What kinds of fasts are there?

It is up to everyone participating in the Earth Fast to choose the type of fast that is most suitable and practical for them in view of their abilities and health needs. The fast is designed to be flexible – it can involve a week or more of absolute fasting or rolling 24-hour fasts; a full- or part-fast for only a day or few days; or other alternatives, e.g. intermittent fasting (IF) for a week or longer. Here is a description of a few of the fasting alternatives, and how they are broken down.

Please note: all fasters – but especially the one-, two-week and indefinite fasters – will need supervision and monitoring as to ensure they are getting enough water, salts, vitamins and minerals, and that their weight is maintained at normal levels.

Absolute fast

Dry fasting, or absolute fasting, restricts both food and liquid. It doesn’t allow any fluids, including water, broth and tea. This is different from most fasts, which encourage water intake. In view of health reasons, this type of fasting is not recommended, or at least not for more than one day.

One-, two-week and indefinite Fasts

The one-, two-week and indefinites fast are exactly what it sounds like! No food will be consumed over the period, however plenty of water, along with daily vitamins and minerals.

Rolling Fasts (24 hours)

Rolling fasts are done for 24 hours and then broken (preferably in the morning) by a regular meal. Water, along with extra vitamins and minerals, will be consumed, just as in the constant fast. Fasters under 18 years of age are required to follow a strict 24-hour limit on their fast, but they can do rolling fasts during the week.

Rolling fasts can either be done for the whole week or for two days (24 + 24 hours).

Intermittent Fasts (24 hours or less)

Partial or intermittent rolling fasts can also be done using a 12- to 24-hour rolling schedule that includes hours of sleep, for example fasting from 8pm at night on one day until 6pm the following evening, a pattern that can then be followed on two or more successive days, or with gaps, for example every other day.

Solidarity Fasts for a day or more

Solidarity fasting is done for a day or more, but not for the whole week, as not everyone has the opportunity to fast for a whole week, and thus this is a more inclusive option. A solidarity fast can be done, for example, during the weekend (Saturday and/or Sunday) when the faster is free from work or study obligations. Solidarity fasters should consume plenty of water and extra vitamins and minerals as per the one-week fasters.