Latest Posts

How to prevent overeating and bingeing after a fast

One of the biggest problems people have with fasting is the temptation to overeat afterwards. Things can very easily end up getting out of control, which not only overtaxes the digestive system but also potentially distorts eating patterns in the future. This video examines the whole issue and offers numerous practical solutions, ensuring the smoothest possible process of refeeding.

If I don’t cover all your questions in the video, please feel free to ask in the comments section below!

Working out and exercise during a water fast: is it safe?

A lot of people who ordinarily work out or exercise in everyday life are tempted to continue doing so while water fasting. Usually the reasons revolve around maintaining fitness and the fear of losing muscle mass. But is it wise to continue exercising after your body has exhausted its glycogen stores? Like it or not, there are potential dangers in doing so. This video takes a look at what is safe, what is not, and why.

Please feel free to post comments at the bottom of the page if I haven’t answered any of your questions!

Dealing with insomnia and sleep issues while water fasting

Almost everyone experiences major changes to the way they sleep while water fasting. In fact, many people find it one of the most disturbing aspects of fasting. It doesn’t have to be a source of concern, though, if you understand why these processes are taking place and what you can do to help get a good night’s sleep! This two-part video lecture explores both the situation as well as the possible solutions to insomnia and other sleep problems.

Please feel free to post comments at the bottom of the page if I haven’t answered any of your questions!

Part I:

Part I explores the various factors and issues which drive sleep patterns while fasting.

Part II:

Part II examines a whole array of practical solutions to sleep problems.

 

Online personal consultations and fasting guidance

In addition to the general advice offered here on this website, I also offer more private and personalised online support as a fasting guide.*

If it’s one thing I’ve learnt in guiding people through their fasts, it’s that the emotional security provided by working with a coach makes the experience of fasting much, much easier. That security even tends to decrease the severity of detox symptoms – and when they do occur, I can help you find the most appropriate ways to relieve them. If you have any doubts about your own fast, I’m here to help you: whether it’s your first 3-day water fast or an extended healing fast.

CLICK HERE for testimonials and clients’ descriptions of what it’s like to work together with me.

I offer the following online services:

  • (1) Full coaching (see below)
  • (2) Single online consultation (see below)

(1) FULL COACHING FOR ANY LENGTH OF FAST

Price includes:

13 niagara-sunrise (widget)(1) Preliminary video call (Skype or WhatsApp) before the beginning of the fast (60 min.)
(2) Daily check-in video calls to discuss how you’re feeling (20 min. per day, every day).
(3) Unlimited email contact for the full duration of the fast.
(4) Continued daily contact (video calls and email) after the fast, through the refeeding process.
(5) Access to my personal phone number in case of emergency.

Bonus: Free copy of my PDF How to Break a Water Fast and Manage Refeeding
Bonus: Free copy of my PDF Dealing with Detox Symptoms

HOW DOES IT ALL WORK?

15 sunrise and ocean wave (widget)Before the fast:
Once you’ve filled out the registration form below, I’ll contact you in order to set up a preliminary video call. Ideally, this should be at least a week before you plan to begin your fast. That way we can talk about how best to prepare for the fast, both physically and psychologically, as well as discuss any concerns you may have (also taking into consideration any relevant medical issues, if any).

During the fast:
Once you actually begin your fast, we’ll stay in contact via daily video calls in which you can let me know how you’re doing, and I can offer suggestions to any problems you may be having: anything from detox symptoms to sleep problems to cravings for food. I’ll also be giving you tips to help you go deeper into your fast. In addition to our daily video calls, you’re free to send me unlimited emails about any issue you’d like to share. In case of emergency (which is highly unlikely!), you’ll also have my personal telephone number.

After the fast:
For many people, the refeeding process after their fast is the trickiest period: both in terms of resisting the temptation to overeat, as well as in making sure you don’t overload your digestive system. We’ll stay in contact via video calls and email until both of us are confident that you’re back on course to your regular diet.

Prices:

  • 3-day fast: 160 USD
  • 5-day fast: 200 USD
  • 7-day fast: 240 USD
  • 10-day fast: 300 USD
  • 14-day fast: 380 USD
  • 21-day fast: 520 USD
  • Other lengths of fast: price to be agreed


(2) SINGLE ONLINE CONSULTATION

6 sunrise over the sea (widget)A single consultation via video call (80 USD) is suitable for general advice about fasting or the planning of a specific fast and/or diet plan. Price includes an internet video call (60 min. via Skype or WhatsApp), plus follow-up emails relating to the given issue.

