Water fasting, juice fasting, liver cleanses, blended food fasts, the Master Cleanse…the list goes on and on. According to Spins, the market research company, sales of herbal cleansing products tripled to nearly $28 million worldwide last year. This figure reflects a tremendous growing interest in fasting, but it also reflects a lot of false advertising and misguided product use.
The whole point of fasting is to rest the system from digestion so that all the body’s energy can be used to improve its own functioning. Eating, assimilating, digesting, and eliminating take a lot of energy away from other necessary functions in the body, such as clearing the body of waste residue from meals past, turning over new cells quickly, and metabolizing substances efficiently. When food, drink, pharmaceuticals, and other substances are consumed in large quantities, as they typically are in our culture, it’s impossible for the body to maintain a smoothly operating system.
Imagine an assembly line that has run amok. That’s your body on three or more meals a day, plus snacks—eek! This inevitably backs up the system, which leads to many physical (as well as emotional and mental) imbalances. When we fast, we give our body the opportunity to catch up on the backlog of work that has piled up. Any bad press that fasting has received comes from people doing it improperly. It can be a powerful tool if used with intelligence, nuance, and skill. It is not as simple as trading in a fork for a straw. Here are my answers to some of your most frequently asked questions to help you get the most out of your fast:
As someone who is new to this, what’s the right level of fasting for me?
Just as you would not go from a sedentary lifestyle to running the New York City Marathon in a day, the same logic applies. If you are relatively new to cleansing, you probably don’t need to do a full fast, and generally I would not recommend it. It would be best to start out on a daily routine of juicing until lunch (essentially a mini-fast) and properly combining what I call Quick Exit foods for your meals. This will create such a dramatic shift in the body that it will immediately start to go into cleansing/healing mode. Fasting at this stage would only encourage more old waste to be dredged up than your body can cope with.
Would you recommend the Master Cleanse?
The Master Cleanse (the most-searched recipe on Google in 2007) is popular because it offers a quick, inexpensive fasting experience. Granted, most people feel great after the Master Cleanse because they have given their body a break from food and eliminated some waste. It also includes some electrolytes and sugars to prevent people from passing out, but that’s where the benefits end.
I do not recommend the Master Cleanse! The lemon juice and maple syrup concoction doesn’t hold a candle to juice fasting, and it can do more harm than good. This cleanse starves the cells and fails to support the body with all the enzymes and life force it needs to rebuild while resting from digestion. Moreover, the maple syrup component feeds yeast, which most women in this country have too much of to begin with, making it virtually impossible for them to lose weight and feel better. The goal is to incorporate fasting as part of a cleansing lifestyle, not to treat it as a quick fix.
What is the best way to fast?
Mix any veggie juice combinations you enjoy, but I recommend making at least half of the juices green-based such as the Green Lemonade or a simple carrot-romaine combo. The other juices could be citrus or freshly pressed fruits (in small quantities, best diluted with water or green juices). Try herbal tea with stevia or fresh vegetable broth, which are great for the colder months or for a “fasting dinner.” I also love to drink pure carrot juice with pumpkin pie spice from a mug, for the satisfaction of soup without the fiber. Just be sure all your juices are strained well of fiber to avoid stimulating digestion.
A vegetable juice fast feeds your cells enzymes, chlorophyll (sunlight), life force, vitamins, and trace minerals—all that they need to awake and release as much accumulated waste as possible, with the help of gravity method colonics. The ideal fasting approach is to eat clean, Quick Exit foods daily, and then juice fast a few times a year to go a bit deeper. This is the way to prevent your body’s “assembly line” from ever backing up again!
How much juice is recommended and how long should I fast?
Enjoy as much juice as you need, but it’s never a good idea to over-consume. A good gauge would be 8 to 16 eight-ounce juices, including broths and teas, each day. Always take some pure water when juice fasting. If it’s your first fast and you have already practiced juicing until dinner several times, you could try a 2- to 4-day juice fast. For a longer fast (which I only recommend if you have access to well administered gravity method colon hydro-therapy), you could go as long as 8 to 10 days.
Remember, only continue a fast if you are releasing copious quantities of waste matter, either on your own or with colonics, or else you could get sick. The body is not designed to pass today a Taco Bell meal that you ate in 1984 in its post-putrefactive form! If you are not releasing matter in your colonics or enemas by day 5, you should break the fast with a salad and steamed vegetables. For an advanced faster, fruits are the ideal “breakfast.” Know yourself. If you have a history of high-protein diets and mainstream foods, never break your first few fasts with fruit, as it could react with the awakened matter and make you very sick.
How do I know I’m cleansing correctly?
The cleansing part only occurs when the dredged-up waste matter leaves the body. Even the strongest bowels cannot eliminate the quantities of waste that a fast dredges up without the help of colonics, enemas, saunas, sunbaths, and body brushing. Attempting a cleanse through fasting alone is simply to awaken matter and let it return to the tissues and bloodstream in a process called auto-intoxication. This can cause fatigue, headaches, depression, joint pain, stomach cramps, night sweats, and skin eruptions.
With a proper fast, you will feel better on day 7 than on day 3. Beginners and even veteran fasters tend to feel a little less than their best in the first 24 to 48 hours as they adjust. After that initial adjustment, you should feel clearer, lighter, and more energetic—not like you want to curl up in a hole somewhere and wish that it was all over!
After a few days of a juice fast, can I go back to my usual routine?
2 to 4 days of juice fasting addresses only a drop in the ocean of your internal waste matter. You will experience a sense of well-being relative to your state of toxicity, but this doesn’t mean you have tapped the depth of waste that is buried within the tissues. The only way to a deeper cleanse is by eating Quick Exit foods, juicing in the morning (or later, as the case may be), and eating two meals a day (lunch and dinner). Returning to old, conventional habits after fasting will not deliver real results. Your health is a reflection of your daily consumption, not the temporary effects of occasional fasting.
Will I lose weight on a fast and will it stay off?
Yes, you will lose weight on a fast—usually around 1 lb. a day. You can easily keep that weight off by returning to juicing until lunch and eating two Quick Exit meals a day. Of course, if you return to your conventional diet of processed foods, you will probably gain weight again. The trick is to prevent re-accumulation of waste by ensuring the food you eat leaves your body as completely as possible.
Will my metabolism slow down if I fast or stop eating breakfast, as people often say?
A well executed fast actually improves metabolic function. The metabolism is not some phantom part of the body that operates in a vacuum, but the composite of every system in the body constantly breaking down substances that threaten its pristine state. The metabolism keeps the body clear and functioning optimally from the cellular level through (1) ingestion, (2) digestion, (3) absorption, and (4) elimination. Maximum metabolic power comes from ensuring there is never more to metabolize than these systems can gracefully manage.
If the cells become overwhelmed and congested with more than they can reasonably metabolize, the whole body becomes congested and backed up with waste. This is why diets recommending 3 to 5 meals a day are so damaging. The average person today has deeply clogged cells, a condition that can lead to exponentially larger problems with every meal. Juice fasting, mini-fasts, and Quick Exit eating all help correct this problem and thereby support a highly functioning metabolism.
I often marvel at how much stronger and more energized I feel in the weeks following a fast. Now, I leave it in your hands to explore this ancient method of healing your body at the level that is right for you. If you have any further questions on this topic, please email me and I will gladly address them in my future posts.