Slowly reintroducing hard-to-digest foods after a fast will help to prevent uncomfortable gas and diarrhea. Some foods are complex for your body to break down and require a lot of digestive enzymes and multiple processes. It's best to ease back into eating high-fat, high-protein and high-carbohydrate foods to give your body time to adjust and to avoid getting indigestion.
Drink 100 percent fruit and vegetable juices with no added sugar for the first day after your fast to give your body time to readjust to digesting calories. You can also have unsweetened tea, vegetable broth and water, but avoid any caffeinated beverages.
On day two, eat one to two servings of both raw fruits and vegetables for each meal, such as carrots, apples, bananas, celery, red peppers and oranges, and drink fluids from step one.
On day three, add lightly steamed vegetables, such as broccoli, kale and zucchini, and cooked whole grains, such as brown rice and oatmeal. One to two servings of grains and vegetables at each meal are appropriate, and raw foods and beverages from steps one and two can also be included.
On the fourth day, add two servings of cooked legumes, such as black beans or garbanzo beans, and two servings of nuts and seeds, such as almonds or walnuts, to the previously allowed foods.
On the fifth day, add low-fat dairy products, such as yogurt or skim milk, and add low-fat animal protein, such as eggs or grilled, skinless chicken.
You can now return to your normal diet.
- Food, Nutrition, & Diet Therapy; L. Kathleen Mahan & Sylvia Escott-Stump
- Healing with Whole Foods; Paul Pitchford
- Mayo Clinic: Fasting Diet: Can It Improve My Heart Health?
- Move through these steps at your own pace listening to cues from your body. You could follow step one for the first meal, or for the first day, and step two for the second meal, or for the second day, and so on. If you begin to feel light-headed or weak, you may want to move through the steps more quickly, as you're likely in need of more nutrients and calories.
- Paul Pitchford, author of the book "Healing with Whole Foods," states that it is unsafe for most people to do an absolute fast from food and water for more than 36 hours, and the Mayo Clinic recommends talking to your health care provider prior to fasting.
Erica Kannall is a registered dietitian and certified health/fitness specialist with the American College of Sports Medicine. She has worked in clinical nutrition, community health, fitness, health coaching, counseling and food service. She holds a Bachelor of Science in clinical dietetics and nutrition from the University of Pittsburgh.