Who Can Fast?
Most of us can fast safely, but there are some exceptions.
If you're wondering who can fast safely, the answer is most of us. In most cases all that is necessary
is average good health, but there are exceptions.
Water fasting, due to its greater
intensity and total lack of electrolyte replenishment, stands alone with its unique warnings and
precautions. This is why most of the dangers of fasting apply to the water fast and why any water fast
of longer than 3 days should be supervised by a fasting professional.
But the other fasting
methods which include some, albeit sometimes small, amount of nutrition, are considered much safer
for non-supervised fasts. That bit of nutrition can provide important elements to help support your
body's functions. Fasts like juice
and fruit and
Master Cleanse are all considered
much milder while still providing for the detoxing and healing of the body.
What is meant by "average good health"? It means having sufficient physical strength and adequate reserves
to carry you through. You'd need properly functioning liver and kidneys and not be severely anemic or
Those who should not fast:
- Pregnant and nursing women. The effects of fasting
on an unborn fetus are unknown. As far as nursing, Annemarie Colbin, author of Food and Healing,
says she fasted a couple times while nursing and her babies acted as if they weren't getting enough
to eat. Even though she seemed to be producing the same amount of milk, it apparently contained
- Children. In the U.S. it is considered ill-advised
to permit children to fast, however, in Europe it is permissible if the child is obese and has chosen
to fast of his/her own will and is supervised by a professional.
- Certain medical conditions. As stated above, you should
not fast if you have liver or kidney weakness or disease, or are extremely frail, malnourished, anemic,
or exhausted. You should consult a doctor and be under his/her care during fasting if you have a
weakened immune system, severely high blood pressure, medication-dependent diabetes, or weak
circulation causing frequent fainting.
With many conditions, it is possible to fast, but the more serious the condition, the more you
need professional support during a fast to avoid any problems. If you are on any prescription
medications, your requirements for that medicine could vary from day to day, making it necessary
you have a doctor monitor you daily.
- Eating disorders. Such as anorexia or bulimia.
- After surgery or a major illness. Time should be taken
to recuperate before attempting a fast. Also, don't fast directly prior to major surgery.
- Anyone who is afraid of fasting. Fear does not put you
in the proper frame of mind for fasting and can lead to an unpleasant experience. Strong emotions, such as fear, are known
to alter the body's physiological processes. It can shut down certain bodily functions. It also is a closed emotional state.
Instead, someone embarking on a fast should be relaxed and confident, and feeling open to the positive changes fasting creates.
If you are at all uncertain whether you are one who can fast, consult your doctor or health care professional.
For those who shouldn't fast...
If you've determined that you shouldn't fast, based on this criteria or your own gut feeling, there IS another option! Cleansing diets can be used instead to detox and
gain many, if not all, of the benefits fasting
is known to produce. They often create the same detox symptoms as fasting, as they eliminate toxins and
rebuild healthy tissue, but in a more gradual way.
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offers several unique
methods for integrating regular fasting into your life.
Dry Skin Brushing
shares the many health
benefits derived from this quick and easy-to-do practice.
How long should you fast?
what length of time is best for you and how much preparation is required.
offers guidance on using
a cleansing diet as a partial fast or as a means of preparation for other types of fasting.
Details how to do a 1-3 day fast with
Kitchari for Cleansing
recipes for using this healthy traditional Indian dish for a fast or for every day meals.
Understanding What Fasting Is and Is Not
will dispel any
doubts about fasting being akin to starvation.