Juice Fasting Health Benefits - Louise Darragh-Law
Why would anyone of sound mind want to stop putting food in their mouth for even one day, let alone five or ten days.
So why decide to Juice Fast? My first fast, some 50 years ago, consisted only of equal parts cow’s milk (full cream) and water, refrigerated so it tasted better. I drank only this milk for 14 days, nothing else. I had just started my very first job, working in a Burger Bar in a small New Zealand dairy farming community. I had to make and serve chips, toasted sandwiches and juicy burgers filled with all things delicious. Then there were thick-shakes and ice-creams. My taste buds were screaming at me, but I ignored them. I also ignored my concerned parents. I just shrugged my shoulders and carried on drinking milk.
I hadn’t even heard the term fasting before. At the time, it was just a hunch and an attempt at rebellion. Now, in hindsight, I see that it was a very good idea, an intuition of what a body needs.
Later I went on to study nutrition, medical herbalism, naturopathy and ayurvedic medicine. I learned very complex and sophisticated explanations for the fasting process and why we need it. But it was the Intuition I was most grateful for, that Inner Drive to go against the mainstream and discover for myself. Animals do it don’t they? When they are sick, they go off their food, they seek out different green plants to nibble at, and they recover. We are primates too, so surely the same approach should work.
Year after year, I took a break from eating – water fasts, herb tea fasts; mono diets of a single food only; a seaweed and vegetable broth fast; and most commonly, a vegetable and fruit juice fast. They lasted anywhere from three to fourteen days depending when I felt ready to eat again.
Why fast? An ancient answer is that your body has a functional integrity, held in a delicate balance just like the natural world or the Green Domain. The cells, tissues, organs and systems aren’t just randomly scooting around, having fun, pushing their opinions on each other and playing power games. Within each organ, the cells maintain their own integrity, they know their role and they cooperate harmoniously to ensure the organ they work for performs according to its function.
The body knows what to do. Whenever it gets time out, as in juice fasting, the digestive system takes a moment to catch up on the backlog waiting to be processed. It doesn’t complain or protest at receiving no food, it looks instead for a different energy source, and it finds it, through the fasting process, in the waste dumps of the body, often the lymphatic system, where the overload waits to be collected when the time is right, when there’s a break in the digesting and eliminating routine. Your elimination organs play a phenomenal role in drawing the wastes back into the digestive tract, which very cleverly knows exactly how to eliminate them.
There is an art to getting it right, particularly if there are a lot of wastes in your body. But with experienced support and the camaraderie of other fasters, the rewards are great. If you don’t clear these dumps, any health issues become more chronic, and if still not addressed, then year after year they become destructive. If you allow the time and attention at least once a year, you will see the benefits and come to appreciate how efficient and amazing your body is.
Fasting also awakens the intelligence that already exists. No mind about it. Fasting gives your bodily systems a break, during which time, elimination of excess can happen. Whenever the body gets the message there is no food incoming, it sends up hunger messages. It can be hard initially, but there are tricks to the fasting program and eventually the body understands, stops sending up hunger messages and recognizes that it’s time for detox. This clever machine that carries you through life deserves a service just as you give your car a service every year. If you don’t, it can malfunction over time as problems build up. The body is the same. Give it a break. You’ll be impressed. The most common feedback I hear is “I can’t believe it, I’ve done it and I didn’t realize how easy it would be”.
After a fast, when you step back into the mainstream of your life, wisdom needs to be applied. No mad excitement about getting down your favourite food. That’s just a desire for the taste buds to be satisfied. Fasting is the natural process. Eating is what we do when the machine needs energy. We gain some wisdom on the fast, and like a treasure, we bring what we’ve learned back to our place of abode, the eating state.
And finally, why Juice Fasting? People sometimes cancel a Juice Fast Retreat booking, because they have heard it’s a sugar overload and sugar is bad and so they miss an opportunity for detox. But Juice doesn’t have to be sugar laden. There is an easy balance between fruits and vegetables. You can juice many if not most vegetables. They give you the much needed minerals to carry your body through its cleansing process. The fruits give you the vitamins and energy and flavor otherwise your taste buds would rebel.
Since the beginning of our time here on planet earth, humans have run out of food in certain seasons, and had to make do with very little. This is a natural sequence of events in the natural world. We live now in a fast-paced modern world where food is always avaliable, yet we are still primates, we still have bodies that malfunction when overloaded and not given a break.
Treat yourself. Juice Fasting is a very easy way to give your body the annual service it needs.