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During the month of August my fasting regimen went to another level. If you follow this blog by now you know I am a big fan of fasting on fresh vegetable juices which immediately boosts your complexion, rids the body of excess toxins, and can in general give you your groove back. Well, last month was the first time I tried water fasting. Which consists of drinking, you got it, only water all day. I actually chose to drink both coconut water and water and conducted the fasts for no more than three days at a time. Water fasting to me always seemed too extreme, as it does require more of a slow down in your normal activities. With any fast you should slow down if not eliminate all of your hectic schedule so that you actually have time to go within and rest. This need increases tenfold with a water fast, because the healing reactions can be more aggressive, or you may feel fatigued as the body goes into fasting mode. Water fasting for longer periods like 14-40 Days should never be conducted alone; there are facilities that you can enter to go through those longer term fasts in which doctors will monitor your levels throughout and you will be in an atmosphere of complete rest. Many ailments have been reversed with these longer water fasts, simple because they body got an opportunity to reset. For more on this check out the interview at the end of this post, which features two doctors who promote water fasting for health and have healed numerous conditions in their facilities. Some benefits of water fasting include:
- Physical and spiritual healing
- Detox, eliminates toxins from organs, skin, glands
- Strengthens immune system because of break from food; restores stronger immune response
- Scientifically proven to increase lifespan; studies have shown that restricted diets lead to a longer life
- Prevents the onset of degenerative mental diseases
- Improves brain f(x), mental clarity, and ability to focus
- Induces an anti-inflammatory response that helps to heal arthritis in muscles, joints
- Ancient tradition that has healing minor health issues along with more serious chronic ailments
- Increases metabolism; promotes weight loss
- Drastically improves mind over body will power; and portion control
- Increases energy in some cases as energy is diverted from digestive process
- Deepens connection with spirit and nature
If your a fan on the Facebook page you know we are counting down to March 1st, when Blackveganlove.com and I will be hosting a 7 Day Raw Fast. The challenge is completely FREE all you need to do is like the Facebook page and stay tuned to the blog for new updates, recipes, and inspiration to make it through the fast. Spring is just around the corner, so this is a great way to get your all natural glow on, or jumpstart your health goals.
Just in case you are a complete newbie to raw foods, here’s a brief summary by my buddy Aiya of blackveganlove.com:
Raw Food = uncooked, unheated, enzyme active, nutritionally dense, goodness straight from Mother Nature herself. So whether it’s fresh fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, pseudo grains, sprouts etc. none of them are prepared on a stove, in the oven, or heated beyond the 105-120 degree F range in a dehydrator. Vegan Raw Foodists create their dishes by blending, mixing, dehydrating, cutting, juicing, freezing, pureeing and chopping their food to come up with dishes that are both tasty and nutritious.
Hopefully you will be inspired to join in with us! If so, make sure you start planning your grocery list now and start stocking up on fresh organic fare before Saturday. -XoXo Raw Girl
If you have not check out past posts on Fasting please do. My personal go-to for the first day of breaking a fast is to eat simple liquid foods, like fresh fruit juices: watermelon juice, fresh pineapple juice, fresh squeezed orange juice, or vegetable broths (miso is usually my broth of choice because it is a light fermented food that promotes good bacteria). Depending on how long the fast–for instance if the fast was longer than 3 Days— I will stay on liquid/blended meals for two days and then begin to introduce solid fruits. When you introduce solids be sure to savor your food and chew thoroughly so it’s easier for your body to break it down. Savoring your food is a part of “mindfulness,” and includes taking a moment to enjoy the taste and flavors, and having a deep gratitude to the Source for providing your meal. Breaking your fast is crucial to retaining the benefits you worked hard for, and keeping your body in balance. Go slow, listen to your body, and plan ahead. -XoXo Raw Girl
So a friend of mine calls me the other day and says to me “Nicola I just love what you guys are doing with Raw Girl and you have inspired me so much that I’ve embarked on my own liquid fast.” I was ecstatic. There is nothing better than hearing that something that you are a part of has inspired another to take control of their health. When I asked her how long she had been fasting, she told me that she was on day eight! I felt so uplifted to hear the news, because I have been on extended fasts myself in the past and after day three it really becomes easy sailing from there. Not only that, there are tons of mental, physical, and spiritual breakthroughs which can occur during extended periods of fasting. She was amazed at her progress, just was a little unsure of how to incorporate solids back into her life. At this stage in the game, the biggest and probably most CRUCIAL step in maintaining the benefits of a fast is how to go about incorporating solid foods again.
