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Spiritual fasting in Lent (or any other time)

25th February, 2020
Tomorrow marks the beginning of what for many people is the most important time of the year in terms of spiritual fasting. For Christians, Lent constitutes the 40-day period prior to Easter, serving as a reminder of both Jesus’ 40-day fast in the desert as well as the final period of his life leading up to the crucifixion. It is a time for introspection and reflection on life.
Whether or not you are a Christian, water fasting naturally supports this shift towards looking inside ourselves. By giving up food – the elixir of life for our physical body – we become able more naturally to identify with that deepest part of ourselves which has no need for physical sustenance: our spirit, our soul, our innermost Self.
Reaching the point of opening up spiritually through fasting isn’t always easy. It requires surrender. Surrender not just of food, but also surrender of our ego which wants to eat the food, which wants to find comfort and love in food. It takes a huge amount of courage to let go of all that wanting, to let go of our comfort zone through eating.
So long as we are engaged with that struggle with ourselves and our egos, engaging in spiritual practice is next to impossible. While fasting, it’s easy to think that we ‘should’ be feeling closer to God, that we ‘should’ be happily meditating or praying, but the truth is that often the opposite is the case. We can feel far removed from God, and the idea of meditating or praying can create mountains of resistance inside us.
The beautiful irony, though, is that when we finally do let go of our comfort zone and truly surrender to the fast, we find that the love we crave is already there within us: within our own soul, one with the universe and God. Just as food is for the physical body, this love is the elixir of life for our spiritual ‘body’.
Until we reach a point in the fast of surrendering our ego, it’s easy to feel down or inadequate, to feel guilt or even self-hate. Instead, please, please try and be kind to yourself. We’re all only human. Even if you never reach the point of fully surrendering yourself to your fast, it was your spirit, your soul, your innermost Self which called you to fast in the first place. Sometimes it takes time for the clouds to clear and for the sun to shine. So stick at it! Sooner or later you will feel the warmth of golden rays on your face.

Fasting against coronavirus (Covid-19): how to boost immunity and maximize health

This extended article argues that the best thing you can do to strengthen your immune system against Covid-19 is to undertake a 7-10 day water fast or, ideally, a 21-day fast as soon as possible (see Section 3). For most people, fasting is also advisable during illness, especially if you begin as close to the onset of symptoms as possible (see Section 4)

Article sections:
(1) A no-win scenario?
(2) Why fasting is your best bet against coronavirus
(3) How to fast in order to prevent illness
(4) How to fast in order to treat illness

CLICK HERE if you need COACHING for your own water fast

(1) A no-win scenario?

The rapid spread of Covid-19 throughout China and, increasingly, across the globe rightly has many people worried. Currently, the number of infections continues to double every few days, with the official death rate holding steady at just over two percent. If this trend continues – and it is only an if – then the number of casualties will eventually extrapolate to many millions of deaths worldwide.

Read More

Tasty, tangy sauerkraut soup

This is a tasty, tangy soup I enjoy especially after winter fasts – including the 7-day water fast I just finished yesterday. Before global trade overpowered local economies and foods, winter was always the time to eat preserved vegetables such as sauerkraut – especially in areas with a cold winter climate. Through the process of fermentation, sauerkraut gains many healthy nutrients not found in raw cabbage. Boiling the sauerkraut for this soup does unfortunately destroy its natural probiotics, but the organic acids produced by them remain intact.

In Eastern Europe and Russia, sauerkraut and grated cabbage (both raw and boiled) have always been used to break fasts. The high Vitamin C content and antioxidants help to revive the liver, and the fibre helps to ‘scrub’ out the intestines before returning to an everyday diet.

*Note: this soup is not suitable for those following a zero-sodium protocol.

Basic ingredients:

500g / 1 lb. potatoes
500g / 1 lb. sauerkraut
1 medium onion
1 large carrot
½ vegetable stock cube

Optional additional ingredients:

100g kidney beans (pre-soaked, boiled and ready to eat)
100g cannelloni beans (pre-soaked, boiled and ready to eat)
Thyme
Black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

Total calories: 595; up to 915 with all optional ingredients

Makes 5 servings at 195 calories per full bowl of soup (350ml / 12 fl.oz.); up to 305 calories with all optional ingredients

Cooking instructions:

Put about 1.5 litres/quarts of cold, fresh water into a medium saucepan and start heating to the boil. While you wait, dice the onions, chop the potatoes and carrot, and throw all the ingredients into the saucepan. I usually add half a stock cube. If you’d like to avoid all added salt, then feel free to leave this out. Without a stock cube, though, the soup can taste too sour for many people. (The taste of sauerkraut is balanced evenly between sour and salty when raw, but when boiled in the soup, this shifts distinctly towards the sour range.)

While the stock cube dissolves, squeeze out some of the juice from the sauerkraut. (This helps to reduce the salt content.) I simply take the sauerkraut in my hands, and literally wring out the juice. Then add the sauerkraut to the pot, and pour in as much extra water as necessary in order to just cover the vegetables. I find the sauerkraut has a tendency to stick together in clumps, so it’s worth stirring into the other vegetables from the start. After the water reaches the boil, simmer (lid on) for 75 minutes and let cool.

