Abstinence and fasting cure many a complaint.
— Danish proverb
Why Do a Fast?
Fruit fasting is often recommended as a way of detoxifyng the body and, in so doing, ridding it of common food addictions, cravings, ailments, allergies, etc. However, fruit fasting, like all forms of fasting, is much more than just depriving oneself of food for the good of the body. There is a mental factor involved as well. One perceives oneself, and society, quite differently after conducting a fast.
For example, not being able to engage in eating makes one see just how much of society and social activities center around food. One also begins to understand why perhaps there is the epidemic of obesity: When food becomes a main social outlet, it is unlikely that anyone will eat simply for basic sustenance.
But aside from allowing such basic realizations, there is also a spiritual side to fasting. It is no coincidence that all the major religions of the world have prescribed it. Even the mathematician Pythagoras required that his followers fast for 40 days before being allowed to learn his higher principles. On a spiritual level, fasting forces one to look within rather than without for stimulation and sustenance. Aside from the very real physical hunger and weakness than one experiences, one must also overcome significant peer and social pressure to break the fast and eat. Such stamina prepares the person who is fasting for even greater spiritual challenges.
The best of all medicines are resting and fasting.
— Benjamin Franklin
Why Do I Fruit Fast?
For me, fruit fasting is a way to redirect myself, so to speak. I slow down and focus on my physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. I try to be patient with my body and understand that, due to my lower energy levels, I may not be able to accomplish everything I set out to do. After all, my body has limitations, and pushing it too hard will cause it to break!
I also try to understand that my body, because it is limited, will not endure in top form unless I periodically slow down to focus on my health.
The way I look at it, my body is my most valuable investment, so I take care of it, just as I would fix a leaky faucet or re-shingle the roof of my house.
I have been blessed with good overall health. I had scoliosis in my earlier years, but that was mostly the result of a calcium deficiency. Since reaching adulthood, my health has actually improved and became even better once I began running. So, why would I subject myself to this periodic "starvation"?
In my mid to late 20s I began noticing small issues with my body. I started having trouble in my left knee after running and needed to wear a brace. I also had a major carb addiction and would routinely crave bread, pizza, pasta, etc. This, combined with my penchant for eating salty food, resulted in some nasty results. I gained weight. On my 5 foot 8 inch frame, I went from roughly 130 lbs to 161 lbs!. I had never paid much attention to my diet while I was younger. In fact, for a long time I was convinced I couldn't gain weight! Well, that assumption quickly faded when one day I found myself trying to squeeze into an old dress I owned. Weight gain was not only possible, it had occurred!
I started eating low-calorie foods and walking. Later on, I took up running. That killed an easy 20 lbs for me. Once I moved to Madison and started doing serious renovation on my new house, I dropped to 126 lbs and didn't budge a pound no matter what I ate. I thought I was in the clear. However, my carb and other addictions had not gone away. Neither had my love of salty food.
After some reading and previous exposure to the topic, I decided to try a 30-day fruit fast, figuring this might kill some food cravings and realign my knee. Well, I lasted only 7 days on this fast. Creeping nausea finally forced me to quit.
After another month had passed, I restarted the fruit fast. This time, I lasted 13 days before quitting, the reason being an upcoming Oktoberfest and not nausea. I felt a little let down for stopping my fast, but who could resist Oktoberfest? Needless to say, after almost two weeks of eating very little, the sudden onslaught of food and beer caused me incredible physical pain in my belly. My stomach muscles had tightened up during my fast and they did not appreciate the sudden forced dilation. I had learned my lesson about gorging after a fast!
I didn't attempt another fruit fast until a year or so later, after moving to Madison. Here, in the midst of winter and with very little else to do, I was able to successfully complete my 30-day fruit fast. In the process, I finally lost my carb and salt cravings. I also gained a heightened (and hopefully lifelong) sensitivity to anything salted or sugared, resulting in my needing far less salt and sugar. I did lose about 18 lbs, but most of that weight returned with normal eating. Finally, my most pleasant surprise was the total disappearance of a plantar's wart on my foot, which I assumed would need to be surgically removed.