Fasting of all sorts is an amazing way to take control of your health but also presents a great opportunity to improve your relationship to food. My own personal journey with fasting was born out of a need to address a serious binge eating problem that I would occasionally have due to what I thought was simply a psychological deficiency (but later found out it may have had more to do with a nutritional deficiency). Fasting was something that I just started to do because I was blown away by the benefits, but I wasn’t resourceful enough at the time to be strategic about the way that I introduced solid foods back into my life. Which, I quickly discovered through experience is a crucial element to reap the overall benefits of the fast.
When our bodies go into a fasting state, especially for prolonged periods of time longer than three days, then the digestive system goes to sleep. All of the energy that the body was using to digest the foods that you’ve been constantly eating suddenly is now diverted into a deeper cleansing of the body. It’s sort of like that extra time you suddenly have during spring break (if you’re in school) and you get to finally get into the nooks and crannies of your living space to clean everything out that you didn’t have the time to get to before. The biggest mistake that people make when breaking fast is eating a big, hard to digest meal. To your digestive system, It’s a lot like being awakened from a deep soothing slumber with a bucket of ice being thrown at you. Not gentle, and um…not easy to digest. Again, your system has been diverted from its usual digesting duties, and its very important that it is gently reintroduced to simple easy to digest foods like simple fruits or vegetables. This is in order to give the digestive system time to start producing the enzymes again needed to get the job done which had ceased to be produced upon fasting. Failure to do this can result in the digestive lining becoming irritated and even damaged if this process is not respected.
Here are a few rules of thumb and tips for breaking a fast correctly:
- You should spend at least 1 day breaking fast for every 3 days of fasting
- Write out a “breaking the fast” plan and be ready to implement( Buy food before hand and have a systematic plan in place to avoid eating whatever is available/overeating)
- Drink lots of water between meals
- LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. If you are still feeling full when it comes time to eat again, don’t force yourself to eat, just drink some juice or some water and let your body do its thing.
This is very important, so I will reiterate: spend at least 1 day breaking a fast for every 3 days that you fast. After all the hard work and discipline you’ve exercised in fasting, it’s so worth the extra push to break fast correctly, and in the process renew your appreciation for the food you are consuming. Fasting has been such an amazing journey for me, which is ongoing and ever evolving. Since I began, the process has dramatically improved my relationship with my food and portion sizes. Learning how to be truly mindful with my food has played a big role in that. I encourage you to plan a customized fast which fits your needs; there are so many options for you to choose from that will increase your energy, vitality, and health! – Nicola, Signing in for Raw Girl
For more on Fasting check out these past posts:
About two months ago, I kept getting a “hunch” that I needed to do a fast. Not a fast for health reasons. A fast to confirm and deepen my relationship with God, the ultimate force. Right at that time, a friend of mine who is actually a meat-eater, was doing the Daniel fast for 40 Days. The Daniel fast is based on the prophet Daniel’s diet that consisted of only fruits, vegetables, and drinking only water for a period of 21 days. Additional restrictions include no wine, no breads, meat or sweeteners.
I knew my soul was craving a 40 Day fast and after speaking to my friend I thought that was it, I would do a Daniel fast for 40 Days too! But in the weeks after my encounter with her, I allowed myself to get lazy about it. It’s too long I thought. Then a couple of weeks later God made it pretty clear that I was not going to get away with avoiding a 40 Day fast. I was in New York at the beginning of May, and another friend who knew nothing about my desire to fast and subsequent laziness, gave me a Christian book called The 40 Day Soul Fast. I almost laughed out loud. AHA! Here was another sign, and this time I knew that I could not ignore it. The next day, May 7, 2012, I began my 40 Day journey. During the 40 Days I chose to be 100% raw and read excerpts from the book, as each chapter was dedicated to a day of the fast. Funnily enough, at the exact same time by happenstance, my mother and father decided to embark on a vegan fast together for 40 Days.
