a day. We normally do plain warm water enemas, but whatever floats your boat.

    – Adding some salt to your water can help a lot. Drinking so much water tends to mess up the PH balance in your body, and taking some salt can bring everything back in balance. Maybe a half-teaspoon in a liter of water; enough that you can taste the salt a bit, but not too strong. Sea salt (which doesn’t have iodine added to it) will taste better than table salt.

    You may find that the salt helps you feel better quickly.

    Good luck!

    Joshua

    PS. When you come off the fast, you might find this is the perfect time to keep your food portions small — on a permanent basis — rather than resuming full-size portions.  Your stomach shrinks during the fast, so this is the perfect time to make a change in how much food you eat.  I did this after my most recent fast, and it has kept my bodyweight close to the levels it was at during my fast.

  • Chantelle

    I’m starting my water fast tomorrow. Did a juice fast after Christmas and found it was a fantastic experience so have decided to be a bit more ‘extreme’ this time. I am stopping smoking and believe a water fast will eliminate all the nasty toxins quicker. Going for 3 days as it’s bank holiday weekend but if I can go further…. wish me luck! Will let you know how it goes.

  • Lorena

    An acquaintance recently fasted on water, which I thought was so strange. we both attend a weekly bible based meeting and she felt moved to do this to bring greater focus to her work.

    I’ve been eating to much for the past months, have not been exercising to the degree that I like (since I returned back to school), and have gained a few pounds. I need to do something different.

    Last year I got memingitus and didn’t eat anything for a whole week. Due to being sick, I had no energy andlaid prone in my bed for literally 7 days. My biggest concern about fastiang on water is my energy level; will I still be able to work out? Can I continue to run my 4 miles three times a week or will I feel crummy and not have enough energy? Please advise

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Lorena,

    No, you won’t be able to work out while you’re on a water fast.

    Your energy will be too low, and the exertion of working out during that time could be dangerous to your health.

    In general, fasting is a good time for rest (although I often find I can work a full day at my computer if I allow time for periodic naps).

    This topic of fasting seems to be a popular one on my blog, so I’ll try to write more on the topic in the near future.

    Joshua

  • Andréa

    I’m on day 1 of a therapuetic fast (water fast) of I don’t know how many days. This is the first time that I’ve done a fast besides the 30Hour Famine. I’ve been reading and doing some researching on therapuetic fasting for chronic inflammation (which I have in my back).
    I was wondering how long a typical water fast is, and how long it takes for symptoms (ie: inflammation) to settle down. So for I’m thinking 4-5 days. Does anyone have any suggestions?
    thank you! wish me luck

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Hi Andréa,

    I don’t have experience with using a fast to treat inflammation, but I know Joel Fuhrman addresses this topic in his book Fasting and Eating for Health.

    My hunch is that you’d begin noticing minor improvements once ketosis kicks in (about day 3) and it would progress slowly from there.

    I believe Fuhrman typically does about a two-week fast when treating serious inflammation, but my memory could be wrong.

    Some key recommendations:

    – Add a little bit of sea salt to your drinking water, to prevent your Ph balance from getting out of whack. If you start feeling slightly “off,” mentally, it could be the lack of salt. Doesn’t take a lot, though, maybe a quarter teaspoon in a quart of water. Just enough that you taste it slightly.

    – Fuhrman doesn’t talk about this, but it’s CRUCIAL to give yourself a water enema at least once daily, to remove toxins from your colon. Otherwise the fecal matter sits inside of you. Anytime you start feeling really foggy headed or a headache, go do another enema.

    If you add those two things into your regimen, it will help enormously with your comfort level during the fast.

    Good luck!

    Joshua

  • Stuart

    Well, I too am going to give it a try. I have quit smoking and drinking and I wish the toxins not to seep out but I want to kick them out. I will continue to go to work but I will take it easy. I have done a 2 day water fast in the past but was unable continue due to weakness.
    I know I will not be able to do an enema, the thought just freaks me out. But the salt water is something I did not know before and will try.
    Wish me luck!

  • Carol

    I am currently on day 5 of my water fast and I am considering switching juice fast. How should I go about it and should I stick to fruit or vegetable juice. Any suggestion will be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    Carol

  • http://www.raama.org Rama

    Dear Carol,

    Fruit juices in the A.M. and vegetable broths in the P.M. When pureeing your juices and vegetables, be sure to leave the fiber in. This keeps your digestive system working. Without fiber you should do regular warm saline solution enemas. A safer and more natural way to cleanse and detoxify as well as weight loss or management is to acquire the bestseller; FIT FOR LIFE by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond. you can get it from http://www.amazon.com
    Good luck to you!

