The Water Fasting HEALTH MIRACLE…
My hubby and myself just completed a marathon 3 DAY and 20 hour water-fast.
A water-fast is exactly as it sounds – ZERO food and ZERO caloric beverages,
All we consumed over the 92 hour period was some specially formulated herbal detox teas, and some essential oils infused into our filtered water.
We went nearly 4 days without any food whatsoever.
I know what you’re thinking – Bec you’re absolutely CRAZY girl! AND how on earth did you convince your hubby to partake in such madness!!?? lol
But wait… there is a solid scientific method to my madness, and I wanted to take some time to document here on my blog, why we did it, and what happened.
*WHY* would you ever water fast?
Water fasting is a type of short-term fasting that lasts from 24 to 96 hours and restricts the ingestion of nutrients to nothing but water.
Defined as voluntary abstinence of all caloric foods and beverages, fasting has been practiced by humans for at least 2000 years for many different reasons.
What got me interested was research in animals and humans that uncovered several potentially health-promoting physiologic responses to fasting including ketogenesis, hormone modulation, reduced oxidative stress and inflammation, and increased stress resistance, lipolysis (the breakdown of fats and other lipids), and autophagy (cleaning out damaged cells, in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells), and potentially the biggest benefit of all – a dramatic improvement of gut health.
I certainly wasn’t doing this for fat loss (though that did result).
Water fasting is one of the most potent tools available for assisting the body in healing itself.
SURVIVING In A TOXIC World
Unfortunately, many aspects of a modern lifestyle and the standard western world diet can negatively impact your gut’s microbiome and intestinal permeability including:
✖️ Diet high in refined sugar and refined carbohydrates
✖️ Diet high in processed foods, alcohol and chemical additives
✖️ Diet high in animal foods and low in plant-based foods
✖️ Diet low in fermentable fiber
✖️ Long-term use of antibiotics or birth control
✖️ Lifestyle with chronic stress
Consider that 70 to 80% of your total daily energy expenditure is spent breaking down food, trying to metabolize the food and trying to utilize the nutrients from food.
The energy it takes to digest several meals per day + incessant snacking and drinking, uses up the vital energy we need to think, exercise and to perform our daily activities. The majority of the population is wasting most of their energy on digesting food.
To add to this, most of the population consumes alcohol, soda drinks, artificial sweeteners, refined carbohydrates, and sugars. This is why everyone is sick, tired and unhealthy – because the majority of the population are eating the wrong foods at the wrong time, eating too much food, and they no longer have the energy to break down this fake food.
Not only can these factors negatively impact our gut health individually, but cumulatively they are even more problematic.
Frequent use of antibiotics is particularly harmful to our microbiome (it’s all in the name anti-biotic = anti-bacteria) as they have a profound and rapid impact on our gut flora.
Once your gut flora has been compromised, and tight junctions have become inflamed and irritated, our gut’s barrier system can no longer defend us as it was designed to do. As the barrier becomes weakened, it becomes less selective; allowing bad bacteria inside and keeping vital nutrients out.
YOUR GUT HEALTH WILL DETERMINE YOUR HEALTH
What many people don’t understand is that the health of your gut spans far beyond digestive symptoms. Although issues such as IBS, Crohn’s disease, Celiac disease, and digestive disorders are clearly related to gut health, poor gut flora and intestinal permeability can result in many other things including; mood, mental health, energy, fatigue, headaches, migraines, skin issues, and food intolerances.
In fact, you do not need to have digestive symptoms for your gut health to negatively impact you. Poor gut health can manifest itself as acne, psoriasis, poor concentration, anxiety, depression, or fatigue before you have a digestive issue.
75% of your immune system resides in your gut…
Given that 75% of your immune system resides in your gut, the health of your gut has a large impact on the health of your immune system. When the intestinal barrier becomes permeable, protein molecules can escape into the bloodstream. However, since these molecules don’t reside outside of the gut, the immune system responds by attacking them as foreign invaders. This process ‘pollutes’ your bloodstream and creates an excess workload on your immune system and filtering organs as they attempt to cope with the unwanted invasion.
