Fasting for the Health of it

The nine basic steps of Water Fasting: 

1. Preparation: You must be mentally and emotionally prepared. Know that it will be highly beneficial and enter the fast without fear or anxiety. Use the buddy system or be in daily contact with an experienced faster. 

2. Rest: Reduce mental, sensory and physical activity to a minimum to conserve energy and expedite toxin release. 

3. Activity: You may enjoy walking in a leisurely pace but other than that keep activity to the bare minimum. 

4. Warmth– The faster’s resistance to cold is lower in most cases than when they are eating. Chilling inhibits elimination, so it is important to keep warm- especially the feet. 

5. Water– Drink soft spring, rain, filtered or distilled water only and only when you are thirsty . This allows the kidneys to rest. Do not drink the water iced. This also slows the elimination process down by chilling the system. 

6. Bathing– To be performed daily or as often as needed. It should be of short duration and neither too hot or too cold. If the faster is too weak to bathe, a sponge bath may be taken. 

7. Sunbathing– Sunshine is an essential nutrient factor in both the plant and animal nutrition and is helpful while fasting. Do not overdo this. Keep the sunbathing short to begin with–5 minutes each front and back and each day work up one extra minute per side to a maximum of 30 minutes. If the fast continues past 21 days cut the time to 8 minutes/side. 

8. Purges– (Eg. enemas, laxatives, diuretics) These are unnecessary and may actually be hurtful.

(Denice’s note: I’ve actually found that a well-placed coffee enema once or twice during a 5-day water only fast is helpful to get that bowel cleared. I wonder if the author of this book is concerned about the many complications of enemas. Please review the enema section to see if an enema would be the best choice for you. When in doubt, work with a practitioner well-versed in enemas.) 

9. Suffering– Fasting tends to end suffering more quickly than if they were not fasting. The greater the suffering, the less able the body is to take and assimilate food. 

People with these conditions should not fast: 

  • Advanced stages of heart disease, cancer, diabetes or tuberculosis.
  • Pregnancy– unless in the early stages and only for a few days.
  • Nursing mothers– it will dry up the milk production. 

One of the main problems with fasting is that there is no place to do it. The greatest obstacle you will encounter will be family, relative, friends and neighbors. Most people have no idea the benefits a fast can give. If your family will be supportive, a fast in the home can be carried out with ease, peace and success. It should be carried out in quiet, peaceful surroundings where the air is pure, the water fresh and uncontaminated and the people friendly. Put off in depth discussion or confrontation until after the fast. 

Help your family and friends understand that no one has ever died from fasting and that there is a difference between fasting and starvation. With fasting there is a lack of appetite. People that are anorectic are starving themselves- not fasting themselves. Let them know that you are doing this for the health benefits. I would urge everyone who would like to try fasting to have an experienced person lead them and to read the book, Fasting Can Save Your Life  by Herbert M. Shelton (ISBN 0-914532-23-5). I’ve heard there is a free e-book online now as this book is hard to find and costs a bunch of money now that Dr. Shelton is passed over and the book is no longer in print. If any of you find that link for me please let me know so I can post it for future readers. Thanks. 

How long should one fast? 

Ideally the fast should continue until the return of hunger. For some this may be 3-4 days, for others the fast may go on for a month or more. If the body is extremely toxic and there are many health problems to deal with the faster may opt for several shorter fasts of 4-5 days. Generally one long fast is more beneficial than several short ones. 

You decide. Do what you feel comfortable with. 

What to expect during a fast: 

During the fast, every abnormal sensation or discomfort or pain is likely to be blamed on the fast. This may or may not be true, but as the fast proceeds and the tissues are cleansed, these discomforts subside. Signs and symptoms may vary from person to person but this is a list of some that might present themselves: (Please note that these are brief and rarely severe)  

  • Depression
  • Nausea/vomiting (15% of fasting cases)
  • Diarrhea (about 10% of the fasting cases-may occur any time and consist of bile, mucus and retained feces)
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Weakness
  • Aches and pains
  • Severe headaches
  • Coated tongue
  • Bad taste in the mouth
  • Pasty teeth
  • Dark, foul, odoriferous urine
  • Loss of weight-especially in the first days

          Note that weight loss is faster in the first few days and may range from 1-6 pounds/day. As the fast continues, less than 1/4# may be lost per day. 

These symptoms are rare and present no danger to the faster:

  • Skin eruptions
  • Giddiness
  • Fainting
  • Palpitations of the heart

In general the appearance of these signs should be welcomed as the body is actually trying to throw off toxins. In some cases the body goes into what is called a healing crisis. This is when the body is working overtime in its plight to rid the body of toxins. 

