There are as many types of fasts as there are reasons and benefits of fasting.
The origin of fasting is unknown, but it has been used in religious rites and health regimens since history was first recorded.
There are times when you instinctively abstain from food such as during a sickness, when grieving, or when you are being physically active or busy.
Although fasting seems to be a natural impulse, it is not always a good idea. For instance, pregnant or lactating women, children or anyone in a chronically weakened state should not fast because they need sustenance.
This article was prompted by an event involving a person I was working with, who had advanced breast cancer. She was doing well by nourishing her body and doing poultices. She then went to an ND (Doctor of Naturopathy) in Maryland who counseled this woman who weighed 84 pounds to go on a fast, eating only grapes. In a few weeks this dear lady, died of malnutrition.
Please only consider a fast if you are in stable enough health so not to do more damage.
An extended fast should also be done with caution and supervision. To determine if fasting is an option for you, first consult a competent health practitioner.
During a fast, the immense energy needed to break down food is eliminated. The body's attention can then focus on repairing.
The body also starts to excrete toxins that were stored in the organs and tissue. Detoxification is quite quick and efficient because you are cleansing out the old while eliminating the addition of new toxins to the system. It is wise to make sure your liver can handle the toxic load.
Detoxifying benefits of fasting can include: obtaining self control, spiritual awareness, expelling worms, gaining control over yeast and weight loss.
There are 2 major categories of fasts.
One is based on duration and one on what is consumed.
A fast can last 1, 3 or 7 days or for a prolonged time. Anything over a 3 day fast should be done under the care of a competent health professional.
Another is based on what is or isn't consumed. When most people think of a fast, they think of no food, just water. Although that is one type of fast, some go on a mono fast, where they limit digestion to one food a day.
For example, carrots and carrot juice one day then the next day perhaps apples and apple juice. Others go on a Juice Fast and they consume no solid food but sip small amounts of fresh juice all day.
Fasting is not about just not eating. There are certain guidelines that must be followed. If you plan to go on a fast that will last longer than 3 days, I strongly suggest that you prepare for the fast. It is self-defeating to eat a large meal, fast and end your fast by eating another large meal.
So steps of a 1 day fast would be as follows:
It is also important to drink a prudent amount of fluids or water.
Phases of a common fast.
Cleansings can be through the kidneys which can cause backaches, through the respiratory which can induce cold like symptoms and expulsion of phlegm, through the skin by way of acne or boils and ,of course, through the bowel, usually diarrhea. The toxins could be chronic and old and may be quite foul.
Other physical effects can be a coating on the tongue and an unpleasant odor and taste in mouth, headaches, increased body odor, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, visual and hearing problems, aching muscles and joints, dry flaky skin, irregular heart beats, feelings of rejection, persecution and depression.
If any of these symptoms seem severe or if you are not sure your symptoms are part of the cleansing process, contact the person that is supervising your fast.
It is imperative that you do not suppress this cleansing. However, if you add more vegetable juicing, you can usually lessen its severity.
If you are on medication, contact your doctor and let him know you want to fast. Dosages may have to be adjusted!
Herbs can be taken sparingly. It is important that you are having bowel movements during a fast. Some people use enemas.
If you are not an enema advocate, I suggest plenty of water with some psyllium and cascara sagrada.
If you have been on a fast for more than 7 days and develop a strong hunger, it is probably your body's way of telling you that you should end the fast.
A fast can be a very effective and cheap health tool, if done safely and wisely. I suggest you get someone to work with you when you do. To keep a check on you.
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***When working with natural health it is beneficial that you have an understanding of the signs of a healing body. ***