What is the best way to break a fast?

Katrina Cook, MScN
Katrina Cook, MScN answered 1/6/2020 19:55

Functional Nutritionist

Hi Max! It really depends on the nature of the fast - how long it was, if you were doing a strict water fast or a juice fast and whether or not you are managing any conditions. As a general guideline, I would start with easy to digest foods the first day to gently revive your system - broths, pureed soups, rice with minimally seasoned, lean meats (fish/chicken). The following day, try introducing more solid foods and veggies, preferably cooked as they are easier to digest. Then I would move into raw veggies, but preferably in a partially broken down form - smoothies, fermented, soaked or sprouted if possible. You may need to gradually reintroduce yourself to high fiber foods depending on the nature of the fast, so I would hold off on legumes & wheat as much as possible until day 3. If your fast was less then 1 week, you may find you are able to tolerate harder to digest foods faster. I would also avoid coffee, dairy and fried foods until after day 3. Good luck!

Dr. Alisa Cooper
Dr. Alisa Cooper answered 2/7/2020 18:57

Wellness Coach, Nutritionist, Chiropractor, Certified EFT Practitioner

I love the excellent, comprehensive answer submitted by Katrina Cook, MScN. Since there is nothing more I could possibly add to that, I would like to answer the question from a different perspective, that of intermittent fasting. Although people vary as to the number of hours they fast each day, it is very common to constrain eating to a restricted window of 8 hours. Meaning, you do all the eating you are going to do for that day/night during the span of 8 hours. If you stop eating at 6 pm in the evening, you would wait until 10 am the next day to break your fast. If you curtail eating by 5 pm, you would break your fast at 9 am the next day, and so forth. When you do break your fast, it is advisable to refuel your body with healthy, wholesome foods, of course! No junk food or packaged, processed foods laden with unwanted ingredients or unhealthy fats. If you are intermittent fasting, chances are you know that already! So, my advice is not so much what to eat but how to eat it. Eat slowly, reverently, mindfully. Chew your food thoroughly and enjoy the taste, aroma and sensation. Feel it nurturing every cell in your body. I know you are hungry, but don't woof it down like an animal! Digestion begins in the mouth with the enzymes found in saliva. Give the food some time in your mouth before swallowing. Don't dilute your digestive enzymes by drinking copious amounts of liquid while eating either. Chew your food enough so that it is practically a liquid, and then drink your water, tea, or coffee a bit later. Bottom line: Ease into eating when breaking your fast; chew thoroughly, eat mindfully, and recharge with nutrient-dense foods. Now go enjoy that leisurely, healthy meal.

Arturo Mendoza
Arturo Mendoza answered 3/5/2020 03:21

Human Potential Coach & Performance Specialist

Hi Max, it depends on many specifics. However, as a general practical rule you can break a fast by having high quality whole foods that are easy on your digestive system. Other colleagues have given great nuanced answers so there isn't a need to go much deeper on the subject, however I´d like to highlight again that it all depends on the kind of fast and also the person doing it. A holistic detailed approach is always more useful. Hope you find this one useful