  • A single consultation is also the place to start if you’d like full coaching, but aren’t sure how long you want to fast. In this case, our video call will help you decide. Afterwards, you can convert to full coaching by simply paying the difference in fees for whichever length of fast you choose.

CLICK HERE for testimonials


IN ORDER TO SET UP A CONSULTATION / COACHING:

  1. Please fill out the REGISTRATION FORM below.
  2. I will reply by email (usually within 24 hrs) in order to set up a time for a video call.
  3. Follow the instructions regarding payment by credit card or PayPal.
    Payment is due before our (first) video call.

*Please note: I am not a medical doctor and do not offer medical supervision for any fast. I encourage those with medical issues to seek advice from a qualified M.D., in parallel with my own knowledge and experience as a fasting guide.

3-day home fasting groups

Next fasting session (2019): Mar. 8-10

Nothing compares to fasting while on retreat. Unfortunately, though, actually attending one can be expensive and difficult logistically. This is why I offer 3-day home fasting groups. This means that we’ll all be doing a 3-day water fast individually at home — and yet connected as a group online for over a week.

What a 3-day home fasting group offers:

water, stream, pebbles 1 (widget)Small group for the best support: max. 5 participants per fasting group
3 video conference calls via Messenger; each call approx. 60 min. of advice, sharing and discussion
Private Facebook page to provide constant support and ongoing group communication throughout the fast.
Daily support videos
Free copy of my PDF: How to Plan, Prepare and Practise a 3-Day Water Fast (100 pages)
Free copy of my PDF: Dealing with Detox Symptoms while Fasting (30 pages)

Price: $200 (sign-up and payment below)

Each 3-day fast takes place from Friday to Sunday, which means that you’ll be perfectly capable of continuing your job without having to take any time off from work, leaving you free to be able to rest through the weekend (see below for details).

More general information about 3-day fasts HERE.

*Please note that these fasts are not medically supervised. Neither are they suitable for anyone suffering from an eating disorder. If you have any questions, please contact me using the sign-up form below.


What actually happens?

water, stream, pebbles 9 (widget)Sunday before the fast:

It all starts with a group video chat the Sunday before the fast begins (12pm EST / 9am PST / 5pm UK). This gives us time to talk about preparing both physically and emotionally. Physically, you need to prepare by adjusting your diet in the days leading up to Thursday evening, which will be your last meal. Emotionally, it’s important to start coming to terms with what it really means to live without food for 3 days.

From this point on, the private Facebook page can be used at anytime to chat with me or the group as a whole.

Friday:

Having eaten your last meal on Thursday evening, the fast begins in earnest on Friday. Yes, you’ll get hungry over the course of the day, but you should be able to continue work as normal. It’s only towards the evening and into the night that your glycogen stores (the energy which drives your everyday metabolism) will start running down.

From this point on, you’ll receive a daily support video until the end of the fast. To provide added peace of mind, you’ll also have my phone number in case of emergency — but no-one has ever actually had to call me 🙂

Saturday and Sunday:

We’ll continue each day with another group video chat (11am EST / 8am PST / 4pm UK). Sharing experiences and feelings as a group affirms the fact that you’re not alone, and goes a long way to help carry you through the fast. And of course, I’ll be there to offer my own support and advice to any problems you might have — both during the video calls and throughout each day on our private Facebook page.

Monday:

water, stream, pebbles 13 (widget)The fast ends Monday morning. Don’t worry: even if you’ve been feeling low on energy during the fast, you’ll still have no trouble returning to your job. It’s amazing how quickly energy levels return to normal if you break your fast correctly – which is covered in my PDF and during our video chat on Sunday.

Support after the fast:

The private Facebook page will stay open after the fast until everyone feels confident that they’ve been able to return to their everyday diets. This should take no longer than 2-3 days.

The refeeding program for each session will be based on Ayurvedic principles, reflecting the relevant season.


Fasting sessions 2018 – 2019

2018:
December 14-16: “Advent fast” No places left!

2019:
January 11-13: “New Year’s cleanse”
March 8-10: “Lent fast”
April 12-14: “Preparing for Easter”
May 17-19: “The big spring clean”
June 14-16

Summer dates to be fixed later.

Each session opens up for sign-up and payment approximately 3 months before the relevant date.


