Fasting / Calorie Restriction Diet for Weight Loss & Cleanse

Fasting / Calorie Restriction Diet for Weight Loss & Cleanse

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Fasting / Calorie Restriction Diet for Weight Loss & Cleanse
Reprinted by permission from Bill Faloon of The Life Extension Foundation

Benjamin Franklin not only had an understanding of the needs of his generation, but also a vision for the future when he asserted that the best of all medicines are not potions or drugs, but rather rest and fasting.  Fasting often addresses the cause of the illness, whereas drugs are often directed toward the symptoms that accompany the condition.

The early church recognized fasting as a means of obtaining spiritual peace, while at the same time enhancing physical health (Wallis 1993).  Throughout history, reports of the merits of fasting have inspired a subset of the population to engage in the ritual.  However, the United States still lags behind in exploiting the benefits of fasting.  European clinics have successfully used fasting for detoxification and healing purposes for many decades.

Various forms of food withdrawal may be described as a fast.  A faster can abstain from specific foods such as meat or sugar; fast from dawn to dusk; fast one meal per day; fast one day per week; totally withdraw from all foods; or fast only on juices and broths.  Juice fasting, which is considered much safer than total food abstinence, requires instruction to be successful.  This is the primary focus of this protocol.

A 2003 report showed that the health benefits of sharply cutting calories (as occurs with periodic fasting) accrue even if the fast does not result in eating less overall (Anson et al. 2003).  Benefits ranging from longer life, to less stress, and to greater sensitivity to insulin have been reported.  Mice fed every other day, but allowed to gorge themselves on the days they were permitted food, had similar health benefits to mice on a diet reduced to 60% of normal food intake (Associated Press, 2003).

Some researchers believe that skipping meals will not result in injurious effects to fasters.  Fasting aficionados believe that by fasting three days a month, people will heal faster and extend their lives by several years (a 3-day fast helps rid the body of toxins; a 5-day fast is thought to start the healing process) (Healing Celebrations, 2002; The Associated Press, 2003).

Although fasting is touted as one of the oldest and surest ways to establish good health by promoting internal cleansing and healing, normalizing blood pressure and cholesterol, rebuilding the immune system, and reversing the aging process, it is not without its critics.  Because The Life Extension Foundation is committed to improving the health of the public and increasing life span, both sides of the fasting issue will be presented.

Health Begins at the Cellular Level
There are more than 200 different cell types and a debatable number of cells in the entire body (some sources estimate about 50 trillion cells are contained in the human body, but others calculate the number may be nearer 100 trillion).  The number of cells is not constant.  As cells die or are destroyed, new ones are formed, so the numbers are constantly changing.  It is estimated that half of all body cells are at the peak of development and working condition; one-fourth are in the process of growth; and one fourth are in the process of dying and replacement.

Natural hygienists believe that one cause of disease is toxin saturation at the cellular level.  Every function the cell performs produces waste products (toxic materials that are incompatible with cellular health).  Cells have capacities for ridding toxins, but these pathways can become saturated and overwhelmed.  If the body becomes overwhelmed, it will try to rid its toxins through other mechanisms that manifest as colds, inflammation, and skin eruptions.  Toxemia has been described as nature's way of eliminating toxins.

The body is fully capable of healing itself if these toxic accumulations are stopped and proper nutrients provided.  Conversely, there is a clear connection between systemic toxicity and development of many debilitating health conditions.  Biochemical suffocation' (or the interference with normal cell metabolism) is the principal cause of disease and aging.  Some believe that life is only as strong as the weakest vital link, the cell.

Because toxic waste products interfere with the functioning of the cell, it is important that toxins and dying cells are eliminated from the system as efficiently as possible.  This elimination stimulates growth of more functional cells.  As your cells go, so goes your health.  Cleanse and nourish your cells, and you're on the road to better health (Airola 1977; FCI 2002; Nison 2003).

Autotoxicity (Self-Poisoning)
Cellular decline may be caused by the accumulation of waste products in various tissues, which interferes with nourishment, and oxygenation of the cell.  When dietary deficiencies, sluggish metabolism, sedentary lifestyle, lack of fresh air and water, overeating, and poor digestion deprive the cells of key nutrients, they start a process of degeneration and decay (Airola 1977).  The body ages from the inside out and becomes vulnerable to disease and senescence.  Proponents of fasting declare that aging is not commensurate with calendar years, but rather with the health of the cells.  As toxins build up in tissues, a toxic environment is created.  It is not uncommon for the symptoms of headache, diarrhea, or depression to occur as the body deals with autotoxicity (self-poisoning).  During fasting, the concentration of toxins removed from the body and appearing in the urine can increase ten-fold.

