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How my 10-day​ water fast turned into a 40-day​ water fast

Updated: Oct 29, 2020

I did a 40-day water fast. I did not plan to fast for 40 days, I just wanted to fast until the detox symptoms stopped.  It is quite interesting, to say the least, what the body does to heal itself and the number of toxins that are living inside us.

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I want to take a minute and discuss the emotion part. Since I had not ever done an extended fast before, I relied on only hearsay in preparation for the highs and lows. I also have some basic understanding of how my body works and how garbage in and garbage out also works. I expected some feelings simply because monthly there are feelings when my hormones fluctuate and not eating will cause hormones to fluctuate.  What I discovered was that I use food much more than I realized to deal with emotions.  With the absence of food, there was a confrontation of emotions and coping skills.  I personally, like many others, found myself drawing closer to God.  The different things that would trigger me emotionally surprised me and I discovered a lot more about my need to control and the freedom in the release. Since my fast has ended, I am very pleased to say that my spiritual growth has not stopped, while not as intense as it was while I was fasting, I do feel that a lot of maturity has happened in me and I don’t think I would have reached this place without that time fasting and reflecting.  And that, my friends, is how my 10-day fast became a 40 day fast.

Just to make sure we are on the same page, I hope you understand, a water fast is a cleanse. Whether it is for a day or 40 when the body is only given water to keep itself hydrated, it will purge.  It will purge itself of all that is not necessary for survival. The first thing to go for me was the boobs. My body must have known I am not having any more kids so it just ate them away.  Just kidding. It was my bum. Then the boobs. Still kidding. The first thing I noticed was toxins coming out. The intensity of the purge I cannot describe because I believe it will be different for each person depending on their diet. I had thought myself a relatively clean eater when I was eating just dairy and poultry.  Then I learned more about plant-based eating and though that is an improvement, I have since learned about glyphosate and the longterm effects of pesticides. The truth is, these things are impossible to escape without eating only what you grow from heirloom seed yourself inside of a self-contained garden. Toxins are everywhere and will come out with effort, but it won’t be pretty.  I can say that there were times when I thought I might have only God knows what because of my toxic symptoms. I was nearing day 10 and there was still so much going on with my body just detoxing that I didn’t know when to stop. I didn’t know if these symptoms were SOMETHING or if they would go away with just a little more time and water so I prayed.  I felt that the Lord was telling me 40 days and that was the only length of time that ever came to me.  So, I would fast for 40 days.

The first week of my fast I spent learning how to cope with the cravings, failing and restarting. I was posting on Instagram and that was helping me to be accountable and encouraged because some days were hard. I had cravings for sugar so strong, I could smell the sugar in the fresh bread cooking in the cafeteria at the school and I wanted just one piece so bad. That sugar addiction motivated me to keep trying though. I was often removing myself from places where the smell overwhelmed me.  I remember giving myself an enema primarily because my cravings were making me nuts and I believed if I could just get all the excess yeast out of my body faster, I would be free and clear of cravings.  Needless to say, I have no idea if that is sound science and I seriously doubt I can poop out all the candida in my body anyway or possibly at all and I still had cravings…so, yeah.  Enemas are helpful according to many books and personal testimonies about extended fasts that I read, but I only did it once and so I can’t really speak on them.  My next fast will I do one or more? Possibly.  One thing I did do during the early days and will do again is to ask my family to not come around me when they’re eating and thankfully as the days passed and they saw my commitment, some of my kids began to help me when I was feeling weak by encouraging me or just removing food from my presence altogether.  I can’t say how much those little acts made me feel loved and still do when I think about it.

Documentaries and nutrition books became my best friend during the water fast.  I watched What’s With Wheat and Cowspiracy several times just to remind myself that while the food itself could be healthy, the greed within the industry has made it unhealthy and in many cases downright deadly.  That is a HUGE problem.  My addiction to foods and my lack of knowledge about food production needed to end and while I knew it was not going to be easy, the evidence was out there and those films encouraged me to seek more of it for my own health. I also began to research new foods that I would have to learn to make, like gluten-free bread (which I am HORRIBLE at.)  I am happy to say that I did learn how much more variety is available to us for protein and carbs then the familiar meat and rice (or potatoes if you live mainland.)  I also took the time to check around my community and I was so pleased to discover there are so many stores and restaurants that include vegan or gluten-free options.


That is how the weeks went. I spent the weekends cooking like a mad woman one day and resting the other.  I went to work Monday through Friday. I was working a 38 hour week so when I got home, I was tired and interestingly enough, I slept better days I was better hydrated. I know it sounds funny to think a person can be dehydrated while on a water only fast, but that is exactly what I struggled with often. I noticed quickly some of the warning symptoms like my heart would beat so hard and rapidly I thought I might be about to have a stroke or heart attack.  I would just sit down and drink a glass of water, no need make my body work at that moment  There were several times that happened throughout the fast. Twice when I was doing my marathon cooking but after the first time, I knew what was happening and I learned to sit often and drink more while I cooked.  Once it happened at work because I had overexerted myself running back and forth in the sun.  I thought for sure I was going to pass out that time and I had to go sit down in the shade. I was scared, to be honest, and I called my husband to bring me something – a juice, fruit, something. It was to my benefit that he couldn’t come right away. The feeling passed and I learned a new limit. Speaking of limits, I learned that 1 kombucha a day while only drinking water, will cause me to be incontinent somewhere between 2 and 4 days.  I thank the Mayo Clinic website for helping me discover that bit of information.  At work, there were some mental connections that may have… suffered for lack of a thesaurus right now. I went to do a job for a teacher and somehow exponentially screwed it up.  Right now that teacher is prepared for the next 2 to 3 years thanks to me so was it really a screw-up?