Sign-up, questions and payment

To sign-up or ask questions about 3-day home fasting groups please fill in the form below, specifying which session you’re interested in. To secure your place, payment is made via credit card / PayPal at the bottom of the page, using the appropriate button for each session.


Payment

*Once received, payment is final and non-refundable. In the case of cancellation at least a week before the beginning of each session, attendance can be transferred to a later date.

 

Payment for Mar. 8-10, 2019:

3-day home fasting group: Mar. 8-10, 2019

$200.00


Payment for Apr. 12-14, 2019:

Coming soon


Payment for May 17-19, 2019:

Coming soon

7-day water fast: spring retreat 2019


10 day – 9 night retreat centred around a 7-day water fast:

DATE: 26 April – 5 May 2019 (Friday afternoon – Sunday afternoon).
LOCATION: Vászoly, close to Lake Balaton (Hungary), less than 2 hours from Budapest. (Transportation can be arranged from Budapest, see below)
PRICE: 650 USD / 500GBP (see below for details)
Maximum number of participants: 12.

Currently 4 places left!

Enquiries and registration: see application form below

— If you are unable to attend but would like to organise your own fasting retreat for me to lead (in either Europe or the USA), please contact me using the application form below.

Our setting for the retreat


About this retreat:

Our accommodation: a converted mill house and miller’s cottage

Situated on the edge of a forest in the hills above Hungary’s Lake Balaton (pictured above), our accommodation offers the perfect setting for an extended water fast: a converted mill house on the edge of a forest, with a large garden, several acres of surrounding fields and a stream running through the property. There are also several natural springs in the vicinity, from which shall drink throughout the duration of the fast.

Day 1 (Friday), pre-fast:

After arriving, participants will share a “last supper” before the water fast itself begins. This will be an opportunity to bid a conscious farewell to food for a week, as well as to examine how everyone feels about this.

Days 2 – 8 (Saturday – Friday), 7-day fast:

gunyhó 5

Our own private forest within the grounds!

Each day consists of a combination of loosely structured and free time. All programs are optional except for the daily group sharings, when we sit in a circle and check in with each other about how things are going. This is an opportunity to share how you feel, whether physically or emotionally. There’s no need to talk if you don’t feel like it, but you do need to be present so that we can all look out for each other.

This is one of the huge strengths of a fasting retreat: you’re not alone. You’re in the same boat as your fasting brothers and sisters.

We all help each other along, and by the end of the retreat deep friendships have often begun to evolve.

Beyond the daily sharings, optional programs are offered through each day, including:

— Gentle yoga/stretching (twice per day)
— Group discussion: sharing experiences (twice per day)
— Daily walks in nature
— Lectures on fasting and detox
— Meditation
— Support for anyone who is having a hard time 🙂

For anyone interested, there will also be opportunities to practise:

Sweat lodge
— Shanka prakshalana (yogic intestinal wash)
Dry fasting

Days 9 – 10 (Saturday – Sunday), post-fast:

DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the hardest parts of any fast is the refeeding period following the fast itself. It’s so easy to get it wrong, either by eating the wrong foods or by by uncontrollable binge eating! After breaking the 7-day water fast on Saturday morning, we will have the best of two days together to get it right! During this time, there will be opportunities to:

— Discuss strategies about how to continue the path back to normal eating after the retreat ends
— Prepare for the return back to everyday life and society
— Visit a thermal bath

During this period, we’ll be gently stimulating the digestive system back to life through the most appropriate smoothies and solid foods. By the end of the retreat, you should be perfectly capable of returning home without any digestive problems.


Summary:

gunyhó 6If you are interested in exploring your limits, your fears and addictions, if you want to come to a deeper understanding about who you are, and if you have some prior experience in fasting, then you can learn a lot from this retreat.  I myself have extensive experience with up to 21-day water fasts, as well as 5-day dry fasts (no food, no drink), and would like to pass my own knowledge on to you.

To see pictures from previous retreats, please click here.


About 7-day water fasts in general:

gunyhó 7Experience with 7-day water fasts is essential for anyone interested in attaining a deep level of cleansing. For most people, an annual 7-day water fast should be enough to maintain health into old age (in combination with a healthy lifestyle). For those with deeper health issues, water fasting can be used as an effective healing modality, and 7-day fasts provide powerful momentum in this direction. (More information here.)

If a 7-day water fast feels too long, you may want to consider our retreat based around a 3-day water fast. (More information here.)