I didn't fast the next year, nor the year after that. In total, I skipped six years. The effect of this laziness cost me: I developed migraines. I, who'd never even had a headache since age 6, was suddenly getting migraines every 2-3 weeks. In one case, I had one migraine end and then start up about 3 days later. I was at my wit's end.
Eventually, I discovered that my migraines were caused by a toxin called MSG (monosodium glutamate). This discovery brought up the idea of fruit fasting once more. In the process, I hoped that something else would occur too: That I would once more be able to enjoy natural sources of glutamate, such as soy sauce and seaweed. Since I loved sushi and sashimi, not being able to ingest soy sauce and seaweed-wrapped fish was killing me!
What Can You Eat During a Fruit Fast?
Here is where you should consider your purpose for fasting. If it's to detox, then you probably want to eat detoxifying fruits like apples, citrus, and grapes. You have no real need for items like avocados, since most of what they'll contribute is fat.
Also, it doesn't pay to buy canned fruit and eat it. Likewise, pasteurized juices provide no real value to your fast. In essence, you want the fruit that you eat and drink to be as fresh as possible in order to be as cleansing as possible.
Personally, I buy and consume the following fruits during my fruit fast:
- bananas (not recommended by some fasting experts due to their inherent starch)
I also purchase fresh-squeezed and non-pasteurized tangerine, grapefruit, and orange juices. As an alternative, I might freeze various fruit chunks and later mix them all in my blender with water or juice. This makes for a great shake!
Preparing to Fast
I freeze food that I won't be able to eat during the fast, to keep it from spoiling. Then I stock up on fruit.
There isn't much more to preparing for a fruit fast, however mentally I always have to brace myself for challenges. For example, what will I do if I'm invited out to eat? What about any upcoming holidays? If needed, I simply stick to my guns, explain what I am doing, and do not back down from my plan. Once you have done one fast you are more prepared for these situations the next time.
For the purposes of this fast, I also track my weight. During the process of the fast, lifelong eating habits are altered, and so it's possible to achieve long-term weight loss this way.
Starting weight: 137.8 lbs.
I had been planning to fast after Easter, when all the eating around that holiday would finally be done. For whatever reason though, I decided to start with the onset of spring. Of course, this resolve started to fizzle after lunchtime, when I considered what was stocked in my fridge and cabinets. Also, I had just purchased some tasty bakery cookies! Luckily, my partner Michael could help out with those. I lasted until evening without too many other side effects, aside from boredom with my stack of grapefruits and oranges. Michael did mention that I seemed a bit testy, though.
Weight: 136.2 lbs.
Day 2 went amazingly well for me. Of course, I also didn't do much aside from catch up on one of my blogs and Desperate Housewives episodes.
I ate one grapefruit, 1/3 pineapple, an orange, and a banana.
I didn't feel as weak as I had expected. As my body wakes up to the fact that it won't get its regular supply of chocolate walnut cookies, I usually experience a major sugar low.
Incidentally, my sense of smell doubled in power. I could actually smell the dog treats that I keep downstairs while just passing by the stairway. This did not surprise me. It happened during my last fast, as well. In fact, by the end of my last fast I could smell barbeques up to five miles away!
Weight: 136.2 lbs.
This was a tough day for me. I probably overexherted myself by vacuuming and steam-cleaning one of my cars and then attempting my taxes. My emotions, which could previously be dulled by eating a warm cookie or some bacon, were no longer being assuaged through such means. I felt everything more acutely as a result.
I went to bed dissatisfied and fed up with taxes. By 1 a.m., I was just burned-out and seeing numbers backwards! I had eaten some grapes and a grapefruit, an orange, and a banana that day.
Day 4: Hot flash!
Weight: 134.2 lbs.
I woke up dazed and in a sweat. I did not feel well at all! Trying to grab some fruit from the kitchen, I thought I would faint in the process. Apparently, today was the day that my body had finally run out of available sugar and was going into glycogen burn mode. So long, insulin. Go go glucagon! But, in the process of this hormonal change, I was enduring a hot flash!
I ate a banana, drank a glass of freshly squeezed OJ, and made it back to bed. After two hours I woke up and felt 100% better. I tackled my taxes with no sweat, sent them away, and then did some shopping. I bought some raisins and strawberries. Those raisins really gave me some extra energy, as well as staying power to do some extra house chores and watch a movie. Good day overall.
