"Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor." - Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C.
"Very few people know what real health is, because most are occupied with killing themselves slowly." - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi, Ph.D., Hungarian-born American biochemist; Nobel Prize in physiology and medical science
Before we look at how to fast, let's examine the question: "Why fasting?" Although hundreds of fasting centers and clinics have existed in most European countries throughout the 20th century, Americans are still very far behind the learning curve regarding scientific, therapeutic fasting, as well as in adopting natural and organic food diets.
In the U.S., many in the medical orthodoxy continue to take a negative view of fasting, particularly as a therapeutic tool. But when the medical profession shifts gears from treating illness to PREVENTING illness, fasting will be increasingly prescribed.
Doctor Weil also holds this opinion: "Do not seek help from a conventional doctor for a condition that conventional medicine cannot treat, and do not rely on an alternative provider for a condition that conventional medicine can manage well."
Too often, scientific studies prove nothing. Frequently, the source of the money dictates the conclusions. Yet, these experiments are all we have to go by, and are crucially important when we are testing these potentially-dangerous drugs that may have various hazardous effects. Fasting and adopting a healing diet designed to help one's condition, on the other hand, are health-supporting. They will make a healthy person even healthier.
Fasting - an "operation without surgery"
"Fasting is, without any doubt, the most effective biological method of treatment... it is the 'operation without surgery'... it is a cure involving exudation, reattunement, redirection, loosening up and purified relaxation. While fasting, the patient improves her or his physical health and gains much. But he or she will have neglected the most important thing if the hunger for spiritual nourishment that manifests itself during fasting is not satisfied." said Otto Buchinger, Sr., M.D., Germany's great, self-described "fasting therapist," who founded the most famous of several renowned, European Buchinger Kliniks in 1952.
Prolonged, scientific fasting has proven itself, over several thousand years, as humanity's oldest, fastest and most effective weight-loss, detoxification, healing and longevity-enhancing modality known to mankind - both curative, as well as preventive - and here are the reasons why:
Just as hibernating bears and migrating whales, as well as much smaller beings, including caterpillars, salmon,hedgehogs, snakes, salamanders, spiders, turtles, tadpoles and woodchucks, do live for many months each year without eating, your body is brilliantly designed to live on its own stored substances. Similarly, during skillful, therapeutic and prolonged juice-fasts (and every reputable fasting book today begins with a warning that noone should ever undertake a prolonged fast without professional supervision, initially), your body will brilliantly live on its own stored substance via "autolysis", or autodigestion. Marvelously, the body decomposes and burns all the cells and tissue which are aged, damaged, diseased, weakened or dead.
Autodigestion during fastingDuring fasting, your body will "autolyze", or self-digest, its most inferior and impure materials and metabolic wastes, including: fat deposits, abcesses, dead and dying cells, bumps and protuberances, damaged tissue, calluses, furuncles (small skin abscesses, or boils), morbid accumulations, growths, and amazingly, various kinds of neoplasms (abnormal growths of tissue, or tumors). In "Fasting and eating for health", Joel Fuhrman, M.D., notes, p. 10: "The fast does not merely detoxify; it also breaks down superfluous tissue - fat, abnormal cells, atheromatous plaque, and tumors--and releases diseased tissues and their cellular products into the circulation for elimination. Toxic or unwanted materials circulate in our bloodstream and lymphatic tissues, and are deposited in and released from our fat stores and other tissues. An important element of fasting detoxification is mobilizing the toxins from their storage areas."
New cell growth during fasting is stimulated and accelerated as the required proteins are re-synthesized from decomposed cells (during autolysis). Thus, your serum albumin reading - blood-protein level - remains constant and normal throughout your fast, as your body very smartly uses protein and other stored nutrients where needed. Again, Germany's late Otto Buchinger, M.D., after supervising over 100,000 juice-fasts, eventually concluded what is clearly stated in the book, "Fasting: the Buchinger Method", page 22: "The need for protein diminishes during the fast, until in the second week, it has been reduced from 100 grams to from 15-20 grams a day, and this amount is, in fact, quite sufficient while fasting."