Fasting and Cellular Toxicity
Fasting triggers a cleansing process that affects every cell and tissue in the body; elimination of dead and dying cells while stimulating generation of new cells (Shirley's Wellness Cafe 2003).  During a fast, toxic waste products impair nourishment of cells are eliminated with restoration of normal metabolic rates and oxygenation.  A fast offers respite from energy-demanding digestion (10% of caloric intake is used for mastication, digestion, assimilation, and elimination).  Instead, energy can be redirected toward improved immune function, elimination and cell growth.

Within 24 hours of food restriction, digestive enzymes stop entering the stomach and instead other enzymes are released into the intestines and bloodstream, where they circulate and digest waste materials of daily living.  Advocates of fasting believe that the body will first decompose and burn those cells and tissues which are diseased, damaged, or aged, e.g., dead cells and morbid accumulations (tumors, abscesses, and fatty deposits).  Renowned advocates of fasting refer to fasting as a means of burning the rubbish (Saxion, 2002).  Essential and vital organs, such as nerve tissue and brain, are not damaged during a well-planned fast.

Starvation can have pronounced effects on major body systems and organs.  The basic metabolic response to starvation is to preserve vital tissues and create energy.  Eventually, following prolonged starvation, the body survives by use of essential tissues for energy, including muscles and organs.  Liver and intestines typically lose higher percentages of their weight during starvation, followed by the heart and kidneys.  Reduction in heart size may lower blood pressure and pulse rate.  Total starvation is usually fatal in 8-12 weeks, depending on body size.  Long-term dehydration ultimately leads to kidney failure (Pale Reflections 1998; Merck 1999)

Fasting to Lose Weight
The reason for a fast should be to regain lost energy, heighten clarity of consciousness, enhance innate spirituality, cleanse, rest, regenerate, and rejuvenate the body along with weight loss.  A prolonged fast should result in the loss of about 5-7 pounds of fecal material from the colon, but this amount is quickly regained upon feeding.  It is also common to detoxify 5-10 pounds of toxic substances (FCI 2003).  Although a short fast of 3-5 days may not accomplish a lot, it is the safest recommendation.  It has taken years to wear the body down, and will take time to restore it to peak condition.  Recall that a short fast can be repeated several times per year to optimize benefits.  Consult with your physician to determine if your health precludes a fast.  If under the care of an experienced health provider, a longer fast may be considered.

Preventive and Therapeutic Objectives
Preventive fasting reduces the effects of dangerous risk factors (hypertension, smoking, obesity, elevated uric acid and blood lipids, and sedentary lifestyles).  Therapeutically, a fast has proven to be effective against the following conditions (Fuhrman 1998; AFL 2000; FCI 2002):

  • Cardiovascular diseases, including dysfunctional circulation, future myocardial infarction (heart attack), and recovery,
  • Migraines and glaucoma,
  • Disorders of the stomach and intestines, bulimia, and chronic constipation,
  • Diseases of the liver and biliary tract,
  • Crohn' s disease and ulcerative colitis,
  • Diseases affecting locomotion; rheumatism, joint and vertebral degeneration, and disorders of muscle and connective tissue,
  • Skin diseases; allergies, psoriasis, and eczema,
  • Diseases of the upper respiratory tract; nose, nasal cavity, ethmoidal air cells, sinuses, larynx, and trachea,
  • Fibroid tumors, nasal polyps, lipomas, benign ovarian and breast tumors,
  • Lagging libido,
  • Post-treatment for malignant disease [The residue of a necrotic (dead) mass can be highly toxic.  A fast does more than detoxify noxious by-products of malignancy ... it degrades abnormal cells and tumors, releasing cellular toxins and by-products into the circulation for elimination].

Mice fed every other day were more protected from diabetes and Alzheimer's disease than mice on low-calorie or unrestricted diets (Anson et al. 2003).  The mice consumed the same amount of calories in the long term.  A third group of mice were fed a low-calorie diet with 40% fewer calories.  When given a neurotoxin that damages nerve cells similarly to Alzheimer's disease, fasted mice had fewer damaged nerve cells than mice on unrestricted or low-calorie diets.  Fasted mice had lower insulin levels, implying a lower risk of developing diabetes (Mercola 2003a).

Studies showed that 70% of the patients with psychiatric disorders improved with fasting (FCI 2002).  Other researchers have observed that fasting patients with psychosomatic disease had an 87% success rate (Christian Century 1977; AFL 2000).

The Best Way to Fast
Authorities agree that juice fasting is the best, safest, and most effective method of fasting.  The classic form of extended fasting (pure water fast) introduces considerable toxins into the bloodstream and has been discredited as the best form of fasting.  A water fast is often too debilitating.  When fresh fruit and vegetable juices, alkalizing vegetable broths, and herbal teas are used, electrolytes are maintained.  The faster receives a daily infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.  Freshly prepared juices require no digestion and are easily assimilated.  Juices do not disrupt the healing and rejuvenating effects of autolysis (self-digestion).  By providing about 400 calories per day, the release of toxins from fat cells is more gradual than a strict water fast.

