Fasting–Juice Fasting

Get all the latest from Natural Health Techniques delivered directly to your inbox when you join our newsletter here.

Stay in touch:

Sign up for occasional updates/videos/tips/specials and receive the Fast-Start Bonus Report with or 150 Tips and Tricks to optimize your health today!

Juice Fasting

Alternative oriented doctors feel that freshly pressed vegetable and fruit juices, given to the patient during fasting, will speed recovery. That is because these types of juices, freshly made, are rich in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and trace minerals which help to alkalize and normalize the bodily processes which speeds recovery. Fresh juices are also easily assimilated into the bloodstream without putting a strain on the digestive organs. Mineral alkalizing broths are also used for their huge amounts of highly absorbable bioavailable minerals. See Potassium Broth recipe.

Why juice and not just eat raw foods instead? Although fiber is important for a healthy diet and a clean colon, during fasting, fiber slows down the healing process and does not allow the digestive system to sleep.  Whole vegetables and fruits contain insoluble fiber which stimulates the intestines to move. If you eat five pounds of raw carrots rather than drink the juice, your body will have to do the work of extracting nutrients and moving the fiber by peristalsis.  Allowing the digestive system to rest is essential in healing.  When the intestine is emptied the digestive enzymes are able to work on the hardened deposits in the corners and folds.  As fasting continues, more embedded toxins are released. For this reason, juice fasts are more effective in healing the body and the intestines.

Is Juice Fasting Safe?

Nobody has ever died as a result of a few weeks of intentional fasting. If it makes things better in your home, call it a liquid diet. If you talk to anybody about fasting, most people will think you have totally lost it. Don’t listen to them. Get educated! Before fasting you should have a thorough understanding of all the steps involved and you should become acquainted with a practiced practitioner who knows what they are doing (and has done a fast of the duration you would like to do) that you can call to ask any questions if necessary.

After juice fasting, you should feel stronger and more revitalized, your health will improve, your physical and mental working capacity will increase and you will look younger than before you started the fast.

Fasting is the oldest therapeutic method known to man.

Fasting was used by Galen, Plato and Socrates to “attain mental and physical efficiency.” Pythagoras fasted for up to 40 days at a time. Hippocrates, the Father of Medicine, prescribed fasting to his patients. And the great physician, Paracelsus, said, “Fasting is the greatest remedy.”

Swedish Fast Marches led in the 1950’s and 60’s, by Dr. Lennart Edren proved to the world the safety of fasting. Participants of these fasts marched 325 miles—that’s 33 miles/day—for ten whole days without solid food! And their health improved. As a matter of fact, participants had more energy AFTER the fast than before.

It was observed that serum albumin levels remained constant, as did blood sugar levels, even though no protein was consumed over the course of the 10-day march. Body protein is in a dynamic state of breaking down (catabolism) and building up (anabolism). When old or diseased cells decompose, the amino acids are simply recycled to build young, healthy cells.

One doctor, Otto Buchinger, Jr., has supervised over 90,000 successful fasts. Russian doctors have found that fasting is the most effective treatment for schizophrenia—64% of the patients improved mentally after 20-30 days of controlled fasting.

Edgar Cayce, the Sleeping Prophet ( ), believed that fasting was of the mind and involved a setting aside of self in order to become a clearer channel for creative and spiritual energies. He recommended fasting for poor diet, poor assimilations, poor eliminations and incoordination between the sympathetic and cerebrospinal nervous systems, imbalances or toxins in the circulatory system, improper acid-alkaline balance, glandular malfunctions and general congestion of the body.

A 54-year old Scottish woman juice fasted for 249 days. Not only did she not harm herself, but she lost 74 pounds and got rid of her arthritic pain.

Fasting extends your life. One experiment done on rats showed that limiting them from overeating and systematically starving them increased their lifespan 2 ½ times! Proponents of fasting declare that aging is not commensurate with calendar years, but rather with the health of the cells. During fasting, the concentration of toxins removed from the body and appearing in the urine can increase ten-fold.

What Conditions Does Juice Fasting, Water Fasting and Intermittent Fasting Help?

