About My Water Fast: the Followup

Wednesday Mar 9 | BY |
| Comments (16)

In early February, I did a 7-day water fast in California. I wrote an article about everything that happened during my fast and how I felt in the days after the fast, which you can find on Renegade Health.

The fast was relatively easy for the first five days, and quite difficult in the last two days.

In the last two days, my body triggered signals of pain in many places where I had hurt myself in the past. For example, in a bicycle accident more than 15 years ago, I hurt my left leg and both of my knees. During the last two days of the fast, I felt this pain intensely! It was like my body remembered the pain and perhaps some healing was going on too.


After the fast, I felt a great sense of elation and excitement.

Now it’s been one month since I broke the fast.

What happened since then?

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been noticing many benefits, which seem to be long-lasting.

I believe that fasting is one the most powerful, life-enhancing practices available to anyone armed with the right knowledge on how to do it correctly and avoid common mistakes. Next to whole foods, plant-based diet, it can make a world of difference in your life.

That’s why for the past year, I’ve been working on putting together the most complete program on fasting available anywhere. This project involves a lot of great people with decades of experience with fasting, and I’m quite excited about it!

The Benefits of My Fast

* Improved Digestion: Overall, I found that my fast led to improved digestion. My body seems more efficient than ever in digestion and elimination, with no discomforts and an overall sense of digestive “well-being.”

* Elimination of Lower Back Pain. For the past year, I’ve been recovering from a lower back injury. The fast seems to have eliminated any leftover inflammation, leading to the almost complete disappearance of the last few symptoms I had left of lower back pain. I can’t credit the fast completely for this, but it seems to have helped.

* Neuroadaptation to Healthy Food. My diet after the fast is not that different, with one notable exception: I noticed that I’ve started to dislike most added salt. I find most natural foods already “salty” as they are. This is coming from a “salt addict” who tried to eat almost no salt on many occasions but rarely stuck with it. This effect didn’t happen immediately after the fast but became more noticeable as time went by after I broke my fast.

* Improved Mood. This is probably the most noticeable benefit. The “mood enhancement” benefits of fasting seem to be lasting for weeks and months after the fast. Even four weeks after breaking my fast, I feel more optimistic than I have felt in a long time!

* New sense of “direction” and “purpose.” I did not fast to improve my health. I felt quite healthy before the fast (although it’s great to feel even better now). The reason I fasted was because I know fasting can be a profound spiritual practice. I know, it may sound a little woo-woo, especially coming from me.

Every time I’ve fasted, I’ve experienced a sense of purpose and new insights about my life that lasted for years after the fast.

Because I am approaching my 40th birthday (next week!), I felt it was time to do another longish fast.

It’s not like I sat through the fast in a lotus position and got incredible insights into the nature of life and destiny. However, because fasting is truly a journey of transformation and renewal, I came out of the fast with a newfound spiritual energy.

You rarely hear me use these words, that many people throw around too easily. I use them in their truest sense. Fasting brings you closer to what’s truly important.

Every day since I broke my fast, I am surprised at how much more energy I have. And I’m not necessarily talking about physical energy. The changes I’m referring to have to do with concepts such as:

  • Being less afraid to take risks
  • Feeling a sense of purpose
  • Elimination of cynicism
  • Readiness to tackle new challenges

In other words, the fast helped recharge my “personal power” batteries, improving my capacity for resilience.

In the upcoming weeks, I’ll be sharing more information on the many ways fasting can be utilized in your life. I’ll cover broad topics such as intermittent fasting, longer water fasts, and compare them to juice fasting programs.

Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.

Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.


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  1. Abram says:

    I found your Psychological changes very intriguing:

    •Being less afraid to take risks
    •Feeling a sense of purpose
    •Elimination of cynicism
    •Readiness to tackle new challenges

    These are differences I would like to experience. Maybe it’s time for a fast.

    Thanks for your report.

    • I would say that It’s worth trying. Prior to this fast I spent three months fasting one day a week for 36 hours. It’s also another type of practice that I really enjoy for different reasons.

  2. Ann says:

    Happy Birthday!

  3. barbaraL says:

    Thanx Frederic. I have been trying to work up to doing a fast. In my whole life I’ve only done 2. One on water for 14 days which I broke at Victors farm in the 80’s, and one in 2000 10 days, and another on just watermelon and its juice for about a week I think. I did not find any of them easy, as I am a lifetime foodie, but I wanted to do something good for myself at key points in my Life. I’m due and eager to hear what you are putting together. Thanx so much for your honesty and dedication. I respect you and all you do to create a better life for yourself and others open enough to value your depths and expertise, ut most of all your honesty.

