Tips to fast Effectively and Safely
All religions observe some sort of fating as a form of discipline, penance and spiritual cleansing, But beyond faith, how does fasting affect your mind and body? Manipuri icon Irom Sharmila could fast for 16 years because it took a team of 10 to determine her nutritional requirements and fed them to her in liquid form through a nasal tube.
The brain is hugry for glucose and uses about 20% energy from the food we eat.The heart, liver and kidneys use about 60% which is why these get damaged first wen we stop getting food. The brain stores minimal energy as food and depends on circulating energy for its functions.
A normal adult can last 3-4 weeks on water alone but when you stop water its difficult to survive beyond 3-7 days depending on how hot it is. The kidneys then rapidly begin to get damaged.
Some people fast as a way to lose weight. Others fast to try to detox their bodies, or for religious reasons.
If you’re fasting to lose weight, you may want to reconsider. The weight loss may not last after you finish fasting.If your goal is to detox your body, you should know that your body naturally detoxes itself.
Fasting diets aren’t all the same. Some allow only liquids like water, juice, or tea. Others cut calories drastically, but don’t completely ban food. And on some plans, you fast every other day.
Why Fasting for Weight Loss Can Backfire
When you eat less than you need and you lose weight, your body goes into a starvation mode. To save energy, your metabolism slows down.
When you’re done fasting and you go back to your usual diet, you may regain the weight you lost, and then some.
On a fast, your body adjusts by curbing your appetite, so you will feel less hungry at first. But once you have stopped fasting, your appetite revs back up. You may feel hungrier and be more likely to overeat.
Is Fasting Safe?
Fasting for a few days probably won’t hurt most people who are healthy, provided they don’t get dehydrated. But fasting for long periods of time is bad for you.
Your body needs vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients from food to stay healthy. If you don’t get enough, you can have symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, constipation, dehydration, and not being able to tolerate cold temperatures. Fasting too long can be life threatening.
Don’t fast, even for a short time, if you have diabetes, because it can lead to dangerous dips and spikes in blood sugar.
Other people who should not fast include women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, anyone with a chronic disease, the elderly, and children.
Before you go on a new diet, particularly one that involves fasting, ask your doctor if it’s a good choice for you. You can also ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian, who can show you how to design a healthy eating plan.
Many people think about fasting for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you need to renew your body and soul. Maybe you’re feeling sluggish or toxic and need to cleanse your body in short order. Or maybe you want to fast for spiritual reasons, such as a breakthrough in your personal life or for revival in this land.
Whatever your reasons for fasting, here are 10 tips to ensure you fast smart.
1) Prepare Your Mind
Before you begin, think about why you want to fast. What do you want to achieve? It’s important to have the right mindset before you start or you may lose heart early on. Pray for discipline and a strong will to complete the fast.
2) Stock Up
Shop for everything you’ll need before the day you begin. Not having everything you need on your ﬁrst day is a sure way to fail. If you’re doing a juice fast, for example, look at the recipes you’ll be using, and make sure your shopping list has all the ingredients.
3) Drink Water
Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of puriﬁed water while you are fasting so you can ﬂush away toxins and waste. This will also help you stay energized. Dehydration can cause you to feel tired and hungry.
4) Go Easy
Gentle exercise, such as walking, is good, but don’t overexert yourself. Your body is working hard to eliminate toxins, remove damaged cells and restore vitality. This important work is often not completed when we eat regular meals. That’s because the body focuses its attention on digestion throughout the day. Fasting frees your body from this daily chore so it can work on cleansing, repairing and healing. It’s like taking a week’s vacation to thoroughly clean your home.
While all this important work is going on inside, you want to give your body the rest it needs. Take more breaks. Avoid exhausting work. Go for walks. Get fresh air and sun. Go to bed early, as powerful healing hormones are released while you sleep. Relax before bed by taking a bath, reading a good book or listening to beautiful music.
5) Choose a Plan
Many people think fasting means a strict water fast. Some people even try to follow the model of some biblical heroes—no food or water, which can be dangerous. But there is more than one type of fast. Choose the one that is best for you.
Water fast. A strict water fast for more than two or three days is not recommended unless you can completely rest and are medically supervised.
Juice fast. Freshly made juice is rich in antioxidants that bind toxins so they don’t damage cells—and those antioxidants are critical, especially during a fast.
One meal a day. Everyone can fast for one meal or from certain foods. You can deny yourself coffee, sweets, soda pop, fast food, snack foods and junk food. None of these things are good for your body anyway. And if you can’t do a strict fast because of your age or health, choose instead to give up some of your favorite foods. You could also fast one meal a day and drink a veggie juice instead.
Unlike in older times, where the air, soil and water were virtually pure, we have thousands of different chemicals pouring into our atmosphere every year. Most of our food is sprayed with pesticides and packaged with preservatives, additives, dyes and ﬁllers. (Therefore, you ought to choose organic produce.) Our water is treated with chemicals, and our air is assaulted with industrial pollution.
Toxins are stored mainly in our fat cells. When we fast, those toxins are released in greater amounts. Without antioxidants to bind up free radicals, our cells can be damaged.
On the juice fast, you can drink vegetable juices, puriﬁed water, coconut water, veggie broth and herbal teas throughout the day. I emphasize vegetable juice because fruit juice has too much sugar, which can cause spikes and dips in blood sugar, leaving you tired. However, you can use a little fruit to ﬂavor and sweeten veggie juice recipes.
All this will keep you healthy, energized and hydrated. To keep from boredom, try new juice and green smoothie recipes.
6) Be Wise
You may have a physical condition that would make water or juice fasting unwise or dangerous. Seek medical advice ﬁrst. However, be aware that many doctors have little knowledge of fasting or training in nutrition. People who should not do a strict water or juice fast include women who are pregnant or nursing, people who are anorexic or bulimic, anyone who is emaciated or underweight, and those who are on dialysis.
Be aware of medications and their effects while you fast. For example, a vegetable juice fast can lower your blood pressure quickly, so you would need to cut back on medication, for which you should seek your physician’s advice. People with diabetes or hypoglycemia can modify a vegetable juice fast and include green juice made with celery for extra protein and fat. This would also be my recommendation for anyone who is elderly or weak.
During your fast, if you become so hungry you could eat the plaster off your wall, you may have parasites or yeast overgrowth. It could be that freeloaders in your body are screaming for food. You may need to do a parasite cleanse or a yeast-control diet to get this infection under control before continuing any other kind of fast.
Please note: Children under the age of 15 should not do a strict water or juice fast.
7) Determine the Length
You can fast from one day to an extended period of time,. Most people can easily handle a three-day fast. If you work, start on Friday. Then you’ll have the weekend to complete the fast at home.
8) Know the Symptoms
As your body releases toxins, you might get some detox reactions, such as headaches, tiredness, foggy brain or bad breath. (Chew mint(pudina) for your breath.) This can be part of your body ridding itself of toxins that could cause disease, which is a good thing. Don’t quit your fast when this happens. The symptoms should pass rather quickly.
Fasting and prayer are linked In the Hindu religion. Whenever we fast, we are admonished to pray, which facilitates our spiritual growth and renewal.
10) Break Smart
How you break a fast is as important as the fast itself. Break your fast the ﬁrst day with only vegetable juices, green smoothies, raw fruits and vegetables, veggie soups, or steamed vegetables. Never break a fast with a heavy meal like a burger and fries or steak and potatoes, as you can harm your body and end up with stomach cramps and digestive issues.