There were some rumors that went around of course. People wondered if I was on drugs or sick.  I completely understand and can’t fault anyone for wondering.  I lost a lot of weight during the 40 days and it showed. The lack of vitamins also left my skin a bit lackluster.  Ashen I think they call it.  My eyes also seemed to have a glazed-over look because once the fast ended, I received many comments about how “clear” my eyes were now.  The last few days of the fast were, for me, amazingly challenging.


May 18 – day 36

My sodium levels were beginning to be off and I began craving salt.  Now, this craving is not the same as the early cravings of the first few weeks. This time I felt like I needed the salt, not wanted it. So I licked some chips and threw them away. The first time I did it was fine, the next few times not so much.  In fact, I was abusing the whole thing and my body immediately responded with dis ease.  I was sick to the stomach and swollen.  The chip I chose to lick although onion flavored, had milk. Serves me right. During this time, I believe a spiritual epiphany was also happening.  This licking the chip experience was being revealed to me as a metaphor for a stronghold in my life.  Then…

I ate a grape rolled in peanut butter. It was day 38. I was up in the mountains with kids and a lake and honestly… It was not the place I would want a person on their very first fast to be with my kids and I used that as my excuse to eat the grape rolled in peanut butter. What happened after that is just… embarrassing. Actually, this whole paragraph is just one failure after another – kinda. So what happened next? I went nuts. I freaked out. I pretty much drank anything I could get my hands on to poo out what I put in.  I drank a tea, fiber, magnesium, I even considered castor oil but I just cannot swallow that thick stuff.  Then I realized I had hit rock bottom and needed to chill.  This is when the failure turns into a kinda fail. You see, in the recent past, when I was sad about failing or losing something important I would make some poor choices.  Those choices of course lead to negative feelings and negativity makes everything feel worse.  This I called licking the chip. If I didn’t lick the chip (make a poor choice) then I wouldn’t have to feel worse later. This time, for the first time in years, I didn’t lick the chip. That was a breakthrough and that was when the fast ended for me.  I eeked through days 39 and 40 drinking different beverages.  I didn’t “feel” the same anymore. That is how I feel the Lord confirmed to me that He really did lead this fast and His purpose was for me to get to a place where I would be able to hear Him, be willing to listen, and be happy to be obedient.

The “refeeding” part of the fast should be done slowly and gently so as to not damage what has been slowly repairing.  I have read it is best to have liquids just as long as you fasted so your digestive system has it’s time to get restarted and processing correctly.  I did this my first fast when I was in the class.  I broke my fast with a wonderful broth at a Thai restaurant and continued to eat gently and drink teas and water. This time, not so much.  In fact… what I did was just downright stupid.  I have a weakness for Costco pizza.  Like my first few days of the fast, my husband brought home pizza from Costco and I ate it.  So, on the day I was to pick up my healthy broth and healthy green drink, my son had a party at school and they brought a salad and Costco pizza. I tried to just eat the salad. I literally ate all the salad that the kids didn’t eat… Who knew I could. I thought my stomach would shrink? Does lettuce really take up next to zero space in the stomach once chewed properly? Apparently, because I killed that salad and then… yup, I did it.  I had a slice of pizza. The beauty is that even before the fasts, I really could only eat one slice of pizza because the dairy gives me gas, among other things and the bread makes me itch.  I am lucky I didn’t end up throwing up.  Instead, I stopped after that and enjoyed the healthy food I had planned to eat after the fast.

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May 23 – day 1 refeeding

While I did not slowly reintroduce food for the next 40 days, I did discover that I cannot, at all have some foods without symptoms. I am learning the importance of reading labels and that labels with only a few words are the goal. Which really means, cooking at home and drinking lots more water. I did visit my doctor before my fast and after, requesting blood work both times and there was an impressive improvement in my cholesterol numbers and my doctor said that I am healthy enough to do another fast in three months or so. That was in May. Since May, I have tried to dabble in some foods.  I ate bread, not really realizing regular bread also has milk and eggs in it. Blew up everywhere, looked pregnant with the swollen feet and pot belly. I tried to eat vegan foods with standardized wheat, it just feels like I have a yeast infection. I went to the doctor and of course, I do not but I was given the medication for it and it cleared my symptoms.  The doctor recommended I eat all the things I don’t while on the medicine to be sure that the wheat was causing the symptoms, so I tried that for a day or two, but I just decided we will test only the wheat and trust that eating plant-based will solve the problem if it isn’t the wheat so either way I was gonna come out winning.  It is still a challenge to eat completely as clean as I want to and in my family, specific people make some changes, but I know it is hard and for kids, it can be harder when there is still ample supply of tasty foods that are not healthy.  We are all just taking it one day at a time, one replayed documentary at a time, one plant-based meal at a time.

So, I have a colonoscopy scheduled for next month. I took an allergy test and while the allergy test says I have an allergy to dust and bugs, there is no food allergy reaction so my doctor wants to have a look. I have decided to do another fast in preparation. I could do a 10 day just before it.  I have about 6 weeks.  That’s like another 40 days…