The Two-Week Water Fast
Updated: Mar 26
Please get the support of a qualified health care provider to assist you if you feel this is right for you.
“Who,” you might ask, “in their right mind, would willfully deprive themselves of food for 14 days by drinking nothing but water?” I would, for one, as well as thousands of other health advocates and spiritual seekers alike. In this two-part article I will be discussing not only the long list of health benefits that can be obtained from water fasting, but the spiritual and emotional benefits as well.
In today’s world we are programmed to believe, almost from birth, that there is a pill for every ill. At least that is what the pharmaceutical companies would like us to believe. Unfortunately, as many people have become all too painfully aware, the pills given do not cure us, but rather only mask symptoms that worsen and multiply as our disease state progresses unhindered.
Less well known is the fact that between 75-80% of all the most common diseases that plague modern civilizations are directly caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices. Simply ceasing to do what is making us sick can reverse these diseases. In other words, by eating a healthier diet and refraining from poor lifestyle choices, we get better. When you get out of your own way, the body does what it does naturally: heal itself. It is only in this context that extended water fasting makes any sense at all.
Water fasting comes naturally to humans. Back when we were hunters and gatherers, and even during more agrarian times when crops failed, humans naturally went through periods of feast and famine. Native Americans even had a name for the month in which natural fasting occurred. It was called the hunger moon when Spring came late and food was hard to find. In those days, infants, children and the elderly regularly died of hunger, for they could not sustain the weight loss required for extended fasting. Of course, in today’s society in which food is always plentiful, death due to fasting should never occur.
Though people fast for spiritual reasons, in my opinion, the best reason to do an extended water fast is for your health. To do it, you need to have enough weight to sustain you through the process. Anyone who is of normal weight can do a two-week water fast. An obese person can fast for 70 days or even longer with no ill effects. It all depends on how obese they are and how much they have to lose. A thin person can fast as well, but since all fasting involves losing weight, one should never compromise their health by losing too much of it. It is this caveat that determines how long one’s water fast can be. Since one loses between 1 and 1.5 pounds of weight per day while fasting, a 20-day water fast would cause you to lose from 20 to 30 pounds. How much you lose per day depends on your personal metabolism. Once you determine how much you can afford to lose, simply stop fasting once you’ve reached your limit. If you’re so thin you can’t afford to lose a pound, water fasting is not your path to self-healing.
In my opinion, losing weight should never be the goal of water fasting, especially since the weight will all be regained if you go right back to the same diet and lifestyle that caused your weight gain in the first place. To prevent this, you must educate yourself on what a healthier diet and lifestyle is for you. Because there are so many contradictory beliefs regarding diet, this is not always obvious. That is because one size doesn’t fit all body types and metabolisms. For example, I solved my diet problem by taking a Viome test, which can be done at Viome.com. By sending in a stool sample, Viome determines the RNA one has in one’s gut. From this, they will determine what your stomach can digest and therefore what the best diet is for you now. Although this can change over time, if you can’t digest it, even the most nutrient-rich diet will be wasted on you. For me, they discovered that my body was unable to digest any animal products or gluten containing grains. I also needed to stay away from all nightshades. When my daughter took the same test, she discovered that she also needed to abstain from nightshades, but that her best diet was to eat animal products 3 times a day. Though we had half the same DNA, our best diets were almost diametrically opposed. Despite our philosophies about dietary choices, each of us felt better once we ate the diet that was right for us.
Beyond food choices, everyone needs to abstain from eating added sugar, fat, and salt, for these foods simply aren’t good for us. They also trick the brain into ignoring satiety so that we constantly want more. In fact, the inclusion of sugar, fat and salt in our processed food is probably behind the world-wide obesity epidemic.
It takes a great deal of reeducation to learn how to cook good tasting food without using these flavor-enhancing additives. YouTube to the rescue! I advocate watching videos by Chef AJ and other nutritarians who specifically address how to cook delicious foods without these additives.
So why is fasting so good for you? It turns out that water fasting is the quickest way there is to completely detoxify the whole body of heavy metals and environmental toxins. As you lose weight, toxins stored in the fat are mobilized and flushed out through the kidneys. In addition, after five days of water fasting a process of autophagy takes place all over the body. Autophagy is a natural, regulated mechanism of the cell that removes unnecessary or dysfunctional components. It is the body‘s way of cleansing itself of damaged cells in order to regenerate newer, healthier ones. This is the reason why water fasting can assist in reversing certain kinds of diet and lifestyle related cancer and heart disease. During a water fast, the body metabolizes the most dysfunctional cells first. Since an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, for this reason alone it makes sense to include a yearly water fast in one’s health maintenance regime.
Water fasting has many benefits. It not only improves body composition and fitness; it supports fat loss and ketosis. It then lowers blood pressure and decreases blood sugar and insulin resistance. This promotes satiety and boosts metabolism. It promotes heart health by lowering cholesterol and triglycerides as it cleans the arteries of plaque. It not only protects the brain, it supports healthier collagen production in the skin. It reduces harmful protein production and promotes a healthy response to stress. In this context it slows down the aging process and enhances longevity by increasing resistance to oxidative stress.
