As I write this I am at the 64th hour of a 68 hour fast. Nothing but water, green tea and two large cups of celery/cucumber juice (celery, cucumber, and water, blended together) for 64 hours. For me this is a long time to go without food. However, I have heard of people who have done a 5 and 10 day water fast. As well as this obese individual who fasted for over a month and completely changed his molecular structure because of it.
Why fast? Other than the quick and easy google search that will help you find the answer to this question, the basis of what I know to be the reason for fasting is to achieve autophagy. The body starts to eat itself. Since you are depriving the body of nutrients it starts looking for it elsewhere. The beautiful part is that your body brilliantly picks out the damaged cells to destroy and use. Hence you are getting rid of ‘bad’ cells, keeping the ‘good’ ones and also get an unloading of other ‘good’ cells once you reach past a certain point of time, in terms of the length of your fasting (I think it is roughly 3 days, do not quote me on that). For more information on the benefits of fasting, listen to Ben Greenfield’s podcast with Dr, Jason Fung by clicking here. Also, don’t just jump into a 3 day water fast, baby steps.
I am no scientist but I do know what and how I feel. And I am going to describe it to you in the most poetic way possible.
I feel absolutely and utterly weak. My muscles twitch from time to time as my mind circles around any sort of idea or thought. My mind and body are separated. They are separate entities with natures all their own. They do however dance together and switch positions now and then. The mind knows the body needs food and therefore craves it, but the body has become so accustomed to nothing that it does not crave food but rather sits still and waits for something to happen. All of a sudden they switch and the body needs some sort of sustenance while the mind is trying to control the urges for survival. Sometimes I feel nothing. Sometimes I feel like death, but in a beautiful way of absence and peace. As I listened to the meditations of Marcus Aurelius in the bath tub, I felt a sort of transcendent but at the same time diminishing feeling. My mind is rising but my body is becoming weak and small.
It is a very odd experience, fasting. I recommend doing it intermittently but not so sure about the extended forms of it. Mostly because, despite how meditative and monkish it might sound, it really just sucks.