    Rama

  • Tara

    Hi.
    I have started a water fast and are yet to decide how long i will be doing it for. I know you can loose weight by fasting, but ive heard you nearly always put it all back on. I was wondering how you can keep the weight off once you finish fasting, and whats the best way to come off a fast.
    Thanx

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Tara,

    I just wrote a new post in reply to your question: How to Break a Water Fast (Without Gaining Weight Back).

    Joshua

  • kenny

    I started what I am hoping will be a 14 day fast today.
    I am really hopeful that I will succeed this time. I feel very fine so far, as it is 5pm. I guess it is safe to say that I have completed day 1 and I amm looking forward to the rest of the 13 days.

    If anyone has any tips and advice to keep me going, please let me know, pray for me and wish me the best of success in this endeavour.

  • Becky

    Hi
    I’ve done a 10 day water fast each year since I began teaching music at a local high school. As a teacher I live for the summer break. I’m still busy with marching season and camps etc, but I find 10 days to cancel the world out and fast. It lets me meditate, energize and find solid footings to face the new year. I”m starting my fast tonight, and have no plans till the 7th of Aug.

    I’m not overweight, about a size 2 or 4. I use the fast for my time. After my second day I’m ready to face about anything. Lots of energy, and a clear head. After the full ten I know I can face all those rowdies at school.

    Advise on keeping focused? Don’t tell alot of people. I usually don’t even tell the family. Our schedules are so crazy they don’t notice. Take pictures; before and after thing, that will help you keep portions under control, and measurements, not neccessarily weight. If those close fit keep it up. Don’t blame the dryer when they start getting snug. Its all about portions when you go off the diet.

    Sea salt works well. But a lot of people feel they have to consume large quantities of water. Just take a nice glass full when you wake. Drink thru the day. You’ll be fine. Water is not a sub for food. It’s not going to fill you only make you have to pee at all the wrong times.

    I don’t really go thru the healing phases, my diet is normally good, and I have never been on perscription drugs for anything. Never in a hospital – even with four teen age sons. All born at home. I live healthy, but I know to stay strong, and focused I need this fast. Your body can and will take care of itself.

    Good luck and do it for the right reasons and you will succeed!!!!

    Becky

  • jesse

    im trying to start a water fast. But today it was so hard. did it get easier after the first three days for you?

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Jesse,

    Yes, it commonly gets easier after the first couple days. Some tips:

    – You DEFINITELY want to give yourself a water enema each day, perhaps a couple times a day. This will help significantly with removing toxins and allowing you to feel human. Otherwise, you’ll be miserable. You can get an enema kit from Walgreens or any drug store.

    – Drink tons of water — at least three liters a day, preferably six. Have a water bottle with you constantly, and take a gulp each time you notice you’re not feeling well. Add some sea salt to the water (just enough to taste the salt a little, perhaps 1/8 teaspoon per liter) and this will help keep your body in pH balance. It can make a big difference in how you feel as well.

    Good luck!

    Joshua

  • Terri

    This is day 4 of my water fast. I feel really great and have surprisingly good energy but I am still feeling hungry. It comes and goes. Luckily not to the point to where I feel like I’m going to eat. It’s a little difficult because I’m doing this in a normal lifestyle. I have 2 small children so I have to cook and it is definitely making me stronger mentally. I just wish my stomach would stop growling. Also, my fast was motivated by Joel Fuhrman’s book “fasting and eating for health” It’s a great book and easy to understand how your body works and responds to things but he doesn’t mention anything about salt water or enemas. I mean thousands of years ago this was unheard of I’m sure so why now? My question is, is it okay just to do strictly a water fast. Once I resume eating veggies and fruit then that should regualte my bowel right? Thanks for any advise. If there’s anyone out there on day 4 or close I’d love to hear from you. I’m attempting to go atleast 10 days since I’m rather healthy and my body due to my environment and the energy I have to put out each day to take care of my family wouldn’t allow much more than that. Good Luck to all!!!!

    Terri

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Terri,

    I’m glad to hear your fast is going so well! That is wonderful.

    In response to your questions, here are several things to ponder:

    – Needing to cook for your family can definitely stimulate your own digestive tract, causing you to feel more hungry than you otherwise would. If you have a family, though, there may be no alternative.

    – Fuhrman’s book is largely about why to fast, rather than how to fast. He is very short on all kinds of specifics about how to make your fast comfortable and healthy. In the book, he encourages people to check into his clinic so that they can monitor your fast. And you can bet they have salt water and enema equipment at their clinic.

    – It’s true that people have been fasting for millennia, but people have been doing enemas for a very, very long time as well, and salt is probably one of the world’s oldest medicinal compounds. Enemas may be less relevant to people who lead a brutal, primitive existence and die by the age of 30. For the rest of us, however…

    – Do you remember in the book where Fuhrman says you should be under a doctor’s supervision when you fast? Many doctors experienced with fasting will advocate enemas and sea salt, because they help so much.

