Hello beautiful souls. You’ve probably heard all the buzz about fasting, but are you aware of the tremendous benefits to your health? Not only does fasting pack a power punch when it comes to healing your body, it can also heal psychological maladies and even improve your spiritual health.
What can fasting heal?
- Skin problems from acne, to rosacea, to dermatitis and psoriasis
- Cancer (!!!)
- Gut issues like IBS and Ulcerative Colitis
- Tissue, muscle, and joint maladies
- Ulcerative bladder diseases like Interstitial Cystitis
- Gum disease and tooth decay
- Type II Diabetes
How is it possible that fasting can cure and heal so many different types of disease? Allow me to share…
Why fasting works –
Fasting accomplishes several important things. The first aspects that fasting addresses are blood sugar levels – glucose and insulin. The constant spikes in glucose and insulin created by our eating habits keep the body in a state of digestive fatigue. When you take food away for a short period of time, the body has a chance to address other cellular and metabolic issues. Without the constant spikes in blood sugar, the body is able to address and heal systemic and acute inflammation. Inflammation is said to be the underlying cause of almost all chronic disease.
Fasting gives the body an opportunity to pursue dead or damaged cells and tissues, fat deposits, tumors or abscesses. Once the body locates these damaged cells, they are burned for fuel or expelled as waste. Diseased cells are specifically targeted and dissolved in a systemic fashion through apoptosis (programmed cell death that occurs regularly in the body). During prolonged fasting (1-30 days), mucus that has been built up in the body often begins to find ways for expulsion. Mucus is formed in the body to help protect organs and systems from environmental pathogens – which can often happen simply as a result of poor diet. During fasting it is not uncommon for mucus to pass in the stool, or drain from the nose and throat. I have even come across people who have had ear drainage, and prolonged loss of vocalization before subsequent mucosal expulsion, as their body was in deep repair.
Fasting enhances the ability of nerve cells to reproduce and be repaired. Many people with neuropathy have been given a grim diagnosis about the body’s “inability” to repair damaged nerve cells or grow new nerve cells. It is here that fasting steps in and offers a solution. Fasting stimulates the production of new immune cells and stem cells, which can ultimately regenerate and repair nerve cells. Fasting stimulates the production of ketones, which are an energy source for nerve cells. Fasting has been studied extensively and seems to increase the number of mitochondria in neurons, allowing for more connections between nerve cells which could even result in improved cognition. Peripheral nerves can heal from all sorts of damage, and there is even some evidence that mind-training and virtual reality has helped to repair neural connections in the central nervous system.
But the most amazing thing fasting can accomplish is the activation and generation of new stem cells. Stem cells are special undifferentiated cells that can literally create and replace cells from any organ or system in the body. Fasting shifts stem cells from a dormant state into a state of self-renewal, which then triggers targeted regeneration of damaged organs or systems.
How do I fast?
There are multiple ways to participate in fasting: intermittent fasting, water fasting, or juice fasting.
There are a few different ways to take advantage of intermittent fasting, the 16hr/8hr protocol and the 24hr protocol.
What it is: Fasting for 16 hours and then only eating within a specific 8-hour window. For example, only eating from noon-8 PM, essentially skipping breakfast.
Some people only eat in a 6-hour window, or even a 4-hour window.
You can adjust this window to make it work for your life:
- If you start eating at: 7AM, stop eating and start fasting at 3pm
- If you start eating at: 11AM, stop eating and start fasting at 7pm
- If you start eating at: 2PM, stop eating and start fasting at 10pm
- If you start eating at: 6PM, stop eating and start fasting at 2AM.
Skipping two meals one day, where you are taking 24 hours off from eating. For example, eating on a normal schedule (finishing dinner at 8PM) and then not eating again until 8PM the following day.
So you would eat your normal 3 meals per day, and then occasionally pick a day to skip breakfast and lunch the next day.
If you can only do an 18 hour fast, or a 20 hour fast, or a 22 hour fast – that’s okay! Adjust with different time frames and see how your body responds.
