Now that you know the benefits of fasting, time to choose how you'll do it. Yes, there are options! The type of fast you choose should depent upon your current health needs. The time of year also matters a great deal. Right now, spring here in southeastern US, when the weather is consistently warm, is a great time to start a short fast, and work your way up periodically to longer fasts if you desire. Again, children, pregnant, and breastfeeding women should not fast. Nor should insulin-dependant diabetics or those with dramatically high blood pressure.
Five Primary Types of Fasts:
1. Raw Fruit and Vegetable Fast:
Consuming only raw fruits and raw vegetables during the length of the fast. Most fruits and vegetables don't combine well, so choose fruits at one meal, vegetables at the next. This fast can also include vegetable juices, water, and unsweetened herbal teas according to thirst.
**This type of fast is for a robust person, one who is not often cold or has weakness in any of the organ systems. This is a helpful fast for one who has been indulging in processed food and or excess meat. Also helpful for those with constipation, redness of the face and or eyes and heat signs.
2. Steamed-Vegetable Fast:
Consuming only steamed vegetables, preferrably 1-2 at a time, 3 at the most. Drinking only water or unsweetened herbal teas according to thirst.
**This is a great fast for those who tend to overeat, especially sweets which throws off the balance of good bacteria in the gut. In these cases, cutting out all suger, even fruit sugar is important during the fast. Also good for those who tend to be cool or deficient in an organ system.
3. Juice Fast:
Vegetable OR fruit juice only made from fresh organic produce and drunk immediately. A high-powered juicer is necessary for this fast. Bottled juices are not appropriate for fasting due to the qualityfor a variety of r It's best to choose one or two vegetables or fruits to focus on for the duration. Water and unsweetened herbal teas can also be taken.
**This is a helpful fast for those struggling with chronic illness. In a follow-up post I will outline which fruits and vegetables, according to Chinese Medicine theory treat which imbalances. Daikon radish, for instance is great for clearing phlegm from the head and lungs. Celery is excellent for draining edema, etc.
4. Absolute Fast
The absolute fast consists of no food or drink taken for 36 hours. Begin at 7 pm the first evening and end early the second morning. This type of fasting should be prepared for by beginning with one of the above fasts for a day or so, especially if you are new to fasting. This type of fast can accomplish more in 36 hours than the others can over a week or so. The Native Americans would typically fast on air for four days, sometimes up to 40.
This type of fast is quite helpful for those who suffer water retention, excess body weight, candida overgrowth, or sluggishness. This type of fast is not advised for the thin or overheated person.
Happy Fasting! Stay tuned for part 3 of Healthy Fasting for details about when, how, and tips on what to do when it's really tough and ideas for breaking the fast. Please post questions or comments below.