When you want to lose weight, you go on a diet and there are hundreds of diet plans available. Some are very simple to do while some can be quite elaborate, with special preparations and strict rules to follow. Fasting is a type of diet that you can do for one to two days a week. It can be done for medical reasons. Christians, Catholics, Hindus and Muslims fast to follow their religious traditions. Fasting is also done to easily remove toxins from the body. While fasting you are abstaining from your regular meals but you still need plenty of liquids to quench your thirst and satisfy your body’s physiological requirements.
Different religions set aside specific days or periods every year when fasting is done. Catholics observed fasting and abstinence during Lent and on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Catholics still eat three regular meals during these days but meat and meat products are avoided. Fasting is also observed before Communion. The current rule for pre-Communion fast means no food and alcohol three hours before the Mass although drinking water is allowed. Christians fast when they want to restore and purify their minds or when then are seeking guidance and answers from God. Followers of Islam fast annually during the 40-day observance of Ramadan, where they abstain from food, drink, sex and cigarettes between sunrise and sunset. They can eat dates and other fruits after sunset. The Hindus regularly fast several times a year, following a calendar of feasts of their gods as well as the lunar and solar cycles, where they abstain from certain foods, although they may be allowed to have a feast in the evenings.
Medical practitioners recommend fasting before medical tests and procedures. If you are going to have a blood glucose test, the doctor will recommend that you do not eat or drink eight hours before your test to make sure that your food intake will not affect with the test results. If you are going to undergo a surgical procedure, your doctor will most likely recommend that you fast from midnight until the morning of your surgery, or at least 8 hours before the surgery. This is because anesthesia will relax the muscles on your stomach and throat so there is a risk that the food in your stomach will come up and reach your lungs, which can be fatal.
Fasting to detoxify
Fast-foods, packaged snacks and processed meats are some of the foods that are harmful to the body. These foods contain high amounts of sodium, fats, cholesterol and sugars that cannot be broken down efficiently by the body. Fasting is one way to eliminate the toxins from these types of foods. You can choose from several types of fasting for detoxification, such as:
You can do water fasting for one day up to 40 days. Water fasting will help your body eliminate toxins quickly. If you are going to do water fasting, you should have two to three days of juice fasting before and after you do the water fast as this is the most effective method of toxic cleansing, which is your goal when you fast. Distilled water is recommended when water fasting because it has magnetic properties and can absorb and suspend toxins to immediately flush them from your system. Spring or filtered water can be used instead of distilled water. Avoid using mineral water or water straight from the faucet.
Juice fasting means drinking vegetable juice such as carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, celery and other vegetables that you can be eaten raw. You can also drink the juice of raw apples, grapes or melons. But the juice should be freshly made. Drink a glass of water and a glass of vegetable or fruit juice to dilute the juice. Drink three to four 8-ounce glasses of juice a day.
After 8 days you can have half portions of fruits, fresh fruit salads or vegetable soups, cottage cheese and other light foods several times a day for three days. For the following 10 days, eat 75 per cent raw or uncooked foods like salads, fruits and nuts. The 25 per cent cooked food can be pasta, whole grain bread, cooked beans, squash and root crops like potatoes. You may also have fish and shellfish, unsweetened yogurt, tofu and goat’s milk. Animal meat is to be avoided.
Raw Fruit Fasting
The raw fruit fast is a good one for beginners and can last for one to five days. You can have a one-fruit fast or any-fruit fast. A one-fruit fast will have you eating one fruit of your choice for the duration of your fasting. Best fruits to eat for the one-fruit fast are apples, grapes or citrus fruits, which have the most cleansing benefits. The recommendation is to eat one kilo of fruit per day, divided into 3 to 5 meals daily.
In the any-fruit fast, you are allowed to choose different fruits like banana, melon, mangoes and other fruits that you like. You can combine other fruits but melons and citrus fruits should be eaten alone as these do not combine well with other fruits.
Brown Rice Fasting
Fasting does not mean that you completely eliminate food ingestion. You can also do fasting while you eat. One example is the brown rice fast. This is also a cleansing or a detoxifying fast. This is a gentle and soothing method of fasting. Brown rice contains complex carbohydrates and fiber. It is acidic and should be paired with alkaline-rich foods like miso and seaweed or you can sprinkle roasted sesame seeds over the rice. Brown rice fasting is suitable for winter fasting. Soak the brown rice first for 7 hours to get the rice to be cooked thoroughly. You can add a bit if sea salt to the rice while it is cooking. Eat three to six cups of brown rice a day.