Fasting: The Physician Within
By John M. Burgstiner
"Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick, is to feed your sickness." - Hippocrates
"Humans live on one-quarter of what they eat; on the other three-quarters lives their doctor."--Egyptian pyramid inscription, 3800 B.C.
According to Elson Haas, M.D., Fasting is the single greatest natural healing therapy; nature s ancient universal remedy for many problems. After many years of personal and clinical experience with the healing and detoxifying benefits of fasting, he believes that it is the missing link in Western medicine. Others speak of the weight loss or spiritual transforming potential associated with fasting. Animals instinctively fast when they are ill. Today we will take a look at nutritional fasting types and methods, benefits and hazards, with an emphasis on juice fasting, the safest and most beneficial method.
Types of Nutritional Fasting
Partial Fast - Daniel abstained for 3 weeks from delicacies, meat and wine. (Daniel 10:3)
Water Fast - No solid or liquid food; only water. Short duration, medical supervision required to monitor vital signs and electrolytes.
Juice Fast - No solid foods. Fruit and vegetable juices and water permit much longer duration because vitamins and minerals are made available as well as calories for energy.
Total or Absolute Fast - No food (solid or liquid) and no water. Short duration - Paul (Acts 9:9)
Supernatural Absolute Fast - Jesus, Moses (Deut 9:9) and Elijah (l Kings 19:8) each fasted 40 days
Benefits of Fasting
Physical Benefits - Cleanses and purifies the body on a cellular level. Process of digestion utilizes much of our energy resources, so shutting down digestion frees up energy for cleansing, repairing and for spiritual growth.
Spiritual Benefits - "When the body fasts, the soul is hungry; when the body becomes lighter, the soul also craves relief." " Otto Buchinger, M.D. There are 74 references to fasting in the bible. Fasting has been a major emphasis in the lives of most great spiritual leaders throughout history: John Wesley, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and many others fasted to purify their hearts and minds, deepen their knowledge and understanding and enhance their spiritual power and gifts.
Hazards of Fasting
Electrolyte imbalance, sudden heart attack, kidney failure, or shock can occur, especially with water or total fast. The following individuals should never fast without professional supervision: Persons who are too thin or emaciated, prone to anorexia, bulimia or other behavioral disorders; those who are profoundly weak or anemic; persons who have bleeding ulcers, cancer, blood diseases, or advanced heart or other major organ disease; insulin dependent diabetics; and women who are pregnant or nursing.
Preparing to Juice Fast
- Eat smaller meals
- Avoid caffeine, sweets and heavy or high fat foods
- Spiritual breathing " exhale confession (impure), inhale Holy Spirit (pure)
- Raw fruit and veggies for two days before starting fast.
During the Juice Fast
Detoxification - Saunas, enemas, herbal teas (without stimulants) such as Senna, Chamomile or Lacy Lebeau. Liver C/S Plus would really be helpful now. Get plenty of rest, moderate exercise, and sunshine (don t overdo it). A support network or accountability partner is helpful when the going gets rough. Get enough rest and set aside time for prayer, study and meditation.
Master Cleanse - Good for shorter fasts: Water, lemon, maple syrup, and cayenne pepper. Psyllium husks and magnesium salts can help to keep things moving. Some people drink a quart of warm water mixed with sea salt in the morning to help cleanse the bowels. Fruit juice (cleanser) in a.m. and vegetable juice (builder) in afternoon. Sip water or juice frequently during waking hours. Avoid or dilute acid fruits such as orange and tomato. Best juices are fresh carrot, grape, celery, apple, watermelon, papaya, cabbage or beet. Green leafy veggies provide excellent nutrition and are good detoxifiers. One popular blend " equal proportions of celery, romaine lettuce and carrots.
Expect Spiritual attacks, up and down cycles of discouragement, fatigue and temptation to break the fast, followed by periods of euphoria, boundless energy and enhanced spiritual discernment.
Hunger pangs are greatest during first three days as your body adjusts from using food in GI tract to consuming stored fats. Coldness, bad breath (alfalfa tablets can help) and heightened body odor, constipation or diarrhea, light-headedness, changes in sleeping or dreaming patterns, aches and pains are common. A white, yellow or green coating on the tongue is common from detoxification process. Headaches or stomachaches may be a result of salt, sugar or caffeine withdrawal (better if you deal with those prior to the fast). Lower back pain may indicate dehydration. Dizziness with sudden body movements such as standing may occur " indicates hypotension (low blood pressure) " seek medical attention.
Breaking the Fast - The Most Critical Phase
- With the body in resting mode, the stomach shrinks and the GI tract becomes idle, so solid food must be introduced slowly to avoid kidney failure or digestive distress.
- Clear broths first, fruits and salads, steamed veggies, meats and fats last.
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