The Days Leading Up to a Fast – How to Prepare the System

Many of us our planning ahead for a healthy fast to jump start us into the spring season.  Here is a little information to give you a head start in cleansing your body in a health supportive way.

In the days leading up to a fast there are certain steps we recommend to best prepare your body.  Nourishing the body with good clean, unrefined, whole foods is a practice we should maintain at all times and it is especially important in the days leading up to a fast.  An Eating for Health diet rich in quality foods will nourish our organs and our bodily systems and strengthen them in preparation for the detoxifying effects of a fast.

10 days before a fast be sure to:

  1. Drink plenty of water – Up your intake of filtered water in the days leading up to a fast.  Lots of water will help to support the organs and the body’s functions, and will facilitate elimination and excretion of toxins from the body.
  2. Avoid coffee, sugary drinks, and alcohol – Caffeine, sugary drinks, and alcohol all deplete the body and tax the adrenals.  Removing them from the diet sets the stage for the body to heal and replenish it’s resources.
  3. Eat your greens – Green leafy vegetables like kale, collard greens, turnip tops, mustard greens and spinach are very alkalinizing for the body. Dandelion greens are highly liver-supportive and have traditionally been used in detoxing and cleansing programs to help flush toxins from the system.
  4. Remove the dairy – Dairy has shown to produce an abundance of mucus in the human body.  Many people also suffer from a hidden allergy or intolerance, which can increase the acid wastes in the body. Choosing almond, rice or organic soy “milk” and “milk” products will help you detox naturally and alkalinize your body.
  5. Avoid refined products – Refined foods are full of trans fats, artificial sweeteners, refined sugars and flours, hydrogenated oils, colorings, preservatives, toxins, pesticides, and many many other harmful ingredients.  Choose foods with the shortest ingredient labels and only those that have quality ingredients you can identify.
  6. Go vegetarian – Meat, especially red meat along with pork and lamb can be very acidic and produces a lot of metabolic waste.  If you prefer to include animal products be sure to choose sustainably raised wild fish or organic chicken and turkey and reduce your overall intake.
  7. Reduce stress –  Implement a daily practice of a stress reducing activity like yoga, tai chi, meditation or even simple deep breathing.  Stress plays a huge role in damaging the body.
  8. Exercise – Being active is essential to good health.  Exercises improve blood circulation and helps to detox naturally.  The sweat produced during exercise also contributes to flush out toxins including acidic waste.  Try light to moderate exercise daily, for 30 minutes.
  9. Surround yourself with community – fasting alone can be a real challenge, alienating, and less beneficial.  Finding a friend, your partner, or a group to fast with can provide motivation, positive reinforcement, and deeper emotional detoxification.  A fast isn’t just about the body, it is also about the mind. Sharing a fast with others can provide for a much more rewarding experience.
  10. Prepare Prepare Prepare – Removing refined, sugary, and processed foods, caffeine, and alcohol overnight can be a huge shock to the system and can cause painful symptoms of withdrawal.  Slowly preparing the body with the steps noted above will be much gentler on your system and the likelihood of ease and success of your fast will be much greater.  In addition to physical preparation you should prepare emotionally.  Set goals and intentions, have clarity around why you are fasting and what you’d like to get out of your fast.  Write it down and track your progress.  A fast is a spiritual, physical, and emotional process that should be undertaken with focus and care.  It is a gift you are giving yourself for greater physical and emotional health setting goals can keep you inspired and feel fulfilled.

Bauman College Founder and President, Dr. Ed Bauman has been leading the Bauman College Vitality Fasting Retreat for the past 30 years.  Visit Dr. Ed Bauman on his blog to learn more about fasting, and enjoy a  Cleansing Bali Tea Recipe by Dr. Ed Bauman himself.