  • Allergies
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Angina pectoris
  • Asthma
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Back pain
  • Benign ovarian and breast tumors
  • Bronchitis
  • Bulimia
  • Cardiovascular disorders
  • Chronic constipation
  • Chronic Streptococcus infections
  • Cold, flu and fever
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Diseases affecting locomotion
  • Diseases of the liver and gallbladder
  • Disorders of the stomach and intestines
  • Eczema
  • Environmental allergies
  • Epilepsy
  • Fever
  • Fibroid tumors
  • Glaucoma
  • Heart attack prevention and recovery
  • High blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Insulin resistance
  • Joint and vertebral degeneration
  • Lagging libido
  • Lipomas
  • Low blood pressure
  • Mental illness (especially schizophrenia)
  • Migraines
  • Muscle and connective tissue disorders
  • Nasal polyps
  • Obesity
  • Post-treatment for malignant disease (The residue of a dying cancer cells can be highly toxic. A fast does more than detoxify noxious by-products of malignancy; it degrades abnormal cells and tumors, releasing cellular toxins and by-products into the circulation for elimination.)
  • Psoriasis
  • Psychosomatic disease
  • Respiratory diseases of all kinds
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Sinusitis
  • Skin diseases
  • Tonsillitis
  • Ulcerative colitis

What Happens To The Body During A Fast?

During fasting, the body burns up and excretes huge amounts of accumulated wastes. This process can be assisted by drinking alkaline fruit and vegetable juices and potassium broth. The sugars in the fruit juice strengthen the heart and are extremely beneficial in normalizing all the body processes, assisting the body’s own healing and cellular regeneration. Juices require no digestion and are easily assimilated. Minerals are increased within the tissues. Therefore increased oxygenation occurs acting to reverse the aging process. (Look at Jack LaLanne. He’s been around forever doing his exercise show and drinking juices. He sells his juicer on infomercials.)

General Juicing Rules for Juice Fasting:

  • Drink freshly prepared juice and do not store the juice for over 24 hours. If you can’t drink it immediately, put it into a glass jar (filled to the top) and put a lid on it to prevent oxidation. Juice rapidly loses therapeutic and nutritional value during storage
  • Raw fruits and vegetables are not always compatible when eaten togetherApples are the exception. You can also mix pears with Jicama.
  • Melons should be juiced by themselves. Making the entire meal melon is an option.
  • Avoid using pre-bottled or sweetened juices. All the live enzymes are inactivated when they are pasteurized.
  • Juices don’t stimulate acids to be released from the stomach, but orange and tomato juice are high in acids and you may want to mix these juices with other less acidic ones.
  • I’ve read that cucumbers may not be good to mix with other vegetables as they are in the melon family, but it seems to work fine for us. We do limit cucumber to less than 25% of the total volume however.
  • Don’t add more than 25% green juice to your vegetable juices (unless you have a barf bucket handy!)
  • Juicing Greens—you might want to do this in between harder vegetables, the juice sludges at the bottom and doesn’t pour out easily if you juice them first. For example, I juice a couple of carrots, then a bunch of parsley, then cram a couple more carrots in after the parsley to get the juicer moving again.
  • Dilute all fruit juice with water (one part juice to 2-4 parts water) and drink throughout the day. We’ve found that 2 cups fruit juice blended with ½ tray of ice cubes comes up to 4 cups—the perfect dilution and it’s frothy cold.
  • Vegetable juices need not be diluted.

What to Juice on your Juice Fast:

During the fast, select juicing materials and teas specific to your health conditions. Most of the people I see in my practice do well on the Eat Right for Your Type Diet ( Because of this, I recommend juicing those fruits on the Highly Beneficial and Neutral Foods Lists.  If you don’t know your blood type, here is a short list of vegetables and fruits with the maladies they are good for:

Vegetable Juices used in Juice Fasting:

