Different Fasting options to suit every body
The 3 types of fasting I will cover today include juice fasting, fruit fasting, and intermittent fasting. There are other types of fasts, but these are the ones that I feel are most helpful for our collective aim of cleansing and healing the body. Also, I find these types of fasts to be the most easily woven into the modern daily life.
First off, all types of fasting offer cleansing and detoxification. And depending on your individual lifestyle, health issues, goals, and body chemistry, different methods of fasting will be appropriate for different people, and at different times in life. For example, if you find the 3-day juice fasting difficult in certain ways, you might experiment with a different method of fasting next month. And, since all things change, it is natural for your needs to change, so it’s useful to be aware of different options.
Juice fasting offers a great way to encourage detoxification and increase health and vitality. The nutritional power of fresh organic juices will help your body to heal, rebuild, and detoxify waste products. Many people find juice fasting to provide the energy they need to make it through work and family responsibilities, while freeing up energy and creating a greater sense of well-being.
Juice fasting gives your body high-quality nutrients in readily available form for your body to use immediately – with little energy required for digestion. Fresh juice is literally a blood transfusion from the plant world, which sends the concentrated water, enzyme, and nutrient content as potent medicine directly into your bloodstream.
Juice fasting also helps you to build a taste for fresh produce and become accustomed to the increased vitality. You will be drawn to more live foods after your fast.
In general 2-4 quarts of fresh juice are consumed for each day of a juice fast (and may be diluted with spring water or not), as well as lemon-water, herbal tea, or vegetable broth as desired. Drink only freshly made juices while fasting.
Intermittent Fasting offers some different alternative regimens for fasting, such as one day per week or one meal per day. Intermittent fasting has recently gained traction and popularity due to research showing a variety of positive health benefits attained through intermittent fasting such as improved heart health, increased brain function, prevention of chronic diseases, increased life span, and weight loss.
As the name implies, intermittent fasting is alternating between periods of eating normally and periods of fasting. These “periods” are open to be defined by you, and there are a variety of ways that people create intermittent fasting schedules.
One day per week fasting
The one day per week fast allows for rest and cleansing of our bodies, and is an antidote for our rich diets and general overconsumption. Some people find this easier logistically, physically, and psychologically to fast once per week rather than 3 days per month. A general rule for how much time to spend fasting for health is, one day per week and/or three days per month and/or 1-2 weeks per year.
Another plan for IF is the 24-hour cycle which breaks the day into defined fasting periods and eating periods, also called “eating windows”. These periods vary from person to person, but most define “eating windows” as periods ranging from four to eight hours, and abstention from food for the other 16-20 hours. Rather than total abstention from food, with only water allowed, some people include juices and/or fruit during the 16-20 hour fasting period.
I actually find that for some people this type of rhythm develops naturally over time as they adopt the cleansing lifestyle that we teach in our programs, wherein the entire morning involves only consumption of water with lemon, fresh vegetable juice, and fruit, until some point in the afternoon when food is desired, so the window of consuming solid food can narrow naturally to Noon to 7 or 8pm let’s say.
The point is not to force this type of schedule upon yourself, but in my experience personally and working with others is that as you lighten your toxin load and come to align more with lightness than with congestion, then this type of eating schedule can feel very natural and right.
One meal per day is another type of intermittent fasting. One can choose the timing of the one meal according to their own schedule and lifestyle. Most people do better with an evening meal, so that the higher energy experienced during abstention is reserved for daytime activities.
In The New Detox Diet, Elson Haas, M.D., offers what he calls the “one-meal-a-day plan”, which he recommends as a transition that progresses toward a one-day fast, then to longer fasting. He suggests the one meal be around 3 p.m. and consist of a protein and a vegetable, such as fish and a salad, or of a starch and a vegetable, such as rice and steamed vegetables. During the hours of abstention, he suggests fresh fruit and vegetable snacks be allowed in addition to liquids.
Intermittent fasting helps bring balance
All of these intermittent fasting methods allow for a period of time to be given for the rest and recuperation of the body. Many people do quite well with these types of plans and find that it gives them high levels of energy. But everyone is individual and you have to experiment some to find out what works best for your unique metabolism.
Another note about intermittent fasting is that during your eating periods, be sure and upgrade your food choices and food quality as much as possible – since you are consuming less, make it count.
Intermittent fasting, is really just a tool for balancing eating with not eating. which is a radical concept in the American culture that embraces eating as a 24/7 activity!
The one-fruit fast is a type of mono-diet where you stick to one fruit for the duration of your fast. Generally the most “cleansing” fruits are recommended which are apples, grapes, and citrus.
In Ayurvedic medicine a 3-5 day fruit fast is used to enhance the nervous system function and aids memory. Personally, if I feel called to do this type of fast, I find apple fasting to be the easiest to accomplish. Fasting on apples alone will give you all the benefits of any other fasting method without being quite so intense, but it allows your digestive and other bodily systems to slow down and rest and heal, it gives the body a chance for stored toxins and waste materials to be expelled.
And emotionally too, difficult issues, mental patterns, “stuck” places in your life, can all become clearer.
Usually about 3-4 apples per day will suffice for an apple fast.
One of the best fasts for a first-timer is a one-day one-fruit fast. You can learn a lot about yourself and your body with a one-day fast. Fasting with fruit also lessens potential discomfort that comes with a more intense style of fasting. If you find the 3-day juice fast very difficult, you might try modifying it to be a fruit fast instead. By the way, the starchier fruits such as banana and coconut, are not particularly because they do not contain much water. You can fast with almost any fruit, but the highly water-containing ones are best. If you’re mixing fruit, just be careful about food combining , and eat one type of fruit at a time.
So now you have some options and can be more flexible in following your body’s needs while still gaining the benefits of fasting. Note how your instincts change as the seasons change, and as you progress in the cleansing lifestyle. Always remember, there is nothing to lose in attempting a fast. There is no failure, because even if you “fail” to achieve your stated goal, you will have learned and experienced much of value. With any fasting method, internal energy is freed up that can then be used toward the cleansing and healing of bodily tissues, so you always win. My hope is that the information presented here helps you to find, or create, a method of fasting that feels right for you now and in the future, and that fits your goals and your lifestyle, so that you feel a motivation (rather than dread) toward a regular fasting practice.