Prerequisites for and further information about this retreat:

— Prerequisite: prior experience with 36-hour (one-day) water fasts.
— Please note that this retreat is not medically supervised. There will not be a doctor on-site. Anyone with a medical condition who is considering this retreat should discuss this first with their healthcare professional.


Payment:

After applying using the form below, I will reply and send a link for payment via credit card / PayPal. Participation in the retreat is secured once payment has been received. Once received, payment is final and non-refundable.

Price includes accommodation (double room with en suite bathroom), participation in all activities during the retreat, organic food to break the fast, VAT and IFA.
If necessary, free transportation (car share) can be provided to Vászoly, which is approximately a two-hour drive from Budapest.


To sign up or ask questions:

 

Living on water: the complete 3-day fasting program

Coming in February

Do you feel the need to cleanse, to try out water fasting but don’t know how to get started? Are you a little anxious about the whole thing?

Living on water is a PDF / video bundle which provides you with all you need to know in order to safely, successfully and smoothly carry out your first 3-day water fast. If you already have a little experience, there are plenty of additional tips to help you go deeper into water fasting.

What you get:

  • water, stream, pebbles 10 (widget)100 page ebook (pdf): How to plan, prepare and practise a 3-day water fast
  • 7 support videos (2+ hours viewing time):
    • covering each day of the fast (3 videos)
    • preparing you in the week before the fast begins (2 videos)
    • helping you break the fast and return to eating (2 videos)
  • 30-page pdf: Dealing with detox symptoms while fasting
  • Bonus printouts including checklists, recipes and fasting journal

All in all, Living on water provides maximum possible support without actually working one on one with a fasting guide.

Price: $99 (USD)

Introductory video:


About 3-day water fasts:

Of all fasts, the three-day water fast is in many ways the most important.  Three days is the period your body needs to unlock the healing metabolism of ketosis.  These three days are also the stepping stone required to move on to even longer fasts (such as the 7-10 day water fast and more prolonged fasts), in which the deepest healing can occur.  The more you practise the three-day fast, the easier you’ll find water fasting of any length.

Continue reading


Sample pages:

Extracts from How to plan, prepare and practise a 3-day water fast:

sample pages 3DAY PLAN 1

sample pages 3DAY PLAN 2

sample pages 3DAY PLAN 4

sample pages 3DAY PLAN 5

sample pages 3DAY PLAN 6

sample pages 3DAY PLAN 7

sample pages 3DAY PLAN 8


Extracts from Dealing with detox symptoms while fasting:

sample pages DETOX 1

sample pages DETOX 2

sample pages DETOX 3

sample pages DETOX 4

Diets, fasts and healing injuries for runners

When most people think of diets or fasting, they usually have weight loss in mind.  Even at the best of times this is a dubious practice. Changing the way you eat by reducing calories usually results in the body conserving energy and using calories more efficiently thereafter. Although a more efficient body is generally a healthier body (good!), the problem is that, as a result, many people actually gain weight once they finish their diet or fast (bad!). If you need to lose weight, the healthiest and most sustainable way to achieve this is to move. Get out there and go for a run!

If you’re already a runner, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for diets or fasting in your life. Far from it! (And this applies both to recreational runners who use movement simply in order to lose weight, as well as to professional athletes.) Besides the fact that a little extra cleansing never hurts :-), diets and fasting provide one of the most effective tools in order to prevent and treat the minor injuries often incurred through running.

How water fasting helps

glass of waterExcited and amazed, many people come to me with stories about the way that skin blemishes and moles disappear during their water fasts. This is a very visible example of the way that fasting can heal the body’s imperfections. Of course, it’s much harder to see beneath the skin, inside muscle, tendons and connective tissue, and actually observe first-hand the healing which takes place. Essentially, though, the process is the same, whether it’s happening on the surface of the body or deep inside.

So what actually happens? When you go on a zero-calorie fast (as in water fasting), your body no longer has to digest food. This means that a huge amount of energy is freed up, given that about a third of each day’s calories are normally consumed in simply digesting the food you eat. If you’ve never fasted before, I know this may sound paradoxical. How can you gain energy by not eating? Well, it’s because we derive energy not just from the calories in food, but also from calories through burning fat tissue: a process called ketosis. When you fast, it usually takes 2-3 days to reach this point efficiently (more info here). Once ketosis is up and smoothly running, though, your body turns the energy which would otherwise have been directed towards digestion towards healing instead. This is itself part of a more fundamental metabolic change during water fasting, in which the body directs its attention not towards the usual growth and reproduction of new cells (so-called ‘growth mode’) but towards the cleansing and healing of old cells (so-called ‘healing mode’).

