At least once a year, my husband Nashid and I do a detox cleanse. A detox cleanse (i.e. fast) is the practice of intentionally not eating for a specific period of time. Nashid, a Muslim, has an advantage in this area as he has been doing a month long fast for religious reasons for quite some time. In the past, my church has held a congregational fast where members commit to fasting together for 30 or 40 days. In addition to the fasts Nashid and I do individually, we also detox as a family. We usually choose to do a cleanse of some sort early in the year. I say “we”, but it is always Nashid leading the way. He suggests what cleanse we should do, makes the smoothies, preps me on what we need to do, lays out what we can eat and what nutritional supplements we should take. (Oh, and he pays for all the supplements and the food. If you know me, you know I will not pay for any plan that won’t let me have sugar. Stop trippin’.) And even though I don’t do anything but refrain from eating certain foods, I am kicking and screaming each year when we embark on any type of cleanse.
We just completed this year’s cleanse. (Hallelujah!) Nashid heard about the one he chose this year on the “Karen Hunter Show” (www.karenhuntershow.com). On this cleanse, (Dherbs, found at www.dherbs.com and touted as being specifically designed to combat health conditions that plague African-Americans) for ten days we did not eat any cooked food, meat, dairy, sugar, or processed food. We could have distilled water, raw vegetables, fruit and most nuts.
Before beginning a detox, you should wisely check with your physician first to make sure it’s ok for you to do startt. In addition to the very real health benefits, the benefit I enjoy most is how disciplined I feel when I cleanse. It may just be the lack of sugar, but I feel so calm and peaceful. During the cleanse, I seem to crave quiet and stillness. I feel a sense of accomplishment that I can have significant control over my health simply by making better choices about what I put into my body. This only happens during some type of cleanse or fast. Most other days I am all outta control with my food choices. Ahhh…but during a cleanse I rein those impulses in and I can feel my body thanking me for the respite. (Seriously, it’s like my body is saying: Stop hurting me. We are on the same team!) In the event that you want to know more about this health practice, I wanted to share a bit of information.
The following benefits of fasting and information on the types of fasts were found on the Healthline website (www.healthline.com):
· Promotes Blood Sugar Control by Reducing Insulin Resistance
· Promotes Better Health by Fighting Inflammation
· May Enhance Heart Health by Improving Blood Pressure, Triglycerides and Cholesterol Levels
· May Boost Brain Function and Prevent Neurodegenerative Disorders
· Aids Weight Loss by Limiting Calorie Intake and Boosting Metabolism
· Increases Growth Hormone Secretion, Which Is Vital for Growth, Metabolism, Weight Loss and Muscle Strength
· Could Delay Aging and Extend Longevity
· May Aid in Cancer Prevention and Increase the Effectiveness of Chemotherapy
There are different types of fasting such as:
Water fasting: Involves drinking only water for a set amount of time.
Juice fasting: Entails only drinking vegetable or fruit juice for a certain period.
Intermittent fasting: Intake is partially or completely restricted for a few hours up to a few days at a time and a normal diet is resumed on other days.
Partial fasting: Certain foods or drinks such as processed foods, animal products or caffeine are eliminated from the diet for a set period.
Calorie restriction: Calories are restricted for a few days every week.
If your health status is not conducive to a food fast, don’t despair, you can fast from other things. For example, you might choose a fast from playing video games, social media, watching TV, smoking or shopping for a set period of time. You may consider fasting from one specific food or drink item or category (maybe fast from alcohol, sodas, meat, pasta, bread or dairy). The point is that you refrain from something you really enjoy doing and that you maintain integrity throughout your fast by keeping your promise to yourself that you won’t engage in the activity or eat the specified food. Refrain from something that you honestly know is a true sacrifice for you. Make sure you feel it. Trust me, fasting is really good for the soul.