Weight: 132.4 lbs.
I started out with a breakfast of raisins and didn't even feel hungry until noon. I then cut up a grapefruit for lunch. Later, I had strawberries, 1/3 cucumber, and a Champagne mango. That mango was great. I must get more. The day was quiet, and I didn't even salivate too much when Michael grilled a sirloin steak for his dinner.
The question of Easter came up and I decided to invite some relatives over. I wonder how they'll deal with my not partaking of the Easter meal! I am coming to the realization that I may be forced to break my fast around that time.
Weight: 132.4 lbs.
I had a strange sensation today in my head: Around noon, a sudden stab of pain hit the right side of my head for about two seconds. Then, it just went away as quickly as it had come. I've had these things happen before and I still can't figure out their origin. Anyone?
Otherwise, my day was slow and steady. I ate pineapple, raisins, strawberries, and a banana. I also made a fruit shake out of a medley of fruits, including frozen papaya, mango, pineapple, and strawberries. I added orange juice and squeezed in some lemon and lime juice too. Yum!
Weight: 132.4 lbs.
I had no strange head pains today. I spent part of the warmer Wisconsin evening tracking down an air filter for a Harley. My energy levels were way up, though, to the point where I even considered doing a run later that night. Alas, no time was left by the time I got home. My daily rations for that day consisted of pineapple, raisins, a banana, an orange, and a grapefruit.
Weight: 132.4 lbs.
I dreamed about two types of cake, followed by a lavish dinner with my father and unknown guests.
Then I ate some raisins and a grapefruit and decided to try running again. I haven't run since I twisted some of my left foot ligaments about two weeks ago. Well, after putting in 2.4 miles, my ankle felt just fine. I was winded, though, so I quit my run. After 15 minutes, I put in another 1.4 miles. My ankle held up and did not hurt at all. I'll have to see if it feels OK on Friday when I try running again.
Weight: 130.8 lbs.
I had a hard time getting motivated this morning and it took me until the early afternoon to really start working. However, by the mid-afternoon I was OK. Michael came home and apologetically made himself some bacon and burgers. I smelled the food but it didn't even cause my mouth to water. While I enjoyed the smell of the fragrant bacon (cured with cherry juice!), the ground beef scent was rather offensive.
My energy levels started really soaring around nightfall, though. I made good progress on one of my side writing projects and even ran some errands. I credit the watermelon that I ate as well as the short nap I took from 4-5 p.m.
Weight: 130.8 lbs.
I decided to try my hand, or rather my feet, at running again. This time I felt far less winded and was able to complete a full 3 miles without stopping. My left foot felt just fine too. Perhaps the fasting has decreased my inflammation and finally allowed my twisted foot ligaments to heal?
My diet today consisted of raisins, dried blueberries, watermelon, a mango, and a banana. I experienced no weakness and no sluggishness. However, towards the end of the day I experienced an odd batch of head "quakes." My upper nose would tingle with light pain, and then the back of my head would reply with the same tingle pain. The tingles lasted 3-4 seconds each and came on every few minutes. This went on for half an hour and then stopped.
Weight: 129.4 lbs.
Busy day today. I traveled to Illinois to pick up my mom and take her home with me, thus allowing her caregiver a much-needed break. I also went out with some friends to Lalo's, a Mexican restaurant, for dinner. While they had tamales, margaritas, tacos, and nachos, I had water and some raisins I'd snuck in. The menu had no purely fruit offerings.
My fruit intake for the day: two bananas, two mangos, a glass of orange juice, and raisins.
I had two more odd head "quakes" as I was driving home, with each one gone after maybe 10 seconds.
Weight: 129.4 lbs.
Spent a good majority of the day cooking, shopping, hunting down coupons, and watching one hour of TV. Despite having to make salad, pork chops, and steamed broccoli for dinner for my mom, I was OK. I ate two bananas, two mangos, and tided myself over with a frozen papaya-mango-pineapple-strawberry-lemon shake. I love those shakes.
I was supposed to go running today but time just did not permit. Perhaps tomorrow....
Weight: 129.4 lbs.
