top of page

All about Fasting

Updated: Jul 29, 2022

Did you know that going without food can be a potent healing modality? I’m sure you’ve heard of celebrities going to fasting health centers where they are supported and supervised throughout their therapeutic fast. It does take a lot of strength, stamina and self-discipline to undertake a prolonged fast at home. The big problem with fasting is that most people are scared to try it as refraining from eating sounds very intimidating. Fortunately, fasting does not necessarily mean long term deprivation, there are ways to utilize this healing modality in a fairly easy way.

Fasting is an ancient therapeutic method where you are abstaining from food for a period of time. It is nature’s way of promoting healing that is safe, effective, and inexpensive. When you don’t feel well, you generally take a break from eating anyways. The body is very smart. Fasting offers many benefits that promote a healthier body, including longevity, reducing inflammation and improving the immune system. When in a fasted state, the body shifts from using external fuel (food) to internal fuel (fat, glycogen and other stored energy). The immediate benefit is boosting metabolic activity and burning off fat, rapid weight loss, and destruction of sick and damaged cells. Longer term benefits include reversing effects of aging, decreasing inflammation, improving blood pressure, triglycerides and cholesterol as well as brain function, preventing cancer, lowering insulin and glucose, improving insulin sensitivity and immune regulation. The most exciting benefit of fasting is autophagy, a process that allows your body to break down old, damaged, and weak cells to recycle them for energy. This stimulates and creates room for the production of new, healthy, and more efficient cells, and healthy blood regeneration. It is shown that just after sixteen hours of fasting, the body starts to eat away at the sick cells and tissues. Essentially, the cellular debris and abnormal cells, including cancerous ones, become food for the body.

There are numerous ways to fast. You can use fasting on occasion or on a daily basis. Different fasting methods are not created equal, and it is up to an individual and their health professional to determine which options are best suitable for them. Intermittent fasting means you eat only within a specific time window, usually 6-12 hrs. You can also alternate days, when one day you fast and the next you eat. You can do a short water fast of 2-3 days, medium length one lasting 3-7 days, and finally extended fast would be over 7 days. There is also dry fasting (no eating or drinking), and a partial fasting when you consume a restricted amount of calories, and omit key food groups. Most common are green juice fasting, bone broth fasting, keto fasting, and Fasting Mimicking Diet. The last one means basically consuming specific foods that mimic fasting. This often involves using a kit with a proprietary blend of low calorie food to achieve a fasted state.

I recommend my clients start with intermittent fasting (if it’s right for them) and slowly increase the fasted window as their bodies acclimate to this change. Firstly, it gives their digestive system a much needed break as digestion uses a lot of energy. Once the digestive process is no longer needed, the body diverts that energy to other processes like immune regulation, burning fat, and tissue repair.

Intermittent fasting can increase the gut microbiome diversity, and promote growth of beneficial bacteria over harmful bacteria species. However, the restricted feeding window of intermittent fasting may lead to fewer calories consumed, and challenges with meeting nutritional needs. I advise to focus on eating an abundance of nutrient-dense, whole foods during feeding periods for optimal results. For those looking for a deeper detox, transitioning to a Fasting Mimicking Diet is a great and fairly easy option. You would fast for 5 days consuming specific foods and repeat this process each month until you reach the results you are looking for.

Fasting is especially advisable to people who are overweight, and not responding to calorie restriction. It’s great for those with digestive complaints as it assists in healing the digestive tract, also for those with chronic conditions that are not responsive to other treatments. It can be a powerful healing modality for those suffering from autoimmune diseases, hypertension, cancer, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, and anyone looking to optimize their health. Of course, it’s not for those severely underweight and undernourished, pregnant and nursing, young children, individuals with eating disorders, or those experiencing hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or adrenal burnout. It is also imperative that you remain properly hydrated while fasting, and following a period of fasting, you come off of it properly by slowly reintroducing foods as opposed to consuming a large heavy meal.

Our ancestors typically went for long periods without eating. An abundance of food and our modern, processed, and carbohydrate-heavy diets have contributed greatly to insulin resistance and blood sugar dysregulation. This, in turn, has led to much higher rates of chronic diseases. The solution may be easier, and less expensive than one may think - fasting is really accessible to any of us. I do prefer that individuals work with their healthcare practitioner to determine if and what type of fasting routine is appropriate for them and discuss the risks versus potential benefits. The right practitioner will also recommend personalized supplements, and will support the major channels of elimination during the process of fasting: the colon, liver, lungs, kidneys, lymph and skin. A healing crisis may occur with undesirable symptoms while the body is going through the process of cleansing. This is when things can feel really intense because the body is releasing toxins quicker than they can be eliminated. Therefore, you may benefit from getting support from a health professional who understands your health history and health goals, and who is also well-versed in fasting.


bottom of page