    If you’re comfortable and healthy on your fast so far, I wouldn’t worry as much about the sea salt. Just keep it in mind if you start feeling uncomfortable.

    However, you should also spend some contemplating what happens to feces when they sit inside your body for many days at a time. ;-) They are basically rotting, toxic compounds that are unable to find a way out of your body when you’re not eating new food to push it through. It’s not a pretty picture, but that’s the reality.

    Hope this information helps!

    Joshua

  • Maria

    Hi! I am on day 5 of my water fasting and I am experiencing some muscle cramps, especially in my upper left leg. Could this be a blood clot, or is it a normal symptom? For me the first 3 days have been more or less easy, but the fourth day I reached a complete point of exaustion and now the muscle cramp is not going away.

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Maria,

    Leg cramps are normal, as a part of the detoxification process. Drink more water (and more and more) and that will help. Each day, I typically drink 4-5 liters of lightly salted water (using sea salt) during my fasts.

    Also, I recommend finding a doctor in your city who you can consult with, who has experience with water fasting. You may have better luck with Naturopathic Doctors (N.D.) and Ayurvedic Doctors and Doctors of Oriental Medicine (D.O.M.) than with conventional doctors (M.D.).

    I am not a doctor, so please don’t construe anything on my blog as medical advice.

    Joshua

  • Grechelle Ferreira

    I am 37yrs old and currently on day 5 of a 21 day fast. I have done several 21 day fasts and the “results” seem to improve everytime.

    However, I also have some natural fruit juce on the first couple of days. I think that is a psychological “crutch”. It is much easier to start on the just water part of your fast then.

    Within the first two days my mind is clearer and I sleep much better. I am even aware that my joints somehow seem “more loose”.

    The weight loss is amazing especially after the winter (April – Sept in RSA) blimp.

    regards
    Grechelle

  • Rebekah

    I am really struggling with my water fasting, i cant seem to get past day 2 because i start to feel really sick and ill go and eat something in hopes it will make me feel better. I have done alot of research online and i am aware that my body is so full of toxins and that the sickness im feeling isnt my body calling for more food.
    My reasons for this fast is to break an unhealthy relationship with food. I am really struggling. I am on day one again now. If anybody could give me any pointers, they would be much appreciated.

  • Mimi

    Today is day one of my 30 day water fast and it’s been going quite well. I did a two week water fast last year and although i struggled slightly at the beginning..it got easier as the days went by. I prayed during the fast and i strongly believe that (prayers) contributed to the strenght that i acquired to get me through the fast. It is very encouraging and quite refreshing to read about people’s experiences and this website is one of the best places to come to when you need some advice and affirmation for the duration of the fast. During my two week fast i lost a tremendous amount of weight and i hope to achieve the same goal this time around. I will post a weekly update of my progress to encourage anyone who wants to have a go but isn’t too sure how to go about it or has doubts. Goodluck everyone and pls send me pointers :-)

  • Heidi

    Hi,

    I have a history of binge eating disorder. I have recently been reading about how fasting and detox diets help to normalize your relationship with food. My history is that no diet ever lasts more than a day at best, usually only two mealtimes. I understand lifestyle changes are the only thing that will work and have read about small portions when not fasting and salt water&enemas when fasting. I would like to purusue a fast, especially because of all the health benefits. I am a healthy weight (according to BMI and my own perception) and am hoping to be able to fast once a year after my first fast. Please guide me if you are able to. Thank you and god bless.

  • Christy

    Like Heidi, I have had eating disorder problems (EDNOS and anorexia). In learning that a fast can help stabilize food relationships, my interest peaked. A colleague of mine did a 26-day water fast, and it helped her with her eating disorder (bullimia) in a big way. I would like some feedback from any of you who have had eating disorders, done a water fast, and how that helped your food attitude.

    Another question I have is about skin. I know that there is a degree of weight loss involved, and given the nature of no calories, how does that affect the skin? Wouldn’t this lead to excess skin? Or reduction in melanin production?

    Thank you.

    Christy

  • Amber

    I am trying a fast @ the moment and am on day 2. I’ve only done it twice before and both times I’ve only drunk water. The first time was just a day and everyonek5-8th @ school(christian) had a chance to try it and/for religious purposes. The second time I went 3 days without food and had maybe a bottle of water each day throughout the 3 days. But now I am trying 2 fast again but this time no water @ all and I was wondering how long should the fast range from? Because i remember the 3-3-3 thumb rule n it says not more than 3 days without water and normal fast say 2 @ least if not eating drink plenty of water 2 nourish yourself and so on. I have a high tolerance and know pretty much when enough is enough and I think i can go awhile without water but just to be on the safe side what would you suggest? I feel fine as ecver and am full of energy. See normally i am so sleepy/tired/lazy but when i dont eat or sleep @ all im hyped then sumwhere down the line crash but i just wonder if ill have that same result or not. Well thank you for your time.