It makes sense, doesn’t it, that a natural balance should exist between growing and healing, eating and not eating – just as it does between working and resting, and ultimately doing and being. Unfortunately, though, most of us never experience this deeper level of ‘healing mode’ because we don’t take the time to stop eating, to stop working, to stop ‘doing’ and just ‘be’ for a moment. As a result, not only do toxins gradually build up over the course of our lifetime, ultimately leading to chronic disease like cancer and autoimmune issues, but we’re also more prone to physical injuries than we have to be.

Of course, taking time out from running can help injuries to recovery. But it’s when you combine your rest time with zero-calorie fasting – thereby allowing the body to enter a deeper level of ‘healing mode’ – that you reap the greatest benefits. This applies both to forced rest when you already have a running injury, as well as to the kind of regular rest periods which help to prevent injuries in the first place. If you need advice about how to involve fasting into an athletic training schedule, whether as a preventative or palliative measure, I offer online consultations.

Fasting prevents and heals both acute muscle tears and sprains, as well as more chronic issues like tendonitis and plantar fasciitis in primarily two ways.

First, the kind of ‘healing mode’ described above means that the immune system raises its game. Searching out abnormalities in the body much more thoroughly than in everyday life, it targets growths of any kind – whether these are as innocent as moles or as insidious as tumours. Likewise, the immune system’s cells circulate through the body, identifying and then dissolving damaged tissue in a process known as autophagy. This also applies to the kind of scar tissue incurred through running – whether in terms of almost imperceptible micro-tears or more severe injuries.

Second, zero-calorie fasting is incredibly effective at permanently reducing inflammation. Inflammation is the body’s natural response to injuries of almost any kind. To prove the point, let’s take a look at some of the most common running injuries, such as those named above. Achilles tendonitis, plantar fasciitis: anything with the suffix ‘itis’ denotes inflammation. If you’ve every suffered a sprained ankle, then you already know how badly it can swell! Although inflammation does serve its purpose in the short term by protecting the injured tissue, the end result is often a slower recovery process.

As we all know, icing provides a powerful tool to combat inflammation, especially in acute situations. When it comes to more chronic conditions, though, fasting can offer a deeper, more lasting solution. To give an example, I’ve been suffering from a quite a nasty case of tendonitis of the wrist: repetitive stress syndrome caused by mostly by bad typing technique. It reached the point that my wrists became chronically and visibly swollen. So I took some time off to do a 5-day dry fast (read my journal here), which ended up completely reducing the swelling: a permanent reduction of my wrist’s circumference by a full centimetre (1/2 inch). Over the years, I’ve also successfully used fasting to heal Achilles tendonitis and plantar fasciitis.

A role for diets

bowl of fruitWater fasting can provide an extremely powerful healing modality, but let’s face it, you can’t be doing it all the time – especially as a runner. Unfortunately, water fasting and running are mutually exclusive, and to try and push out any miles while fasting or too soon after finishing a fast can itself only lead to injury (see my upcoming video).

Therefore, in order to maximise the efficacy of any fast, it’s important to back it up with sustainable lifestyle choices throughout the year. More than anything, this means taking a look at your diet in order to reduce inflammation. Because just as injuries cause inflammation, so inflammation from other sources increases the likelihood of potential injury, as well as slowing down the recovery of injuries already present.

In terms of what you drink, alcohol is probably the greatest offender. Even in relatively small quantities, beer, wine and spirits of all kinds are well known to cause cellular inflammation throughout the whole body – and especially so in joints. I don’t want to be a party pooper, but it’s a plain fact that if you’re trying to rehabilitate a running injury, then staying away from alcohol makes a lot of sense. In addition, sugar also causes inflammation. This means that high-sugar drinks should also be avoided, especially those which derive from a processed source source of sugar, as opposed to the natural sugar content of a fruit juice. (One exception, however, would be energy drinks consumed while actually running. In this case, your body burns the sugars so quickly that they don’t have time to cause damage.)

In terms of what you eat, several types of diet claim to possess anti-inflammatory properties. At first sight, many of these diets seem to contradict each other, but this is because the underlying anti-inflammatory biochemistry works in different ways for each diet. I’d rather not get side-tracked here with the details, so I’ll give just a few examples. The main thing is that everybody is different, and different diets inevitably impact differently on different people. If you feel like you need to change your diet, then the best thing is to try each one out for a while and see how you feel.

