When I tell people I’ve been fasting with no food for 48 hours and no water for 35 hours the first thing they usually say is,
“Is that good for you?”
Now at the monastery the practice that I do is not about health benefits, it’s about a spiritual understanding of yourself and the nature of suffering. But fasting in this way is actually incredibly GOOD for you (IF DONE WITH CAUTION, CARE & SUPPORT) and I’ll tell you why.
Have you heard of autophagy?
If you have then you know why we should regularly be getting in this state
And if you don’t then you really do need to have this information
Autophagy comes from the Greek autóphagos, meaning “self-devouring” and kýtos, meaning “hollow”.
The 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy. The benefits are well documented yet not many people know about. Autophagy emerged during the 1960s when researchers first observed that when there was no intake of food or water, the body was forced to come up with both internally.
When the body is in a dry fasted state (see distinctions of the different ways to fast below) it will first use food for energy, then water, and when both are fully depleted it will begin to eat the cells themselves. The most wonderful part of this is that it will choose first cells that are degenerated and literally burn them off, leaving you only with healthy cells plus:
“Inflammation cannot exist without water. Microorganisms need water to survive. These facts taken together make dry fasting a highly effective tool to address acute health issues and degenerative conditions. Such a fast stimulates the immune system, activates the body’s anti-inflammatory mechanisms, purifies the blood and clears the blood vessels, as well as cleanses the GI tract and renews its mucosal lining.
Dry fasting also eliminates parasites and promotes regeneration of healthy tissues. And this isn’t even a complete list of benefits. Every cell of the body literally cleans house. Only the strongest and healthiest of cells survive in such extreme conditions, while cysts and benign tumors dissolve as a result of autolysis, a process by which the body sacrifices its sickest cells for its own survival.”
~ Taken from www.beautifulonrawdotcom
I’ve worked my way through all of the below types of fasting, slowly building my body up to be able to cope. It is imperative that you do the same, and at Inner Guidance we are going to be doing the same; starting with the Juice Fast and later in the year, or perhaps 2020 we’ll build up to something else, so if you’d like to join the journey then find out more here.
The Juice Fast
Here take as many juices as you like, with different combinations of fruit and veggies. When you juice, as opposed to make a smoothie, there is no fibre so nothing to digest. This is a great start as your body is still receiving nutrients but the digestive system rests so that your body can divert the energy usually used to digest, to heal what is out of balance. Go initially for three or four days at a time, slowly building it up should you wish to.
The Water Fast
The next step in the journey is to only drink water. I’d start with this one for no more than 24 hours in the beginning, gradually lengthening the time each time you partake. Some people include herbal tea or hot water as well as room temperature water, but no coffee or regular tea!
Animals naturally do this when they are sick, they just know that they must not eat anything to truly give the body the rest it needs to regenerate.
The Dry Fast
No food here and no water either. It’s tough in the beginning but if you think about it you are doing this anyway when you go to bed. A great way to begin dry fasting is to slowly increase the time overnight that you dry fast; take your first drink in the morning later and later. I don’t drink anything after 8.30pm and then go until 11am each day, if my schedule allows it. It’s become totally normal now to not drink first thing and I don’t even think about it. Autophagy begins at the 12 hour mark so you can easily get your body working for you in this way, maybe start every other day in the beginning or choose two or three days in the week when you think you can manage it.
The longer dry fast is where caution must be seriously taken. In retreat I go for 35 hours dry fasting but I have felt shocking in the past, with pain in my kidneys being just one symptom, and many times thinking I was not going to survive (see last weeks blog: link here). Additionally when I am doing this I am surrounded with others doing the same thing; there is camaraderie and full support, if someone doesn’t feel good there are many people on hand to help. Please go carefully with the longer dry fast and make sure you have people around you to keep an eye out.
The Absolute Dry Fast
No food, no water, and no showering, brushing of teeth or washing your hands. This is the ultimate fast where no fluid is drawn into the body at all. Autophagy goes into overdrive here with the body instructed to regenerate healthy cells and incinerate damaged cells; for anyone suffering dis-ease, tumour, cysts, or any illness dry fasting or absolute dry fasting is something I’d advise you look into.
What Is The Plan?
As you read this think about a commitment you’d like to take around fasting and make it now. For anyone with an eating disorder I would completely ignore todays blog and work on getting yourself in a good place with food before even thinking about fasting; one step at a time.
Personally I have one 24 hour period of dry fasting per week; when I have some time off and can rest, meditate, do yoga, journal, maybe also be in silence, turn all devices off and be wholly in my practice. I’ll be choosing my day well in advance so that it is in my diary and nothing else gets in its way.
If you like the sound of a five day juice fast then the next one is in May, and all the details can be found here: www.innerguidance.co.uk/product/the-juice-fast/
The juice fast is a great place to begin this journey, and you can try out overnight dry fasting too whilst in this supportive environment.
Let me know your thoughts on what I’ve shared today
I’d love to know your experience with fasting
And whether you feel inspired to dig a little deeper into what is possible…
Read here something that has been said by one of the Quantum Sobriety Online Programme members over in our lively private forum: