by Dr. Brad West, ND
Many of us dream of instant transformation – perhaps an angel will sprinkle fairy dust on us while we’re sleeping, and we’ll wake up feeling healthier, younger, more energetic, and thoroughly renewed.
Of course, it’s not very likely to happen that way. But few people understand that a complete health transformation can be within their own power, leaving them feeling refreshed and renewed in body and mind.
While there are many ways to transform our bodies – with exercise, healing herbs, and so on – another quick and very effective way is with a physical cleanse.
Done correctly, a cleanse can reboot our mind, body, and spirit, enhancing our digestion and making our body systems work more efficiently – thereby improving our mood and memory, and shrinking our waistline!
A very effective cleansing method that has been practiced throughout history is juice fasting. The warmer months are an ideal time for a juice fast. But, really, the best time to start a cleanse is when you’re feeling motivated – perhaps at the first sign of illness, or when you’re feeling sluggish (for example, after the holidays).
You can undertake a short fast anytime. You might choose a weekend, or another time when you’re free to gather the needed supplies and follow a good plan.
Try to decrease your activities and stress during the fast, and make sure to maintain, or even increase, your exercise in the days leading up to the fast.
The more you can rest during the fast, while including some low-intensity exercise, the better your results will be. Walking in beautiful surroundings, or doing some gentle yoga or other mild aerobic activity is ideal.
You may be surprised to find your energy increasing during the fast. It’s energy that can be directed toward detoxifying the body, losing weight, and general healing.
It’s essential to keep a positive mental outlook toward the fast. To help you stay motivated, it’s a good idea to read some reputable articles and books so you’ll be thoroughly aware of the benefits. These benefits include clearer skin, better elimination, tissue repair, decreased pain, inflammation, and allergies, increased concentration, and overall rejuvenation.
Two excellent books on juice fasting are the quaintly titled How to Keep Slim, healthy and Young With Juice Fasting, and How to Get Well, both by Paavo Airola. (Special Note: Airola explains why fasting on plain water is not advisable, and may even be injurious to your health.)
The benefits generally show up most vividly after the fast. It’s good to keep them in mind during the fast, when your body will be detoxifying and might not be feeling its best.
A famous European fasting authority said, “Any fool can fast, but it takes a wise man to break it.” It’s extremely important to know how to fast properly, including the special art of breaking the fast (as described in the books mentioned above).
Also, our food choices after the fast need to be simple, whole, and easy to digest. Eat food slowly, chewing thoroughly, limit the quantity, and enjoy!
Overeating can undo the benefits of a fast, so be VERY careful to review the foods you eat during the first week after the fast. It’s good to avoid added sodium, and to eliminate animal products, at least for the first week or two after the fast.
Special Caution: Although short fasting is generally safe, it’s highly advisable to see your doctor for a physical evaluation before undertaking a fast. If you are on medications, or have a chronic illness, you may need to make appropriate alterations to the fast. It’s also helpful to have the support of health-minded friends.
Fasting is one of the quickest ways to eliminate waste and improve your body’s self-cleansing and repairing processes. Fasting is one part of a total health-optimizing program. Other parts include fresh air, rest, exercise, sunshine, pure water, emotional poise, and wholesome food.
One of the greatest benefits of fasting is the satisfying knowledge that you can play an active role in optimizing your own health.
Dr. Brad West, ND is part of the intravenous therapy team at Pacific Naturopathic. For a consultation with Dr. Brad, call 650-917-1121.