During the fast, at times I would feel like I was going through the motions. Probably because I was. I ate raw food, focused on prayer, meditation once a day, attended Bible study, read the book, listened to an awesome CD of gospel tunes made for me by a friend. Nothing seemed to be HAPPENING. I don’t know what I was expecting, but I continued to go day by day and eventually my impatience was replaced with devotion to being present and engaged. The fast ended on June 15th and it seemed to happen so suddenly I was left wondering what I had gained although I had noticed the immediate effects of meditating. Now a week following I have been inundated with daily blessings, miracles, and a deep sense of peace. It’s an amazing sense of grace that has emerged from feeling an intimate connection with THE SOURCE. Post-fast, I am continuing to cultivate that relationship with continued daily practice of meditation. Health is beyond just the body, it’s the soul/spirit, body, mind. All must be nourished in order to create optimal wellness, so it’s important to find what mindfulness practice works for you an incorporate it.
I happen to be Christian, and in the Bible the power of fasting is advertised regularly through the struggles and triumphs of many biblical figures. Across all religions examples can be found of how fasting unleashes extraordinary power and connection with THE FORCE. The great news for veggie lovers is that the way we eat already connects us with the divine flow. My mother, who after fasting for 40 Days on a vegan diet has now become a vegan, said that she is amazed by how at peace a vegetable diet has made her feel. Yes, we are what we eat, and when we eat plants we become one with the stillness of nature. A raw food lifestyle can accelerate your spiritual journey even further, intentionally or unintentionally. Years ago when I went raw and also happened to begin meditation simultaneously, I experienced an increase in synchronicity, heightened energy, and noticed that things I desired or thought about seemed to be drawn effortlessly to me. All that said, fasting is not for the faint of heart. Listen to your body, mind, and soul. If you are feeling cluttered, overwhelmed, disconnected, want to break bad habits, or just want to discover or renew your relationship with the Divine source, I highly recommend a spiritual fast. -XoXo Raw Girl
For more insights on fasting, check out this past post Wise Ones on Fasting.
Dearest Veggie Lovers: This is an article written by Nicola, a lovely new addition to the Raw Girl team. I think this is an important topic to discuss. If you’ve ever done a cleanse you should know all about healing crises. If you have not, I recommend you read this article and also check out a past post on How to Conduct a Stress-Free Fast to give you tips on minimizing intense reactions during cleansing. Hope you enjoy it, summer is here and it’s a great season to eat light and cleanse. Happy detoxing! -XoXo Raw Girl
Detoxification is a sacred practice which has been used by many people all over the world since the dawn of time. From a 10 day juice fast to 10 day water fast with cayenne pepper, lemon, and maple syrup (master cleanse) , to a 100% raw foods diet, cleansing is dynamic and diverse in its methods. Taking the time and exercising the discipline needed to cleanse can be a wildly rewarding experience for anyone willing to take on the challenge and can sometimes offer major spiritual transformation and discovery.
This article is not geared towards convincing you to embark on a fast or adopt a particular eating habit. This is intended as a tool for those who have taken up the challenge of cleansing and may have had trouble seeing it through. Or you may just be ready to take it to the next level. In all modes of detoxification, the cleanser will experience what is called a healing crisis. A healing crisis can be described as a variety of symptoms from migraines, irritable moods, intense cravings, strong emotional outbursts, reliving unpleasant memories, skin breakouts, frequent trips to the bathroom, etc. For many, this part of cleansing is a roadblock, because they may not be emotionally ready to deal with the many feelings that arise during this part of the cleansing process. This however, is a very important part of the process of purification and a great opportunity to bravely face many of the challenges that are buried deep within.
