“… To eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.” —Hippocrates
Every animal has a fasting instinct. If you will observe closely, sick animals often refuse to eat. This is as natural to them as it is human beings.When one stops eating solids, the healing mechanism within the body is activated.
Fasting could be as old as mankind itself. Historians have recorded that men and women have been fasting for several reasons: greater spiritual awareness, stronger mental efficiency, physical cleansing and weight loss for better health.
The ancient Greeks were true believers in the benefits of fasting.The philosopher Plato extolled its virtues. So did physicians Galen and Avicenna.
When the human body reaches an overload of toxins, autointoxification sets in. One of the surest ways to rid the body of toxins is through withdrawal of food.
Other compelling reasons include illness, fever, colds/flu, digestive problems, metabolic disorders, and arthritis/rheumatism.When food is withheld, the metabolic fire of the body needs to keep burning, so it takes stored energy from existing fats. Thus, the inner reserves are consumed.At this precise moment, the Inner Healer is awakened.
The result: inner housekeeping—the body starts to clean house.
The order of cleaning is this:
1) Nonessentials, wastes, chemicals, junk
2) Morbid humors (such as body secretions from the blood, black bile, yellow bile)
The process of screening the body to eliminate what isn’t good is called autolysis. It has been likened to an operation minus the actual surgery.
Fasting works because when the body is deprived of food, digestive secretions and enzymes work in combination in order to eliminate toxins through the gastrointestinal tract.
Toxins are stored in various parts of the body; thus, when the effects of fasting are felt, there are symptoms (oftentimes uncomfortable) which manifest, like:
Liver: pain or distension under the ribs, yellowish/sallow complexion, sore eyes, bitter taste in mouth
Skin: rashes, acne, sweating, body odors
Stomach: belching, cramps, bad breath
Before you even begin to fast, consult your doctor. Not everyone can easily fast. If you are under medication, you will require medical supervision. Pregnant women aren’t allowed to fast.
But if you don’t have any serious health challenges, a little fast will not hurt you. In fact, it can only help you feel and look better.
In many cases, I do a daily mini-fast. The last meal for me is dinner, and my next meal will be lunch. All told, I engage in a 15- to 16-hour fast every day. For breakfast, I consume 1-2 full glasses of raw, organic vegetable juice. My recipe is as follows:
2 whole peeled large carrots
1 whole peeled large singkamas (turnip)
½ or 4 slices bitter melon (ampalaya)
1 whole green peeled and seeded apple
10 leaves malunggay (optional)
3 leaves romaine lettuce
Juice all the ingredients. Drink immediately after juicing.
For water therapy, drink two cups of very warm water 10 minutes before juicing.
Drink one cup lukewarm water every hour on the hour until lunch.
There are other popular ways to fast:
The 16/8 Method—fast for 16 hours daily. This one is the closest to my regimen.
You can fast 14-16 hours by not eating between one main meal to another meal. Within the gap, you can eat 2-3 or more mini meals.This is known as the lean gains protocol.
Allowed beverages are water, coffeeand fresh juice.
For women, the preferable length of fasting is 14-15 hours.
5:2 Diet—fast two days per week (three meals a day, for five days). On fasting day, you have a total calorie intake of 500/day.
This means that you will cut back on food quantities by at least 50-75 percent.
You may eat solids.This isn’t a liquid fast.
24-hour fast—once or twice weekly, you stop eating from dinner to dinner (or lunch to lunch, breakfast to breakfast).
During this fast you cannot eat solids.
Liquids allowed are water and veggie juices.
Fast every other day—this might be extremely difficult to do. It is very challenging and not recommended for beginners.
Warrior Fast—Eat only fruits and vegetables during the day and one big dinner.
Skip meals—the spontaneous meal-skipping method, when you feel like it. Follow your instinct on this one.
Breaking your fast
The only way is to be gentle.You can introduce light soup, or drink a tonic of boiled barley.
Congee (boiled rice) is also used as a transitional fasting gruel.
In life, one never runs out of choices. But in order to make a choice, all options must be studied.
No matter how you look at it, a little bit of food withdrawal helps.This way, you can give your digestive system a short break.