Not So Fast! A Basic Prep Guide For A 7-day Fast
WARNING: While all information shared here is presented in the spirit of promoting health, fun, exploration, and adventure, if you have any outstanding medical issues, chronic illnesses, are on medication, have a low BMI, or have any other hesitation, please consultant your medical doctor before undertaking a fast. Just like any other adventure, preparation is key!
TL:DR at bottom of page.
The Fast And The Furiously Healthy
Well, here you are.
If you’re surfing this page, you are at the very least curious about the topic of fasting. We hope what is presented here will help you navigate your curiosity and/or fasting experience in a fruitful way!
Let’s jump in!
Why exactly a fast? And why a 7-day water fast? Why would anyone do this?
First and foremost: health.
A lot of research is being done around fasting and its potential benefits. The most interesting idea is that fasting is a natural way for the body to regulate and improve health. Today, the idea of a fast seems otherworldly, a far jump from the three-meals-a-day paradigm most of us in the West have grown up with.
Before civilization, refrigerators, and the steady food sourcing that was the breakthrough of agriculture, it isn’t a far stretch to assume that fasting would be natural occurrence for a tribe of hunter-gatherers.
Here we go, the whole ‘hunter-gatherer’ paleo argument…
Yes! Our species, homo sapiens, has spent a far longer period of its existence evolving under the conditions of hunter gathering, and evolution takes time…
OK, OK, what does this have to do with fasting?
Well, coming back to the previously mentioned research, water fasting (or in some programs/products offered online, fast mimicking – consuming such a low caloric intake that the body begins the same processes as though it were water-fasting) is shown to lower inflammation, and to promote healthy processes in body like autophagy.
I’ve heard of autophagy! That’s when the body eats itself! I’m not interested in my body eating its muscles, dude!
No worries. The body will not consume its muscles. Autophagy is the process of the body ridding itself of dead cells, cells that are no longer useful. The human body is an agglomeration of systems, an ecosystem, and just like the systems that keep a city alive, our body’s systems can’t always take care of everything on the checklist. Over time, this can mean an accumulation of dead cells, toxins, etc. Fasting reduces the amount of energy directed towards the processes of digesting (and the accompanying inflammation that goes with digestion), and frees up that energy to focus on other processes.
Research has debunked the idea that useful muscle tissue is consumed during a short-term fast. Although it is normal to lose weight, a curious note is that the individuals who undergo a fast like the 7-day one we are suggesting, their total caloric intake for the month is similar to comparative months during which they did not fast.
In other words, if you undergo a fast, its likely that by simply following your sense of hunger, you’ll end up ingesting the same net amount of calories over a month long period as if you had not fasted.
Can we get back to the why we are doing this? What are some of the benefits?
There are many. Here’s a summary of some of the benefits of fasting done right:
increased life span
better use of body’s stored minerals = leads to more sensitive disposition to need of said minerals
gives digestive system a break
Hmm. Ok that’s interesting. What about alcohol and coffee?
What about them?
Um. Can I drink them?
During the fast? Hell no! It’s a water fast. So only water. I’m starting to question your motives…
I was just testing you! Chill, chill. I was asking for a friend.
That’s OK. Doing something like a water fast for 7 days can seem like a totally ‘out there’ idea. Sorry if I came across as judgy.
There are businesses on the web that offer a fasting mimicking option, in which there is some consumption of calories during the fasting period, albeit a very limited one. This could be an alternative for those who need warming up to the idea.
One such business is Prolon.
Also, fasting isn’t a new idea or practice. There are some very knowledgeable and experienced people out there who can help a person through the process. One woman even offers a retreat experience in the summertime. She reached out but asked not to make her information public. If you are interested and in the Montreal/Sutton area, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll put you in touch.
Nice. I’m more of a DIY. Can I have a look at some of the ‘research’ you mentionned?
I resent the air quotes my friend, but yes, you should have a look at the research. There’s a list of what we have accumulated below on the page.
Ok, full transparency: I lied about the DIY, what I really love is doing this type of thing with other motivated, purposeful, and wacky people!
Well, that’s where the SpiritBros come into play! We are exactly that type of people. Woop! Woop! We are starting a 7-day fast on Monday, February 4, 2019. Well be doing this again at some point in the future in case you are interested. Sign-up to our newsletter to stay in the loop!
If you have any questions, comments, insights, mention them in the comments below! Also, if you plan on doing the fast with us, how about leaving a little message to say hello?
Good luck everyone!
- The FoundMyFitness Podcast, featuring Dr. Valter Longo, who has conducted some fascinating research into fasting. Part 1. Part 2.
- A blog post describing why it is essential to get enough electrolytes while fasting. Also has recommended dosing of salt and magnesium.
- À Votre Santé. Health food store in Montreal where we bought our supplements (links are to Amazon.ca):
- “Fasting Vs Eating Less” 12 minute video.
- “Water Fasts as a potential tactic to beat cancer” 1 hour video.
- Dr. Thomas Seyfried on fasting and ketogenic diets and on cancer as a metabolic disease. 1 hour video.
- “Starving Cancer” 6 min video with Dr. Thomas Seyfried.
- Dom D’agostino on the Tim Feriss Podcast. 2-hour video.
- Medley of various guests on intermittent fasting, Joe Rogan podcast. 30-min video.
- Dr. Jason Fung on intermittent fasting for weight loss. 1-hour video.
I’m not interested in your SpiritBro charm and epic copywriting… just gimme the juice!
WHAT: A seven day, water only fast. Begins on February 4th, ends on February 11th.
HOW: Only water for seven days. The SpiritBros will be supplementing:
magnesium (brand: natural calm)
Calming, can help sleep.
Caution: too much can lead to diarrhea.
Follow instructions on box.
Salt (Brand: Redmond real salt)
Will help the body replenish electrolytes and avoid the flushing out of its minerals
About 3tsp a day.
The type of salt you use is important. There are reasons why not all salts are equal in terms of benefits. See resources for more information.
If you are a fan of the bubbles in the water… rejoice! You can get through the fast with a bottle of pellegrino by your side.
The sulfur in the bubbles can be useful for the body.