People fast for many reasons – health, before surgery, religious, or to lose weight. When you fast, enzymes in the digestive system are diminished. To build these back up, you need to eat carefully to allow your body time to recover.
Another side effect is that your stomach will lose some of its mucus lining. Your stomach will be more sensitive to spicy or acidic food. Also, eat small meals every couple of hours as you readjust to normal food.
Try eating these foods after a fast to ease your stomach back into normal mode.
Fruit and Raw Fruit Juice
Fruit is a terrific way to break your fast. Fruit is high in water and easily digested. Eat watery fruit like watermelon, grapes, and apples. Don’t eat citrus fruits as your stomach has lost some of its protective coating.
If you squeeze your own juice, your body can use the nutrients more readily. Follow it with a bowl of juicy fruit and a big glass of water.
Raw Vegetables and Vegetable Juice
Raw organic vegetables and juiced vegetables should follow your fruit. By juicing veggies, you’ll release nutrients that your body can access readily. The extra water will help as well. Try a glass of fresh carrot juice with a shot of celery or beet juice. If you’d like something solid, follow juice with a small salad (without dressing).
Better Nutrition recommends organic veggies because they are free of pesticides, herbicides, hormones, antibiotics and other harmful chemicals that may upset your stomach.
If you grow sprouts, try a small bowl of mixed sprouts like sunflower, buckwheat, alfalfa, chickpeas, broccoli, lentil, adzuki beans, cabbage, and mung bean. It takes a couple days to sprout seeds, so plan ahead to break your fast with these.
Spouts are easy to digest, and are high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They are also high in chlorophyll, the substance that makes plants green. It also helps to cleanse your body – important to a post-fast body.
Broth is a thin soup made from vegetables or bones, herbs and some salt simmered in water. Broth may contain chunks of vegetables or meat. You great grandmother probably made broth for family recovering from serious illness.
It’s easy to digest and high in nutrients. Try making your own vegetable or bone broths to maximum health benefits.
Yogurt or Cultured Milk Products
As you fast, you change your gut bacteria population. If you were fasting involuntarily from being sick, medications like antibiotics change gut bacteria. To rebuild a healthy population, add cultured or fermented milk products to your post-fast diet.
Check the label to see if the product contains live active cultures or is fermented.
As you fast, your body breaks down muscle tissue. To rebuild muscle, eat protein. Carefully add small amounts of high quality protein to your post-fat diet. Protein takes effort to digest, so don’t start with meat.
Lean protein includes beef, chicken, pork, salmon, tuna, and whole eggs. Quinoa, chia seeds, seitan, and of course, beans are excellent sources of quality plant-based proteins. Plant protein is every bit as healthy as meat protein.
Nuts are an important source of protein and healthy fats. They also contain magnesium and potassium. Eating a few nuts after breaking your fast is a good way to get some all-important fatty acids.
Nuts may reduce blood sugar and cholesterol levels, so they are excellent snacks. Just remember that nuts are high in calories, so go easy on them.
Grains include more than wheat and rice. Some are amazing sources of protein and are easily digested by post-fasting stomachs. Quinoa, sprouted grains, and oats are very good for you. Don’t go overboard eating grains.
They are 100% carbohydrates. Too many carbs are hard on the body. If you are fasting for health reasons, don’t undo the benefits by eating too many carbs.
Avoid white flour and white rice. Your body easily converts them to sugar and offsets any benefits you’ve gained from fasting.
Coddled eggs show up in old cookbooks as excellent invalid food, so adding eggs to your post-fasting meals is a good idea. In fact, to coddle (pamper) may come from the cooking of coddled eggs.
Whole eggs are high in protein, vitamins, anti-oxidants, and minerals. Eat a boiled or poached egg post-fast for a quick shot of healthy nutrients. Don’t worry about cholesterol as recent studies show that eggs do not increase cholesterol.
Fasting for Weight Loss
Fasting for weight loss is not effective because it slows down your metabolism. However, if you want to change your diet completely, fasting may be a great way to switch over. Once you have fasted and broken your fast with fruit and the other foods we’ve discussed, rethink your entire diet.
Focus on avoiding all sugars and artificial sweeteners, limiting carbs to only good carbs like whole grains, increasing good protein, and upping your vegetable intake.
When Not to Fast
Fasting can be hard on your body, so if you are pregnant or already suffering from malnutrition, don’t fast. If you have heart, liver, or kidney problems, talk to your doctor first. If you take any medication, talk to your doctor before fasting.
Finally, fasting for a day or two is probably not harmful to a healthy person. If you plan on one of the more rigorous fasting regimes, like a 21-day or 40-day fast, talk to your doctor. These can be very hard on your body.
Fasting is popular for many reasons. Before you fast, talk to your doctor. After you fast, gently reintroduce your body to food by starting with fresh fruit or freshly prepared fruit juice. Don’t go overboard eating. You’ll make yourself sick.
Just remember your metabolism, stomach enzymes, stomach coating and good bacteria will be suppressed. Eating carefully will ease your stomach back into normal mode.