  • Asparagus—Kidneys, diuretic, blood purifier, bowel health, soothes nervous system. (Note: urine will turn dark and have a different odor to it when you eat or drink a lot of asparagus. This is normal and harmless and will pass.)
  • Beet greens—Gallbladder, liver, osteoporosis.
  • Beets—Blood cleanser, liver cleanser, menstrual problems, arthritis, lymph glands, flushes the kidney and bladder, and is good for low blood pressure. (Note: never drink it straight as it can temporarily paralyze your vocal cords, cause hives, increase the heart rate and give you alternating chills and fever. Hmm—sounds like a good reason to stay away from beets altogether! They sure do taste “earthy.”)
  • Brussels sprouts—Good for diabetics and hypoglycemia, makes for healthy skin, increased male potency and stomach ulcers.
  • Cabbage—Colitis, ulcers, and it curbs alcohol cravings. (Note: Do not store cabbage juice because its vitamin content can be quickly lost.)
  • Carrots—Eyes, liver problems, high cholesterol, protects skin fro UV rays, nervous problems (like Multiple Sclerosis), arthritis, osteoporosis, and low blood pressure.
  • Cauliflower—Breast cancer
  • Celery—Kidneys, diabetes, osteoporosis, good for people who sweat in excess, muscle cramps, fatigue, anxiety, stress, insomnia, headaches, air pollution, sweet cravings, low blood pressure, and obesity.
  • Comfrey—Intestines, hypertension, osteoporosis.
  • Cucumber—Edema, diabetes, tendonitis, skin tone, muscle tone, complexion problems, poor nail growth.
  • Dandelion greens—Spring tonic, strengthens blood and bones, increases stamina and energy. (Note: eat them early in the summer as they get bitter as they age.)
  • Fennel—Night blindness, eye disorders, flatulence, blood strengthener, migraines, nausea.
  • Garlic—Allergies, colds, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, high fats, diabetes, immune booster, anticarcinogen, antibacterial, antifungal, rids body of toxins through the skin, low blood pressure.
  • Ginger root—Circulation, motion sickness, nausea, laryngitis, clears mucous in the throat, sinuses and lungs.
  • Greens (Collard, Mustard, Turnip, Kale, Parsley, Spinach, Turnip, Chard)—Cardiovascular disease, skin, eczema, digestive problems, obesity, breath. (Note: Greens contain more than 100% of the RDA for Vitamin C and Vitamin A)
  • Jerusalem artichokes—Diabetes.
  • Jicama—Sooths upset stomachs, osteoporosis/osteopenia, and hemorrhoids.
  • Kale—Constipation, bladder problems, arthritis, also see Greens.
  • Lettuce—Lung cancer prevention, hair and nail strength, skin problems.
  • Onion—Normalizes nervous system for sympathetic dominance, stimulates beneficial bacteria, breaks up mucous, low blood pressure. (Note: If you juice onions, put them in the juicer first THEN the other vegetables so the odor does not stay on the juicer parts.)
  • Parsley—Kidneys, edema, arthritis, tendon and ligament problems, osteoporosis (has lots of natural calcium), one of the most nutritious foods in the world, boils and cysts, increases oxygenation of the blood, bad breath, stimulates normal peristalsis of the gut, vision problems, adrenal exhaustion, thyroid disease, obesity.
  • Potatoes—Intestines, ulcer.
  • Radish—Liver, high cholesterol, obesity, sinus problems, clears excess mucous, soothes sore throats.
  • Spinach—Anemia, eczema, regenerates damaged intestinal tracts, constipation, circulation problems, cleans liver and glands.
  • Sprouts—Baldness, morning sickness.
  • String beans—Bruising.
  • Sweet potatoes—Any kind of skin problems.
  • Tomatoes—Use them alone or leave them alone, but adding celery and cucumber to it works fine.
  • Watercress—Anemia, colds.
  • Wheat grass—Anemia, liver, intestines, breath, excellent antioxidant, Parkinson’s disease.
  • Zucchini—internal cleanser, fantastic as a mineral supplement.

Fruit Juices used for Juice Fasting:

  • Apple—Liver, intestines, blood cleanser.
  • Apricots—High in iron for anemia, silica and vitamin A for hair and skin.
  • Bananas—Heart and muscles.
  • Cherry, black—Colon, menstrual problems, gout, prevents tooth decay.
  • Citrus—Obesity, hemorrhoids, varicose veins, raises body temperature to fry out viruses/bacteria, bruising, heart disease, stroke. (Note: Don’t juice the skin of any citrus except lemon and lime. They are difficult to digest and can cause colo-rectal problems.)
  • Cranberries—Urinary tract infections, antiviral.
  • Grape—Colon, anemia, good for kidneys and heart, high in iron, soothing to nervous system, builds hemoglobin, promotes healthy bowel action, liver cleaners, helps to eliminate uric acid, helps with low blood pressure, obesity.
  • Grapefruit—High blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, obesity.
  • Lemon—Liver, gallbladder, allergies, asthma, cardiovascular disease, colds, obesity.
  • Melons—Eat them alone or leave them alone, good for kidneys (diuretic), juicing watermelon rind gives you 95% of the melons nutritional benefits compared to only 5% of juice without the rind.
  • Papaya—Stomach, indigestion, hemorrhoids, colitis.
  • Pear—Gallbladder, blood pressure, cardiovascular health, digestion, a safe fruit for diabetics.
  • Pineapple—Digestion, allergies, arthritis, inflammation, edema, hemorrhoids.
  • Strawberries—Strengthens the blood, nerve tonic, keeps glands healthy, protects against cigarette smoke toxins.
  • Watermelon—Kidneys, edema, used as a diuretic.

What symptoms may I experience with the first few days of juice fasting?

Symptoms such as fatigue, body odor, dry/scaly skin, acne, headaches, dizziness, irritability, anxiety, confusion, nausea, coughing, diarrhea, dark urine, dark/foul-smelling stools, body aches, insomnia, coated tongue with unpleasant taste in the mouth, sinus and bronchial mucus discharge, excessive perspiration, and visual or hearing problems. Enemas will help speed up the detoxification process. These symptoms, if you have them, will be mild and transient.

