by Lisa Peten
Let’s talk about fasting—water-only fasting! That seemingly crazy idea of getting healthy by not eating; that thing that many people do and live to tell about, despite severe abstinence per the larger population. Watch an hour of TV and you will be shocked to witness the number of instances when food appears. This is largely a reflection of our society and its consumption of food, including diet fads and communal social gatherings…just to eat! Perhaps fear, disinterest and disbelief are some reasons the mere thought of going days without food is a very unconventional concept for the majority in our society. Think about this: Can you name a holiday and not immediately think of the food associated with it? Food governs our lifestyles in a very concentrated way, in sickness, and in health. Ironically, if you study four-legged animals, you will learn that they do not eat when sick, as we humans do. Perhaps poor health and the growing population of distress and disease makes it necessary now to move from spectator to participant and engage in a water-only fast. I challenge you, for the next few moments, to chew (only) on this: Fasting may be the new medicine.
What is medicine?
According to Dictionary.com, “Medicine is any substance or substances used in treating disease or illness.” Interestingly enough, the word cure is not present. Testimonials and accounts of those who have completed water-only fasts make the claim that fasting was the cure to their disease or illness. Before you can make a snide remark that these fasting “stories” are just that, let me introduce you to a treatment center that stands convicted in the benefits of water-only fasting as a viable means to achieve better health.
TrueNorth Health Center is located in California’s wine country and was started in 1984 and takes an integrative medicine approach to help patients achieve optimum health. The center boasts that it is the largest facility in the world that specializes in water-only fasting. Their patients are treated for detoxification, weight loss, dietary and lifestyle changes, high blood pressure, diabetes, autoimmune disorders and a wide range of other health conditions. Trained staff, such as medical doctors, osteopaths, chiropractors, naturopaths, psychologists, research scientists and other health professionals treat and evaluate patients who wish to gain enhanced health.
As with most health treatment centers in the United States that perform with a high caliber of care, it does not come cheap. Health, whether good or bad, never does. Luckily, with research and a lot of belief, it is possible for you to succeed in completing a water-only fast, on your own. Preparing well for the best results is the gigantic first step.
Statistics show that 1% of the US population has skydived once, however, even though statistics on water-only fasting are hard to find, I equate these two experiences to be similar. Water-only fasting and sky-diving both require mental preparation. First and foremost, you must convince yourself that you will be successful in a water-only fast (or skydive). Along with this internal preparation is also external preparation. Friends, family and even strangers may help you meet your goal. Do not discount this step, as many have needed to rely on this preparation step at pivotal points during their fast to result in a successful completion.
Mental preparation also includes fueling your knowledge via research. This is the next largest component to properly prepare for a self-guided water-only fast. Verbal personal accounts, YouTube videos, books, magazine articles, Instagram, Facebook, blogs, medical journals and the like are all research options. The knowledge you gather during this research will most likely be voluminous. Be prepared to use filters, retaining the information that resonates deep within you, as you will surely find contradictions. Be mindful of the importance of applying the information and guidance that you think is applicable. If you find redundant information, give this higher consideration in adhering to what is being relayed.
Similarly, best practices recommend eating moderately and nutritiously before skydiving which is also true to begin a water-only fast. Veterans of water-only fasts recommend juice fasting or eating a raw, paleo or gluten-free diet to prepare, while others recommend no change in diet at all; do what you feel will work best for you. Your body may alert you during your mental preparation or within the next preparation step, gathering resources.
Fasting while training, undergoing a stressful period, on vacation, working full-time, working full-time with a second part-time job or working full-time while going to school part-time are possible scenarios that you may have to sift through to find the best time to fast. No matter your fasting period, consider the following list to stock items that may become necessary.
Water – Choose which type you will drink (e.g. distilled, spring, coconut) and stock up to eliminate having to purchase and pick-up during times when your energy may be low.
Salt – Choose your type (e.g. pink Himalayan salt, black salt, rock salt.) You may need to perform a salt flush during your fast. It is highly recommended that you NEVER use iodine salt.
Lemon/Lime – You may wish to add a lemon or lime to flavor the water to combat boredom or for taste. They are also great detoxification aids.
Coffee/Herbal Tea – During your research, you may note that this topic is highly contradicted. As a rule of thumb, stock these items, just in case it resonates within you pre-fast, during the fast or post-fast.
Enema – This is another hotly debated topic in veteran fasting communities. Again, use at your own discretion.
Entertainment – Be sure to have your favorite music, books, movies, games, etc. on hand to assist you—especially during the weekends and especially if going out to eat for socializing has been temporarily suspended.
Notebook – From the first day of the fast until completion, regardless of the length of time your fast occurs, you will develop a sensitivity to the changes occurring inside and outside your body. You may encounter books, video diaries and day-by-day blogs during your research, which recorded water-only fasting experiences. It is best if you decide to engage or pass on this early on. It could be distressing if you decide to keep a documented account of your experience days into the fast. If you can’t decide, have the notebook around in case you change your mind. While some use the computer to record (via video recording or typing) the best practice is to use computers sparingly.
Just like skydiving, to engage in a water-only fast is a choice. It is a commitment to move beyond the status quo and engage in the unknown with faith. We do this when we take medicine, only we put the faith in the doctor’s knowledge rather than our own. Whether we take medicine or fast, we expect results; to reap benefits. Taking medicine is commonly equated to being a band-aid while fasting circles claim it to be an overall healer. Water-only fasters who had arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, or tinnitus prior to the fast, reported being rid of these things post-fast. Your belief in these accounts is not important, but your health is. Try it for yourself and see.
Lisa Peten, C.H.H.C. is a self-help hearing coach, mind-body empowerment speaker, and health advocate blogger on a mission to empower health-hungry communities to become more proactive in obtaining nourishing foods and seeking holistic health alternatives. Subscribe to Sound Health and Healing’s free newsletter to attune your vibrational settings for miraculous healing at www.soundhealthandhealing.com.