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Intermittent Water Fasting

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Table of Contents

Fasting - The Basics
Purposes of Fasting
Supervised Fasting
TrueNorth Health Center - Medically Supervised Fasting Center
Fasting videos series, by Dr. Michael Greger
Videos on Fasting
Fasting for Women
Recommended Reading
Distilled Water
Hunger Strikes

Fasting - The Basics

Fasting is a period of time spent without consuming calories. The only liquids consumed are clean water. There are many who use the term "juice fasting," but this site considers that to be juice dieting, since any consumption of calories is a diet. Hereafter, any mention of "fasting" will mean non-caloric, water-only fasting.

Throughout human history, there have been times of food scarcity, so the human body is well suited for water fasting. Intentional water fasting has been used for centuries for the benefit of health, and wellness.

Fasting has been shown to benefit various ailments, and if practiced intermittently, to reduce body mass index. Most fasters start with one and two day fasts to get accustomed to the changes that can happen when fasting. Some experience a light-headedness, especially if getting up quickly, and some experience heightened sensitivity to emotions. The longer one fasts, the more pronounced these experiences might be felt.

The duration of the fast depends upon the person's purpose for the fast. If there is a health issue, then a longer fast might be better to see how the body responds to the fast.

Ending a fast slowly is recommended to let the body gently get used to food once again. Eating clean whole, plant-based food, preferably organic with some or all raw might be the most useful to the body. If the purpose of the fast is weight related, this slow reintroduction of food over several days can promote good food habits.

Purposes of Fasting

- To lower, and then maintain body weight
- To improve one's health generally
- To address a health issue
- Longevity (not scientifically proven yet, but there is anecdotal evidence that fasting and abstemiousness can contribute to longevity - see Dr. Greger's video below on this topic)

Supervised Fasting

Supervised fasting is the safest way to do a fast, especially when inexperienced at fasting, and especially if doing a fast longer than 5 days. It might be best when starting out to do one or two day fasts to get some experience. Then, with that experience, it can be built on for 4 or 5 day fasts. Longer durations than that period should have supervision.

TrueNorth Health Center - Medically Supervised Fasting Center

"The long-term health benefits of fasting are often dependent on dietary and lifestyle modifications. In order to facilitate these changes we offer educational programs dealing with diet, exercise, proper body use, stress management, sleep, and psychology.

"These programs are presented in the form of audio and videotapes, lectures, demonstrations, question and answer sessions, and individual consultations. Meals are prepared from fresh fruits and vegetables grown in the Center's own organic gardens whenever possible."

Located in Santa Rosa, CA

Fasting videos series, by Dr. Michael Greger. 14 Videos.

The 3,500 Calorie per Pound Rule Is Wrong

The Reason Weight Loss Plateaus When You Diet

The New Calories per Pound of Weight Loss Rule?

The Benefits of Calorie Restriction for Longevity

Potential Pitfalls of Calorie Restriction

Benefits of Fasting for Weight Loss Put to the Test

Is Fasting Beneficial for Weight Loss?

Is Fasting for Weight Loss Safe?

Alternate-Day Intermittent Fasting Put to the Test

Is Alternate-Day Intermittent Fasting Safe?

Does Intermittent Fasting Increase Human Life Expectancy?

The 5:2 Diet and the Fasting-Mimicking Diet Put to the Test

Time-Restricted Eating Put to the Test

The Benefits of Early Time-Restricted Eating

Videos on Fasting

Fasting: Health Gained and Maintained by an Ancient Practice, Alan Goldhamer, DC

Science of Fasting by Silvie Gilman, and Theirry de Lestrade

The Benefits of Water-Only Fasting: Dr. Alan Goldhamer, interviewed by Rich Roll

Fasting for Women
Video by Mindy Pelz, DC.

Recommended Reading

The Miracle of Fasting by Patricia and Paul Bragg
"... an important and potentially life changing message: the habit of periodic fasting combined with eating a healthy diet is indispensable to living a vibrant, joyful and disease-free life. The author recommends 24-36 hr distilled water fasts every week and longer fasts such as 7-10 days every three months or so. The author also recommends eating a diet comprised primarily of organic fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds to help keep the body clean and properly fueled."
Pricing for used book usually from under $5.00 plus S&H

Fasting Can Save Your Life by Herbert Shelton
"The popular mistaken concept is that we cannot gain strength and build resistance unless we eat. So long as this illusion persists, thousands will go to premature graves. Food and nutrition are not synonymous. You are not nourished by food you eat, but in proportion to the amount you digest and assimilate. Through the ages, men and women have fasted and regained health, peace of mind and a new way of life."
Pricing for used book usually from under $25.00 plus S&H

Rational Fasting by Arnold Ehret
"First published in 1910, this classic book on fasting is considered Ehret's health masterpiece. He explains how to successfully conduct and complete a fast in order to gain maximum strength and energy for joyful living. His complete instructions for fasting and living in harmony with nature."
Pricing for new or used book usually from under $5.00 plus S&H

Distilled Water

Many recommend distilled or tested spring or filtered water for not only fasting, but day-to-day use. Water used during a water fast should be free of fluoride, and the many other potential pollutants often found in North American well water or tap water.

One of the ways to be sure that the water we use is pure is to distill the water ourselves. This section explores using a water distiller.

Using a Countertop Water Distiller

Overview of Why Distilling Water is Beneficial

Distilled water is reliably clean water. In nature, we find that rain is distilled water. Some spring water is clean, and most reverse osmosis (a thorough water filtration system often called "RO") water is clean water. Spring water is tested intermittently, and it could become unclean between the testing periods. If the RO filters are unclean before they are changed, that particular RO water could be relatively unclean. This is why it is stated that distilled water is always consistently, and reliably clean.

Don't Municipalities Clean the Water for Us?

Yes, but this process isn't as reliable as distilling water ourselves.

"A three-year investigation by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) of the country’s drinking water found that water flowing to about 85 percent of the population contains 316 contaminants – over 60 percent of these have no safety standards and are not regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency."

"The Safe Drinking Water Act is undeniably outdated, as not a single contaminant has been added to its list of regulated chemicals since the year 2000. Standards for judging whether or not a chemical is harmful at certain levels have not been updated since 1974."

What About Fluoride in Tap Water? Is it Safe?

Fluoride is a neurotoxin, which is to say that it is a toxin that can have negative impact on brain health. "A study published in JAMA [Journal of the American Medical Association] Pediatrics has given new life to a long-running debate: whether adding fluoride to drinking water is a prudent way to prevent tooth decay, or a potentially toxic mistake.

"The research, which focused on mother-child pairs from six Canadian cities, found that high fluoride exposure during pregnancy was correlated with lower IQ scores among young children, especially boys."

"... some research....suggests it's also tied to more serious side effects, including bone cancer and cognitive impairments. In part due to that controversy, more than 300 communities in North America have voted to end fluoridation programs over the past 20 years..."

Additional information on fluoride in the water:

Other Contaminants That Can Be in Tap Water

The following list of potential contaminants are removed in the water distillation process.

Lead is a toxic metal that can cause a variety of adverse health effects.

Chlorine is a powerful oxidant added to the water to control microbes. Chlorine can severely dry skin and hair and cause irritating effects to your eyes and nose.

Chloramines are formed when ammonia is added to water and it can cause cancer in laboratory testing.

Mercury is a liquid metal that can over time cause kidney damage.

Volatile Organic Compounds.

People sometimes flush pills down the toilet, which can end up in tap water. This can include antibiotics.

Atrazine, an herbicide commonly used on golf courses, can interfere with the bodies hormonal activity and reproductive organs.


Microbial parasites are resistant to the water disinfection process.

Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether is used in gasoline throughout the country to reduce carbon monoxide and ozone levels from auto emissions. MTBE can leak into water through seepage of underground storage tanks, pipelines, and spills.

Can We See for Ourselves How Polluted Tap Water is?

Yes. To learn for one's self just how polluted tap (and some bottled) water is, all one has to do is distill water a time or two to see the residue in the bottom and sides of the stainless steel distiller that remains after the distillation process. It's disgusting, really.

Distilling our own water gives us the comfort that we are getting truly clean water. It also allows us to avoid using plastic water bottles, and helps us to avoid drinking water that has been stored in plastic for a long duration as the plastic can seep into the water.

Is Distilled Water Safe to Drink?

According to WebMD, distilled water is safe to drink and use for other purposes.

Does Distilled Water Taste Flat Compared to Other Water?

When we remove the contaminants in the water, minerals such as calcium and magnesium are removed from the water as well. Some believe that this leaves the water tasting flat, but others prefer the pure water taste while yet others can taste no difference at all.

Does Distilled Water Leach Minerals From Our Bodies?

"Absolutely, fact just the opposite has been found to occur in cellular research studies. It is a mistaken belief that drinking pure distilled water reduces valuable minerals from living human tissues."

Do We have to Get Calcium and Magnesium from Drinking Water?

No. We get minerals from nutrients, and there is no requirement to get minerals from water.

Vegan sources of calcium include tofu and other soy foods, beans, lentils nuts, seeds, spinach, bok choy, turnip, mustard, collard greens, okra, kale, cabbage, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.

Vegan sources of Magnesium include spinach, cashews, peanuts, pumpkin, almonds, black beans, edamame, dark chocolate, raw cacao powder, avocado, quinoa, oatmeal, bran cereal, brown rice, kidney beans, peanut butter, potato with skin, raisins, soymilk, and whole grain bread.

How Much Do Distillers Cost?

When bought new, home countertop distillers cost in the range of $125 to $300.

Where Can I Purchase a Countertop Distiller?

Most people buy distillers online.

Do Countertop Distillers Come in Different Sizes?

Yes, they come in different sizes. A one gallon (~4 liter) distiller is fine for a one or two person household. A larger distiller is better for three or more people in the household.

This is the link to a one gallon countertop distiller.

This is the link to a 1.5 gallon (~6 liter) countertop distiller.

There are larger more commercially sized distillers available as well.

Of What Materials are the Distiller Made?

The Distiller is made from metal and plastic. The most important part is the inner water reservoir lining, which touches the water, and it should only be made from stainless steel. Most if not all distillers use stainless steel, but it's not a bad idea to confirm that this is the case before buying a distiller.

Do Distillers Save us Money?

Compared to buying water, yes, distillers can save us a lot of money. Use of distillers can also reduce plastic use quite significantly if the household is buying water in plastic jugs currently.

How Do We Clean the Countertop Distiller?

The two cleaning methods are using citric acid powder and cleaning vinegar. Either or both can clean the distiller. Typically, only one cleaner is used. Experiment to see which method you prefer.

Citric acid is a mild cleaner that is added to water. Cleaning vinegar is also called 6% vinegar, which is more concentrated than eating/food vinegar. Either liquid can be re-used a time or two if you want to reduce cost. If this cleaning liquid is re-used, add some of the citric acid/vinegar in the subsequent uses to increase potency.

These solutions are mild and one can put one's hands in them without worry about causing rash or other irritation. Citric acid can be bought locally or online, but cleaning vinegar should only be bought locally as it is a liquid, making it heavy to ship.

Does it Have to Be Cleaned After Each Use?

Ideally, yes. Initially, I cleaned it after every use, then I rinsed it after every use, but only cleaned it every now and then given the logic that if the residue was left behind in the distillation process once, it wouldn't get through the distillation process on the 2nd go round, and this appears to bear out given the eventual build up of the residue over time when it's not cleaned every time.

How Long Does it Take to Clean a Distiller?

