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3 Fasts to Recover From Your Thanksgiving Feast

by | Nov 27, 2020 | EATING/FASTING

You are human.
Humans eat.
Sometimes they eat a lot; but sometimes they eat nothing.
And it’s ok to do both.
All things in balance – fasting, feasting.

It used to be that feasting was a survival tactic. If you didn’t gorge yourself when the village roasted a mastodon, let’s say, they would’ve raised their cavepeople unibrows at you in unison – and for good reason. You would’ve needed to store as much fat as possible in order to have health and vitality in the coming periods of scarcity. It would’ve been plain weird not to feast whenever the opportunity came.

Things are a liiittle different now.

We have the proverbial mastodon available to us all day, every day, three – six – five. So we’re in what nutrition researchers call a state of chronic overfeeding; and the very natural habit of feasting on special occasions has become taboo. The guilt! The self-deprecating laughter as you reach for yet another slice of pie! 

Continual overeating is the bane of human health, after all: it’s linked to all the major metabolic illnesses including obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease. But in the context of regular fasting, overeating on Thanksgiving suddenly loses its taboo. It becomes eating exactly enough for that time.

This isn’t to say that fasting is a punishment for bad you who ate a whole quart of pistachio pudding. Fasting is simply the natural balance of a feast. And in the context of fasting, feasting is salubrious – it gives your newly pruned cells enough nutrition to bounce back with more vigor than before. And in the context of feasting, fasting becomes healthy –  your body has ample minerals and electrolytes and nutrients to fast without stress.

So no matter where you’re at in your fasting journey as we kick off the holiday season, don’t fear the feast. Please don’t feel the need to punish yourself with a fast afterward, by any means. But try to embrace the two as part of one balanced and happy life, instead.

That’s how nature intended it to be!

If you’re looking for a happy fast to balance out Thanksgiving festivities, try one of these three!

1 – 36 hour Turkey Day Fast 

Going for a standard 24-hour fast after Thanksgiving is almost like setting yourself up for heartburn and insomnia on the night of Black Friday. If you don’t finish festivities early on T-day, you’ll want to opt for a 36-hour fast.

Here’s why:

You’ll have finished up the last of your giblets and what’s left in your goblets by 8:00 or 9:00 pm on Thanksgiving day. Then you go through all of the next day watching everybody make their post-Thanksgiving turkey sandwiches (with mashed potatoes and gravy on top). And you’re not supposed to eat just as much as you did on Thanksgiving but all at once and at 9:00-freaking-p.m?

A recipe for disaster.

Instead, just go the extra 12 hours overnight and have a nice breakfast on Saturday morning at 8:00 or 9:00 am. You won’t be weighed down by two pounds of turkey sandwich leftovers. And for the bonus: you’ll have an extra twelve hours of ketosis and autophagy*

*Depending on how fat adapted you are.

2 – 60 hour fast 

Once you finish the 36 hour fast, you’ll be tempted to keep truckin’ for a full-on 48-hour fast. You’ll be riding high on clean-burning turkey, so why not? But do not give in to temptation, dear fasters.

You’ll have plenty of fuel reserves – don’t get us wrong. But if the nighttime break-fast after 24 hours is bad enough, it’s even worse after two days.

Your stomach and digestive system are going into quiescence at this point in preparation for perhaps an even longer prolonged fast. (Your stomach doesn’t know what’s going on.) This means that any turkey sandwiches gormandized at 9:00 pm on Saturday night will likely be sitting in your stomach until Sunday morning, disrupting your sleep, and making you regret the fast.

Better to keep on keepin’ on with that Thanksgiving fast till Sunday morning!

A two and a half-day fast is certainly unorthodox. But, considering the deep level of autophagy that’s sure to occur, it begs the question:

Who wants to be orthodox anyway? 

3 – 16 hour dry fast

Here’s a short Thanksgiving fast in case you lack the time or ability to complete a longer fast.

Go ahead and laugh at the concept of dry fasting, if you must. But the last few years have produced some intriguing studies related to the benefits of dry fasting. 

To address the pink elephant in the fasting room: dry fasting for 16 hours is not as scary as it sounds. That said, please seek out medical advice before attempting a dry fast or any other type of fast. People with kidney or adrenal disorders should not attempt dry fasting.

A 2018 study on 10 participants dry fasting for five days – yes, five – found no evidence of harm to the body, and that there was substantial fat-burning that occurred. [1] All vitals were normal in the 10 participants. And despite not having one ounce of water, kidney function improved “considerably” across the group. 

Now how could a person not die from five days of dry fasting?

The concept is called metabolic water – which we talk more about in this article.

Most people don’t know this, but one of the byproducts of your body burning fat is water. (Literal water.) The gila monster of the desert southwest takes advantage of this ‘metabolic water’ by storing enough fat in its tail to go without food and water for months at a time. Months. So, it’s not a stretch that nature would endow humans with our own ability to function despite not sipping on water every three and a half minutes (as the modern medical establishment insists).

Observations of Ramadan dry fasting for 14+ hours over 30 days has led study authors to conclude that this type of fasting might be beneficial as a therapeutic, preventative approach to cancer and metabolic and inflammatory disorders.[2] Nobody died after 3+ minutes of waterlessness.

So, if you’re looking for a shorter Thanksgiving fast that can stress the body a bit more, only in a positive way, a good ol’ fashioned dry fast may just be the ticket. Shoot for 16 hours.

(Just make sure to connect with your doctor before you attempt any fast, including a dry fast.)

Read More:

[1] Human Responses to 5 Days of Dry Fasting

[2] Intermittent Dry Fasting Associated with Anti-Cancer Signatures and Positive Metabolic Responses