|Nutritional Program for Fasting|
Boil water. Add ginger root. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in miso paste to taste. Turn
off fire. Then add green onion, some cilantro, cayenne, olive oil, lemon juice. Remove from burner and cover to steep for 10 minutes. May vary ingredient portions to satisfy flavors. Enjoy.
Breaking a Fast
When to stop fasting and make a transition back into eating also takes some inner attunement. Things to watch for include energy level, weight, detox symptoms, tongue coating, and degree of hunger. If our energy is up and then falls for more than a day or if our weight gets too low, these may be signs that we should come off the fast. If symptoms are intense or if any suddenly appear, it is possible that we need food. Generally, the tongue is a good indicator of our state of toxicity or cleansing and clarity. With fasting, the tongue usually becomes coated with a white, yellow, or gray film. This represents the body’s cleansing, and it will usually clear when the detox cycle is complete. Tongue observation is not a foolproof indicator, however. Some people’s tongues may coat very little, while others will remain coated. In this case, if we were to wait until it totally cleared, we may overextend our cleanse. If in doubt, it is better to make the transition back to foods and then cleanse again later. Hunger is another sign of readiness to move back into eating. Often during cleansing times, hunger is minimal. Occasionally, people are very hungry throughout a fast, but most lose interest in food from day three to day seven or ten and then experience real, deep-seated hunger again. This is a sign to eat (carefully!).
It is important to make a gradual transition into a regular diet, rather than just going out to dinner after a week-long fast. Breaking a fast must be planned and done slowly and carefully to prevent creating symptoms and sickness. It is suggested that we take several days, or half of our total cleansing time, to move back into our diet, which is hopefully a newly planned, more healthful diet. Our digestion has been at rest, so we need to go slowly and chew our foods very well. If we have fasted on water alone, we need to prepare our digestive tract with diluted juices, perhaps beginning with a few teaspoons of fresh orange juice in a glass of water and progressing to stronger mixtures throughout the day. Diluted grape or orange juice will stimulate the digestion. Arnold Ehret, a European fasting expert and proponent of the "mucusless" diet, suggests that fruits and fruit juices should not be used right after a meat eater’s first fast because they may coagulate intestinal mucus and cause problems. More likely, a meat eater’s colon bacteria are different than a vegetarian’s; with fruit sugars, the active gram-positive anaerobic bacteria in the meat eater will produce more toxins. Initially, a transition from meats to more vegetable foods will then allow a smoother fast, mainly with vegetable juices and broths. They could also take extra acidophilus to begin to shift their colon ecology.
With juice fasting, it is easier to make the transition back into foods. A raw or cooked low-starch vegetable, such as spinach or other greens, can be used. A little sauerkraut, a fermented cabbage, helps to stimulate the digestive function. A laxative-type meal, such as grapes, cherries, or soaked or stewed prunes, can also be used to initiate eating, as it is important to keep the bowels moving. Some experts say that the bowels should move within an hour or two after the first meal. If not, take an enema. Some people may do a saltwater flush (drinking a quart of water with 2 teaspoons of sea salt dissolved in it) before their first day of food.
However you make the transition, go slowly, chew well, and do not overeat or mix too many foods at a meal. Simple vegetable meals, salads, or soups can be used to start. Fruit should be eaten alone. Soaked prunes or figs are helpful. Well-cooked brown rice or millet is handled well by most people by the second day. From there, progress slowly through grains and vegetables. Some nuts, seeds, or legumes can be added, and then richer protein foods if these are desired. Coming back into foods is a crucial time for learning individual responses or reactions to them. You may even wish to keep notes, following such areas as energy level, intestinal function, sleep patterns, and food desires. If you respond poorly to a food, avoid it for a while, perhaps a week, and then eat it alone to see how it feels.
Some juices work better for certain people or conditions. In general, diluted fresh juices of raw organic fruits and vegetables are best. Canned and frozen juices should be avoided. Some bottled juice may be used, but fresh squeezed is best, as long as it is used soon after squeezing.
Water and other liquids are what primarily cleanse our system, increasing waste elimination—rather like squeezing out a dirty sponge in clean water. Lemon tends to loosen and bring out mucus and is useful for liver cleansing. Diluted lemon juice, with or without a little honey, or the Master Cleanser can loosen mucus fast, so if this is used, we need to cleanse the bowels regularly to prevent getting sick. Most vegetable juices are a little milder than lemon juice.
Each juice has a certain nutritional composition and probably certain physiological actions, although these have not been studied extensively. We can think of fresh juices as natural vitamin pills with a very high assimilation percentage, and we do not need to do the work of digesting them.
In general, some juices are more caloric than others and might be used less if more weight loss is desired. The juices of apples, grapes, oranges, and carrots are good cleansing juices but might be minimized for weight loss. More grapefruit, lemon, cucumber, and greens, such as lettuce, spinach, or parsley, may be more helpful in this situation. Also, a variety of juices can be used in a fast with different ones squeezed daily.