It can take about 15 minutes to fill the distiller with cleaning solution, and at the end to scrub the distiller. The waiting time to let the solution do its work can take about an hour. No time or effort is required on our parts while the cleaner is sitting in the distiller.

What Is Used to Scrub the Distiller?

After some practice, a long handle brush, often called a bottle brush, has been found to be best to clean the bottom and sides of the distiller. One could also use a hand scrubber.

How Do We Store Our Distilled Water?

It's recommended to use 16 oz. glass water or kombucha bottles for the final storage containers. Glass bottles are easy to drink from, refrigerate, and store.

Buying a couple gallon water jugs for longer term storage is a good idea as well. This can be especially useful if there is some unforeseen water flow interruption or in cases of high water use periods such as when guests arrive or we have social events.

Why Do We Avoid Storing Water in Plastic?

Long term storage of water in glass is better for us than plastic according to most sources. Some will argue this point, but since it is just as easy to store water in glass, then there is no reason to risk the exposure to plastic, and glass is more environmentally friendly. Short term storage in plastic is probably okay, but putting the water into glass as soon as possible is ideal.

"Study: Most Plastics Leach Hormone-Like Chemicals. Makers of water bottles, including Camelback, now sell products that don't contain BPA, a chemical that can mimic the sex hormone estrogen. But a new study says that even if they don't contain BPA, most plastic products release estrogenic chemicals."

How Do We Pour Our Water Between Bottles?

You will need a funnel for pouring water between containers. These are available at department stores, kitchen supply stores or online.

Do Water Distillers Use Filters?

Yes, there is a charcoal filter that is used at the final stage of the water pouring out through the distiller's spout. These should be replaced once every several months or when they start leaking little bits that circulate in the water.

Are Water Distillers Noisy?

The distiller's fan does make a humming sound, but it's not very loud.

Do Water Distillers Turn Off When They Are Done?

Yes, distillers turn off automatically when done.

How Long Does It Take to Distill Water?

The distillation takes about six hours in most distillers. This makes it ideal to do it overnight while sleeping or when leaving to go out for the day. If hot water is put into the distiller at the outset of the distillation process, that is likely to reduce the distillation time.

Are Extra Collection Bottles Available?

Yes. Here is one on Amazon in case you ever need a replacement. It is available at $60.

Do Distillers Clean Shower Water?

No, one needs to get a reverse osmosis (RO) system for this benefit. One could though use distilled water to clean one's body, but generally speaking, this would not be convenient due to the amount of water necessary for this task.

Are Water Distillers Complicated or Can Anyone Use Them?

Water distillers have a very short learning curve. Anyone can use them. Most people will be comfortable with all aspects of their use within a week or so.

Hunger Strikes
On occasion, politicos have used fasting as a political tool. In this case, a fast is called a hunger strike. This is done with press and media to call attention to the hunger striker's issue.

Bobby Sands, one of the Irish Republican Army (IRA) "Blanket Men," went on a hunger strike in Armagh prison in Ireland to protest British Government policies including his group's political prisoner status. He died after 66 days.

None of this information is intended as medical advice. For medical advice, consult a physician.

Page maintained by Daryl Elliott. To contact, look in left column under "Organizers."

Table of Contents

Page title Most recent update Last edited by
WaterFasting May 5, 2021 3:25 PM Daryl E.
VeganHolidays December 10, 2019 3:11 PM Daryl E.
AnimalAgConversions May 17, 2020 6:20 AM Daryl E.
LasVeganBiz May 27, 2019 4:17 PM Daryl E.
PublicVeganPolicy June 24, 2019 6:59 PM Daryl E.
VeganArticles2 July 18, 2018 12:50 PM Daryl E.
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Vids2 May 8, 2021 5:27 PM Daryl E.
PrivateVeganChefs October 16, 2020 2:21 PM Daryl E.
Calendar February 18, 2018 2:43 PM Daryl E.

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