Fasting Aids: Yay or Nay?
Fasting Aids: Yay or Nay?
What are “Fasting Aids”?
Fasting aids – aka “training wheels” or “crutches” – are things that can be ingested which are perceived to help, not hinder, your fast. In other words, it’s the stuff that is going to make your fast easier, at least for now.
The analogy of training wheels is really accurate. When you’re initially teaching your kid to ride a bike without training wheels it might be virtually impossible for them to even inch forward. But, after a few training sessions, once they have figured it out, those training wheels are just going to hold them back! You need to let go of the training wheels and your fear! You (and your child) will do just fine!
At theFastingMethod.com, we don’t recommend dry fasting. Water is not considered a fasting aid but rather an essential component of fasting. It is required. The same goes for a good quality salt to prevent electrolyte depletion or imbalance.
What we call ‘Fasting Aids’ may be used by beginners and can include:
pickle juice/olive brine
apple cider vinegar
naturally flavoured sparkling water
I am very particular about the Fasting Aids that I recommend, it really boils down to 4:
DISTRACTION (Distraction is the best Fasting Aid!)
Bulletproof coffee (with coconut oil and/or butter and/or cocoa butter)
Chia seeds in water (helpful if you have loose stools, heartburn or need to take a medication while fasting)
How about things like olives and nuts? Nope. Now you’re pushing it ;) Except in maybe very few exceptions, we wouldn’t consider this a fasting aid. You would be “eating” after all and not fasting. Also, the stimulation of your digestive juices and process would likely just make you hungrier and make your fast that much harder after.
How much of the Fasting Aids can you have?
I would say it would be reasonable for a beginner to have one fasting aid per meal that he/she is skipping. If you normally have three meals, maybe having three fasting aids, makes sense, at first. It follows then that if you normally only have two meals on your eating days, initially you may feel like you need two fasting aids.
Many people feel just fine fasting for 20 to 24 hours with no fasting aids, but jumping over that hurdle of having one meal to having no meal, often requires just one fasting aid. The key thing in my opinion, whether you have one/two or even three fasting aids initially, is that you consume it in a short “drinking window” and move on. Don’t “nurse” your fasting aids all day long!
When should you use (or not use) Fasting Aids?
If you are a beginner to fasting and your initial goal is weight loss, use your fasting aids so long as you need to and so long as it is working for you. If you need to change things up (because your weight loss has stalled, for example) and you no longer need them, drop the fasting aids.
If your end goal is autophagy, then you need to avoid fasting aids, and fast with water and salt only.
Happy Fasting everyone!