The Fasting Experiment – What’s Behind the Feeling of Hunger

I love new experiences, especially when they carry a challenge. This time I wanted to examine my relationship with food more closely – which lead me to my first ever fast.

It’s all about the Start

We lit candles, put on soothing music, filled the air with the scent of Palo Santo (wood from a holy tree of South America), cooked us a sacred cacao and sat in meditation. The first question you should ask yourself is: Why am I doing this – what is my intention? My personal intentions were:

  • Detox of the body and mind
  • Give myself time to digest all that I weren’t able to let go (feelings, learnings, experiences)
  • Learn to surrender to whatever comes up
  • Looking behind the feeling of hunger: Am I really hungry? What hole do I want to fill with food?
  • Learn to listen to my body again, re-establish that connection, that intuition
  • Learn to honour and value food again
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My sister Julia

For me, this wasn’t just going to be a fast, it would be a ceremony. In both occasions, the circumstances are really important – the vibe you create and energies you surround yourself with determine your success. Watch yourself closely during these days, all the emotions and thoughts that would come up. Luckily, me and my sister Julia were in this together, to accompany, support and motivate each other.

Besides water and tea, we decided to accompany our fast with chlorella, taking it every morning and evening. Chlorella is a green algae that helps flushing the toxins out of your body and provides you with many healthy vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

Let the ceremony begin.

My Fasting Diary

The Day Before

This day is for preparation. No alcohol, no coffee, only eating light meals and a lot of water. We had fruits in the morning, a salad for lunch and celebrated our last meal of potatoes, kale and carrot with hummus dip (Trust me, you should really enjoy this one). Weird enough I had a light headache, like the body knew what was going to happen.

The following days our body would start the process of autophagy – a natural detox where your body cells start to recycle unnecessary components. The first day, your body starts to attack all the bad sugars, the second day proteins, and the third day, it starts to get rid of unhealthy fats, which usually contain a lot of bad toxins. Once the body did this amazing self-cleansing, it will start to be in balance again.

Day 1 – Time

I started the day (as always) early with a cold shower, and we grabbed a towel and some water and went to the beach for sunrise. This hour has something really magical.

The sky tells a story of beginnings and endings through its colours.

We sat in meditation until the first sun beams kissed our face, then we did some light yoga to wake up the body. When you fast, it is important to keep the ritual of getting together to “eat”, so we made some fresh ginger tea with lemon, curcuma and black pepper and sat in the sun on the balcony.

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The day went well, until the feeling of hunger kicked in and started to annoy me – especially when my stomach started to complain with loud noises. I had a light headache and felt a bit weak. I started to feel lost, as time seemed to go so slowly. I realised then that whenever I am bored or a bit down, I eat something. Fact is, our day evolves a lot around food, and most of us plan our day after our meals – so it’s amazing how much time you suddenly have. We ended the day early and gentle with a lavender tea – and what is more perfect than ending a day with love? We took some time to answer 36 questions on love – questions designed to make you fall in love with everyone. And trust me when I say it’s not just for lovers, but also friends and family, as these questions make you connect with anyone in a very personal and beautiful way.

Day 2 – Struggle

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Our breakfast

This night went absolutely crazy. We both felt very restless, I could feel my heart pumping in my chest the whole night. Julia even threw up a few times. We both felt really exhausted and weak in the morning, but we trusted that the body knows what is best. To get a little energy kick, we had some freshly pressed orange juice in the morning, giving us some energy. When fasting, sleep is crucial – so napping during the day is very recommended. I even had some lucid dreams, where I ate a lot of food (because I knew when I wake up, I am not allowed again). After some gentle yoga, we took a walk along the beach, taking energy from the sun. Because of the low energy, we felt really exhausted after each movement – walking up a staircase feels like you just ran a marathon. Because of the low salt intake, feeling dizzy when getting up is also quite normal. To get us on a high again, we made a delicious soup out of fresh veggies – this nutritious hot bowl of goodness helped a lot. As a “dessert” we prepared an avocado mask to feed our skin with nutrients as well.

After some gentle bedtime yoga, I sat in meditation and my body felt very different than usual. I felt my heart beating strongly in my chest, hearing the blood flow in my ears. Every body part started tingling and I still felt my constant companion – the hunger. But what was behind that feeling?

The hunger was like a black hole, constantly trying to get my attention.

And I became conscious that I don’t like to feel that hole, so I fill it up with food. But right now that wasn’t possible – so I looked for other ways of filling it from the outside. I felt very needy and emotional, maybe if someone gave me love I would feel better? Of course not.

Day 3 – Smells 

SAM_7594.jpgAfter a very good sleep, I felt refreshed and had more energy – also of course because I knew I could eat again tomorrow! The hunger-feeling was already pretty normal and disturbed me only occasionally. But, what I realised the last day was that my sense of smell was enhanced a lot. I went into a cafe and ordered a tea, which smelled so intense –  like fresh jasmine dancing with a juicy peach. I passed a bakery and inhaled the smell of freshly baked bread, sweet croissants and juicy lemon tarts – it was like I would actually eat them.

I knew then that I cannot only eat with my mouth, but with my nose, hands, skin and ears, too.

When I was bathing in the morning sun, touched my sisters hand, smelled fresh flowers or listened to a beautiful song, it was giving me energy – just like food does. It was then when I started to get a glimpse on how some people can live only of air and light – accessing the power of prana (Sanskrit word for “life force”).

The Day After

It all ended how it began – with a hot cacao and a moment of introspection. We sat together and shared our experiences, feeling nothing but entirely grateful for the last 3 days. When I started to eat my first banana, I really celebrated this moment. I peeled it very slowly, taking in the smell, the texture and the familiar but exotic taste. It felt strange to chew again, and I got full really quickly. It took me 5 hours to finish that banana. After a fast, it is recommended to start eating food that is easy to digest – it is important to give your body time to get used to a normal eating habit again.

What Hunger Changed in Me

This experience made me realise that I love food. I love spending time cooking, it is a hobby, an art, a therapy. Food is something that needs to be enjoyed, that you need to take time for, that you need to respect. I am thankful for having this opportunity to fast, as there are thousands of people in this world who cannot choose – they just have to survive without food, every single day. With this little sneak peak, I am starting to recognise and honour the feeling of hunger. That is why, from now on, I will honour food in the same way, with the following actions:

  1. I will eat food more consciously. I will acknowledge the smell, colours and feel. I will chew slowly and with awareness, taking in all the different flavours.
  2. I will listen to my body. To be able to distinguish when I really need food or when I eat just to fill a hole, swallow an emotion or pass boredom. I will treat my body with love and respect.
  3. I will eat good, nourishing food. Because all you eat, eventually, becomes you. Your body constantly renews its cells, and those cells are made of the food you eat.
  4. I will be thankful for every meal. I will be grateful for where the food came from and who prepared it. Before I start a meal, I always close my eyes and say:

“Thanks for the nature who gave it, and the people who made it. May this food nourish my body and soul.”

I hope this little experiment inspired you to take a closer look at your body and see what’s behind that oh-so-familiar feeling of hunger.

And whatever you will eat next, do it with love. ❤️

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