Lemon—liver, gallbladder, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease (CVD), colds
Citrus—CVD, obesity, hemorrhoids, varicose veins
Papaya—stomach, indigestion, hemorrhoids, colitis
Pineapple—allergies, arthritis, inflammation, edema, hemorrhoids
Black cherry—colon, menstrual problems, gout
Greens—CVD, skin, eczema, digestive problems, obesity, breath
Parsley—kidneys, edema, arthritis
Beet greens—gallbladder, liver, osteoporosis
Wheat grass—anemia, liver, intestines, breath
Comfrey—intestines, hypertension, osteoporosis
Carrots—eyes, arthritis, osteoporosis
Beets—blood, liver, menstrual problems, arthritis
Celery—kidneys, diabetes, osteoporosis
Garlic—allergies, colds, hypertension, CVD, high fats, diabetes
Radish—liver, high fats, obesity
These juices may be helpful for particular organs or illnesses, based on my experience as well as information contained in Paavo Airola’s How to Get Well. To prepare juices, we obviously want to start with the freshest and most chemical-free fruits and vegetables possible. They should be cleaned or soaked and stored properly. If there is a question of toxicity, sprays, or parasites, a chlorine bleach bath can be used (see Chapter 11). If not organic, they should be peeled, especially if they are waxed. With root vegetables such as carrots or beets, the above-ground ends should be trimmed. Some people like to drop their vegetables into a pot of boiling water for a minute or so for cleansing as well.
The best juicers are the compressors, such as the Norwalk brand, but these are very expensive. The rotary-blade juicers, such as the Champion, are good at squeezing the juice with minimum molecular irritation. The centrifuge juicers are also fine, but they waste juice left in the pulp. Blenders are not really juicers; what they make is more like liquid salads. These are high in fiber. I once did a energizing week-long fast with two blender drinks a day, fruits in the morning and vegetables in the late afternoon, with teas and water in between.
Other Aspects of Healthy Fasting
- Fresh air—plenty is needed to support cleansing and oxygenation of the cells and tissues.
- Sunshine—also needed to revitalize our body; avoid excessive exposure.
- Water—bathing is very important to cleanse the skin at least twice daily. Steams and saunas are also good for giving warmth as well as supporting detoxification.
- Skin brushing—with a dry, soft brush prior to bathing; this will help clear toxins from the skin. This is a good year-round practice as well.
- Exercise—very important to support the cleansing process. It helps to relax the body, clear wastes, and prevent toxicity symptoms. Walking, bicycling, swimming, or other usual exercises can usually be done during a fast, although more dangerous or contact sports might be avoided.
- No drugs—none should be used during fasts except mandatory prescription drugs. Particularly, avoidance of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine is wise.
- Vitamin supplements—these are not used during fasting; thus, no program of nutrients will follow at the end of this section. Some supplemental fiber, such as psyllium husks, can be part of a colon detox program. Special chlorophyll foods, such as green barley, chlorella, and spirulina, may also be vitality enhancers and purifiers during cleanses. Occasionally, some mineral support, especially potassium, calcium, and magnesium, or vitamin C will be suggested, usually in powdered or liquid forms (pills are not suggested) to help in preventing cramps, if there is a lot of physical activity, sweating, and fluid and mineral losses, or for an extended fast. Some people even use amino acid powders and other vitamin powders with some benefit during cleanses. In general, most of these supplemental nutrients are best used with foods.
- Colon cleansing—an essential part of healthy fasting. Some form of bowel stimulation is recommended. Colonic irrigations with water are the most thorough. These can be done at the beginning, midpoint, and end of the fast. It is suggested that enemas be used at least every other day if these are the primary colon cleansing. Fasting clinics often suggest that enemas be used daily, even up to several times a day. With these, usually water alone is used to flush the colon of toxins. It may be helpful for an enema or laxative preparation to be used the day before the fast begins to lessen initial toxicity. Herbal laxatives are commonly taken orally during fasting, and many formulas are available, as capsules or for making teas. These include cascara sagrada, senna leaves, licorice root, buckthorn, rhubarb root, aloe vera, and the LB formula of Dr. Christopher. Laci LeBeau tea is also very effective. The saltwater flush, or internal bath, recommended by Stanley Burroughs to be used with the Master Cleanser, is useful for those who can tolerate it. A solution of 2 teaspoons of sea salt is dissolved in a quart of warm purified water (not distilled) and is drunk first thing in the morning on alternate days throughout the fast to flush the entire intestinal tract, an advantage of this cleansing formula. It does not, however, work well for everyone. For example, it is not recommended for salt-sensitive or water-retaining people, or for hypertensives. Whatever colon cleansing method is used, keep in mind that regular cleansing of the intestines and colon is a key component to healthy and stress-free fasting.
About The Author
Elson M. Haas, MD
is founder & Director of the Preventive Medical Center of Marin (since 1984), an Integrated Health Care Facility in San Rafael, CA and author of many books on Health and Nutrition, including ...more