While on a job assignment last month, I felt grateful for so many things in my life. Reflecting back upon my experiences in Rio I’ve regained health, vitality, and a new perspective of the role I am to play in the world.
I’m fortunate to have caring friends who selflessly contribute to the well being of our planet, energetically, spiritually, and actively participating to make our world a better place to be.
For this post, I give thanks to heartflow2013 for providing the inspiration and framework for this springtime rejuvenation and makeover. According to Tomas’ post, we should address various aspects of ourselves to experience a harmonious life. These key components are very important for our development and growth. Today I will be incorporating Key#4: Nourishment, and Key #5: Grounding.
As for physical nourishment, Key #4, Tomas recommends drinking an adequate amount of purified water to function optimally. “Water acts as a conduit or conductor. It keeps your system open and flowing.” I couldn’t agree more, and would like to share my experience with juice fasting!
Rio de Janeiro has absolutely perfect weather year round, so I decided to detoxify and do a spring cleanse. I have done 3 day water fasts in the past with great results. In order to assist the body with the process, ideally the temperature should be warm (avg. 30C/ 85F), plenty of sunshine for sunbathing, fresh organic fruit juices, and some organic vegetable juice toward the end of the fast. I’ve also incorporated early morning yoga and meditation to get in the right “mode”.
According to Tomas, Key #5 Grounding is very necessary. “A good way to ground yourself is to go outside and sit on the ground. So go outside and be in nature. Stand or sit next to a tree for a while. Put your chair in the sun and read a book with the sun shining on you. Or go swimming, or put your feet in water. These are the elements. They make up Earth, so you can feel them.” I felt calm, collected and happy while on the beach all day so I highly recommend it if you live near water.
While the initial reason was to lose a few pounds and tone up for a photo shoot, I’ve decided to commit to a 3 week program because the conditions were just perfect. In Rio, they have organic young coconuts for sale everywhere, even right on the beach! The sweet delicious coconut water was like pure nectar to my lips. I felt so light and clean drinking 10 to 12 coconuts a day, (approx. 1 gallon). My energy levels were high and most importantly I didn’t experience the nasty effects of detox like I had while on the water fast.
Prior to my trip, I was exhausted from work, travel and poor diet. My adrenals were shot from excessive coffee, smokes, drinks, drugs and sugar fixes. Basically I felt like crap and had to change my life. I’ve researched juice fasting and found it to be the ideal solution for rebuilding my system naturally. Initially I did have cravings but did not experience withdrawal symptoms. I was pleasantly surprised that it was so easy, painless and I wasn’t even hungry. Basically, there was nothing to prepare, juice bars/ stands/ vendors were everywhere. I would order up a “green coconut drink”, or what the locals called “Agua de Coco” and enjoy!
The first reason to drink coconut water is that it’s a healthy electrolyte replacement drink. It has a good amount of potassium in it and (believe it or not) has more than a banana! In addition to potassium and magnesium, it also contains calcium, phosphorous, iron, copper, sulphur, chlorides and some sodium. It quenches thirst like water but has a little something extra. Many people get bored with the taste of plain water so this is a perfect substitute.
You can get creative and make alcohol-free cocktails, like piña coladas with lime instead of rum. LUV IT! Tropical smoothies with bananas, strawberries and cantaloupe are just heavenly. On this fast, I promise you won’t feel deprived at all and as an added bonus your sense of taste will become so much more acute after the first week. Tropical fruits are a natural taste explosion, sweet & super delicious. Your taste buds will love you! ♥
On the last week, I added a few vegetable cocktails for a change of pace. The additional calories were fine because I started jogging with friends. It’s a feeling out process, notice how your body feels in response to your fast and daily activities. Obviously you would need to adjust the duration and intensity of the fast according to your schedule and work load. Ideally you should also exercise lightly or do some form of stretching/ yoga/ meditation to assist with the removal of toxins released by the fast. Nausea and headaches are common side effects, so be sure to make the necessary adjustments with your routine. Get out and move, activate your lymphatic and circulatory system, oxygenate your lungs and muscles, rejuvenate/ revitalize the cells in your body. You’ll feel invigorated in every way, skin will clear up and feel soft & smooth, you are literally reborn on so many levels! So relax and enjoy the process. ☼
Here’s a comprehensive fasting program that I can recommend for everyone. Start slowly and monitor your progress. This is the best gift of health you can give yourself and for your loved ones. It’s also an awesome way to celebrate Spring, with beauty & renewal. All the best everyone! ♥
“Fasting is recommended for any illness, as it gives the body the rest it needs to recover. Acute illnesses, colon disorders, allergies, and respiratory diseases are most responsive to fasting, while chronic degenerative diseases are least responsive. By relieving the body of the work of digesting foods, fasting permits the system to rid itself of toxins while facilitating healing. But fasting is helpful not just in times of poor health or during the body’s low cycles [natural detoxification ]. By fasting regularly, you give all of your organs a rest, and thus help reverse the aging process and live a longer and healthier life.”
Indeed, if you’ve ever tried fasting, it’s an almost mystical experience. There’s a definite process, but when your body’s digested all the food in your system and adjusted to the lack of new food, fasting seems to provide an acute hyper-awareness. The body becomes extra sensitive, you feel lighter, more agile and in-tuned with every movement. Your mind becomes super sharp with lightening processes, you’re suddenly free from worry and the mental clarity is crazy – watch out for those epiphanies!
