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As most practitioners of alternative medicine will tell you, a host of minor and not-so-minor illnesses can be alleviated by supervised fasting. The human immune system works 24/7, but if it gets overloaded it can't do it's job very well. A compromised immune system is often credited with triggering a host of debilitating symptoms in women, some of which are ultimately diagnosed as Lupus, MS, Fibromyalgia, Chronic-Fatigue Syndrome, or Rheumatoid Arthritis.
One theory is that our bodies fail to protect us from disease because they're forced to use most of their resources to filter poisons out of what we eat, drink, and breathe every day.
If you own a pet you've probably noticed that they don't eat much when they're sick. Feeling unwell can also cripple a human appetite, but since the human body needs a complex combination of synergystic nutrients to function properly, not eating isn't the best option. A better solution might be to eat more simply when ill--choosing foods proven to support the healing process. So don't think of fasting as the same thing as starving. During a supervised fast you'll still be taking in plenty of vitamins and minerals, you just won't be making the body work so hard to digest and metabolize them. Whether you fast one day each week or opt for a periodic fasting program of three, seven, or 21 days, think of your medicinal fast as the well-deserved vacation you give your liver, pancreas, spleen, kidneys and bowels.
The following 21-day program, like all fasts, should only be done under the guidance of a health care professional. Many health-food stores, Holistic treatment centers and yoga schools have staff nutritionists you can hire as on-call consultants during your fast. Tri-state area residents might want to contact Manu Dawson, a black nutritionist based at Integral Yoga on West 13th street in Manhattan (212-645-3051).
The first thing you need to know are the things to stay away from. No sugar, no pesticides, no plastics, no soy. The sugar (no honey either, as both spike the blood sugar) might sound pretty obvious. Pesticides are a problem for women because they cling to all non-organic farm produce, and mimic or disrupt female hormones. Same thing with PCBs, the chemicals used to make soft plastics. You'll be drinking a lot of juices and water during this fast, but none of it should be stored in plastic containers. Use glass. And if you use Pur or Britta water filters, transfer the filtered water immediately into glass bottles.
The prohibition against soy products in more confusing, since the soy bean has long been considered good for women. But since the goal here is to help the body make and balance its own healthy hormones, so you can't use plant estrogens like soy--even organic soy. No citrus juices or beans because they alter digestive chemistry. No alcohol. No bread. In fact, no grains of any kind for the first 7 days after which you can start adding small amounts of organic brown rice. Breads and crackers--especially wheat, corn, rye, etc--trigger an allergic reaction in many people, contain yeast (another problematic foodstuff) and are hard for the body to render harmless. No dairy--especially non-organic milk, butter, cheese, or yogurt. Dairy products are full of added hormones and antibiotics as well as indigestible sugars and fats which can provoke allergic reactions. At the end of the fast when you begin to normalize your diet again, all milk & cereal junkies can start using organic rice milk and rice bran cereal as the simpler, more easily-digestible choice.
How "normal" you want your post-fast diet to be is up to you. After 21 days you will have lost (possibly permanently) five to ten pounds, increased your energy, improved your skin tone, eliminated excess mucus, and decreased aches and stiffness in your joints. You no longer crave most of the stuff you haven't been eating. You feel better. You find that organic produce, free-range meats, limited dairy, and minimal alcohol is habit forming. Congratulations. You have successfully detoxed!
The first three days you eat no chewable food at all. You can have as much filtered water, organic green tea, and organic juice (ideally a mix of cabbage, kale, broccoli and brussel sprouts) as you want. You will also use the following nutritional supplements.
Hydrilla forms the backbone of this fast, as for 21 days it supplies the bulk of your body's nutritional needs. It's best if you can go the full 21 days without meat, but if you tend to be little anemic, you can add small amounts of free-range turkey and chicken after day seven.
Each night you take another squirt of liquid Tumeric, another glass of Hydrilla powder, and one scoop of FibreSmart (a powdered flax-seed bulk laxative) in a glass of watered down juice.
After Day 21 you'll discontinue the other powdered supplements and add a rice-based metabolic cleansing formula from the Institute of Rehabilitative Health called Bio-Detox Powder. One glass a day as you normalize your diet for 14 days.
The elimination of coffee, colas or black tea from your diet may cause headaches or tiredness at first, but these annoying side-effects vanish faster if you treat yourself to a colonic (or even a garden-variety enema) at the beginning, middle, and end of this fast. Be aware during this program that your bowels won't return to normal "active duty" until you begin adding more brown rice and whole vegetables to your post-fast diet.
Published in: Black Elegance, Fall 2002
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