Because water fasting reverses diet and lifestyle- related disease, it has many benefits. There are over 27 different diseases caused by poor diet alone. They include all the major killers of heart disease, strokes, and many kinds of cancer including all the most common ones, such as breast, colon, stomach, liver, pancreatic, and esophageal cancer. If you add smoking, alcohol addiction, a sedentary lifestyle, inadequate sleep and a stressed-out life to a poor diet, the list of diseases that can potentially be reversed by an extended water fast multiplies. These lifestyle-related diseases are healed by the spiritual effects of fasting as much as by a fast’s ability to detoxify the body.
The biggest downside to water fasting is that there’s nothing fun about doing it. I know because I’ve done two 14-day water fasts in a two-year period. In the first one I thought I was going to die. I felt miserable, sick, and tired the entire 14 days. However, I didn’t die and after it was over, I felt considerably better for my trouble. Although I didn’t heal everything that ailed me, after the fast I noticed that some remarkable changes had taken place. When I did my yearly hair analysis 6 months later, I discovered that my body was free of all heavy metals. Although a hair analysis can’t show you how toxic one is from environmental chemicals, I can only assume that these had also been removed from my body. This explains why I felt so bad during my first fast. It wasn’t just that I was hungry, and fatigued, I was also feeling the effects of extreme detoxification at a very deep level.
Another thing that happened was that my chronic headaches improved. No, they did not completely go away, but they did reduce in severity to the point that I was able to get off the medication I’d been on for almost 30 years. Instead of taking Excedrin to deal with the pain, a little bit of essential oil rubbed into my temples was now all that I needed to deal with it.
The second 14 day fast I did 18 months later felt completely different than the first one. In this one I only felt bad for about five days. After that I felt only slightly hungry, weak and tired for the rest of the time. It has now been about two months since my second fast. At this point my headaches have almost disappeared, my gut has improved, and I’m full of energy.
When you decide to do an extended water fast, it is a grueling experience that takes a great deal of self-discipline to do. Self-discipline is a spiritual power. It is impossible to live a spiritually self-realized life without developing the ability to stay the course despite all obstacles. This means that we must overcome our addictions and do what it takes to live a healthy lifestyle even if it’s not convenient and we don’t really want to do it. It takes time to develop self-discipline. Maybe lifetimes. Ask any addict to any substance, be it alcohol, drugs, food, or an addictive behavior. Addictions are coping strategies that are ultimately self-destructive. They usually require a great deal of inner work to overcome. With higher self as Beloved, therapist, teacher and healer, one can overcome all things. Although one might also need the help of a 12-step program or psychotherapist, there is nothing that replaces the love and nurturing that comes from within, without which one can’t be healed at all.
I have been taught that there are two ways to draw close to God. One is through joy and the other is through suffering. Of the two, suffering is by far the most popular. There are no atheists in a fox hole and when the chips are down, one’s negative ego is finally worn down enough to call out to God for help and assistance. If you already have a close and intimate relationship with God, water fasting will make it closer and more intimate. That is because it is a form of self-induced suffering. As you fast, the intimacy becomes stronger and more intense as you share all your feelings about the process with God.
During an extended water fast, we tend to feel a lot of negative emotions like self-pity, martyrhood, and anger. In fact, any unhealed contracting emotion can come up, for this is the time in which we feel very vulnerable and don’t care about being nice to others as we are just trying to get through the daily agony of food withdrawal and autophagy. As we reflect upon the emotions that come up and examine the negative ego that allows us to lash out at others for no other reason than that we feel like it, we are provided with a self-induced learning experience that allows us to become better people. By processing these feelings with God/Goddess, or whatever you call your higher power, you can develop a closeness that is impossible to attain in any other way.
On my last water fast, I took an online workshop with my spiritual teacher that was on gratitude. Feeling tired and miserable, I lie on my bed barely having enough energy to take notes. I watched my spiritual teacher talk to us about the deeper meaning of gratitude and what it can do for us. During that workshop, in the meditations he guided us through, I realized I harbored an unconscious grievance toward God for not saving me from my karma. I realized that He couldn’t save any of us from our karma for if He did He would take away our learning experiences and therefore our opportunity for growth. All God can ever do for us is nudge us in the right direction as we do what we know we must do at some unconscious level to heal ourselves.
I define Karma as unfinished business from the past. In other words, it is inventory left over from other lifetimes. Whatever we did not learn then become the lessons we are given another opportunity to learn now. This is the way it has always been and always will be. Life is eternal and so is time. We will be given as much time as we need to learn how to truly love and respect ourselves and others before moving on to higher dimensions that are free of the limitations we experience here. I am glad and thankful this is so. No one can learn our lessons for us. We must have the self-discipline to learn these lessons on our own as we draw close to our higher power who loves us unconditionally and gives us the strength and courage to do what we must to save ourselves. Humanity will only save itself when we cease to do the things that harm us.
