Growing up on a dairy farm, we had many different animals – pigs, sheep, lambs, cows, bulls, calves, horses, rabbits, cats and a dog. When the animals got sick, they had my Dad as well as the Vet who would try and help them recover but I also happened to notice that the cows had a unique way of looking after themselves when they weren’t well. It seemed they were equipped with an innate knowledge of how to heal themselves.
People when they get sick, on the other hand, quickly pop into the chemist or try a home remedy and if that does not help, rush off to the local GP or some other health practitioner to get better. And if that doesn’t work, we are off to the hospital to be diagnosed by a specialist.
Interestingly, as a young boy, I noticed that when a cow was sick it behaved quite differently to the rest of the herd.
One of my duties on the farm at 5pm everyday was to herd the cows into the milking area to be milked. But there were always a few cows that had separated themselves from the pack. They positioned themselves away from the pack on the edge of the field near access to water.
I always wondered why sick or injured cows would walk further than any of the other cows. I thought at the time perhaps they wanted be left alone like I did when I was sick. I also liked to have a quiet place to rest when I was unwell so it kind of made sense to me.
But there was something else going on. I observed that the unwell cows stopped eating. They only wanted to drink water and not eat food no matter what we would give it. Somehow the animal knew that not eating equalled a quicker recovery from whatever it tried to heal itself from.
It seemed that fasting was part of their strategy to get better and seemed to be very effective. Water was the only thing they wanted and I can remember that my father would give them warm water instead of cold water. He observed that animals seemed to prefer warm water rather then cold when they were injured or sick.
Sometimes the animal would go a few days without food and you could see the animal shredding weight. The cow’s eyes had a kind of dull blue shine and the ears would stand differently. The coat of the cow lost a bit of shine and became more matte.
A note on animal farming: I do not support any kind of animal farming anywhere on this earth. But at that point in my life as a kid I never really questioned it. I did not know any better and thought it normal to farm animals although I never liked certain practices that I witnessed on the farm but I will go into that another time.
Later in my life when I studied behavioural science and whole food nutrition, I came across a concept called ‘fasting’ but this time it was for people. I was intrigued and wanted to know more about it. The stories that people were telling online and offline after they had done a fast captured my interest. A clean body, a new body - getting rid of a lifetime of accumulative toxic exposure was something that I liked the sound of. Reversing the effects of toxic waste from everything I had either intentionally or non-intentionally exposed myself to became my focus.
Just the thought alone of a fast felt so good and it made a lot of sense to me to do this. I decided that all I had to do was get my hands on the right strategy and method and I would be on my way.
But this is where it all started to become quite confusing. Every health 'Guru' had their own recipe and they all seemed to know best. It couldn't be that all of them were right and all of them were wrong at the same time – or could it?
After talking to quite a few more people and a so-called ‘specialist’, it came to my attention that there was an endless variety of ways to fast.
It made me question the whole meaning of fasting? We do it every night correct? We abstain ourselves from food and water when we sleep, true?
Some say that fasting strengthens the body. That it allows the body time to repair and heal itself during the night so you can feel fresh and energetic when you wake up.
Others say that fasting is about detoxing the body, getting rid of anything that has taken up shop in your body that doesn’t belong there.
Some say that fasting is about healing the body of ailments, diseases, pains, aches stiffness and injuries.
Others say fasting is about sharpening the senses, becoming conscious and tapping into your spiritual side.
Some say fasting is to release stress, let go of depression, tension, dullness, foggy mind and chronic headaches.
Others say fasting is about purifying your blood, removing the plaque of your veins and colon so it can function as it was meant to.
Some say fasting is about getting rid of inflammation, infections in your body and especially in your mouth so that your immune system can attend to what it is supposed to.
Others say fasting is about assisting all the organs so they can function close to 100% capacity.
Some say fasting is about getting grounded, feeling confident, creative and clear about what your purpose in life is.
I thought – wouldn’t it be great if all the above was possible?
