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All about FASTING! (Part I)

February 10, 2009
By Natalia Rose
|14Comments|


Water fasting, the Master Cleanse, juice fasting, liver cleanses, blended food fasts…the list of different types of fasting go on and on. There’s never been more interest in fasts and “cleanses.” Unfortunately, there have also never been more misnomers about fasting circulating.

From a purely physiological standpoint, the whole point of fasting is to rest the system from digestion so that all the body’s energy can be used to improve the functioning of the body (there are of course other non-physical, spiritual reasons to fast but I won’t be addressing those in this blog).

Eating, assimilation, digestion and elimination take a lot of energy away from necessary functions within the body (such as keeping the body clear of the residue from meals past, turning over new cells more quickly, metabolizing substances efficiently, etc.). When the consumption of substances (food, drink, pharmaceuticals, cigarettes, etc) are taken in the quantities they are taken in our culture (meaning 3 times a day or more), it’s impossible for the body to keep a system operating smoothly. If it helps, imagine an assembly line that has run amok. That’s your body on 3 meals a day (plus snacks — eek)! Inevitably there is tremendous back up of these substances because they are not easily digested or eliminated, which creates our physical (and many emotional and mental) imbalances. When we fast, we give our body the opportunity to catch up on the back-log of work that has piled up.

The cessation of consuming food is a powerful tool when executed correctly, but done incorrectly, it can be a major health misstep. Following are some tips to ensure you get the most out of your fast/cleanse:

1. Determine what level of fasting is right for you.

If you are relatively new to cleansing there is not likely a need to do an all out juice fast. Fasting too early your transition to eating a cleaner diet is not usually necessary. When people start to eat according to the principles in my books (The Raw Food Detox Diet and Raw Food Life Force Energy), the applications of properly combining Quick Exit foods and juicing until lunch create such an opening in the body and a dramatic shift in what the body is used to taking in on a daily basis that the body immediately starts to go into cleansing/healing mode. Fasting is not needed and in fact, not even recommended at this point since it would only encourage more old waste to be dredged up than the body could cope with. Just as you would not go from a sedentary lifestyle to running the New York marathon in a day, the same logic applies to undertaking a major cleanse before you have even started to dramatically elevate the quality of foods you are eating. Simply incorporating the basic beginner principles from The Raw Food Detox Diet at this stage is equivalent to a fast for the beginner.

One of the things that distracts people from sticking to their level of transition are the reports they hear about how quickly you can lose weight on a fast. For example, they will hear that a friend lost 20 lbs on the Master Cleanse and immediately think they should do that too. Please don’t fall into that trap. Know your level and be intelligent about how to approach a cleanse. Most people have no idea what they are doing physiologically when they undertake a fast but are just going on whims and fads. Rest assured, if you steadily apply the transition principles you will enjoy maximum weight loss without fasting. It won’t be weight loss in a vacuum, which is what most people experience when doing a fast before transitioning and that imbalance sends them careening to the opposite extreme time and time again. When you cleanse in accord with nature, weight loss, inner calm, clarity, beautiful skin tone, natural energy and overall rejuvenation come together. This is the prize. So take your time and don’t get distracted by what other people are doing.

Mini-fasts, such as “juicing ‘til lunch”, that become part of one’s regular day-to-day lifestyle are the most beneficial types of fast for most people because they offer long term protection against over accumulation on a daily basis (akin to making sure the garbage doesn’t overflow in your kitchen everyday). This is extremely beneficial and can help keep you in excellent balance and at a perfect weight for life! Notice that when you juice until lunch you are in fact undertaking a mini-fast – you are fasting between dinner and lunch the next day! You could try doing this a few times a week.

2. Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can be redeemed from your excessive consumption over years of unfit eating by a few days of juice fasting. The accumulation in the modern body is so extensive that what you might “cleanse” in 2-4 days of juice fasting is a drop in the land fill of people’s internal waste matter. This is not to discourage you, but to point out that a short fast is no more of a cleanse than cleaning out a ziplock’s worth of rubbish from an overflowing community waste bin! You will feel a sense of well being relative to your state of toxicity, but don’t be fooled into thinking this means you have tapped the depth of waste that is buried within the tissues. From this perspective, you can see why such regular mini-fasts are more effective in deep cleansing than placing the occasional longer fasts among a typical diet/lifestyle. If you return to old habits (as in the case of most people who undertake the Master Cleanse for example) you have a false sense of having cleansed. Your health is a reflection of your daily consumption; the effects of occasional fasts will be lost like words written on the beach.