Recommended Liquid Intake while Juice Fasting

Opinions vary on the amount of liquid to consume while juice fasting. Some recommend at least eight, 8-ounce glasses of distilled water per day, two cups of herbal tea, along with diluted juices. I believe it’s a must to see urine that is clear and very pale yellow. Dark colored urine is a sign that you aren’t drinking enough water.

Regardless of your fitness goal, make sure you drink enough chlorine and fluoride-free, filtered, pure spring or distilled water daily. Many diseases respond to adequate hydration, flushing out disease-provoking toxins.

An easy formula for calculating your daily water requirements is to take your weight, divide it in half, then consume that amount of water (or raw juices), generally nine to ten 8-ounce cups daily.

Caffeinated and alcoholic beverages will dehydrate the body and take out essential minerals such as calcium from the bones over time, so for every glass of these beverages you drink; you need to add an extra glass of water.

Herbal teas are also used in the juice fast between juices. Peppermint, Chamomile, Ginseng, Gotu kola, Yerba mate, and Sarsaparilla are a few that come to mind. If you like root beer, you will most likely like sarsaparilla (which is in root beer). The nice thing about this tea is that it is known as an aphrodisiac and contains the sex hormones testosterone and progesterone and the adrenal hormone, cortin. Most of us in society today have lots of adrenal stress and our adrenal glands could use the nourishing.

Autotoxicity (Self-Poisoning)

Health Begins at the Cellular Level. There are more than 200 different cell types and a debatable number of cells in the entire body (50-100 trillion cells.) As cells die or are destroyed, new ones are formed, so the numbers of cells within each body are constantly changing. It is estimated that half of our cells are working in peak condition, one-fourth are in the process of growth, and one fourth are in the process of dying and replacement.

Natural hygienists believe that one cause of disease is toxin saturation at the cellular level. I believe that, too. Every cellular function produces toxic waste products, but when dietary deficiencies, sluggish metabolism, sedentary lifestyle, lack of fresh air and water, overeating, and poor digestion deprive the cells of key nutrients, they start a process of degeneration and decay. The body ages from the inside out and becomes vulnerable to disease and senescence. When cells can’t keep up with what we do to them, we experience colds, inflammation, skin eruptions and other symptoms of detox.

Fasting builds the immune system: The immune system’s workload is greatly reduced during fasting because the digestive tract is spared of any inflammation due to food allergic reactions from processed food, sugars, grains and proteins. The serum fats in the blood are also reduced. This thins the blood and allows more oxygen to get to the tissues. Toxins stored in the fat such as pesticides and other chemicals are mobilized and released from the system.

The body’s cells are fully capable of healing themselves if toxic accumulations are stopped and proper nutrients provided. I believe that life is only as strong as the weakest vital link, the cell and that if we make each cell as healthy and happy as it can be, the body responds with healthy, happy tissues, organs and systems.

Because toxic waste products interfere with the functioning of the cell, it is important that toxins and dying cells are eliminated from the system as efficiently as possible. This elimination stimulates the growth of more functional cells.

There was one experiment done with heart cells in the lab where the heart cells were kept alive for several decades just by cleaning the fluids they were bathed in every day. If you can keep those cellular fluids clean, your body will not age as quickly! It was an amazing experiment. I think somebody just got tired for feeding cells one day and the experiment ended, so no one really knows how long those cells would have lasted.

Fasting triggers a cleansing process that affects every cell and tissue in the body. It eliminates dead and dying cells while stimulating generation of new cells. During a fast, toxic waste products that impair nourishment of cells are eliminated with restoration of normal metabolic rates and higher oxygenation of cells. Ten percent of our caloric intake is used for mastication, digestion, assimilation, and elimination. When we fast, this energy can be redirected toward improved immune function, elimination and new cell growth. Essentially, you are reversing the aging process.

Within 24 hours of food restriction, digestive enzymes stop entering the stomach and instead other enzymes are released into the intestines and bloodstream, where they circulate and digest waste materials of daily living. Advocates of fasting believe that the body will first decompose and burn those cells and tissues which are diseased, damaged, or aged, e.g., dead cells and morbid accumulations (tumors, abscesses, and fatty deposits.) Essential and vital organs, such as nervous tissue and brain, are not damaged during a well-planned fast.

