Fasting – Good or Bad
For years, there has always been differing opinions as to whether fasting is good for you or not. Is it healthy or unhealthy? Typically, from what I’ve seen, doctors who practice western allopathic medicine tend to believe that fasting is harmful. Eastern and natural medicine practitioners tend to lean toward using fasting to improve health. Fifteen years ago, I learned that fasting is good for you because it clears the toxins from your body and boosts your immune system. Unfortunately, every time I tried to explain that position to people, I would get hammered by doctors and people who were told by their doctors that fasting was harmful.
People have been fasting for thousands of years both for health and for religious purposes. Others have fasted for political reasons. Moses fasted forty days. Jesus fasted forty days. Gandhi twice fasted for three weeks.
Recently, I read an article about how a 3-day fast can regenerate your entire immune system.
“Although fasting diets have been criticized for being unhealthy, new research suggests starving the body kick-starts stem cells into producing new white blood cells, which fight off infection.
Scientists at the University of Southern California say the discovery could be particularly beneficial for people suffering from damaged immune systems, such as cancer patients on chemotherapy.
It could also help the elderly whose immune system becomes less effective as they age, making it harder for them to fight off even common diseases.
The researchers say fasting “flips a regenerative switch” which prompts stem cells to create brand new white blood cells, essentially regenerating the entire immune system.
And the good news is that the body got rid of the parts of the system that might be damaged or old, the inefficient parts, during the fasting.
Now, if you start with a system heavily damaged by chemotherapy or ageing, fasting cycles can generate, literally, a new immune system.”
This is great news. I always enjoy when science catches up with things we promote in natural health. Some of you may have heard of Paul Bragg. He’s famous for his apple cider vinegar. He also wrote a book called The Miracle of Fasting. He was one of the original health gurus in the early to mid 20th century. Let me tell you what Paul was saying about fasting over 50 years ago: (from The Miracle of Fasting)
“Fasting is the best detoxifying method. It’s also the most effective and safest way to increase elimination of waste buildups and enhance the body’s miraculous self-healing and self-repairing process that keeps you healthy and youthful. A moderate, well-planned distilled water fast is our favorite. It can cleanse your body of excess mucus, old fecal matter, trapped cellular, non-food wastes and help remove inorganic mineral deposits and sludge from your pipes and joints.
Fasting works by self-digestion. During a fast your body intuitively will decompose and burn only the substances and tissues that are damaged, diseased or unneeded, such as abscesses, tumors, excess fat deposits, excess water, and congestive wastes. Even a short fast (1-3 days) will accelerate elimination from your liver, kidneys, lungs, bloodstream, and skin. Sometimes you will experience dramatic changes (cleansing and healing crisis) as accumulated wastes are expelled. With your first fast, you may temporarily have cleansing headaches, fatigue, body odor, bad breath, coated tongue, mouth sores, and even diarrhea as your body is cleaning house. Please be patient with your body!”
Isn’t it amazing that today’s science and medicine is saying the same thing that Paul Bragg and others have been saying for almost a hundred years.
That being said, I don’t typically tell my clients to jump into a water fast without their doctor’s supervision. In today’s world, so many people have health issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc. so a fast may be too much for your system. I normally have people try a juice fast first, and see how that goes. You also have to make sure that you start your fast correctly and finish your fast correctly. After fasting for a few days, you don’t want to break your fast with a pizza and soda! Avoid animal products when breaking a fast. It is better to break a fast with soup, broth, lightly cooked vegetables, and a little fruit.
I also want to say that fasting is not a diet plan. You will lose weight if you fast, but that is not really the purpose of a fast. We want to cleanse our system which will help boost our immune system.
There are still different ideas on how to do a fast. Some people will fast three days per month. Something I’ve seen picking up in popularity is the 5-2 plan, where you eat five days then fast for two. For some people, a juice fast is a good way to start. Since everyone is different, my suggestion is to see what works for you. What I will say is that doing a fast is like driving through a tunnel. During the fast, you may feel ill, but when you finish, you should feel healthier, more energetic, and clearer thinking.
Here are some interesting quotes about fasting over thousands of years:
“Fasting is the greatest remedy– the physician within.”
Philippus Paracelsus, one of the three fathers of Western medicine
“Instead of using medicine, better fast today.”
Plutarch, a Greek biographer and moralist
“The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.”
“Everyone has a doctor in him; we just have to help him in his work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. …to eat when you are sick, is to feed your sickness.”
Hippocrates, one of the three fathers of Western medicine
“A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors.”
Mark Twain, in My Debut As a Literary Person
“Nature heals, the doctor helps!”
Paracelsus, writing about activating
the “doctor inside”, or our own healing nature
“Every fool can fast, but only the wise man knows how to break a fast.”
G.B. Shaw, writer
“Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor.”
Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C.
If you have any questions, or if you’re ready to starting getting healthy, please give me a call, text or email. We can work on detox, exercise, massage, and supplementation.
Ultimate Health & Wellness