Just like an oil change for your car, fasting is essential periodic maintenance for your body.
You’ve got to do it.
If you’re eating a Western Diet / Standard American Diet, rich in meat, dairy, refined sugar, salt, oils, and processed junk food, you’re putting toxins in your body faster than it can eliminate them.
Over time these toxins accumulate inside you until there is a tipping point at which your body is so overloaded that essential systems and functions begin to break down.
This accumulation of toxins from an unhealthy diet and our environment are major contributors to chronic disease.
This is why fasting was an important part of my anti-cancer regimen.
We all know food is the fuel for our bodies, but what most people don’t realize is that processed food is dirty fuel. It is not “clean burning” and it leaves toxic deposits, which cause internal wear and tear over time.
Not only does your body convert food into energy, but it also uses approximately 1/3 of your energy to digest food.
Would you describe yourself as dependent on caffeine or sugar to get going or stay alert throughout the day?
If you said yes, you may be overeating for your metabolism, and if you’re consistently eating three or more meals per day you may be suffering from a food-induced energy drain.
Ever felt the need to take a nap after a big meal? That’s what I’m talking about. Even if you aren’t overweight, you may be eating more than you need or eating food that takes energy away from you like animal protein.
My cancer healing diet was every simple. I drank Veggie Juice throughout the morning and ate some fruit around 10 am, like a green apple or a grapefruit. I ate a Giant Salad for lunch; a Smoothie or fruit for an afternoon snack; and another Giant Salad with some healthy carbs like quinoa, organic brown rice, lentils, or a sweet potato for dinner.
Anyway, back to fasting…
When you fast, digestion stops and your body basically “switches modes” from digestion mode to house cleaning mode; redirecting energy to where it is needed most.
Imagine worker cells in your body saying “Well, there’s food to process today, let’s see what needs repair around here.” That’s essentially what happens. Instead of focusing energy on digestion, your body begins repairing damaged organs and tissues; breaking down and eliminating toxic deposits; and “resetting” internal processes that may be functioning poorly like your immune system, metabolism, adrenals, hormones, brain chemistry, etc.
Fasting happens every night when you sleep. Your body focuses on repair, regeneration, and detoxification. That’s why the next morning when you eat, it’s called “Break-Fast”. Not eating for several days allows this process to continue uninterrupted, compounding the healing benefits.
One way you can improve your nightly regenerative sleep is to eat an early dinner before 7pm and eat nothing else all night until mid-morning or lunchtime the following day. (Drinking veggie juice or caffeine-free herbal tea before bed is fine.) This gives your body 12-16 hours per day to repair itself.
The Day of Rest: God instituted one day per week as a day of rest. Most of us recognize this as as Sunday. Whether it’s sunday or not, I strongly recommend you have one day per week where you do nothing. Literally nothing. We go to church on Sunday morning eat lunch and then take naps and relax for the rest of the day. Doing nothing may be hard for some who really enjoy working, but your body and brain need a break. The less physical energy you exert, the more energy your body has to repair itself. Sunday is also a perfect day to fast while you rest, maximizing your body’s regenerative capability. If you eat an early dinner Saturday night and don’t eat again until Monday lunch, that’s a 40 hour fast! Very doable.
Something else that happens when you fast. You start burning stored fat for energy (aka ketosis), so you should experience some weight loss. That’s one thing most people won’t complain about. And the more fat you have, the longer you can go without food.
Expect to have low energy during a fast, not because you aren’t eating, but because your body has switched gears and is redirecting all available energy toward repairing itself. The less energy you consume, the more your body has to use in the healing process.
When you begin to detox, large quantities of toxins are released into your body faster than it can get them out. This flood of toxins is going to make you feel bad, along with withdrawals from junk food caffeine, sugar, salt, fat and animal protein, but only temporarily.
This is commonly referred to as the Healing Crisis or the Herxheimer Reaction.
So expect to feel worse before you feel better. Your body is trying to push toxins out anyway it can: in your sweat, mucus, pee, and poop. You will feel tired and weak and may experience headaches, nausea, irritability, and in severe cases vomiting, upset stomach, pimples, and flu-like symptoms.
The more toxic you are, the worse you’ll feel, but it’s a good thing. Don’t quit! You’ve got to be determined to power through. The first fews days are the hardest, but after that your energy will return and you’ll feel amazing.
Consider taking a week off, or a long weekend with no commitments on the calendar to start your fast.
This is a time when it’s ok to be selfish. You are working on you. Just focus on relaxing and lounge around while your body does its thing. Pray and meditate on healing verses from scripture. Watch some funny movies. Sleep alot.
Some complementary activities that will assist in the detox process are massage therapy followed by a mineral bath, visits to a sauna, walking or rebounding, and enemas or colonics to clean out toxins trapped in your colon. Yes enemas and colonic are kinda gross, but if you don’t do it, toxic metabolic waste can end up recirculating in your body, which makes you feel worse and limits the effectiveness of the fast. Sweating also helps your body detox faster.
Two basic liquid fasts are water fasts and juice fasts.
A straight water fast is the most powerful health changing action you can take. I’ve heard stories of people who have beaten stage 4 cancer with a 40 day water fast.
Most of us have no idea what it feels like to go even one day without food. Water fasting will give you a whole new perspective on the poor and starving people in the world. But I what you will experience is not physical starvation, it’s psychological food-additicion, and that will only be for a few days. Your stomach will shrink and your hunger will subside.
Juice Fasting with Veggie Juice is much easier as the juice helps curb your appetite and gives you energy. It’s easier than a water fast.
“How long should I fast?”
4-7 days is common. Some folks go for several weeks, even as long as 90 days on juice. This may sound funny but it’s true. The fatter you are, the longer you can go without food. Fat is the way your body stores energy, which is how our ancestors survived when food was scarce. I have a high metabolism and very low body fat so I can’t fast for more than 7-10 days.
Detoxing happens in phases: You’ll feel lousy the first few days, then you’ll feel great for a few days, then you may feel lousy again for a day or so, then great again, and so on.
Fasting is not Starvation
As you fast, your body will primarily break down fat and non-essential tissues first to use for energy. Think about it like this. If you were stranded in a cabin in a blizzard with no heat and no firewood, in order to stay warm, you would burn the least important items first, like furniture. You aren’t going to throw your clothes blankets and food on the fire.
Your body is the same way. It will burn through what it identifies as the least essential tissue first, like fat, cysts, and tumors. This will happen first before your body experiences true starvation, which is the break down of vital organs and tissue.
I recommend breaking a fast with small portions of fresh fruit. Don’t go pig out. Your shrunken stomach will not appreciate it.
Disclaimer: Generally speaking, a 1-10 day water or juice fast is safe for the average person. But if you have serious health issues and are taking prescription medications, fasting should be done under medical supervision.