By Kirk Patrick | February 5, 2012
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(Health Secrets Newsletter) Despite the luxuries of the modern world and the perceived abundance of food, the human body is much the same as it was 10,000 generations ago. During that time, known as the Paleolithic Period, humans did not have welfare, food stamps or discount grocers. As a result, men and women did not eat nearly as regularly as we do now, and on average about one day per week they would go without any food at all. Obesity was unheard of as anyone who managed to become overweight was quickly devoured by wild predators due to their sluggishness. During this period (which covers Pliocene and the Pleistocene epochs) our bodies developed powerful detoxification methods that were triggered by the rhythm of food consumption of the era. Nearly 99% of human existence so far was during this period. The last two centuries of the Industrial Revolution are a mere instant compared to our entire history on Earth, which is not nearly enough time to evolve or even adjust to our modern diets of processed food.
Just what is Fasting?
Deliberately ceasing to ingest food is called fasting and has been used throughout history by both people and animals to restore and maintain optimal health. Animals that become ill instinctively know to heal themselves properly by resting near a source of clean water and refraining from eating. For this reason your veterinarian will often ask whether your pet has been eating when trying to diagnose an illness. You may also have noticed that when you are very ill you lose your appetite. This is your body forcing you to fast against your will, but it should never come to that point.
When living creatures stop eating, they reserve energy normally used for digestion, and they experience the miracle of fasting. Many dismiss fasting and say "but I can't go without food...I need my nutrition". Ironically those who use this as an excuse are usually munching away on a fast food burger that not only provides little nutrition, but actually taxes the body of energy for digestion and strips away nutrients while leaving toxic residues. While humans can only go a few minutes without oxygen and a few days without water, we can go up to 70 days without food! In fact, a 30 or 40 day fast is considered by many to be the key to physical and spiritual enlightenment.
While our bodies are extremely efficient and store most substances for a rainy day, there are many unnatural and unfortunate toxins in our environment that should not be stored, and the only way to release many of them is through fasting. The enzymes in our blood are normally preoccupied with digestion, however after we go for 24 hours without food, digestion ceases and detoxification begins. Those same enzymes (never wanting to take a break) move from the gut into the bloodstream where they immediately begin purifying the body, neutralizing toxins, dissolving cysts, destroying cancer cells
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and releasing stored toxins from cells so they are eliminated from the body
During a fast, the level of toxins in the bloodstream can increase by as much as 1000%, meaning uncomfortable symptoms such as headaches may occur. In general during a fast, the worse you feel, the more the fast is working because these unnatural substances take their toll one way or another, whether via a slow time-release or a quick purge. Subsequent fasts will feature less uncomfortable symptoms as the body will have less accumulated toxins.
If you have never fasted, chances are there are substances in your body that have been there your entire life and which do not belong there. Thus, the first fast is the toughest.
In a nutshell, fasting means you cease ingestion while continuing (or increasing) excretion, resulting in a net reduction in toxins. There are a handful of essential products that will assist the detoxification process and reduce some of the uncomfortable symptoms. If you tend to have excess mucous and allergies, you will likely find your sinuses totally clear by day 2 of the fast (however the symptoms are typically worse during the first day as the toxins are being released in higher than normal quantities).
Types of Fasts
1) Total fast -- A total fast means not consuming any food or water. While it may be that when we become severely dehydrated our cells are able to squeeze out toxins that would otherwise remain in the water (and thus in the cells), and while plants often bounce back stronger after they are dehydrated, pure fasting is generally not recommended as water is essential to eliminate toxins.
2) Water fast -- A water fast means consuming only water. While safer than total fasting, there are some beneficial substances that are alright to consume during a fast so this fast is also not recommended, especially for beginners.
3) Juice fast -- A juice fast means consuming only liquids like freshly squeezed juice, with no solid foods. You must also refrain from consuming any caffeine, nicotine, alcohol or prescription drugs. This is the most common type of fasting and the one we will explore in this article.
Here are the five key substances that you should have in stock to support periodic fasting.
Top Five Fasting Products
1) Distilled Water - (H20)
Distilled water is pure, condensed steam, as nature intended. While spring water companies pretend that non-distilled water contains essential minerals, the reality is that humans do not absorb required minerals from water. Only chelated minerals (produced by vegetables) can be absorbed. Reverse osmosis is the next purest form of water.
2) Bentonite Clay -- Aluminium Phyllosilicate (Montmorillonite)
Bentonite clay (available in two forms called sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite) is a form of volcanic ash that is a natural adsorbent and which has the remarkable ability to physically remove 25 times its weight in impurities from the body, including mercury, viruses and pesticide residues. Bentonite contains high levels of iron, magnesium and silicon. Bentonite has laxative action.
3) Psyllium (seed husks) -- Plantago spp. (Plantaginaceae)
Psyllium seed husks, available in powdered or capsule form, contain fiber along with the amazing ability to absorb massive amounts of water. One teaspoon of psyllium, when added to a ½ cup of water will create a mixture that becomes so thick within the first minute that it is the consistency of pudding. Psyllium acts as a laxative and provides soothing moisture to areas that are commonly chapped due to digestive acids. For this reason it is used to treat stomach ulcers and hemorrhoids.
4) Milk Thistle (seed) -- Silybum marianum (Compositae)
Milk thistle is a flower whose seeds offer the antioxidant Silymarin, one of the most powerful liver tonics available. It is so potent that it serves as the antidote to poison Death Cap mushrooms, one of the most deadly natural substances known and one that would otherwise cause death within 24 hours. Milk thistle is used to treat cirrhosis of the liver and even promotes healing in those who continue to drink alcohol. It also promotes lactation and is a natural antidepressant.
5) Cascara Sagrada (bark) -- Rhamnus purshiana (Rhamnacea)
Cascara Sagrada (or sacred bark) is one of the only safe herbal laxatives besides psyllium. Used for over 1000 years, Cascara Sagrada bark promotes peristaltic action within 12 hours. Normally when we ingest meals the current meal helps move out the previous meals. However, during a fast it is essential to assist the elimination process in order to effectively remove the large amount of impurities that are trying to make a simultaneous exit.
Instructions for your first (36 hour) fast
* On a weeknight of your choice, consume a vegetarian meal as your final meal. Popcorn is a good final snack to have before the fast. Consuming meat or dairy as the final meal will complicate the fasting process due to the high content of protein and possibly dangerous substances like sodium nitrate. Note, your first fast should occur on a non-work day as you will likely not feel so well.
* For the entire next day, from sunset to bedtime, consume only freshly squeezed (non bottled) juice, along with the substances listed above (see labels for correct amounts to consume). Drink a big glass of (1 Tbsp) psyllium with (1 Tbsp) bentonite clay and water, and an hour later take any other herbs that are part of your fast. You will feel hungry and may eat out of habit so be careful. Getting to sleep that night can be tricky.
* On the morning after your first full day without food, enjoy a healthy vegetarian "break" fast. Again, you may be surprised to find that by the 36 hour point you are no longer hungry and you will have increased energy. For this reason you may decide to go longer periods as you gain experience with fasting.
For more information about fasting along with some herbs that help alleviate the symptoms of detoxification, please see the sequel to this article that will be coming soon. Note: although fasting is generally extremely safe, if you have medical problems or are taking medication you should consult your doctor first.
For more information:
The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Doris Kindersley, A practical reference guide to over 550 Key Herbs & their Medicinal Uses.
Watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead for more on juice fasting.
About The Author:
Kirk Patrick has studied natural health since 1997 and has helped many people heal themselves. He has published over 30 articles that have appeared on multiple natural health websites.
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