Paleo, low-carb, ketogenic diets

Two principles help to reduce inflammation here: (1) a big reduction in sugar intake and (2) the elimination of grains and especially gluten, which cause an inflammatory response in many people. The drawback, however, is that most of these diets incorporate a large quantity of meat, which, as one of the highest acid-forming foods, can cause a lot of inflammation in both the gut and throughout the whole body, especially in joints.

Vegetarian and vegan diets

vegan (cropped)By avoiding meat, you avoid inflammation. The vegan diet goes one step further by eliminating dairy products, which themselves can cause inflammation through a mild allergic reaction in the gut.

Whereas 30 years ago it was unheard of, nowadays veganism is big among athletes of all kinds, including ultra-runners. Scott Jurek, perhaps the greatest ultra-runner ever, swears by his vegan diet: both in terms of his ability to perform, as well as the way it has kept him free from illness and injury. I myself have been vegan for the last five years, and would certainly agree with this – except for the fact that you have to be careful and conscious to make sure you get enough quality nutrients. It’s too easy to fill up on empty carbs like pasta and bread, which can then leave you vulnerable not only to injury but also to ill health as well.

Fruitarian diets

One of the most extreme forms of diet is the fruitarian diet, which consists of only fruit and vegetables. In the same way that a fruit juice cleanse induces a similar but milder detox to that of a water fast, so a fruitarian diet extends this cleanse into a way of life, along with similar anti-inflammatory benefits.

Obviously, the main source of energy in a fruitarian diet is sugar, which, as mentioned above, tends to be a major dietary source of inflammation. However, just as the sugars in fruit juice tend not to cause a problem, so the same applies to fresh fruit itself.

Two main benefits of a fruitarian diet support healing and injury-free running. First, once fruit and vegetables leave the stomach and enter the intestinal tract, they already possess a perfect pH for the body, which is mildly alkaline. Unlike acid-forming foods such as meat and most grains, the body has no need to respond with an inflammatory response in order to protect the lining of the intestines. It’s no surprise that fruitarian runners like Michael Arnstein (www.thefruitarian.com) swear by their diet, and the way that it reduces the incidence of injuries.

Again, though, a fruitarian diet isn’t for everyone, and if you don’t get it right, you’re more likely to cause more harm to yourself than good. So my advice would always be to maintain some self-vigilance, and stop what you’re doing if your body starts responding negatively.

Whichever diet you choose, be careful!

With any extended diet, you run the risk of excluding and depleting certain vital nutrients if you’re not careful – and, of course, this can easily lead to further injury. The more extreme the diet, the greater the risks. So do your research and err on the side of caution. It’s certainly possible to eat badly on any of the diets described above – possibly even worse than on an average Western diet if, in addition to excluding nutrients, you also include a lot of ‘junk food’ as well. If you’re vegan, for instance, there’s a frighteningly large array of vegan snacks which contain high quantities of fat and salt. If a particular diet is out of your comfort zone, the temptation will be to compensate by eating these. Don’t. More importantly, don’t stay out of your comfort zone for too long, as this will only create an emotional backlash in the longer term. Any diet or fast you choose should be attainable. Know your limits, and make it a positive experience!

An ancient, natural process

I’m convinced that the body’s ‘healing mode’ – which is so lacking in modern life – is a natural biological process, ingrained into our genes for literally millions of years and shaped by our ancestors on the African savannah. It was perfectly natural for days to pass by when there was no big game to bring down and not much in the way of smaller prey either: days when there was nothing to eat at all. As much as fasting may have later evolved into a conscious decision, in the early days of our species we had no choice. Is it surprising that our bodies evolved to integrate such a lifestyle into our cells, growing during times of plenty and healing during leaner periods?

Nowadays, though, we do have a choice about whether or not to fast. As such, it’s always easy to find a reason not to do so. This holds especially true if you’re a runner and hooked on the daily endorphins of a runner’s high! Even beyond this, though, it’s easy for anyone to find an excuse not to fast. In the case of healing an injury, it’s easy to convince yourself that you need to eat in order to rebuild yourself. It’s also easy to feel like you need the comfort of food when your injury is making you feel low. Alternatively, in the case of fasting to prevent injuries, it’s easy to worry that taking the time out to fast will harm your performance out on the trail or the track. Actually, the reverse can be true, as described in my article here. Of course, there does come a point when too many days spent fasting and not running are going to impact on your times, but you’d have to be quite fanatical to reach this point! In the worst case, it’s always possible to focus preventative fasting on the off-season. There’s always a solution if you’re willing to find it.