What is taking place physiologically, is the body, efficient organism that it is, is taking full advantage of its fasting state and quickly dumping toxins that have been tucked away in the cells into the blood stream for excretion. These toxins have been in places that the body did not have the time to cleanse or excrete previously because of preoccupation digesting heavily cooked or other food. It is important that anyone that embarks on any extended fast or cleanse is made aware of the challenges that will arise because it will better equip them to be ready to deal with them instead of being surprised and more likely to retreat to old ways of living, thinking, and eating. The other side of the coin is, once the healing crisis is over its usually met with an increased sense of well-being, relief, and energy levels.
Some ways to manage the healing crisis when it is upon you, is to have positive affirmations on hand which speak to and magnify the experience you wish to have. For example : “I am strong enough, abundant enough, wise enough, to journey into the unknown.” Repeating this to yourself until you start to feel it can change your whole mind set. A nice sea salt bath with aromatherapy oils, an emergency home enema, colon hydrotherapy, massaging yourself, getting a professional massage, doing light yoga, or just simply sitting with your feelings and breathing through them are all great methods for coping with the healing crisis. Once you are in the throes of a crisis, whatever you do to aid the rate of your detoxification will help reduce the symptoms sooner. If you get a sudden craving for something you know you should not be eating, flooding the system with lots of water or freshly prepared juice can often offset the craving. Each person will have a unique way in which they deal with a healing crisis, its best to experiment and find out what works best for you. Sometimes it may be as simple as allowing yourself to cry and release old pent-up feelings that you never before were brave enough to allow through. Seeing the detoxification process through is a sacred process with the power to heal and change your life!
We must remember that cleansing is a holistic practice which involves not only body, but mind AND spirit. As we are in the summer season, now is the best time to consider undergoing some sort of cleanse that is custom to your needs. This could be increasing your raw food consumption, and definitely increase your physical exercise. We must remember that we are the creators of our own life, and that every step we take to invest in our holistic wellness is a win-win situation for ourselves and for our world. Ultimately, remembering to be gentle and loving towards ourselves as we undergo our “internal housecleaning” is essential for our success. I can say that it has worked for me on many occasion during healing crises, however its an ongoing process and just as our health improves so must our creativity in maintaining it as well. EMBRACE YOUR PROCESS! ~Nicola, Signing in for Raw Girl
“Fast and your light will break forth like morning…[and your] healing shall spring forth speedily.” – Isaiah 58: 6-11
One of the coolest things I’ve ever learned about fasting I read in Gabriel Cousen’s book Spiritual Nutrition. He mentions that when you fast, your body turns on a “youthing gene,” and that it has been scientifically proven that our genes revert to an earlier expression of themselves when in fasting mode. In other words you begin to get younger, rather than older! Which is why long-term, adding the habit of regular fasting into your lifestyle literally adds years onto your life. Besides living longer, fasting, especially on fresh vegetable juices can speed your healing process, cleanse your body, boost your energy, revive your skin, and enhance your general joie de vivre.
You may be sold on the idea but have no idea where to start? No fear, it’s not as daunting as it seems. Most people like to have a program to follow and a schedule so they can stick to something and not fall off after one day of fasting. The first day and sometimes even the second can be the hardest. Preparation is definitely key when fasting, as well as motivation. You want to be clear on your motivation and fuel it, so that when the going gets rough you can stick with it to the finish line.
I fast for a number of reasons. Sometimes I feel like my skin is looking dull and I’ve had too much cooked food, so I’ll juice fast for a while to cleanse and get my vegan glow back, and other times it’s more of a spiritual thing. I’m sure that other avid fasters can attest to the fact that fasting can also put you in a heightened state of receptivity, and/or force you to listen and be more aware if you are seeking guidance on a major decision or waiting for something awesome to manifest in your life. There’s a reason so many spiritual leaders and sages have engaged in fasting. In the Bible alone there are several stories that are awesome commercials for fasting, from David to Jesus himself, which illustrate how fasting can unleash supernatural power.