I wondered if the animals innately knew that fasting equals healing their body. Did they have a conversation with their mothers, aunties or uncles when they were sick and were told what to do? Or did they just know? Perhaps they were so conscious that they didn’t need anyone to tell them what to do. Perhaps the animal just knew what to do when it became sick or injured. Maybe they knew how to listen and trust themselves?
As mentioned earlier on I quickly came to understand that there are many so-called fasts. Some seemed to be more extreme than others, yet they were all called fasts and all claimed some kind of detox result.
Clearly, I needed to look into it a bit more as these huge differences didn’t make any sense to me.
I learned that people who abstained for three days from coffee, or sugar, or processed food all felt better felt it was quite an achievement. But that to me wasn’t fasting.
I thought back to the animals on the farm. They were really fasting (not eating and only drinking water). This made more sense to me, so why not model what nature provided?
So I started to look into water fasting and the 40 days fast kept coming to my attention.
At first, the idea was pretty daunting. 40 days of drinking only water and not eating any food. It didn’t seem possible. But I felt so intrigued and something inside of me kept directing my attention towards it.
I started to read anything I could find on the Internet but as per usual, I read conflicting information and became confused as everybody had different ideas about water fasting.
After months of research and talking to different people about water fasting, I decided to do it. It was clear to me that I wanted to do it in a supportive environment where I didn’t have to do anything and I felt safe.
So I went home to the Netherlands! I spoke to my parents and explained what I wanted to do and let them know what to expect during my 40-day water fast.
They had their doubts as they couldn’t understand how it was going to assist my health. All very understandable considering we aren’t taught by our parents to fast!
I had to convince them that it was going to be beneficial for my body, that I had studied the subject for months and talked to several people who had done it. In the end, my parents became comfortable with the idea and agreed that I could stay with them. Now that I had my 24/7 support in place I felt even more excited to begin.
There was something else to look forward to because my beautiful sister was getting married when I arrived so the timing couldn’t have been better!
We didn’t know what it would be like to go through this process together. And whilst I’d heard stories about what it would be like, nothing prepared me from what I was about to experience.
When I landed, I was keen to start as soon as possible but I had my sister’s wedding and had promised that in the first week I would catch up with everybody and take it easy.
After a wonderful wedding and reconnecting with friends and family, it started to quieten down and a sense of peace came over me. I knew I was ready to start the fast. I had already slowed down my food intake and undertook some preliminary bowel cleansing to prepare my body and develop an appropriate state of mind to start the 40-day fasting process.
The first 4 days went really well. I felt great and nothing seemed to bother me much. I was not really hungry and my energy levels were pretty good. Although I did notice that I started to lose weight rapidly.
Between day 5 and day 18, things really started to happen. My body started to detox very hard and I began to feel sick more often than not. I experienced nausea 24/7. At night I had trouble sleeping and although it was summer, I slept under quite a few blankets, wore woolen socks, jogging pants, a jumper and still felt cold at times.
Sometimes I woke in the middle of the night to have a hot shower to warm me up. I was shredding kilos of weight as the days went on. I tried to walk 5KM each to keep the blood flowing by stimulating the lymphatic system and assist the detox process.
My breathing changed and was sometimes very shallow. It felt like my body was working hard to process the toxins that were being released into my body.
I really had to pull myself together on more than one occasion. I was very challenged and at times pretty sick and uncomfortable.
I started feeling all kinds of strange movements in my stomach and my bowel. I could actually see the movement from outside my body and as my stomach shrunk, it was like my stomach and bowel were having a wrestle.
At night my legs ached and I often couldn’t lay them still. My breath was very bad most of the time and I experienced a very strong toxic metal taste in my mouth.
Another strange thing that happened for a few nights was that my nose became ice cold – it was very uncomfortable. I just tried to put something on it to warm it up.
But despite all the strange sensations, I was still positive and focussed on my goal to clean my body from top to toe. To see if I could connect with myself and everything else in a more profound way.