Dr. Paavo Airola’s Juice Fasting Regime:

  • Upon rising: One single enema, one quart (water or coffee)
  • After the enema do a Dry Brushing of the body followed by a
  • Hot and cold shower: Take a normal shower then crank the heat to as hot as you can take it for a few seconds, then as cold as you can take it for a few seconds, then hot, then cold, then hot, then cold. End with whichever you feel most comfortable with. This technique helps mobilize stagnated fluids deep within the core of the body so that they can break up and recycle or have toxins within them removed from the system.
  • 8:00a.m. Big mug (approximately 2 cups) of Potassium broth
  • 11:00 a.m. Cup of herb tea (Peppermint, rose hips, white clover, chamomile, maté, or any of the other wonderful non-caffeinated teas you can pick up at your local health food store.)
  • 1:00 p.m. Glass of freshly pressed fruit juice diluted with the same amount of pure water (approximately 4 cups total fluids).
  • Walk, exercise or sunbathe (about 25-45 minutes).
  • Or: Glass of freshly made vegetable juice—undiluted (about 4 cups).
  • 4:00 p.m. Cup of herb tea.
  • 7:00 p.m. Glass of freshly pressed vegetable juice (about 4 cups).
  • Walk, therapeutic baths or other treatments
  • 9:00 p.m. Enema (You might want to do this earlier in the evening so you won’t have to get up in the night to go to evacuate.)
  • Drink plain, warmed water when thirsty (As much as you want.)

This particular fast can be safely done at home up to 30-40 days unless you are not comfortable with that and do not have an advisor to help you with the fast.  If this is the case, you should not fast longer than 7-10 days at a time. (See Contraindications for Fasting.)

Dr. Moffat’s Note: I noticed that Paavo had different times in three different resources. The thing is to fit in 4 cups of diluted fruit juice, 4 cups of undiluted vegetable juice and 2 cups of Potassium broth in every day, plus 1-2 enemas, dry brushing, shower and exercise. You will find a pattern after a few days that will work for you.

What to look for in a Juicer:

There are a number of important factors that will influence your decision in purchasing a juicer. The importance of these factors will vary depending on your individual needs. For example—for some, the cost of a juicer may be the most important thing. For others the time taken to prepare the juice and clean up may be a more important factor when choosing a juicer.

  • What do you want to juice? If you are only juicing citrus fruits, you can get a citrus juicer. If you want to do wheatgrass, you will need a juicer that does a good job of this. For regular juice fasting, you will want something that is heavy-duty enough to juice the variety of fruits and vegetables that you will want to experience. My Braun juicer will not juice broccoli, asparagus or coconut very effectively. You can still get the benefits of the harder vegetables by making the Potassium Broth with them.
  • How easy is the juicer to use and to clean up? You won’t want to use it if you can’t just pop it apart and clean it easily.
  • How big is the hopper or opening of the juicer? The bigger the opening, the faster you can get the juicing done.
  • Does the juicer heat the produce? If so, you will be destroying some very nutritious enzymes.
  • Does the juicer give a high juice yield and leave the pulp dry to get the best use of the produce? The cost of the juicer may be cheap, but if it leaves lots of juice with the pulp, you will be paying extra in the long run for all the extra produce you have to purchase.
  • Is the machine strong enough for your needs? If you are only going to juice occasionally, you can probably get by with a cheaper juicer. If you are really into it, you will want a motor that will last. Cheap juicers also may have short warranties and parts that break easily.
  • How loud is that bugger anyway? Some juicers are definitely louder than others.

You will have to research and pick a juicer that you can both afford and that will fit your lifestyle and needs. Here’s a good website that tells you all about the types of juicers, their pro’s and con’s.

Champion Juicers are an excellent choice if you can afford one. They run $200-350.00.

The Vitamix juicer makes juice, soup, gelés and all kinds of neat stuff.

We have a Braun juicer and we love it. I bought a back up Braun juicer at a yard sale for $10 just in case this one breaks down for now. I’ve toasted two juicers in my life trying to nourish an iguana back to health by juicing broccoli and asparagus, so I don’t put those through my Braun. I also cut really tough rinds off pineapple and melon fruits before I juice them and I pull off the stems of the fruit.

Tips for a Better Juice Fast:

