Water fasting

File: Water fasting

Reference: Dr. Michael Kalper, True North Health Center Santa Rosa, CA,​​ www.healthpromoting.com

 

  • What is fasting

    • Consuming water ONLY for a specific time

    • Therapeutic overhaul of your metabolism

  • Fasting vs. Starvation

    • Fasting -> burning fat

    • Starvation -> burning muscle (when run thru the entire fat stores, never ever want to enter this state)

  • Fasting has been around a​​ long time - humans and animals have been fasting since their beginning, practice of Hippocrates

  • 80% of all the energy your body uses all day goes into digesting your food

    • Intestinal tract - a 30 foot muscular tube that is always pushing food along

    • Chemical synthesis - stomach acid, digestive enzymes, bile production, antibody formation, mucus production

    • Immune cells - lymphocytes, etc. interrogate proteins, identify pathogens, etc.

    • When you fast this energy is freed up for healing and rebalancing

      • Organ rest - allows for healing

      • Clean-out on a cellular level

      • Re-setting of hormone balances

      • Strengthens immune function

  • Benefits of fasting

    • Inflammatory processes subside / immune system strengthened

    • Insulin receptors clear -> blood sugar levels normalize

    • Blood​​ pressure normalize

    • Blood flow increase - arteries widen, blood less viscous, etc.

      • ↓ angina, leg pain with exertion, etc.

    • Bowel, skin, bladder inflammation subside

    • Headaches often improve

    • Taste buds recalibrate - addictions/cravings less strong

    • "If there was a pill that did all of this …"

  • Who can benefit from fasting

    • People with chronic diseases

      • Diabetes (Type II)

      • High blood pressure

      • Autoimmune diseases (lupus, rheum, arthritis, etc.)

      • Intestinal inflammation (colitis, Crohn's disease, etc.)

      • Headaches

      • Allergies

      • Flare-ups of any of the above

    • People who want to clean out and "detox"

  • Who should NOT fast

    • People with wasting diseases with severe weight loss

      • Advanced cancers, etc.

    • Type 1 diabetes (no insulin at all produced)

    • People who want to lose weight

      • Weight lost quickly comes back on quickly!

      • Loose weight by changing the foods you eat (after the fast)

    • People who are on medicines they canNOT stop

      • Prednisone, anti-depression

      • → they should juice fast

  • Medically-supervised fasting

    • Concerns for fasts >3 days (5​​ days, if healthy)

    • FAINTING (standing up and passing out)

    • VOMITING (at the end of a fast a catastrophe, it's a water fast, you don't want to dehydrate)

    • Disease complications (diabetes, BP, etc.)

    • Symptom concerns (serious or not?)

    • Food preparation at end

    • Conclusion - unsupervised water fasting

      • If you are on medications that you cannot stop, don't even think about water fasting

      • For healthy people

        • 3 days is safe

        • 5 days probably ok

          • Over 5 days - risk → have supervision

    • WATER fast vs. "JUICE FAST"

      • Juice fast is​​ basically a 600 kcal liquid diet, has its uses, run up/down to the fast

      • Water fast

        • Hunger almost totally disappears (after day 2/3)

        • Sodium diuresis more pronounced (nice cleanout)

        • Weight loss from fat vs. Protein

        • Physiologic effects more pronounced

    • What happens during a fast

      • First 24 hoursburn glucose in blood → hunger

      • 24-48 hoursburn glycogen in muscles and liver (stored glycogens)

      • 3 days +burn fat stores ("detox phase")

        • KETOSIS begins (acetone)

          • Hunger goes - well-being (often) arrives!

    • How log to fast​​ for → depends upon the reason for fasting

      • For "clean out and detox" → 1 to 5 days

      • To arrest or reverse disease → min. 10 - 30 days

      • Allow enough time for the fast and re-feed

        • However many days you fast, allow half again as many for re-feeding

    • People sometimes lose lots of weight at the beginning of a fast

      • High salt diets make the body retail water to dilute out the salt

      • Eat salt → retail H2O

      • Water is heavy, 61 pounds per cubic foot

      • There is often a marked diuresis early in the fast, so much water-weight can​​ be lost

    • How will you (probably) feel during the fast

      • Days 1-3hungry!

      • Day 3-10energizes (or mellow)

      • Day 10+contemplative, energy conserving

    • Before the fast

      • Fruits and vegetables only x 2-3 days (insisted)

      • Stop all medications (only allowed thyroid, but reduced by ½)

      • Stop all supplements -​​ side effects

      • Stop all cosmetics, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc. (brush teeth with water)

      • Fasting is a time for substances to move OUT of the body - not IN

    • Laboratory testing

      • Before the fast

        • If any medical condition or concern or for a fast lasting over 5-7 days, immediately before fasting

          • C.B.C. (complete blood count)

          • C.M.P. (comprehensive metabolic profile - "chemistry"

            • For liver and kidney functions, etc.

          • Urinalysis - check for blood, protein, etc. (urine stick)

      • During the​​ fast

        • go UP! → these are NORMAL, expected changes from the metabolic changes from the fast

          • Cholesterol and triglycerides

          • Uric acid

          • Liver enzymes

      • After the fast

        • If possible, avoid having your labs done for 60 days

    • Medically supervised fasting (this should happen, be discussed with your doctor/supervisor)

      • Initial history and physical exam

      • Agreement on fasting plan/strategies (don't lock yourself into unobtainable arrangement, don't sign with blood)

      • Initial lab tests done/reviewed

      • Blood pressure, pulse, temp 1-2 x daily

      • Blood chemistry and urinalysis weekly (potassium not falling)

    • How much water

      • Need less water

        • less waste excreted

        • metabolic water produced from fat

      • recommended volume = approx. 40 oz. say around 3-4 tall (12-16 oz.) glasses/day

      • "thirst + one more​​ glass"

    • Enemas/colonics

      • Pre-fast

        • Colon irrigation→ OK!

