stopping them in their tracks from damaging cells). When we digest food, we use 50 percent of our daily energy. Fasting allows us to use this energy for healing instead: repairing tissue, improving our immune system, increasing oxygenation to the cells and reducing body toxicity.
Reducing food intake by opting for juice or fresh fruit and veg can also remove the hurdles that prevent us from losing those final few pounds by shrinking the stomach. Many of my clients eat healthily pre-and post-fasting, as they start to plan meals better. Further benefits include improved energy levels, better skin quality, eye brightness and an overall sense of wellbeing.
Fasting methods vary. I prefer to do a juice fast for one day a week. I don’t recommend water fasts, aka "Therapeutic Fasting", as they release toxins too quickly and may leave you with a nasty headache. On a fast, I have four juices per day. I avoid mixing fruit and vegetable juices and tend to use mostly
vegetables, as they have a higher mineral, vitamin and enzyme content. Juices give your liver the right nutrients to rid the body of toxins as they are released into the blood, which helps with the detoxification process. It is also important to drink at least two litres of water a day during fasting.
The most recent phenomenon is the “5:2 fast” – its popularity is most likely down to the fact that you don’t have to go all day without eating. During this fast,
“FASTING benefits include improved ENERGY levels, better skin and wellbeing”
you are limited to 500 calories on non-consecutive days twice a week. But those should come from a fresh, plant-based diet, rather than crisps and a candy bar.
I am not a fan of calorie counting. For me, it’s all about nutrient density – choosing food packed
with antioxidants and minerals: leafy greens, vegetables, fruit and good fats, like nuts. Keep this in mind for the other five days of "normal eating" for best results.
Three top fasts:
If you don’t want to stick to juices, try one of these food-fast options.
1. The raw-food fast
This involves eating only organic fruit, nuts, seeds and vegetables for one day a week. Cooking fruit and vegetables destroys key enzymes, so consuming raw produce maximizes their nutritional value.
2. The mono-food fast
This can be followed for two to three days, and involves eating one type of fruit or veg per day. This gives your digestive system a rest, as it is only has to break down one type of food. What's more, fruit or vegetables are the easiest types of food for your stomach to process.
3. The cleansing fast
This gives your digestive system a break. Opt for brown rice and
mung-bean stew for three consecutive days – the rice acts like a ‘loofah’ for the colon, while the beans are a good source of protein and nutrients. A great option for those who can’t face an entire day without solid food.
RULE 1: Start the day with lemon juice and warm water to wake up your system.
RULE 2: Drink two litres of water a day when you fast.
RULE 3: Swap over-stimulating drinks, like coffee and alcohol, for cleansing herbal teas, like nettle, rooibos and green tea.
RULE 4: Avoid gum – the act of chewing sets off the digestive process, and if there is nothing to digest it causes stomach pains.
RULE 5: Don’t drink 20 minutes either side of a meal – it dilutes stomach acids and means less “fire in the belly” for digestion.