Fasting. A cleansing method that has been in practice since ancient times, still the most misunderstood. There is much concern about fasting. I have seen many people, participate in juice cleanses and fasts unprepared. Unprepared leading up to the fast and misleadingly, eating “last supper” meals the night before. Then for their post-fast meal, going to a restaurant or even at home, eating a steak or fried foods. Not completely understanding the body has performed an internal cleanse removing toxins, heavy metals and preparing waste for elimination. A gentle, clean diet is vital when breaking a fast. It is important to participate in fasts and juice cleanses correctly for the best benefits. Let's dive in, shall we?
Benefits of fasting
The popularity of fasting has increased beyond the spiritual tool focus. In a closer walk with God, we need fasting together with prayer to help us maintain a close, honest relationship. There are many other spiritual benefits of fasting. Here are some natural benefits of fasting regularly:
Seven points of overall fasting:
1. resting of the digestive system
2. cleansing and detoxification of the blood
3. opportunity to understand eating patterns
4. promote mental clarity
5. opportunity to understand emotional patterns
6. increased energy
7. enhance spiritual connection
The Nitty Gritty of fasting
Fasting is a big deal. While fasting you may have detox symptoms, however, mere discomforts such as, feeling hungry, less energy and thirst shouldn't considered as "adverse effects." A common detox symptom during fasting or even juice cleanses, is a headache. Headaches are common withdrawals from caffeine consumption.
Preparing for your fast
To avoid intense detox symptoms during your fast, cut down on
"The practice of fasting tacitly acknowledges the fact that ours is a self-healing organism. Healing occurs naturally if it is allowed; improper or excessive food simply thwarts the natural ongoing healing processes. Forcing a sick person to eat 'to keep up his strength' overlooks the fact that digestion uses up strength too: more often than not, the available strength is better used for healing the problem at hand than for digestion."
-- Annemarie Colbin, from Food and Healing
On the natural perspective of fasting, our body needs that season of time due to our environment for starters. We have dense amounts of pollutions that gets into our skin and more chance of being consumed when eating more conventional produce than organic produce. Malnourishment from our foods increases our chances of illness and dis-ease within the body. Proper nutrition plays a vital role in the control and elimination of dis-ease in the body. Fasting promotes the ability to focus our attention inwardly. Devoted time to be still, be quiet and listen to our spiritual connection.
Lengths of Fasts
Before beginning any fast or juice cleanse, we have to inform you to speak to a health professional to be aware of any additional concerns and of additional detox symptoms due to medical conditions and so forth.
Before taking on longer fasts, you should become acquainted with shorter fasting lengths. January is a popular month for detoxing and fasting. To be kind, we do recommend detoxing each season as well as fasting.
"Due to [the] effects of fasting, a fast can help you heal with greater speed; cleanse your liver, kidneys, and colon; purify your blood; help you lose excess weight and water; flush out toxins; clear the eyes and tongue; and cleanse the breath."
-- James F. Balch, M.D., in Prescription for Nutritional Healing
Fasting 3 days or longer
Fasting is not be abused. Make sure that your intentions are pure and guided to respect your body. Denial of food and water (also called dry fasting) is to be respected and done safely. Your body will tell you how far to safely go in the duration of your fast. It usually takes about three days of fasting before your body reaches a state of ketosis. Ketosis is a complex metabolic process that the body uses when all storage of sugar for fuel is gone. Within this state, the person will often experience sharper mental abilities and high energy while in complete true hunger. True hunger is beyond a “hunger headache”, there is a constant pain that will not be confused with detox symptoms. Keep in mind this is not expected when fasting less than three days.
Breaking your fast responsibly
When a fast is broken properly the benefits are truly realized. How we break the fast is important to how our body will respond. Being gentle to your body allows your digestive system to get back into full motion while giving you the opportunity to embrace clarity on your eating habits. During your fast, enzymes in your digestive system have diminished greatly. Slow introduction of food allows the body to re-establish proper enzyme production. During a short length fast, solid waste and toxins have been loosened with fresh raw fruits, there will be a quicker elimination after the fast. Fruit travels through the digestive system quickly, vegetables followed by carbs and last but not least the slowest of all is meat. Longer fasts, may experience constipation. Not be alarmed, proper food will get it back functioning after all its cleansing work in body.
When it's time to break the fast,first consume a couple of glasses of water. Followed by fresh, raw organic juice or a small piece of fresh fruit like honeydew, grapes, apple and fruits with higher water content. Watermelon is frequently used to break a fast because of the high water content. Be careful with grapefruits and oranges, the high acidic content may upset your stomach. While these foods may not seem “filling”, they are the best way to break your fast allowing your body to reap all benefits.
After having your fruits meal, introduce the veggies. It's common for people to grab a bagel to break their fast, it is the least nutritious. We want to encourage all the benefits of your fasting properly. Enjoying your veggies can be a green smoothie or a delicious vegetable soup (non-cream based) with plenty of vegetables, full of vitamins and minerals. Following your vegetable soup, bring in the carbs with a sweet potato. Simply mash up a sweet potato and add cinnamon. With sweet potatoes, you are getting potassium, beta-carotene, vitamin C and it won't send your sugar on crazy ride.
Now you have successfully and very nutritiously re-started your digestive system functions properly. Listen to your body as you slowly bring in your other foods. If you fasted for one day, spend the following next day still being gentle to your body. After fasting, your body may not desire or tolerate certain foods right away.
Be kind to your body.