There are plenty of fasts you can follow in books or even online, but I highly recommend creating something yourself that works for your personal goals. If you’ve never embarked on a fast I would recommend no more than three days. Also, be sure to consult with a doctor or holistic practitioner if you have any preexisting medical conditions. Below are five simple steps you can take to create your own fast. Hope this post is helpful, if you have more questions feel free to post or message me via Facebook. -XoXo Raw Girl
- Find & fuel your motivation. Whether it be for cleansing/detox, clarity, spiritual insight etc. figure out your reason to begin. If you are doing longer fasts up to 10 days, you should be prepared with daily reading, quotes, or whatever works for you to keep you focused on your intention. If it’s a spiritual fast, or even if it is not, you may want to make time daily for prayer, meditation, or just reflection.
- Set the parameters. Decide whether or not this is a 3 day fast or longer. Choose your method: are you fasting on green juices, veggie juices, water, raw foods? Fasting just means that you are committing to abstain from something. You could do a vegan fast or a raw fast. You could even be a meat eater who decides to abstain from meat for awhile. But for cleansing purposes if you want results, juice fasting with mostly if not all green vegetables is definitely the way to go. If you are incorporating other sweet veggies like carrots and beets make sure you balance it by getting in some green juices daily as well. If you have a specific ailment you are nursing, you can actually look up recipes online or in holistic health books that will cater to that dis-ease. I don’t recommend you do a water fast unless it’s supervised. Make sure whatever method you use that you also consume large amounts of water during your fasting period. There is no set rule to how many juices you consume a day. Make sure you have enough on hand to get your fill. Some days you may need more juice than others. Go with the flow.
- Relax your schedule & plan ahead. Make sure you’ve got enough groceries and recipes for juices or whatever method of fast you choose. Even with die-hard commitment when the veggie hits the fan if you are juice fasting and can’t get your fix you may leave yourself vulnerable to eating other foods that happen to be around and breaking your fast the wrong way. Your fridge should be stocked with more than enough veggie ammo to survive your cravings. During this time respect your cleansing process and try to relax your schedule as much as possible. It’s possible to exercise while fasting, but for beginners and even veteran fasters, you may opt for much gentler workouts during your cleansing period. My favorite exercise while fasting (not exactly gentle) is hot yoga, because I get to sweat more toxins out.
- Commit to some sort of colon cleansing for the duration of the fast. This is a HUGE must. I recommend you also read my past post Tips For a Stress Free Fast which elaborates on this point even more. Fasting accelerates the bodies process of eliminating toxins, and if you do not support this process you could end up feeling sick during your fast. To avoid this you are going to need to incorporate enemas or colonics in your process. You will feel incredible if you do this. Some people say daily enemas, I say feel out your body and do what works for you, but do not skip this step.
- Have a plan for breaking the fast. Alright you made it to Day 3, and you are salivating because you want to bite something! Slow down. Make sure that you spend at least half of the time you fasted coming down off the fast. So for a three day, at least a day and a half coming down off the fast. Introduce solids very slowly. Veggie broths, fruit juices, and raw fruit can be great and not jarring. Eating things like nuts would throw your system into shock and may cause constipation so start with lighter foods.
** Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Listen to your body, consult w/ yr doc if need be, and take my advice at your own risk. Side effects may include general joie de vire, a spiritual awakening, or an increase in magnetism & overall sexiness.***
Check out this past post Tips for a Stress-Free Fast: http://rawgirltoxicworld.com/2009/11/18/tips-for-a-stress-free-fast/
It’s that time of year again! 2012 is swiftly approaching and the season of new resolutions, intentions, and gift-giving is upon us. Why not bring in this new season by giving yourself the gift of a cleanse? About three years ago I started the ritual of fasting in the New Year. One year it was a 10 Day all vegetable juice fast, another it was 3 Day. This year, I am upping the ante and committing to 40 Days of “fasting” or what I will call my Kemetic Detox. Just in case you don’t know what “kemetic” means, Ancient Egypt was also called “Kemet”, “Land of Blackness”, or “Land of the Burnt People” (referring to the dark skin tone of the Ancient Egyptians). The term “kemetic” can be used to describe anything related to that ancient culture/lifestyle. Why 40 Days? First off, because it is exactly the amount of time leading up to my one woman show, Hatshepsut, about the first female pharaoh, and secondly because many people in the Bible fasted for 40 Days. This fast or detox is designed to rigorously impact me mentally, spiritually, and physically.
