Chapter 11. Fasting
your position on fasting for healing purposes? Would you recommend
that I do a cleanse before transitioning to a 100% raw diet to help
get out all the backed up nastiness?"
A: There are
two kinds of fasting: body initiated and intentional. I am a firm
believer in respecting the body initiated fast. This is when your
body does not want you to eat. You know that if you are running
a 104 fever and you eat something (even though you aren't hungry),
your body will toss it back out because it doesn't want to stop
what it's doing (an intensive effort at dealing with a pathogen)
to instead do some digestion (a very energy intensive process that
robs energy from the healing process). This scenario is obvious.
But many people are always eating ahead of hunger, either thinking
that when their stomach growls this is a sign of hunger (which it
isn't), or are eating on a schedule, or are eating X number of calories
which necessitates eating even when not hungry. True hunger is felt
in the same area of the body as thirst; in the upper chest / throat
area. Thirst has an immediacy to it, and is not what you
would describe as a pleasant feeling. Hunger on the other hand is
a pleasant feeling, subtle but pleasant, and, like thirst, it makes
no noise, and no one can feel it if they were to place their hand
on your body (as they could when your stomach is grumbling). Stomach
noises are not hunger; they are either the stomach doing some house
cleaning or latent indigestion.
Intentional fasts are done, well, intentionally,
either because someone feels it would be helpful, or because a fasting
practitioner sold you on the idea of fasting, or because it's Tuesday
and the person fasts every Tuesday (or once a month, or for three
days four times a year, etc). There is nothing that coincides, physiologically,
with a Tuesday. And even though the earth does go around the sun
once every 365 days, the body has no digestive cleansing cycle that
coincides with that regardless of what math you use. So the "fast
every xxx" is something humans thought up and it has no correlation
with the human body's needs, nor does it respect what the body wants.
That said, for many people who have
been eating a non-human diet, it would certainly give the body a
break by not eating for a few days. But understand this, if the
body wasn't trying to get you to fast, and you stop eating, the
body assumes that food has become scarce and will accordingly "dial
you down", meaning after a few days of no eating, your metabolism
will shift into "sparing/conservation mode", which is
why fasting is not a good way to lose weight. But many people,
if they waited for true hunger, would find that it doesn't come,
and this means that your body has probably been trying to get you
to fast for a long time! So my test as to whether or not someone
should intentionally fast is to wait until you feel true hunger
to eat (as described above). If you get truly hungry, then your
body is not looking to fast at this time, and I'm of the opinion
that you shouldn't. But if true hunger doesn't appear, consider
not eating until it does (unless this goes on too long, and you
can't do a lengthy therapeutic fast at this time or you can't do
it under supervision). One caveat to this test: the body wants food
for two reasons: fuel and nutrition. A long time ago, in our biological
"eco-niche" when we ate to satisfy our caloric needs,
we got enough of all the nutrients our body required for optimal
functioning. Not so today because of where our food comes from (an
industry that does not grow for nutritional content). So what do
you think happens if you've eaten enough to fulfill your caloric
needs but not your nutritional needs? You'll still want to
eat. Not for fuel, but in an effort to keep the nutritional insufficiency
from becoming a health harming deficiency.
But what if the body also wants you
to stop eating for a while to free up vital nerve energy for some
long overdue healing to keep something that's currently semi-serious
from becoming something serious? The body is caught between the
proverbial rock and a hard place. Damned if it does and damned if
it doesn't. Not a good place to be. This is why I highly recommend
eating a diet that supplies both the foods the body is adapted to
eat and the nutrition the body requires for optimal functioning...
and when the foods you're buying can't do both, you've got to step
in, step up, and do something about it if you want optimal health.
So, eating this way can allow the body to request a water fast when
it wants to without making some things worse.
What most people should be doing, and
what would be of a huge benefit, is to simply make sure they are
not overeating, which wastes bodily resources and nerve energy.
The best way to ensure this is to eat nutrient-packed food (uncooked),
eaten as simply as possible, and to pay attention as you eat so
you can "hear" when your body says "enough",
and then stop eating at that point even if there is still food left
on your plate or you're only half way through the apple or banana
or avocado (especially an avocado). And what I mean by "eating
simply" is: eat mono meals (a meal of just one item); if eating
more than one item at a meal, eat "sequentially" meaning
eat the higher water content foods first then wait a bit before
eating the other foods that have a lower water content; and don't
eat a meal that contains foods that don't combine well in the stomach
(known as "food miscombining", more commonly called "food
combining" which I feel is a confusing term because it can
suggest that you should combine certain foods, which is incorrect).