    Thanx.
    Amber

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Amber,

    Fasting without drinking water is foolish and dangerous. I recommend reading some books on the topic, including Joel Fuhrman’s Fasting and Eating for Health.

    Joshua

  • sandra

    Hi,

    Tomorrow I will be starting my water fast. To loose weight – yes, but also to help with my emotional attachment to food. I have suffered with Bulimia and have been very addicted to sweets and carbs – and wish to start a healthy eating and lifestyle and feel that a water fast will be the best way of a fresh new start. I would like to go the 21 days, but if I initially do 10 days, I will be satisfied. Wish me luck! Will keep you posted to my progress.

  • britta

    Sandra, how is your fast going?
    I have started today with a simple 5 days fast..not entirely water but consisting of this:
    1. at rising: glass of water with two tbspoons organic apple cider vinegar (brrrrr..the taste:((
    2. during the morning and early afternoon a few glasses of (distilled) water
    3. at 3 pm I made juice from organic apples and carrots
    4. from 5 pm onwards I shall have several cups of green tea.
    ********
    tomorrow:
    1. water and apple vinegar cider
    2. one juice of vegetables
    3, green teas
    ******
    from then one:
    WATER
    for the rest of the three days.

    I am vegetarian (and ofcourse dedicated environmentalist), and hope some others shall join me with the fast.

    ok, here I go…

    Lots of love,

    b.

  • britta

    Doing fine with my fast…feel full of energy.

    Did not go entirely on water though, allow myself one organic vegetable juice a day, around 3-4 pm.

    I drink lots of Green tea during the day and I also DO take clorella, the wonder vitamins.

    Although far from being overweight or anything like that, I am seeing great differences in my face and also tummy already.
    Everything is getting streamlined more and it feels terrific.

    A few more days to go, I know I can keep it up. Who is joining me?:)

  • britta

    Joshua, did you finish that 7 days water fast you wrote about at the very start of this topic?
    and can you tell me how you did it and how it felt?

    thanks:)

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Britta,

    I don’t recall specifically, but chances are that I ended the fast after 5 days. Lately, I’ve been thin enough that I don’t want to fast longer than 5 days for the simple reason that I don’t want to look emaciated.

    At the suggestion of my doctor, I’ve been doing 5-day water fasts twice a year for the past couple years. In general, they’ve been going well.

    However, the last fast I did was odd; I think I may have had an infection (unrelated to the fast) that caused me to be excessively tired.

    It will soon be time for my next fast. I hope to blog about it when it happens.

    For what it’s worth, I would definitely not recommend doing a long (3+ day) fast that is a modified fast, because drinking juices and such prevents your body from kicking into protein-sparing ketosis.

    In other words, your body is never able to acclimate to the fast, and so it’s more like an extended starvation diet than a true fast.

    Joel Fuhrman covers this subject pretty well in his excellent book Fasting and Eating for Health.

    Joshua

  • britta

    yes, the next two days are going to be solely water.

    PS I always fast this way and it really seems to be perfect for me, with the first three days one self-juiced organic drink (apple, celery, broccoli, carrots) and for the rest distilled water. (and green tea)

    the last two days I have then solely water…I also dont have to lose weight so this cleansing out a few times a year gives me extra energy and a doctor I have not seen in 15 years:)

    PS great website you have!

  • britta

    Coming to think of it I should perhaps have done the total water fast..

    am drinking nothing but water today and tomorrow..

    feeling good.

    a bit hungry but not too bad.

  • Amy

    Britta,

    Are you still fasting? I’m beginning today. The water only fast for a projection of about 10 or more days if I can keep going. My concern is that afterwards I should keep it off. I know we naturally regain some water but I want to keep the overall gain to a minimum.

    Good luck to you in your fast. Wish me luck.

    Amy

  • D

    i’m just curious in regards to ‘The Master Cleanse’ (lemonade diet) vs. distilled water fasting.

    rather then daily enemas, am i able to combine components of the master cleanse, in hopes of receiving the same effect?

    for example:

    before bed, consume a senna leaf laxative tea

    and first thing in the morning do a salt water flush. ( 2 tsp. of uniodized sea salt + 32 oz. of warm distilled water)

    and then procede normal w/ distilled water fasting?

    i’ve seen noted alot to mix salt with your water to balance the bodies PH. would the morning salt water flush work instead?

    thanks in advance!

  • Suzanne

    I’m on day two almost three of my first fast. I’ve never gone a day without eating in my life. I experienced some hunger today but for some reason I had super strength over my body and stayed on the fast. I will add the sea salt to my fast tomorrow – my third day.

    I stopped drinking alchohal and smoking three or four days before my fast. I have gained enormous control over my body that I’ve not had before. I’m extremely interested to see what happens during my fast and is the single thing, I think, that has kept me going.