Two examples: skipping breakfast and lunch one day of the week, and then another where you skip lunch and dinner one day, two days in a week.
Juice fasting is probably my favorite form of fasting. In order to juice fast, you will need some equipment. I absolutely love my Breville juicer, which you can find at this link: https://www.amazon.com/Breville-BJE200XL-Fountain-700-Watt-Extractor/dp/B000MDHH06/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522025334&sr=8-2&keywords=breville+juicer (I am in no way affiliated with Breville…but maybe I should be!). I love this juicer because it is super powerful, but not crazy expensive.
Next, you will need to decide how long you want to fast. Juice fasts can last as long as you feel called, from 1 day to 30, even up to 90 days in cancer-healing-mode. Juice fasting gives you a solid vitamin and mineral base to support your metabolism during cellular repair.
When you are planning a juice fast, it’s important to realize how many veggies are required to make one 12-ounce juice. For this reason, it’s vital to have a nice watery base like celery and cucumber, and then pack your juicer with many organic greens and veggies that you can handle (chard, kale, cabbage, spinach, cilantro, beets, carrot). You can also throw in some ultra-powerful roots like turmeric or ginger for an anti-inflammatory punch. Juicing cilantro will help pull heavy metals from your system like mercury or aluminum; If you think you have symptoms of heavy metal toxicity, juicing cilantro should be paired with taking up to 12 activated charcoal tablets per day. **See my blog on removing heavy metals from the body.
With my juices, I like to add ginger and a squeeze of lemon. Lemon is great for alkalizing the digestive system. All you will consume for a traditional juice fast is water and juice, but I like to mix it up. It’s perfectly ok to add teas, or probiotic beverages like Kombucha to your juice fasting regimen. **Find my blog on how to make your own Kombucha!
Ease off a longer fast (over 24 hours) with a day of smoothies and blended soups. Extra long fasts should be followed by blending soups for several days while gradually introducing soft, easily digestible foods.
To take it all the way home, many people find that juice fasts are great in conjunction with colon cleansing through hydrotherapy or home enemas.
Water fasting is not for the faint of heart, but it can absolutely be done by anyone. You can water fast for any length of time up to a month, but longer fasts (over 72 hours) should be done with great care, supervision or guidance. Water fasting is the easiest route to the benefits of fasting – only requiring you to obtain fresh distilled or non-fluoridated spring water.
Coming off a water fast takes greater care than a juice fast. Long fasts (72 or more hours) should end with juice for a day or more before moving on to smoothies, then pureed soups and soft foods. Definitely follow your health practitioner’s advice on fasts over one week.
During fasting, many people find that old traumas or emotional pains can emerge. This is because fasting not only refines your body, but also you mind and spirit. Emotional energy can truly get locked in the body, causing disease or pain. During fasting, old issues may come up to be purged and healed; just like the cellular repair mechanisms are initiating a deep cleaning, so too is your heart and mind. Be gentle with yourself and allow the emotions to be acknowledged and released.
Fasting provides many challenges and thus many opportunities for growth. Mental blockages may come up while you fast; “I can’t do this,” “I can’t go on,” “I want a tacoooo,” and more! It’s important to reassure yourself that you CAN do this, and that it is safe and effective. Once you jump over a few mental hurdles, your mind is going to expand rapidly in strength and you will watch as that mental strength seeps into the other areas of your life.
Most spiritual and religious disciplines include some form of fasting. This is because the mental realm and the spiritual realm are inextricably linked. Building mental strength in the face of challenges, addictions or temptations helps to strengthen our spiritual character. Our spiritual character then reinforces our mental strength, and the symbiotic relationship continues.
You may want to reach out and get body work, energy therapy, do light yoga, or seek out a pastor before, during and after a period of fasting. It is so powerful to have someone there to help you move through the dense emotions that might come up. Most of all, be gentle with yourself, listen to your body, and be strong in your mind.
Health and Blessings.