Many of us are familiar with the concept of fasting as it has evolved from religion. In fact, religious fasting is done more for purposes of meditation and coming closer to God than for improvement in health. If you think about it, eating a hardy breakfast before sun-up laying in bed all day reading the bible and thinking about your relationship with God, and eating a hearty meal after sundown would slow down my metabolism so much that I would probably gain weight during a month long fast.
Fasting can also be done as part of lifestyle improvement. However, gaining ego-free logical information is tough. Perhaps the worst entry in Wikipedia is the one on Detox Fasting which defines it in a patronizing way and then criticizes it. Hardly a world class effort at balanced reporting. A recent NY Times article presents a much more balanced view.
What almost everybody would agree on is that toxins in the body which have been accumulated over the years are stored in body fat. Shed the fat and you shed the toxins. Hence a logical fast should include vast amounts of water to flush the toxins out of your system. I simply prefer to drink green tea, herbal teas and an occasional cup of dark tea. I avoid all diet sodas and high caffeine drinks. Why would anyone want to drink beverages that constantly remind them that they love the taste of real sugar and when I need a caffeine boost, black tea works just fine. I also love club soda so I drink it all day. I sort of hate basic water so I have to force myself to drink it.
As to red wine – screw the purists as the well documented health benefits far out way the puritanical rejection of this beverage. If it was good enough for Jesus, who am I to argue. And trust me it was not grape juice or watered down wine as you would have to be out of your mind to drink either in a third world nation before detergents and hot water were invented. You would have a life time of trotting to the outhouse because of diarrhea instead of preaching sermons on the mountain.
In addition to a lot of water based fluids and a little bit of wine at night for “thy stomachs sake”, I try to eat a decent meal which usually doesn’t occur until well after sunset. The meal generally has lots of flavor and is in the range of 600 to 1000 calories depending on my mood.
Naturally, the purpose of the fast is to cut back on calories, lose some weight and and detox the body. But reduced calories means reduced vitamins and minerals. So I take my multi vitamins and calcium supplement – nothing fancy just the over the counter stuff.
During the fast the worst thing you can do is hibernate by reading the Trilogy of the Rings or even your Bible. There is no benefit to fasting unless you burn energy and break down the fat. In the case of hard work, there is almost a spiritual feedback. How many times have you heard people say – “I was so busy today I forgot to eat.” Take advantage of that bit of human nature – keep busy and forget to eat.
With those caveats in place, it’s time to describe my modified fast within my human nature.
I start my day with tea, and keep on drinking it from 6 am until about 1 pm. I love Earl Gray Green, green tea with lemon and ginseng and Black Cherry Berry. Usually the green teas are early in the day and the herbals about mid day but no hard fast rules – Water and Club soda are drunk late in the day and the wine is of course with dinner.
I love apples and usually start my day with one but when I’m fasting I eliminate it because the sugar release makes me think of food and eating. I skip all dairy products. This is easy – 90% of the adult population of the world is lactose intolerant and even cows don’t drink it after they are a couple of years old. (I do love cheese, but skip it during fasting)
When I start fasting my body is still in a food eating mode so I have to compromise between an absolute impossible fast or a reasonable compromise. My placebo to real foods or snacks is to nibble on lettuce, celery or other very low calorie raw green vegetables. By about day 4 you get in the fasting mode and it no longer bothers me as long as I can stay active. However when the demands of business, family and social life kick in, fasting is impossible so the timing has to be perfect.
In essence, I skip most food during the day except rabbit foods, drink plenty of fluids and eat a decent flavorable meal at night with a couple of glasses of wine. I go to bed tired from all the work I have done and happy with the wine and pleasant dinner. Now once started and left alone to do manual labor, it really isn’t to tough to fast and keep it going until some goal is reached.