      • During the fast

        • Unnecessary (fruits and veggies pre-fast)

        • Uncomfortable (esp. > day 14)

      • After the fast

        • Use enema/suppositories after the fast if no belly movement after two days eating, despite prunes,​​ Senna tea, etc.

    • Early fasting events and signs of "detox"

      • Nausea

      • Vomiting - may be bilious (no problem early in the fast, carbonated water helps)

      • Diarrhoea

      • Skin rash / cough / runny nose

      • Muscle aches

      • Body odour

      • Headaches (esp. Coffee drinkers)

      • Acid reflux​​ (carbonated water helps)

    • As the fast progresses

      • Signs of medical concern

        • Irregular heartbeat (rare) -​​ notify medical supervisor

        • Light-headedness upon standing → fainting

    • What is fainting

      • Loss of consciousness from lack of blood-flow to the brain

      • Common cause of fainting during fast

        • Orthostatic hypotension

          • Ortho = straight

          • Static = stationary

          • Hypo = too low

          • Tension = blood pressure

          • → Low blood pressure from standing in one place

      • Leg veins are distensible, they can hold a lot of blood

      • You won't faint while​​ you are walking

      • Veins move blood up to the heart

      • As you walk the muscles squeeze the veins and the valves create a one-way flow

      • Stand in one place for a long time and the muscular pump stops

        • Blood drains out of the head

          • Pools in the legs

        • → blood pressure drops

          • Don't feel so good

          • Lightheaded

          • Sweaty

          • Nauseated

          • Feeling going to pass out

      • Passing out is nature's way to get your head on the level of your heart and restore blood-flow back to your brain

      • You can even pass out sitting in a chair (movie, long plane ride) → move legs regularly

      • Less blood volume as the fast goes on → pass out easier

        • The risk of fainting increases as the fast progresses

      • Fainting hazards during fasting

        • While standing in the shower​​ 

        • Getting out of a bathtub

        • → sponge bath only! (no showers,​​ no bathing)

        • Prolonged sitting in one place (at sink, talking, etc.)

      • If you feel faint → do this

        • Lay down straight and bend knees up

          • Blood-flow will be restored to the head

          • You will feel better immediately

          • This is also what to do/advise if anyone around you​​ is about to faint

        • Then sit up slowly

        • Move your arms and legs (get your heart pumping!)

        • Have something to drink

        • Get up and keep moving (don't stand again in one place)

      • If you are fasting and lying down

        • Avoid suddenly going from lying flat to standing

        • Sit​​ up on edge of bed

        • Move your arms and legs

        • Take a few deep breaths

        • Stand up - and keep moving!

    • Fasting strategies

      • Drink water

        • Thirst plus one glass (3-4, 12-16 oz. Glasses)

      • Don't be around food

        • Use time and energy for other things

      • Rest as needed

        • Avoid daytime sleeping!

      • Gentle daily walk, stretching, yoga → OK

      • NO aerobics, no vigorous exercise → NO! It burns muscle!

      • Fasting from the world

        • News

        • Work

        • Worry

      • Massages, colonics during fast

        • Best done before or wait until after the fast

      • Fasting is a time SHHHHHH

      • As​​ the fast progresses

        • Observe the changes

        • Listen to your body - rest, drink, etc.

        • Allow the healing to happen

        • Be prepared for up and down times

        • Enjoy each unique day

      • Get to know yourself better → grow in new ways

    • When to stop the fast

      • When the objective has​​ been achieved (best reason)

        • Blood pressure, blood sugar normalizes, etc.

      • When the body tells the person, "I'm done…" (2nd best reason)

      • When the body tells the doctor "enough"

        • Vomiting (late in the fast is a catastrophe, electrolyte imbalance, dehydration)

        • Severe headaches

        • Extreme weakness - inability to get out of bed

      • The truth is in the person and the pulse (tappier pulse → end of the fast is near)

    • How to break the fast (for 1-2 or even 3 days each stage, short fast 1 day)

      • Fresh juice (watermelon or​​ steamed zucchini chunks)

        • Drink juice slowly! Take an hour for first glass of juice

      • Fruit (melon chunks, grapes, etc.)

      • Vegetables (raw or steamed - well chewed)

      • Soups → cooked foods

    • Colon concerns

      • Veggies only to start the fast

      • If the bowels have not moved​​ in 48 hours after breaking the fast, consider

        • Prunes and/or Senna tea

        • Glycerine suppository

        • Small enema

    • After the fast → be patient!

      • After a prolonged fast, it can take weeks (sometimes many weeks) until your strength returns to normal

      • Sometimes 2 or 3 fasts may be necessary to achieve health goals

    • How often to fast

      • Allow 3-6 month between fasts > 1 week

      • Longer interval with longer fasts

    • More important than the fast is

      • The food you eat day after day, month after month, year after year

      • Base your diet around​​ whole, plant-based foods

      • If symptoms recur after a fast

        • Ask yourself, what did I eat yesterday

    • After the fast

      • Keep your diet lean, clean, "food as grown"

      • Do something physical (to work up a sweat) at least every other day

      • Find some meaningful service to help make this a kinder, gentler world​​ 

      • Laugh as much as you can

        • It all goes by so FAST