  4. barbara says:

    Fasting is a great method of healing and rejuvenation. . Indigenous societies often were forced to fast at the end of winter when stores of food were low and this strengthend their resilience. Fsting builds will power, determnation and is spirtually uplifitng, as you have found. I have fasted many times in my life, starting when I was in my late teens,(fifty years ago) when diagnosed with a dangerous inflammatory condition. I knew no one who had fasted but found a book on fasting and decided even without supervision to fast for a very extended period far byond a week only on water. I was already slender, but if anything I became temporaily a little too thin, but at the end of the time I had a complete remission and needed less sleep, had abundant enrgy and started on a raw food diet. Over the years, I have adjusted my diet to include cooked foods, but everything organic is the principle idea. And I have fasted, both with vibrantly clean mountain water and on vegetable juices, for other extended periods and have taught many people about fasting. Just to say I am still in terrific health with tons of energy and creativity and really have been quite lucky. But actually it is more than luck in having a good constiitution. It is more than luck it is the development of discipline to make healthy choices in eating, exercising -swimming – hiking – gardening- , sleeping and to practice compassionate living which is the healthiest of all practices.

  5. I enjoyed your essay, I have been interested in fasting for many years, and I credit my present state of good health to my decision to try fasting in the past.
    Usually I “fasted” for other than health reasons, so I definitely concur to the psychological uplift and sense of purpose.
    Unfortunately, I didn’t restrict to just water, and I permitted myself things like coffee with artificial sweeteners, carbonated diet soda, and sometimes chewing gum, to offset the bad taste, all of which made the experience less physically refreshing.

    In a conversation with a friend who is also a therapist, the reference was made to the zeal which inspired Gandhi (a famous, very public faster), and she compared it to the condition of “anorexia nervosa”. I became very quiet beause I myself have suffered from eating disorders. I am quietly confident right now that occasional fasting is a help to these disorders, by removing the societal and industrial pressures that engulf us generally and convince us to eat when we really aren’t hungry, and to chose foods that don’t really nourish us.

    Recently, I have begun experimenting with intermittent fasting (15 to 36 hours, with liquids, mostly water).
    Also for over a decade, I have been observing the daylight fast of Ramadan, which is different from total fasting, and due to the extreme restriction of liquids, more uncomfortable, and even (for some) potentially dangerous to health. The uplift I get from this ritual is indescribable, within days, I am transported to a humble yet dignified respect for this pillar of the Muslim faith, which is a visceral sharing of the pain of hunger that is a daily reality to so many. And as night approaches, I am heartened and gladdened to the simple breaking of the fast, the sensation of gratitude in the first few moments during “iftar”, that is beyond the everyday experience of human ingestion, even if one is mindfully eating at any other moment.

    I believe fasting is a natural and normal condition for humans, along with other animals, and easier to do if the person is already healthy, free of prescribed medicines, and economically well off enough to do so voluntarily and comfortably, within an access framework to medical attention should that be necessary. Thanks for exploring this topic.

  6. Reo says:

    “Man shall not live by bread alone” a spiritual man can not ignore fast, for it enhances spirituality as well as improves one’s health. Reo

  7. Kathy Zubich says:

    Thank you and looking forward to more information. Your information has been so helpful.

  8. Sceak says:

    I find this interesting… I’m also, rather was, a sort of food celebrity in the Montreal area, and I had never heard about you. That I’d stumble on your website shortly after your trip to California, especially since my employer is based in the city of Ontario, in California is strange to me… Anyway, pleased to meet you.

    I just want to caution people who might try fasting for seven days… It is fairly dangerous, and can cause permanent damage. Please discontinue if you have low blood pressure, dizziness when standing-up, loss of vision, etc. I would not recommend fasting for more than three days. People who are sufficiently experienced and have the reasons to be confident will have no problem going against what I say. People who do what others do shouldn’t try fasting for seven days, it’s very dangerous.

  9. Wayne says:

    Thank you so much for this article, you have answer so many questions. I hope you will write more on this subject.

  10. patrick says:

    thanks Frederic, l always like reading youer materials. l feel you come from the best scholling you can get,and that is hard knocks, lve fasted for five days once when l was fifteen l just wanted to lose some wight boy did l, l just could not believe how flat my stomach got, l loved ow lam fifty six and l want to fast again been vegan four years now feel good but want to feel better, more energy etc, but my problem is being vegan my body is so intense, l dont know if l could handle more intense feeling, l guess l have to try, but anyways love what you do!

  11. Melinda says:

    This was a great article, Fred! I actually love fasting and the calmness it brings. Most of my life the longest I would dry fast was 24 hours, but recently I have been trying a few weekly 36-hour fasts and totally LOVE it! It makes food taste better, helps me to have a clearer mind, have less feelings if anxiousness and restarts my week with a desire to take better care of my body by eating fresh whole foods. I totally agree on the spiritual aspect of fasting as well.

  12. Nicolai says:

    Congratulations !
    A lot of benefits.
    Some people fast one day a week, three days in a season and seven days in a year.
    What kind of water did you use. Some of my friends, which had fast for seven and evan 14 and 21 days used diastilled water.
    I hope to know more about your experiences.
    Best regards,

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