I have been investigating fasting, both intermittent and multiple days, since I first discovered Dr. Jason Fung’s book, The Complete Guide to Fasting. Then I was teaching a Bible study called Enjoying Jesus: 12 Spiritual Disciplines That Will Draw You Closer. During week four, “Choosing The Best”, I dug into spiritual fasting. It was during this deep dive that I discovered Dr. Pompa’s YouTubes and a FaceBook group called “Fasting For A Purpose.” He has videos and blog posts on the 5-day water fast. In May 2019, I embarked on my first 5-day water-only fast.
5-Day Water Fast
Initially, I was hesitant to try an extended fast, but I figured if I could do a 2-week elemental diet protocol, this couldn’t be that hard. I used Dr. Pompa’s explanations and videos to prepare for each day. I have to admit after the third day, I didn’t miss food or have hunger pangs. I did find that I was able to add back full-fat dairy (not milk though) without any digestive upset or bloating. Something I was unable to do for a very long time.
Since my first extended water fast, I have done three more. After each fast, I notice physical and dietary improvements. This is supportive of what Dr. Pompa outlines in his book, Beyond Fasting, as “The Seven Accomplishments of Fasting,” (pp 87-92) which are
- autophagy (the process of the body removing bad cells from the body)
- stem cell generation (unspecialized cells that can become whatever the body needs for healing)
- ketone production “to help to down-regulate cellular inflammation, heal the gut, and heal the brain” (88)
- energy diversion in which the body heals old injuries or damaged organs because it doesn’t have to digest and process food
- hormone optimization occurs as the body produces human growth hormone and the body coming more hormone sensitive (like insulin)
- resets the gut microbiome in a healing way
- resets DNA gene code meaning unhealthy genes can be turned off and health-promoting genes turned on
“Fasting is not about eating less food; it’s about eating less often.”Dr. Daniel Pompa
Book Review: Beyond Fasting
As the title suggests, Beyond Fasting, goes beyond “the fast.” The first five chapters explore nutritional ketosis, eating window and diet variation to prepare the body for optimal healing during the 5-day water fast. Each chapter is one week in duration and builds on the one before it. The seven-week protocol prepares the body to use its stored fat as energy (also known as keto-adapted or fat-adapted) from day one and not be overwhelmed by hunger or cravings. Personally, this protocol made the 5-day water fast doable and easier than I thought possible. What to expect on each day of the fast is outlined and mentally prepares you for why you’re doing this.
My favourite aspects of this book including how to figure out your unique eating window (34-35, 42) and how to figure out if coffee breaks your intermittent fast using a glucose monitor (44).
By following the book’s protocol, you can anticipate to heal your body naturally. With each successive multi-day fast I have completed following Dr. Pompa’s protocol has resulted in improved gut health, fewer symptoms of SIBO/IMO and reintroduction of foods previously removed from my diet.
Prior to the book’s publication, you could find Pompa’s information in various places on the internet. With the book, you have a handbook with the information in one place.
Is Your Turn
Are you interested in becoming a healthier version of yourself? Then take time right now to email Brenda to schedule your free Discovery Chat. It’s time to figure out how best to fuel your body and be able to do all the things you’ve wanted or are missing out on.
Jason Fung, MD with Jimmy Moore, The Complete Guide to Fasting (Las Vegas: Victory Belt, 2016).
Dr. Daniel Pompa, Beyond Fasting (Revelation Health, 2019)