Why Fast? part-1
Otto Buchinger, who has probably supervised more fasts than any other doctor, called fasting the royal road to healing, and judging by the effect fasting has on many of my patients I have to agree with him. Fasting is wonderfully effective in emergencies and works well to accelerate the healing of long-term illnesses. It can help to rebalance you mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Sounds like a tall order? Not when you consider the logic of it.
If your car suddenly developed a nasty rattle under the bonnet at high speed wouldn’t you sensibly pull over and check the engine? And having located the problem wouldn’t you switch the engine off completely while you went about repairing it? The same applies to the body. Many illnesses are firmly rooted in poor dietary habits (although biological and environmental factors have to be taken into account too). The theory behind fasting is that the body comes well equipped with competent mechanisms for incinerating and eliminating nutritional waste as well as the toxic effects of stress, grief and anger, which often have more to do with the bedrock of illness than does any other factor. The digestive process uses up 30 per cent of the total body energy, so if the digestive system is placed in a complete state of rest, it can concentrate entirely on detoxification and healing.
Fasting is also invaluable preventive medicine. Not only does it help the body to maintain peak fitness by periodically unburden ing itself of accumulated waste, but it nips minor health problems in the bud, decelerates the ageing process, if done regularly stabilizes body weight, and helps to prepare the body to utilize nutrition far more effectively after the fast is broken.
The Mechanics of Fasting
At any one time a quarter of our body’s cells are in the process of growth, half are at the zenith of their working powers, and the remaining quarter are dying and being replaced. Only by speedy and efficient elimination of these dead cells can the building and growth of fresh cells be stimulated. Fasting actually accelerates the elimination of dead cells and speeds up the building of new healthy cells. This may sound decidedly peculiar in view of the fact that so little nourishment or in a water fast none at all) is ingested but it is a proven physiological fact. Protein levels in the blood remain constant and normal because the proteins are being constantly decomposed and resynthesized for alternative use. The amino-acids (the building blocks of protein) in the old dead cells, far from being wasted, are released and reused in the process of building new cells.
The cleansing capacity of all the eliminative organs of the body is vastly increased. For instance the concentration of discarded toxins in the urine can be increased up to ten times, and an over-burdened liver can dump its waste six times more quickly than usual, especially when assisted by a certain enemas and poultices (of which more later).
Fasting and Fat
Fasting is really remarkably easy. I find it easier than dieting because it requires less menu preparation and eliminates the possibility of choice, and hence temptation. However it is not the quickest way to lose weight. Fasting for more than a day actually lowers the metabolic rate and the spectacular amount of weight that is lost during the initial days of a fast are merely the result of the liver dumping glycogen and the adjustment of water levels in the body. A substantial percentage of the weight loss during a long fast is rapidly regained once normal eating is resumed reassuring news to my very thin patients who fear they are going to vanish down the plughole but not good for the fat ones. If you want to lose weight, a diet consisting of 70 per cent raw food and careful food combinations is ideal, coupled with regular exercise. But fasting is a wonderful way to introduce yourself to
such a diet, partly because it shores up will power and shrinks the stomach so that smaller helpings will do, and partly because the digestion and utilization of any subsequent food are greatly enhanced and glandular chemistry and hormonal secretions are
stimulated Last year I went on a three-week grape fast and lost 12 lb (5 kg) but, having quickly regained nearly half of that when I embarked on new and better eating habits, I then went on to lose a further a stone (12 kg) and the weight loss has remained permanent. This year I went on a three-week fruit fast, choosing a different fruit cach day, and lost 7 lb (3 kg). A couple of pounds have since been regained but the rest of the loss has been permanent.
How to Fast
Don’t fast on water alone, particularly if you have never fasted before. It is a miserable experience for bodies groaning with toxins and the particularly potent ones, the result of ingesting insecticides and poisonous metals, pour into the system so rapidly that you will finish up drowning in your own poison. It is much better to choose either one type of fruit (a mixture will decrease the potency of the fruits’ digestive enzymes) or alkaline juices, Purists will insist that eating fruit is not strictly fasting and it is
true that the digestive organs are not allowed to rest as much as if only liquids were being processed. But eating fruit certainly ensures the discriminant incineration of old tissues (leaving tis sues that are ageing but still useful) which is the strict requirement of fasting. Besides which, fruit fasting is good for first-timers who are nervous about going the whole way, and especially beneficial for anyone suffering from chronic constipation. In this case the colon actually needs something rich in fibre to bite on to encour age peristalsis (the automatic wave-like movements by which food is propelled along it), and fruit passes rapidly through the system, requiring very little action by digestive enzymes to make use of it. Most people make the mistake of not eating enough fruit on a fruit fast and then wonder why they get hungry or irritable. The secret of successful fasting is to eat as much of your chosen
fruit as you can without being ridiculous about it. As the fast lengthens appetite diminishes, but ensure that even on a long fast, you cat six servings of fruit daily. Aim for somewhere between 4 pounds of fruit a day depending on your body weight (less if na are tiny, more if you are not). Chew each piece of fruit slowly and thoroughly until every last drop of juice is extracted before swallowing it, and eat all the fruit including the skin and the seeds unless the skin is obviously inedible (as with bananas or pine apple). The only bits you are allowed to discard are inedible pips like cherry stones and woody stalks (on apples and grapes, for example). If you can’t manage your 4-6 lb (2-5 kg) of fruit daily, juice the remainder and sip it slowly before bed.
Eat several portions of your chosen fruit every x hours and let your digestion rest in-between. Do not drink anything whatso ever with your fruit, not even water. This will dilute the digestive enzymes and so make the fruit a less potent healing tool. You may drink as much mineral water between the fruit as desired but never closer to the fruit than half an hour. If there is a history of deeply entrenched constipation drink a mug of hot purified water on rising and retiring with a slice of well-scrubbed lemon in it to make it more palatable.