As I thought about what I was learning about gratitude in the context of my fast, I suddenly had an epiphany. Instead of feeling self-pity because of my self-induced misery, I began to wonder what it would be like to feel gratitude: grateful that God has given us all such an incredibly cheap and easy way to heal ourselves. In fact, it is so cheap it doesn’t cost a dime. All you need is the desire to heal yourself and enough self-discipline to do it. In two weeks time you can at least begin the process of reversing any of your degenerative diseases that have resulted from poor diet and lifestyle. As I thought these thoughts my whole attitude toward extended water changed as I began to embrace it as the gift it is.
It’s good to have a doctor’s supervision to do an extended water fast, especially if you are quite ill. Dr. Goldhammer is the founder of True North Health Clinic in Santa Rosa, California. This clinic specializes in doctor-supervised water fasting. He has worked with thousands of seriously ill people over the past 30 years and never lost a single patient to fasting. Though many people go there to do short fasts of a week or two, he says the longest water fast he ever supervised was 70 days, and that this person eventually emerged from his fast healthier than he’d ever been.
Dr. Goldhammer also claims that it only takes 30 days to rewire your brain and change your taste buds, which will allow you to lose your appetite for added salt, sugar, and fat. Once you do, the lack of these additives will no longer bother you. He also states that within three days of water fasting, you will lose your desire for tobacco. He does not advise extended water fasting without a doctor’s supervision, however, especially if you have a life-threatening disease or are addicted to certain medications, alcohol, or chemical substances that you are trying to wean yourself off of. Also, women who are pregnant or nursing and anyone with an eating disorder should never fast. However, I have to say that ordinary people such as myself, who only have moderate ailments and complaints, have done short fasts for thousands of years on their own with good results. If in doubt, however, always consult with a physician experienced in water-fasting for advice and direction.
Susan Vaughn, a teacher, healer, psychotherapist, detox coach and author, will be teaching a 12 week course entitled Healing and the Art of Conscious Evolution to begin Saturday, February 22nd at 3 pm. She can be reached at 707-382-7050 for more information and to secure a spot.
A FREE INTRODUCTORY CLASS IS OFFERED AT ISIS, 44 SUNNY BRAE CENTRE IN ARCATA - SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 22nd FROM 3:00-5:00 PM
Healing and the art of Conscious Evolution
Healing and the Art of Conscious Evolution is a spiritual psychology based on the needs of the soul. The soul is that part of us that desires to love and be loved. It is also the part of us that longs for self-healing. By ignoring personal growth and self-development, many of us experience lives of conflict and strife, leading to an ultimate lack of self-fulfillment. During this 12-week course you will learn a new concept of creation that empowers you to take full responsibility for your life so that ultimate healing can unfold. With your higher self to guide you and your soul as witness, the information you receive will ground you into a spiritual world (beyond religion) that is truly magnificent.
ABOUT SUSAN VAUGHN: I have been teaching Healing and the Art of Conscious Evolution for 20 years. My focus is on personal growth and self-development. This privileged information comes from numerous sources including the channeled being Lazaris, A Course in Miracles, and what I’ve learned as a practicing psychotherapist and metaphysician since 2003. Through my own inner work, I’ve healed intense feelings of shame, as well as created a glorious, ever-expanding relationship with an inner guide I call the Beloved, which could also be called the Magnificent One that exists within. Full of light and unconditional love, this radiant being stands at the center of my life as guide, teacher, lover, and friend.
Reality Creation Basics discusses the core concepts of creation including the Law of Attraction, the role of emotions in creating magnetic resonance, and the role of both the unconscious and higher conscious mind in creation.
Our Unconscious Creation discusses the unchangeable aspects of creation that were self-chosen before birth. Some of these issues must be accepted as unchangeable, while others must be outgrown or transcended.
The Soul’s Path is a specific trajectory of experiences that each human is destined to have in every lifetime. In this class you will discover the 7 faces of the soul that manifest in every lifetime.
Personality Drive is the 4th face of the soul. In this class we discuss the 9 personality drives with their negative and positive aspects.
The Shadow is the 5th face of the soul. Like everything else about the soul, it has polarity. It must be confronted if one is to evolve.
Destiny, Life’s Lesson and Life’s Purpose are given to us by our soul before we are born. In this class you will discover how to find the lesson you were born to learn, as well as the purpose it can become once you master it.
From Victim Consciousness to Higher Consciousness teaches you how to transcend the belief system of the world that gave birth to you by creating an alliance with your higher self.
Detoxification and Physical Healing teaches you how to heal your physical body by removing the toxins and parasites that are at the core of all degenerative disease.
Healing the Inner Child and Adolescent teaches you how to run a child rescue mission through meditative visualization. This will allow you to heal the traumatic incidents of your past.
Past Lives: we all have had hundreds, if not thousands of past lives, some of which are impacting this one. When we learn how to heal painful past lives, we can set ourselves free in magical and miraculous ways.
Becoming Mindful of Negative Ego allows us to take charge of our reactivity and set ourselves free from the prison of habitual responses that destroy loving relationships.
Receiving Guidance from our Higher Selves: to receive accurate guidance from your Inner Wisdom you must become a conscious observer. This is impossible to do without an accurate understanding of reality creation.
She can be reached at 707-382-7050 for more information and to secure a spot.