So you’re coming to the end of your extended dry fast and are faced with the all-important question of how to break it properly. The last thing you want to do is mess up this last part and waste all of that hard work.
This guide will cover absolutely everything you need to know to properly break a long dry fast.
Break your dry fast initially by giving your kidneys some extra attention and rebalancing your blood pH. Follow that with liquids and gradually reintroduce easily digestible foods such as fruits before lean proteins like chicken breast or fish. The key thing to remember is to be as gentle as possible throughout this process.
Begin With The End In Mind + Shopping List
I highly recommend going out and buying all your supplies before you begin your fast while you still have plenty of energy. Below is a list of everything you’re going to need to break your fast properly.
- A few large bottles of water (~3 litres or so is fine) – I’d recommend Evian water if you can get it
- 1 bottle of prune juice (500ml-1L is fine)
- 1 bottle of coconut water (500ml-1L is fine)
- Pink Himalayan salt or regular iodized table salt is fine too – optional
- Potassium chloride (Look for ‘No Salt’ or ‘Lo Salt’ at the store) – optional
- Baking soda (baking soda, not baking powder!) – optional
- Apple cider vinegar – optional
- Lemon juice – optional
- A straw – optional
- Watermelon and/or cantaloupe
- Chicken breast (100-200g is plenty)
Allow for approximately 24-36 hours from the minute you start drinking water again, til the point where you’re back eating full meals on a normal schedule.
The longer you fasted for, the more time you need to take with this. If you did a 3 day dry fast, give it a full day to break that fast properly. If you did a 7 day dry fast, you might want to give yourself closer to 36-48 hours.
Most people make the mistake of rushing through the process of breaking their fast so they can get to eating.
You want to be as slow and gentle with this process as possible. If you do this right, you’ll avoid excessive water retention, you’ll probably avoid the diarrhea after your first meal, and you’ll not gain back any fat.
Drink Water, Even Though You Won’t Want to
When it comes time to take your first drink of water, don’t expect it to be like some brilliant cinematic moment where you’re finally reunited with your long lost love.
It’s oftentimes the most underwhelming feeling. You’ll find the idea of drinking water probably doesn’t excite you that much.
Right off the bat, I’m going to give you a pro-tip here. Take your water out of the fridge at least 45 minutes before you plan to take your first drink!
Breaking the dry spell with really cold water can be super jarring. Your body is simply not prepared. Slightly less cold water will make things far more enjoyable.
Everyone’s first instinct is to start drinking tons of water. Avoid this!
Drink really slowly. Aim for one normal sized glass of water every 25-30 minutes. Do this for the next few hours.
Oh and the reason I recommend Evian water to break your dry fast is because it has really high alkalinity for bottled water, meaning it should act as a buffer to any impurities in the water, which should help keep your body’s alkaline/acidity balance in check, which is important for metabolism.
It’s time to now think about restoring the electrolytes your body has been depleted of during the fast. This is where the sodium (pink salt or iodized table salt) and potassium (No Salt/Lo Salt and coconut water) come into play.
Pour yourself a glass of coconut water, maybe dilute it a bit with normal water, and start working your way through the bottle of coconut water over the course of the next 5-6 hours.
Another pro-tip: if you have a bathtub, run a bath and sprinkle in a bunch of the salt and No/Lo Salt. Jump in and just slowly sip on your coconut water and regular water. Now your skin is absorbing electrolytes while you drink electrolytes!
I prefer pink salt because it contains several trace minerals, but others think that regular iodized table salt for really long fasts is better as it will help prevent iodine deficiency. I don’t see this as a concern unless your regular diet is already very low in iodine.
I listed the salt and potassium as optional since you may not need them if you don’t have the bath, but they’re always handy items to have on standby if you’re regularly doing prolonged water fasting – they can be combined to create an electrolyte drink which will keep you energised throughout the fast.
Give Your Kidneys Some Special Treatment
This entire step is optional but I highly recommend it.
Remember throughout the fast how we had really disgusting black stool and really yellow, grainy urine? That’s because our kidneys are expelling this pure filth while we’re fasting.
