You have been on a fast for weeks and are looking forward to eating regularly again. Take it easy. Whether your fast was a religious one or you were just skipping meals to get that ‘summer body’, you should be careful to not overburden your digestive system.
Getting back to a more regular meal routine slowly is not only kind to your body, it also allows you the opportunity to integrate your new found clarity on your relationship with food.
You get even more benefits from a fast that is broken properly as the body undergoes several biological changes during a fast. Enzymes typically produced by the digestive system are often greatly diminished or have ceased to be produced, so reintroducing food slowly gives your body time to reestablish this enzyme production.
The protective mucus lining your stomach may be temporarily depleted as well, making the stomach walls more vulnerable to irritation. The tips below should help:
- Begin with a gentle reintroduction of foods, starting with the simplest and easiest-to-digest foods such as cooked fruits and vegetables or whole grains
- Avoid spicy foods because they may be irritating to the stomach at first
- Overeating immediately after a fast is worse than overeating at any other time. This can result in stomach cramps, indigestion, constipation, nausea and even vomiting.
- Fresh fruits are always a good first option to take when breaking a fast
- Pay close attention to your body’s reactions to your meal, an adverse reaction could signal a mild allergy; sensations of fullness let you know when to stop eating.
- Chew your food well, this helps proper digestion and helps you avoid overeating.
- Break a fast with frequent small meals every 3 hours, progressing gradually toward larger meals with more time in between them until you reach a normal eating routine.