How to fast
Intake of most nutritional supplements can also be stopped the day before fasting. Supplements are usually not recommended during a fast. Many people do well by preparing for their fasts with 3 or 4 days of consuming only fruits and vegetables. These foods nourish and slowly detoxify the body so that the actual fasting will be less intense.
Start with a 1-day fast
The first 1-day fast (actually 36 hours, including the nights - from 8 p.m. one night until 8 a.m. the following day) gives us a chance to see what a short fast can be like, to see that this is not so difficult and doesn't cause any major distress.
One of the problems with fasting is that it can be the most difficult for those who need it the most, such as the regular 3-square-meals-plus-snacks/day consumers who eat whenever and whatever they want. Often these people must start with more subtle diet changes and prepare even more slowly for fasting.
A transition plan which can be used before even going on the 1-day fast is the 1-meal-a-day plan. The one daily meal is usually eaten around mid-afternoon. Water, fresh fruit or vegetable juices, and teas can be eaten at other times. The one wholesome meal is not rich or excessive. It can be a protein-vegetable meal, such as fish and salad/steamed vegetables, or a starch-vegetable meal, such as brown rice with mixed steamed greens, celery, carrots, and zucchini. People on this plan start to detoxify slowly, lose a bit of weight, and after a few days feel pretty sound. The chance of any strong detoxification symptoms developing, as might occur with fasting, is minimal with this type of transition, and the actual fast, once begun, will be handled more easily, too.
The goal then, is to move into a 1-day fast and then a few 2- and 3-day fasts with 1 or 2 days between them when light foods and more raw vegetables and fruits are consumed, and also provide fluids, soups, juices, and a generally alkaline cleansing diet. This way, we can build up to a 5 to 10-day fast.
Juice fasting provides nutrients to your body
Again I do not recommend a water fast. A juice fast is much easier for most people. The fresh juices of raw vegetables and fruits are what most fasting clinics and practitioners recommend. The juices provide calories and nutrients on which to function and build new cells, and also provide important enzymes contained in these vital foods. (Food enzyme theories are discussed at length in Dr. Edward Howell's book "Enzyme Nutrition") Raw foods are considered the healing force in our diet because they contain active enzymes, which are broken down once foods are cooked. Many consider a raw-food diet the most healing and most nutritious diet.
For the begining faster, it is best to go slowly through the various steps and to avoid being impatient or excessive so that we learn about ourselves in the process. To do this, we need to make a plan and put it into effect, observing or listening to our body and even keeping notes in a journal. Get to really know yourself. Then, once we have fasted successfully, we could continue to do 1-day fasts every week or a 3-day fast monthly if we need them.
Cleasing the colon during fasting
Fasting clinics often suggest that enemas be used daily to help cleanse the colon, while fasting. With these, usually filtered water alone is used to flush the colon of toxins. Instructions on how to do an enema can be found here. Although when fasting, replace the coffee with filtered water only.
Herbal laxatives are commonly taken orally during fasting. These include cascara sagrada, psyllium (in my opinion the best price on the internet for a high quality psyllium supplement is here), senna leaves and Licorice Root. The "saltwater flush" is useful for those who can tolerate it. A solution of 2 teaspoons of unrefined sea salt is dissolved in a quart of warm filtered water (not distilled) and is drunk first thing in the morning on every other day throughout the fast to flush the entire intestinal tract. Whatever colon cleansing method is used, keep in mind that regular cleansing of the colon and intestines is a key component of healthy and stress-free fasting.
The amount of vegetable and fruit juice you drink will determine the intensity of the cleansing. Drinking small amounts of juice supplies fewer calories, which increases the intensity of detoxification. The more intense the cleansing, the greater the discomfort. Juice fasting allows you to have control over the process of elimination. However, when the body enters a cleansing crisis due to toxins in the blood, no amount of juice will eliminate the discomfort. You must wait it out.
Breaking the fast
It is important to make a gradual transition back into our regular diet, rather than just going out to dinner after a week-long fast. Breaking a fast must be planned and done carefully and slowly to prevent creating symptoms and sickness. It is suggested that we take a few days to move back into our diet, which is hopefully a new, more healthful diet. Our digestive system has been at rest, so we need to go slowly and chew our foods very well.
With juice fasting, it is easier to make the transition back into foods. A raw or cooked low-starch vegetable, such as spinach or other greens, can be used. A laxative-type meal, such as grapes, or soaked or stewed prunes, or cherries, can also be used to initiate eating, as it is important to keep the bowels moving. Some experts say that the bowels should move within 2 to 3 hours after the first meal. If not, take an enema. Some people may want to do a saltwater flush (drinking a quart of water with 2 teaspoons of unrefined sea salt dissolved in it) before their first day of food.
However you make the transition from fasting to foods, go slowly, chew well, and do not overeat or mix too many foods at a single meal. Simple vegetable meals, soups or salads can be used to start.
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Ask me any nutrition-related question, for free via Skype video, everyday from 11AM to 11:30AM, Central Time. More info here.
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