Fasting for Health and Healing
Fasting refers to complete abstinence from food for a short or long period for a specific purpose. The word is derived from the old English, ‘feastan’, meaning to fast, observe, be strict.
Fasting is nature’s oldest, most effective and yet least expensive method of restoring health and is recognized as the cornerstone of natural healing. The accumulation of waste and poisonous matter in the body results from overeating. This surplus of food overburdens the digestive and assimilative organs and clogs up the system; digestion and elimination become slow and the functionality of the entire system is compromised.
By periodically depriving the body of food, the organs of elimination – the bowels, kidneys, skin and lungs – are given opportunity to expel this overload of accumulated waste. Fasting also leads to regeneration of blood as well as the repair and regeneration of tissues.
Fasting is not appropriate for everyone. Fasting can be an intense and sometimes unpleasant experience, but it can also be highly effective. Relative contraindications to prolonged fasting include pregnancy, extreme weakness, some kidney problems, diabetes, hypoglycemia, hyper/hypotension, the use of certain medications and some types of cancer.
Duration is important, because long periods of fasting can be dangerous if undertaken without competent professional guidance. It is, therefore, advisable to undertake a series of short fasts of two to three days and gradually increase the duration of each succeeding fast by a day or so. The period, however, should not exceed a week of total fasting (pure water only) at a time. This will enable the body to gradually and slowly eliminate toxic waste matter without seriously affecting the natural functioning of the body. A balanced diet following the fast will restore vigor and vitality.
Although the classic form of fasting was a pure water fast, most of the leading authorities on fasting today agree that juice fasting is far superior to a water fast. The best, safest and most effective method of fasting is juice fasting.
A precautionary measure, which must be observed in all cases of fasting, is the complete emptying of the bowels at the beginning of the fast by enema. Enemas should be administered at least every alternate day during the fasting period. Get as much fresh air as possible and drink plain lukewarm water when thirsty. Fresh juices may be diluted with pure water. The total liquid daily intake should be approximately eight to ten 8 oz. glasses (or more as determined by thirst).
A lot of energy is spent during the fast in the process of eliminating accumulated poisons and toxic waste materials. Therefore, it is importance to get as much physical rest and mental relaxation as possible during the fast.
There are several benefits of fasting. During a long fast, the body feeds upon its reserves. But it will not do so indiscriminately. The body will first decompose and burn those cells and tissues which are diseased, damaged, aged or dead. Essential tissues and vital organs, the glands, the nervous system and brain are not damaged or digested during the fast. Here lies the secret of the effectiveness of fasting as a curative and rejuvenative method. During the fast, new and healthy cell building is speeded up by the amino acids released from diseased cells.
Breaking the Fast
The success of the fast depends largely on how it is broken. This is the most significant phase.
The three main rules for breaking the fast are:
- Do not overeat, eat slowly and chew food thoroughly; take several days for the gradual change to the normal diet. The right food after a fast is as important as the fast itself. Begin with light meals of vegetables and fruit, gradually returning to a balanced diet.
- If the transition to eating solid foods is carefully planned, there will be no discomfort.
- Continue to rest during the transition period.
1. Colon Cleansing
Many diseases of the human body can be caused by auto-intoxication or self-poisoning which occurs with constipation. Constipation is a common disturbance of the digestive tract; in this condition, the bowels do not move regularly, or are not completely emptied when they move.
Constipation produces toxins which find their way into the blood stream and are carried to all parts of the body. This results in weakening of the vital organs and lowering of the resistance of the entire system. Appendicitis, rheumatism, arthritis, high blood pressure, cataracts and cancer are only a few of the diseases in which chronic constipation is an important predisposing factor.
The number of bowel movements required for normal health varies from person to person. Most people have at least one bowel movement a day; some may have two a day, while others have one every other day. However, for comfort and health, try to achieve at least one bowel movement each day.
Causes of Constipation
All foods in their natural state contain a good percentage of ‘roughage’ or fiber, which is essential in helping peristalsis – the natural rhythmic action by means of which the food is passed down the alimentary canal. Much of the food we eat today is very deficient in fiber and this can result in chronic constipation.
Consumption of refined and rich food lacking in vitamins and minerals, insufficient intake of water, eating meat in large quantities, drinking tea and coffee, insufficient chewing, and overeating may all contribute to poor bowel function.
The most important factor in managing constipation is a natural and simple diet consisting of unrefined food such as whole grain cereals, bran, honey, molasses, and beans; green and leafy vegetables, fresh fruits, especially pears, grapes, figs, papayas, mangoes, grapefruit, oranges and dried fruits such as figs, raisins, apricots and dates.
