Lose Weight, Body Cleansing
Whether we are fasting for health or spiritual reasons then it can seem a bit daunting at first. But it needn’t be a difficult process, and can in fact be invigorating and joyful.
The first time I undertook a fast I was a bit anxious. I knew I wouldn’t die (I was only doing it for 24 hours, after all), but I did wonder how I would cope only consuming water. I convinced myself that I would probably spend the next day with no energy and feeling frail.
My actual experience was completely different. I found I had more energy, by the end of the day I was mentally sharp, and the experience was empowering. I felt great. Since then I have fasted regularly, ranging from 1 to 9 days.
What is fascinating about fasting for health is that you get to see that the biggest obstacle is your mind. OK, your stomach may grumble every now and again, but it is the thinking about food that can make it a bit of a bumpy experience. But thoughts come and go, so as long as you don’t get involved with them it should be pretty easy. Having another focus throughout the day can help.
Fasting For Health – A Long History
Fasting for spiritual breakthrough is part of every major religious or spiritual tradition (like Jesus’ 40 days and nights in the desert), and it is considered a purifying activity which reduces identification with the body and brings the aspirant closer to the experience of God.
Fasting for health has also been an important part of ayurvedic, traditional and naturopathic healthcare. If you watch an animal when it gets sick you will notice that it stops eating, or eats a lot less. This is nature’s response to illness. By not eating, the energy that is used by the processes of digestion and elimination can be redirected to healing.
In fact, the ancient Greek physician, Hippocrates said, “Everyone has a physician inside him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.”
How To Fast
The two most popular types of fast are the water fast and the juice fast (No prizes for guessing what these are about.)
A water fast is easy to do, particularly if you are only fasting for one day – don’t eat, and just drink water. That’s it! Well, let me clarify that last bit; it would be better to chew your water before you swallow it – this helps in the release of the vibrant energy of the water (prana).
A juice fast involves more preparation as you will need to buy the fruits and vegetables in advance, so plan what you think you will need. One of the benefits of fasting for health with juices is that your body receives a nourishing intake of vitamins and minerals. Once again, chew the liquid – this also helps your saliva mix with the juice so the stomach can break it down most efficiently.
You can manually press juices but by far the best juicer I have ever used is the Samson Juicer (sold as the Matstone Juicer in UK). It’s more expensive but is well-built and will last for years. It’s easy to use and clean and it gives you a much higher nutrient count than conventional centrifugal juicers (which actually destroy enzymes).
One-day fasting for health schedule
evening before – light supper, fruit or a slice of toast
fast day – water or juices
break-fast next day – fruit
lunch next day – salad, fruit, slice of toast
dinner next day – back to normal (well done!)
You can fast for longer, but please be safe. Do some further research before going into it. I don”t say this to discourage you – fasting is one of the greatest things you can do for your health.
To begin with I recommend choosing one day of the week and making that your fasting day. Very quickly you will probably realize just how amazing this is and it will become a normal part of your healthy lifestyle.
Recommended books: My first introduction to the subject of fasting for health was by reading, The Miracle of Fasting by Paul Bragg. It’s a great book – a bit quirky, but full of useful information, and stories that can motivate you to give fasting a try.
There are a number of books with juicing recipes. The one we mostly use in our home is Super Juice by Michael van Straten, which has a good range of inspiring and tasty juice recipes.