I was 19 years old and attending Bible college when I fasted for the first time. Of coarse, being the all or none person I am, this fast lasted 7 days, yes I am serious. I survived on chocolate milk, grape juice, orange juice, probably a malt or two, okay I am literally LOLing right now. Obviously I wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, hopefully I'm a little better now. My focus back then was supposed to be entirely spiritual but in reality I remember getting on the scale constantly. In those 7 days I lost 10 pounds!!! However, I broke that fast on a bag of Doritos and went on to eat a quarter pounder and who knows what else and managed to gain that 10 pounds back in 24 hours.
Since that time I have fasted numerous times and read a few books on the subject. My observation is this....fasting sounds spiritual, I believe it can lead to spiritual growth, but more than anything it is a physical reality. You are denying your physical body. My point in all this is if you are going to fast make the most of the physical benefits of it too. Forget the scale, the truth is whatever weight you lose if you break it on junk like I did it will immediately come back. If you fast in a healthy way and begin incorporating foods slowly you may not gain it all back. Your stomach shrinks and therefore you will eat less after if you listen to your body.
Last New Year's our church participated in the Daniel fast. Basically eating a vegan diet while also excluding bread. This wasn't a very big deal because we ate this way most of the time already. The problem I noticed while observing some of the participants were that people were so bored, they ate french fries all the time, and took no joy in the food they ate, feeling deprived. Well I know the whole point of fasting is deprivation but I do not for one minute think Daniel felt deprived. Go read the story! Eating this way is closer to the way God created us to eat in the first place.
I have fasted many times using the Master Cleanse recipe. Basically you make a lemonade with organic lemons, organic grade B maple syrup [loaded w/ B vitamins and enough calories to sustain you], and cayenne pepper [I took a capsule, can't handle the taste]. You also drink a laxative tea at night. That is it, the only thing you have, ideally for 10 days. I've made the 10 a few times but it's usually more like 5. This fast produces amazing physical and mental benefits. Within a day or two of starting my mental clarity is amazing. Physically you cleanse and I mean cleanse. That is also the problem with it. If you aren't a few steps from a bathroom at ALL times you are in trouble! So I am not doing that one this year.
My fast of choice this year is to have liquids for 2 meals a day, which will include homemade green smoothies, and fresh carrot juice, and one solid meal that eliminates meat and all processed foods. I am believing God for a few specific things and am excited to see spiritual growth in my life. I am also excited about the physical benefits of doing this. I will not be getting on a scale but I will be monitoring my physical body by observing my eyes and tongue mostly. Why? Well healthy people have very white whites, and very pink smooth tongues. True, check yours out.
I will post recipes for things I make during this time. My kids are going to attempt to eliminate meat also, it should be interesting to see if I can keep them happy with veg meals. I have a couple of cookbooks that sound promising so tune in to see what I'm cooking.