But we can hammer our kidneys one last time with a proper cleanse by whipping up a couple of quick beverages.
We’re going to be making Cole Robinson’s kidney cleanse concoction here to wring out that last little bit of dirt in the kidneys.
All you have to do is take 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and mix it with half a teaspoon of baking soda, and drink it. Follow that up with 4 tablespoons of lemon juice and drink that through a straw (we use the straw because the high acidity isn’t great for your teeth).
This will help stabilize our blood pH balance improving our overall metabolism.
Drink Some Juice
After you’re done with the coconut water, you can slowly reintroduce some prune juice. Really any type of juice is okay: watermelon juice, grape juice – but I prefer prune juice because it can help wake up our digestive system.
We want to avoid juices super high in sugar if possible as we want to avoid spiking insulin which will cause our kidneys to start retaining water.
So drink your juice really slowly. If you have 500ml-1L of prune juice, try to drink it all over 4-5 hours and keep drinking small amounts of regular water as well. Mixing both is also fine.
I would recommend keeping the total fluid intake to ~2.5-3 litres for the first 24 hours after your first drink, just so we’re not overdoing it. 1L Water, 750ml-1L coconut water, and 500-750ml prune juice is a reasonable balance.
Eat Some Fruit
At around the 16-24 hour mark, you can start eating some watermelon or cantaloupe. These fruits are good because they’re simple to digest and aren’t so calorie dense.
Don’t eat a lot and don’t eat it fast.
Have only a small amount over the course of 3-4 hours or so and make a deliberate effort to chew more than you normally would.
Remember the name of the game when it comes to breaking a dry fast is slow and gentle.
We really want to keep that insulin super low so we don’t run into any troubles with water retention.
Eat Some Lean Protein
I recommend chicken breast for this but fish works fine as well.
After about a day of liquids only, it’s time to cook up a few hundred grams of lean meat – but don’t salt it. We’ve already had plenty of salt from the coconut water and salt bath earlier. Remember our body is hyper salt-sensitive at the moment. If we cover our chicken in salt, we may run into some water retention issues.
So plain, bland chicken breast. Cut it up into tiny pieces as this will make mechanical digestion easier.
Remember this isn’t a proper meal. The sole purpose of this meal is to get some protein back into our system and to let our digestive tract reawaken without having to work too hard.
Chew your chicken breast extremely slowly, much slower than you normally would! Remember to keep drinking water and juice slowly.
Resume Eating Normal But Small Meals
About 6 hours after that meat, we can start to think about resuming eating ‘normal’ meals, with a couple important caveats.
First, keep the portion sizes small. Your body is still learning how to digest food again. Make it easy on yourself by having really small portion meals and chewing as slowly as possible.
Secondly, try to keep the salt intake relatively low for the next couple meals.
And lastly, keep the carbs and dairy to an absolute minimum for at least 24 hours.
If you reintroduce carbs too quickly, you risk spiking insulin and retaining water. You likely won’t gain a bunch of fat back, but you want to preserve the effects of the prolonged fast by at least looking like you lost a ton of weight!
If you start retaining a bunch of water after breaking the fast, you’re going to look flat and puffy.
What Does Your Post Dry Fast Diet Plan Look Like? Keto?
This is something you should think about before you even begin the fast.
What are you going to do afterwards? Are you going to go into an intermittent fasting protocol to keep the weight loss train chugging? Are you happy resuming a ‘normal’ approach to diet?
If you want to stay in a ketogenic state, you should avoid having any carbs when you refeed. I like to recommend following a long dry fast with some sort of OMAD protocol. Whether that’s keto or not will mostly depend how hard you want to train in the gym and how much weight you have to lose.
Just remember you don’t want to complete a difficult dry fast and 2 weeks later have gained all the weight back and trashed your insides with junk. Be smart going forward.
Just remember, this is not a race.
Don’t expect to be eating solid meals within a day of your first glass of water. Allow for a couple days on the end of your dry fast before you’re eating normally again.
Drink and eat slowly and have a solid plan for where you’re taking your diet and eating habits going forward.