    I feel really good and have energy. I’m happy about giving my body a rest from food. I only eat fish and vegetables but have recently started a little chicken and beef. I’ll stop that immediately.

    I’ve added a little 100% lime juice to warm water. Does anyone know if this is too acidic on a fast. Drinking warm water makes me seem full – whereas cold water didn’t have the same effect.

    God Bless in your fast…
    Suzanne

  • Amy

    I’m on day 8 of my water fast; I feel fine because I’m keeping my fluids, salt and vitamins up. I’ve shed 15 lbs so far. The last day of my fast is approaching — 3 more days to go. I’m looking forward to the end because I miss vegetables, but I am seeing this through because I made a commitment.

  • http://chloenadine.livejournal.com B

    I come from a family that EATS…and never very healthy. A typical meal around my mom’s house consits of meat and potatoes.

    A few years ago I went away to college and made the decision to become a vegetarian. My mom has had enormous difficulty adjusting to that, but has come to accept it.

    I leave for home on Saturday (Chirstmas break). I began a water fast yesterday. I have fasted before but not let her know because I know the first question that would come up would deal with anorexia (my mom’s sister was anorexic so she has horrible fears of my self or my sisters doing the same).

    I intend this fast to go through the new year (new year, clean body, just seems right). I however, am not sure how to address the topic with my mom, let alone the fact that it will not just be her, but my sisters, grandparents and cousins as well. I want to see this fast through, but I have no clue how to discuss this with my mom to get her to understand that what I am doing is, infact good for me.

    Anyone have any suggestions?

  • LAB

    Hi,
    For the New Year I want to do a 7 day fast. I have tried fasting in the past without much luck as I love food and lack self-control. I am also addicted (i believe) to sugar/carbs/ and most definately caffine. If I don’t get my coffee I feel very out of it, get a very bad headache and my muscles get really tense in my neck. I assume this is from the years of toxin buildup in my body. Would that be a correct guess? I am hoping that at the end of this fast I will be able to cut refined sugar and caffine out of my diet all together – is this really possible? :) I am also hopeing this fast will teach me alot about self discipline and I want to take time for personal reflection at this time also. I am really grateful to come across this blog because I had no idea about salt in the water and enima’s. (how often should you do an enima?) My biggest question is – is the 7 day fast a good idea? I mean is it really healthy to not eat food – what about vitamines and so on? I usually take a liquid iron supplimant as my iron can get really low- but you are supposed to take it with food so i just wondered what people here recommend? Thanks for any advice you can give – I am hoping to start this in the next day or two as I have 2 days off.
    LAB

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    LAB,

    I am not an expert, but I do suspect you would find fasting to be a useful way of “resetting” your body after many years of carbs and caffeine. And it will teach you nothing if not discipline.

    Regarding the frequency of enemas, I find it useful to do at least one enema a day. I typically aim for two. If you find yourself with a headache or feeling uncomfortable, that’s a good sign that it’s time for another enema.

    In my experience, a 7-day fast can be a very healthy way of cleansing the body and mind. If you have additional concerns, however, I would recommend consulting a doctor (Naturopaths and Doctors of Oriental Medicine are typically a better bet than MDs).

    I would not take any nutritional supplements or vitamins during your fast. If you are taking any prescription medications, however, you may want to continue taking those. Again, consult your doctor.

    I would also recommend stopping by a bookstore and picking up a copy of Joel Fuhrman’s excellent Fasting and Eating for Health as well as some other fasting book with practical recommendations for undertaking the fast itself.

    (Fuhrman’s book is great for understanding the dynamics and benefits of fasting, but it short on specifics for how to undertake a fast.)

    Definitely, find a doctor who you can talk to before, during, and after you fast. This will be very important.

    Good luck!

    Joshua

  • Susan

    well i have been reading about how beneficial a fast can be for your body but, i also read how it dramaticlally slows your mutabilism and ultimately sets you up for weight gain….? however yesterday i attempted a 10 day fast and only made it untel 4 o’clock, lol. sould i try it again?

  • http://www.freedomyou.com/ Giron

    Hi
    I have started on my 30 days fasting- only water. The last 3 days I kept it light with only veggies and fruit. Today I only feel like my vision is little blurry and light headed. I am looking foward into it. I want to control on my way of eating and spiritual growth.
    This water flush- I tried to drink it and it is awful!! Am I doing this right???

  • sassy

    Joshua,

    I have recently started a water only fast. I am currently on day 4. All I have drinken is water with no salt. My main aim in this fast is to loose weight from certain spots I haven’t been able to shed but to also cleanse my body. I regularly workout and am currently training for a half a marathon but have ceased my running for these 7-8 days. I have not seen any results and do not feel more energized however. I was wondering, when you usualy start feeling or seeing changes in your body, primarily in weight. I work out in the mornings but it is nothing to extensive and rest the entire day after that. Also a big reason I am doing this is because of my training for my marathon, my leg muscles have become very big and I want to tone them down but again I have not seen any results. I do not do enemas or the salt water thing because the enema is just too weird for me.

