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The benefits of fasting can be placed into four categories, associated to your health, beauty, wellbeing and lifestyle. Health-wise, aside from helloing to prevent disease and reducing excess body weight, fasting also relieves the digestive tract, providing it with a period of rest and helping to mobilise the defence mechanism.
In the area of beauty, those who fast simply age better. The skin does not age prematurely and the connective tissue is tightened. Once we are over 40, many of us start to get a little puffy in the face and lose the sharpness of the contours-fasting helps to prevent that.
For overall wellbeing, fasting improves mood, is an uplifting process and also decreases the mind’s chatter. Indeed, demand for fasting coaching is increasing as many business people are suffering digital overload. Fasting provides peace of mind, while you also develop inner strength and focus.
In terms of lifestyle, I have people come to me who have lost their relationship to food, who haven’t exercised for years or engaged in any form of self-care. All they do from morning to evening is work, then they do things for their family, but they never do anything for themselves. Fasting is a route to rediscovering that wish to take care of yourself, to eat well and to make different kinds of choices.
There are different types of fasting, including clinic-based therapeutic fasts, which last from 10 days to four weeks, and are for people already stricken by illness. What I do is fasting for the healthy, which lasts between 5-10 days and can be conducted at a retreat or spa hotel. These programmes can also be home-guided and I have a number of clients who prefer this option. Then there are intermittent fasts, which you can do yourself. For the best results, I recommend what I call ‘dinner cancelling’ for a period of 16 hours.
As for methods, there are different options, such as a liquid only fast, like the Buchinger- Lutzner, where you only have one fresh vegetable juice and one vegetable broth per day, with no solid foods. For the rest of the day it is just herbal tea or water, which creates a deep, detoxifying experience.
Then there are partial immersions, such as an alkaline fast to deacidify the body. Here all acid-forming foods are removed, such as coffee, meats, fish, even some vegetables and green tea. Those with chronic pain in their bodies or with skin inflammation of any sort, respond very well to this approach.