Since writing my post on Green Juice and Juice Cleansing, I've received a number of questions about my experience with water fasting and coconut water fasting. Recently, I embarked upon another extended water fast, and feel inclined to share about my previous experience as well as a blow-by-blow of how my present water fast unfolds in a series of posts.


Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor. Nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any of you or any medical condition. Nowhere am I suggesting or providing medical advice. I am simply sharing my experiences! Please consult your doctor or other trusted health professionals if you are thinking about doing any type of cleanse. Seriously consider medical supervision for any kind of extended fast. I do my own due diligence and consult with trusted health professionals throughout my cleanses, and urge you to do the same!


Last year, my intuition prompted me to undergo a 45-day cleansing period. I prepared by eating a whole foods plant-based raw vegan diet, which mostly consisted of local Hawaiian bananas, avocados that I collected from the generous trees in Leilani Estates, cucumbers, and local greens. For seven days, I drank coconut water. Unfortunately, I did not have the tools to obtain, transport, open, and deal with all the fresh coconuts that would have sustained me for that duration, so I chose a packaged pure coconut water. I felt fairly energetic, and took my dogs for long walks daily. Gradually, I transitioned into a 28 day water-only fast. I did not have any real obligations and had plenty of time to rest, and felt it was the perfect opportunity to do my first extended water fast. Following the water fast, I did 10 days of juicing to begin the refeeding process.


For any fast or cleanse, it is important to be grounded in and mindful of your intentions for the experience. This will help you cultivate and maintain the willpower and motivation to pull through the difficult, trying moments, when all you want to do is GIVE UP! I intended to balance and restore my being from the indulgence and hedonism of the preceding months. I had been living in a technically raw vegan community, but found myself overeating all manner of rich "healthy foods," including cacao, coconut, avocado, raw chocolate, tahini, nut butters, cooked foods, nuts, and seeds. My digestion was all backed up, I had gained some weight, and my relationship with food was unhealthy. Emotionally and spiritually, I was also feeling quite lost, and felt compelled to really slow down, collect myself, and figure out what my next step in life would be. I felt the chapter of Hawaii closing on me, and I wasn't sure what the next right action was.


The focus of my fast was to heal a number of physical issues, including weight and fat loss, thyroid problems, weak and painful wrists, eyesight (I have very mild near-sightedness and no longer wear glasses/contacts!), digestion, colon cleansing, overtraining injuries, menstrual issues, acne scars, and to pass the poisonous residues from years of antibiotics, birth control pills, psychotropic medication, Accutane, recreational drugs, and alcohol. 


In terms of physical symptoms, I experienced all manner of typical detoxification symptoms. I had mildly bad breath, a white tongue (which I scraped daily), a strange body odor, headaches, back and shoulder aches, restless leg syndrome, dizziness and light-headedness upon standing, low blood pressure, low pulse, weakness, fatigue, nausea, and insomnia. I continued having bowel movements throughout the coconut water fast, but they mostly stopped after a few days into the water fast. I did research on using enemas, but I was too scared to do them! Opinions are quite polarized in regard to their use during fasts. It's up to you! However, I must say that in the last week or so of my water fast, I was so terribly nauseous from the fecal matter that had been loosened in my intestines and had yet to be expelled. The overwhelming nausea was one reason I stopped after 28 days, instead of fasting any longer. Sometimes, the nausea was absolutely debilitating.


For anyone considering a fast, I highly recommend spending a good deal of time in yoga, meditation, supportive community environments, prayer, therapeutic body work, and nature. Your environment counts, and how you nourish yourself makes a world of difference! Emotionally and spiritually, I did not experience a lot of detox. I was not fully ready to release the negative emotions I had suppressed, stuffed down, and not allowed myself to experience and express fully. I also was not ready or able to sit with myself in meditation for extended periods of time. I did attend yoga classes as much as possible, mostly restorative practices, but found my mind wandering a lot. I went to Tai Chi and energy healing groups, had acupuncture weekly, and had massages throughout my fast. When I transitioned to the juice cleanse, I began going to the beach almost daily to experience the healing power of nature in the warm sunshine, black and white sands, trees all around, and, of course, the roaring, powerful, cleansing waters of the Pacific Ocean. The waves in Hawaii are like nowhere else in the world I have ever been. Exceedingly powerful and, at times, fear-provoking.


It is possible to actively block much of the emotional and spiritual healing that can transpire during water fasting. One of the benefits of some fasting retreats is limited or no access to modern technology, TV, and other distractions. I was on my own and mostly isolated, and turned to these distractions to alleviate discomfort and pass the time. I watched a lot of mindless TV series, and found myself obsessing about food even though I wasn't eating it. I spent a great deal of time developing recipes, finding recipes for the upcoming holidays, and reading menus. My food obsession persisted even though one of my main goals of the fast was to let go of that obsession. I simply was not doing the necessary work to learn how to nourish myself--my mind, body, and spirit--without using food as a drug and agent of emotional numbing!


Caution for food addicts: deal with your spiritual and emotional issues while fasting and during the refeeding process, or else refeeding may turn into a nightmare! As a result of my time spent in distraction and further obsession, ALL of the spiritual and emotional issues I did not deal with emerged in full-force as I ended my fast and made a major life transition from Hawaii to Louisiana, where most of my family-of-origin lives. My perfect refeeding on juice and mostly raw foods spiraled out of control into all manner of indulgences, even into products containing gluten (which I do not tolerate! I literally got the flu after a week on gluten), dairy, and even one meal of french fries and chicken fingers (the first I had had in four years!). I was desperate to not feel the deep pain that was taking hold of my light body. I simply did not know how.


However, hitting this bottom of sorts has catapulted me into a massive period of change and spiritual awakening. Now I am actively learning how to nourish myself without food and to feel and express my emotions in real time and with loving, supportive others. I am now actively engaged in the process of the emotional and spiritual work that I put off. More on that in my next blog on my current water fast.  


Be sure to check out my current water fasting series: Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8Day 9, and Day 10!


Published by Taylor Norris