Fasting is an effective and safe method for helping the body detoxify itself and helps to remove unwanted substances in an efficient manner. By relieving the need to digest food, your body is able to rid itself of toxins and begin to heal.
Over time, toxins build up in the body as a result of pollutants. These pollutants come from the air we breathe and from chemicals found in food and water. However, these are not the only methods that enable toxins to enter the body.
The liver plays a major role in the body’s ability to detoxify itself. However, all organs of the body are given a chance to rest when fasting, including the kidneys, liver and colon. Periodically, our body seeks to rid itself of unwanted wastes by releasing them from tissues and entering the bloodstream.
The Benefits of Fasting:
- Purifies the blood
- Aids in weight loss
- Cleanses the eyes, tongue and breath
- Reduced toxic load in the body from the body riding itself of toxins and from a lack of toxins being consumed during the fast
- Reduced inflammation in the digestive tract (as a result of allergenic foods)
- Improved immunity as a result of increased tissue oxygenation and improved movement of white blood cells
- Fat-stored chemicals, such as pesticides and chemicals are released from the body
- Reduced emotional eating
- Physical and emotional awareness to food is increased
Who should fast?
In today’s culture, we are all exposed to harmful substances. That’s because toxins are found in our food and tap water, as well as in our clothing, make up, body creams, cleaning products, drugs and medications. If you live in a major city, your exposure further increases. Toxic substances are found virtually everywhere. Therefore, enhancing detoxification pathways of the body can be extremely beneficial.
Fasting is a recommended practice for most illnesses, as it gives the body a chance to recover. This includes:
- Acute illnesses such as the common cold
- Colon disorders – colitis, IBS, Crohn’s
- Respiratory diseases – excess mucous, throat infections
- To improve general well-being and vitality
The least receptive illnesses to fasting includes chronic and degenerative diseases. Whenever performing a fast, you should do so under the supervision of a qualified health professional. This is especially important if you suffer from diabetes, hypoglycemia, or another chronic health problem.
How long should I fast?
Different lengths of fasting are appropriate for different conditions and body types. For instance, a 3 day fast will help rid the body of toxins and cleanse the blood. Where as a 5 day fast is useful for healing and rebuilding the immune system. Fasting for 10 days is beneficial for degenerative diseases and to fight off illness. It is best to start with a short fast of 1 – 2 days to ease yourself into the process both physically and mentally. A 1 or 2 day fast can be performed once or twice a month.
What to AVOID while fasting?
It is not recommended to fast on water alone, as this releases toxins too quickly. Pregnant women should never fast, and mothers who are breastfeeding should also avoid fasting. If at any point during your fast you feel light headed or dizzy, eat 1/4 teaspoon of salt, or include some bone broth in your diet.
Fasting is best performed during the warm, summer months. Many of the foods that are consumed during a fast are considered “breakdown” foods. As a result, they will not supply the body with adequate heat, which is required to sustain body warmth.
What you CAN consume during a fast and how to prepare
On the other hand, juice fasting will continue to supply the body with vitamins, minerals and enzymes. This type of fast will also help you grow accustom to the taste of fruits and vegetables, which will help you continue eating a healthy diet once the fast has ended. Eat only raw fruits and vegetables the day before fasting. This will allow your body to adjust to the absence of food. Consume adequate fibre before and after fasting (but not during) to cleanse the colon.
- Consume at least 10 8-ounce glasses of filtered water daily. Reverse osmosis is best, followed by a Berkey or Santevia filtration system. Tap water contains toxic substances and should always be filtered. Plastic bottled water and a Brita filtration system are not ideal sources either.
- Drink warm lemon water to alkalinize the body and break up acidity
- AVOID combining fruits and vegetables. Apples are one of the only exceptions
- The first meal after a fast should be comprised of raw fruits and vegetables, as consuming solid and cooked foods immediately after can negate some of the fasting benefits. Digestive secretions are lowered during a fast and so the first meal should always be something that is easy to digest!
- Get adequate rest during a fast and avoid strenuous activities, both physically and mentally
Foods and Juices
- Dilute all juices with water to ease the digestive process (1 part water to 3 parts juice)
- Green juices are best! My favourite recipe for detoxification includes:
- Turmeric root
- Optional: dandelion greens, aloe vera, parsley and cilantro
- Raw cabbage juice (specifically useful for ulcers, cancer and colon disorders
- You can either use a juicer, or purchase juices from a reputable, organic juicing company such as The Village Juicery or The Big Carrot Juice Bar. Another option is to use a blender and strain all of the pulp once blended. The pulp can be refrigerated or frozen to use in a soup once the fast has finished
- AVOID orange juice, and juices from concentrate or that have added sugar or sweeteners
- You can take spirulina powder during a fast to provide the body with protein and an abundance of vitamins and minerals. It also contains chlorophyll to help cleanse the blood. Take 1 teaspoon 3 times daily.
- Herbs can be used during a fast and taken 2 or more times daily. The following teas can be beneficial to drink during a fast:
- Alfalfa. burdock, dandelion and milk thistle to cleanse the liver and blood
- Peppermint for its calming effect on the digestive tract, nerves and for nausea and gas
- Slippery elm is great for leaky gut and for inflammation in the colon
- Garlic extract in capsule form can be taken before, during and after a fast. It will help to rid the body of unwanted bacteria, parasites and to aid in the healing process. NOW foods “Garlic 5000” can be taken once or twice daily. You may prefer to take this supplement in the morning or mid day, and with juice.
Dry Skin Brushing
- To help rid the skin of dead skin cells and toxins that are eliminating themselves from the body. This will free up the pores and allow the excretion of poisons from the body. This process will also stimulate the lymphatic system, which is responsible for clearing the body of wastes and debris.
- Ensure to use a brush with natural bristles and always gently brush towards the heart.