Keeping your body in optimum, or hell -even acceptable working order, is going to require some basic maintenance. Doing a semi-annual fasting detox regiment is basic care, like getting your oil changed every 3000miles.
If there were an EPA overseeing the state of your body, you might find yourself listed as a superfund site! Living hard and fast in an urban environment takes its toll. Even if you’re keeping an otherwise healthy lifestyle, breathing the air and drinking the water is not without its issues. Over time your body’s ability to deal with so much toxic build up from the environment gets overwhelmed. The slightest cold virus, combined with the rest of the toxins in your body, will knock you off your feet.
Just taking some time away from eating can be a like a vacation for your digestive organs. Religions have advocated for fasting specifically in the spring time -Christians have Lent, the Bahá’í fast the whole month of `Ala’ March . Mainstream medicine doesn’t seem to know what to think, although some physicians do advocate for it.
Personal anecdotes of those who practice fasting and the way they feel before, during and after a fast can be extremely compelling. The question for many is -what is the right and wrong way to do this? What is the best type of fast for ME? And when do I need to consult a doctor about this?
Fasting doesn’t necessarily have to mean going without all food altogether. A gentle fast can include eating a raw food diet of fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts, and drinking bone and vegetable broths, smoothies or fresh vegetable juices. These dietary changes can be done for one or two days every week, or for longer periods less regularly. There are thousands of resources, from books to blogs, detailing safe and effective fasts.
I find “The New Detox Diet” by E. Haas, MD to be a very well rounded resource; which includes sample plans (based on your self assessed level of toxicity) and recipes.“Our digestive system is very busy and hard-working, which requires high amounts of energy; in fact, the digestive system can even drain energy needed for healing, repair and general maintenance of the body. Therefore, it makes sense to give it a vacation once in awhile.”. Rachel Hynd from her recent article in the Chicago tribune. Spring is a good time to do some cleaning up –including for your liver. Seasonally, according to chinese medicine theories, this is the time of reactivating the energy associated with your liver. Preparation for a deep cleanse of your body should begin with a gentle process of removing substances that do not serve your highest state of health: You know the list –all the fun stuff that taunts you. (Sugar, alcohol, gluten, dairy, meats, eggs, caffeine, tobacco) Going vegan straight edge for a couple of weeks can be a real strain on your willpower –but that’s good and part of the growth process of doing a fast!
After 7-10 days of removal, dive into a fasting regimen that suites your life and lifestyle. Herbal teas, tinctures and supplements can play a really wonderful supportive role in helping to tame the cravings and mobilize your organs to detoxify with less drama.
Fasting can also hurt. In the short term it can cause uncomfortable and unnecessary side effects of headaches, nausea, dizziness. For some it can be dangerous and unadvised. Trying a short fast and ease into it –consult your doctor about it if you have any medical conditions. When it is done well, this can become a powerful tool for increasing your well being.
Next: I will review some of the pro’s and con’s of three very popular fasting diets. The Master Cleanse, Juice fasting, & The Candida diet