Fasting and Detox: Heal Your Body, Clear your Mind & Have a Fresh Start
Re-Booting Your System with Detox Diets & Fasting
You might be looking into detoxing or fasting because you have some physical symptoms you want to relieve – like feeling tired, lacking energy, or having skin problems or digestive discomfort. Maybe you’ve over-indulged a little in the alcohol or drugs department and want to have a fresh start, giving your body a chance to re-boot. Fasting and detoxing programs have become more and more popular recently not just for weight loss but for feeling more healthy and vibrant in general. If you’re wondering how to detox or fast, and where to start, read on.
Juice Fasts, Sugar Detox & Helpful Herbs
You can have your pick from a load of different detox programs, detox recipes and fasting regimes – it depends whether you want to lose weight, support healing from an illness, or just press the re-start button after a period of excess. Many detoxes last 7 days, to give your body time to clean the blood. For example, you may have only pure liquids for two days (a true fast), then have a five day detox diet that helps your digestive system have a rest. Other nutritionists recommend a 3-7 day juice fast – pure juices only, no food. You can also try a sugar detox, if your cravings for sugar are a problem – this promises to leave your skin healthier and your energy levels more stable. Herbs like dandelion root, burdock and milk thistle, as well as green tea, can help support the cleansing process. And don’t forget good old Vitamin C – it helps the body produce glutathione, a liver compound which eliminates toxins.
Be prepared for big changes. Fasting and detoxing don’t just create a physical cleansing – with headaches and nausea often the temporary result. Your emotional and mental life will get a spring clean too. What does this mean? You may feel more angry or negative for a while, especially if you’re used to turning to food when you have difficult feelings. Try mindfulness meditation to help you deal with these feelings without spinning out.
Making the Transition from Burgers to Beetroot
If you’ve been living on burgers and chips, it’s best not to go straight into a fast or detox. Fasting is not something to take on lightly – make sure you’re under the guidance of a health practitioner. Start by changing your diet gradually, getting rid of junk food and other toxins like cigarettes and alcohol, and going for lighter meals of vegetables and fruits. That way the detox symptoms should be less extreme. You can try a detox mono-diet like the mung beans and rice diet. Mung beans, rice and vegetables for 30 days may sound boring, but it’s an excellent cleanse for the kidneys, colon and digestive organs, and leaves you feeling lighter and more clear-headed. There’s also the fruit fast – better for spring time – and the green diet, eating only green foods like avocados, salads and steamed greens for 40 days.
If and when you’re ready for a complete detox cleanse through fasting, try a classic healing fast. Yes, this means no food at all, so no digestion is taking place. Liver cleanses and colon cleanses are also great. While your body is cleansing, it needs extra fluids to circulate through the body and allow your detox organs to do their job well. You can drink light drinks like pure water, herbal tea, and light juices – but no coffee or alcohol. There are lots of different detox drinks you can try.
Juice fasting, while controversial, has also become very popular recently. Juicing involves extracting the juice from vegetables and fruit in a way that helps you absorb the nutrients more directly. Whatever form of fasting or detox you choose, it’s essential to be in good health condition and to read about fasting thoroughly before you take it on. Decide how many days you want to do, and rest often during the fast.
Giving your Body a Rest from Toxins
Today, our bodies have to deal with more toxins than ever before: in the air we breathe, in the water we drink, and the food we eat which is often tainted by additives and chemicals. Detoxification is about giving our bodies – in particular, the digestive system – a rest from the hard work it does to deal with all the toxins we usually put into ourselves. When your body has a rest like this, energy is diverted to the metabolic and immune systems, so your body can do its self-cleaning job much more effectively.
A detox diet also gives the body nourishing nutrients that will boost your entire system and improve your health. When you do a detox cleanse, your liver is stimulated to get rid of toxins. Your intestines, kidneys and skin will also eliminate toxins better, and your blood will circulate better. At the same time you refuel your body with what it loves: healthy nutrients. Some nutritionists recommend a detox program at least once a year, even if you feel relatively healthy – just to reduce the load your body is carrying and help to maintain good health.
From Cleansing the Soul to Celebrity Weight Loss
Detoxing and fasting have been practiced by all sorts of cultures around the world for thousands of years, and has roots in both spiritual practices and medical systems. Hippocrates, the founder of modern medicine, was a fan of fasting, and Saint Augustine once said that “fasting cleanses the soul [and] raises the mind.” The Ayurvedic system of holistic medicine – originating in India – advocates fasting and detoxing, as does the Chinese medicine system. Recently detoxing and fasting, separated out from its more spiritual roots, have become hugely popular and received a lot of attention in the media. Celebrities like Beyonce and Madonna have used fasting to achieve weight loss.There are skeptics who suggest that detox and fasting regimes do more harm than good. A lot depends on whether you’re coming from a traditional allopathic medicine viewpoint or a naturopathic nutritionist angle. But many people have found detoxing and fasting to work where allopathic medicine fails, for example in healing from chronic fatigue.
Why is it Ripe and Ready?
Fasting and detox give us a chance to re-boot our bodies and minds to experience more health, energy and clarity.