Breaking a Fast

You Must be Careful but it is not as Complicated as you Think

Robert Buran Breaking a Fast  by Robert Buran

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I frequently get asked about breaking a fast.  It is not uncommon for many people to be fearful about breaking a long fast.

These are just a few of my thoughts:

I think too many people worry too much about breaking a fast.  Starting a fast is very hard, but breaking one is very easy.  I could break a fast every day!  One of the things that you may discover is that the most simple foods taste truly wonderful following a long fast.

The concern with what to eat to break a fast has to do with the fact that after a really long fast you can get very sick eating the wrong thing because your digestive system Breaking a Fast Breaking a Fasthas been shut down and many critical enzymes etc. are no longer in your gut.

After 20 plus days of fasting I caved in and thought I could get away with having just a single meal of roasted vegetables in some light mushroom sauce.  It made me as sick as a dog.  I would have gone to the ER except I was unable to move from my bed.  I was also running a high fever.

In general do not break a long fast with anything that is high fiber, like vegetables, or anything that is fatty, like meat.

One of the great tragedies of World War 2 occurred when the courageous Russian Army liberated Auschwitz Concentration Camp.  Without meaning any harm they fed the starving inmates boiled pork.  Tragically as a result nearly one third of those inmates died immediately following their liberation.

Protein drinks, have been known to cause health problems even death during a fast.

So fat and meat are not things to eat following a long fast.  DO NOT BREAK A LONG FAST WITH FAT OR MEAT.

The safest thing to eat is very simple.  Just eat some melon.  I have never heard of anybody getting sick on melon.  It should taste very good and will bring you gently out of the deep ketosis that your body is in.  During the long fast you have been living on water.  Melon is mostly water and will not shock your system.  It will gently bring your digestive system back to life.

After a day on just melon you can add some light easy-to-digest carbohydrate like dry toast or crackers.  And you could even try some light broth or something like tomato soup.  By day three you can try cooked vegetables and by day four try some easy-to-digest meat like fish or stewed chicken.  I have had no problem resuming my normal diet after five days.  This was following very long fasts of 47 and 75 days respectively.

The main thing following a long fast is avoid the temptation to pig out.  Your body is going to want regain all the weight you lost and can quickly diminish all your hard efforts to nothing.  If you want to maintain your new lighter weight you are probably going to have to accept some degree of calorie restriction.  Also eating a diet low in carbohydrate will help.  After a long fast is a good time to learn and appreciate eating reasonable portions of simple whole foods.  See some of my suggestions here: What to Eat

Furthermore here are some of my ideas on eating simple foods which is I believe something you should strive for following a long successful fast: Simple Food

Some people talk about breaking fasts with salads.  That sounds very healthy, but I would not recommend that because salads are full of fiber and that is going to be hard on your system following a long fast.  After 20 plus days of fasting vegetables made me very sick.  Vegetables probably work for some people because most people do not do long fasts.  If your fast is no longer than 10 days it probably makes no difference how you break it.  10 days is probably not long enough to really shut down your digestive system.  You can break a short fast with a salad or break it with steak and eggs; neither should make you sick.

But if you have been fasting for 20, 30, 40 or more days then you must be very careful how you go about breaking a fast.  And as I stated before melon is the safest thing I can recommend immediately following a long, water only fast.

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