NOTE: As you transition to the healthiest
of diets you may lose weight and become underweight for a while.
This is normal, and there are good reasons for this. Just know that
the weight will come back without you having to "eat more"
or to eat more calorically dense food that is part of an unhealthy
I started eating a healthy diet (healthiest diet), and started getting
more sleep, and doing some rebounding, I found that I lost my appetite
I just didn't feel like eating. I'm thinking of respecting this,
but was curious why this would happen."
A: When someone
does a 180 from a typical cooked animal and grain based diet to
an uncooked fruit and leafy greens diet, it is a major change for
the body, but in a good way. Look at it from the body's perspective:
All of a sudden you've found and are now eating the foods the body
is designed to eat instead of the nutritionally lacking, irritating
food that caused the body to jump through hoops to keep itself in
balance, and required a lot of nervous system energy (nerve energy)
Keep in mind that the body knows what's
wrong with it at any given moment, and is always trying to keep
disease from getting out of hand (where it threatens your life).
So let's say your body knows that it's got some catching up to do
in the disease-resolution department, and it knows there's a lot
of housecleaning it got behind in too. When you free up nerve energy
for those tasks by eating a less nerve energy intensive and more
nutritious diet, your body will shift into high gear in an attempt
to get ahead of any as of yet undiagnosed disease. When this happens,
you can feel worse before you feel better. And what can also happen
is you can lose your appetite completely. One reason for this is
because the body has some repair work to do on the digestion system,
and knows that with no food coming in, it'll be easier to fix things,
and with no digestion to do, there will be even more nerve energy
to work with, which will make the repair work more "robust".
And even in the case of a tumor that wouldn't be detectable for
another 15 years, the body knows it's there, and with its improved
vitality plus no digestion going on, it can now really deal with
that tumor like never before. So for maximum effectiveness, your
body could take away your appetite for a time. This is called "body
initiated" fasting (assuming you obey your body and don't eat),
as opposed to "intentional" fasting where you decide to
stop eating based on what is usually something arbitrary like a
day of the week, or the seasons.
But if (water only) fasting is going
to go on for more than a week and become truly therapeutic fasting,
this should be done under the supervision of someone practiced in
the science and art of fasting. Why? Normally, when a healthy person
becomes ill, they will lose their appetite until their body resolves
the issue, at which time their appetite will return. The problem
with modern humans is that some are already so ill, sub-clinically
and clinically (undiagnosable and diagnosable), that when they do
a fast, they aren't capable of fasting long enough for healing to
be completed so that hunger can return. This is why very unhealthy
people can't use the criteria "fast until hunger returns"
to know when to break the fast. It may seem strange that the body
can't let you know when fasting must stop due to the inability to
fast longer, but millions of years ago, people couldn't get so unhealthy
that they couldn't heal within the time frame that the body was
able to fast, so our bodies didn't need that mechanism; fasting
would normally never need to go on for more than a week or two,
and we could certainly "last" that long. So evidently
the body is only programmed with
"more nerve energy = better
recovery from serious conditions"
"fasting = more nerve energy"
This is why, for some people, a therapeutic
fast must be done more than once for the health issue(s) to fully
resolve, and certainly the first of those fasts must be stopped
prematurely because the body has used up all available carbs and
fat for fuel and starts using protein, which is the clinical definition
of starvation. And this is when a fasting practitioner will stop
the fast whether the healing is finished or not.
there ever a reason to not do water fasting?"
A: If your body
is handicapped with any dietary nutritional insufficiencies and
especially deficiencies, a water-only fast will obviously deepen
the condition. And if one or more nutritional insufficiencies/deficiencies
are a contributing factor to the ill-health condition you're trying
to resolve, water fasting may help in some ways but hurt in others.
This is where "nutritionally supported fasting" can help.
This does not mean a calorically restricted diet, but a water fast
done with the inclusion of "green juices" which may be
nutritionally enhanced depending on the quality of the greens used.
Optimally, tests for certain "problematic" nutrients should
be done, and any insufficiencies/deficiencies corrected, before
fasting. If fasting doesn't help, or makes matters worse, it's likely
that nutritional insufficiencies were the problem, and not a malabsorption
issue, which can be helped by fasting. Unfortunately, some
fasting practitioners do not offer nutritionally supported fasting,
and some will only if asked to.