Now I love red wine and I love cottage cheese – anywhere but on my thighs. Come bikini season and a lot of us turn to the latest fad diet to shift some pounds quickly. Fasting and purification can be an uplifting experience that enhances health and attitude, depending on why and how it is done.
Almost all modern affluent people need to fast from a lifelong daily schedule of three meals supplemented with between-meal snacks along with after work drinks. Virtually every religion and healing tradition recommends fasting for therapeutic or spiritual advantages. Many of our primitive ancestors fasted as the seasons changed: in the spring when winter supplies ran low, they typically fasted on little more than water and spring greens. However, excessive fasting on juices can seriously impair the metabolic rate and digestive strength, cool and weaken the body, and sometimes result in abnormal weight gain after the fast (typically what happens to serial yo-yo dieters, as they suffer from what I call “the starvation syndrome”: grossly overweight, yet being severely undernourished). To avoid these adverse reactions the type of fast should be matched to the individual.
A common assumption is that quicker cleansing methods, such as fruit and vegetables juices – similar to the principle of the much hyped “Master Cleanse “program that celebrities Beyonce Knowles, Angelina Jolie and Anne Hathaway. have used to shift the pounds quickly and release stored toxins, are the most efficient. Although, the quicker methods can be valuable therapeutically, it is important to keep in mind that slower and milder fasts with selected foods foster a consciousness of patience and a faith in the wisdom of living with gentler cycles, so to speak. Such fasts can bring amazing healing to those who lead stressful lives or suffer from emotional overeating issues.
Because of the foods most of us have been eating during the greater part of our lives, certain foods groups work better in a fast than others, depending on the food residues that need to be eliminated. These residues are most often from the acid-forming, high-fat, mucus-forming categories: meats, fish, poultry, eggs, most dairy, most grains and legumes, refined sugars, drugs and chemicals. When the body is too acidic as a result of these foods, disease and infection proliferate. This is especially the case in arthritis and rheumatic conditions.
The body should be slightly alkaline in order to build an alkaline reserve for acid-forming conditions such as stress, lack of exercise and poor dietary habits. The most alkalizing foods are fruits, vegetables, sprouts, cereal grasses (thus the hype of wheat grass shots) and herbs. The acid-alkaline balance can also be changed dramatically by simple practices such as soaking whole grains and legumes before cooking in order to start the sprouting process which is alkalizing. Another highly alkaline-forming process is to simply chew thoroughly in order to mix whatever is eaten with saliva, which is a very alkaline fluid.
The fasting high that you experience during longer fasts are due to an increased release of endorphins (the body’s natural pain killers) – similar to the endorphin high experienced by long distance running. Endorphins alleviate pain by binding to mu opioid receptors located on neurons within the brain and spinal cord. Ultimately, this is part of the reason why starvation can become addicting and partly explains the biology behind Anorexia Nervosa. There are several other biological and environmental causes for anorexia, and a lot of it has to do with brain chemicals being out of whack – especially serotonin seems to be a main issue with regard to whether one develops Anorexia. You can learn more about how to balance your brain chemicals in Dr. Braverman’s bestseller book The Edge Effect!
Before going on a fast Dr. Braverman recommends smoothing the transition by starting out taking a supplement that scrubs your intestinal tract clean and helps curb your hunger: Slim fiber. This is NOT just a regular fiber product. This is a scientifically proven mix of flax, Psyllium husk, prune and apple pectin as well as gut friendly lactobacillus acidophilus bacteria. Apple pectin is especially efficient in helping to rid your body of stored heavy metals that may be preventing you from burning fat optimally and cause long-term damage to your nervous system along with messing havoc on your brain chemistry. You can get Dr. Braverman’s Slim Fiber at http://www.totalhealthnutrients.com
Eric R. Braverman, M.D.
Dr. Braverman is a Summa Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Brandeis University and NYU Medical School, did brain research at Harvard Medical School, and trained at an affiliate of Yale Medical School. He is acknowledged worldwide as an expert in brain-based diagnosis and treatment, and he lectures to and trains doctors in anti-aging medicine.