Fasting: How to Get Started

Therapeutic fasting is intended to cleanse the body and soul. But: If you want to start a fasting cure, you should prepare yourself and your body for it. And there are a few things to keep in mind while fasting.

The easiest way to start fasting is to largely avoid foods that are difficult to digest such as meat, hard cheese, and fried and fatty foods in the days before. Potatoes, rice, vegetables, fruit (apples), and juices are ideal.

Relief days as preparation

The fasting cure then begins with a one- to two-day preparatory phase, the so-called relief days. Light bland foods such as steamed vegetables, vegetable soup, or porridge relieve the burden on the intestines. The energy intake is thus reduced to around 1,000 kcal per day.

Refrain from alcohol and nicotine

From this point at the latest, alcohol and nicotine are taboo. Ideally, caffeine should also be avoided, although this is no longer handled as strictly as it used to be and 1-2 cups of coffee per day are usually tolerated. Moderate to normal physical activity is recommended, as is emotional preparation for the fast (more rest, less stress). According to the guidelines on fasting therapy, fasting therapy should best be carried out in a group under medical supervision.

An empty bowel prevents hunger pangs

The actual first day of fasting then starts with a thorough emptying of the intestines so that you don’t feel hungry during the fast. A common remedy for this is a laxative drink with Glauber’s salt (from the pharmacy): A liter of water with 30 to 40 grams of Glauber’s salt is drunk within 20 minutes. Lemon juice can improve the taste of brine. After 30 minutes, another one and a half to one liter of liquid (water or tea) are taken.

Fasting days: drinking instead of eating

During the fasting days, a quarter liter of vegetable broth, the same amount of freshly squeezed vegetable or fruit juices, as well as 30 grams of honey, and at least 2.5 liters of liquid (water, herbal tea) are then taken daily. The maximum energy intake allowed during fasting days is 250 to 500 kcal per day. Buttermilk may also be drunk during longer fasting cures.

Tips for gentle purging

Since the intestines lack the roughage from vegetables, fruit, and whole grains during fasting days, fasting people sometimes need laxatives to ensure that they empty their bowels at least every two days.

Gentle laxatives include, for example, lemon, sauerkraut, or plum juice, apple cider vinegar, buttermilk, bread drink, or coffee. If the gentle help is not enough, castor oil, salt water, Glauber’s or Epsom salt, alder buckthorn or senna tea, and lactose can also be used, for example. In extreme cases, an enema can provide relief.

How long to fast

A fasting cure according to Buchinger usually lasts two to four weeks. But shorter periods of fasting can also have positive effects. If fasting is used as therapy, the fasting period can last up to six weeks.

According to the medical association for therapeutic fasting and nutrition (ÄGHE), therapeutic fasting should last 7 to 10 days, plus the preparation day and then three days to normalize eating habits.

What does breaking the fast mean?

At the end of the fasting, the cure is the so-called breaking of the fast, during which a raw or cooked apple is slowly eaten, and in the evening potato soup. Then the so-called refeeding begins a nutritional structure with a light vegetarian diet with lots of fiber and a high proportion of unsaturated fatty acids.

The food should be chewed consciously and slowly. The energy intake increases from day to day as the diet increases: 800, 1,000, 1,200, and 1,600 kcal. Drink plenty of fluids between meals. Spontaneous bowel movements and bowel movements should occur again by the fourth day of the diet at the latest.

Who is allowed to fast unaccompanied?

Healthy people can generally fast alone at home. However, it makes sense to consult your family doctor beforehand. If you are fasting for the first time, you can seek expert advice and support from a trained fasting leader or a doctor with fasting experience. Anyone suffering from previous illnesses should not fast unaccompanied.

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