Modern society is all go, go, go. As runners, too, we’re on the go, go, go! But it’s precisely the imbalance and relentlessness of that go, go, go which makes us ill, which causes injuries. Isn’t it worth stopping every now and then – just like our ancestors did – to take some time out to heal?

Summer smoothie to break a fast

A week ago I used this smoothie to break my 5 day dry fast with 2 day water fast introduction. Normally I prefer to break my fasts with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, but unfortunately orange season has long since past by this point in late summer. With a little inspiration, though, I improvised this recipe instead, based on the following ingredients:

Ingredients:

1 summer apple (tart)
1 lemon
1 slice of watermelon
1 slice of fresh ginger
1 sprig of peppermint

summer smoothie in glassApples are a good choice at the end of any fast given how easy they are to digest. They also contain high quantities of malic acid, which both detoxifies the liver as well as softens and dissolves gallstones. While on one of my daily walks, I found an apple tree growing wild in a field, and picked the juiciest looking fruit I could find!

I also knew I wanted to involve citrus in the smoothie because the acids help to detox and reawaken the liver after the fast. This time, instead of an orange, a lemon was the obvious choice, given how readily available they are in any season.

Ginger and peppermint aid in digestion. I’m lucky enough to have peppermint in my garden, so I cut a fresh sprig.

Watermelon… I have to admit that the watermelon was pure indulgence! To be honest, on its own, the high sugar content and glycemic index of watermelon makes it a less-than-ideal fruit after a fast of more than one or two days. Ideally, you want to ease slowly back into sugars in order to avoid (1) the jitters of a sugar high, as well as (2) disrupting blood salt levels. (This is especially true after fasts longer than a week.) In combination with the apple, though, I wasn’t overly concerned, especially since the total caloric content of the smoothie came to a mere 120-150 calories. And after all, it was precisely the prospect of tart apple combined with sweet watermelon which tantalised my taste buds!

Preparation:

De-pip and chop the apple and watermelon, squeeze the lemon, grate the ginger, pick a few peppermint leaves off the sprig and place in a blender. Add enough fresh spring water to cover the solids (1-1.5 cups / 200-300 ml). Blend thoroughly, until no trace of individual peppermint leaf remains. Pour into a glass, add the remaining sprig of peppermint for both decoration as well as aroma, and enjoy!

Pure and perfect tomato soup to break a fast

This recipe is always a favourite at the end of a fast: warming, comforting and nutritionally perfect, packed with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (such as lycopene, beta-carotene, potassium, Vitamins C and K). It’s so well loved that I found myself with a revolt on my hands at the end of this year’s 7-day fasting retreat, when I couldn’t find enough ripe tomatoes at the market to make this dish!

Ripe tomatoes are key in bringing out maximum flavour and texture, so I suggest buying the tomatoes a few days in advance and then either keeping them in the fridge (if already ripe) or setting them in the sun until they reach an ideal condition. I’d also suggest preparing more than one serving at a time, as the soup can be warmed up again later in the day.

Ingredients (serves 3):

— 12-15 tomatoes (4-5 per serving)
— 3 cloves of garlic (1 clove per serving)
— olive oil, balsamic vinegar (optional)
— NO SALT

Preparation:

tomato soup saucepanDice the ripened tomatoes, slice the garlic and place both in a saucepan. Gently bring to a boil and then immediately take off the heat to cool. If the tomatoes are sufficiently ripe, this is all the heating they’ll need to release their juices and melt together into a perfect soupy texture. If you see that this isn’t happening, you can try keeping the lid on the saucepan as it cools. Alternatively, you can bring the soup back to the boil for a moment. (However, this kind of additional heat does damage the vitamins.) There should be no need to use a blender here to create the perfect texture!

After the saucepan has cooled down enough, serve warm. You can add a dash of olive oil and/or balsamic vinegar to the bowl, but it’s worth trying pure and simple first, without the ‘excitement’ of any other added tastes. It’s no surprise that in Hungarian the word for ‘tomato’ (paradicsom) is the same as that for ‘paradise’. At the end of a fast, this soup truly is divine!