We all have memories of how we looked and felt when we were younger. It’s sometimes hard to get those memories out of our minds or be satisfied with our current level of fitness, age, beauty or size. We make legitimate efforts to lose weight or to improve our health and eating habits. And with all of the information that is available today it is sometimes difficult to figure out what supplements to integrate, how many multi-vitamins you should be taking, the number of hours of sleep or how much exercise you really need.
Another one of those factors that plays a part in a healthy diet is fasting. In most cases people don’t think of fasting as part of a healthy eating plan but instead as part of a radical diet designed to lose 20 pounds in 2 days! However, because of the way in which our bodies were designed, an occasional fast is actually good for the body and works with the way in which the body functions.
Let’s consider how we used to eat. Prior to current Western standards food wasn’t plentiful. In fact, we used to farm or hunt for everything that we ate. No grocery stores, meat markets or canned foods. If a person ate they took care of the food themselves. And, because that this was life our bodies were designed to accommodate to the abundance of food that we are faced with each day has led to an increase in obesity and obesity related health problems.
Fasting is a period of abstinence from all foods. That period can be 24 hours or a couple of days. The individual drinks fluids or juices to provide the body with fluids and calories that are easily digestible.
The scientific studies are slowly growing about fasting, but because there is no money to be made from fasting (it’s free after all) you are unlikely to see big pharmaceutical or food manufactured pump in some money or promote the benefits of this long forgotten eating pattern.
Fasting has been a part of ancient cultures, mourning rituals, initiations and diet plans for centuries. People have used juice fasts and water fasts to accomplish their tasks. But, doctors recommend that no extended fast should ever be undertaken without the use of juice to add a few calories to the mix.
The objective of a fast isn’t to totally eradicate calories from the body but to stop or slow the digestive system and allow the body to detoxify. It’s important to stay hydrated to help the body flush out the toxins during this detoxification process.
Traditional medicine doesn’t have anything bad to say about the occasional 24 hour fast unless the individual has a metabolic disorder that would be adversely affected by a fast.
Fasting also gives the digestive system a rest. Juices require very little digestive energy and are quickly taken into the body. Most of the energy that is usually used in this process is then freed up to be used to help repair body tissues.
People who use fasting in their dietary regimen also experience an increased ability to overcome addictions to caffeine, nicotine or smoking. Many people also report that they feel a sense of freedom when fasting and are able to control their urges for foods that are perhaps less healthy whilst not fasting.
You can read more about intermittent fasting in our advanced nutrition area.