Autumn 2012 True Natural Health Magazine – Your Questions Answered
By Roger French
QUESTION: I understand that fasting has been employed since ancient times for bodily ‘purification’. I believe that during fasting, the body begins to consume itself, but with great care. Is this right? I believe that bodily debris is metabolised and eliminated in a way that does not occur when food is consumed abundantly.
Periods of 24 – 36 hours without food have been recommended on a monthly, fortnightly and even weekly basis. My own experience is that tummy rumblings are not agonising, but interesting. What is agonising is the headaches.
I believe that the phrase ‘toxic hunger’ might be relevant, but I don’t know in what way. Might it relate to the modern diet in an over-stuffed and chronically synthetic culture?
This very large topic has been covered in detail in our literature, namely, the Spring 2008 issue of Natural Health and Vegetarian Life and the Natural Health Society’s book, How a Man Lived in Three Centuries, Chapter 15.
An interesting perspective on detoxing is that in countries where people are starving, they are dying from deficiencies of protein, carbohydrate and fat. In Australia, as far as nutrition is concerned, we are dying from surpluses of fat, protein and (refined) carbohydrate. The whole aim of detoxification is to enable the body to clear away the toxic acidic wastes (your “bodily debris” or toxaemia) from these surpluses as well as toxic man-made chemicals.
Healing from the majority of illnesses – both acute and degenerative – begins with lowering the body’s load of toxaemia.
Self-healing is the only healing, there is no other form of healing. The process requires a lot of energy, the same energy that would otherwise be consumed in everyday activities, such as walking, working, studying or digesting food. As soon as we cease or greatly reduce our usual activities, and provided the level of vitality is adequate, energy is diverted to self-healing, which commences automatically according to need.
The key to self-healing is energy conservation – both physical and mental – that is, complete rest. Total rest has four components: physiological rest (rest of the digestive organs), physical rest, mental rest and rest of the sense organs (eyes, ears and nose).
During properly managed detox diets, including water fasting, the body is nourished adequately from its own reserves. A part of these reserves is the toxic wastes, which are broken down and eliminated, yielding useful energy. It is an ingenious trick of nature that the body uses as fuel the very substances that were causing its health problems in the first place.
The body frees itself of benign tumours and other non-cancerous growths by dissolving them. Similarly, retained fluid and deposits of various kinds are reabsorbed, the usable portions being utilised for nourishment and the unusable portions eliminated.
Acute disease is a detoxifying and self-healing process. Loss of appetite and/or fever are characteristic features of acute disease. Your body is telling you that it is already in detox mode, so fasting or juices can begin immediately, along with complete rest as described above.
Self-healing for non-acute conditions is a little different. In the absence of fever, the body has to be warned of the need to switch over to self-nourishment – we must prepare for it in the correct way.
The ‘toxic hunger’ and hunger pangs to which you refer are not hunger, but the signs of an overworked stomach screaming for mercy – begging for a rest! I have fasted many times, and have never been hungry. It is only when breaking the fast that genuine hunger begins to strike. If there is genuine hunger during a fast, it may mean that the person is not self-nourishing, but starving, and harm may be done to vital organs. The fast should be broken immediately.
The headache, which affects about one in every two people during detoxing, is mostly either withdrawal from the caffeine in coffee or signs of a congested liver beginning to cleanse itself. More advanced liver cleansing often results in nausea and vomiting.
Finally, we recommend not to fast on water as frequently as one day a week, because this tends to drain minerals out of the body. On the other hand, doing one day a week on veggie juices or dilute fruit juices or just whole fruit should be fine.
I strongly urge readers to study one of the above accounts of detoxing before considering fasting or a juice-only diet. The aim of each is to provide all the information that the lay person needs to know so as to be able to carry out limited detoxing at home. Included are the all-important safety warnings that must be understood by anyone contemplating a detox without professional supervision.