General Fasting Information

Fast for Democracy: General Fasting Information

Main Points:

• Fasting is not only SAFE but HEALTHY

• Fasting is not easy but almost ANYONE can do it

• Fasting is POWERFUL

• Don't be afraid- fear is greatest enemy in this fight and with fasting


Fasting is Healthy:

• History of Fasting: historical evidence shows that fasting is as old as humankind– a healing practice used for spiritual and physical cleansing and restoration (many religious traditions still include some form of it)

• Fasting is a positive experience that many say, if done safely, is one of the most powerful healing interventions one can do

• Good for many conditions including hypertension and diabetes

• One of leading fast doctors, Dr. Goldhammer, has fasted thousands of patients safely with great health benefits, many for 30 days or more

• More & more medical research is confirming the historical tradition and knowledge of fasting for health

• Fasting for 1 week doesn't require supervision; many fast for two weeks without supervision


Physiology of Fasting:

• Psychological withdrawal from food

• Detox symptoms (fever, slight discomfort, 1 in 10 vomit)

• First 3 days are the hardest (low energy, withdrawal from food, can still work early on)

• Ups and downs of energy


Challenges of Fasting: Discipline is Key

• Psychological withdrawal

• Managing energy and emotion through changes

• Managing activity & safety to avoid main risks of injury

        o Falling from light­headedness (take care when getting up)

        o Preventing dehydration (drink plenty of water- Goldhammer recommendation)

        o Regulating activity after first days to avoid burning muscle mass and accelerating weight loss



• Daily monitoring checklist (Are you standing up slowly? How are you doing? Blood pressure? Weight?)

• Blood tests before starting for everyone, or those who will fast beyond 1 week

• Community & stories & connecting with purpose (prayer, meditation, stories)


Preparation & Breaking Fast

• Prepping for fast: 1 day of juice for every week you fast; any juice is good but low-sodium and adding veggie as well as fruit is good (100% juice, not fructose); day of raw fruits and vegetables before starting juice is ideal

• Breaking fast: 1 day of juice for every week and (can add light amounts of juicy fruit starting with second day); very carefully add cooked food back only after completion of juice days → very important & very difficult! When appetite is re­engaged you want to eat! Harder than fasting is breaking fast properly.

• What happens if you do break the fast poorly? Loose stool, constipation, discomfort with digestion, but you'll be ok.


The Power & Legacy of Political Fasting

• Fasting is an age-old tradition that has been used in movements all over the world

• How it works: people are moved by suffering, sacrifice, and seriousness of commitment for people and public

• Gandhi fasted throughout his life as a political device and for spiritual reasons

• Cesar Chavez fasted in the 1980s to draw attention to a United Farm Workers boycott used to protest the use of toxic pesticides on grapes. In 1968, he fasted for 25 days, promoting the principle of nonviolence. In 1970, Chavez began a “fast of thanksgiving and hope” to prepare for pre- arranged civil disobedience by UFW. Also in 1972, he fasted in response to Arizona’s passage of legislation that prohibited boycotts and strikes by farm workers during the harvest seasons.

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