Feb 26

Fasting, detoxification and intestinal cleansing.

In many cultures and religions the world over, people use fasting as a way to spiritual enlightenment and purification. Lent, Yom Kippur, Ramadan are a few examples. Hindus and Buddhists also fast.

I do not fast for religious reasons. Some years ago, I had a recurring and persistent health issue. I won’t go into every detail, but I can tell you that my illness was a mystery to all of the doctors and no one really had an answer. This went on for about a decade. I was in and out of the hospital usually twice each year. On two separate occasions, it nearly killed me! Eventually, the mystery illness disappeared. I have a theory about why, but it is only conjecture and I lack any evidence to prove my suspicion. A while after this illness, I tried fasting and an intestinal cleansing diet to try to improve my overall intestinal health. Now, I use the intestinal cleansing diet to lose some of the excess weight I gain over the course of the winter months. I usually do it in late winter or early spring. It is a great way to restore the body after the winter months of eating fewer fresh foods. It also gives a boost to the immune system.

A favorite quote from Frederick Nietzsche says, “That which does not kill me makes me stronger”. I suspect there is much truth in that. Perhaps I am living proof of the assertion!

Many practitioners of Western medicine are stuck in the practice of subscribing drugs or recommending surgery as “treatment”. Oftentimes, these are recommended as a first course of action to address a given problem. It seems to me, a simple matter of common sense that prescribing a drug is really not treating the problem but rather suppressing the symptoms. Of course, this is not to say that advances in modern medicine should always be dismissed, but perhaps the best path to better health and the treatment of health related problems is to first allow nature to heal the body. I believe that nature’s way is most often the best remedy even for some of the most challenging health related issues. Traditional Chinese medicine is one example of this approach. I was thrilled with the results of acupuncture treatments for chronic back and hip pain that I had endured for years after a training injury. Another example is what has become known as the Holistic Health or Naturopathic way of healing. Simple herbal remedies can be very effective for treating aching joints and sore muscles, the common cold, depression, insomnia, migraine headaches and many other ailments. It should go without saying that a healthy diet, regular exercise and adequate sleep go a long way to maintain good health and a proper balance of the body’s ability to heal itself. Part of this personal health maintenance regimen that I do includes fasting. It is important to note that some fasts can cause their own set of problems. For example; a fast of drinking only water is known to be very dangerous because the toxins released from the kidneys and liver remain in the body. They are not eliminated.

A simple dietary cleanse that I use is called the “Lemonade Diet”. It consists of a special lemonade that you must mix yourself. Using a commercially made lemonade is dangerous because of the processed sugar in it. Here is the recipe:

2 Tablespoons of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice = approximately half of one lemon

2 Tablespoons of genuine** maple syrup. Not maple flavored corn syrup!

1/10th of a teaspoon cayenne pepper

10 ounces of water

Combine the juice, maple syrup and cayenne with the water

** A note about maple syrup — The best grade of maple syrup to use is Grade B. It is higher in minerals and less expensive. You can read about maple syrup here. Grade A will work fine also.

Maple syrup is full of essential vitamins and minerals and it gives the body sustenance during the fast.

The lemon juice does the cleansing work.

The cayenne pepper actively aids the break-up mucus and helps to restore good blood circulation. Cayenne is also high in vitamin C.

Do not eat any other food during this cleansing fast. Drink a few glasses of the lemonade, upon waking each day. You may drink water when thirsty and some mint tea to freshen the breathe. Nothing else. Approximately 6 glasses of the lemonade per day is sufficient.

During the first days, you will feel some level of stomach upset and this is likely due to the body not eliminating the toxins that are being drawn out of your system. If your body is overloaded with a lot of built up toxic waste you will likely feel a greater degree of stomach upset. A laxative herbal tea will help to move out the waste and toxins.

Another cleansing aid is called an internal saltwater flush. Some people use enemas to cleanse the lower intestinal track, but they can be dangerous. That region of the body is not designed to have things enter!

2 level teaspoons of unrefined salt

1 Quart of lukewarm water.

This saltwater flush will cause the body to expel the toxins.

This cleansing diet can be done for 3, 7, 10 or as many as 40 days. I have known folks who have done a full forty days and looked remarkably healthy upon completing the diet!

After you have cleansed your system using this Lemonade diet, it is important to allow the body to slowly adjust to the consumption of whole foods again. One of the worst things a person can do is gorge on meats or cheeses after completing the fast.

Breaking the fast starts this way:

Day one:

Drink several 8 ounce glasses of freshly squeezed orange juice during the day. The orange juice prepares the digestive system to properly assimilate food.

Day two:

Start the day with orange juice again. Also drink plenty of water. In the afternoon prepare a fresh vegetable soup. Do not consume any kind of canned soup. They are loaded with salt and often preservatives (toxins). This soup should be made with several kinds of vegetables, perhaps two kinds of legumes, potatoes, celery, carrots, green vegetable tops, onion, etc. You may liven up this soup with curry, cayenne, chili powder (Be careful to read the label. Many commercial chili powder and cayenne have silica to prevent clumping. Avoid these.) You may also add tomatoes, green peppers, & zucchini. Brown rice is also acceptable. No meat. No meat stock. If you add salt to the soup, use it sparingly.

Have this soup as your evening meal and consume mostly the broth, although some of the veggies may be eaten. You can also eat some unleavened rye wafers.

Day three:

Drink orange juice in the morning. At mid-day have some more soup, left-over from the day before. For the evening meal eat whatever is desired in the form of veggies, salads or fruit. No meat, fish eggs, bread, tea, coffee or milk.

Day four:

Your body is now ready to resume normal eating habits, though if you usually eat highly processed foods, fast food, etc, you should really reconsider what you put into your body. The sacrifice of fasting and doing this type of cleansing diet will be wasted if you return to eating unhealthy foods.

You should feel lighter and more energetic after this diet and should consider it a new start to better health.

To your health!

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