Fasting For Detoxing the Body

Given that we are surrounded by toxins every step of our lives – from environmental toxins to those present in preservatives and pesticides – it’s recommended that we reboot from time to time. A detox basically means a planned cut back on toxins with a focus to improve our health and general well-being.

Fasting serves as a healthy way of detoxing especially when your fasting ritual allows you to consume fruits and light vegetables. The list of foods recommended to avoid during a detox regime is pretty much the same list you avoid at the time of fasting. While this may vary depending on people’s beliefs and practices – the essence is to eat light, fresh and unadulterated food. And that’s exactly what a detox recommends too.

Bear in mind that the human body has natural ways of detoxing every day. The digestive system eliminates undigested food and the lungs throw out air rich in carbon dioxide. The skin too works to eliminate waste and sweat through pores and sweat glands. Sometimes, apart from these natural detox methods, the body needs additional help in getting rid of toxins built up over a period of time.

How often should you detox?

A 3 to 7 day detox will clean your pipes of excess mucus, food wastes, sludge, old fecal matter, and inorganic mineral deposits. Even a short fast eliminates toxins from your body. While fasting can be a good way to detox and reboot your system, it’s imperative to make sure the nutritional quotient of the water being taken is not low

Water Fasting:

Water fasting has been one of the greatest healing techniques in history and continues to be so today. There are many discussions that great ancient personalities like Plato, Socrates, Aristotle, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Pythagoras did with water fasting. Plus, there is a bank of new information about water fasting available on the Internet that could help to educate oneself on the different ways to fast and the benefits of fasting.

Scientific research has proved how the brain literally grows, and you become more intelligent when you fast. On top of that, recent studies at the University of California Berkeley stated that 3 day water fasts reset your immune system by activating the stem cells and enables you to perform at the optimum level.

Let me tell you first, a little about the theory of sickness.

Every day we do a variety of things: breathe air that is not so pure, drink liquids that are not so good, etc., which eventually clogs our body filters, such as the lungs, nose, liver, and kidneys.

Over time, our bodies heat up and then the immune system gets knocked down. Fevers actually make the body sweat out toxins and trigger the urge to not eat, a natural fast. Three to four days of water fasting is good in such times. This will help clean out your system.

So should you allow your body to just go through this natural process of getting really sick and going through pain in order to thoroughly cleanse the system? Well, if you are cleaning the filters on a regular basis by doing a water fast, there is no need to get sick.

Another more simpler way than doing a full water fast is to try intermittent fasting. Essentially what that is, is within a week you do not eat anything for one whole day, and this will allow for the liver and kidneys to detoxify completely and get rid of all the toxins. It is, however, important to really hydrate yourself within that 24-hour span either with lots of water. This helps flush out the toxins you can also do a salt flush, an enema, breathing exercises and natural skin cleansing.

Diabetic and hypoglycemic people are often advised not to fast but with the right support it can potentially help their bodies release stem cells, and help repair their bodies.

For an intermittent fast you can start at noon, miss dinner, sleep, miss breakfast and start eating again at noon. This is one of the simpler ways, and if you stay really hydrated, it should not be difficult for you. If you can’t do 24 hours, skipping a small meal also helps.

Juice Fasting:

A juice cleanse is a type of detox diet that involves consuming vegetable and fruit juice for a short period of time (typically one to three days). Some programs include one or more smoothies per day to provide protein, fat, and other nutrients for energy and to curb hunger. Vegan meals and snacks are included on some plans.

According to proponents, a juice cleanse supports the body’s natural detox processes, clears the diet of sugar, caffeine, refined foods, and other foods and substances that can deplete energy, and jumpstarts a more healthful way of eating.

Raw, organic juice is the key component of the cleanse because of the nutrients, phytochemicals, and antioxidants that are in an easily absorbable liquid form. Vegan, gluten-free meals and snacks may be included for people requiring more energy, are new to juice cleansing, or want a less extreme experience.

Juice cleanses can be done at home using a juicer or juice press. Cleanse programs are also available in many cities at local juice bars, larger chain stores such as Whole Foods Market, Costco, or Target, or can be ordered online from companies such as Organic Avenue, Blueprint Cleanse, or Pressed Juicery.

The format of a juice cleanse includes these steps:

1) Preparation for a Juice Cleanse 1 to 5 Days Before: Although it may be tempting to jump into a juice cleanse, preparation is considered essential. Certain foods, such as coffee, refined sugar, meat, dairy products, wheat, alcohol, and nicotine are gradually eliminated to reduce headaches, cravings, and other withdrawal symptoms. It’s also considered important to increase intake of fresh vegetables, fruits, and fluids during the pre-cleanse.