    My friend did this a while ago, just water and said she lost 15 pounds in 8 days, and that weight loss was all over her body. Does this vary from person to person or should it be universal due to the lack of caloric intake.

    Also, when I start eating food, I love bread and pasta, I usually eat whole wheat pasta and try to eat whole wheat bread, will this make me gain the weight that I hopefully will start to loose soon? Because I would like to keep it off and I think with my extensive workouts that will presume I should be able to, but I’m not sure.

    Thanks!

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Sassy,

    I would strongly recommend that you stop working out during your fast. When I fast, I lose about 2 pounds per day, beginning immediately.

    When you break your fast, you should avoid carbs like bread and pasta if your desire is to avoid gaining weight back. Eat fresh steamed veggies. Introduce lean meats later if that’s your style.

    Sounds like you should pick up Joel Fuhrman’s book on fasting, and investigate other books with practical suggestions from seasoned experts.

    As always, I would recommend consulting with a fasting-friendly doctor during your fast, for bona fide medical advice.

    Joshua

  • gina

    Can you take vitamins on a water fast?
    Is there an alternantive to doing enemas?

  • Marcelle

    Day one of my water fast –

    I’m at 18 hours of the first day and this always my most difficult day! Everything from sushi to chocolate is running through my brain right now. I’ll be glad when this part is over.

    Last year, I did a 28 or 29 day fast (Jan 06) and I loved the way I felt. I was going to make go for 30 days, but I was so dizzy at the end that I decided to end the fast. (I did not know I should be putting sea salt in my daily water, or I think I’d have made it through!)

    This is my second long term water fast and I really like this site and the posts here…the focus is on breaking the food obsession (for me) and getting healty, not just losing weight although that is benefit too. I never made it a priority to fit it again last year, but I want to shift that this year…

    My goal is to fast as long as my body will let me…I’ll check in daily, cause I need the accountability and the mind set I see here…:) I’ll post my weight weekly…

    thx for reading my very long post…it was that or go eat! :)

  • Angie

    This is a great website!

    I am beginning a 10 day waterfast on Monday.

    I’ve been trying to water fast for YEARS but have never seemed to be able to do it. But I have juice fasted successfully before.

    I am trying to lose weight and get nicotine out of my system and mind!!!

    I have a quick question: would an herbal laxative tea be an alternative to an enema? I just can’t do that!

    Thank You!

  • Amy

    Angie

    Good luck with your water fast. It’s especially important since you realize the nicotine toxins are in your system. I fasted for 9 days last month (December) and I haven’t gained weight back. I also noticed that my body rested and was able to repair itself. I proved it can be done and I lost 15 lbs so I feel better. I will fast again; I still need to lose about 35 lbs yet.

  • Vanessa

    Hi Joshua!

    I’m on Day 5 of water fasting (still not sure until when I’ll keep this up), and from reading some of the comments and your replies to them, I gather that I should be doing water only and sometimes put salt and do enemas.

    However, I’ve also been drinking about 3 cups per day of teas, some herbal, but mostly like Lipton teas. I also put honey in them. It keeps off headaches and the general awful feeling I get when fasting.. I would like to do enemas, but as of the present, I have no access to a drugstore which supplies them.. Would the teas and the honey keep me from going into the “protein-sparing ketosis”?

    Also, yesterday, I caved in and consumed about a handful of nuts.. I know I shouldn’t have.. Thinking back, I don’t know why I did it. Well, anyway, what effect do you think that could have on my fast?

    Thanks a lot!

    Hoping for your reply,
    Vanessa

  • gabby

    hi,

    my name is gabby i have been eating a lot lately and can’t control my portions in food, I am always eating but not cause I am hungry, just beacuse i like food. I think this is very unhealthy and is also helping me put up weight.

    i am willing to do the water fasting starting tomorrow and continue it through the weekend. On monday i will have to go back to work so i don;t think i will be fasting by then.

    i think the whole idea of this weekend fasting would be to help me jumpstart my healthy eating back again and detoxify at least part of the toxins i have accumulated from junk food lately.

    will llet you know how it goes! wish me luck please! I have never done this before

    gabby

  • Megan

    Hello,

    Question for anyone with fasting experience…I am planning my first fast to begin in about a week. I eat a plant-based vegan diet and feel I have adequately educated myself on the topic of water fasting. My goal is 10 days, but I will see how I react. Dr. Fuhrman and many others stress that fasting should only be done under a doctor’s supervision. Are any or all you seeing a doctor during your fasts. I hadn’t considered it until today, but now I am wondering.. Thanks,
    Megan

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Megan,

    While I’ve never had the luxury of being “fully” supervised by a doctor, at a fasting facility or elsewhere, I have consulted with doctors before and after my fasts.

