I like to take a little time on Sundays to write to you about what is going on in my life and on that note this post is about to get personal. First things first, this is NOT a weight loss post. I haven’t posted much about it, but I have been dealing with some GI issues for a while now. Looking back through pictures the last time my belly looked flat and felt right was in June. Since then I have had this terrible swelling, bloating, and yes, gas. Eating healthy fibrous foods like black beans, onions, apples, and garbanzo beans made me look like I was 6 months pregnant! I wish I could pinpoint exactly what happened, but I can’t. This past week however a light bulb went on, and I realized that there is something wrong with my gut and my gut bacteria. It was time to do something about it. After hearing Christa Orrechio, a clinical nutritionist who specializes in patients with SIBO, recommend a 4 day bone broth I decided to give it a try.
What Is a Bone Broth Fast
For 4 days I drank bone broth for my meals, other than that I drank water and herbal teas. The idea behind the fast is simple. You are giving your digestive organs a chance to rest. One of the issues with our constant access to food is that our body never has a break to rest and restore. There are numerous studies that support fasting for health. The interesting thing about doing a bone broth fast vs a traditional water fast is that you are still taking in nutrients. Bone broth has fat, protein, and is rich in minerals. It also has other materials such as collagen that your body needs to repair the stomach and intestinal lining. I was sick and tired, of feeling sick and tired. I decided that there was no harm in giving it a try, so how did it go?Fasting provides your digestive organs with a chance to rest and heal #bonebroth #fast Click To Tweet
On the first day I felt surprisingly fine. I decided to make my own bone broth, but if DIY isn’t your thing there are plenty of places where you can purchase quality bone broth. If you do decided to make your own head over to the grocery store and look for packages labeled bones for soup, or you can pick the cuts that are mostly bone with very little meat. You can use any kind of bones, chicken, beef, or a combo. If you have the opportunity pick up some chicken feet as well, they are full of collagen. If you have the option pick up bones from grass feed animals. From there making bone broth is simple, I decided to use my pressure cooker which speeds up the process, but a slow cooker would work as well. Add your bones, plenty of water, a little apple cider vinegar, salt and any herbs that you would like, because I was trying to change my gut bacteria I did avoid anything that could be fermented in the gut such as garlic and onions. I had bone broth of three of my meals, and to be honest the only time I felt hungry was just before dinner, at which point I had my bone broth and felt fine.
Day 2 was a little harder, It was apparent that I was calorie low, I woke up feeling hungry, and again had bone broth for each of my meals. Because this was my longest day at work I did have a teaspoon of organic coconut oil while I was at the gym to keep my energy up. This was one of the recommendations that I read and it worked very well. Although I was beginning to feel hungry on Day 2 I also was starting to feel better in a lot of other ways. I had dropped a couple pounds, the swelling was coming down on my belly, and I felt good enough to do some light yoga. Movement during a fast is so important, although sometimes challenging. If you are detoxing during your fast then it is important to get your lymph system moving. Unlike your cardio vascular system your lymph system doesn’t have a pump, you have to contract your muscles and get moving for your lymph to circulate.
Day 3 was the hardest day for me. This was the day that I actually felt hungry. However, I was feeling so terrible before from my stomach issues that I knew it was worth pushing through day 3, after all I was already almost half way there. I had planned a bike ride and a swim session for that day, but ultimately didn’t have the energy and opted for rest. On day 3 I tried to catch up on sleep and let my body heal.
Day 4, the final day of my fast. I woke up with a headache and over all was not feeling well at all. I realized I hadn’t had enough water to drink the previous day and began hydrating. Once I had some water in my system I started to feel much better and my headache went away. I had a little bone broth and then I felt great. Once I had my hydration status under control I actually felt really good on day 4. I ran errands and played with the kids, with the exception of a little hunger I felt over all normal. At the end of day 4 I had my first meal in four days which was a white fish battered in coconut flour and spices with a side of Brussels sprouts and bacon.
The Conclusion Of The Fast
Over the course of 4 days I doped 6 pounds, I am the lightest I have been since I had my second baby, the swelling in my abdomen has almost completely disappeared, I have more energy and mental clarity. I am also full on smaller portions and I am not constantly hungry like I was before the fast. The next step is to spend a couple of weeks on a Low Fodmap and Selective Carbohydrate diet to encourage my gut to continue to heal and to change the microbiom. While this may seem restrictive and extreme, I have decided to look at it as an opportunity to get creative in the kitchen and reclaim my health. In the big scheme of things taking a couple of weeks to cultivate a healthy gut and figure out what foods work for my body really isn’t much when you think about a lifetime of health.
I want to hear from you, do you fast? What have you found works well for you?