Diet alone is not enough. Food should be properly chewed-each morsel for at least 15 times. Hurried meals and meals at odd times should be avoided. Sugar and sugary foods should be strictly avoided because sugar steals B vitamins from the body, without which the intestines cannot function normally. Foods that can be constipating include all products made of white flour, rice, bread, cakes, pastries, biscuits, cheese, animal products, preserves, white sugar and eggs.
Drinking adequate amounts of water is not only beneficial for constipation but also for cleaning the system, diluting the blood and flushing out toxins. Six to eight glasses of water should be consumed daily. However, Water should be taken with meals in small amounts as it dilutes the gastric juices essential for proper digestion. Drink water either half an hour before or an hour after meals.
Where to Start
Any cleansing program should begin in the colon, the last portion of the digestive system. When the colon is clean and healthy, we experience an overall well-being.
The Role of Fiber
Both soluble and insoluble fibers are found together in plant foods in varying proportions.
Insoluble fiber comes from the structural parts (cell walls, etc.) of the plant world. Insoluble dietary fiber is found in grain bran and makes up most of the fiber in vegetables and part of the fiber in fruits. Insoluble fiber tends to speed up the passage of bowel material through intestinal tract.
Soluble fiber in many ways is the opposite of insoluble fiber. It comes from the materials in the plant world used to store water. There are many different types, but they all bind from 20-200 times their weight in water. This thickening characteristic not only gives you more bulk but it acts almost like grease in soothing and smoothing passage through the intestinal tract. Some of soluble fiber’s health benefits are attributed to this viscosifying effect. Others are attributed to its ability to bind toxic elements to itself.
With the help of fiber, elimination should be complete, fast and easy. Dietary fiber plays a crucial role in the proper function and maintenance of the colon. For colon cleansing it is best to use a fiber supplement designed specifically for this purpose such as psyllium, flaxseed meal, apple pectin or bran. Always take fiber supplements with adequate water – 8 oz. for every 1000 mg. of fiber is a good rule of thumb.
Good-quality supplements contain both soluble and insoluble fiber and are formulated to loosen the stool, absorb and sweep away fat and toxins, reduce transit time, and make elimination effortless and complete. Laxative herbs often complete the formula: senna, cascara sagrada, aloe vera, rhubarb and triphala.
2. Candida Cleanse
What is Candida?
Candida albicans is one of many species of microscopic organisms that reside normally in the digestive tract and on the skin. Under normal circumstances, Candida co-exists harmlessly with other microorganisms in the body. When the conditions are favorable, Candida can proliferate throughout the digestive tract and even affect other bodily systems. Candida is often referred to as an “opportunistic pathogen” because when it gets the opportunity, it will flourish which can lead to illness .
Causes of Overgrowth
Certain conditions favor yeast overgrowth including a diet high in sugar and frequent use of antibiotics. While antibiotics are often necessary to combat infection, they do not discriminate and kill “friendly” bacteria as well as bad bacteria. Without the good bacteria present to keep other organisms in check, Candida can begin to proliferate. Once Candida overgrowth begins, the Candida cell can shift from a yeast form to a mycelial (fungal) form and cause problems throughout the entire body. The yeast state of Candida is a non-invasive organism, and as such only creates problems in the digestive tract and where it is found normally. The fungal state of Candida however, is invasive and can wreak havoc throughout the body.
“Candidiasis” or “Yeast Syndrome” refers to a this overgrowth of Candida in the body in which the predominant symptoms are fatigue, a generalized malaise, gastrointestinal complaints, recurrent chronic infections, allergies, skin problems, decreased concentration, depression, irritability, and craving for sweets or carbohydrates. Women may have recurrent vaginal yeast infections, men may have symptoms such as anal itching or burning and itching in the penis.
Candida Control Strategies
Controlling Candida is a three-fold process. In order to bring Candida back into balance a person must eliminate sugar and yeast from their diet (which provide the food source for Candida), supplement with probiotics in order to repopulate the digestive tract with beneficial bacteria and crowd out Candida, supplement with special candida-focused enzyme preparations (which can help to digest the actual Candida cell), and undergo a Candida cleanse to assist in the elimination of the Candida. For many, balance can be achieved in as little as one month, while others may need to continue the Candida diet and probiotic supplementation for many months. Candida cleansing products should not be used long term.
A “probiotic” is a “live microbial supplement which beneficially affects us by improving the intestinal microbial balance.” The major consumption of probiotics is in the form of supplements or dairy-based foods (yogurt/kefir) containing of lactobacilli and bifidobacteria. Probiotics are particularly useful in managing yeast syndrome.
The intake of probiotics every day can dramatically incr ease the quantity of beneficial bacteria in the gut to help fight Candida. Supplements are available with a wide range of bacterial strains and in varying quantities. Ideal supplements for addressing candida should contain multiple strains of bacteria and at least 25 Billion CFUs (colony forming units).