    It is often hard to find an M.D. who has experience (or even comfort) with fasting, so you might consider consulting with an N.D. (Doctor of Naturopathy), D.O.M. (Doctor of Oriental Medicine), or an Ayurvedic (traditional Indian medicine) doctor.

    It was my D.O.M. (our family’s “primary care physician”) who told me about adding sea salt to the water I drink during my fast. And it was an Ayurvedic doctor who pointed out that it’s downright crazy to conduct a water fast without using enemas along the way. These two suggestions, alone, have increased the comfort level of our fasts incalculably.

    So, in sum, I strongly recommend finding an alternative-medicine doctor with experience in water fasting, with whome you can talk with during, after, and (if necessary) during your fast.

    Good luck!

    Joshua

  • Lisa Kay

    Hello,
    I completed a 10 day water only fast last month(Jan). I intended to fast “until completion”, but let the thought of favorite foods lure me into eating. I have such an addiction to food. Anyway, I’ve been eating for a week and not good healthy food like I intended. Today is day one all over again. I’ve done a juice fast and the master cleanse in the past. I’ve always wanted to do a water only fast…and I want to do it until my body indicates that it is finished fasting. I’m proud that I did 10 days on only water. I lost 22 pounds. I’m sort of glad too that I ate after 10 days(gained back 11 pounds). That showed me that I could indeed to a water only fast in the first place and also showed me that I need to keep going to break the addiction. I’m more motivated than ever now. My doctor would have a cow. I feel confident that I know what I’m doing plus I’m going in for some blood tests at the end of the month. Anyway, my question is about the enemas. I did enemas on the juice fast that I completed, but I didn’t feel that they accomplished anything. I didn’t do enemas on the water only fast and felt fine and when I did return to eating everything worked fine. I’ve read that enemas are unnecessary and even dangerous…especially with salt water as it kills the good as well as the bad bacteria. Why are you so keen on them?
    Thanks, Lisa

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Lisa Kay,

    When you don’t do an enema, you have feces sitting inside of you, for weeks at a time, that would normally have been eliminated within a couple days.

    Can you imagine what would happen if you put feces inside a warmed, moist bag for two weeks? Well it does that inside your intestines when you’re fasting!

    Feces are human waste that your body is trying to eliminate, and for good reason — they’re toxic. Enemas help facilitate this process, and many (many) people find that the enemas reduce the unpleasant side-effects of fasting, such as headaches, nausea, and perhaps even some of the mental cravings that drove you to end your previous fast early.

    So that’s why I recommend them, it’s all about the healthy elimination of toxins.

    In my humble opinion, anyone who says that enemas are “dangerous” is just nuts. Like fasting, enemas are one of the oldest and most time-tested ways of fostering health and eliminating toxins from the body.

    Regarding salt water killing the good as well as the bad bacteria… I haven’t ever advocated salt water enemas. Personally, I use plain warm water. (At the same time, I’ve never heard of moderate quantities of salt killing good or bad bacteria, and saline solution is a part of the natural environment inside the body, so I definitely wonder what’s up with the information you heard.)

    In general, my TOP TOP TOP recommendation is that you find an alternative-medicine doctor, who has experience with water fasting, to discuss your fast with and help you make choices that are right for your body.

    Good luck,

    Joshua

  • Gillian

    Hi,
    I have been thinking of doing a water fast one day per week to break the “eat everything in sight” routine, i know that metabolism will slow down after around 2 days of no food but would 1 day per week of just water do me good?
    I am hoping to lose weight and give my system a break, and will get back into eating by eating veggies and fruit the day after the water only fast.
    Do any of the other people do a 1 day fast on a regular basis? i would like to do longer but my hubby would not let me do it as he would worry about my metabolism slowing too much.

    Thanks in advance

    Gillian

  • Wes McHan

    I am on day 2 of an unspecified length of water fasting. This is my first fast. I decided to do it after stumbling across a website. I am constantly on the lookout for ways to improve and maintain my health…and live better. I have a few pounds to lose…about 10 – 15. That is not the main reason I am doing it. I am going to try for a 7 day fast. Day one was very hard. I was really hungry. Drank tons of distilled water. I went to bed about 7:30 and slept like I had been druged. Is that normal? I felt great waking up this morning, but the hunger continues just not quite as bad. I haven’t felt bad overall. I actually feel a little better than when I am eating. Any suggestions on how to make it to the 7 day mark? Watching TV is aweful because of all of the food ads. lol. I also have a family that requires food to be around. They are supportive though. Any advice would be helpful. Thanks. Love the site. Wes

