Some experts warn that fasting is no way to lose weight. But proponents of fasting claim that taking a break from food can have all sorts of health benefits. They credit fasting for giving them everything from increased energy to elevated mood and even clearer skin.
Here’s the secret: Fasting is not the same thing as starving. There are different levels of fasting. Some even allow you to eat solid foods. Of course, you can also restrict your intake to just liquids, or to just water, but such fasts shouldn’t be sustained for very long.
Fasting is usually done for detoxification purposes. Think of how many processed foods you eat each day. All of them contain chemicals designed to extend shelf life or enhance flavor. Those chemicals can build up in your system, making it hard for your body to function normally. Fatigue, achiness, and depression can result.
Now consider how many toxins you pick up from other sources. How many chemical cleaners, pest control sprays, cosmetics, and other chemicals do you come into contact with? How is the air quality in your area? How is the tap water? You could be polluting your body simply by eating, drinking, and breathing.
You can kick off your 14 day diet plan and give your body a break by fasting. To do this, you should first determine how extreme of a fast you’re willing to try. Here are some popular types to choose from.
A sugar fast is a relatively mild fasting technique. All it requires you to do is give up sugary foods and white flour products. Those foods will be replaced with healthier carbohydrates in the form of low-glycemic fruits, fibrous vegetables, and whole grain products.
Prepare for some adverse effects in the first few days of your sugar fast, especially if you’re something of a sugar addict. You might experience headaches, lethargy, and even nausea while your body cleanses itself of sugar.
Just take it easy for a couple of days and drink plenty of clean water to flush the toxins from your system. You can do a sugar fast pretty much indefinitely, as long as you continue to eat healthy carbs.
Raw Food Fast
Food loses a lot of its fiber and nutrition when you cook it, so proponents of raw food diets insist that their way of eating delivers the most nutrients and the highest fiber content.
Obviously, there are many foods which should be cooked before consumption. A raw food fast will limit you to safe raw foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains. Some people eat raw for life, but if you’re a meat fan, you should probably make it a temporary weight loss technique.
Juice fasts gained notoriety among the Hollywood set. Now they’ve gone mainstream, with hundreds of web sites devoted to the merits of fresh fruit and vegetable juice.
Juice fasts can be healthy when they’re done right. To get enough vitamins and fiber, you’ll definitely want to do your own juicing using fresh produce. Pre-packaged fruit juices are typically high in sugar and lack fiber content.
Some of the most popular homemade juices include “green” smoothies, which blend fruits, vegetables, and silken tofu; fresh orange and carrot juice for a massive dose of vitamins C and A; and cucumber melon smoothies to keep you hydrated at a very low calorie cost.
As long as you’re getting a variety of fruits, veggies, and soy protein, a juice fast can last for several days or even a week. The nutrient-dense drinks are easily digestible. You might feel revitalized right away as your body absorbs the vitamins and macronutrients.
For some, only a total water fast will do. As the name suggests, a water fast means giving up food altogether and drinking pure water instead.
While this doesn’t provide nutrients like eating solid food does, fans of water fasting insist that the process gives them mental clarity, clearer skin, and increased energy.
Due to lack of nutrition, water fasts should not be sustained for more than a few days at a time. Ask your doctor for permission before you embark on a water fast.
The Master Cleanse and More
The Master Cleanse gained notoriety because several high-profile celebrities used it to shed extra pounds. Beyonce Knowles lost a fast 25 pounds in preparation for her role in Dreamgirls, thanks to the Master Cleanse.
This plan is a liquid fast that requires you to drink several cups of juice made from lemons, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup. Salt-water drinks and laxative teas are sometimes incorporated for a full-body cleanse.
The Master Cleanse is effective for cutting weight, but not for long-term loss. It just departs too radically from normal eating. It’s also possible to become dehydrated while following the plan, so dieter beware!
The Final Word on Fasts
A fast that cuts out junk food but leaves you with plenty of nutrition is the most sustainable type of fast. Kick off your 14-day plan with a sugar fast or raw food fast, and see how great you feel!