We did a three-day fast safely and effectively and the results were surprising. I want to share our fasting experience with you in hopes of demystifying fasting and ultimately give you the tools to try it for yourself.
First things first, if you have a significant other, it will be a million times easier to complete the three-day fast if they do it with you. Imagine you are on day two of not eating and your partner cooks up some pastured bacon and eggs in the morning. I swear to you that you will not last. Paul and I did our fasts together and it helped immensely to be able to share the experience with someone. Send your partner this post to encourage them to try it with you!
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor! I’m just a holistic living lady that likes to try stuff and share what she has experienced. I’m obligated to say please consult with your doctor if fasting is right for you before you jump in!
Please note: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you end up clicking and purchasing an item. I worked hard to find my trusted favorites and I want to share them with you so you don't have to deal with all the crappy junk I had to go through. Nuff said
Why Should You Try A Three-Day Fast?
There is rising evidence on the benefits of fasting for the human body, and it bodes well for reducing inflammation, lowering bad cholesterol, reducing Alzheimer's risk, reducing cancer risk, and skyrocketing much-needed Growth Hormone. That’s quite the lineup!
Evolutionarily-speaking, humans didn’t always have a constant source of food, say like three meals a day with snacks in between. Hunter-gatherers spent days without food and the human body had to evolve a coping mechanism to deal with times of famine.
That coping mechanism is a switching of the metabolism from burning glucose to burning fat, AKA ketosis. While you may think that the body would eat muscle first, this isn’t the case. You may also think that our brains survive only on glucose as a fuel source, this isn’t the case either. Your body is fully capable of running on fat stores, in fact, it is written in your genetic makeup. When you forgo eating for a period of time, you let your body go into detox mode instead of it constantly being in digestion mode. It’s a welcomed break for the benefit of your health and wellbeing.
Paul and I got hooked by watching The Science of Fasting Documentary on Amazon Prime Video. It's a quick watch and super informative!
Note: Don’t confuse ketosis with ketoacidosis, which is a dangerous diabetic condition where the blood begins to acidify thanks to abnormally high ketones in the blood coupled with no insulin production. If you don’t have diabetes, there's no need to worry. If you do have diabetes, you should consult with your doc before trying any of this.
The Basics of Extended Fasting
First, you must drink water while you are fasting. Staying hydrated is essential. If you want to add a little zing, you can squirt some lemon juice and add a pinch of sea salt. This has the added benefit of supporting your adrenals.
Other options while fasting are organic herbal teas, black organic coffee or bulletproof coffee, and diatomaceous earth mixed into water. We are definitely pro-tea and coffee for our fasts and still experience fasting benefits. My personal favorite herbal teas for fasting are Traditional Medicinals Peppermint Tea and Everyday Detox Tea. As for organic fair-trade coffee, we drink Kicking Horse and immersion blend 1 tbsp Brain Octane into it. Brain Octane is high in caprylic acid, which helps launch you into ketosis much faster. As for learning why you may want to use diatomaceous earth to detox, head over to this post.
Due to the detoxing that takes place, you can experience headaches, malaise, brain fog, and trouble sleeping. These side effects appear because of parasitic die-off and the liver excreting toxins. When this happens, ammonia and nitrogen are released into your system. To help with this you can take L-Ornithine supplements to absorb and safely excrete the excess ammonia and nitrogen through your urine (L-Ornithine plays an essential role in the urea cycle). I recommend this brand in particular. Take up to 1500 mg (three capsules) before bed, depending on the severity of your side effects.
How To Prepare For A Fast
In order to make the switch over into ketosis much easier, it’s best to eat a low-carb diet for three days leading up to your fast. We stuck to organic vegetables, pastured meats, organic nuts, and pastured animal fats for three days. By cutting out the majority of carbs, you are priming your body to jump into ketosis when you start officially fasting.
If you work a 9-5, it’s best to complete your fast from Friday to Sunday, meaning your last meal is on Thursday night, and you break the fast on Sunday night. Clear your schedule for the weekend so you can rest and relax. We found it easiest not to put ourselves into social situations, where food is usually present.
Some supplies to have on hand are herbal teas, organic coffee, sea salt, lemons, diatomaceous earth, and coconut oil. As mentioned previously, herbal teas are great to drink while fasting. As for water, adding a pinch of salt and a squeeze of lemon helps support your adrenals as you stay hydrated. Black coffee or bulletproof coffee with Brain Octane helps immensely with suppressing appetite, just remember to rehydrate with water and a pinch of salt. If you end up feeling a tad weak, a tablespoon of coconut oil can help you through as well without technically breaking the fast.
You can also supplement during fasting if you wish. I took L-Ornithine to help support my urea cycle.
