Are there benefits to extended dry fasting? It seems really quite dangerous to me, especially since I live in a hot climate and very quickly feel the effects of not drinking sufficient water. I would think it would put unnecessary strain on the kidneys/elimination organs to not be properly hydrated.
Dry fasting is an all-too-common practice in the natural health community. Dry fasting and restricting water intake is not a health practice and goes against what we know is necessary to heal. The conditions of disease in our body are largely due to chronic dehydration from eating cooked and processed foods. One of the main goals of the natural species-appropriate diet is to rehydrate the body and rehydrate the lymph system so the body can eliminate old waste and toxins. Dry fasting is not a part of natural hygiene and is not and should not be considered safe for any length of time.Dry fasting and restricting water intake is not a health practice and goes against what we know is necessary to heal. Click To Tweet
Dry fasting is extremely dangerous and can be damaging to the body. Acid wastes damage tissues and when we dry fast those acids become more and more concentrated. This means the waste will damage the kidneys and bladder on the way out if they are not diluted sufficiently.
The body uses water to dilute the acids and protect the tissues as the acidic material is carried out of the body. When we dry fast we rob the body of that water that is necessary to facilitate the safe removal of acidic waste and toxins.The solution to pollution is dilution. Click To Tweet
This, very sadly, seems to be why we have seen well-known dry-fasting raw food advocates die quite young in the last few years. For all of the positive changes they are making with eating the correct foods they are undermining their health by neglecting their water intake.
If you were fed only the natural human diet from birth the body still would not benefit from the extra work created by dry fasting. Water is the universal solvent. It dilutes acids and keeps our whole system flowing efficiently. Our lymph system is a thick fluid that becomes easily clogged and bogged down when we become dehydrated. But most people are already starting out in a state of chronic dehydration from years of eating cooked and processed foods. We are also living in unnatural environments with forced air heating and cooling that further dehydrates our bodies. Most people have anywhere from 10 to 25 pounds of old dried-out fecal matter impacted to the walls of their digestive tract. All of this requires water to move and expel.
People often confuse more with better and the same is true for dry fasting. People think that because they have more visible sediment after dry fasting that the body cleaned out more debris. The reality is the body didn’t clean more, the sediment is just more concentrated because the body is more dehydrated. There is less urine because there is less water, and the waste matter is more concentrated.
Disease is predominantly the result of dehydration, so any practice which further dehydrates us pushes us further into disease and leads to a shorter lifespan and more damage to the organs.
Dehydration can also result in mental confusion and delirium which can further impair our ability to heal and maintain healthy habits.
Unfortunately, within the natural foods community, there seems to be some confusion that is driving people to take on dry fasting or to believe it is a healthy practice. In nature, all frugivores drink from streams and ponds on a regular and consistent basis. Our anatomy is not set up to drink heavily, like a dog that can lap water easily, because our natural foods supply us with a lot of water. But we still find all the bonobos, chimps, and other apes drink from streams regularly and consistently. Sadly, many years ago we did not have this data and it was simply assumed that because it had not been witnessed, it did not occur. This is where the idea of frugivorous animals not drinking water came from. It was an erroneous and premature conclusion based on a lack of evidence.
This then led to some in the natural health community declaring that we humans do not need to drink water. That we can get all of our water from our food. The problem with this concept is that while watery fruits and salad greens are water-rich, the amount of excess water they provide beyond what is required for proper digestion and elimination is limited. In order for a food to move unobstructed through the digestive tract it needs to be roughly 80% water. This is water that must be retained with the food to ensure an easy exit at the other end. This means fruit needs to be significantly higher than 80% water in order to provide us with excess water which our bodies can use to rehydrate chronic issues. If we accept the contemporary figure that watermelon is about 92% water, then eating 10 pounds of watermelon only nets us about 1 pound of water, or about 16 ounces. However, with a little practice, we can easily drink well over a gallon of water, which is just over 8 pounds of water, in a single day.
We need water to help replenish our sweat, lubricate and move our lymphatic system, move out waste through our kidneys and bowels, digest and assimilate food, and move our blood, muscles, and nerves. Demand for water within our bodies is high. On a hot day working in the sun, you could easily sweat out a half gallon or a gallon of water over several hours. It would be impossible to replenish that on just fruits and salads even if you were eating only the highest water-content fruits. The math simply does not add up.
Based on my personal experience helping thousands of people heal over the years and healing myself I recommend drinking a minimum of 1 gallon (approximately 4 liters) of water per day if you are eating fully raw and drinking 2-3 gallons of water if you are eating cooked foods. This is the amount where we see people consistently thriving.
Water intake should also be adjusted upwards if you are exercising heavily, spending time out in the sun or in the heat, or any other activity that dehydrates the body. Consuming dried fruits, nuts and seeds should also have us increasing our water intake to balance their low water content as needed.
If you are not currently drinking enough water you can start increasing gradually by adding one quart of water to your current consumption and repeating this weekly until you reach 1-1.5 gallons. My personal habit is to fill 4-quart jars each day. I drink the first jar immediately upon rising, the second jar between 8 am and 10 am, the third right before my first meal which is typically around 12 noon to 2 pm, and then finish my 4th jar before dinner. Others find it easier to use a gallon-sized water bottle that they carry with them throughout the day or a half-gallon bottle. Either way, the larger the bottle, glass, or jar you keep in front of you, the more likely you will be to get in adequate water. While it was initially a struggle to get in 1 gallon per day, I now find that I easily drink closer to 1.5 gallons and feel less optimal if I drink less than 1 gallon.
One objection we commonly hear is, “I’m not thirsty.” The issue with this is that when we become chronically dehydrated our thirst impulse can become unreliable and it can be difficult to tell whether we are thirsty or hungry. Most people confuse thirst with hunger and eat instead of drinking. Some people are so dehydrated that they can no longer get any real sense of thirst or they no longer recognize what thirst feels like. In our support group, we consistently find that those who stick with the 1-gallon goal have their thirst impulse return within a few weeks and can easily drink 1-gallon after that point without having to put in much effort.
Another common objection is that drinking more means urinating more, and while I can certainly understand the inconvenience this may pose in some working conditions we must keep in mind that urinating is one way we eliminate waste. When we start to supply additional water the body will quickly start moving out excess waste so it is no longer damaging the cells internally. This short-term inconvenience means long-term health, so while it can be annoying it is a small price to pay to return to better health.
Have more questions? Want to get answers about your specific health issues or concerns? I offer consultations, learn more about them here: https://www.therawkey.com/consultations/
Ready to make changes but not sure how to begin? Need some motivation or accountability? Why not join our 30-Day Terrain Model Diet Support and Education Group: New Groups start on the 1st of every month! https://www.therawkey.com/terrain-diet-support-group/
Eat fruit and be well my friends.