Leverage This Ancient Practice for Better Health

Fasting is great way to detoxify your body.

Fasting has been practiced for centuries for religious, spiritual
and health reasons. It is also done for atonement, and as a tool
to develop self-discipline and self-control.

When you are sick, your body naturally shuts down the typical
hunger signals, so you don’t want to eat. This allows your body
to leverage the energy normally applied to digestion and
assimilation towards repair and recuperation. 

I experienced this mechanism for myself last week, when I finally
succumbed to a stomach bug that had rampaged through our entire
household. (Except the pets).

Not only did I not want to eat, I couldn’t eat — or drink for
that matter.

As the bug wound down and I began to feel better, I deliberately
waited to eat, and focused instead on re-hydrating.

Many people think that fasting means no food and no drink, other
than water. However, there are various methods of fasting. I’ll
discuss a couple that may fit in better with your requirements
and lifestyle.

(Quick note: I’m no expert on fasting. If you decide to make
fasting a regular part of your lifestyle, get a good book on it.
A great one is by Paul and Patricia Bragg, called Super Fasting
for Health.)

There are two types of fasts that seem to be the most popular:
the water fast and the fruit fast.

When you do a water fast, you drink only water. This is probably
the fastest way to get rid of wastes and toxins that have built
up in your body. Usually you do a water fast for at least two
to three days.

On the downside, this type of fast can be too much for many
people. It rids your body of toxins so fast, that it can
actually make you sick.

You aren’t really sick. But you sure can feel that way. Headaches,
muscle and joint aches, irritable bowel, irritability and
depressed mood…wow, I’m sure not making this seem like a good
option, am I?

If you are already eating pretty healthy and exercising
regularly, you can probably do a water fast without terrible
side effects.

If you have been eating poorly, drinking alcohol or a lot of
caffeinated beverages….well, you may want to try a fruit

With a fruit fast, you consume only fresh fruit, and freshly
squeezed fruit juices.

For best results you should stay on the fast for at least two
to three days. Proponents of the fruit fast recommend staying
on it for a week.

Fruit is very cleansing and detoxifying. However, it also
provides calories for energy, as well as anti-oxidants and
bioflavonoids. These micro-nutrients are energy and health
enhancing, so they mitigate the side effects of detoxification.

In other words, you feel better and have more energy, even as
you detox.

If you want, you can add fresh vegetables and vegetable juices
into the mix.

Generally, it’s best to alternate days: one day on fruit only,
next day on veggies only, and so forth.

With a fruit and/or vegetable fast, be sure to drink lots and
lots of filtered water. The water is essential to helping your
body excrete waste products and toxins. The more you drink,
the easier the process.

If you have not fasted before, you may be a bit intimidated
by the thought of going without food for three days, or one
week. It is a very different experience than your normal

The longest I’ve fasted is three days.

The first day or two, all you are thinking about is food. You
have headaches because you missed your morning coffee and/or
afternoon soda. You feel hungry and tired and begin to wonder, 
“What the heck am I doing this for?”

After the first day or two, you begin to feel energized, even
without eating. Since your body does not have to expend energy
on digestion, it puts its energy to use for other purposes.

An alternative to a “long” fast is to fast once a month for
24 or 36 hours. In other words, fast from dinner on day one to
dinner on day 2. Or fast from dinner on day 1 to breakfast on
day 3.

Coming off a fast is just as important as doing the fast

For your first meal after a fast, don’t hit the drive-through
at McDonalds. Have a fresh salad or some fruit. This helps
break your digestive system back into eating in a smooth

If you pig out after a fast, you will pay the price, and
possibly defeat the purpose of the fast. Listen to your body,
and progress to a normal diet over a day or so.

You Can Do It!

Copyright, Karen Van Ness, 2011

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