🗣️ Audio included: I did a 5 day fast and I didn't die.
On Saturday I completed a 5 day fast and here is part 1 of that experience
Listen here instead of reading
Have you been enjoying my audio versions or would you rather written format - let me know in the comments below
On Saturday I completed a 5 day fast and I shared a little of it on my Instagram, and due to the surprising volume of queries in my inbox, I thought I’d go into more detail about the process, the why and how with you.
So why did I choose to participate in the fast?
Thanks for reading Robyn’s Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
First up, I was inspired to do the guided fast with 600 other women (online) as it was medically guided and I understood the benefits and wanted them for myself. I’m no stranger to fasts, after completing several in Thailand and also a couple on my own, but never fully realising the benefits of why they are helpful - if done correctly and armed with the extra knowledge as to how to do it so that it’s relatively easy and has the most benefits.
I’ve neglected my self-care for the last 18 months during the huge adjustment we’ve all undertaken and during this time I’ve helped my family navigate a massive transition and get settled into our new home and life, most of that time working full time so I subsequently slipped to the bottom of the priority list as many women tend to do.
As a weight management coach myself, who uses a mind first approach, I knew when the time was right, I have the tools and practices that I have used myself and also with countless clients, to not only get my body but also my mind back on track, but I am forever learning more and open-minded to new research.
I don’t see fasting as primarily a weight loss tool although that tends to be a benefit, especially if you know how to break the fast properly to retain any weight loss, however, I see fasting as a way to target inflammation, heal or improve a leaky gut, support anxiety, help with detox and clean up dysfunctional cells, often from a less than ideal lifestyle (processed artificial foods, high-stress levels, unknown intolerances, high cortisol, sedentary lifestyle etc.) And on a mindset level, it’s a great way to reboot your relationship with food - when done properly.
Humans have evolved through famine and feast and most people in the world have some kind of low-grade inflammation on a digestive level. An article the Wall Street Journal recently published “Rethinking the Origins of Inflammatory Diseases”, discussed the reason why some younger people seemed to suffer more with Covid 19 than others. Scientists seemed to think the immune system and inflammation appeared to play a huge role, with many in intensive care with Covid 19 succumbing to a burst of inflammation before the Covid germ itself.
Inflammation can be a precursor to many ailments and diseases. I don’t know about you, but I want to live well and not die long, so I am going to give myself the best fighting chance to do so.
But inflammation isn’t all bad, as it’s an immune response that our bodies are designed to do, to protect us. It’s just that compared to our ancestors, inflammation seems to strike more and seemingly without any reason.
Or is there?
Interesting sidenote that exercise causes an immune response also.
Fasting can help with disease prevention and healing because the only evidence we have to know what’s going on inside us is what’s happening outside - skin, weight gain, aches, mood, joint pain, sleep issues, period cramping and more.
It probably seems counterintuitive to temporarily stop consuming foods that are meant to sustain us and keep us alive, to become healthier, but the studies are proving that’s precisely what it can do, especially when taken longer than 3 days. Our ancestors didn’t have supermarkets or fast food outlets. We’re always eating it seems, in our fast-paced, but mostly sedentary and food-centred lives.
Sometimes seemingly healthy people can be walking around with low-level inflammation but not know anything about it, until it becomes a bigger problem, like being hit with Covid 19 harder than those around them, or other niggles that present themselves, especially as we age, or even younger.
Most doctors aren’t accustomed to treating inflammation even though it can cause severe damage being the precursor to many serious diseases.
I recently discovered that I have Adenomyosis which is a form of Endometriosis, the symptoms of which I previously and incorrectly had self-diagnosed as peri-menopause, which I was premature in thinking.
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease and I am waiting to have exploratory surgery to check the severity. Since having children I’ve experienced way heavier periods, and ever since I began menstruation I had period pain. I’ve since learnt that period pain is normalised however it is a sign that something is not right. Pain should not be part of our monthly cycle. So if you do find you have pain, I suggest you speak with your GP.