2) 3-Day Juice Cleanse: During the actual cleanse days, at least 32 ounces of juice or smoothie is usually suggested, with at least half being green vegetable juice.

This is a typical day on a 3-day juice fast:

  • Upon waking: lukewarm water with a splash of fresh lemon juice

  • 8-9 am: Juice, such as the green vegetable juice

  • 10:30-11:30 am: Juice or smoothie/cleanse food

  • 1-2 pm: Juice or smoothie/cleanse food 

  • 3-4 pm: Juice such as the beet, carrot, apple juice

  • 5-6 pm: Juice or smoothie/cleanse food 

  • 6-8 pm: Smoothie or almond or cashew nut "milk"

Smoothies and vegan food can be included or substituted in more gentle juice cleanses. Room temperature or lukewarm water may be consumed between each juice or meal to promote elimination.

To optimize nutrient absorption, juice cleanse proponents recommend drinking juice slowly rather than gulping it down. Juice is typically consumed a couple of hours apart, with the final drink of the day being at least three hours before bedtime.

Fruits and vegetables used to make the juices often include celery, kale, carrot, cabbage, apple, spinach, beets, and leafy greens. Avocados and bananas don't juice well, and the pits of peaches, apricots, cherries and other fruit, apple seeds, carrot, and rhubarb tops, and tough skins of kiwi, pineapple and mangos should be avoided. Organic produce is best, but if it's unavailable, a fruit and vegetable wash (often available in health food stores) may help to remove pesticide residues.

People often find it easiest to juice at the beginning or end of the day and to make enough for one full day. Although juice should be consumed as close to the time of juicing as possible, juice can be stored in covered glass or BPA-free cups or bottles.

If hunger pangs are persistent or uncomfortable, vegetable broth or a small snack such as carrots, celery, a salad, or a piece of fruit is often suggested. For certain people, a modified juice fast that includes a salad each day for lunch or dinner may be recommended.

3) Breaking the Juice Cleanse: After the juice fast is complete, food is usually reintroduced into the diet over several days.  Start adding foods a little each day, staring with only fresh fruits and veggies, then moving on to adding in organic grains, nuts, and meats.

4) Common Questions and Precautions: A juice cleanse isn't right for everyone. It should not be undertaken by children or if you're pregnant or nursing or you have diabetes or chronic liver, kidney, or gallbladder problems. There can be side effects and you will need tactics to deal with the hunger pangs.

Physical activity

While it’s a good idea to tone down your exercise routine during a juice cleanse, normal activity such as walking can help to boost blood and lymphatic circulation. Also, try massage therapy (such as Swedish massage, lymphatic drainage, reflexology, and Thai massage), contrast showers, and skin brushing, which can be done as part of a regular shower.

Mind/body wellness

Stress can have negative effects on health and can impair detoxification. Allow the mind to rest by incorporating mind/body practices such as diaphragmatic breathing, progressive muscle relaxation, or mindfulness meditation. Try to get plenty of rest. Go to bed as early as you can and take naps if possible.

According to traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is associated with anger, the kidneys with fear, and the gallbladder holds frustration. Proponents of juice cleansing believe that old emotions may arise and be cleansed from the system as the corresponding organs are cleansed.

Bone Broth Fasting:

If you want to come out of your juice or water fast in a more nutritious way, instead of going right to adding foods back into the diet you can do a bone broth first. The nutrients found in bone broth are incredibly healing for the body, and consuming it on a regular basis is one of the simplest and least expensive ways to improve your health.

Bone broth has become well known as one of the best foods to eat to improve leaky gut and autoimmune conditions. And as a natural source of nutrients like collagen, gelatin, several trace minerals, and anti-inflammatory amino acids, bone broth also provides the building blocks for glowing, youthful skin, strong bones and joints, improved muscle strength, and tissue repair.

What is a Bone Broth Fast?

A bone broth fast combines the health benefits of short-term or intermittent fasting with those of drinking bone broth—which often results in both short- and long-term benefits, such as increased energy, better digestion, weight loss, a faster metabolism, clearer and brighter looking skin, and more restful sleep. Similar to a water fast, a bone broth fast involves taking a break from solid foods and consuming liquids throughout the day. But during a bone broth fast, instead of drinking only herbal tea and water, you drink several cups of bone broth throughout the day (anywhere from five to eight cups).