  • Your pre-fast diet should include several days of higher volumes of raw fruits and vegetables.
  • Get plenty of exercise outside is best to get that oxygen flowing.
  • Sunbathe if possible—10-20 minutes of direct sun per day.
  • Take hot and cold alternating showers or baths.
  • Sleep with a window open so that you can get lots of clean fresh air.
  • Use Enemas—A fast does not always help eliminate impacted waste materials from the colon, so plan a colon-cleansing regimen. Enemas can cleanse when taken once or twice a day. Fasting without the aid of enemas allows toxins in the colon to be reabsorbed. This can poison the body and the organs of elimination (particularly the kidneys) which become over-burdened and damaged. For complete instructions on how to take an enema, go to my Enemas Handout
  • Avoid negative influences. Do not listen to terrified relatives and “friends” who will warn you that you will pass out at any moment and starve to death. Stop reading all the grim reaper parts of the newspaper and turn off the news. It will be there when you complete your fast. Focus on positive, wonderful thoughts and surround yourself with uplifting music, books, and movies.
  • Continue with normal activities, but minimize overly strenuous physical or mental work.
  • No coffee, soft drinks, cigarettes or anything else by mouth. Your health care supervisor may prescribe some nutritional supplements depending on your case. Many clients say this is the easiest way to quit smoking.
  • Do not chew gum while fasting. Avoid mints and hard candies. They promote the release of digestive enzymes and makes you really hungry. Following the fast, there is a loss of appetite for caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, sugar, and junk foods.
  • Cut back on some supplements and medications. If you are over 65 you will want to take your daily vitamins (if you are on them) during the fast. You will need to discuss this with your health care team as to which medications should be continued with a fast. Usually most medications and supplements are withdrawn during a fast, but exceptions occur—especially when they have to do with the endocrine system (e.g. Insulin, thyroid, heart medications, etc.) And even though juices provide lots of nutrients, some physicians recommend use of an abbreviated list of vitamins and minerals for elderly fasters.
  • If you are hypoglycemic, have someone supervise your fast. You may need to add a protein drink to your program or add some egg white powder to your juice.
  • If you wear dentures, keep them in during your fast so that your gums will not shrink.
  • Do take time out for naps if necessary. 

Fasting dips: During fasting, toxins are loosened and cleansed from the body, cell by cell, even within deep tissue.  At certain times of your fast you may experience feelings of weakness, discouragement, negativity and an overpowering urge to just want to quit. Little things may seem like big things and emotions, memories and hurts you have harbored from the past are trying to come out.  During these times, breathe, meditate, talk to someone who has experienced fasting, pray and do an enema. Tomorrow things will look different. You will have regrouped and can continue the process until your goal is complete.

How to Break Your Juice Fast:

The main rules to breaking a fast are: Do not overeat and chew extremely well.

  • Day 1 of breaking the fast: Eat ½ apple in the morning and very small bowl of fresh vegetable soup at lunch in addition to the fasting diet.
  • Day 2: Add a few soaked prunes or figs (with the soaking water) for breakfast. Have a small bowl of fresh vegetable salad for lunch. Have vegetable soup made without salt for dinner. Eat two apples between meals in addition to the normal juicing.
  • Day 3: Same as Day 2, but add a glass of yogurt and 5-6 raw nuts finely ground for breakfast. Increase the salad portion at lunch and add a boiled or baked potato. For the evening meal, eat a slice of whole grain bread with butter and a slice of cheese with soup.
  • Day 4: Start eating normally. If you have fasted longer than 10 days, the break-in period should be extended one day for every 4 days of fasting.

Tricks for keeping the weight off: After breaking your fast you might want to just cut back on what you eat to half-portions if you were overweight when you started.

I like the hand-full rule. Don’t eat more than what you can hold by cupping one hand (and no, piling and stacking is not what I mean.) After all, your stomach is only the size of your fist. If you overfill it, it will stretch. Then, you will want to eat more food to fill the stretched stomach. It just becomes a vicious cycle. You may also want to eat more mini meals and snacks as you feel hungry for them. Try eating a quarter of your meal, check in you’re your body and ask it if it is satisfied. If the answer is “Yes” put the rest of the meal away. If the answer is “No” eat another quarter meal then ask the same questions again. Continue until you feel comfortable but not full or stuffed.

Most overweight people I visit with about their weight skip meals. They override what their body wants and needs and ignore the hunger signals. Eventually they just eat because it’s “time to eat” or because of some emotional trigger (like stress, disappointment, feeling unloved or needing to feel comforted).  This puts the body into starvation mode where the body’s metabolism actually slows down and produces more fat storing enzymes than fat dissolving enzymes. Bummer.

Include more whole, raw unprocessed foods in general. Chew all foods slowly and thoroughly so that they will be mixed with digestive enzymes in your mouth. Eat with gratitude and be present with what you eat. Use fewer processed foods to prevent build up of toxins in your system.

You might also want to juice fast a day or two each week to keep your weight off and make sure you get all of your raw foods in. Doing one to two 10-day juice fasts per year will keep your body healthy and happy as well.

Excelsior Drink

This is a variation of the vegetable broth specifically for patients with constipation, stomach problems and bowel disorders. Whole flax seeds have a healing effect on the stomach and bowel linings as well as acting as a natural, mild laxative. Ground flax seed it used as an antioxidant and does not provide the same function. Bran supplies necessary bulk and stimulates normal peristalsis. This drink is used after the fast for the first few days until the normal peristaltic rhythm is reestablished.

  • 1 cup Potassium Broth
  • 1 Tablespoon whole flax seed
  • 1 Tablespoon raw wheat or oat bran

Soak the flaxseed and bran in vegetable broth overnight. In the morning, stir well, warm up and drink—seeds and all. Do not chew the flaxseed. Actually, it would be better not to drink the excelsior, but to eat it slowly with a spoon, without chewing, to effect proper salivation. Those with gluten allergies can eliminate the bran.