This might sound weird, but I've actually forgotten that I'm fruit fasting. I am so used to going to my little corner of the kitchen and partaking of its fruit offerings that I've forgotten about other food. In fact, I was trying to recall today what I'd actually eaten, just to make sure that it was only fruit. Yep, still eating only fruit.
I ran 3.3 miles in the evening on my treadmill and had no issues with my left foot. Yay!
Weight 128 lbs.
I've noticed that my usual morning sluggishness has disappeared now that I'm fasting. It's a great feeling to wake up in the morning and just be able to jump out of bed, ready to face the day with a smile on my face. I seem to be gaining more and more energy as I fast.
I spent over two hours outside digging up my backyard dandelions. Then I got excited thinking about how nice the fresh sod would feel under my feet. I can smell so much more now when I'm outside. Incidentally, I can also tell when Michael has been smoking. It hits me from 30 feet away!
I'm slurping another one of my frozen concoctions as I type this. It's full of frozen papaya, among other goodies. I've stopped salivating for bacon and eggs, which was what I made for Michael and my mother this morning.
Day 15: Halfway There
Weight: 128 lbs.
Busy day today. Between walking my dog to the vet, rolling out sod, pulling weeds, and running a leisurely 3.7 miles, I had no time to post here. I've truly forgotten that I'm fasting anymore. I just make the same variety of foods for myself and go about my chores and work. Today it was a medley of dried apricots and cherries, two mangoes, some cantaloupe, and a grapefruit. But there's one thing that didn't escape my notice: Today my fast is half over!
Weight 126.8 lbs.
Today I re-read my copy of Rational Fasting by Dr. Arnold Ehret, the dude who first turned me on to fasting. Even a hundred years later, his words inspire me. Here is a wonderful excerpt taken from Dr. Ehret's explanation of what happens spiritually once you start eating healthy and wholesome foods:
Your former life will take on the appearance of a dream, and for the first time in your existence your conscience awakens to a real self-consciousness. Your mind, your thinking, your ideals, your aspirations and your philosophy will change fundamentally for the better. Your soul will shout with joy and triumph over all misery of life. For the first time you will feel a vibration of vitality thru your body like a slight electric current that shakes you delightfully.
This passage reminds me of a passage from the poet and mystic Rumi:
There's hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness.
We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox
is stuffed full of anything, no music.
If the brain and belly are burning clean
with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire.
The fog clears, and new energy makes you
run up the steps in front of you.
Weight: 126.8 lbs.
I think I've been overdoing it on house chores. My upper back aches, my right hand has blisters and sores, and my index finger hurts from a pulled back nail. In the past few days, I've pulled weeds, sodded, planted shrub shoots, baked a ham, painted a wall, and sewn a dog bed backing. With Easter coming, I'll be baking another ham and making deviled eggs, two salads, mashed potatoes, and veggies. Michael will be helping out and cleaning too. What a guy.
I also ran 4 miles today. My diet consisted of a mango, grapefruit juice, dried apricots, and a pineapple-strawberry-papaya-mango shake.
Weight: 125.6 lbs.
It's hard not to dab my finger into all the food that I'm making today for tomorrow's Easter feast. Between making a large fruit salad (mostly for me), I also spent some time making deviled eggs. I love deviled eggs. And the yolk stuffing was everywhere, including my hands. I was sooo tempted to just try a small taste. But, I didn't give in.
My back is aching though from my six-hour marathon of grocery shopping, cutting, cooking, mixing, and washing, and there's still plenty of work for tomorrow.
Weight: 125.6 lbs.
Well, with the Easter ham, mashed potatoes, deviled eggs, cheesecake, pecan bread, cream puffs, buttered carrots, buttered string beans, cous cous vinaigrette, 7-grain salad, chocolate eggs, and so much more at my beck and call, do you think I gave up my fast today? Do you think that the peer pressure to eat made me give in to all this yummy food?
I went from preparing ham #2 to cooking veggies to dishing out food and drink on my guests. It was quite an affair, and I have way too many leftovers too. Some of those leftovers have already been frozen up. Others are sitting in my fridge, waiting.
Weight: 125.6 lbs.
