What’s not to love about eating?
Over-indulgence with food must be the most common habit that people acquire. Of course, people eat when they are hungry. But we all tend to overeat at other times: when their boss gives them a raise; during birthdays and holidays; when a relationship sours—basically whenever we get stressed. There is nothing wrong with enjoying different kinds of food.
Yet, is there enough time for our digestive system to process the food we ate? Are we giving rest to our digestion from an unending cycle of grinding, absorbing and eliminating the food we enjoyed? The main reason why we feel sluggish after eating too much is that the digestive to-do list is overloaded: it requires tons of energy just to finish processing what was consumed. Why not take a break from it all?
As we fast, the digestive system rests, which leads to a cleaning and detoxifying process. By eliminating solid food and only drinking liquids, our digestion switches to a passive mode, which enables the body to move into its self-healing mechanism. During this state of clearing of the digestive track, most of the energy is used to heal the body During a fast we use stored sugars, so less insulin is needed and the pancreas gets a break as well. Those who fast regularly, enjoy increased energy and physical lightness in the body. And a longer fast helps the mind to clear and self-control to strengthen.
Everyone’s physical condition is unique; as we fast, different symptoms arise in an expression of the release of toxins specific to our particular makeup. Alcoholics, smokers, extreme meat eaters and spicy food lovers are most the likely prospects for having a ‘healing crisis.’ During a fast, you might experience:
- Skin problems
- Minor depression
- Lack of focus(at first)
- Body and mouth odors
Don’t worry about these toxin expressions! It’s good that’s it’s all getting out! This might tempt you to think of breaking the fast, but encourage yourself to continue. For long fasting, the first 5 days are the most troublesome. After that, everything becomes easy-breezy if you choose to continue this kind of body cleansing.
For an easier, less symptomatic long fast, eat only fruit for 1-2 days before you fast—the natural fiber and high water content loosens stools and sweeps your digestive track clean. Since our digestive system shrinks during a fast, it is crucial to break a fast slowly. During the first 3 days of ‘re-entry’ consume only juicy fruit to slowly wake up the muscles of the stomach, liver, pancreas, small intestines and colon.
These pre- and post- fast procedures ensure a stronger detoxification. A one-day fast at least twice a month helps to maintain good health and is best broken with fruit for breakfast to allow our body to welcome the re-introduction of food. But before eating any food, a ‘purge’ flushes out the bad stuff and invigorates the organs. To purge, drink 1 liter of lemon water (1/8 – ½ of a lemon, depending on size or if you have hyperacidity) with 1-2 tablespoons of salt within 2 minutes. The number of lemon depends on ones capacity. This thoroughly flushes out your colon.
Furthermore, as a standard practice, drinking water in small frequent sips (at least a total of 3-4 liters/day) aids the flush. How long you fast depends on how you feel, but the more days of detox, the cleaner and lighter you get.
There is no reason to ‘fear the fast!’ By making fasting a habit, we give our digestion a nice rest, lighten and energize our bodies, clear our minds…and life subsequently becomes more enjoyable and fulfilling.