I don’t prescribe vegetable fasting often simply because most people find it very difficult to chew vast quantities of their chosen raw vegetable (although chomping away at lots of raw carrots is an excellent way to massage the gums back to good health). Also, as no seasoning in any form, except a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, is allowed with your vegetables, some taste buds rebel at the monotony of undressed raw celery or cauliflower. The only vegetables which may be cooked are beetroot (good for anaemia), asparagus (for flushing out the kidneys), pumpkin and its seeds (for deworming), and artichokes (to cleanse the liver). Beetroot is better well scrubbed and baked rather than boiled (eat the skin too if it is chewable). Drink the water in which the asparagus was
cooked too. All fruits and vegetables must be meticulously washed, if necessary in hot water, before ingestion, and should be absolutely ripe, having reached the perfect state of their ‘balsamic moment as the sixteenth-century herbalists used to put it. Try to use
organically grown produce (for suppliers see the contact address in the Appendix. The same rules which apply to fruit fasting apply to vegetable fasting. Never mix fruits and vegetables, Fruits are uch more vigorous and abrasive cleansers than vegetables and they don’t marry well together.
Having tried and enjoyed a few fruit and vegetable fasts you can now graduate to juice fasting. Juices are particularly beneficial because you can ingest so much more in terms of quantity and therefore absorb more vitamins, trace elements, minerals and enzymes. Fruit juices maintain a stable electrolyte balance, ensure ing that the circulation remains stable. Water taken alone has the dangerous capacity to distort the circulation. Juices are easily assimilated and do not put a strain on the digestion. They do not stimulate the secretion of hydrochloric acid in the stomach (particularly important for those with ulcers or tender stomach linings). They contain an unidentified factor which stimulates microelectric tension in the body and is responsible for the cells capacity to absorb the nutrients from the bloodstream and so promotes the effective excretion of metabolic waste. One expert on fasting, Dr Berg, is convinced that juices actually increase the healing effect of fasting and believes that the concentrated sugars in juices strengthen the heart.
Try to drink I fl oz (30 ml) juice for every pound (roughly, o.5 kg) of your body weight every day. If this is impossible dilute the juice in proportions of half and half with mineral water. Yes, you have done your calculations correctly! You may well be drink ing a gallon (4.5 litres) of liquid a day and this is as it should be. The more liquid you take in, the quicker you flush out all the accumulated toxins and the less possibility there is of retaining water, because mineral water and juices act as natural diuretics.
If possible juices should be raw and freshly pressed from well-washed fruit. The most effective juicing machines are those that spin juices out centrifugally and operate continuously. If you haven’t got a juicer, buying organic bottled juices is an alternative, but an expensive one. Juices from citrus fruits can be hand-pressed, though this is rather hard work. Juices should be served at room temperature and pressure as needed (to minimize
oxidation) and they should be chewed before swallowing. You don’t actually have to move your teeth to do this, just swish them well around the mouth to ensure that they are mixed with plenty of saliva before swallowing
What to Fast On
You don’t have to stick to the same juice or fruit for several days running, and indeed it may be unwise to do so simply because of boredom. Much as I love grapes I couldn’t look another grape in the cycle for six months after my prolonged grape fast last year! But based on the Hippocratic principle of food being your medicine, remember that juices and their fruits will actively heal certain conditions in the body. My first rule is to choose a fruit from your own area. By and large apples will suit those who live in temper ate climates, but because I could get hold of local organically grown grapes I chose these, not least because they are the nearest fruit in nature to our own blood chemistry and so make a superb blood purifier. They are also laxative (I used to have the world’s most cositive bowel) and they are excellent for catarrhal conditions.
JUICES RECOMMENDED FOR HEALING SPECIFIC AILMENTS
Anaemia Two teaspoons each of spinach juice and parsley juice, added to a glass of carrot juice or black grape juice (or an equivalent amount of black grapes); or beetroot juice with 1 teaspoon each of garlic juice and hawthorn berry juice added per glass.
Equal parts of comfrey juice, horseradish juice and garlic juice, making up 1 teaspoon in all, added to a glass of carrot juice or beetroot juice.
A glass made up of 2 parts celery juice and part beetroot juice with 1 teaspoon watercress juice added; or a glass of water-melon or asparagus juice.
Chronic catarrh Grape juice (both black and white grapes will do); or equal parts of carrot juice and turnip juice.
One teaspoon of each of the following juices: garlic, onion, watercress, dandelion, added to 1 glass made up of equal parts carrot juice, beetroot juice, celery juice and cucumber juice.’
Juice made from well-ripened bananas; or pomegranate juice; or mangoes or their juice.
Stewed blueberries or their juice.
Blackcurrants; or black grapes or their juice.
Emphysema Equal parts of carrot juice, parsnip juice, watercress
potato juice; or equal parts of orange juice and lemon juice diluted half and half with a strong decoction (see Chapter 6) of rosehip tea.
Gout and arthritis
Black-cherry juice; or equal parts of carrot juice, beetroot juice, celery juice and potato juice with 1 teaspoon parsley juice and 2 teaspoons of the juice from sprouted alfalfa added per glass.
High blood pressure
Any citrus juice or a combination of them; or equal parts of carrot juice and spinach juice with 1 teaspoon each of comfrey juice, parsley juice, onion juice and/or garlic juice added per
glass. Equal parts of string-bean juice, celery juice and cucumber juice with 1 teaspoon each of garlic juice, watercress juice and juice
from sprouted fenugreek added per glass……countinue