Do not chew gum while fasting; it promotes release of digestive enzymes.  During a fast, the stomach is void of solid foods so enzymes can injure the stomach lining.  Avoid mints and hard candies.  Following the fast, there is a loss of appetite for caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sugar, and junk foods.

Typically, a well-planned fast allows normal workload, exercise, and study habits.  During a fast, walking and deep-breathing exercises provide fresh air to cleanse the blood, effectively regenerating and revitalizing body functions.  It is important to get rest, especially when fatigued.  Some fasters prefer a weekend fast with less demanding schedules.

Support for a Successful Cleanse
A fast does not always help eliminate impacted waste materials from the colon, so plan a colon-cleansing regimen.  Fasters use colonics and herbal laxatives (like senna).  Others use psyllium powder as a bulking agent.  Enemas (containing 1-4 pints of water) can cleanse when taken once, but preferably twice a day (Horowitz 2001).  Fasting without the aid of enemas allows toxins in the colon to be reabsorbed.  This can poison the body.  The organs of elimination (particularly the kidneys) may become over-burdened and damaged (Airola 1977).

Dry brush massage (morning and evening) is a helpful adjunct to detoxification (over a pound of waste products is discharged through the skin every day).  Use a natural bristle brush (the size of your hand) with a long handle.  Avoid nylon or synthetic fiber brushes because the sharp, unnatural bristles can damage skin.  Brush the entire body except the face.  First brush the feet and legs, then the hands and arms, and lastly the back, abdomen, chest, and neck (Airola 1977).  Brush for at least 3 minutes, producing a warm, glowing hue.  Avoid aggressive brushing that may damage the skin.  Remember to always brush toward the heart.  All lymph vessels have one-way valves, which drain towards the heart, emptying into the large blood veins leading to the heart.  After brushing, take a hot shower (3 minutes in duration), followed by a 10-20 second cold rinse.  Repeat this procedure three times.  If the hot/cold showers are too extreme, a warm shower can be used.  Follow the shower with a rubdown with either a sponge or towel to remove dead skin.

The cleansing process is performed by a number of organs, glands, and transportation systems, including the alimentary canal, kidneys, liver, lungs, lymphatic system, and mucous membranes.  The skin is regarded as the largest eliminative organ.  It is estimated that one-third of all body impurities are removed through the skin's tiny sweat glands, the so-called third kidney.  Sweating is an effective means of purification.  One-third of all diseases could be cured by sweating according to 17th century physicians.

Recommended Liquid Intake while Fasting
Opinions vary on the amount of liquid to consume while juice fasting.  Some recommend at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of distilled water per day, two cups of herbal tea, along with diluted juices (Balch et al. 19 7 97).  Regardless of your fitness goal, make sure you drink enough water daily.  Many diseases respond to adequate hydration, flushing out disease-provoking toxins.  An easy formula for calculating your daily water requirements is to take your weight, divide it in half, then consume that amount of water (or juice), generally 9 to 10 glasses daily.  Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages will dehydrate, so for every glass of these beverages you drink, you need to add an extra glass of water (Airola 1977; Balch et al.1997; Woman's World 2001; Horowitz 2002).

Drink freshly prepared juice made from a combination of any of the following (ideally organic) fruits and vegetables: spinach, dandelion, parsley, kale, celery, apples (with seeds and skin), and carrots.  Raw fruits and vegetables are perfectly compatible when eaten together.  Melons are the exception.  Making the entire meal melon is an option.  If refined sugar or flour is eaten during the same meal with fruits (except bananas, dates, figs, or raisins), within an hour or two, the sugars and starches will ferment in the digestive tract and cause acidosis (Walker 1986).  Another juice combination may be prepared from three carrots, two stalks of celery, one turnip, two beets, one-half head of cabbage, a quarter bunch of parsley, and a clove of garlic (Healing Celebrations 2002).  Other juice detoxifiers include fresh lemon, grape, and green drinks (prepared from leafy green vegetables).  Dilute all juice with water (1:3 parts) and drink throughout the day.  Avoid orange or tomato juice (because of their high acidity) and avoid using sweetened juices.

There are a number of juicers that are ideal for home application, but Champion Juicers (Albion Enterprises, 800-248-1475) is an excellent choice.  During the fast, select juicing materials and teas that are specific to your health conditions (Balch et al. 1997; Horowitz 2001).  For example:

  • Freshly prepared cabbage juice and/or,
  • Pure vegetable broths (with no seasonings added) are excellent additions to a fast.  Prepare them by gently simmering the vegetables in water until tender (garlic and onion may be added for taste and healing properties).  The blended or strained broths may be consumed 2-3 times per day.  If you must eat, select a slice of watermelon (eaten alone).  Fresh applesauce (blended with skins) is satisfying and will not disrupt the fast (Healing Celebrations 2002).

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