Have you ever tried fasting? Malte and I realized that we hadn't spent a single day of our lives without having eaten at least something small, and generally speaking, we're always interested in trying something new. Opinions on the effects of fasting differ largely – for us, despite the challenge aspect of it (which might have been more of a contributing factor for one of us...), fasting mainly intrigued us for the numerous benefits it's said to have, such as improvements in overall health and particularly migraines and a reduced risk of diabetes or high blood pressure, just to name a few.
There's so many ways to do a fast, ranging from retreats with classes and themed fasting (hiking & fasting sounded intriguing!) to rather "casual" methods. We went with the latter and decided to try it at home, in our normal everyday life. We decided on a one-week timeframe, didn't take off from work (and ended up being super happy about that decision, spoiler alert!) and planned one day each to settle into not eating and then to eating again. Here's what happened!
Disclaimer: We’re sharing our own experiences with fasting following our very own mix of methods that we have found through books and online research. This is in no way a recommendation to follow what we did, and it's very important to check with your doctor whether fasting is something you can / should do or not.
What we expected
Malte: I was hoping to experience a feeling of lightness and euphoria that I have heard many people talk about. Anxious to see when I might stop feeling hungry, and very interested in what would surprise me in the process.
Verena: I've been wanting to try fasting for the longest time, mainly out of curiousity and for the multiple health benefits fasting is said to have. Most afraid of constantly being hungry (My family keeps joking that the word hangry must have been invented with me in mind) & smelling funny.
what our week was like
Day 1 (Saturday)
On the menu: Flax seed porridge with blueberries for breakfast, hummus, olives and fruit for lunch, Swiss chard salad for dinner. Did a long bike trip.
Today in 3 words: Excited, motivated, curious.
Grateful for: Our pregnant friend to share the alcohol-free bubbly with at another friend’s birthday party.
Day 2 (Sunday)
On the menu: Herbal tea for breakfast, psyllium-bentonite shake (to cleanse the colon), orange-carrot-banana juice for lunch, vegetable stock for dinner, another psyllium-bentonite shake. Went on a walk, but felt muzzy and headed home earlier than planned. Want all the details? We also did a colonic, separately.
Today in 3 words: Slow, unsettled, dizzy.
Grateful for: The second bathroom.
Day 3 (Monday)
On the menu: Herbal tea for breakfast, beet root juice for lunch, vegetable stock for dinner. Going on a long walk went well today.
Today in 3 words: Better than expected. (We heard that Day 3 would be the worst!)
Grateful for: Lots of work, laundry and a night with friends to keep the mind too busy to think about food.
Day 4 (Tuesday)
On the menu: Herbal tea for breakfast, apple-mango juice for lunch, vegetable stock for dinner. Had another colonic & did some pilates.
Today in 3 words: On the upswing.
Grateful for: More energy, great weather and vegetable stock. We never knew we could get that excited about it!
Day 5 (Wednesday)
On the menu: Herbal tea for breakfast, carrot juice for lunch, vegetable stock for dinner. Got in some physical activity on a night out with friends.
Today in 3 words: Not hungry anymore.
Grateful for: A partner in crime.
Day 6 (Thursday)
On the menu: Herbal tea for breakfast, orange-beet root-banana juice for lunch, steamed apple for dinner. Went on another long walk.
Today in 3 words: Excited for tomorrow.
Grateful for: Our bodies doing so well without food.
Day 7 (Friday)
On the menu: Green smoothie for breakfast, hummus & veggies for lunch, coffee, Swiss chard salad for dinner.
Today in 3 words: Proud, relieved, happy.
Grateful for: Coffee (Malte here!) and being able to eat again.
how it went
Malte: For me, the much the anticipated feeling of lightness unfortunately only set in on Day 6, which ist why I would love to do it again, and see if it might happen sooner on a second try. Happy with many of our decisions such as doing it together and during the warmer months (I'm such a summer person and do not like to be cold at all, which is supposed to happen when fasting, only we didn't really notice with the heat wave.) Also happy to have continued going to work while fasting behause it helped me to not think about food or feel hungry.
Verena: While I was planning to continue working normally, too, I also was a little afraid to be too exhausted for work. But I actually ended up feeling pretty much like I always do, and felt super productive at work! Around day 2, my skin started acting out a little, which is apparently to be expected and luckily wasn't a long-term change. Overall, I'd say my main takeaway is how easy it all was compared to what I expected! The week left me feeling more grateful than ever for a mostly healthy body, and it made me realize small things I might wanna change in my everyday life, such as cherishing every meal even more. I haven't had a migraine since we did the fast, and of course I'm hoping that the week was beneficial for my overall health. I'm definitely open to doing it again – but for now and the near future, I'm fully gonna indulge in my love for food, that's for sure!