You may note that vomiting of watery bile/mucous happens several days after abstinence of food. This may last from 1-7 days and indicates the liver working overtime. The faster is so greatly benefited by the ordeal that they are well compensated for this discomfort. If this persists and the faster cannot keep water down, seek medical help immediately and break the fast trying several types of fruit juices for starters. 

Breaking the fast:

This is done when the hunger returns. The breath will be fresh, the tongue clears and there will be a clean taste in the mouth. There is usually a watering of the mouth and a strong desire for food. Hunger generally occurs well in advance of depleting the body’s reserves. 

Note: For my first fast, I was hungry the entire time as I had LOTS of yeast and they just wouldn’t give up wanting me to eat something with sugar in it. I repeated with another 5-day fast the next month and it was a totally different experience.  For people fasting 5 days or less you can dovetail into a normal diet within three days.  

After a long fast there is a period of several days (up to 2 wks.) during which the individual feels hungry most of the time. If they will control their eating until this initial period passes, they will settle down to a more normal appetite alleviating the danger of over-eating. 

To break fasts less than two weeks duration give: 8 oz. fruit every 2 hrs. the first and second days. On the third day give 8 oz. of fruit for breakfast, 8oz. tomatoes for lunch and 8 oz. of fruit for dinner. On the fourth day use fruit for breakfast, vegetable salad for lunch and starchy vegetable for dinner. One the fifth day fruit for breakfast, salad and two cooked green vegetables and a small baked potato for lunch and a fruit meal for dinner. 

On the sixth day increase the amounts from the fifth day then you should be up to normal portions. No in between meal snacks. Continue to rest and increase your activity levels gradually. 

Use fruits and vegetables that are ripe, in season and chew them thoroughly.

Some diseases that fasting will help:

  • Emaciation- the body is too thin because of excess toxins and the digestive tract is not digesting the food taken in efficiently. Do not be concerned with the initial weight loss of fasting.
  • Colds/flu
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Asthma (may require two fasts)
  • Arthritis
  • Peptic ulcers
  • Migraine headaches
  • Hay fever (may require two fasts)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Colitis
  • Psoriasis and Eczema
  • Prostatic Enlargement
  • Nephritis
  • Gallstones
  • Breast tumors
  • Sterility in women
  • Chronic hunger
  • Acute diseases (inflammation, pain and fever)
  • Mental illness
  • Sinusitis

Fasting Testimonies: 

A “Fast” Testimony By Michael Robison 

I’ve just completed my first 5-day fast. While I’m VERY pleased to be able to eat again, I even more pleased to know I’ve taken a huge step toward improving my health.Just a bit about the experience itself… I’ve eaten nothing at all for 5 days. I drank filtered tap water only, as many as 4 large glasses per day. Each time I felt a strong hunger urge I drank a few swallows of water. While that didn’t serve to curb the hunger it did seem to reduce the discomfort. And of course, the water provided the important vehicle to help remove the toxins from my body. 

Yes, I did experience hunger a great deal of the time and sometimes it was a rather strong urge. The first couple of days it was at its worst, but then from Day-3 to Day-5 it was less and less bothersome, until there were times when I felt no hunger at all. Did I rid my body of toxins? It certainly appears so. My tongue turned a “pasty” white the very first day, but the whiteness began disappearing on the third day. It was almost completely gone at the end of the 5th day. Note: I had bad breath and a bad taste in my mouth throughout fast. During Day-3, I discovered some unusual “rust” spotted areas of the skin around my ankles, as well. The rust was disappearing by Day-5 and was completely gone a short while later.  

How am I doing after this fast? Food tastes much better, and yet, I’m very satisfied eating less than I was eating prior to the fast. I believe I have finally lost my taste (and physical need) for coffee/caffeine-at least for now. I feel my energy is increasing and my concentration is greatly improved. I lost a total of 14 pounds and kept it off. It has now been two weeks since my fast. I am pleased with the results of my first 5-Day fast. 

Hi Dr. Moffat, I have a question you can put on your website for FAQ’s.  My children ages 11, 13, 15 and I show signs of yeast infection.  It shows up for them in their skin.  Is it ok for them to fast?  And if so, how should it be done?  Thank you, Judy B. 

Thanks for the question. I don’t think children should fast for 5 days! My guides say three days max and only once a year until they are 18 years. Could it be a family project? Fasting two days will help, but it won’t kill the little buggers or control them. The 11 and 13 year old should have some vegetable juice (not carrot–too much sugar) I’m testing 3 cups/day, so you could divide that up to one cup three times a day for them, but the older child could just go for it. Stress the acne free angle for the older one. Also, if you decide to do that, I’d like you all to check in with me daily just to monitor (it would be the responsible thing to do) Thanks.

Resources:

            Book: Fasting Can Save Your Life  by Herbert M. Shelton (ISBN 0-914532-23-5)