Last post we discussed whether fasting is healthy. While the debate still rages, for those who are convinced and curious to try it, here’s my method for a safe, 3 day fast.
Based on my Natural Healing Bible (The Prescription for Nutritional Healing, 4th Edition), two Naturopathic Doc’s have seen my method and agreed it was safe for most relatively healthy people. Of course, before starting any new health program, please consult your MD and/or your ND.
The Prescription for Nutritional Healing recommends we fast at least 3 days a month and follow a 10 day fast twice a year. There are different types of fasts and depending on the length of fast, it accomplishes different things:
3 days helps the body rid itself of toxins and cleanses the blood.
5 days begins the process of healing and rebuilding the immune system.
10 days will help prevent illness and disease by giving the body time to reverse the damage caused by long-term exposure to dangerous chemicals and toxins.
Precautions to take:
- Fasting on water alone isn’t recommended. This releases the toxins too quickly and will cause hard-to-manage, highly unpleasant detox symptoms.
- Fasting for more than 3 days should only be done “under the supervision of a qualified health professional. If you have diabetes, hypoglycemia, or another chronic health problem, even short fasts should be supervised by a doctor. Pregnant and lactating women should never fast.
- Chewing signals to the stomach to digest and so doing so during a fast may lead to additional discomfort, such as heartburn. Chewing (gum or food) is not recommended.
- A final word of advice: It took years to wear your body down, and it will take time to build it back up to its peak condition. But believe it can be done. Then, whenever you feel unwell, fast and feel better.
Following a live-juice diet (see below) will tamper the side-effects of detoxing as it removes toxins more slowly than an all-water fast and promotes healing by supplying the body with vitamins, minerals and enzymes. This type of fast is also useful as it is more likely you will become accustomed to the taste of raw vegetables and continue a healthy diet high in vegetables once the fast ends.
The 3 Day Fast
The following Fasting Procedure was designed for those of us with diets laden with stimulants and food addictions. It will prepare your body for the fast so it is less of a shock to your system. For those with fairly clean diets, skip to step #2.
Step #1: Preparing to fast (Week 1 & 2)
Slowly wean yourself off sugar, other stimulants (coffee, cigarettes and alcohol), meats, fish and dairy. I took a calendar and marked every second day or so the food/substance I was cutting out of my diet. By the end of the second week, your diet should be down to simply fruits, veggies, seeds and nuts. If you’re craving some real meals, look online for vegan recipes or here for Live Lighter’s elimination diet recipes. (Update: If you’re craving some sweets, check this list for raw food desserts!)
Step #2: Blended raw food (3 days)
Three days before the fast, blend all your food in a processor. This is vacation preparation for your digestive system as blended food is partially digested already. It eases the digestive workload, slowing it down and prepping it for a lack of food. Try Live Lighter’s recipes for smoothies, blended detox green drinks, delish detox blender recipes, cleansing drink recipes and more detox blender recipes.
Step #3: The fast (3 days)
Drink your meals. “Consume at least ten 8-oz glasses of distilled water each day, plus pure juices and up to 2 cups of herbal teas. Dilute all juices with the water, adding about 1part water to 3 parts juice. Do not drink orange or tomato juice (too acidic), and avoid all juices made with sweeteners or other additives.”
Here are 17 of the most detoxifying drinks to help you with variety but the following are the best juices to have during your fast:
- Fresh lemon juice : add juice of 1 whole lemon to a cup of warm water.
- Master Cleanse recipe: in 1 pint of distilled water, mix 2 tbsp. natural maple syrup, juice from 1/4 lemon slice and cayenne pepper (to taste).
- Pure juices like fresh apple, beet, cabbage, carrot, celery and grape juice (use your juicer if you have one and the time).
- Green drinks are good, made with leafy green vegetables (like spinach, kale, collards and swiss chard).
- As a general rule (as per Prescription for Natural Healing ), do not combine fruit and vegetable juices. Apples are the only fruit that should be added to vegetable juices. I have yet to find out why this is important…does anyone know? (Update: Molly answers this in her comment.)
- Healing Juice: 3 carrots, 3 kale leaves, 2 stalks celery, 2 beets, 1 turnip, ¼ pound spinach, ½ head of cabbage, ¼ bunch of parsley, ¼ of an onion and ½ clove of garlic. If you don’t have a juicer, place vegetables in pure water and boil them, adding no seasonings. Save the vegetables from the broth to eat after the fast.
The Prescription for Natural Healing says to, “Continue your normal daily routine, including moderate and mild exercise. Avoid strenuous activity.”
FASTING TIP : Plan your fast days on the weekend to allow for relative inactivity and low to no stress. Your body needs rest to divert all its energy into healing, plus, it isn’t getting any food energy. This is where fasting becomes dangerous as simply breathing requires a certain amount of calories. To live, the body draws from its storage: fat. If you lack a lot of fat, it’s especially important for you to be aware of your available energy.
Step #4: Blended Raw Food (3 days)
Return to blending raw fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts for 3 days after your fast. The Prescription for Natural Healing says,
“The desired effects of the fast can be ruined by eating cooked foods immediately afterward. Because both the size of the stomach and the amount of secreted digestive juices may decrease during fasting, the first meals after a fast should be frequent and small.”
Step #5: Reintroduce Food (Week 4 and for as long as you want)
Slowly reintroduce solid foods back into your diet. Start with raw fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Then add easy-to-digest and hypoallergenic foods like those allowed on the elimination diet. Get tasty elimination diet-friendly recipes here on Live Lighter.
If you think you might have food sensitivities or allergies, this is an ideal time to test these foods out. One at a time, slowly reintroduce wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, sugar and nightshade to your body. Choose one for one day, and during that day consume 2 to 3 servings. Note any reactions. Wait for a day and then on the third day, try another food. Repeat until you’ve tried all the possibly offending foods.
These 5 steps to a safe and enlightening 3 day fast will help you get through your natural down cycles and help heal your body. Expect some discomfort as your body releases toxins. You may experience: fatigue; body odor; dry, scaly skin; skin eruptions; headaches; dizziness; irritability; anxiety; confusion; nausea; coughing; diarrhea; dark urine; dark, foul-smelling stools; body aches; insomnia; sinus and bronchial mucus discharge; and/or visual or hearing problems.
These side effects will pass fairly quickly. Once they do, be prepared to feel GREAT!
Good luck and happy fasting. Come back and let us know your fasting experience.