Fasting – cleansing the body and mind
Fasting has a long history in almost every religion on earth. The Christians have Lent. The Moslems have Ramadan. The Hindus have Ekadasi every two weeks.
There are many physical and psychological benefits of going without food for short and long periods of time.
1) You give your stomach and digestive system a period of rest in which it can begin to relax and strengthen itself.
2) You allow time for the excess waste products which build up in your body to begin to break down and be eliminated. (You can accelerate this elimination process with «cleansing techniques» which will be discussed). This factor is invaluable in healing yourselves of disease.
3) The mind is less attached to desires which cause so many emotional difficulties when one does without food for a day or so. We inevitable feel good when we sacrifice something for an ideal.
4) The mind has more clarity when the body is not filled with large quantities of food.
DO NOT OVERDO IT. If you have not fasted before, then start slowly by fasting for twelve hours, then a week later try twenty four hours. Then 36 hours. Then 48 hours. You will find this very beneficial to your health. Ask for professional advice on fasting. There are natural health cure doctors or yoga teachers who can advise you about how and how long to fast.
DO NOT FAST WHEN YOU HAVE MANY ACTIVITIES. Fast when you can spend the day resting and do not need much energy. The first three days of a fast are always the most difficult. After the third day there is plenty of energy for any activity. After you have explained to your body that you are not going to eat for a certain time for such and such reasons. it will accept and you will not be so tired, or hungry. (You may actually want to speak internally to your body as if it were another person – this often helps you to think more about your body).
Elimination of waste products (toxins)
When we fast the body begins to eat itself. This sounds terrible but it is actually very good. The body first begins to consume all the toxins and other unneeded extras hanging out in the body.
These toxins are what give a fertile environment for all types of germs to set up their colonies causing what we call disease. They also build up into salt deposits to form arthritic conditions, kidney stones, gall stones, gout etc.
They must be removed, and fasting is the most efficient way to do it.
During the fast we can facilitate this removal of the toxins in various ways. Toxins are expelled naturally by the body; a) through the bowels, b) through the urine, c) through the skin, d) through the lungs, e) through the mucous, and f) in women, through the monthly menstruation.
We can facilitate these processes in the following ways:
a) Enemas to remove collected fecal matter from the colon walls. This is especially important during fasting because with no food in the stomach the normal peristalsis movements stop, and bowel movements become very seldom. Too many enemas can also do harm. For instructions on how to take a proper enema, see the section on «Cleansing Techniques».
b) Drink plenty of liquids; water, juice, herb tees (no sweetener). These liquids will cleanse the kidneys and aid in the carrying out of wastes.
There is some controversy over which type of fasting is more effective, water or juice fasting. (By juice, we mean of course fresh fruits or vegetables juiced at the moment of drinking with your own juicer).
On the one hand, water fasting is said to be more purifying in that it causes more burning up of toxins. On the other hand juice fasting makes the blood alkaline which increases removal of toxins. Also juice fasting is easier in that you have a supply of energy for work and for the heart. Certainly people with low blood pressure would be better off with juice fasting or fruit fasting – but they should consult their doctor before they do any fasting.
For short fasts (1 to 3 days), I prefer water. For longer fasts (3 to 30 days), I prefer juice fasting.
There is no lack of energy. On is able to carry on very well with one’s activities.
c) Taking baths in the sea or salt baths in your home can help drowXX the toxins out through the skin. Rubbing the skin with a dry brush also helps to escape away the dead particles and dirt (see section on Cleansing Techniques).
d) Deep breathing exercises will help to remove waste through the breath. You will notice that your breath will be smelling badly during fasting; or at least your family and friends will notice. This has to do with the toxins flowing out. (See chapter III).
e) If the nasal passages and sinuses become blocked one can cleanse them with either air or water as described in the section on Cleansing Techniques.
f) The stomach can also be washed to remove whatever waste products are resting there. (Cleansing Techniques).
Sometimes when you are first fasting, your body will, in the process of eliminating wastes, create a desire a desire for the very waste it is expelling. Try to avoid being overcome by this. Once your body has eliminated this waste, it will not crave it.
During the first days of a fast, there are occasionally periods of increased stress felt either mentally or physically. These may manifest as headaches, nervousness, tiredness, coldness, pains, or you may have no reaction at all.
One should keep in mind that for the average person there is absolutely no danger in a 3 day fast. Rather than to start eating, one could — one or more of these tension relieving techniques described elsewhere in the book.
Warm herb tea,
Warm relaxing bath,
Slow rhythmic breathing,
8) A walk in nature and fresh air or 9) A massage.
There are basically three types of fasting:
1) Pure (bottled) water fasting.
2) Fresh vegetable or fruit juice fasting. Sometimes people like to include unsweetened herb teas with that, and of course pure water. One should not mix fruits with vegetables in the same glass. There should be at least 2 hours between each glass of juice. Drink as much water as you want.
Carrot and beer, or carrot and celery, or carrot and cucumber make nice healthy combinations. Apples, peaches, pears, figs, grapes: make tasty, healthy juice; oranges and grapefruits too.
3) Fresh Fruit fasting can be done by people who do not have access to a juices. They will use their teeth to juice the fruit. Make sure all fruit is in season, ripe and sweet. Chew it very well, turning it all into liquid before swallowing.
BREAKING THE FAST
ending the fast, it is most important not to overeat or eat foods which are difficult to digest. A fast is most beneficially broken with some sweet fruit such as grapes, peaches and apples. Milk is also good, but not with the fruit. One should eat no bread or cooked foods for at least 3 days after a fast. Gradually one may eat more complex foods which are not as easily digested. One should never eat any meat or cheese directly after a fast, as these are too rich for the system.
The ability of the body to turn its attention to the process of elimination of accumulated waste products during a fast, offers maintaining food health. Most disease is the result of wrong eating and living, which has resulted in the build-up of waste products in the body.
Fasting reverses this process. Those who are extremely ill or weak should consult a Naturopathic Doctor before undertaking a fast.