Therapeutic fasting in a self-test – nothing but juice and soup for 5 days

It prevents disease, prolongs life and at the same time feels great. Who wouldn’t want it? A simple method promises all these positive effects. Do not eat for several days. Therapeutic fasting is the name of a practice with a centuries-old tradition almost everywhere in the world. The health-promoting effects of fasting have also been scientifically confirmed.

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The fact that so much can be gained through sacrifice fascinates me. So I’m going to try it myself. What better time to do so than during Lent? But I don’t want to go through the process alone. So I book a week-long fasting seminar at Fastenhof Behm, in northern Brandenburg. I will devote myself to fasting for five days with the twelve who are fasting. Some federal states recognize these courses as educational leave.

My decision absolutely agrees with the trend towards a booming “wellness economy” that includes therapeutic fasting. The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) predicts that by 2025, global sales across all industries will reach $7 trillion per year. Wellness tourism is particularly well represented in Germany, the fourth largest industrial market in the world. Treatments, seminars and retreats on topics such as nutrition, exercise and stress reduction are very popular in Germany.

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Fasting courses are also part of this and are offered as wellness trips in different locations with different concepts and programs. I choose a method with a long tradition. This is therapeutic fasting according to the rules of German fasting pioneer Otto Buchinger.

Cold turkey: giving up coffee hurts

Receive helpful tips on fasting preparation a week before the seminar starts. To make the transition easier, consider using fewer, more digestible and vegan foods where possible. Also, it’s best to quit coffee right now. This will be my first big challenge. Drink a glass every morning and don’t consider yourself a caffeine addict.

Still, giving up after just one day leads to a stinging headache, and you have to brew your coffee around 10am for the rest of the day. After that, I buy decaffeinated coffee and slowly reduce the caffeine level for a week. Five days later, I am clean, but still have goosebumps about the experience of physical withdrawal.

Germany is the world’s fourth largest market for the wellness industry and the wellness tourism sector is particularly well represented.

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After successful weaning and preparation, you can start your fasting seminar. From now on, our participants will not consume more than 200-400 kcal per day in liquid form. A glass of freshly squeezed juice in the morning and a thin vegetable soup at noon. In the meantime, drink as much water as possible. 3-4 liters per day is recommended. Daily meditation, early morning workouts, yoga and four-hour hikes are also scheduled. A weak soul on your own will not accept this program, but the dynamics of the group make it possible.

Even if you fast, it’s hard to start everything

However, there is another less attractive point in the program on the first day of singles. It’s just defecation. It completely stops the activity of the digestive tract and relaxes the digestive tract so that it can recover during fasting. The laxatives Glauber’s salt and mannitol can be used in addition to several consecutive enemas with warm water. I chose the classic Glauber’s salt. And after a few hours I’m especially happy to master the next challenge after giving up coffee. It can only get better now, right?

At the beginning of therapeutic fasting there is a bowel movement in the program.  Its purpose is to allow the digestive tract to recover during fasting.

At the beginning of therapeutic fasting there is a bowel movement in the program. Its purpose is to allow the digestive tract to recover during fasting.

Not sure: I wake up at 6 am on the second day and feel terrible. My heart beats fast in my chest, I feel nauseous, and my legs and arms tremble. It should be very low blood pressure. Quick to others, I think. If I fall, at least someone will notice. Even my fasting colleagues don’t seem to get better. I looked around, and they ranged from tense faces to distressed faces. Everything is completely normal and I am convinced of the fasting leader, because during fasting the metabolism must change. Instead of burning the energy you get through food, your reserve is now used.

Change is a little stressful. This review reassures me. I’m probably not in fatal danger. Also, after 10 minutes of gymnastics in the fresh air, the world looks so much better. And for mindfulness purposes, the morning juice, drunk as slowly as possible with a small spoon, is delicious.

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Freshly squeezed juices from fruits and vegetables are a culinary highlight of fasting week.  It is not drunk all at once, but reverently eating it with a spoon.

Freshly squeezed juices from fruits and vegetables are a culinary highlight of fasting week. It is not drunk all at once, but reverently eating it with a spoon.

Sharing hunger cuts hunger in half

From the third day of fasting, the situation stabilizes. I feel physically fit, a daily exercise program and an early wake up is not a problem. I clearly realized that it was my body’s recovery that I didn’t have to digest for a long time. But wait in vain until hunger is completely gone. When I do meditation and yoga classes, my stomach churns and I think about food a lot. If you eat whatever you want after fasting, the yo-yo phenomenon seems inevitable. Hunger isn’t particularly unpleasant, but it’s hard to wait for the day when you finally have something to eat. Now in the group recipes are being exchanged more and more often.

I also don’t have the much bragging feeling of fasting euphoria, an exceptional state of well-being that begins after a few days of fasting. I put down the fact that I’m usually fine most of the time. So I always feel like I do while fasting.

After this week, before I could even think about what to cook first, five days of fasting had already ended. On the sixth day, apples are waiting at the breakfast table. It’s time to slowly return to solid food. Now the so-called accumulation phase begins. As before fasting, the next day you should eat as little digestible plant foods as possible.

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Conclusion: Effort pays off

After two weeks of the fasting seminar, I eat almost the same food as before. Nevertheless, something remains of the experience. The fearful longing did not come true. I have become much more aware of what I eat and feel full. When I’m stressed, I tend to think about what I really want and spend more time eating rather than stuffing things. I hope to be able to maintain a more conscious approach to food for as long as possible.

I encourage anyone interested in the experience to try therapeutic fasting for themselves. I too would like to fast again in the future, but only as part of a fasting seminar. Fasting alone at home probably seems impossible during a normal weekday. Because I couldn’t reach my peak mentally during fasting week. There are difficulties you cannot handle alone.

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