Very often, after I have finished touting the benefits of fasting and why I do it frequently; I am asked the question, "So what can you eat while fasting?"
I find this question kind of ironic. Fasting means "not eating" so the simple answer is nothing. However, that answer would scare off even the most experienced fasters. I have never done a "nothing" fast.
The real answer is… it depends on your goals. Here are three approaches.
Weight loss or muscle building goal:
Anything that does not spike your insulin level is fair game. Insulin is a hormone that is responsible for fat storing (& muscle building). Insulin is triggered by carbohydrates (sugars) and proteins. Surprisingly, the only thing that doesn't trigger insulin is FAT! So fat doesn't make you fat as easily as carbohydrates do!
Hence you can eat ghee, butter, coconut oil, MCT oil (a derivative of coconut oil).
You can drink water, black coffee, green tea, apple cider vinegar, nimbu paani (no sugar).
You can technically add artificial sweeteners and stevia to make things sweet but it is not recommended, as a new research is showing that they technically do release a little insulin.
A pinch of Himalayan pink salt or natural sea salt is recommended as well.
When doing this, remember not to eat too much fat, just a spoon in the morning is fine. Eating this fat teaches the body how to use fat for fuel. Believe it or not, we have to create machinery in our cells to begin using fat!
When people who are overweight complain that they cannot lose weight even though they are eating clean and "dieting"; it is because they do not have the right cellular machinery for it.
Gut health and cellular healing
This is a favourite of mine. I do a 2 to 3 day bone broth fast. This can easily be a 24-hour bone broth fast as well. Unfortunately, this option is not open for vegetarians. Bone broth is a soup made from bones and is packed with collagen, glucosamine, minerals, vitamins, salts and fat! The collagen from the broth helps repair the gut lining. The fat helps repair the cellular membranes. Glucosamine helps with joint care and repair. The vitamins and minerals help with maintaining good body functions.
The beauty of drinking this while fasting is that, the body is very receptive to nutrients. It can use them effectively and efficiently.
Extra points if you drink Apple Cider Vinegar (with mother or the live bacteria) along with this fast. The AVC acts like a probiotic and helps with repopulating the gut with bacteria.
In this version of a fast, you can continue to consume all that was mentioned in the "weight loss fasting" version.
Illness prevention and self-discipline
The best kinds of fast to test yourself are the "Dry Fasts". In this form of fasting, you don't eat or drink anything! Yes, not even water! This is an extreme form of fasting and is designed to make the body detox my depleting the cells of water, in the process taking toxins along for the ride. This form of fasting is not recommended, unless under proper supervision. You can do this fast from 16 to 22 hours. Most religions have some form of dry fasting for health and spiritual reasons.
To conclude, there are so many ways in which you can fast. Choose which form of fasting closely relates to your goal and try that out. Start small like a 14-hour fast and work your way up!
Ashdin is a 'habit coach'. He believes that having an awesome life is easy. All we have to do is identify and create the right habits, routines and rituals. His technique is based on his personal journey fighting ill health and excess weight. It all began four years ago when he was living the dream. A new business and stressful and sleep-deprived days led to stress eating and he grew to an unhealthy 90 kgs which resulted in severe issues around his health. He decided enough was enough and took matters in his own hands. He started experimenting on himself deciding what worked, what was practical, or impractical for daily life. Was the effect tangible or not? He informally studied various perspectives on health, nutrition, fitness, exercise, anatomy, nervous system, habits, motivation, lifestyles and sleep. Today, he is fitter than ever before and has made it a mission in life to share this knowledge and wisdom and help transform other lives too! He partners with thought leaders, doctors and expert in various fields related to lifestyles and health in his two ventures FitterBee and Awesome180.