At the same time, I wanted to assure my parents that I was OK, although they could see that I had less energy and was a bit flat. The one thing that was undeniable was the weight that I was losing.
They kept asking me ‘Are you sure this is a good thing? Don’t you think it is time to start eating?’ I assured them that it was all part of the process and nothing to be concerned about.
I am not sure if they believed me but they knew that I have a very strong will!
It was around day 13 that my senses heightened explosively. I am not sure what happened but I had to leave my parents house. All of a sudden, I could smell my dad’s socks that lay on the floor in the living room, the carpet, the wallpaper, the curtains, and couch. It was like every smell was magnified x 10. The air seemed stale and I could no longer stand it.
I moved to my sister’s wooden house which was much more bearable. It was truly unbelievable how heightened my smell had become. It was so intense that I could not stop wondering what perhaps we were meant to smell – how dull had our true senses become?
I made sure I was still walking every day and drank 4 to 7 litres of water (with a pinch of sea salt). I made sure I was soaking up the sun as much as I could and only did something if I felt like it.
I was lucky that all of my family live very close together, so it is was just a few kilometers down the road for me to visit my parents.
On day 18, I had walked to my brother’s house where something very interesting happened. I had to lie down as I was not feeling well, at all. Something big seemed to be happening. I woke up four hours later and an incredible change had taken place. I felt like a new man!
I could not believe the way I felt. It was like the weather had changed from stormy to a beautiful fresh spring morning. WOW, what a difference. It’s difficult to explain. I stood up and felt like something had left my body. My vitality was through the roof and my spirit was high.
I was super excited, as this experience was very welcome after an arduous 18 days!
That next morning I heard a clear voice in my head. It seemed my unconscious was telling me to start drinking juice. This may seem strange but years prior when I was studying behavioural science, I had identified a way for me to tap into my unconscious. A certain signal in my body was ‘yes’ and another ‘no’. This has served me well and helps me navigate through life to this day!
I got a strong confirmation through my ‘yes’ signal that I needed to start on the juice that day. Listening to my innate wisdom was part of the agreement I had made with myself when I embarked on my fast.
So I started drinking organic slow-pressed juice.
From that day on, I started to notice a few things change.
I could sit in the sun for six hours straight without getting burnt (my fair skin would normally burn very quickly). My mum came to warn me a few times about getting burnt (thanks, Mum!) but she had to admit that I was not getting remotely burnt. Instead, I was getting very brown.
I started to notice that I had much greater joint mobility and that my skin, nails, and eyes were getting super clean and clear.
I was still sometimes detoxing hard and could occasionally see my bowel making all kinds of movements through my skin.
On day 32, I once again heard a loud and clear voice in my head telling me to switch back to water for the remaining eight days. So I made the switch and was happy to as it felt good.
In these last days, my teeth were so white and the mobility in my joints was astonishing. Days 36, 37 and 38 it felt like Pacman was eating up anything that didn’t belong in my body. It was a strange feeling but I kept checking in with my unconscious if what I was experiencing was OK. I kept receiving big strong ‘yes’ signals so I knew it was something good. Something that my body needed to get rid of.
After Pacman had finished doing what it was doing, it was like an extra light had been switched on in my head, my head felt so fresh!
And there were other physical changes too. Since I was 13, I couldn’t do push-ups without serious pain (putting my hands flat on the floor with my arms at a 90-degree angle). I always had to do them on my knuckles but during my fast the pain had left my wrists completely.
I experienced other profound changes during and after my fast. Prior to the fast, I had a constant twitch under my eye which completely disappeared. And an old knee injury from playing football had completely healed.
These old injuries and ailments were not things I would have ever thought would heal or disappear. I was doing the fast mostly to rid my body of all the toxins I had been exposed to (vaccines, dentist injections, fluoride and two general anesthetics etc.).
You can imagine the number of toxins you can accumulate over 30 or more years!
