FASTING AND CLEANSING DIETS
by Dr. Lawrence Wilson
© December 2016, L.D. Wilson Consultants, Inc.
All information in this article is for educational purposes only. It is not for the diagnosis, treatment, prescription or cure of any disease or health condition.
Table Of Contents
Development And Fasting
When Is Fasting Indicated?
Other Problems With Fasting
How To Lose Weight
What About Fasting To “Clean Out The Body”
What About Juice Or Fruit Fasts?
In biblical times, fasting was a recognized method of healing that worked quite well. Today, however, the situation is very different and I find that fasting is decidedly harmful.
Why Avoid Fasting. The main reason is that in the past 50 years or so, the alkaline reserve mineral content of all of our food, including organic food, has declined precipitously. This is due mainly to the “green revolution’ and the use of superphosphate fertilizers. These are applied to organic crops, as well as commercially grown crops.
Other reasons for general malnutrition today are:
- The use of hybridized crops grown for high crop yields, but not for nutrition.
- The use of toxic sprays that damage the soil.
- Eating refined and processed foods.
- Improper diets such as vegetarian, vegan, raw food, and others that do not supply enough nutrients.
- Most people have weak digestion due to factors such as stress, malnutrition, chemicals in the food and water, intestinal infections, intestinal parasites, and taking medical drugs that damage the stomach and intestines. The result is they extract fewer nutrients from their food.
- Chronic illness, stress, pregnancy, and other factors increase the need for many nutrients.
- Many people also have poor eating habits, such as eating on the run, eating in their car, standing up in front of the refrigerator, and others. These also tend to reduce nutrition by interfering with proper digestion.
As a result of all of this, I find it is very difficult for anyone to obtain all the nutrients one needs if one eats three meals a day. These three meals must be of the best quality, and mainly cooked vegetables with some animal protein daily and a small amount of whole grain, especially blue corn, and a small amount of high-quality dairy products.
Vitamin and mineral pills cannot make up for the deficiencies, although natural mineral supplements such as kelp are helpful. We also recommend Kelp Wraps for a while to help renourish the body, but these are messy and most people won’t do them.
Therefore, fasting is a recipe for starvation, even if it has short-term benefits.
DEVELOPMENT AND FASTING
Nutritional balancing focuses on development because it is the most powerful method I know of for healing the body at deep levels and extending the lifespan. It is ancient science that is not well-known, but it works.
A primary requirement for development is a drastic increase in the nutrient intake of a person. Without this, it simply does not occur to any great extent. Intermittent fasting, by reducing nutrient intake, is a sure way to stop development. For details about development, read Introduction To Development.
About 40 years ago, I was the health director at a fasting resort for three and one-half years. I interviewed and checked each day between 10 and 25 guests who were fasting.
I had read the classic books about fasting, and indeed some people had excellent results. Overall, however, the results were not nearly as good as those promised in the books. At the time, I did not understand why. However, I do understand why now, and this is the reason for this article.
WHEN IS FASTING INDICATED?
Short fasts on water alone are helpful in the following situations:
1. If one has food poisoning or some other acute digestive upset, and cannot hold down food.
2. If one has a fever, sometimes a day without food is helpful, or just eat very lightly on chicken soup, for example.
OTHER PROBLEMS WITH FASTING TODAY
1. The organs of elimination, such as the liver, kidneys and bowel, do not function well enough in many people. This may be one reason why the cleansing benefits of fasting do not seem to occur as well today. Some people add enemas or colonic irrigation to their fast. This is a little better, but fasting is still not recommended, as it is too deficient in nutrients.
2. Fasting for weight loss is too easy for some people, and does not really heal an improper relationship with food. A benefit of fasting is to prove to yourself that you do not need to eat every 4 hours or so. This is helpful.
However, for those with a weight or blood sugar problem, fasting does not deal with most people’s deranged metabolism, food cravings and emotional reasons why most people overeat or eat the wrong foods.
