How to Feed a Fast!

By Erin Potasnick, Nutrition Student at Yeshiva University and the Laura Cipullo Whole Nutrition Services Team

Most people have heard of the term “fasting” before. And while we don’t encourage fasting for any reason other than religious holidays, like Tisha B’Av or Ramadan, we’ve come up with 7 Simple Pre- and Post-Fasting Tips to help you get through the process:

1.  Schedule accordingly! – If you’re fasting for a religious holiday, many health care professionals encourage you to adjust your medications to the appropriate fasting times.water glass

2.  Stay hydrated ahead of time! – Hydration is critical when fasting, especially when some religious fasts call for no liquids. Therefore, be sure to consume roughly 8-10 glasses (~64 ounces) of water in the days approaching your fast. It is vital for pregnant women to drink plenty of fluids during the designated times of their fast[1], making sure to have water at their side at all times.

3.  Eat a balanced meal pre-fast – Be sure to include complex carbohydrates, protein, and fats. This should allow you to begin your fast feeling neither hungry, nor full, but content.

4.  Rest and take time for yourself! – What better time to take a mid-afternoon nap than during a fast? Not only will this keep your mind off the impending hunger, but it will also allow you to wake feeling refreshed and re-energized. On Yom Kippur, those in observance fast to ask God for forgiveness, making the fasting period a great time to reflect and gain insight.

5.  Hydrate after fasting – When you break the fast, chose hydrating foods, like fruits, vegetables, and soups. It is important to rehydrate and take care of your digestive system post-fast. We encourage drinking herbal teas, like peppermint tea, with traditional post-fast meals, to help ease your digestion. We also suggest you to take a break, go for a walk, and think mindfully when eating to avoid eating in a binge-like manner and any stomach discomfort.

peppermint tea6.  Stay true to your fast – stick with a buddy! Traditionally families fast together when observing Yom Kippur and Tisha B’Av. Sometimes having a partner or group of supporters can really help you stay motivated and stick to your plan!

7.  Be safe! – If you are sick or pregnant, you may want to meet with your healthcare provider to make sure that fasting is appropriate for you at the time.

 

How do you prepare and stay on track while fasting? Have any tips or tricks? Stay safe and enjoy!


[1] Pathy R, Mills K, Gazeley S, Ridgley A, Kiran T. Health is a spiritual thing: perspectives of health care professionals and female Somali and Bangladeshi women on the health impacts of fasting during Ramadan. Ethnicity & Health [serial online]. February 2011;16(1):43-56. Available from: CINAHL Plus with Full Text, Ipswich, MA. Accessed September 8, 2013.

 

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