Why Undergo A Fast?

The Results of Poor Lifestyle

In the past, many health problems were associated with nutritional deficiencies. We believe that today a majority of health problems are associated with dietary excess in general, and excesses of animal fat and animal protein in particular, as well as the use of tobacco, alcohol, caffeine, and refined food products. Adopting a health-promoting diet and lifestyle may reduce the need for some traditional medical treatments.

Many people have great difficulty making these diet and lifestyle changes and find themselves caught in a “pleasure trap.” We have found that a properly conducted fast can help some people to more efficiently make these desirable changes and escape the “pleasure trap.” Changes that might take months or years to accomplish may take place more rapidly when a fast is utilized.

Participants in our program have experienced the normalization of body weight, blood pressure, and circulation. In addition, their doctors have noted that elevations in blood glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, liver enzymes, and inflammation markers are often rapidly corrected.

What Is Fasting?

Fasting is defined as the complete abstinence from all substances except pure water, in an environment of complete rest. Rest must be encouraged since even moderate activity can significantly increase the metabolism, altering optimum adaptation to the fasting state. To maximize the benefits of fasting, unnecessary mobilization of nutrient reserves must be avoided. 

The Fasting Process

Prior to beginning our fasting program, all participants must have a physical examination with one of our affiliated doctors. In addition, certain laboratory testing may be required and/or reviewed. Fasting is not appropriate for everyone. Fasting can be an intense and sometimes unpleasant experience, but it can also be highly effective.

Relative contraindications to prolonged fasting include pregnancy, extreme weakness, inadequate nutrient reserves, some kidney problems, the use of certain medications, and some types of cancer.

The Results of Fasting

Fasting is a powerful and effective tool in a comprehensive program designed to promote the restoration and maintenance of a healthy lifestyle. Fasting can help people get on (or back on) track to healthful living. Fasting is not a cure; it is a process that may facilitate the body’s own healing mechanisms. It is a gift to an overburdened body. It can be extremely effective at creating an internal environment where the body can do what it does best – cleanse and heal itself.

Who Benefits from Fasting?

There is nothing that is more effective than fasting when it comes to treating the consequences of dietary excess.  Not every condition will respond to fasting. Genetic disorders and certain types of kidney disease, for example, may not respond. But many of the most common causes of premature death and disability respond, and often spectacularly.

The following are six of the most common conditions that respond well.

1. Obesity is primarily the result of addiction to the artificial stimulation of dopamine in the brain by the consumption of chemicals added to our foods, including oil, sugar, salt and dairy products. The answer to obesity is to adopt a health-promoting diet derived exclusively from whole natural foods including fruits and vegetables, raw nuts and seeds and the variable addition of minimally processed, non-glutinous grains and beans. When fully implemented, in conjunction with adequate sleep and activity, predictable, consistent weight loss will occur that averages 1.5-2 pounds (680 g –  907 g) per week for women and 2-3 pounds (907 g – 1.3 kg) per week for men.

If your goal is to lose excess fat and you have trouble adopting a health-promoting program, a period of fasting may be of benefit. The protected environment of a fasting centre provides a focused opportunity for intense education and the social support needed to escape the addictive forces of the dietary pleasure trap. The fasting experience functions like rebooting a corrupted computer. After fasting, whole natural food is once again appealing, making adopting a health-promoting diet more achievable.

If your goal is to lose weight and escape the pleasure trap of processed foods, a period of fasting from a few days to a few weeks may be beneficial.
2. The dietary pleasure trap is insidious, and the con-sequences of poor dietary choices go beyond obesity.  Overstimulation by artificially concentrated calories can confuse normal satiety signals resulting in persistent overeating. Over time, this results in the degenerative diseases of dietary excess including high blood pressure and the resulting cardiovascular disease.

For people who have fallen into the dietary pleasure trap and developed high blood pressure, medically supervised water-only fasting has been shown to be a safe and effective means of normalizing blood pressure and reversing cardiovascular disease. In a study conducted at the TrueNorth Health Centre in conjunction with Cornell University Professor T. Colin Campbell, the use of fasting for 2-4 weeks in patients with stage 3 hypertension resulted in reductions of systolic blood pressure of over 60 mm/Hg. This is the largest effect size of any study published to date.  At the TrueNorth Health Centre they routinely see patients normalize their blood pressure and eliminate the need for medications.

