How to Fast with a Cold Without Feeling like Dying

October 16, 2020

Photo by Marcelo Leal on Unsplash

Picture this: You’re going along, trying to build out your intermittent fasting habit, when all of a sudden one day you wake up on a fasting day with a sore throat.

Uh oh, you think to yourself.

It’s true -- fasting while you have a cold sucks. And yet, building longevity habits consistently waits for no one. It’s the same reason why we still have to get up and do some sort of exercise even when we’re feeling ill -- any time we find an excuse not to do something is a chance it will stop becoming a habit.

So, what do you do when a rock meets a hard place and you’re stuck sick during a fast day? Well, there’s a couple of steps you can take.

Fortunately, if you’ve already built up other longevity habits, this can go a lot more smoothly for you. Since longevity is health, a lot of the stuff you’ll do to live longer will also likely wither down the effects of the cold. 

A great example of this is with tea. Green tea with honey is a known remedy for the common cold. While adding honey is traditionally forbidden for a fast, this change is just subtle enough that it’s really not going to affect you if you’re only doing it on sick days. Don’t forget to drink plenty of water as well! 

You can also make small exceptions for diet. I would do this particularly if you’re on a 5/2 fast -- typically you’re allotted 500 calories on fast days in this case, but I might boost this up to around 800 and eat a green heavy meal. For 16/8 fasters, I would just make your big post-fast meal have plenty of veggies. 

Finally, don’t ignore your medicine! Just because longevity seems like a very holistic health exercise (to some extent, it is) that doesn’t mean that basic flu meds are off the table. There’s nothing about taking a tylenol or an ibuprofen that’s going to hurt your longevity gains, so you should do it!

Want to learn more about fasting? We built an infographic introducing the basics. We also have a guide for Shanah users on how to build an intermittent fasting habit. 

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