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Fasting 101

Fasting 101

Fasting 101

Is fasting good for you? Some say it’s not healthy for your body at all. Other experts say it’s actually beneficial to give your body some time without food; that it helps you feel better mentally and physically. Who do you believe?

First, let’s differentiate the different types of fasting. Some say no food and some allow only specific foods. If you’re looking at doing a liquid fast, it should only be for a limited period of time.

Fasting has gained popularity for one purpose – to rid your body of unnecessary toxins and wastes. When you consider how many unnatural substances you consume daily in processed foods, it’s no wonder your body retaliates by not feeling as good as it could. It’s like putting a bunch of dirt in a paint can and wondering why it doesn’t go on the wall all smooth and clean.

Not only do you get these substances from things you eat, but you get them from everything else you come in contact with as well. For instance, when you put scented lotions on your skin, your body takes in all the ingredients. Do this over time with cleaning supplies, makeup and even water from the sink and you can see why you may feel a little sluggish or lethargic.

So, if you are interested in beginning your weight loss journey with a fast, it’s certainly understandable. Here are some options that others found helpful:

Cutting Out Sugar

One of the most basic and helpful fasts is the sugar fast. Simply remove foods from your diet that contain sugar and white flour (simple carbohydrates) and replace them with complex carbohydrates like oats, barley, fruit and veggies. As it cuts out unhealthy foods, this type of fast can go on indefinitely.

Just a word of caution: you may have some sugar withdrawal symptoms, particularly if it’s been part of your diet for some time. So, be prepared for headaches and a sick stomach until your body gets rid of the sugar you have built up in your system.

The best way to make it through this process quickly is to consume a lot of water. The faster you can get your body to release the sugars, the better you’ll feel.

Eat Only Natural Foods

The more you work with a food through cooking, the more vitamins and minerals it loses in the process. Therefore, if you want to get the most from your food, some believe it’s best to just eat it raw like the cavemen did.

This presents a few issues when dealing with certain foods, like eggs, which ultimately should be eliminated since they’re not safe unless cooked. But, if you choose to take this route, you can still get plenty of nutrition from other foods such as nuts, fruits, vegetables and whole grains.

If you’re not big on meats, you can actually follow this type of fast for quite some time. Just make sure you get adequate protein so your muscles stay healthy and strong.

Juicing

Popular amongst celebrities, juicing has now found its way into the average household as a viable weight loss option. In fact it’s taken such a hold that there are tons of gizmos and gadgets available to make your juicing experience easier should you choose this type of fast.

Because fruits and veggies contain a lot of natural vitamins and minerals, juicing can be very healthy. It certainly is better than pre-made juices you buy at the store that are typically loaded with sugar.

If this type of fast interests you, you can make a ton of different juices such as: 

  • “Green” smoothies which are a blend of various fruits, veggies and a little bit of tofu
  • Juice an orange and carrot for a colorful juice loaded with vitamins A & C
  • Mix cucumber and melon for a smoothie that is nutritious and delicious

Because they’re so healthy for you, a fast of this type can go as long as seven days. Your body is still getting its necessary vitamins and minerals so you’ll likely feel very energetic if you choose to juice to begin your weight loss process.

Water Only

Because this type of fast lacks any vitamins and minerals, it is also the most controversial. Although proponents say it has positive side effects, such as increased energy and better skin, there are still a large number of experts that say it’s too dangerous on the body to go without any sustenance.

If you want to do a water fast, get your doctor’s approval first. And, don’t do it for more than a couple days. Your body needs food to survive.

The Master Cleanse

Used by celebrities such as Beyonce who lost 25 pounds following this fast, the Master Cleanse has gained a lot of popularity. It involves drinking a concoction of lemon juice, cayenne and syrup and sometimes includes salt-water beverages and teas that act as laxatives.

Although you will effectively lose weight on the Master Cleanse, it’s nothing you should sustain for any length of time. Eventually you’ll have to learn how to eat in a manner that helps you maintain a healthy weight.

As a side note: if you do try the Master Cleanse, make sure you drink a lot of water so you don’t dehydrate your body.

Put It All Together

The best fast is one that gives you nutrition and eliminates foods and substances you really shouldn’t be consuming anyway. That means that choosing to eliminate sugars or sticking with only natural foods are great ways to begin your weight loss journey!

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