By now, you’ve heard me talk about how I’m doing Whole30 this January. It’s kind of a big deal (I even made a hashtag for it: #bgfwhole30). I know I’m not the only one doing Whole30 right now, so I’m not going to go on and on about how day 9 totally sucked, or how I had a migraine for a week straight.
Instead, I’m going to tell you what prompted me to go on a bone broth fast. While still cooking Whole30 meals for the family. Now, I am a huge fan of bone broth. It’s kind of a superfood.
But doing a full-on, bone broth only week? Why would I do that to myself?
The selfish and vain reason? I was so incredibly bloated that my stomach looked about 4 months pregnant, and it hurt. Like really hurt. I could not get comfortable. None of my pants fit, and I happened to have a stash of Kettle & Fire bone broth in my pantry (Shelf.Stable.Bone.Broth. Enough said.).
Enough to do a 5-day full-on bone broth cleanse. And that’s where I went a little nuts.
Bone Broth Benefits
See, bone broth has some pretty hefty benefits, such as:
- bolstering your immune system
- promoting a healthy gut
- stronger bones, skin, nails, and hair (yay collagen!)
- reduced inflammation
- less joint pain
- more energy
- better sleep
Y’all. I’m in just for the reduced joint pain. Since we’ve moved to the tundra, my left ankle (which I broke a few years ago) has been giving me fits.
Getting old sucks, and I know that if I want to skate again with any real ferocity, I’ve got to build up my legs and lose some weight.
Hence this January is a month of healthy choices for myself and my family.
Back to what I was talking about. I started doing some research…should I do a cleanse where I drank bone broth throughout the day and then ate whole foods when I was hungry?
…or should I do a bone broth fast?
Obviously, I settled on a fast. But why? I mean, I know that whenever I eliminate carbs (even complex ones) from my diet, I feel like absolute garbage.
The Carb Flu
If you’ve ever given up carbs before (Atkins diet, anyone?), you know all too well that you end up feeling like something the cat dragged in. In my experience, the carb flu can present itself as a number of symptoms, including:
- Overwhelming exhaustion
- Feeling fuzzy or foggy
- A runny nose
- Tummy issues
- Anxiety attacks
Not super appealing is it? Your body is rebelling, so of course, this isn’t going to be easy. Thankfully, if I can get past the first few days (for me it’s always days 2-4), I’m usually good.
So why would I subject myself to this? Because after about day 4 I feel like a million bucks.
Benefits of Fasting
I did my first mini fast a few years ago before I knew anything about the aforementioned carb flu. If I’d known, I probably would have just skipped it. I mean, who wants to willingly make yourself feel like garbage?
But once you get past the flu-like symptoms, there’s this amazing rainbow on the other side.
I was totally unprepared for how awesome I felt. I mean, I figured I’d lose weight (I wasn’t eating solid food, so it seemed like a no-brainer), but to actually get 20,000 steps in without cleaning my house? In one day?
That seemed like a downright miracle.
Turns out that there are a lot of good things that come from fasting:
- weight loss (or weight maintenance)
- normalized blood sugar activity
- lower cholesterol
- more efficient fat burning hormones
- lower risk for diseases (diabetes, cancer and heart complications)
- appetite control
- lower triglyceride levels
That’s a whole lot of benefits. And it’s enough of a reason that I’d happily endure the carb flu all over again. Which is why I did.
I am going to be totally honest here. I may have overindulged over the holidays. Sure it was Paleo…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t eat junk.
My Bone Broth Fast Experience
After eating garbage for the better part of 2017, I knew that things had to change. I also knew that with turning 36 this year, I needed to stop waiting for a miracle.
I like to think that we eat a fairly healthy diet, but when I stopped to look, I realized that I excuse a lot of snacking that probably doesn’t need to happen, and my coffee habit is a bit out of control.
Granted, it’s better than the 16 shots a day I was doing when I worked at Starbucks, but still. It was a bit much.
So for Christmas, I used my Christmas money to order some teas (my favorites are by Tea Forte) and prepared myself. I let the kids have dry salami and pecan crackers (like I said, gluten-free doesn’t mean healthy), we made mac and cheese for lunch, and I tried to get all the ‘junk’ out of the house.
SO. I spent the Christmas holidays eating junk. On purpose. Which (in hindsight) wasn’t very smart. Because when it came time to start my cleanse, I ended up having the “carb flu” for 3 days.
Bone Broth Fast Day 1
I could not stop thinking about coffee on day 1. I literally felt like I was missing a limb, even though I was using my mug for bone broth.
I would probably have killed for it, but I didn’t want to land in jail. Instead, I drank a ton of bone broth. Dinner wasn’t much better because around 3:00 in the afternoon I started developing a headache (see the carb flu symptoms above). Not unexpected, but my kids are loud, y’all.
I’m loud. So I put myself to bed. Good thing it’s the weekend.
Bone Broth Fast Day 2
The second day was far, far worse as my caffeine headache would not go away. I tried everything I could think of, but I ended up just going back to bed and sleeping it off a bit. When I woke up, I again wanted coffee but opted for bone broth and some herbal tea instead.
That seemed to help. The kids having pizza for dinner was a cruel trick.
On a happy note, for the first time in forever, I wore jeans all day.
Bone Broth Fast Day 3
I woke up feeling like I needed to run a marathon today. I don’t know why I always end up with more energy than the Energizer Bunny once I’m past my detox phase, but holy cow.
My house was spotless, including the bathrooms. I organized our closets, worked an 8 hour day, and even hopped on the rowing machine.
Now, that last bit, I don’t think was the best idea because I ended up super hungry. So I sipped on some bone broth and tried to figure out how to channel all of my energy.
Bone Broth Fast Day 4
I slept amazingly well between days 3 and 4. I did not wake up wanting coffee (which is a miracle), and I wasn’t starved.
While I didn’t have as much energy as day 3, I was still incredibly productive, and I had a good day. I didn’t even mind cooking dinner for everyone.
Bone Broth Fast Day 5
I decided to make Day 5 my last day because I was worried that I could not sustain my energy level from days 3 and 4. I was more tired on day 5, but I still felt great.
I did not want coffee in the morning and sipped my broth instead. Smalls tried it and said it tasted funny, but would be okay in chicken soup.
After I got past the carb flu, I found that I was more awake, more energized, and my clothes fit better. Because I’m doing a Whole30 this month, I chose not to weigh myself, but I did fit comfortably into my jeans all day, which hasn’t happened in, well, forever.
My skin also looks amazing (thanks, collagen), and I noticed that my ankle hasn’t been hurting, which is awesome. Ever since we moved to the Tundra, I’ve been in pain, so 5 days without issues is awesome.
Would I do a bone broth fast again? Yes, yes I would. In fact, I’ll likely try to do one a month, if not more, but I likely would only do a day or two at the most.
I would also start to clean up my diet if it’s gotten out of control about a week before to avoid headaches and other issues.
All that being said, I feel awesome. I’m looking forward to having coffee again, but I’ll definitely make sipping on bone broth a larger priority going forward.
Would you do a bone broth fast?