As of today, I am still posting to this chronology, so my 30 day fruit fast is still going strong! Yes, I did resist yesterday's feast of temptations and survived on just orange juice, strawberry slices, pineapple, cantaloupe, and watermelon. Today I ate through some more of the leftovers, meaning the extra container of watermelon. I also purchased some raisins, dried blueberries, and apricots. Those dried fruits give me amazing stamina for running, which is another thing I did today. My 4.1 mile run was great!
Weight: 125.6 lbs.
I drove my mom back to her home today, then shopped at two grocery stores, then blew $90 at a liquor store. Whew! I then got to haul all this stuff to her house and unload it. I also cleaned out my bedroom closet at my parents' house. Wow, at age 36, I have finally moved out of my parents' house! I'm actually trying to clean out some space for my mom's next caregiver, who will most likely be living at her house.
My sustenance for today was raisins, dried apricots, a mango, a half pint of blackberries, and two glasses of fresh-squeezed OJ.
Weight: 123.8 lbs.
I spent the better part of today getting back to normal after my trip down south. I also took care of some errands. My fruit selection today consisted of a mango, raisins, dried blueberries, fresh blueberries, dried apricots, and fresh-squeezed OJ. I did not run as expected but I will do so tomorrow.
Weight: 123.8 lbs.
My thoughts today turned to what I would first eat when this fast was finally over. Snow crab with lots of melted butter. And a dish made with a base of fried mushrooms, topped with artichoke-garlic-veggie pasta sauce, topped with butter-sauteed shrimp. Egg salad with Easter ham on a croissant. Ah....
I also ran 4 miles tonight at a slightly faster pace. It did tire me out!
Weight: 123.8 lbs.
I've been noticing how fasting has made me more creative and energetic. For example, today I got up with the sun, dusted, vacuumed, and tried out a homemade coconut milk shampoo recipe on my hair. Well, the shampoo was a disaster (acted like glue on my hair), so I washed it out and got going on some drapes I've been meaning to hem. In the meantime, I also wrote and submitted a 1,100+ word article. Then I did the laundry and dusted some more. This was all before 5 p.m., and all without the aid of coffee.
Weight: 123.8 lbs.
Today we spent a great day out at Mirror Lake State Park. It was almost 80°F! I waded into one of the creeks and tried some of its cold water. Murphy, my dog, had a blast. I took some orange juice and raisins with me for sustenance and that food was more than enough.
Day 26: Brain Atrophy and Migraines
Weight: 122.2 lbs.
My biggest impetus for starting this fruit fast was to finally rid myself of migraines and to also prove that they are food-related. So far, in the 26 days that I've been fasting, I've experienced no migraines. Unless something surprises me in the next four days, I am certain that excitotoxins like MSG, free glutamate, and aspartame have caused my migraines and resultant brain atrophy. I am livid that food is our sold with these poisons added. We require prescriptions to take substances like Pristiq (a serotonin reuptake inhibitor), yet food manufacturers are adding toxic substances like MSG (a neurotransmitter) to our food and even hiding this fact!
Weight: 122.2 lbs.
Drove down to Illinois again to take my mom to an appointment. Between doing that, grocery shopping, making phone calls, shopping again, and visiting relations, I didn't return home until way after dark. Ugh. Michael was kind enough to do all the laundry and even steam clean the hallway carpet. He's such a sweetie.
Weight: 122.2 lbs.
Just when I thought I had conquered all my cravings, I decided to visit a local bakery today to see what Easter goodies were on sale. Big mistake. The smell of the fresh-baked bread had my mouth watering in no time. I could easily see myself taking a big slice of the multigrain rustic, slathering it with butter, and biting right into it. And this wouldn't be hard to do with all those bakery bread samples lined up next to a big vat of butter.
I made a quick escape and drove off in search of fruit.
Weight: 122.4 lbs.
I treated myself to a hot stone therapy massage today, which was so nice that it actually hurt. And, since Wednesday is double coupon day, I decided to do some shopping. It was really difficult to find anything edible at my local store. Most foods had some additive that I didn't want, like high fructose corn syrup, nitrites, aspartame, soy/milk/vegetable protein isolate, or extract and of course MSG.
