How to Fast
- Your Personal Guide to Fasting and Prayer
- Why You Should Fast
- How to Fast Safely
- How Long and What Type of Fast Is Right for You
- How to Prepare Yourself Spiritually and Physically
- How to Manage Your Schedule While Fasting
- Dealing With the Responses of Friends and Loved Ones
- How to Make Your Spiritual Experience the Best it Can Be
- How to Maintain Nutritional Balance and Health from Beginning to End
- What Physical Effects to Expect
- How to Finish Your Fast in a Healthy Way
I know the prospect of going without food for an extended period of time may be of concern to some. But there are ways to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs so you can remain safe and healthy during your fast.
For an extended fast, I recommend water and fruit and vegetable juices. The natural sugars in juices provide energy, and the taste and strength are motivational to continue your fast. Try to drink fresh juices, if possible. Off-the-shelf juice products are acceptable, as long as they are 100% juice with no sugar or other additives.
If you are beginning a juice fast, there are certain juices you may wish to avoid and certain ones that are especially beneficial. Because of their acid content, most nutritionists do not advise orange or tomato juice (these are better tolerated if mixed with equal portions of water). The best juices are fresh carrot, grape, celery, apple, cabbage or beet. They also recommend “green drinks” made from green leafy vegetables because they are excellent “detoxifiers.”
Fruit juices are “cleansers” and are best taken in the morning. Since vegetable juices are “restorers” and “builders,” they are best taken in the afternoon.
I usually dedicate a portion of my 40-day fast to a special liquid formula, which I have found to be effective. A few recipes and my comments are on this page, as well as a helpful schedule.
- One gallon distilled water
- 1-1/2 cup lemon juice
- 3/4-cup pure maple syrup
- 1/4-teaspoon cayenne pepper
The lemon juice adds flavor and vitamin C, the maple syrup provides energy and the cayenne pepper – an herb – acts to open small blood vessels which, I believe, helps the body as it cleanses itself of stored toxins. (A word of caution: although I use this formula with no ill effects, cayenne pepper could cause severe physical reactions in persons with a specific allergy to this herb.)
My favorite juice is a mixture of 100% pure white grape juice and peach juice. The juice is available in frozen cans under the Welch label. Most knowledgeable nutritionists recommend:
- Watermelon – just put it in the blender without adding water
- Fresh apple juice
- Green juice – blend celery, romaine lettuce and carrots in equal proportions (Vegetable juices like this one are important, for they supply the electrolytes necessary for proper heart function.)
Some nutritionists recommend warm broth, especially if you live in a colder climate. You may find their recipes helpful:
- Boil sliced potatoes, carrots and celery in water.
- Do not add salt.
- After about a half-hour, drain off the water and drink.
- Gently boil three carrots, two stalks of celery, one turnip, two beets, a half head of cabbage, a quarter of a bunch of parsley, a quarter of an onion and a half clove of garlic.
- Drain off the broth and drink up to two or three times daily.
You may find the following daily schedule helpful. I recommend you print it and keep it handy throughout your fast.
- 5 a.m. - 8 a.m.
- Fruit juices, preferably freshly squeezed or blended, diluted in 50 percent distilled water if the fruit is acidic. Orange, apple, pear, grapefruit, papaya, grape, peach or other fruits are good.
- 10:30 a.m. - Noon
- Green vegetable juice made from lettuce, celery and carrots in three equal parts.
- 2:30 p.m. - 4 p.m.
- Herbal tea (decaffeinated) with a drop of honey. Make sure that it is not black tea or tea with a stimulant.
- 6 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
- Broth from boiled potatoes, celery and carrots (no salt).
I suggest that you do not drink milk because it is a pure food and therefore a violation of the fast. Any products containing protein or fat, such as milk or soy-based drinks, should be avoided. These products will restart the digestion cycle, and you will again feel hunger pangs. Also, for health reasons, stay away from caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea or cola. Caffeine is a stimulant and therefore has a more powerful effect on your nervous system when you abstain from food. This stimulant works both against the physical and spiritual aspects of the fast.
Another key factor in maintaining optimum health during a fast is to limit your physical activity. Exercise only moderately, and rest as much as your schedule will permit (this especially applies to extended fasts). Short naps are helpful as well. Walking a mile or two each day at a moderate pace is acceptable for a person in good health and on a juice fast. However, no one on a water fast should exercise without the supervision of a fasting specialist.