Food & Fitness

Five steps for doing a liquid fast

For my semi-fast this week, I did an all-day green shake. Tasty!

Each green shake contained 1 cup cold water, 1/2 frozen banana, just less than 1 scoop Tropical Traditions greens powder, and 50 grams organic medium firm tofu. I drank ten of these in total, along with lots of green tea.  It sounds like a lot, but I listened to my body and drank a shake every time I felt hungry!

How to do a semi-fast.

For sure one of the key parts about doing a semi-fast is the mental preparation. Your body can almost always do a hell of a lot more than most give it credit for, but if your mind isn’t in the right place, you won’t be able to see the awesome capabilities of your body.

I happen to really enjoy chewing. I like to chew my food. I like to have something to gnaw on. That’s a big part of why I’ve been eating oat cakes (AKA “breakfast cookies” in the food blogging community) rather than bowls of oatmeal lately. So the idea of drinking my nutrients for an entire day and not having any solid food was a little daunting for a while – and I think that’s why it’s taken me so long to do it. I’m so happy that I finally did!

If you ever want to give a liquid semi-fast a try for a day, here are a few things to keep in mind:

1) Find a drink that you really enjoy. I’ve said before that I don’t like juice very much. Therefore, drinking juice would just make me cranky, I expect, and the sweetness of fruit juice would put me over the edge. Vegetable juices taste even worse, though, to my taste buds. I’d be miserable all day if I were drinking straight juice. No juice for me!

2) Give your liquids some substance. For me, my “substance” is in the form of tofu. It adds some protein and fat, as well as a little iron and calcium to the shakes. Also, because I drink shakes (similar to smoothies) rather than juice, the thickness of the beverage tricks my mind into thinking that I’m “eating”. That can also be helpful if you aren’t accustomed to getting your nutrients via liquids.

3) Don’t just jump right into it. Start drinking your beverage of choice at least once every day for a few weeks. More frequently is even better. It will help your body adjust to the idea of drinking your nutrients, and it will also cause your body to start craving it. I love having a green shake for breakfast in the morning. If you’re used to munching on something in the morning, simply have your usual breakfast (or maybe half of it) along with a green shake. For example, a slice of toast with a poached egg is a great accompaniment to your shake when first making the transition. After a few days, just have half of a slice of toast with your poached egg. Maybe the week after you’ll try just having a green shake and no solid food for breakfast. Work your way into it gently.

4) Make sure your beverage contains nutrients. We don’t want any crazy Master Cleanse diet going on here! The idea of a liquid semi-fast is to reduce the junk in your diet and to reacquaint yourself with how it feels when you have just the right amount of food in your stomach – not so little that you’re starving, but not so much that you’re over-full, either. Greens are a crucial addition to your shake. I love the Tropical Traditions powder, but you need to be careful with many powders out on the market because there can be a lot of crap in them. When in doubt, use fresh greens. Romaine lettuce and fresh spinach are both ideal for adding to smoothies because they break down easily in a blender and they don’t give that weird “grassy” taste that other things, like celery or kale, sometimes do.

5) Look forward to it. If you’re dreading the semi-fast, that’s a good sign that you shouldn’t do it at this point in time. Only do it if you feel like you might benefit from it, if you enjoy your shake, and if you want to do it. If you wake up in the morning of the day of your semi-fast and you don’t want to drink liquids all day, then you’ll probably just be miserable and it might have an adverse affect on your health. That is definitely not what we’re after. Take care of yourself! Your body will tell you when it’s ready to do a liquid semi-fast.

For my liquid semi-fast yesterday, I consumed somewhere around 1,200 or 1,300 calories. I think it’s important to make sure that you’re still getting a decent amount of calories when you do a liquid semi-fast. This will help keep your energy levels up and it will also help you to make the transition with fewer difficulties.

Yesterday I worked a nine-hour day and did a walking dvd, as well as some light core exercises. I still had lots of energy and was able to carry out my day normally on the liquids. I quite enjoyed it – it was a good way to remind myself that food is a way to nourish the body, and it’s something that we should value for that purpose. I recommend you try it if you’ve had some problems with emotional eating!*

Have you done a liquid fast? What was your beverage of choice? Did you join in the semi-fast challenge this week? Let me know in the comments section below if you want to partake in another semi-fast for one day next week, and if there are any types of semi-fasts that you’d be interested in doing (or seeing me do :))!

*After checking with a doctor. I don’t think that doing this type of liquid semi-fast would damage anyone’s health, especially since you’re only doing it for a day, but I also don’t want to get sued 😉 I’m not a medical professional so please only do what is right for your state of health.


  1. Dr. J

    I really like that you said, “Look forward to it,” Sagan! I use that behavior with plenty of things in life and it is very helpful! People are just beginning to catch on to the fact that many behaviors can be cultivated, like happiness and looking forward to something.

  2. Yum Yucky

    I’ve done a liquid fast before for spiritual purposes. Just a good ‘ole biblical kinda fast combined with prayer. Never did a juice fast for health reasons. Never even thought of it. Doh! Now you’ve got me thinking.

  3. sophia

    Looking forward to a liquid fast…? Uh. Haha, that’s kinda impossible, at least for me. I’m like you…I love to chew!

    I think it’s important to determine whether this kind of one-day diet is helpful for you though. For a busy student, it’s probably not a good idea. I know I wouldn’t be able to last a day just on liquids.

  4. Lisa

    Thank you so much for choosing my entremet for one of the top three in the PB exhibition. After the time spent making it, I had to milk it for all it was worth. Future entries will NOT be anywhere

  5. Lisa

    Thank you! It’s definitely one of the most extravagant desserts I’ve ever done (not to mention sinfully rich, although it tasted light lol). I’d say it took about two days total. Making each component separately, definitely made things easier. The hardest part was playing with different filling ratios. Double, triple, or decrease by a third, etc etc..then making sure everything melded well together before committing. Yes, complicated since it was my first entremet!!

  6. westwood

    That was all really good advice.

    That being said when I consume beverages I tend to do so in about ten seconds flat so I would find this thoroughly unsatisfying. Now if I could fast on something like super nutrient charged tapioca balls that were hard to pick up with chopsticks, well, then that would be enough to occupy me for the day.

    1. Sagan Morrow

      I keep meaning to go for a week or something of only eating food with chopsticks. I think it would be a really interseting experiment because it would force you (the royal ;)) to slow down and really pay attention to the meal.

      I can see it being really funny at first, and quickly becoming frustrating. Especially for foods like oatmeal. Eating toast would be very silly too.

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