Tune in on Thursday for Part 2 of All about FASTING!



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13 responses to All about FASTING! (Part I)
  1. Thanks Natalia! I totally agree with finding the right level of fasting and not pushing yourself to make drastic changes overnight. I’ve been experimenting with fasting for about a year and its taken me this long to do an extended juice fast. Over the past couple years I’ve gone from vegetarian to vegan and I slowly integrated juicing into my life. First as a daily practice, then juicing til lunch, then til dinner, and so on. I am doing my first 5 day juice fast and I feel great! I feel confident about this fast because of the knowledge and experience I’ve gained over the past year. Looking forward to your post on Thursday!

  2. Thank you so much for posting Natalia. Your book, “The Raw Food Detox Diet” helped me get back on the road to health. It’s been about a year since I’ve been following your program and although I’m not “perfect” about it, I feel so much better than a year ago and even have many visible results (skin etc.)
    Thank you again. I’m looking forward to part two. I hope in the future you will do a post on food combining! I still have questions!

  3. I’m curious about fasting and mini fasting and how it does affect your metabolism. Is the fact that you’re taking in calories by juicing assisting with that? B/c I know that people who eat breakfast (for example) instead of waiting to eat until noon or supper) get their metabolism going etc… How does fasting play into this? To me, sometimes when I read about fasting, it’s (in many ways) similar to those who do not eat but will just drink tonnes of water and they wreck havok with their metabolism etc…

  4. Thank you Natalia! It’s interesting that when you start the journey of transitioning your body to be healthy, it speaks to you. After experiencing the pressure I placed on myself to fast for a specific duration, I finally accepted that I felt terrible and that my fasting process should be a gradual process leading up to an ultimate fast. I can’t wait to read your book.

  5. Natalia:) your books are treasures:).

  6. YAY! So happy to see you here Natalia and to get this awesome insight into fasting.

    I have fallen prey to the “all or nothing” methods and experienced exactly what you mentioned…as swing right back into the opposite direction.

    However, when I follow your principles, I feel light, I eat better all around and my body doesn’t feel steam-rolled ;) Reminds me, I need to get back to more than a quart and keep it going until noon. Have fallen off a bit early after removing fruit for a while but back on the horse!

    Thanks for the reminders! xoxo

  7. Thanks so much for your insight. I have both Raw Food Detox Diet and Raw Food Life Force Energy, and can attest to feeling so much better by just combining food properly. I’m not perfect about it, but it makes such a difference when I follow the food combining principles to the letter.

  8. Hello Natalia,

    I read your detox book and baught a juicer. I am enjoying fresh juice daily!
    Question: how can I detox if I am want to gain weight? I am worried that I will loose the weight that has taken me see long to gain.

    Thanks for your help!

  9. Hi Natalia
    Your book has helped me and some of my friends get healthy!
    I do a semi fast daily, either at dinner or breakfast, with a qt of green juice. I feel that is the best way for me to be raw, stay healthy and not overload my system.. esp. before bed!
    Thanks again
    Debbie

  10. Thanks so much for your post.. I loved you books and have been on your program for three years.. I think you are so right knowing your level and understanding your body will keep your moving the waste out while keeping the good stuff. The end result is heal and wellness.. after that the lbs will fall off. Just eating the right way. Many blessings. Callie

  11. Today is my first time of visitinig this site and i must confess i am really amazed by the information i got.Please if possible can you draw me a proper eating plan because i loose and gain weight indiscriminately.Also when i fast(without food or water)i break the fast by eating anything that comes my way.Really need help.

  12. this a nice post. it’s true that fasting has tremendous benefits. as a muslim i fast from dawn to sunset during a whole month each year and I msut confess that the feeling of rejuvenation I get after fasting is obvious in my body. Thanks for sharing!!

  13. “Don’t be fooled into thinking that you can be redeemed from your excessive consumption over years of unfit eating by a few days of juice fasting.”

    This is a very true statement. I have undertaken 9 successive months of 5 day water fasts as treatment for a bout of acute pancreatitis that I experienced last winter. Doctors told me that if I didn’t change my lifestyle that the disease could eventually become fatal. The sad thing was that the doctors did mention fasting as an alternative to pain relief, dietary additives and drugs. Mankind has historically used fasting to address long term sickness and from my point of view fasting should be advised by every doctor. It’s not difficult and (in my case) has been ten times more effective than any medicine that we pay astronomical amounts for.

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