We do a lot to keep the outside of our bodies clean and looking great but do we neglect what we cannot see? It is difficult to remember that what goes on behind the scenes is dramatically important to our overall health and well-being. Even if you are going out of your way not to load up on toxic food, drinks or drugs, toxins will still enter your body via the environment.
According to researchers, our environment is so toxic that traces of rocket fuel were found inside the livers of polar bears in Alaska. So, knowing that there is no escape from trace amounts of environmental toxins, what can be done? Health experts propose that one of the answers is to fast and cleanse for a short period of time on a regular basis. Nothing overly taxing or difficult is required, just a period of 16 to 18 hours with no food at all. This gives the body time to rest and restore, and to focus on ridding itself from dangerous toxins. Another chief benefit of this “time out” period is that our body switches into a fat-burning mode. This is good news for those looking to drop a few pounds.
During a fast, the body slips into self cleansing gear, giving health problems a chance to heal and the body the opportunity to rebalance. The human body has the ability to heal itself, but cannot do so if toxins are present or if foods that are difficult to digest are eaten. Disease thrives in unhealthy environments, and this is one of the reasons why we see so many lifestyle related conditions today. The cleansing that happens when we fast is like the spring cleaning we give our homes. We reach into all the little nooks and crannies and sweep out the cobwebs, we de-clutter our closets and give everything a nice shine. This is what happens on the inside of our bodies when we take a short break from eating.
But…. I’m Scared
We are extremely used to having so much food around us that the thought of going without frightens some people tremendously. In reality, the human body can go a long time without food and is generally better off for missing a few meals. There is nothing to be scared of as long as you are consuming enough water and eating a healthy diet apart from fasting.
Benefits of Fasting
According to the American Heart Association, people who miss a few meals once a month are up to 40% less likely to have clogged arteries compared to those who do not fast regularly.
Research conducted on the Mormon population in Utah, where most people fast the first Sunday of every month, 61% had heart disease compared to 66% of non-Mormons. Those involved with this study noted that fasting once in awhile forces the body to burn fat and also allows it some rest from producing insulin. Once the fast is over, insulin-producing cells may work more efficiently. Short fasts are particularly beneficial for people who eat a highly processed diet. Digestion is impaired when we consume a high amount of sugar and unhealthy fat. Fasting also promotes the production of human growth hormone which which slows the aging process. Free radical damage is decreased as is inflammation when we take a break from eating.
When is the Best Time to Fast
Taking advantage of the sleeping hours is a great way to fast. Ease into fasting gradually by eating your last food a few hours before you go to bed. This may give you a ten or eleven hour fast. You can stretch that fast out by waiting longer to eat your first food after waking. Eventually, you can skip breakfast altogether and eat your first meal at lunchtime. The more you depend on carbohydrates for fuel, the more difficult this will be. However, once you slip into a fat-burning mode, it will be easier.
The most beneficial fast is the one that you can stick to and have a great social support system from friends and family. You don’t have to do cleanses and fasts alone. If you are concerned about this or have a difficult time on a water only fast or jumping into a cleanse or fasting system, talk to your doctor about it, and also consider choosing a cleansing or detoxing program that offers social support like ProGrade’s 72-hour cleanse. There are no supplements and it teaches you exactly what to buy for your cleanse.
If you have been eating a diet high in processed food, it is likely that you will experience what is known as a “healing crisis” when you begin fasting. As the liver, kidneys, colon, blood, lungs, skin and lymphatic systems begin to dump toxins, some adverse reactions may occur. These include:
an urge to use the bathroom more frequently
bad breath or body odor
cold hands and feet
flare up of old injuries
weakness and fatigue
remembrance of painful memories
Although it may seem as though something is wrong, these symptoms are actually a sign of your body healing itself.
Develop Good Habits
Once your cleanse is over, it is paramount that you develop healthy habits. This means eliminating processed foods, eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, drinking water and getting plenty of sleep. The healthier you are, the easier the fast will be.
Note: Be sure to consult a medical professional before embarking on any type of fasting program.
– The Alternative Daily