Studies show that the link between gut health and the immune system plays a role in many auto-immune conditions as well as the increase in food allergies and food sensitivities.
A Healthy Gut = A Long Life
Most people have heard the expression “you are what you eat”, but as we continue to learn more and more about the body, evidence has become clear that in fact “you are what you absorb”. The gastrointestinal system is not only important for breaking down and digesting the food we eat, but it is largely important for the health of our immune system and overall well-being.
Our gut is a complex system that absorbs nutrients, makes minerals, houses bacteria, protects from infection, relays messages to our brain and so much more. Our gut is a hard-working system that allows nutrients and water into our body while keeping toxins and antigens out.
Its home to approximately 100 trillion microorganisms, which is 10 x more than the entire human body. Although researchers are still learning more about the microbiome (also known as gut flora), we have begun to understand that our microbiome not only promotes normal gastrointestinal function but provides protection from infection, regulates metabolism, and comprises more than 75% of our immune system.
Accumulating evidence is indicating that the commensal bacteria living in human gastrointestinal tract (GIT) is profoundly linked to human health and disease. Gut microbiome has become a promising target for prediction, prevention and treatment of diseases.
THE MIRACLE OF WATER FASTING…
So how does this all relate to water-fasting Bec? Let me explain…
Water-only fasting dramatically changes the bacterial community in your gut, developing more homogenous and healthy gut microbiomes during the fasting period.
A recent study published in Science Direct clearly indicated that water-only fasting has a profound and long-lasting effect on gut microbiome. Compared with juice fasting, which has a relatively limited effect on gut microbiome. It indicated that water-only fasting could be a potential tool to reduce Fusobacterium.
Strains of Fusobacterium can cause several human diseases and infections, including periodontal diseases, Lemierre’s syndrome, oral, head, and neck infections, as well as colorectal cancer and topical skin ulcers.
The study I’m referencing showed microbiome changes due to water-only fasting remained in the test subjects even after returning to their normal diet, indicating the resilience of gut microbiome was successfully challenged.
These results provided preliminary data on how ceasing food intake can shift gut microbiome. Moreover, water only fasting could be a potential tool to reduce Fusobacterium, which promotes colorectal cancer.
Certain bacteria are super responsive to fasting, and those tend to be beneficial bacteria.
THE ENDLESS BENEFITS OF A WATER FAST:
♥ Reduces Pain & Inflammation
♥ Reduces Scar Tissue, Crystallization And Calcification
♥ Increases Energy
♥ Takes Stress Off Of The Digestive System
♥ Improves Genetic Repair Mechanisms
♥ Improves Spiritual Health And Intuition
♥ Expands Consciousness
♥ Stem Cell & HGH Production
♥ Stimulates Cellular Renewal
♥ Reinforces Intelligent Eating
♥ Improves Insulin Sensitivity
♥ Restores Immune System
♥ Improves Mental Health
♥ Stimulates Autophagy
♥ Decrease Body Fat Content
♥ Advance Lean Body Mass
♥ Improve Cholesterol Levels
♥ Provide Efficient Cardiac Output
♥ Increase Skin Elasticity
♥ Improve Memory
♥ Increase Libido
♥ Increase Energy And Sense Of Well-Being
Just imagine, if you didn’t eat anything for days your body wouldn’t have to focus on digestion. All that energy can now be transformed into millions of microscopic Pac Men inside your body eliminating all of the abnormal, damaged, dead cells.
BUILDING A NEW YOUNGER, HEALTHIER YOU:
This new found energy will eliminate anything that is impure, any type of inferior material, toxic accumulations, tumors, abscesses, and those abnormal unwanted fat deposits. Your body now has the ability to actually start rejuvenating, regenerating and producing healthy stem cells for whole body healing.