The problem is that once the fast is over, one must go back to eating. Most often , the problems of relating properly to food remain, or actually get worse because one is even more malnourished, so food cravings can be even more intense.
Starving the body for a few days or longer may thus strain it even more. It is best to deal with your food issues on a daily basis, not with fasting.
3. Confusing books. Most of the classic books about fasting were written 50 or even 100 years ago. Modern books on fasting also draw upon these older sources of information.
However, as stated above, the situation with our food has changed quite drastically since the classics books by Herbert Shelton, Paul Bragg and others were written.
So be careful when you read exciting books about the benefits of fasting.
4. Fasting slows the oxidation rate. This is almost always the case. If one is a fast oxidizer, this might be helpful, at least at first. One’s blood pressure might decline and the blood sugar will usually decline quickly.
However, most people are slow oxidizers. Further slowing of the oxidation rate does not feel good, and slows healing.
5. Fasting is a yin healing method. Yin, in this case, means empty and depleting. These methods sometimes worked well in past times. However, today the bodies are all too yin to begin with. As a result, yin healing methods do not work nearly as well as in the past.
For the purpose of weight loss, some doctors and authors recommend various types of fasting, such as:
- Skipping breakfast and eating only after 12 noon.
- Not eating after 6 PM in the evening.
- Fasting one day a week.
These procedures are called intermittent fasting. The idea is that by restricting the hours one can eat, one will eat less. This can help with weight loss. Intermittent fasting also rests the intestinal tract for a full 12 or more hours, which is helpful for some digestive problems. Research indicates that animals who are slightly food deprived actually live longer. So the hope is this will work with human beings, but it is only a hope and nothing more.
I don’t believe this will work at all. The reasons some animals live longer if calorie-deprived is because otherwise they tend to overeat, and in a laboratory they overeat on the wrong foods. So, of course, eating less will lengthen their lives. If a person eats the proper diet, however, there is no reason why restricting it will lengthen life.
Dr. Michael Mosley, a British physician, wrote The Fast Diet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting.
However, I consider intermittent fasting a particularly dangerous method for losing weight. The main reason is that today almost everyone is mineral deficient to begin with.
Overeating to survive. One of the main reasons for overeating is an attempt to supply the body with more of the alkaline reserve minerals. However, overeating is not a good way to obtain your nutrients because it overtaxes the digestive system.
If we understand why many people overeat, better solutions for obtaining nutrients can be found. The best is to eat loads of cooked vegetables, properly cooked ideally with a pressure-cooker. Most of our complaints about weight are that people become too thin on this diet!
The answer is not fasting! IT WILL MAKE YOUR MINERAL DEFICIENCIES WORSE!
How to lose weight. A far safer way to lose weight is to follow a nutritional balancing program. This consists of a diet of mainly cooked vegetables several times daily, with animal protein daily and a small amount of cooked whole grains and a few other foods.
In addition, one takes about 8 targeted supplements to assist the thyroid, the adrenals, the eliminative organs and other aspects of body chemistry. When this is done, many people lose 100 pounds or more quickly, easily, without a need for exercise or drugs, and most importantly, they do it safely.
What about fasting one day a week, or one day a month, as some recommend, to “clean out the body?” An occasional fast for a day on water alone once a month or less, is okay, but not recommended or needed if one follows a nutritional balancing program.
The lie of cleaning out the body. First of all, one day of fasting does not do much. Secondly, it is false to believe that one can eat junk food or just the wrong foods and then fast for a day, a few days, or a few weeks and return the body “back to normal”. This is never the case.
When I worked at the fasting resort, a number of guests believed this lie. They came down for a vacation once every few months to “clean out the body” from all the bad food they ate the rest of the time. It does not work. The fast just depletes minerals even more than does eating junk food.