The ancient Egyptians had a diet that was incredibly pure and complimented that diet with regular yoga, meditation, working with crystals and essential oils to maintain high vibrations. So I am incorporating all of these principles into my detox. Diet-wise I will be juicing some, and eating raw: salads, smoothies etc. For spirit I am going to get my regular meditation on and do hot yoga—which will also help with detoxing the body. To assist the cleansing process will be take weekly enemas and salt baths. Some of you may be reading this and thinking to yourself that it all sounds groovy but you don’t feel you have the time or energy to invest in some sort of cleanse. In my next post, I’ll go in depth about why you should even bother considering a cleanse.
Check out my regimen and today’s shopping list below and feel free to join me for part or all of my detox! Remember that we are all unique human beings and have differing levels of imbalance on the body, mind, and soul level. So, if you chose to do a cleanse, do you and make it your own! -XoXo Raw Girl
Kemetic Detox Guidlines
- 30 minutes to 1 hour minimum of meditation daily
- 2-3 salt water baths per week
- Daily yoga, hot yoga 2x per week
- High alkaline/raw vegan diet (Organic fruits, vegetables, soaked nuts, sprouted grains)
- Enema/colonic as needed at least 1 per week
- Bentonite Clay mask once a week, daily use of coconut oil, almond oil, and essential oils on skin
- Follow the 42 Precepts of Maat (almost like the 10 commandments)
My Shopping List (what I bought today to get started)
- 2 bunches of Lacinato Kale, 1 bunch regular kale
- Box of organic baby arugula
- 4 young Thai coconuts
- 4 apples
- bag of organic lemons
- 3 stalks of ginger
- bag of organic avocados
- 6 gallons purified water
- organic nori sheets
- Bag of Organic Carrots
- Celery (2)
- dandelion root
- 2 cucumbers
- Things I have at home that I will use: red and yellow bell peppers, Braggs Amino Acids, Nutritional Yeast, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Dulse Flakes, Sea Salt, Raw Almonds, Raw Pecans, Beets, Garlic
Today is Day 3; the last day of this watermelon fast is finally here! Last night I got creative and concocted a watermelon mojito. This morning I continued to be inspired and whipped up an equally refreshing blend of watermelon, lemon juice, with a hint of cilantro. I feel like this fast is turning me into a watermelon bartender! Feeling good today, glad to be coming down of the fast tomorrow because I have an acting gig and need to keep my energy up on set. As promised here’s the recipe for the mojito. I’m going to try the watermelon soup from my last post tomorrow and see if it’s any good, will report back. Beginning tomorrow, my infatuation with all things watermelon is going to end for a little while. – XoXo Raw Girl
4-5 cups chopped watermelon
1/2 lime juiced (use the whole thing if you want it tangier)
2 – 3 sprigs of fresh mint
1 teaspoon grated ginger
Blend & enjoy!
It’s Day 2 of the Watermelon Fast. W-Day number one has come and gone, and I have nothing on my mind but watermelon so I figured I might as well blog about it. If you are on the Watermelon fast journey now or if you plan to attempt it later, you may ask yourself: how many ways can you eat a watermelon? I decided to research some recipe combinations that may add just a little bit of variety to the watermelon fast. Two have cucumber or cucumber juice incorporated, so that may be cheating. Might save the watermelon soup for Thursday when I am coming down off the fast. I plan to spice it up tonight and make a smoothie with watermelon, lime, and mint! Bring on Day 3, I’m ready. Are you with me? -XoXo Raw Girl
- Watermelon Slushy -watermelon, ice cubes, lime juice. Blend!
- Watermelon Soup – 3 cups watermelon, 1/2 lime juiced, 1/4 cup cilantro, 1 small cucumber diced. Blend!
- Watermelon Smoothie – watermelon, fresh mint, lemon juice, ginger. Blend!
- Watermelon Juice – watermelon, cucumber, lime. Juice!