Spring Clean Your Body: A Basic Introduction to Fasting

We spring clean our house, but how often do we spring clean our body?

Fasting–or abstaining from solid foods for a time–assists the body to cleanse. By eliminating food, the enormous energy required to digest food is released and put to the task of spring-cleaning the body. The liver and entire digestive system is given a well-earned rest.*

Fasting begins as soon as you stop eating. There are many types of fasts, and the duration will depend on your work commitments and physical and mental state. Each person is different and will respond differently to fasting, so listen to your own body. However, there are some basic rules:

  • Consult your physician or naturopathic doctor before undertaking a fast if you are on medication or have any medical condition.
  • No smoking or drinking alcohol, coffee, or tea. You may want to cut down consumption of these items gradually in the weeks before the fast.
  • Discontinue vitamin supplements.
  • Two days before a fast, eat light foods: mainly vegetables and fruits.
  • You may want to try a fresh-foods diet as an alternative to fasting to begin with.
  • Allow yourself to rest when you feel like it during the fast. You may experience discomfort, headaches, dizziness, and nausea as toxins are eliminated.
  • Avoid stress and concentrate on positive thoughts.
  • Fast on vegetable and fruit juice (freshly extracted), pure water, or herb teas. It is important to drink at least eight large glasses of water a day.
  • It is important to have a bowel movement once a day while fasting. Use senna leaf tea, linseed tea, yellow dock root and burdock root decoctions or capsules, or enemas if necessary.
  • Exercise regularly: walking is ideal.
  • Resume eating gradually after fasting. Start with a piece of fruit or lightly steamed vegetables. Take two to three days, depending on the duration of the fast, to resume normal food intake. Never overeat.

The benefits of fasting are enormous.* It allows the body to throw off toxins and regenerate tissue, and it can result in heightened self-awareness. If you decide to fast for longer than three days, seek guidance from your physician, naturopathic doctor, holistic nutritionist, or other experienced practitioner.

*NOTE: This information has not been reviewed by the FDA. This information has been provided for educational purposes only and is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. You should always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health routine.