This basic version of Sauerkraut Soup is fine for refeeding on Day 1 for fasts of 1-3 days, Day 2 after fasts of 4-10 days, and from Day 3 of longer fasts. The only reason not to recommend it immediately after all fasts is because of the relatively high salt content, which can contribute to oedema in some cases.

If you’d like to add some or all of the additional ingredients, the time to do so is after all the basic ingredients have already been added. Please note that black pepper is a stimulant and should be added only in moderation (if at all) after a fast. Olive oil should also be avoided immediately after longer fasts. Otherwise, a small quantity helps to bring out the soup’s flavours. Likewise, the beans should be added only if you’re sure you can digest them.

Enjoy!

Online coaching and consultations for water fasting

Mugshot 2018 Kisoroszi garden (square)Water fast coaching and how it helps:

Hello, I’m Dr. Tallis Barker. In addition to the many articles and videos here on this website, I also provide more private and personalised support as a water fasting coach.*

I’ve successfully guided hundreds of people through fasts of 3 to 40 days
(CLICK HERE for testimonials)

Fasting by yourself can be lonely.

Some people need accountability.
Some people need a partner to keep them company through their journey.
Some people need sound advice, especially when fasting to heal health issues.
You can find all sorts of answers on internet forums – but are they right for you?

Whatever your needs, I’m here to help hold the space for your fast.

If there’s one thing I’ve learnt over the years, 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.

PLEASE FIND THE CONTACT FORM AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.

I offer the following online services:

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

PLEASE FIND THE CONTACT FORM AT THE BOTTOM OF THIS PAGE.


(1) FULL COACHING FOR ANY LENGTH OF WATER FAST

Price includes:

13 niagara-sunrise (widget)(1) Preliminary video call (Skype, FaceTime or WhatsApp) before the beginning of the fast (@60 min.)
(2) Daily check-in video calls to discuss how you’re feeling (15-20 min. per day, every day except Sundays).
(3) Unlimited email contact every day 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. The simple fact is that most people do encounter difficulties while water fasting. A recent study by the National Institutes of Health (2018) showed that over 89% of people experienced some kind of adverse event during their water fast, ranging from mild to severe.** Having an experienced guide can obviously help you avoid or reduce the severity of such problems! Once things are going smoothly, I can also offer 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 everyday 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
  • 30-day fast: 700 USD
  • 40-day fast: 900 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 (100 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.

**https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5819235/

Spring retreat 2020: 7 day water fast

9 day – 8 night retreat centred around a 7-day water fast:

DATE: 1-9 May (Friday 1st May 4pm – Saturday 9th May 1pm).
LOCATION: Danube Bend (Hungary), about 1 hour from Budapest. (A car share can usually be arranged free of charge from Budapest, see below)
PRICE: 700 USD / 550GBP (see below for details)

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.

spring retreat kospallag

Kóspallag: the village where we will be fasting


About this retreat:

spring retreat malnaskert 1

Our accommodation for the retreat

We will be fasting in Hungary’s rolling Börzsöny hills, less than 10km from the most scenic spot on Europe’s greatest river: the Danube Bend (pictured above). Hungary’s climate is perfect for fasting in the spring, with plenty of sun and average daytime highs around 20-22C (70F).

Our accommodation lies on the edge of a small village called Kóspallag, and features a large garden with fields and miles of forest directly behind. There are several natural springs in the vicinity from which we shall drink throughout the duration of the fast. The house is newly built, with a sauna and jacuzzi to help promote detox. Standard accommodation consists of a shared twin room with en suite bathroom, but a few private rooms are available for an additional fee.

Day 1 (Friday), pre-fast:

After arriving, we 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:

DSCN2884

Local forest paths

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:

— Shanka prakshalana (yogic intestinal wash)
Dry fasting
— Sauna and jacuzzi, to promote cleansing and detox

Day 9 (Saturday), post-fast:

DSCN2909One 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 uncontrolled binge eating! After breaking the 7-day water fast on Friday evening, we will focus on establishing a healthy path back to an everyday diet! 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
— Continue cleansing through more sauna and jacuzzi

Over the last 24 hours of the retreat, we’ll be gently stimulating the digestive system back to life through the most appropriate smoothies and solid foods. By the time you go home, you should be perfectly capable of continuing without any digestive problems.


Summary:

spring retreat malnaskert 2

One of the bedrooms at our accommodation

If 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:

 

20191117_135737

Our local spring

Experience 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 of at least one 36-hour water fast.
— 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 with their healthcare professional. (Please feel free to discuss it with me as well, using the registration form below.)


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, participation in all activities during the retreat (including sauna and jacuzzi), meals before and after the fast, VAT and IFA (tourist tax).
If necessary, free transportation (car share) can usually be provided to Kóspallag, which is approximately a one-hour drive from Budapest.
Getting to Budapest is easy from all across Europe. Most budget airlines have round-trip tickets for about £100/$130.


To sign up or ask questions:

Is water fasting safe?

Many people are convinced that water fasting must be dangerous. Unfortunately, this is mostly based on fear, misinformation, and only a minimal number of actual cases. This video takes a look at all the facts, in order to help you decide whether water fasting might be for you.