The aim was to cleanse my entire body and brain, to improve the functioning of my intestines and remove any plaque, mucus or whatever else was in my body that didn’t belong there.
One of my big motivations was to have smooth and regular bowel movements to gain maximum uptake of nutrition. I was also curious from a more spiritual perspective to see what kind of connection I could make with nature and myself.
So did all of those things happen? Oh boy, did they ever!
At the end of my fast, I had gained many insights about life, the meaning of food, my relationship with food as well as the healing power of water and juice. I started to look differently at life and gained some real clarity as to how special life is.
One day during my fast, I sat on a chair in the backyard looking at a big tree that was standing near a small white bridge about 300 meters away. I was drawn to this tree with such intensity, almost as if it wanted to say something to me.
This big tree, this incredible life force that came out of one tiny seed. How can it be that one seed can hold all this intelligence and knows precisely what to do in all four seasons?
I connected with this tree and sensed its entire miracle; spontaneously tears were flowing freely over my cheeks as it was like our souls got connected for a moment in time.
By day 40 of my fast, I had lost a considerable amount of weight. This translated for me into my body letting go of all the toxins, mucus, inflammation and plaque in my body (mostly captured in your body fat, arteries, blood, organs, joints, and brain).
I went from 83 to 59 kilograms throughout the 40 days fast. This was a dramatic change but it was never an objective of the fast. Whilst my preparation was very good, I could have never 100% prepared myself for all the things that I experienced throughout it.
Mental toughness is definitely a requirement, the right support as well as having a good relationship with your unconscious. It was an imperative tool that meant I could ‘check in’ when strange things started to happen in my body. It allowed me to be connected if it was still OK for me to continue.
I checked in with my unconscious frequently. And because I had my clear ‘yes’ and ‘no’ signals, I always felt safe and secure in the knowledge that I was making the right decisions. Even though I had very challenging days – particularly those days when I felt very sick because of all the toxins leaving my body – I knew it was all part of the process.
The 40-day fast had come to an end and I had to decide how I was going to break my fast. Once more, I asked my unconscious which food would be most appropriate to eat and what came to mind was a juicy plum.
I can remember sitting down with my mother at the kitchen table staring at the plum that was lying on the table in front of me on a small plate. I was very curious what it would be like to put my teeth into it and taste it.
With the first tiny bite, I can remember that the flavours were so rich and it was so nice, all I could do was suck on it. It took me more than 30 minutes to eat the plum. It was like I was tasting something for the very first time with my senses totally refreshed and perhaps close to its natural state.
It is important to know that breaking your fast properly is very important and paramount that you know what you are doing and how you are going to go about it.
One of the things to do is to ask your unconscious which food would be the most appropriate for you to break your fast with and which foods you should eat in your first two to four weeks.
I had taken myself through a profound detoxing experience and now was the time to start choosing foods that nurtured my stomach, intestines and everything else.
I was so excited about my first bowel movement and I could not believe how smooth it was. I had five small bowel movements in one day and I could not believe it. I was so happy as this had never happened before.
After a week they reduced to three per day and now it is between two and three a day.
Please note that what I have shared here with you is unique to me. Everybody is different and would have their own unique history and experience. No two experiences would be the same.
Something else to leave you with is that for the first few years after my fast I never had any mucus in my nose!
Preparing your body and mind is very important before you embark on a fast. It is like training before running a marathon. Prior to commencing the fast, bowel preparation is critical. Throughout the fast, you need to pace yourself, especially when you are detoxing hard. And after you have completed the fast, you need to know how to break your fast by knowing what to eat and how much.
I gradually worked myself up towards 80% capacity food intake. But along the way, I was challenged by my temptation to eat more.
Since finishing my fast eight years ago, I have done many fasts since. Including dry fasting, juice fasting and my favourite, water fasting.
Today, I am an experienced guide in helping people to fast safely. The goal is to re-calibrate your senses and to be free of aches, pains, illnesses, and disease.
I hope this blog post was useful and that it inspires you to start fasting.