Recently I decided to try a 48 hour fast where I ate no food for a full two days. I had homemade bone broth and a fasting drink made with green tea, maple syrup and lemon juice and that was it!
Why did I want to fast? Well a few reasons as a Functional Medicine Practitioner it was something that I am interesting in prescribing to my patients and how can I tell people to do something that I have never tried. On a personal note after years of suffering from digestive issues, low grade systemic inflammation and immune system activation I wanted to also do a reset for myself.
How did I do it specifically? Well I had roast chicken on a Monday night cooked and eaten before 7pm. Then I took the bones from the chicken along with carrots, leeks, apple cider vinegar, Himalayan sea salt and water to let my broth brew overnight. Sleep on a fast is your friend as it’s a big chunk of time that you don’t have to worry that you cannot eat, we are all used to not eating while sleeping….well most of us unless you sleep walk to the fridge and eat. Woke up at 8am with my fabulous new Lumie light (wakes you with light naturally as sunlight would over 30 minutes) and could smell my broth in my slow cooker. Started my day with my normal morning practice of meditation to clear my mind and focus my thoughts for the day along with mobility and gratitude journaling.
Day one was filled with mostly broth, herbal teas and some lemon green tea ‘brew’. My broth was delicious and adding salt helped with headaches and nausea when it came (rarely) and was really there to heal my gut….yup my gut. So many of us suffer from gut dysbiosis or ‘leaky gut’ and bone broth is a fantastic way to help heal those intestines. The ‘brew’ helped when occasionally would get a slight headache or a pang of hunger. Hunger pangs really lasted 10-15 min so as long as you are mindful, stick with it they usually pass. In the afternoon I went to my day job as a chiropractor which is very physical as I use many manual techniques that require me to move, be mobile and have full energy. Working and drinking broth was actually easy, staying distracted is one of the top tips all the fasting protocols tell you and truly it does help.
After work headed home to…..Dinner Time…..actually I arrived after my husband had finished his dinner and warmed up a cup of broth for my meal (yes he thinks I am weird and I love it), then had a few cups of herbal tea and it was off to bed…Day 1 complete only 22 more hours to go.
Day two waking up was a little hungry so had a couple cups of broth, made more ‘brew’ and headed off to a business meeting at a bakery….didn’t plan that well….thought that was going to be a disaster. Well I can honestly say had some tea with lemon and maple syrup (brought the MS with me) and my associate had food and it really was not that bad. Smelling all the baked goods and food was not a big issue luckily I am always gluten free so don’t really see pastries as ‘food’ but could see how for so many a meeting at a bakery on a fast….not a good idea. After a few more hours working in a coffee shop, drinking cold broth and brew went off to another meeting. Anytime I needed a pick me up had some broth or brew and hunger pangs subsided as quickly as day one. What I was feeling was some wicked mental clarity and focus, breathing was so free and clear, my intestines calm and relaxed and overall feeling really well.
Arrived home at 6pm with 1 hour left till food time, my husband kindly waited with me till 7pm so it would be a full 48 hours….I have gone this far was not going to break it at 47 hours. My fast breaking meal was roast chicken, roasted veg and stir-fried greens (spinach, swiss chard, cavolo nero) which I honestly have to say was one of the best meals of my life. It was a simple home cooked meal but after 48 hours of no food my taste buds were primed for anything – cannot imagine what it would be like to break fast at Michelin star restaurant. My butternut squash was so succulent and sweet, the chicken was tender and full of flavour and my greens I could literally taste the earthy iron flavour (which I like) coming out. I was not expecting such a fantastic experience for that meal and also my mindfulness in the eating was so high. Eating then allowed me to take my time, enjoy the flavours and really be present which is a nice change to how I normally hoover my food down.
So what did I learn from my fast?
1. We are so much stronger than we think. Mentally we can honestly do anything. The human spirit is so strong and when you set your mind on a goal and commit you can do anything.
2. Modern humans in western society don’t really know what hunger is, and to be honest I know what I experienced in just 2 days was no where near what many in our world go through. Hunger is just another feeling we can be aware of, it can teach us so much; to be grateful for how lucky we are to never really truly be hungry.
3. After 2 days of no food your taste buds come ALIVE!
4. Fasting is an amazing therapeutic tool to heal your gut, diminish inflammation, calm the immune system, focus your mind and provide space for creativity to flow.
My recommendations – if you have not tired fasting well do some research give it a go, you can always eat if your really not feeling well. There are many ways to try fasting; intermittent fasting where you eat in a window of 6-8 hours, Bulletproof fasting where you drink ‘fat’ coffee and eat in a 6-8 hour window, full fasting for varying lengths of time. Whatever your choice be sure to check with your doctor before beginning any protocol to see if it is right for you and your health conditions. I have included my fasting recipes below for inspiration.
Note: this blog is not intended to assess, diagnose or treat if you are thinking of doing a fast speak to your doctor first as you should with any changes to your lifestyle or health.
Take chicken or beef bones, water, chopped carrots, chopped leeks, chopped celery, bay leaves, filtered water, apple cider vinegar, Himalayan sea salt, black pepper and pop them all in a slow cooker on low to ‘brew.’ Chicken takes 12-14 hours, beef up to 24 hours. Enjoy.
Lemon Green Tea ‘Brew’
Boil water pour 1 litre over 3 bags of green tea (choose your favourite, decaf is ok if your sensitive to caffeine), add juice of 1 lemon and 1-2 tablespoons of maple syrup (sweeten to your taste). Drink 1-2 litres per day. If your getting headaches, feeling light headed add a bit more maple syrup to balance your blood sugar. Recipe adapted from Living Proof Fast.
I choose to have both bone broth and ‘brew’, because it offers a different taste and the two offer two different benefits; bone broth heals the gut, brew gives you alkalinising benefits, energy from green tea and sugar in the form of maple syrup. I also mixed it up with many herbal teas which helped when you get bored and want to eat just out of boredom.
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