One of the key benefits of a bone broth fast (over a dry fast or water fast) is that it allows you to consistently take in plenty of essential nutrients, electrolytes, and protein. This prevents you from becoming dehydrated and helps keep your energy levels up, while the protein from the collagen and gelatin keeps your appetite satisfied. And you can probably agree that you’re most likely to stick to a fast when it doesn’t leave you feeling starved, light-headed, or deprived. (In fact, many people report feeling full until lunchtime when they drink bone broth first thing in the morning.)

How Bone Broth Can “Supercharge” Your Fast

Bone broth is probably the best “health elixir” you can drink when you fast. It’s like filling up your gas tank with premium fuel. This is because bone broth provides a ton of bioavailable nutrition to support your body’s natural healing processes without taking you out of a fasted state. In contrast, you take in very few nutrients on a regular water fast.

As mentioned above, bone broth is rich in collagen and gelatin, but animal bones also contain several other compounds and anti-inflammatory amino acids that are exceptionally healing to the body, such as glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, proline, and glycine. These nutrients can help:

  • Improve poor digestion, reduce intestinal inflammation, and improve symptoms of chronic digestive issues, such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis

  • Reduce joint pain and inflammation

  • Reduce food intolerance’s, sensitivities, and allergies

  • Improve skin conditions such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis

  • Boost immunity

  • Strengthen bones and joints, and heal cartilage and tissue

  • Promote healthier skin, hair, and nails

  • Improve sleep quality

  • May improve the appearance of cellulite and stretch marks

  • Support the nervous system Promote blood sugar balance and improve insulin sensitivity

Of course, drinking bone broth at any time (not just when fasting) will offer these health benefits. However, when you’re fasting and consuming only bone broth, your body may be able to digest and absorb these nutrients even more efficiently, allowing them to go where they’re needed that much quicker.

Nutritive Bone Broth

Simmering leftover bones in water makes a nutrient-dense broth rich in minerals like iron and calcium, as well as beneficial gelatin.  Adding a splash of apple cider vinegar increases the breakdown of minerals from the bones.  But you don’t have to stop there.  Add nutritive, Adaptogenic, and tonic herbs and immune-enhancing mushrooms to give yourself a boost whenever you use the broth in recipes.  For a vegetarian version, simmer everything but the bones, and add 1 tablespoon of miso paste per cup of hot water before serving. Feel free to adapt the recipe to your taste buds and the ingredients you have on hand.

Broth Base:

·       About 1 gallon water

·       Poultry carcasses, 12 cut beef bones, or 1-3 fish carcasses

·       Splash of apple cider vinegar

·       Basic stock vegetables (onions, garlic, carrots, celery, or whatever you prefer)

Nutritive Herbs:

·       1-2 tablespoons nettles, oat straw, and/or horsetail

·       1 tablespoon seaweed flakes or 1-3 large strips seaweed

·       1 tablespoon calendula

Seasonings:

·       ¼ - 1 teaspoon turmeric

·       Pinch of cayenne

·       Salt and freshly ground black pepper to preferred taste

Immune, Adaptogenic & Tonic Herbs:

·       3 slices astragalus root (Chinese herb, seasonal allergic rhinitis)

·       1 tablespoon codonopsis root (Used in Asian cuisine)

·       1 tablespoon ashwangandha root (Indian ginseng, reduces anxiety)

·       1 fresh burdock root, slices, or 1 tablespoon dried

·       6 ounces fresh shiitakes and/or maitakes, or 1 tablespoon powdered mushrooms

·       1 slice reishi mushroom

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot or slow cooker.  Bring to a slow simmer, and let simmer over low heat for 3 hours or longer (up to 3 days in a slow cooker). Strain and use as desired in recipes calling for broth.  To concentrate the broth, after you stain it, simmer the broth uncovered until it is reduced to one-quarter to one-half the original volume.  You can freeze it for later use (in ice-cube trays if you like, for proportioned servings).  For therapeutic uses, aim to consume 1 cup of broth or 1 ounce of concentrated broth (that’s one ice cube) once or twice daily.

I have listing a few ways to fast for detoxing the body, mind, and soul.  Just remember to be careful to drink plenty of water during any fast to make sure that you are not getting dehydrated.  Drinking plenty of water also helps the body rid itself of toxins faster, so that you don’t get as many side effects from the fast.  If you have any questions please message me.

By, Stephanie Fredricksen