How to Break a Fast! Increasing Mindfulness & Maximizing Your Benefits

September 12, 2012

Dearest Readers:

If you have not check out past posts on Fasting please do. My personal go-to for the first day of breaking a fast is to eat simple liquid foods, like fresh fruit juices: watermelon juice, fresh pineapple juice, fresh squeezed orange juice, or vegetable broths (miso is usually my broth of choice because it is a light fermented food that promotes good bacteria). Depending on how long the fast–for instance if the fast was longer than 3 Days— I will stay on liquid/blended meals for two days and then begin to introduce solid fruits. When you introduce solids be sure to savor your food and chew thoroughly so it’s easier for your body to break it down. Savoring your food is a part of “mindfulness,” and includes taking a moment to enjoy the taste and flavors, and having a deep gratitude to the Source for providing your meal.  Breaking your fast is crucial to retaining the benefits you worked hard for, and keeping your body in balance. Go slow, listen to your body, and plan ahead. -XoXo Raw Girl

So a friend of mine calls me the other day and says to me “Nicola I just love what you guys are doing with Raw Girl and you have inspired me so much that I’ve embarked on my own liquid fast.” I was ecstatic. There is nothing better than hearing that something that you are a part of has inspired another to take control of their health. When I asked her how long she had been fasting, she told me that she was on day eight! I felt so uplifted to hear the news, because I have been on extended fasts myself in the past and after day three it really becomes easy sailing from there. Not only that, there are tons of mental, physical, and spiritual breakthroughs which can occur during extended periods of fasting. She was amazed at her progress, just was a little unsure of how to incorporate solids back into her life. At this stage in the game, the biggest and probably most CRUCIAL step in maintaining the benefits of a fast is how to go about incorporating solid foods again.

Fasting of all sorts is an amazing way to take control of your health but also presents a great opportunity to improve your relationship to food. My own personal journey with fasting was born out of a need to address a serious binge eating problem that I would occasionally have due to what I thought was simply a psychological deficiency (but later found out it may have had more to do with a nutritional deficiency). Fasting was something that I just started to do because I was blown away by the benefits, but I wasn’t resourceful enough at the time to be strategic about the way that I introduced solid foods back into my life.  Which, I quickly discovered through experience is a crucial element to reap the overall benefits of the fast.

When our bodies go into a fasting state, especially for prolonged periods of time longer than three days, then the digestive system goes to sleep. All of the energy that the body was using to digest the foods that you’ve been constantly eating suddenly is now diverted into a deeper cleansing of the body. It’s sort of like that extra time you suddenly have during spring break (if you’re in school) and you get to finally get into the nooks and crannies of your living space to clean everything out that you didn’t have the time to get to before. The biggest mistake that people make when breaking fast is eating a big, hard to digest meal. To your digestive system, It’s a lot like being awakened from a deep soothing slumber with a bucket of ice being thrown at you. Not gentle, and um…not easy to digest. Again, your system has been diverted from its usual digesting duties, and its very important that it is gently reintroduced to simple easy to digest foods like simple fruits or vegetables. This is in order to give the digestive system time to start producing the enzymes again needed to get the job done which had ceased to be produced upon fasting. Failure to do this can result in the digestive lining becoming irritated and even damaged if this process is not respected.

Here are a few rules of thumb and tips for breaking a fast correctly:

  • You should spend at least 1 day breaking fast for every 3 days of fasting
  • Write out a “breaking the fast” plan and be ready to implement( Buy food before hand and have a systematic plan in place to avoid eating whatever is available/overeating)
  • Drink lots of water between meals
  • LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you are still feeling full when it comes time to eat again, don’t force yourself to eat, just drink some juice or some water and let your body do its thing.

This is very important, so I will reiterate: spend at least 1 day breaking a fast for every 3 days that you fast. After all the hard work and discipline you’ve exercised in fasting, it’s so worth the extra push to break fast correctly, and in the process renew your appreciation for the food you are consuming. Fasting has been such an amazing journey for me, which is ongoing and ever evolving. Since I began, the process has dramatically improved my relationship with my food and portion sizes. Learning how to be truly mindful with my food has played a big role in that. I encourage you to plan a customized fast which fits your needs; there are so many options for you to choose from that will increase your energy, vitality, and health! – Nicola, Signing in for Raw Girl

For more on Fasting check out these past posts:

How to Design Your Own Fast

Tips for a Stress-Free Fast

Wise Ones on the Benefits of Fasting


One comment

  1. Reblogged this on My Blog.

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