You may have heard the term leaky gut, or people discussing gut health, but if you haven’t let me share with you a little about this. There is only one single layer of cells in the intestinal tract, and it can be prone to damage easily. When you have a leaky gut, food can slip through your digestive tract and wander freely around your body where it is recognised by your immune system as not belonging and will wage war against it, causing an auto-immune response. By healing your leaky gut, you are less prone to auto-immune issues and others caused by unnecessary inflammation.
Reducing inflammation has also been known to help assist those with ADHD.
More and more open-minded doctors are helping terminal Alzheimer's patients have success with healing them by use of fasting and it’s becoming quite mainstream, but it’s important to know what you’re doing and how to perform one. I won’t go into that because I’m not qualified to. If you want to understand more about a 5-day fast then you might like to watch this video. But please understand my 5-day fast was medical grade and monitored.
Some Q’s from my Instagram stories:
Q. Did you feel hungry/have energy?
A. No hardly at all, because I had prepared properly for 3 days leading up to the fast. This was guided by the program I was in, and it was very much about getting into ketosis beforehand - ketosis is where your body begins to use your own fat stores as an energy source.
Q. Can you drink water?
A. Yes and it’s important to do so. Because you’re already in ketosis, your body is depleting so much more fluid, it’s important to drink a minimum of 2-3L of water but also to have 1-2tsp of good quality salt to replace the lost minerals.
Q. Did you notice your mood change?
A. I didn’t but you might want to ask my family ha! Also, I was pre-menstrual but I don’t typically change moods at this time, however, I did feel a little less energetic on days 3 and 4 of the fast so may have been a little snappy, however, I think I wasn’t having enough salt, and when I realised this and rectified it, I perked up.
Q. Was it purely water you were taking?
A. Yes only water but the first two days I eased in with bone broth.
Q. Please share more about ADHD diagnosis.
A. This has been a long long journey for us as a family - and we are working on multiple diagnoses within - and I feel like I’ve been through the wringer. It’s been in our world for at least 9 years, however where we lived in Bahrain support was under-resourced, so now we’re back in Australia we’re hoping to get more support with this. Mental and brain health support in Australia (and Worldwide for that matter) is very limited right now. For anyone navigating neuro-diversity within their own family or themselves, you will know that it’s not a black or white or linear journey and can sometimes take a lot of money, time, and advocacy to get the right support. I am not quite comfortable sharing it all yet as it’s a huge process that may never be over and also encompasses other areas like ASD, Also this is off-topic for this newsletter but will share more in time. But let’s just say it runs in my family and whilst pursuing support for one of my children it was apparent that there were similarities between myself and other members of my family. I also have extended family members who are also diagnosed and neurodiverse. It’s such a wide open spectrum of symptoms and 9 years later I’m still learning and navigating.
Q. Was I tempted to eat?
Surprisingly no. On day 1, I had family visiting and we had takeaway pizza for dinner that they ate in front of me with no issue. The following day after surfing, they ate burgers and I sat with them again with no worries. On day 3 a friend invited us over for a family bbq and while they were feeling bad for me, I was happily serving up my kids their lamb chops, corn and chips. No issue until Day 4. Thank goodness I had the foresight to meal prep for my family, a delicious lasagna that I popped it in the oven and disappeared to my bedroom. That would have been a good time for a magnesium or Epsom salts bath. I think my hunger was from the delicious smell of my amazing lasagna haha, but also my anticipation of breaking the fast the following evening. Also, I realised after the fact I hadn’t consumed enough salt that day.
Next week I’ll share with you my results and more information, but if there is anything you’d like me to cover that I didn’t answer here, please hit up the comments below and I’ll aim to include them in next week’s email.
Wondering why you received this email?
I started this newsletter in 2010 when I was known around the interwebs as Girl on Raw, a raw chef sharing raw vegan education, recipes and life living as an Aussie on a compound in Saudi Arabia. You may have later signed up to receive updates on learning how to blog. Or maybe you’ve read my books, most recently The Body Plan. Regardless of why you’re here, I hope you’ll stay as I continue the story of my family re-integrating back into our home country of Australia after 16 years of living abroad.
Thanks for reading Robyn’s Newsletter! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.