Thursday, March 29, 2007

Fast Forward Into Spring!

Spring represents a time of regeneration and renewal, and offers an opportunity to get rid of the old and to usher in the new. Many people use this time to do Spring-cleaning. Most people associate Spring-cleaning with the external, but what of internal Spring-cleaning or fasting? The warmer weather and longer days offer us a time to go to the local market and exchange our heavier winter diet with fresh fruits and salads. The abundant variety of tropical fruits and local berries, along with the wide array of greens that are available all year around, but become cheaper as the weather gets warmer, all offer a chance to go on a fast and to cleanse our bodies on an internal level.

Fasting is an age old practice that is usually associated with monks, nuns and monasteries; the belief being that denying oneself food and drink took ones mind away from all things worldly and brought ones focus closer to things Divine and therefore closer to God. Now, people fast for a variety of reasons. Some fast to lose weight, others as a show of solidarity with a particular social or political movement, others fast as a way to cleanse the body and to give the digestive system a break. It all is a matter of personal choice, and should be approached carefully and with proper knowledge of the potential side affects and health hazards. For example, women who are pregnant or those who have diabetes or hypoglycemia should consult a physician or a holistic health care practitioner to receive guidance on what type of fast would provide all of the nutrients that their particular case requires.

There are a variety of fasts that people engage in. There are fasts that call for no intake of food or water for a prescribed time. This is the most radical form of fasting and can lead to serious health issues and even death if done for too long. There are juice fasts where people only drink the juice of raw fruits and vegetables for a prescribed time. There are also fasts that consist of a completely raw food diet, where the person only eats raw fruits, vegetable as well as raw nuts. Some fasts require that a person cut out meat, dairy or all carbohydrates. It all depends on what the person in trying to achieve. Since I have a very high metabolism and burn calories very quickly, fasting for long periods of time doest not really suit me, as weight loss is rapid and my energy level tends to wane. My favorite type of fast is one that allows me to gradually build up to it. I begin by eliminating certain foods; for example all meat and all cooked foods. Then I work my way to only eating raw fruits and vegetables. It is certainly a test of one's will, especially if you are fasting alone while others in your household continue to eat a regular diet. You will find that you are sometimes subject to smells wafting from the kitchen that include foods that you are refraining from eating. It is all worth it in the end as the body has been given a chance to detoxify itself and the digestive system is given a break. I find that after a fast that my body is more energized, that my system functions more smoothly and that my skin exudes a clarity and vibrancy that was not present before. Also once you fast, even if it from sun up to sun down, for a few days or for weeks at a time, each time it becomes easier.

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