A study at USC was completed by scientists where they proved that water fasting for as little as 72 hours flips the regenerative switch and prompts stem cells and brand new white blood cells to be created. Their conclusion was that 72 hours of water fasting regenerates the entire immune system, even in the elderly.
The primary reasons for water fasting are to improve one’s health through weight loss, detoxification of toxic chemicals stored in fat cells, strengthening of the immune system, reduction of inflammation, and autophagy.
Autophagy also called, ‘self-eating’, is a detox process your body experiences in order to clean and clear out diseased and damaged cells while regenerating new healthy cells. During this process the body goes into a state of healthy decomposition, this is where it begins to digest and eliminate any tissues or cells that are diseased, damaged, inflamed, aging or already dead. Our body was actually designed to naturally eliminate these tissues and cells but due to today’s toxic burden, there has been a communication breakdown at the cellular level.
As you have now read, the benefits for water fasting are endless.
However, as you’ve probably heard this before, ‘nothing worth doing ever came easy’…
And OH MY G… water fasting is HARDCORE.
I believe that due to the cleanliness of our lifestyle for the past decade, we didn’t have so much toxicity to remove, because of that I don’t think we experienced the aches, pains and uncomfortable symptoms that can accompany a water fast.
We did however experience moments of brain fog, weakness, dizziness and big food cravings. But more than anything it was mentally tough – it was definitely helpful to do it together as we held each other accountable and supported one another in moments of need.
Sam healthy gut bacteria level at start: 34% – at finish 76%
Bec healthy gut bacteria level at start: 41% – at finish 80%
Sam start weight: 75KG – at finish: 72KG – down 3KG
Bec start weight: 53KG – at finish: 50.5KG – down 2.5 KG
Post fast our skin felt tighter and healthier, my blue eyes increased in luminosity, and we felt a greater sense of clarity and purpose in our inner beings.
We were actually both very surprised how our bodies responded to zero food, especially Sam, who normally has a ravenous appetite and eats 7 times per day! I was expecting him to throw the towel in on day one, but he probably managed better than me. The experience gave us both a much better understanding of what it actually means to be ‘hungry’, and a much greater appreciation and gratitude for nourishment.
Because more often than not you’re not hungry at all – it’s all habit and emotional craving.
We broke our fast with berries and fruit and in the days that followed we had epic appetites – though we were both craving clean and real food which was perfect.
We would both definitely repeat the experience, but next time we would make sure we were in a more controlled and optimal environment (at a health retreat for example), rather than during daily life where we had to feed the kids and carry out general day to day tasks. Not being able to fully relax and go inwards definitely made it more difficult.
I would not recommend anyone do a water fast without support, supervision and professional medical guidance. And these people should AVOID water fasts:
✖️ Pregnant Women
✖️ Young Children
✖️ High-level Athletes
✖️ Type 1 Diabetics
✖️ Those with eating disorders (healing must first take place on an emotional level)
✖️ Those with Pathological Cachexia (advanced cancer where the body is wasting away)
GET THE BENEFITS WITHOUT DOING A WATER FAST:
For many people a water fast is definitely seen as extreme and is difficult to fit into an everyday lifestyle without major upheaval,
However, there is an easier alternative.
Intermittent fasting grants your body the “time” it needs between meals to absorb nutrients, reset, and activate self-healing processes.
At its core, intermittent fasting entails extending the periods of time without food within your daily routine. By doing so, you allow your body to engage in its innate restorative work, rejuvenating your living temple.
It’s important to note that intermittent fasting doesn’t mean completely abstaining from food; rather, it involves compressing or shortening the eating window within your day, thereby increasing the fasting window.
In my upcoming challenge in July (2023) we’ll be focusing on rejuvenation and restoration, with some fasting modalities and detoxification strategies to take healing from the inside to the next level. There has never been a more important time to put your HEALTH FIRST.
With love – Bec & Sam x x