  • Sara

    word,

    I’m on day 7 of a 10 day water fast. I didn’t intend to fast or even do a water fast, but I got really sick with a fever and the words “stave a fever, feed a cold” kept creeping into my mind. It’s been going pretty smooth. I was too sick to eat the first 2 days which got me psyched to continue fasting. I have some freinds that have fasted with juice or an alternation of juice and water, but my instincts were to keep with the water. It took the first 2 days to end the initial fevers which kept me in bed exclusively. On the 3rd day my illness was much better, and my sinuses began to clear. By day 6 all the mucus and sickness were gone. I didn’t even have to go through the weeks long recovery of having a cold that usually follows fevers. My eyes and skin are also unusually clear. I can go to school and look at my peers who eat ‘lunch’ out of a vending machine and feel very confident. I hope that the rest of this thang goes smoothly and I’m going to do 3 days of juice preceeding this fast. I’m not sure what kind of juice…I guess I’ll do what i’ve been doing the whole time and go with my gut.

  • megan

    Joshua,

    Just wanted to say hi. I’m on day 5 of what will hopefully be the ten day water fast I was planning. It is going surprisingly well. I thought I would be much more uncomfortable, but I have a lot of energy most of the time and have very few side effects. I used a couple of your suggestions that were helpful. On the first few days I did plain water enemas and they ended some minor cramping I was having. I also tried a little salt water yesterday when I felt kind of woozy and within an hour or so I felt fine again. I think a detox I did in preparation for the fast has contributed to my comfort level. I did 3 days of only fruits and vegetables (some of the veggies were cooked), then three days of all raw fruits and vegetables, and then 2 days of fruit and vegetable juices I made at home. This detox included no salt, fat or spices. Do you do any sort of detox before you fast? Just wondering how my experiences compare.

    I saw a naturopath like you suggested and found the whole experience to be extremely beneficial in relation to not just the fast but my general health and wellbeing. I will be seeing her regularly starting right after the fast is over.

    Thanks again for your all your suggestions and this site. It is a wonderful resource for all fasters.

    Be well,
    megan

  • http://www.marysullivan.com Mary

    Hi Joshua,

    Thanks so much for your website and for recommending Dr. Fuhrmans book. Between the two of you and my Dr. I was able to complete a 7 day fast.

    I was having chronic hand pain. The pain was gone by day 2 of the fast and things are really looking up.
    I had one minor flare up on day 4 in my thumb but I didn’t lose faith! I have no pain today.

    I loved hearing what Dr. Fuhrman says about arthritis and inflammation. My Dr. says that fasts are the absolute best thing for inflammation.

    My question: I ended my fast on Wed. Today is Friday. I still get short of breath when walking uphill or doing too many things at once. I don’t like this feeling as I am a very active person. In your experience, how long will it be before I am back to my old self. Other than that, I feel magnificent.

    Thanks so much Joshua for your support and generosity in helping so many people. It is hard to find support for water fasting.

    Mary Sullivan
    Illustrator for Children

  • http://www.zader.com Joshua Zader

    Mary,

    I’m very glad to hear your fast was so helpful for your inflammation.

    In my experience, normal energy levels return almost immediately (gradually over the first day or two) after breaking the fast.

    I can typically begin light workouts at the gym by the second day of breaking my fast. As long as I keep the workouts light (light cycling, freeweights) I do not experience any unusual light-headedness.

    I would recommend checking with your doctor for additional input on this subject. It strikes me as mildly concerning that you still get short of breath three days after breaking your fast — but on the other hand it may not be all that unusual.

    I’m unsure. Hopefully your doctor can help more.

    I enjoyed peeking at your web site, by the way! I like the true simplicity of it, and your artwork is lovely.

    Joshua

  • Brenda

    I am on day 8 of my all water fast. I know days 1-3 are hard. I keep telling myself it is the toxins coming out. I am ok with the a water only fast. I have a problem with the nasty taste in my mouth from the toxins. I brush every couple hours. I have done five all water fasts for 10 days and one 28 day. I found when you come off the fast eat every 2 to 3 hours very small portions and start with broths and veggies the first day. I have never seen a doctor but, I am healthy. I find the most important thing is your frame of mind. It is hard and difficult but, well worth the time.
    Take it easy but, still stay active.

  • Melissa

    I just wanted to say that i have enjoyed reviewing this site. It has really been encouraging.

    I am on Day 6 of my fast and have to say that I feel really good. It certainly get easier as the days go on. I went through some detox symptoms like runny nose and sneezing some aches and things, but that is now clearing up. I am hoping to do 10 days at least. I have some business meetings planned at restaurants. If it were a group function I would be able to get away with mingling with everyone and just drinking water. But with one on one situations I have yet to figure that out without appearing rude ( cultural thing)

    Any ideas?? If I could figure that out I would be able to extend my fast longer.