What about juice fasts or fruit fasts? The answer is no. Problems with juice and fruit fasts are:
1. They are still very deficient in nutrients such as fatty acids, meats, proteins, eggs, etc.
2. They are extremely yin in Chinese terminology. This means they are too cold, raw, expanded and sugary. This seriously unbalances most people’s bodies.
3. They are too high in sugar, especially fruit juice fasts or fruit fasts. This has many detrimental effects, from damaging the dentin layer of the teeth in some cases, to upsetting the blood sugar, causing inflammation and more. Even fasting on carrot juice is too high in sugar.
4. Juice or one-food fasts are not the same as a water fast, in that one is supplying usually just one kind of food. This does not allow the body and the digestive system to rest.
For this reason, some authorities rightly say that a juice or one-food fast is not really a fast. It is a diet – and a very limited and unbalanced diet that is usually hard on the body and makes people worse.
Many people wonder why nutritional balancing science does not include the use of cleansing diets or cleansing fasts. These are widely used by holistic doctors and nutritionists to rest and rebuild the intestines for a few days, weeks or even months.
At one time, I believed that a short “cleanse” might help jumpstart a nutritional balancing program. However, after 36 years of experience, I no longer find this to be true.
WHAT ARE CLEANSING DIETS?
They usually consist of a limited diet of fruits, vegetables, soups, juices, and not much animal protein. They usually also exclude starches and grains. Some of them also add a meal replacement drink, or protein powder.
WHY DO SOME DOCTORS RECOMMEND THEM?
Cleansing diet used for a few weeks can improve some symptoms because:
1. They eliminate heavy foods that are difficult to digest such as steak and potatoes.
2. They eliminate some junk foods and chemicals that damage the intestines.
3. They often eliminate allergic foods in the diet such as wheat and soy.
4. They can be used as a transition to a better diet and better lifestyle.
Why I do not recommend cleansing diets. The reasons are:
1. They are not needed if one follows a nutritional balancing program. The program itself is a powerful cleaning regime. I don’t know of anything more powerful, in fact. This is the main reason they are not included in nutritional balancing science.
2. They are seriously deficient in many nutrients. Often they are deficient in protein, essential fatty acids, and even calories. They are usually deficient in sulfur because they don’t include meats and eggs. Sulfur, as explained in other articles on this website, is absolutely needed for liver detoxification.
For this reason, cleansing diets, juice fasts and others usually make people more nutritionally deficient, even if one feels better. This, of course, is counterproductive in the long run, and dangerous because most people are very malnourished to begin with.
3. They are usually very yin in Chinese terminology. This means they are sugary, cold, watery, and broken up (such as the use of powders). YIN is a subtle, but often critical type of food imbalance explained in much more depth in several articles on this website such as Yin And Yang Healing, Yin Disease and Macrobiotics. Essentially, the yin nature of most cleansing diets reduces their effectiveness and causes them to unbalance the body in subtle ways.
4. They are often poor food combinations, with powders, water and sugars to sweeten them combined. This means they are not good for one’s digestion. They may still improve food allergies somewhat by eliminating some allergic components of the diet.
Improper food combinations are just complex combinations often irritate the intestines, slowing deeper healing of this important body organ.
5. Many contain herbs, spirulina, chlorella, cilantro and other substances that are somewhat toxic, even if they are “nutritious”. Some cleansing programs contain ‘green superfood powders’, where the above are usually found. Chlorella and cilantro are chelators that are best avoided.
They, and all chelators, tend to remove some good minerals along with the toxic metals and this is not helpful at all. They also remove the minerals in ways that are hard to replace, although others will claim differently.
6. They easily unbalance or worsen the mineral balance in the body, because they are not based on doing a hair mineral analysis and assessing the exact needs of an individual.
7. They do not address the majority of a person’s nutritional imbalances, as does a nutritional balancing program. In other words, they are helpful in a limited way, but that is all.
8. For the reasons above, cleansing diets waste weeks or even months of time. In other words, instead of a cleansing program, the person could be on a complete nutritional balancing program during the same time, making much more progress.