This being said, I also believe that there’s a safe way to fast and it’s probably not healthy for people with preexisting health problems. For those who are interested in trying a fast, my next post will cover instructions for a safe, 3 day fast.
The Prescription for Nutritional Healing recommends we fast at least 3 days a month and follow a 10 day fast twice a year. There are different types of fasts and depending on the length of fast, it accomplishes different things:
3 days helps the body rid itself of toxins and cleanses the blood.
5 days begins the process of healing and rebuilding the immune system.
10 days will help prevent illness and disease by giving the body time to reverse the damage caused by long-term exposure to dangerous chemicals and toxins.
Following a live-juice diet (see below) will tamper the side-effects of detoxing as it removes toxins more slowly than an all-water fast and promotes healing by supplying the body with vitamins, minerals and enzymes. This type of fast is also useful as it is more likely you will become accustomed to the taste of raw vegetables and continue a healthy diet high in vegetables once the fast ends.
The 3 Day Fast
The following Fasting Procedure was designed for those of us with diets laden with stimulants and food addictions. It will prepare your body for the fast so it is less of a shock to your system. For those with fairly clean diets, skip to step #2.
Step #1: Preparing to fast (Week 1 & 2)
Slowly wean yourself off sugar, other stimulants (coffee, cigarettes and alcohol), meats, fish and dairy. I took a calendar and marked every second day or so the food/substance I was cutting out of my diet. By the end of the second week, your diet should be down to simply fruits, veggies, seeds and nuts. If you’re craving some real meals, look online for vegan recipes or here for Live Lighter’s elimination diet recipes. (Update: If you’re craving some sweets, check this list for raw food desserts!)
Step #2: Blended raw food (3 days)
Three days before the fast, blend all your food in a processor. This is vacation preparation for your digestive system as blended food is partially digested already. It eases the digestive workload, slowing it down and prepping it for a lack of food. Try Live Lighter’s recipes for smoothies, blended detox green drinks,delish detox blender recipes, cleansing drink recipes and more detox blender recipes.
Step #3: The fast (3 days)
Here are 17 of the most detoxifying drinks to help you with variety but the following are the best juices to have during your fast:
- Fresh lemon juice : add juice of 1 whole lemon to a cup of warm water.
- Master Cleanse recipe: in 1 pint of distilled water, mix 2 tbsp. natural maple syrup, juice from 1/4 lemon slice and cayenne pepper (to taste).
- Pure juices like fresh apple, beet, cabbage, carrot, celery and grape juice (use your juicer if you have one and the time).
- Green drinks are good, made with leafy green vegetables (like spinach, kale, collards and swiss chard).
- As a general rule (as per Prescription for Natural Healing ), do not combine fruit and vegetable juices. Apples are the only fruit that should be added to vegetable juices. I have yet to find out why this is important…does anyone know? (Update: Molly answers this in her comment.)
- Healing Juice: 3 carrots, 3 kale leaves, 2 stalks celery, 2 beets, 1 turnip, ¼ pound spinach, ½ head of cabbage, ¼ bunch of parsley, ¼ of an onion and ½ clove of garlic. If you don’t have a juicer, place vegetables in pure water and boil them, adding no seasonings. Save the vegetables from the broth to eat after the fast.
The Prescription for Natural Healing says to, “ Continue your normal daily routine, including moderate and mild exercise. Avoid strenuous activity.”
FASTING TIP : Plan your fast days on the weekend to allow for relative inactivity and low to no stress. Your body needs rest to divert all its energy into healing, plus, it isn’t getting any food energy. This is where fasting becomes dangerous as simply breathing requires a certain amount of calories. To live, the body draws from its storage: fat. If you lack a lot of fat, it’s especially important for you to be aware of your available energy.
Step #4: Blended Raw Food (3 days)
Return to blending raw fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts for 3 days after your fast. The Prescription for Natural Healing says,
“The desired effects of the fast can be ruined by eating cooked foods immediately afterward. Because both the size of the stomach and the amount of secreted digestive juices may decrease during fasting, the first meals after a fast should be frequent and small.”
Step #5: Reintroduce Food (Week 4 and for as long as you want)
Slowly reintroduce solid foods back into your diet. Start with raw fruits, vegetables, seeds and nuts. Then add easy-to-digest and hypoallergenic foods like those allowed on the elimination diet. Get tasty elimination diet-friendly recipes here on Live Lighter.
If you think you might have food sensitivities or allergies, this is an ideal time to test these foods out. One at a time, slowly reintroduce wheat, dairy, eggs, soy, sugar and nightshade to your body. Choose one for one day, and during that day consume 2 to 3 servings. Note any reactions. Wait for a day and then on the third day, try another food. Repeat until you’ve tried all the possibly offending foods.
These 5 steps to a safe and enlightening 3 day fast will help you get through your natural down cycles and help heal your body. Expect some discomfort as your body releases toxins. You may experience: fatigue; body odor; dry, scaly skin; skin eruptions; headaches; dizziness; irritability; anxiety; confusion; nausea; coughing; diarrhea; dark urine; dark, foul-smelling stools; body aches; insomnia; sinus and bronchial mucus discharge; and/or visual or hearing problems.
These side effects will pass fairly quickly. Once they do, be prepared to feel GREAT!