If your goal is to normalize elevated blood pressure and reverse cardiovascular disease, a period of medically supervised fasting may be beneficial.

3. Diabetes is a condition that is increasing in epidemic proportions. Largely the consequence of dietary excess, the resulting alteration of physiological functions such as high blood sugar levels and insulin resistance results in a cascade of consequences including blindness from retinal damage, heart attacks and stroke, reduced healing capacity, nerve damage, impotence, gangrene, etc. Fasting, along with a health-promoting diet and exercise program, can dramatically increase insulin sensitivity and bring blood sugar levels under control.

If your goal is to normalize blood sugar levels and avoid or eliminate the need for medications and their consequences, a period of fasting may prove beneficial. Most patients with Type 2 diabetes are capable of achieving normal blood sugar levels without the need for medications.

4. Drug addiction has become the norm. Nicotine, alcohol, caffeine, and a plethora of prescription and recreational drugs dominate the lives of the majority of people living in industrialized society.  The supportive environment of a fasting centre can be helpful in getting safely through withdrawal symptoms and more effectively establishing healthy habits while eliminating the perceived need for addictive substances.

If your goal is to escape addiction and live a life free of dependence on health-compromising chemicals, a period of fasting may prove to be beneficial.

5. Autoimmune disorders including Arthritis, Lupus, Colitis, Crohn’s disease, Asthma, Eczema, Psoriasis, and environmental allergies are becoming more common and more debilitating. One possible contributing factor to the aggravation of autoimmune disease involves gut leakage. The absorption of antigenic substances into the blood stream as a result of increased gut permeability appears to be a factor in the aggravation of these conditions.  Fasting can help to normalize gut permeability and ease the transition to a health promoting, low inflammatory diet.  Many of our patients are able to effectively manage the symptoms of autoimmune disorders, thus eliminating the need for medication.

If your goal is to eliminate the problems associated with autoimmune disorders, a period of medically supervised fasting may be an important component in a comprehensive program designed to save the quality and quantity of your life.
6. Exhaustion, both physical and emotional, has become increasingly common in our fast-paced lives. Feelings of fatigue and depression can compromise the quality of your life. Reliance on artificial stimulants compounds the problem. The lack of adequate sleep and exercise and poor dietary and lifestyle choices work together to interfere with the ability of many people to enjoy their life or fulfil their potential. Fasting can give your body and your mind a complete rest.

If your goal is to “recharge” your system, fasting may help you accomplish your goals.

When properly utilized, fasting can be a powerful tool in helping your body do what it does best…heal itself. It is the answer to a surprising number of questions.

Individual Differences and Fasting Experiences

We are all unique. Two people can be subjected to the same conditions and their reactions can be quite different. Keep this in mind as you read through the suggestions, advice, and ideas that are presented here and in other information you find. Some techniques, tips, and advice will turn out to be quite helpful to you. Others will simply will not work for you or perhaps will not make much sense. Trial and error is the key if you are just starting out. Fasting requires discipline but also involves getting to know yourself. One of the reasons it is part of numerous religious traditions is that fasting is a great way to discover things about yourself and what you believe. Fasting is a journey of discovery. Some elements of your experience will be similar to other peoples’ experiences but the combination of reactions, insights, challenges, and success you have will be unique to your fasting practice.

If you have become motivated to fast and have never done so before you will need to begin to learn how your respond mentally and physically to not eating. As you gain experience you will discover your own set of internal challenges. These will be physical and mental. There will also be external challenges. As you move through your day you go from place to place you will inevitably come across food. This is true whether you stay at home, go to work or are on vacation. You will also find yourself in different social situations. These may be interactions with your family, co-workers, and people that are part of the social communities that you have in your life. Interactions that you have with others can be a challenge because many social interactions involve food. There are also many social norms that influence how we think and feel about eating. All of these internal and external forces come into play when you carry out a fast.

For more information on Fasting follow the link to: Therapeutic Intermittent Fasting