This Holy Week, fast your way to health
MANILA, Philippines - It is Holy Wednesday, halfway through Holy Week. If you are one of those who choose to observe this occasion quietly and in the privacy of your home, why not go on a fast?
Fasting is done not just for religious but for health reasons, too.
Here are some benefits of fasting:
- Gives the digestive system time to rest
- Helps the body in flushing out toxins
- Makes one feel physically light (If you are in a prayerful or meditative mode this Holy Week, then this might help)
- Increases mental clarity
Fasting is like cleaning or housekeeping according to naturopathic doctor Linda Page, also the author of the book “Detoxification.” It is a way to “clear out the tubes and pipes in the body.”
Here are some fasting and detox programs you can try this Holy Week:
1) Eat only raw fruits and vegetables
While purists may argue that fasting only entails taking in liquids, advocates of the raw food detox say that fruits and vegetables are easier to digest and also aid the body in detoxification.
Eat cleansing fruits and vegetables like papaya, tomatoes, oranges, lettuce, carrots, and more. You can also eat healthy and whole fats sparingly like avocado and coconuts. But as much as possible, don’t take nuts, seeds and oils – even if they are healthy like olive oil. Oils are difficult to digest.
Sprouts like monggo (mung bean) are also recommended, says raw food chef Asha Peri. Sprouts are high in protein, vitamins, minerals, and enzymes.
Don’t forget to drink plenty of water. Do so an empty stomach as water dilutes the digestive enzymes.
Here’s how your day might look like: whole fruits or a fruit smoothie in the morning, a big vegetable salad with fruits for lunch, and fruits again or a salad in the evening. Snacks are a piece of fruit or some vegetable sticks.
2) Eat only fruits
To take the raw food detox diet to the next level, you can go on a fruit fast, as fruits are easier to digest than vegetables. You can take this further by eating only one fruit to really give your digestive system a break, as too many different ingredients can strain it.
At the healing and retreat center Bahay Kalipay in Palawan, people who go on a coconut fast for a few days or more report a feeling of lightness, energy, and clarity.
To prepare the body better, you can first go on the raw fruit and vegetable detox for a day or two before going on to the fruit fast. After the fruit fast, take the raw fruit and vegetable diet again then gradually introduce cooked food into your diet.
3) Take only vegetable and fruit juices
No, not the juices you buy in bottles or tetra packs, but fresh raw juice. This kind of juice is highly concentrated in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and more. When you drink a glass of carrot juice, for example, it’s like taking in the nutrients of 3 to 4 carrots, which are otherwise difficult to eat in solid form.
Also, drinking only juices puts the least strain on the digestive system, giving the body more time to heal and repair.
That said though, you can’t just juice any fruit or vegetable. Fruit juice is particularly high in sugar and is usually just added to vegetable juices. Usual juice ingredients are carrots, celery, apples, leafy green vegetables, cucumbers, and beets.
Here is a sample juice recipe Asha Peri teaches in her raw food cleansing workshops:
Alkaline Green Juice (makes 3 cups)
- 3 cucumbers
- 3 heads celery
- 15 dark leafy greens (you can use native greens like camote tops and kangkong)
- ¼ cup cilantro
- Juice of 1 lemon or 10 calamansi
You can juice fruits and vegetables using a juicer. If you don’t have one, you can blend fruits and vegetables then extract their juice through a cloth bag.
For more juice recipes, check out this video and the related videos in this channel:
Again, like in the fruit fast, make sure to prepare your body for the juice fast and slowly break the fast by gradually introducing solid food to your diet.
You can actually also combine the raw food detox and the juice fast, for those who can’t do the juice fast alone. Just make sure that, like water, you take your juice on an empty stomach.
A caveat, though: if you have a health condition and you are thinking of fasting, it is best to consult your doctor first.
For those in good health and are planning to fast, this article is just a sampler. It is best to do more research to see what fasting regimen suits you.
Peri says that the cleansing process may entail a “healing crisis” with symptoms like weakness, lack of energy, and even temporary illness. But this is just “the body’s natural detox mechanism to release toxins and old emotional baggages.”
Of course, when in doubt, always consult a doctor or doctors – preferably both a conventional and naturopathic one to give you a wider perspective. - Rappler.com
Claire Madarang is a writer, traveler, and seeker. Her wanderlust takes her on adventures like backpacking for 7 weeks straight. Her seeking leads her to different wellness practices like meditation and healthy (mostly vegetarian) eating. Follow her adventures, tips, and epiphanies at her blog, Traveling Light.