Day 30: The End is Near
Weight: 120.6 lbs.
Today is my last day of fruit fasting. For tomorrow, I already have my "break fast" meal planned: steamed snow crab legs. I am really looking forward to trying everything anew and marveling at its flavor. The last time I broke a 30-day fruit fast, I was amazed at just how salty everything tasted. And I could really pick up on the caffeine in chocolate.
Thank you all for sticking with me during my 30-day detox fruit fast. I feel so much better now and I'm amazed at the energy I've had while fasting. I'm definitely going to fast at least once a year now. I hope I've inspired some of you to try fruit fasting as well.
After the Fruit Fast: Day 3: In the clear with MSG/Glutamate?
It's been just wonderful getting back into eating things like ham, eggs, salads (with dressing too!), bread, chocolate, etc. I've had no ill effects from anything, even meat. I did get an interesting "buzz" from my first cup of coffee today, though. It felt like I was taking Ritalin!
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2012 Hally Z.
Abdelmalek on May 25, 2019:
Fasting is a religious ritual for me, thirty days every year from sunrise till sunset but actually i do more than that, viz between 20 and 23 hours fast. I happen to fast every other day for six or seven months.
Paladius on July 28, 2018:
My first fasting with organic greenfield (Melilea) was on the 2016 and I lost about 12kg... wanted to do my second fasting this August after two years
Anna Pash on June 01, 2018:
It is totally wrong to start with normal food after fruit fasting! The negative effect on the body could be a disaster. After even 5 days of such fasting there is a special way to introduce foods to your body - like for the babies. Fist day - only potato (small), second day - carrot, etc. Otherwise, you risk a lot and it is very dangerous.
Ayesha Salman on March 29, 2018:
I came to know about the natural way of detoxification 6 years back and once tried water fast for 10 days and two times fruit fast one time for 7 days and the second time for 14 days.
Today is my 3rd day of a 21 days fruit fast and yesterday I was feeling down and was feeling like breaking the fast, but your post gave me motivation not only to continue my plan, but also to document that journey.
Thank you so much Hally for making this chronology available for others.
Tramaine Hillard on March 24, 2017:
Thank you so much for the information of your fasting journey. I began mines at 5:30PM today, so this is an inspiration. Best wishes!
Hally Z. (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on April 28, 2012:
Jackie, thank you very much for your comment! And please do consider doing a fruit fast sometime- it's amazing as to the benefits you'll gain.
Jackie Lynnley from the beautiful south on April 28, 2012:
Wow I have never been on a fruit fast, sounds like a great idea but I do watch my salt and it is horrible how salty some things can be and I am the same with chocolate, it sometimes give me chest pains! Great write, voted up! Also sharing.
Shawna Van Trease on April 03, 2012:
Really interesting hub. I know that attempting a fast like this right now would be setting myself up for failure, but it's something to think about as the weather turns warm and the gorgeous fruits and veggies from the farmer's markets start to beckon us.
eatforcheaper from London on April 03, 2012:
I once did a low carb diet - not atkins! I basically allowed myself 50g of carbs a day for about 6 weeks! It was very tough! After the 1st 2 weeks I didn't see any results just got huge cravings! I had to drink sugar free sodas to make up for it because I couldn't even have fruit! However, by the 3rd week I saw some dramatic results - my stomach was much flatter! I lost about 6 kgs! Unfortunately, at the time I wasn't exercising and after about 2-3 months I just gained the weight back!
Now, I'm just eating less in general and sticking to rougly 2000 calories a day (don't want to call it a diet). I'm just trying to eat healthily and I'm also exercising.
Hally Z. (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on March 26, 2012:
Thanks much for your kind words, Christy! I'm also looking forward to seeing how this all ends...
Christy Birmingham from British Columbia, Canada on March 26, 2012:
I have never done a fast but I look forward to hearing more about your journey this month. Stay healthy!
Hally Z. (author) from Madison, Wisconsin on March 25, 2012:
Thanks very much for looking over my content! I'm certainly wondering how to get through Easter...
Healing Herbalist from The Hamlet of Effingham on March 25, 2012:
Looking forward to finding out how it goes. I have wanted to do a fast for some time. Very interesting.