This is probably the most common question I hear about fasting – and perhaps you’ve asked this yourself:
Can you drink coffee (or tea or whatever!) while fasting?
The answer may surprise you and we’ll get to that soon. But first…
What is fasting, intermittent fasting, what are the benefits, and is fasting even safe?!
If you are following along with my most recent fasting updates, you already learned:
[+] The benefits you get from fasting
[+] Starving vs Fasting
[+] What is fasting.
[+] What is intermittent fasting.
[+] Is fasting safe?
Back to the question…
Can you drink coffee (or x, y, or z) while fasting?
In strict fasting terms, all calorie-containing foods and beverages are withheld during fasting.
If you’re not doing a “dry fast”, you might want to stay well hydrated throughout your fast (keeping in mind that a good amount of water you consume actually comes from foods you eat). Water, both still and sparkling, is a good choice.
Generally drink when you’re thirsty. If you need a somewhat arbitrary number, you can aim to drink about two liters of water daily.
As a good practice, start every day with a glass (say eight ounces) of cool water to ensure adequate hydration as the day begins.
If you’re struggling a lot with plain water, you can “bend the rules” and add a squeeze of lemon or lime to flavor the water. Similarly, you can dilute apple-cider vinegar in water and then drink it, which may help with your blood sugar levels.
What about sweeteners?
Although artificial flavors and sweeteners have no calories, I would recommend avoiding them because anything that tastes sweet will send signals to your brain and body that you are consuming food. (And there are studies showing deleterious effects for many of these artificial products.)
Any kind is generally okay and you can drink it hot or cold. Warm and hot liquids are said to be more satiating so they may help with your fast.
As with everything you consume during your fast, you break your fast by adding sugar or cream (or anything with calories).
Note that the catechins in green tea are believed to help suppress appetite.
Although coffee is permitted, I recommend proceeding with caution for a few reasons.
First, because it has caffeine which is a strong stimulant, it does have a significant metabolic effect on your body and mind. Keep in mind that decaf is better but may still have up to one third of the caffeine of regular coffee.
Second, too many people take coffee in a harmful way. You may be adding sugar, cream, or milk. You may be using low-quality coffee that’s moldy and has a bad effect on your body and mind. For these reasons, I would recommend abstaining from coffee when you first start fasting.
With that warning out of the way, if and when you do do have coffee, be sure that it’s high quality pure black coffee – with no milk or sugar added.
Many people recommend broths (from vegetables and/or meats) during a fast. However, I think this will definitely affect your fast. Broth has calories and will certainly have a metabolic effect on your body.
More specifically, because of the amino acids present in bone broth, it may inhibit the benefits you get from the cellular cleanup of your fast.
If you do have broth, make sure that it’s high quality from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals, as well as organic vegetables.
Okay, you have your answer to the popular coffee and fasting question. Now you get a few bonus questions…
How do you break your fast?
It depends on how long you’ve been fasting and how you respond to food when you do break your fast.
Some people say to simply act as if you never fasted and eat a normal meal. This is what I generally do for daily fasts.
If you’re worried about it, you probably want to break your fast gently while considering that overeating right after fasting may lead to stomach discomfort.
You may want to try breaking a longer fast with bone broth, lightly cooked veggies or soup.
You get hungry when you fast – so what can you do?
You can be mindful and ask yourself, “Am I bored?” Or, “Is it just habit (because it’s time to eat)?”
What emotions are coming up for you when you get hungry? Identify and fully accept those emotions.
Ask yourself, “Am I really hungry?” Or do you think you’re hungry because of habit, emotions or boredom?
What I like to do is ask myself if I’m hungry for something that’s not considered a very palatable food. So, in this case, if I think I’m hungry and I’m craving something like chocolate, then I ask myself, “Am I hungry for an avocado? A carrot? Or celery?” If the answer is no, then I’m not really hungry. I’m probably just looking for a distraction.
If you’re still hungry, you can first try drinking water.
Your stomach is always growling. What can you do?
Once again, you can be mindful and ask yourself, “What do I think is causing it?”
If your stomach is growling because it’s upset with bloating and gas, you can use activated charcoal.
You can also try drinking some mineral water.
There are MANY more questions – with many more ANSWERS… so how can you find out more?
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Can you exercise while fasting?
This is one of my personal favorite questions – and something I experiment with during my fasts.
You’ll learn more about this soon.
That is, when you read the next update. Stay tuned…
What do YOU think about drinking coffee (or x, y or z) while fasting?
Leave a comment below and let us know!