If you can’t do this (soaked flax seed can be kind of slippery,) mix some flax seed in with some yogurt or applesauce and eat it with a spoon.

Contraindications to Juice Fasting:

  • Children still forming bone and teeth
  • Pregnant and lactating women
  • Patients with advanced cancer, diabetes, tuberculosis, or cardiovascular disease, should fast only on the advice and direction of a competent medical professional.
  • Individuals with hypoglycemia should never fast without using a protein supplement such as spirulina, rice protein or egg white powder.

The CRON Diet (Caloric Restriction with Optimal Nutrition):

Technically speaking, the juice fast is considered a CRON diet. Experiments done in the 1930s found that calorie-restricted rats lived longer than those allowed to eat ad libitum. Data suggests that calorie-restricted rodents lived longer and aged more slowly because they were more resistant to stress and their cells were protected against damaging agents.

Some substantiation of CRON was demonstrated by the BioSphere II experiment which imposed a calorie-restricted diet for two years. The eight people averaged 1800 calories per day during the first six months, 2200 calories per day at the end of 2 years. Body weight dropped 15%, blood sugar dropped 20%, blood cholesterol dropped 38%, blood pressure dropped 30/27% (systolic/diastolic); and white blood cell count dropped 24%.

Some studies have shown that fasting lowers blood glucose and insulin levels, and increases insulin sensitivity. This is good news. When the body recognizes insulin, the mind turns off that area in our brains that tells us that we are hungry. Studies done with fasting monkeys also showed benefits of fasting to include lower blood pressure, reduced triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and increased levels of HDL-2B (low of HDL-2B is associated with cardiovascular disease in humans).

One study showed that 70% of the patients with psychiatric disorders improved with fasting. Other researchers have observed that fasting patients with psychosomatic disease had an 87% success rate.

When fresh fruit and vegetable juices, alkalizing vegetable broths, and herbal teas are used, electrolytes are maintained. The faster receives a daily infusion of vitamins, minerals, and enzymes. Freshly prepared juices require no digestion and are easily assimilated. Juices do not disrupt the healing and rejuvenating effects of autolysis (self-digestion). By providing about 400-600 calories per day, the release of toxins from fat cells is more gradual than a strict water fast.

Fasting to Lose Weight

For reducing, Dr. Paavo Airola recommends a series of 7-10 day fasts, which are safe to undertake without medical supervision, provided you are in good health. Fasting should begin with a purgative such as a double enema or castor oil to cleanse the bowels. An enema should be administered at least once daily, in the morning, and preferably twice, to help rid the body of toxic wastes. And since one third of all wastes are eliminated through the skin, Airola recommends Dry-Brush Massage to keep the pores open and stimulate circulation and elimination.

Some people try to lose weight by fasting without keeping in mind that the reason for a fast should be to regain lost energy, heighten clarity of consciousness, enhance innate spirituality, cleanse, rest, regenerate, and rejuvenate the body along with their weight loss.

A prolonged fast should result in the loss of about 5-7 pounds of fecal material from the colon, but this amount is quickly regained upon feeding. It is also common to detoxify 5-10 pounds of toxic substances. It has taken years to wear the body down, and will take time to restore it to peak condition. Although a short fast of 3-5 days may not accomplish a lot, it is safe and easy to do at home, it will get you started on a healthy path and it is very empowering to know you can do something like this. For me, my first five-day water only fast gave me my life back.

Recall that a short fast can be repeated several times per year to optimize benefits. My first fast was worldly different than my second fast. I was starving the entire time during my first fast. During the second fast (after I had killed off massive amounts of yeast with my first fast a month before) I had lots more energy and mental clarity. The second fast was a piece of cake! Consult with your physician to determine if your health precludes a fast. If under the care of an experienced health provider, a longer fast may be considered.

Note: Often, weight loss through fasting can be temporary if the dieter soon returns to faulty eating habits.  So, remember to eat slowly, chew well, never eat when you are in a hurry or when you are not really hungry, always eat in a relaxed atmosphere and enjoy what you eat!

The Healing Crisis or Herxheimer’s Reaction:

If detoxification occurs too rapidly it allows toxins to enter the bloodstream quicker than they can be eliminated, and a healing crisis can occur (Herxheimer’s reaction). The released toxins can either exacerbate the symptoms being treated or create their own symptoms such as headaches, body ache, joint pain, dizziness, sweating, general malaise, sore throat, nausea, and/or flu-like symptoms. Although the experience is not pleasant, Herxheimer’s reactions are actually a sign of healing. So if you experience on of these (and there is no telling whether or not you will or when it will happen,) increase the cleansing regimen such as dry brushing and enemas to allow the body to detoxify. Unpleasant symptoms subside rather quickly, allowing the individual to continue with normal activities. The classic response to a fast is a feeling of euphoria (high energy, clarity of thought, and an exuberant spirit). Read more on The Healing Crisis .

