Before you fast...
Water fasting journal, seven day water fast
Date: 3/14/2012 2:43:06 AM ( 9 y ) ... viewed 1887 times
Research is the most important thing you can do before starting a fast. I spent a lot of time researching, and found this article by Dr Fuhrman who is an expert on fasting and healing using aggressive nutritional management. There is a lot of pseudo-science, misinformation and myths associated with fasting and most people hold irrational fears of it. Reading this scientifically sound and thoroughly documented book will educate you about things you need to know. I have cut and pasted the article and posted a link.
I highly recommend reading: "Fasting and Eating for Health : A Medical Doctor's Program for Conquering Disease" by Joel Fuhrman MD.
DO NOT FAST LONGER THAN 3 DAYS WITHOUT SUPERVISION FROM A TRAINED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL!!! During a fast, vital signs and body nutrient reserves must be monitored. A weekly blood test is typically required to check for adequate levels of vitamins, minerals and electrolytes (i.e. potassium, sodium, etc). Note that it has been observed over many thousands of supervised fasts, that these levels remain remarkably stable, even on extended fasts. There are, however, a small percentage of individuals who do run low on vital nutrients early in the fast (e.g. potassium), and this is one reason why medical supervision is required - to halt the fast as necessary. Sometimes people want to fast longer than is safe.
Not everyone can fast. There are many factors that exclude someone from fasting... If taking medications, you should not fast (there are a few exceptions, however). If you have a rare condition where you are unable to process ketones (MCAD deficiency), you should not fast. If you have type 1 diabetes or cancer, you should not fast. If you are afraid of fasting, you should not fast. There are more. However, most people can fast safely.
Anything other that water-only fasting is not truly fasting (i.e. "juice fasting" is not true fasting). When you consume zero calories and drink only water, your body enters a special protein sparing ketogenic state after 3 days, which preserves muscle mass and consumes primarily fat tissues. However, if you eat any carbohydrate calories at all (juices, maple syrup, etc.), your body does not enter this protein sparing state and it feeds primarily off your muscle mass rather than fat stores - which is NOT so good.
When fasting, your body has a chance to truly detoxify. It survives by consuming superfluous tissue such as fat tissues, benign tumors, atherosclerotic plaque and other stuff you don't need and would be better off without. Each and every cell gets a chance to catch up on its internal "housecleaning" and eliminate accumulated endogenous waste. This is great for those suffering from autoimmune diseases, because the immune system is reset and the bowel has a chance to rest and heal (i.e. reducing "leaky gut syndrome"). The overall effects are rejuvenating, healing and life supporting. And periodic fasting is one of the only therapies proven to extend longevity in all species.
You should NOT exercise vigorously while fasting. Mild back stretching and a bit of walking is OK. Although the body is in the protein sparing mode, some muscle is consumed each day. It is best to take it easy and conserve energy.
When fasting, the blood pressure drops dramatically. The greatest danger to a faster is orthostatic hypotension, or feeling faint and falling down when standing up. Therefore, one should always get up slowly and immediately lie down if feeling lightheaded.
Your diet before and after the fast is critical. Raw fruits and veggies before the fast is best - the last few meals you eat are going to stay inside you for quite a while. The fast must be broken very carefully if a comfortable first bowel movement is desired. Here is how an extended fast is typically ended: The first day you eat a small piece of fruit (1/2 orange) every 2 hours. The second day, you eat a larger piece of fruit (1 orange) every 3 hours. The third day you have 4 meals adding some lettuce to the fruit. On the fourth day, you eat three regular (but small) meals of raw fruits and salad. The bowel is very sensitive and not ready for spicy or difficult to digest foods.
An extended fast significantly lowers the metabolism. It takes 4 to 6 weeks to regain normal metabolic level. Thus, it is crucial to avoid over eating during this period to avoid weight gain. It is very easy to eat too much and regain all the weight lost and then some. Thus, fasting is NOT a recommended weight loss method (although you do lose about 1 lb per day on average during the fast.) Because it takes time to rebuild nutritional reserves after a fast, frequent fasts of short duration (i.e. one day per week or one week per month) are not advisable. Instead, less frequent extended fasts are better. A longer fast (2 weeks), once every five years provides deep detoxification and healing effects. It takes quite a while to fully regain strength after a longer fast.
The human body is designed to fast, and even a thin (healthy) individual has enough nutrient reserves to last well over a month. The duration of most recommended supervised fasts typically range from 1 to 3 weeks, well within the range of nutritional stores. The miracle of the human body holds within it the wisdom to cure itself when obstacles to healing are removed. Fasting combined with superior nutrition is a very effective treatment (and frequently a complete cure) for many common chronic illnesses including: heart disease, diabetes (type 2), arthritis, headaches, hypoglycemia, asthma, colitis, lupus, psoriasis, uterine fibroids, acne, and many other maladies. It has also been shown to be helpful with mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and neurosis.
Fasting is easy. The most common complaint is boredom. Hunger goes away after the second day. Your senses become much more acute - you can see, hear and smell noticeably better. Your thirst is diminished (but you still must consume at least 1 quart per day to avoid dehydration). Old wounds and bad habits will reemerge in the form of detoxification symptoms - i.e. people who used to smoke may start hacking up mucus from their lungs. In my own case, I used to chew tobacco and during my first fast, the area between my lip and gum (where I used to keep my chew), flared up for a few days. Also, my lower back, where I had surgery 10 years before, was painful for several days. Old toxins that have been hanging out in your tissues for many years are finally able to be eliminated. This sometimes causes discomfort during the elimination process, but its good to know that the healing is completed once and for all.
Stay updated for Day 1.
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