Yogurt is another source of beneficial bacteria. However, due to sugar content in most yogurt preparations, plain unsweetened yogurt should be eaten only. The quantity of beneficial bacteria in yogurt will also be considerably less than in a probiotic formula.
Candida cleansing products on the market can vary in the ingredients they contain, but there are many common ingredients that should be looked for in an effective cleanse. Garlic, calcium undecylenate, and caprylic acid have a direct yeast-killing effect in the intestine. Other ingredients to consider are goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), pau d’arco and oil of oregano. All have antifungal properties. Additionally, tea tree oil may be used as an effective topical treatment for dermatologic Candida infection.
Cleansing reactions may be seen during the cleansing process. These can include headache, nausea and brain fog. These typically subside after the first few days of the cleanse. Fiber supplements can help lessen these effects as well as support a healthy digestive tract.
Candida Targeting Enzymes
Digestive enzyme formulas are often used to help support healthy digestion. There are also enzyme formulations on the market that target Candida directly. Taken on an empty stomach, these enzyme formulas can help to digest the actual Candida cell as opposed to food, as is usually the case. Candida targeting enzyme formulas will often contain high amounts of protease (protein-digesting) and cellulase. Protease helps to digest the protein found in the Candida cell while the cellulase helps to digest the outer cellulose wall of the cell.
Candida thrives in an environment that is rich in sugar. The importance of the removal of sugar from the diet cannot be overemphasized. The same may be said for dairy products and yeast-containing products. Many individuals who have been diagnosed with yeast syndrome get better when they follow a diet essentially devoid of sugar, yeast-containing substances and wheat. Failure to change the diet will result in failure to recover from the problem.
Nutrition Advice for Candida Overgrowth
- Yeast of all kinds must be avoided
- Always read labels – yeast is found in many food products.
- Avoid most baked goods and all sweetened baked goods
- Choose whole grain sourdough bread; whole grain or semolina pastas. Look for crackers that are whole grain and yeast free. Crackers, pastas, etc., are often enriched with yeast.
- Dairy Cheeses. Substitute soy, rice, or goat cheese. Soy & rice cheese now come in a variety of flavors Substitute soy, rice or goat cheese. Soy & rice cheese now come in a variety of flavors.
- Beer and Wine
- Neutral grain alcohol (i.e. gin, vodka) is acceptable in small quantities
- Avoid all fruit for the first four weeks. After four weeks you may eat: Grapefruit, lemon, lime, tangerines, strawberries, cranberries, kiwi, currants, mangoes, banana, fresh pineapple in small quantities.
- Do not eat walnuts or chickpeas, mushrooms and sweet potatoes.
- Other nuts, beans, seeds and vegetables are permitted.
- Eliminate chocolate, caffeine, and regular sodas.
- Water processed decaffeinated coffee is permitted, limit to one cup per day. Choose herbal teas, mineral or spring water. Avoid all sugar and sweeteners.
- Stevia root is allowed, artificial sweeteners are not recommended.
3. Liver Cleanse
The liver is the largest, most complex organ in the human body. It plays important roles in detoxification, hormonal balance, fat regulation, digestion and circulation. It performs over 500 different chemical functions. Compounds are broken down, synthesized, altered, burned, detoxified and excreted.
Some of the liver’s most important functions include:
- Metabolizing macro-nutrients: proteins, fats, carbohydrates
- Bile production
- Purifying the blood
- Acts as a blood bank for 20 to 30% of your body’s blood
- Manufacturing many vital substances such as cholesterol, blood proteins, clotting proteins and lipoproteins
- Manufacturing and metabolizing hormones.
The health and vitality of all body systems depend to a large extent on the health and vitality of the liver. Because we are constantly bombarded by toxins in our air, water and food, it is a good idea once or twice a year to renew the health of a clogged and overworked liver with a detoxification regimen.
Liver Cleansing Formulas will often contain the bitter herbs dandelion, milk thistle, burdock and artichoke; sarsaparilla, buplerum, and the flavonoids quercetin, catechin, hesperidin, and rutin. Bitter herbs contain potent substances that help to clean and protect the liver of foreign toxins. Liver Cleansing formulas can also contain sulfur- containing amino acids such as NAC, l-methionine and l-glutathione.
4. Heavy Metal Cleanse/Oral Chelation
Residues and poisons of heavy metals accumulate in the body, mainly as the result of pollution and chemical contamination of foods. Lead and mercury are the most common poisons, and their build up can result in long term nerve damage and illness, including Alzheimer’s and memory loss. In the modern world, it is impossible to escape contamination from heavy metal poisoning, largely lead, cadmium, nickel, aluminum
and mercury. Many of the sources of these contaminants have been banned by the FDA, most notably lead additives in gasoline and paint. However, residues remain in the environment and can include lead, mercury and aluminum.
Heavy Metals Damage Body Tissues and Organs
The fall of the Roman Empire has been linked to possible widespread brain damage to Rome’s residents who drank water delivered in lead pipes, a major innovation of the period. The body has not learned how to dispose of heavy metals, even in very low concentrations, and tends to store them in the lymphatic and circulatory systems; vital organs such as the brain and the liver; and also in fatty tissue. They will accumulate there for years until a point is reached when the amounts are such that they start to affect the whole body, particularly those with weakened immune systems.
Common symptoms are headaches, brought on by an overloaded liver. Mercury in the nervous system interferes with energy production in individual cells, and the cell’s ability to detoxify also becomes impaired. The cell then becomes toxic, and dies.
There are numerous Heavy Metal Cleansing and Oral Chelation formulas available. Look for those which contain one or more of the following natural substances that can support the body’s detoxification of heavy metals: Chlorella (cracked shell), Cilantro, Kelp, Sodium alginate, Spirulina, Bladderwrack, L -leucine, NAC (N- acetyl-Cysteine), and Alpha Lipoic acid.
5. Parasite Cleanse
How Can Parasites Compromise Health?
Compromised health is a direct result of parasitical infestation in our bodies. Parasites live off our body’s life-force and the sustenance that we ingest. In addition to a loss of nourishment and cellular damage, the toxicities produced by these creatures play havoc with the autoimmune system and degrade the optimum health of their host.
Sickness, disease, and numerous health challenges are the direct resultant of continued exposure and infestation. But parasites can be safely eliminated from the human body.
What is a parasite?
A parasite is an organism that lives off the host, the host being you or me. The parasites live a parallel life inside our bodies, feeding off our own energy, our own cells, or the food we eat, and even feeding off the health supplements we use.
Parasites live everywhere and are commonly transmitted to humans in diverse ways, such as insect bites, walking barefoot, human contact, animal contact, drinking water, eating under-cooked meats and fish, and numerous other ways.
Salads, raw fruits and vegetables can also contain parasites. Eating raw foods always increases the risk of parasites. It is important that all fresh vegetables an d fruit be thoroughly washed before consuming.
How can we eliminate parasites?
Parasite cleansing formulas are available that target the parasites directly. Herbs such as Black Walnut, Wormwood and Cloves have been shown to have parasite destroying abilities. Including a fiber supplement during a parasite cleanse is critical for the success of that cleanse. The fiber will help to encourage proper elimination during the cleanse, minimize cleansing reactions and even help to remove parasite remnants that might be present in the digestive tract.
6. Raw Juice Fast
Raw juice “therapy” is a method of rebalancing the systems through an exclusive diet of juices of fruits and vegetables. It is also known as juice fasting. It is a very effective way to restore health and rejuvenate the body.
During a raw juice fast, the eliminative and cleansing capacity of the organs of elimination, namely lungs, liver, kidneys and the skin, is greatly increased and masses of accumulated metabolic waste and toxins are quickly eliminated. It affords a physiological rest to the digestive and assimilative organs. After the juice fasting or raw juice therapy, the digestion of food and the utilization of nutrients are vastly improved.
As juices are extracted from plants and fruits, they possess certain healing properties. Specific juices are beneficial in specific tissue systems. Besides healing virtues, raw fruit and vegetable juices have an extraordinary revitalizing and rejuvenative effect on all the organs, glands and functions of the body .
Benefits of Juicing
Raw juices are rich in vitamins, minerals/trace minerals, enzymes and natural sugars. Almost all the vital nutrients in raw juice are assimilated directly into the bloodstream. Raw juices are extremely rich in alkaline elements and help to balance acid-alkaline balance in the blood and tissues.
Generous amounts of easily assimilated organic minerals in raw juices, especially calcium, potassium and silicon, help in restoring biochemical and mineral balance in the tissues and cells.
Raw juices contain certain natural “medicines”, vegetal hormones and antibiotics. For instance, string beans are said to contain insulin-like substance. Hormones needed by the pancreas to produce insulin are present in cucumber and onion juices. Fresh juices of garlic, onions, radish, and tomatoes contain antibiotic substances.
Things to Consider When Juicing
- All juices should be made fresh and drunk immediately.
- Dilute very sweet juice with water or mixed with less sweet juices.
- Generally speaking, fruit juices stir up toxins and acids in the body, thereby stimulating the eliminative processes. Vegetable juices work in a soothing manner, gently carrying away toxic matter.
- Duration is important. Long periods of fasting can be dangerous. Start with a series of short fasts of two to three days and gradually increase the duration of each succeeding fast by a day or so.