Naysayers of Fasting: Opponents challenge that fasting is starvation. Some researchers assert that a fast will not cleanse your body of toxins, that there is no evidence the body needs internal cleansing, or that the digestive system needs to rest. (Yeah, right!)

The digestive system is quite efficient at cleansing itself and ridding the body of waste materials. Some feel that the notion that stagnation and decay in the colon produce toxins that poison the body is an ancient, archaic concept. Maybe they’ve never seen the stuff that comes out of an enema? (See the bottom of the Enema handout for those really gross pictures!)

Total fasting also results in rapid initial weight loss initially. Granted, most of the loss is fluid, rather than fat, but as the fast continues, you lose body fat. Muscle will also be lost (if you don’t exercise along with the fast). And the negative hype about losing heart muscle and minerals? If you drink your Potassium Broth and your juices, this just is just not going to happen.

Your Questions Answered:

Question: How often and how long should one fast?

Answer:  It is generally recommended to fast three days out of every month with two 10-day fasts each year.  Three-day fasts help the body rid itself of toxins and cleanses the blood. Five-day fasts are long enough to begin the process of healing and rebuilding the immune system. Ten-day fasts act as prevention to fight off illness including degenerative diseases. The length for therapeutic fasts varies between 7 days and 40 days. The most common length of fasts in European clinics is 14 to 21 days. If you have a proper mental attitude, confidence and understanding of the philosophy and physiology of fasting, you can safely fast on your own up to 10 days. Remember, you are not the first to try it – millions of people have done it successfully before you.

Question: I’m pregnant (or lactating). Can I fast?

Answer: No, fasting will release too many toxins into the body and the baby may suffer from it. If you are breast feeding, fasting will cut back on the milk production. Not good. Wait until you have weaned your baby.  Actually, in the animal world, we fast the animals 24-48 hours to help complete the weaning process. It is much safer for you both you and the baby to just increase the amounts of raw, unprocessed foods in your diet.

Question: Can I cure my cancer by just eating grapes? The grape fast involves eating nothing but grapes and water (up to 6 pounds/day of as many varieties that you can get.) The theory is that the juice of grapes is of the same density and composition as blood serum. Yes, grapes have lots of antioxidants, but if your disease has a core component of yeast (like in many types of cancer) this is NOT the best type of fast to partake in. Please consult a naturopath for the best type of fast for your condition.

Question: Can I fast with water only?

Answer:  Yes, this type of fast is done with dechlorinated water ONLY for 5 days and is a great technique to kill yeast in the system that has been there for years. It’s a tough one to do, but well worth the effort. It should be done under supervision and you need to build up your system with a couple of months of increased raw fruits and vegetables before the fast. For more on this type of fast, go to the handout: Fasting for the Health of it.

Question: Will I feel hungry during my fast?

Answer: Yes, and this is natural for the first 3-4 days. After that the pangs will go away, and the longer you fast, the less hungry you will feel until it is time to break the fast. At this time you will feel an “excruciating hunger.” This is a reliable signal to stop the fast and start eating.

Question: I’ve read about saline purges. Do I need to do one of them to get started?

Answer:  If you can do this, you are a stronger person than I am! I’ve tried this and it is totally GROSS! A saline purge is done by drinking normal saline water or a variety of special salts. There are lots of these in the alternative field with various names such as Glauber’s salts and we won’t discuss them in this report. Supposedly the saline goes directly through the digestive tract without stopping at the stomachs duodenal sphincter and draws out about a gallon of toxins into the gut. An enema is then done to expel all these toxins. Alkaline drinks are a must to replace these expelled fluids or the toxins will be reabsorbed through the intestinal tract. The thing is, it’s hard to even gag the stuff down. For me, it’s better to do the process a bit slower and do a pre-fast with increased amounts of raw fruits and vegetables and a double enema.

Book References:  

  • Alternative Healthcare—A Comprehensive Guide to Therapies and Remedies © 1996 by Thunder Bay Press
  • How to Get Well © 1974 by Dr. Paavo O. Airola
  • There is a Cure for Arthritis © 1968 by Dr. Paavo O. Airola


The information contained here is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for specific medical advice which the reader can obtain only from a qualified and reliable doctor. I will not assume responsibility or liability for any consequences of the failure to obtain specific medical advice from a qualified doctor or take responsibility for any consequences of the reader attempting to treat his/her own health problems using any or all of the information in these pages and on this site.

Other Helpful Articles for Water and Juice Fasting: