How To Do A 3-Day Bone Broth Fast (why you should + how to prepare!)
All you need to know about how to do a 3-day bone broth fast! From the benefits of bone broth-fasting to preparing for your fast, this is an in-depth post about nourishing your body with bone broth to reset your gut health and improve your overall health!
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Originally published July 21, 2019. Last modified January 7, 2021.
In 2017, I was feeling great physically and mentally… and when I’m feeling good, it’s an ideal time to experiment with my body a bit.
So, I do things like try new supplements or intermittent fasting or adding food in that I’ve avoided to see what happens.
One of the things I tried in 2017 was a bone broth fast.
My intention was to fast for just 1 day — eating no solid foods and drinking nothing but water and herbal tea, but mostly bone broth.
To my bone broth, I added MCT oil or butter, as well as salt, garlic powder, and turmeric for flavor and additional health benefits.
After that one day, I felt so great, I emailed my naturopath to ask if it was ok to continue the bone broth fast. “Sure!” she replied. “If you’re feeling that good, go for it!”
I decided to go for 3 days — and I felt amazing!
The Many Health Benefits of Bone Broth
Most of us know the many health benefits of bone broth:
- It’s rich in nutrients and minerals (like calcium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, and more) from the bones.
- Bone broth is full of collagen and gelatin, which nourish the gut, skin, and joints.
- It’s full of beneficial amino acids.
- It reduces inflammation systemically.
- Bone broth heals and seals the gut lining, preventing and healing gut permeability.
- It’s a powerful immune system booster.
- It’s extremely easy to digest, so it’s perfect for people who have digestive issues.
- Healing compounds like proline, glycine, and glutamine are released when bones are simmered.
I literally cannot think of an illness for which bone broth would not be a go-to remedy! Nor can I think of a food that can improve overall health more quickly than homemade bone broth.
Making and consuming bone broth is a regular part of my routine. I always have some in jars in my fridge or in bags in the freezer, ready to pull out for soups, stews, sauces, cooking rice, or simply drinking.
Why You’d Want To Do a 3-Day Bone Broth Fast
Obviously, bone broth is a superfood — and one which I highly encourage you to incorporate into your diet on a daily basis.
So why would you want to fast on bone broth?
For one, fasting is an excellent way to reduce fasting insulin levels and stabilize the blood sugar. Adding bone broth means you’re not only stabilizing your blood sugar, but you’re getting all the above benefits as well.
Second, if you’re having any sort of digestive issue or flare — heartburn, IBS, Crohn’s disease, gas or bloating — you can calm things down with bone broth. Bone broth is so soothing to the gut, you could see a reduction of symptoms in as little as 24 hours!
Third, bone broth is fantastic for skin because of collagen. Collagen is simply the cooked form of gelatin — and is naturally present in chicken, beef, and pork bones.
Collagen production in our own bodies starts slowing down in our 20s, so consuming collagen from bone broth and/or supplementing with collagen is necessary to keep our skin healthy and glowing.
Finally, a bone broth fast resets the gut.
Maybe you’ve been on an indulgent vacation or had too many nights in a row of take-out. And you’re feeling it. Eating foods we’re not used to can not only be felt in the gut, we can feel tired physically and mentally.
I, for one, get really emotional when I eat outside my norm for too many days in a row.
Or, maybe you simply feel intuitively that your gut needs a reset. It doesn’t matter the reason!
Bone broth fasting literally resets the gut. You pull out all the junk and give your body nothing but pure, healing nourishment — and you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel!
How To Prepare for a 3-Day Bone Broth Fast
There are several things you should do in preparation for a 3-day bone broth fast.
These are practical things — like having a supply of broth. But there are some mental and emotional preparations to do as well.
Here’s how to prepare for your 3-day bone broth fast.
#1 — MAKE BROTH. LOTS & LOTS OF BROTH.
Don’t even think about starting a bone broth fast unless you have a large supply of bone broth already made. (And yes, homemade bone broth is best.)
During my bone broth fasts, I drink between 2 and 3 quarts of broth per day. So, for 3 days, you’ll need at least a gallon and a half, and possibly more.
I prefer making bone broth in my Instant Pot — here’s why. Here’s how to get bone broth that gels every time.
Since you’re fasting for just 3 days, it’s fine to keep all your pre-prepared broth in the fridge in glass jars, taking out some to warm up each time.
If you don’t have the fridge space for one-and-a-half to two gallons of broth, then leave some in the fridge and freeze the rest.
Have your bone broth prepared before beginning your fast. That way, during your fast, you can focus on #2.
#2 — MAKE SPACE & TIME FOR REST.
Fasting is always associated with rest. Your body rests, your mind rests, and your gut rests.
You should not do a bone broth fast if you have a stressful work project or if you’re in the middle of a move or any transition. Actually, the weekend is an ideal time for working people to fast.
The point is, you should be prepared with bone broth, but you should also be prepared to slow down and do restful things: watch movies, read, take naps, journal, go for leisurely walks.
Don’t do CrossFit or run 5 miles a day or even try to pack in a day of errands during a bone broth fast.
Also, you may notice that you feel bored because you’ve used eating as a way to pass the time or to stimulate yourself. Have some restful and enjoyable activities within reach so you can distract yourself until that feeling passes.
#3 — REMOVE “OFF-LIMITS” FOODS FROM YOUR HOUSE.
This may not be necessary, or it might. Only you know.
If those cookies you made or the bag of chips in your pantry keep calling out to you, it might be best to wait to fast until you’ve eaten them or disposed of them in some other way.
If you’re not used to going without sugar or dessert, it’s likely that you’ll have some sugar withdrawal symptoms during your fast.
Make your bone broth fast as easy on yourself as you can by removing the foods and drinks that will tempt you to give up.
I would also highly recommend cutting caffeine and sugar (even honey) from your diet for at least 2 weeks prior to your fast. You want to feel GOOD during your fast, not awful from sugar/caffeine withdrawal!
#4 — EASE BACK INTO EATING
Once your 3 days are up, please don’t go out to the local diner to celebrate with a greasy burger and fries.
Remember, you’ve just given your digestive system a rest and reset. Actual healing has taken place in your body because of those 3 days.
Don’t sabotage your healing!
Furthermore, even if you already eat clean, it’s best to ease back into your normal eating after a fast.
For the first day or two, I like to have blended soups or smoothies, but very little or no meat. Your digestive system has had to deal with nothing but nourishing broth — it needs time to begin gently digesting solid foods again.
You may notice that you aren’t craving the foods you ate before, such as sugar or grains or dairy. Listen to that; it’s your body talking to you.
How To Do a 3-Day Bone Broth Fast
Ok, so we’ve talked about the whys and how to prepare.
You’ve got your fridge stocked with nourishing broth, you’ve made space and time for rest, you’re not going to sabotage by reaching for the cookies, and you’re prepared to ease back into eating once these 3 days are up.
Here’s how to do a 3-day bone broth fast:
When you wake in the morning, if you’re hungry, warm up some bone broth.
Season it with salt and pepper, garlic and turmeric, maybe some cayenne if you like a kick. It’s fine to add some freshly grated ginger root or turmeric root if you feel like it.
It’s also a good idea to add a bit of fat to help satiate you.
If you’re avoiding dairy, use MCT oil. (My coupon code ALLTHETHINGS will save you 10%!)
If you’ve never avoided dairy before, a fast is a great opportunity to try it out and see if your body responds positively.
Use ghee or grass-fed butter, too, if you do tolerate dairy. I like to use a small milk frother to whisk everything into my bone broth.
Drink bone broth all day long, seasoned with salt or however you like it. Drink water if you’re thirsty, but honestly, bone broth has enough electrolytes that you shouldn’t even feel thirsty.
Herbal, non-caffeinated tea is also fine, but avoid sweetening it with honey, sugar, or stevia.
The majority of what you consume during each day should be bone broth, however.
Now, let’s answer some common questions about bone broth-fasting:
#1 — Will I feel hungry?
This will depend on each person. Personally, I don’t feel hungry, and I find bone broth very satisfying. I haven’t always felt this way, however, so you might feel hungry. When you’re hungry, drink more bone broth and try adding up to a tablespoon of fat, such as MCT oil.
#2 — Will I feel sick?
It’s possible you may experience withdrawal symptoms from caffeine or sugar if you’re cutting them out cold-turkey. I’d recommend cutting those out 2 weeks to a month before your bone broth fast so you don’t shock your body too much!
Sugar withdrawal symptoms can feel like the flu, complete with nausea, headache, and fatigue (which is why I recommend cutting it out FIRST!).
If you already eat clean, however, you may feel energized, sleep like a champ, and find that you aren’t even thinking about food! This is how I feel when I bone broth fast.
If you feel dizzy or light-headed because your blood sugar feels low, eat a small green apple or one of these Sprouted Seed Truffles to keep your blood sugar stable.
#3 — What if I’m away from home?
Plan ahead. Get yourself a travel Thermos and take your broth with you!
Or, get some Bone Broth Powder (save 10% with my discount code ALLTHETHINGS) and add hot water while you’re out.
You can stop at pretty much any gas station and use the hot water from their coffee machines to mix with your bone broth powder!
It seems like a good excuse to break your fast if you know you’re going to be away from home, but it’s actually easy to take your broth with you and keep on going. 😉
#4 — Should I continue taking supplements or medication during a bone broth fast?
Any fasting or medication changes should be discussed with your doctor.
As for supplements, that’s up to you. It might be a good idea to give your body a break — even from supplements — and let the bone broth work its magic. Fasting is a great time to reflect on any supplements you’re already taking to determine if they’re still serving you or not.
I don’t even take probiotics during a bone broth fast!
I hope this encourages you to give a 3-day bone broth fast a try.
It truly is one of the most healing things I’ve ever done for myself! I’ve also done it with my daughter when her allergies were awful, and during the fast, her allergies cleared up!
Well, there you go: the why and the how to do a 3-day bone broth fast!
No one is mentioning Turkey Broth?
I’m on liquid diet for the next 24 hrs. Colonoscopy tomorrow AM.
Made Turkey broth 2 days ago just for thus special occasion. : )
2 wings and 2 thighs. Baked at 350 for 45 mins. Added cider vinegar — celery, onion carrots and parsley. Crockpot for 24 hrs and today skimmed off the little fat.
Just finished a cup – so yummy and think this will be my new best friend until tomorrow.
Very rich and good for you..
Hi Everyone. I started this on Monday. First day substituted 2 meals. Second day, substituted 1 meal. Lost 4 lbs and today is Wednesday. I do feel better. So excited to be on this Journey. I bought Dr. Kelly Ann’s bone broth. Way to expensive. So excited. Stay the course everyone.
Can you use store bought if you are wuarantined ?
You *can* use anything you want, but for the most benefits, I recommend homemade bone broth from grass-fed bones.
Hi” which is better, Beef or chicken bone broth
One isn’t “better” than the other. They are both beneficial. It just depends on what taste you like (chicken is milder) and what you have available to you.
Hi! I am making bone broth for a fast for the first time. My local butcher only had beef buckles, so I got about 10 lbs of that. It has been cooking for about 5 hours, but there is a LOT of fat sitting on top of the broth. I tried a sip and it was so full of fat that I couldn’t stand it. Should I remove the fat? One blog I read said to refrigerate it and remove the solid fat that accumulates at the top.
You don’t *have* to remove the fat, but yeah, it’s pretty gross. I refrigerate and then remove it as a solid piece. You can cook with it!
Hi, yesterday I made oxtail soup for the first time. My husband and I had bad stomach aches in the evening and during the night. Going to the bathroom helped but it didn’t go away till this morning. What did I do wrong?
I have no idea. And why would you assume you did anything wrong? Maybe he picked up a bug or ate something for lunch that didn’t agree with him.
I have celiacs, hashimoto’s IBS-C, leaky gut and gallbladder problems. Some times I get gastroparesis. I am off grains, nightshades, sugar, dairy, legumes and soy. I had a horrible gallbladder attack. I made beef bone broth with grassfed bones. I used ginger, celery, carrots and bay leaf when pressure cooking it. I baked at 450 degrees first in the oven for 20 minutes.. It made a huge difference. I had the fat and broth and felt better. I also ate some of the narrow in the broth. My gallbladder and gut felt much better the next morning. I also had… Read more »
Thank you for sharing! Feel better!
Hi Lindsey, I have gastroparesis I can’t fast and I need to blend my meals, but I was wondering if I can cook the bone broth with some carrots potatoes zuchinni and then blend it. Would it have the same healing effect?
Hi Gloria, I cannot answer questions about specific, diagnosed conditions as I am not a licensed medical professional. Any questions you have related to your condition should be directed to your medical doctor or natural practitioner of choice.
I’ve read that calories break the fast. Carrots are high in sugar so yes it would not be as healing.
I loooove my bone broth! I have not fasted yet, but I will be soon!
Best of luck to you!
How much do I drink throughout the day? Like a serving 8-12oz four times a day?
You drink as much as you need to. Drink it when you are hungry or thirsty. Drink it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, for any snacks you might normally have, perhaps also before bed. Broth fasting is a great opportunity to listen to your body’s cues!
How often should I do a 2-3 day bone broth fast?
That’s entirely up to you! What are your goals? What is the reasoning behind doing several fasts? If weight loss is a goal, for example, I wouldn’t advise bone broth fasting. If gut healing is your goal, use the bone broth fast as one tool in your toolbox — along with a gut-healing diet, probiotics, fermented foods, etc.
Hi lindsey, why would you not recommend bone broth for weight loss ?
I wouldn’t. Chances are, you’d lose some water weight during the fast and then gain it right back when you start eating regular food again. The body holds on to weight because it’s trying to protect itself. Identify why it’s trying to protect itself, and the weight generally will come off by itself. I do not advocate for weight loss diets or extreme exercise regimes.
Lindsey, I love your site and the recipes/ideas you offer! I know this is an old post but you mentioned above that the body is most likely holding on to weight because it’s protecting itself. I’m curious what you recommend doing to determine the reason my body is holding on to weight. I have been slowly gaining weight over the past 15 years, little by little, but especially after having kids. I am now sitting about 30 pounds over what my ideal and healthy body weight is and really don’t know where to focus. My diet is okay (room to… Read more »
Hey Heather, I’ve been where you are, and I understand the frustration you feel. Before I knew there was a book called Intuitive Eating, I began practicing that. AND, I also worked on feeling my feelings, processing and healing trauma, and intentionally reorganizing my life to prioritize what was most important to ME. If you’d like to talk more about this, I’m available for peer support consults and health coaching. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want more info!
What happens to my leaky gut if I use bone broth from animals that were not grass fed or deer that probably ate corn?
I don’t have any evidence to say what happens to your gut, but why eat bone broth made from unclean animals? The bone broth will not have the nutrient-density that grass-fed/pastured/wild animal broth has.
I love your blog! I’m curious about the bone broth and really want to try it. Can you tell me if I need raw bones? Or is it leftover bones from like, say, pork ribs or where do you buy/get your bones at?
You can use leftover bones, from ribs or a whole chicken. You can also buy bones; most health food stores have them, but it’s cheapest to find a local beef or pork or chicken farmer and ask if they save bones. I also buy chicken feet and carcasses for VERY cheap at our health food store. They’re free range, but not pastured. I’m ok with that.