Maximum Health – Even a One-day Fast Can Help Your Body 


By Rosie Main 

Doing a one-day fast each week is a great idea to help your body get time to heal and repair. Fasting has been a healing ritual me and my family have used, but I also recommend this practice to many of my patients to help restore their body’s health and healing for wellness; it is also good for patients with chronic inflammation that produces diseases like cancer, heart disease and diabetes. 

I recommend that you create a one-day fasting ritual to stay consistent. If you are already observing Sabbath or have a Monday to Friday work schedule, the weekend may be the best time. However, if that doesn’t work with your personal schedule, you may choose any other day. I recommend that you try to keep it consistent each week; it can also help you implement it when you are traveling. 

Along with consistency, you may also want to add some other practices during this one-day fast. Slowing down, stretching, meditation, journaling, time in nature, reducing stress, reducing time spent with technology, reading, gratitude, and prayer are all fantastic ideas to support body, mind, and soul rest and healing. 

If your entire family or part of your family is fasting together, you may develop some rituals together. Even if the others don’t take a one-day fast, you may still all engage in some mutual restful activities such as a family walk in nature. 

To truly honor our body’s need for rest and repair, taking a Sabbath from food is a fantastic idea. A one-day fast can allow your body to rest and heal while also allowing time for emotional healing, spiritual contemplation, and getting closer to God. It helps you experience the health benefits of fasting and intermittent fasting you’ve just learned about. 

While Sabbath is a fantastic time to try a one-day fast, to take a Sabbath from food, if it is not the best day for your schedule, you may choose any other day that works for you. No matter when you decide to take a one-day fast, your body, mind, and soul will thank you. 

How to do a one-day fast: The are several ways to try a one-day fast, depending on your health, fasting experience, personal goals, and schedule. 

22- to 24-hour fast: Taking a 22- to 24-hour fast is a true one-day fast when you are fasting for 22 to 24 hours. You may try a lunch to lunch or a dinner to dinner approach. With the lunch to lunch one-day fast, you can stop eating after lunch and not eat for 22 to 24 hours until lunch the next day. 

With a dinner to dinner approach, you may stop eating after dinner and not eat until dinner the next day – 22 to 24 hours later. Which approach to choose is your choice depending on your personal preference or schedule. I do a 22- to 24-hour fast each week on Saturday’s and I often do two of them, one on Saturday and one on Wednesday. Sunday is typically our feast day, where we eat a higher amount of calories and carbs than we normally do. 

36- to 42-hour fast: Trying a 36- to 42-hour fast is more than a one-day fast and is a great idea if you have already done – and done well – on a 22- to 24-hour fast. This one-day fast, or rather, 1½-day fast, involves three days total. On day one, you still eat dinner but stop eating after. You will be fasting all day on day two. 

You will continue fasting on day three until lunch and conclude this more than one-day fast with lunch on day three. This is a great opportunity to prepare your body for extended fasting if that’s your goal in the future. 

5:2 fasting: The 5:2 fasting method involves two one-day fasts each week. If you feel good at doing a one-day fast, you may also enjoy doing two 24- to 40-hour fasts each week. 

You may do two one-day fasts, 24 hours each, or you may go straight to two days with a 40-hour fast once a week. I feel my best when I do two 24-hour fasts each week. I recommend that you experiment and see what works for your body. 

What I allow on the one-day fast: If you are ready to embark on a one-day fast, you may wonder what’s allowed. Taking a one-day fast obviously means no eating for 22 to 24 hours. However, non-caloric liquids are allowed. It is important that you start your day with 32 ounces of clean water and continue drinking plenty of water throughout the day to allow detoxification and hydration. 

Herbal tea and black coffee are also allowed. However, since coffee is a stimulant, it is good from time to time to fast from caffeine as well. I also recommend adding apple cider vinegar or lemon or lime juice to your water for extra cleansing and alkalizing benefits. If you are feeling low on energy, you can add a pinch of salt to your water or drink a bit of pickle juice for electrolytes. 

Should you exercise on the one-day fast?: I recommend moving your body during the one-day fast. However, it is also important that you wait until the very end of the fast if you want to do high-intensity training or resistance training. 

This can be a powerful way to build lean body tissue and burn fat because your human growth hormone levels will be at their highest. During your actual fast, stretching, light walks, or low-impact exercises, such as yoga, may be a good idea. 

Best way to break your one-day fast: I recommend that you initially break the one-day fast with some fermented food, bone broth, or a protein shake. I understand that you may be hungry and ready for something more substantial than a shake. If you are going to eat a normal dinner, no problem; but it is still a good idea and beneficial to your body to include some fermented foods or have some water with apple cider vinegar about 15 minutes before the meal to support your digestion and metabolism. You can also consider adding some digestive enzymes and HCL (hydrochloric acid) to support optimal digestion. 

Of course, it is also important that you eat anti-inflammatory, nutrient-dense real food such as greens, vegetables, low-glycemic index fruits, healthy fats, and clean protein, when you break your fast, as well as on your non-fasting days, and stay away from refined sugar, refined oils, high-carb meals, artificial ingredients, processed foods, and junk food. 

Who should not do a one-day fast?: As great as a one-day fast is for the majority of the population, there are obviously certain cases where I do not advocate doing this long of a fast. These cases include: individuals with eating disorders; pregnant women and newborns; young children; individuals with type 1 diabetes; extreme athletes who are in training season; individuals who are severely underweight; and individuals who are on medications (especially diabetes medication, anti-seizure meds and corticosteroids, as these can impact blood sugar levels). 

In some of these cases, fasting can be extremely helpful, but it needs to be done with caution and a with trained health care practitioner. An example of this would be an overweight pregnant woman who is at risk for preeclampsia. Intermittent fasting for 16-18 hours and perhaps even up to as much as 20-24 hours could help to improve her blood sugar, blood pressure and make the internal environment safer for the baby. But again, this needs to be done with a trained health care practitioner. 


If you have questions or need more information, text Rosie Main at (208) 859-6170 or email her at [email protected]. 

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