As this toxic overload accumulates decade after decade, augmented also by environmental pollution, drugs and medications, it eventually interferes with normal functioning and our body's elimination becomes impaired. During fasting, large amounts of these accumulated metabolic wastes and poisons are, during autolysis, very quickly eliminated through the greatly enhanced cleansing capability of all the organs of elimination - liver, kidneys, skin and lungs. Several common symptoms of detoxification seen during this process could be darker urine, the possibility of catarrhal elimination of excess mucus ("rhinorrhea" - a mucous discharge from the nose), continuous discharge through the colon, etc.
Fasting gives your digestive system a rest
For perhaps the first time in your entire life, fasting affords a physiological rest to the digestive, assimilative and protective organs of your body. Fresh fruit and vegetable juices require little digestion, and are quickly assimilated from the upper digestive tract. Therefore, most of the 10% of bodily energy normally involved in your mastication, assimilation, digestion, and elimination is freed up. This is another reason you'll feel more - not less - energy throughout properly-done juice-fasting - unlike the physically debilitating weakness water-fasters experience.
Additionally, these many fruit and vegetable juices all supply excellent energy, minerals, vitamins, live enzymes, and other nutrients necessary to enhance health during the fast. By providing much of the body's daily caloric needs with easily-digested juices, the release of toxins from the fat cells is much more gentle and gradual.
Scientific fasting enhances longevity, as Doctor Fuhrman notes in "Fasting and eating for health", p. 27: "If we restrict the calories an animal can eat, by underfeeding it or periodically fasting it, we can significantly prolong its life. In fact, periodically fasting animals can double their natural life span.(1,2)
What about water-fasting?
In his 1999 instant classic, "Radical Healing: Integrating the World's Great Therapeutic Traditions to Create a New Transformative Medicine," Rudolph Ballentine, M.D., Founder and Director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in New York City, does not recommend "water-fasting," which he says "is more correctly termed starvation," adding the following words of warning: "The destruction of starvation, and the cleansing and repair that happen in a well-managed fast, are polar opposites. Unfortunately today, when the average person is overburdened with wastes and environmental toxins, and when reserves of essential nutrients are low because of the ubiquity of 'empty-calorie' foods, what is intended as a fast may well end up as starvation. Your best insurance against such a catastrophe is to do a juice-fast. Juices can eliminate much of the trauma of fasting."
Freshly-squeezed and extracted vegetable and fruit juices contain a wealth of vitamins and organically-complexed minerals. They will also supply the 400 calories or so that is your minimal fuel requirement. Without that minimum caloric intake, your body begins to break-down protein structures to get it. What's more, fresh juices have a cleansing effect of their own. During fasting, a balanced regime of juices should be made from a broad spectrum of fruits and vegetables.
Dr. Ballentine, who does not recommend juice-fasting for a duration of more than 3 days without expert supervision, is supported by the fact that none of the world's best fasting centers and clinics - the majority of which have been based in Europe, historically - have done debilitating water-fasting over the past 75 years. Like the world-renowned, self-described "fasting therapist," Otto Buchinger, Sr., M.D., who supervised over 100,000 fasts, they've all done the wiser, more efficient juice-fasting.
Since fasting has never been taught in any of America's 127 medical schools, allopath doctors - schooled exclusively to deal only with symptoms, versus the causes which prolonged, juice-fasting more wisely addresses - hold a dim view of fasting. In fact, most allopath doctors appear never to have known, or seem to have forgotten, that all 3 Fathers of Western Medicine practiced and prescribed prolonged fasting - Hippocrates, Galen and Paracelsus, who declared fasting "the greatest remedy, the physician within."
Now let's take a look at how to fast.
(1) Masoro, E.J., Shimokawa, I., Yu, B.P., "Retardation of the Aging Process In Rats by Food Restriction," ANNALS OF THE NEW YORK ACADEMY OF SCIENCE, 1990; pp. 337-52
(2) Goodrick, C.L., Ingram, D.K., Reynolds, M.A., Freeman, J.R., Cider, N.L., "Effects of Intermittent Feeding Upon Growth, Activity, and Lifespan In Rats Allowed Voluntary Exercise," EXPERIMENTAL AGING RESEARCH, 1983; 9: 1477-94."
© 2002 Healing Daily