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The Stages Of Fasting

Categories: Fasting
Sources: How And When To Be Your Own Doctor

The best way to understand what happens when we fast is to break up

the process into six stages: preparation for the fast, loss of

hunger, acidosis, normalization, healing, and breaking the fast.

A person that has consumed the typical American diet most of their

life and whose life is not in immediate danger would be very wise to

gently prepare their body for the fast. Two weeks would be a minimum

f time, and if the prospective faster wants an easier time

of it, they should allow a month or even two for preliminary

housecleaning. During this time, eliminate all meat, fish, dairy

products, eggs, coffee, black tea, salt, sugar, alcohol, drugs,

cigarettes, and greasy foods. This de-addiction will make the

process of fasting much more pleasant, and is strongly recommended.

However, eliminating all these harmful substances is withdrawal from

addictive substances and will not be easy for most. I have more to

say about this later when I talk about allergies and addictions.

The second stage, psychological hunger, usually is felt as an

intense desire for food. This passes within three or four days of

not eating anything. Psychological hunger usually begins with the

first missed meal. If the faster seems to be losing their resolve, I

have them drink unlimited quantities of good-tasting herb teas,

(sweetened--only if absolutely necessary--with nutrisweet). Salt-free

broths made from meatless instant powder (obtainable at the health

food store) can also fend off the desire to eat until the stage of

hunger has passed.

Acidosis, the third stage, usually begins a couple of days after the

last meal and lasts about one week. During acidosis the body

vigorously throws off acid waste products. Most people starting a

fast begin with an overly acid blood pH from the typical American

diet that contains a predominance of acid-forming foods. Switching

over to burning fat for fuel triggers the release of even more

acidic substances. Acidosis is usually accompanied by fatigue,

blurred vision, and possibly dizziness. The breath smells very bad,

the tongue is coated with bad-tasting dryish mucus, and the urine

may be concentrated and foul unless a good deal of water is taken

daily. Two to three quarts a day is a reasonable amount.

Mild states of acidosis are a common occurrence. While sleeping

after the last meal of the day is digested bodies normally work very

hard trying to detoxify from yesterday's abuses. So people routinely

awaken in a state of acidosis. Their tongue is coated, their breath

foul and they feel poorly. They end their brief overnight fast with

breakfast, bringing the detoxification process to a screeching halt

and feel much better. Many people think they awaken hungry and don't

feel well until they eat. They confuse acidosis with hunger when

most have never experienced real hunger in their entire lives. If

you typically awaken in acidosis, you are being given a strong sign

by your body that it would like to continue fasting far beyond

breakfast. In fact, it probably would enjoy fasting long beyond the

end of acidosis.

Most fasters feel much more comfortable by the end of the first

seven to ten days, when they enter the normalization phase; here the

acidic blood chemistry is gradually corrected. This sets the stage

for serious healing of body tissues and organs. Normalization may

take one or two more weeks depending on how badly the body was out

of balance. As the blood chemistry steadily approaches perfection,

the faster usually feels an increasing sense of well-being, broken

by short spells of discomfort that are usually healing crises or


The next stage, accelerated healing, can take one or many weeks

more, again depending on how badly the body has been damaged.

Healing proceeds rapidly after the blood chemistry has been

stabilized, the person is usually in a state of profound rest and

the maximum amount of vital force can be directed toward repair and

regeneration of tissues. This is a miraculous time when tumors are

metabolized as food for the body, when arthritic deposits dissolve,

when scar tissues tend to disappear, when damaged organs regain lost

function (if they can). Seriously ill people who never fast long

enough to get into this stage (usually it takes about ten days to

two weeks of water fasting to seriously begin healing) never find

out what fasting can really do for them.

Breaking the fast is equally or more important a stage than the fast

itself. It is the most dangerous time in the entire fast. If you

stop fasting prematurely, that is, before the body has completed

detoxification and healing, expect the body to reject food when you

try to make it eat, even if you introduce foods very gradually. The

faster, the spiritual being running the body, may have become bored

and want some action, but the faster's body hasn't finished. The

body wants to continue healing.

By rejection, I mean that food may not digest, may feel like a stone

in your stomach, make you feel terrible. If that happens and if,

despite that clear signal you refuse to return to fasting, you

should go on a juice diet, take as little as possible, sip it slowly

(almost chew it) and stay on juice until you find yourself digesting

it easily. Then and only then, reintroduce a little solid raw food

like a green salad.

Weaning yourself back on to food should last just as long as the

fast. Your first tentative meals should be dilute, raw juices. After

several days of slowly building up to solid raw fruit, small amounts

of raw vegetable foods should be added. If it has been a long fast,

say over three weeks, this reintroduction should be done gingerly

over a few weeks. If this stage is poorly managed or ignored you may

become acutely ill, and for someone who started fasting while

dangerously ill, loss of self control and impulsive eating could

prove fatal. Even for those fasting to cure non-life-threatening

illnesses it is pointless to go through the effort and discipline of

a long fast without carefully establishing a correct diet after the

fast ends, or the effort will have largely been wasted.