Day One Of The Fast
This was by far the easiest day for us. I found my excitement to help quell my appetite. Getting excited about not eating for three days, you wonder? Listen, I was jazzed for the benefits! And boy were they awesome.
We started our day with a cup of Bulletproof Coffee (brew a cup of Kicking Horse and immersion blend 1 tbsp Brain Octane into it). Then throughout the day, I drank water and tea.
One of the best tips I’ve gotten is to go for a long walk, three hours if you can cut it, so you burn through your liver and muscle glycogen stores. This makes the switch from burning glucose to burning ketones for energy much faster.
In the evening, I took three capsules of L-Ornithine.
Day Two Of The Fast
Bulletproof coffee set me up for success in the morning, but I had four cups of tea by the end of the day.
About halfway through this day, I began to realize all the extra time I had because I wasn’t eating or preparing food. It was an interesting moment for me. I realized how much food functions as a distraction. Without the need to eat for the day, I had a moment where I felt a bit lost, but it passed and I relaxed.
I got a huge burst of energy in the afternoon and went for another long walk. It was unexpected but felt great. I felt extremely present and meditative the whole time. The mental clarity I experienced was enough for me to want to try it again.
In the evening, things got harder. I started to feel the familiar pang of hunger. I took three capsules of L-Ornithine and slept very lightly.
Day Three of The Fast
On day three of waking it hit me how less inflamed I was. Usually, when I wake up in the morning I have the infamous “sleepy face,” you know, puffy eyes, pillow creases in my skin, and all. Then I realized how the inflammation had gone down nearly everywhere on my body. I’m not one to equate worth with size by any means, but it struck me how different my body looked when I wasn’t puffy or bloated.
I started my day with black coffee and a glass of water with a pinch of sea salt. My energy level was at reading books and doing some gentle yoga. The hunger sensation had completely left.
Then mid-morning my menstrual cycle hit. This is where things got interesting. Usually, the first day of my cycle is excruciating. The kind of day where all bets are off and I sit on the couch and zone out watching reruns of Fixer Upper with a heated bag of rice on my screaming uterus. But not this time. My period had shown up two days early, without any PMS symptoms. The whole day was painless. I took no Ibuprofen and I barely needed the heating pad, mostly for my low back. I was floored.
This was by far the biggest win of fasting. I had discovered this amazing tool to help my body through my cycle without needing over the counter medication. The timing was important for finishing my fast. Since I knew I would be eating at the end of the day, the loss of blood was not an issue. If you get your period on day one or two of your three-day fast, I would stop the fast and eat so your body can replenish its lost iron stores.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with herbal tea and water with a pinch of sea salt. Then in the evening, I broke my fast.
How To Safely Break An Extended Fast
At the beginning of day three, I threw a whole frozen organic chicken in the crockpot with a big glug of apple cider vinegar, sea salt, herbs, and filled it up with water. Using bone broth to break your fast is mandatory. Don’t eat solid foods right away. The broth helps gently wake your digestive system back up without too much fuss.
I sipped 8 oz of warm broth very slowly. I waited thirty minutes once I was done and then had a small bowl of steamed organic broccoli and cauliflower with grass-fed butter and sea salt. I drank about 8 oz more of broth and called it a day because by that point I felt full.
I encourage you to go slowly too when you reintroduce food. Your body has taken quite the break from food, so you should be gentle.
Closing Thoughts On Three-Day Fasts
Extended fasts can feel scary, but now after going through one, I beg to differ. It was an incredible experience for my mind and my body. I am actually looking forward to the next time Paul and I do one.
Please know that the benefits, as well as the not so good symptoms, are going to be different for everyone. If a three-day fast seems daunting, start with a 24 hour fast. The benefits of fasting show up on a cellular level in your body with just 12 hours of fasting (say from 7pm to 7am). Then build your way up to three days. My own 55-year-old father just completed a five-day fast and reported that he feels like a million bucks.
It’s strange to say, but you also save a little money when doing a three day fast. I wondered why our grocery budget was down the month we tried and then it hit me - we didn’t eat for three days! Just an extra plus of fasting.
If the fasting stuff is vibing with you, I highly recommend checking out Dr. Rhonda Patrick and her interviews. She is a wealth of knowledge and information.
Have you tried fasting at all? What did you experience?
Thanks for stopping by Green Willow Homestead! From chicken rearing to composting, we've got our hands full and we love sharing what we've learned along the way. Follow along as we strive to live sustainably and turn these five acres from just property to a fully functioning small-scale homestead.
Grab the Ebook
1. Joe Salatin
2. Rachel Carson
3. Wendell Berry
4. Temple Grandin
5. Diana Rodgers
6. Bea Johnson
7. Allan Savory
Favorite Books of 2019
1. Restoration Agriculture
3. A Sand County Almanac
4. The Small Scale Poultry Flock
5. Deep Work