Preface: I did not keep a food diary during this time, hence the list of foods are only off my memory and may be inaccurate. Also, very important, the food I ate is not the most ideal post-fast food. This post is simply to provide you with a personal account on the effects of breaking a 6 day water fast.
I suggest you read my personal recordings of a 6-day water fast & post-fast Day 1 prior to this post.
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The day after post-fast Day 1, I was not feeling as lethargic as the last few days of the fast, but pretty hungry. Since I woke up late, only brunch (breakfast & lunch) was on the menu for me. Afterwards, an afternoon snack and dinner.
Post fast Day 2
Brunch – cabbage soup + naval orange
Afternoon snack – large tomato (about 5*5 inches)
Dinner – naval orange
Reactions: Post-fast foods are supposed to be mostly liquid/blended, however, I only had a limited range of food in my fridge. To make up for this I chewed all my foods very slowly and thoroughly so my digestive systems don’t have to work as much.
The cabbage soup was my first cooked food. I drank the warm soup first slowly, then chewed the cabbage very thoroughly. The soup and cabbage didn’t upset my stomach.
I was still hungry so I had a naval orange – once again, I ate it very slowly.
I only ate when I was hungry. The hunger cues seem to suggest the digestive system was now ready to process more food.
By early evening, I became hungry again, so I ate a large tomato (raw). For dinner, I ate another naval orange since it was the only raw food left to eat and why not have a high-vitamin C food to replenish my nutrient storage?
Post fast Day 3
I woke up not feeling as hungry as the day before (must be because of the larger amount of food consumed on Day 2 comparing to Day 1, and the digestive system still warming-up). Since I also woke up late, I did not have breakfast but had lunch with company.
Brunch – a very small portion of soup (bone broth) with tomato, potato, and tofu + one small piece of pork + a small portion of vermicelli noodles and veggies + mostly raw carrot slices w/ soybean paste (in total: <400)
Dinner – Cooked vegetables & bone broth.
Reactions: I made a few mistakes on Day 3. First of all, I believed that my digestive system would be working full-swing by this time, which was incorrect. Although I didn’t feel any stomach pain, I had a minor diarrhea after brunch.
Secondly, I had eaten either too much or not the right foods (@brunch time) for my condition. This is because I did not feel hungry (signs of indigestion) at all even 5 hours after the very light meal that I had at noon.
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Here are websites with better guidelines on post-fast meals:
And here is a useful quote from TrueNorth Health Center webpage:
Ending the Fast
When participants decide to end their fast, they are encouraged to gradually reintroduce food into their diet. This re-feeding process reinforces good dietary habits and typically requires a period of no less than one-half the length of the fast.
Obviously, I did not follow this guideline thoroughly.
My summary of post-fast guidelines:
– The recovery period (when you are not eating normal meals) should last 1/2 of your fasting period. In the case of a 6 day fast – 3 days.
– Try to consume mostly liquid/blended foods on your first few days of the recovery. Raw fruit/vegetable juice are the best choices, followed by fat-free nutrient-dense broths.
– Eat mostly raw fruits/vegetables during the recovery period. The main idea is to re-energize the body, in a nutritious and quick way. Fruits/vegetables are easily digested and high in vitamins & minerals.
– Avoid foods that are not easily digestible during the recovery period, i.e. protein, fatty foods, etc.
My own tips:
– Take it slow = eat and drink very little at a time, and very slowly.
– Consume only when hungry = in order to avoid overwhelming the stomach with food, and bloating.
– Consume bland foods (at least for 1/2 of your recovery days) = I believe the consumption of salty condiments may have played a role in giving me diarrhea.
I believe the goal is to take as slow as you can in building up to normal meals. Don’t worry about nutrient-deficiency (in the case of short-fasters (1-6 days). Remember that many fasters have survived many more days without even taking in any nutrients. The breaking of a fast is possibly more dangerous than during the fast itself as adverse reactions can happen quicker. Refer to my previous post for examples. So, it is important to strictly follow the guidelines (I am personally lucky to have good enough health to not have serious side effects other than bloating and minor diarrhea).
It is also very important that if you feel very depleted and sick during the recovery period, to contact medical personnels immediately. You may have a medical condition not suitable for fasting i.e. anemia or diabetes OR low electrolyte levels from the fast, that would require medical attention.