The fast is an effort, so do not ruin the benefits by immediately returning to a full diet, and especially do not eat a lot of heavy or junk food. Reintroduce your body to regular eating with a light vegetarian diet to stabilize the weight loss and then, day by day, intro-duce fish, eggs, chicken and meat in that order.
Those with the will-power and who are not afraid of fasting can do two days of liquid-only diet. If you have done the three-day fasts a few times, you can, in stages, prolong it up to seven days, as long as you are under the guidance of a qualified naturopath.
Do not venture on your own with a liquid-only fast beyond seven days, as you may get disconnected at times and lose control of your body, and the healing crisis could hit you. I wonder sometimes how hunger strikers handle the healing crisis – which they must go through if they are genuinely without food.
About Long Fasts
Conditions for which long, medically supervised fasting works well include obesity, osteoarthritis, manic depression, schizophrenia, eczema, psoriasis, chronic colitis, rheumatoid arthritis, allergies and food intolerances (except nut allergies), bronchial asthma, chronic bronchitis, sinusitis, mouth ulcers, migraine and chronic fatigue.
Ideally, fasting therapy is accompanied by massage, sauna or steam treatments, swimming or hydrotherapy, light exercise, meditation and art therapy (patients become very creative when undergoing long fasts). These treatments act synergistically with fasting to produce optimum results.
Massage, meditation, light exercise and fasting in combination are a powerful form of therapy, arousing the innate healing power. In ancient Greece, all patients went through this combined therapy first as, in the majority of cases, that was all that was needed to kick start the healing process. No medicine or other therapeutic interventions such as blood-letting were used unless the patient did not respond.
Before any medical fast, a thorough blood test is done to check for any abnormality or deficiency. Although the target number of fasting days is set, the actual duration of the fast depends on the condition of the patient, physically aid mentally.
For the first two or three days, one feels very hungry. The thought of food dominates the day and at night there are dreams of delicious food. Hot baths, massages, sauna and lots of fluids help to eliminate the fatigue. This is when patients need maximum support as they are nervous, irritable and often scared. Some are very calm, as they know that it is a passing phase.
After three days, the hunger pangs miraculously stop. It is as if one does not want to eat. The body begins to feel lighter, the head clearer and sleep improves. One looks forward to bedtime as sound sleep lifts the mood. One feels great for another week. All symptoms of disease disappear.
Then, between the ninth and eleventh days, things take a turn for the worse again. This is the classic healing crisis. Everything gets worse – headaches, lethargy, palpitations, irritability and body aches. The original conditions for which the fast was recommended also get worse, The eczema, psoriasis, arthritic pain, swollen joints, migraine or whatever, which disappeared after the third day return with a vengeance. Itchy skin may be accompanied by a continuous headache. Patients panic because they have been symptom-free for a week. The healing crisis has been reached.
Until this point, patients have been encouraged to do light exercise, such as walking, swimming or yoga, but during the two days or so of healing crisis they are confined to bed. At this stage the physician conducting the fasting has to skillfully explain about the healing crisis: that things have to come out of the system, and that one has to feel worse before one is cured. During this period a lot of fluids are given. Light massages, enemas or colonic irrigation can help. Blood tests show bizarre results. The liver enzymes rise and kidney functions alter. Sometimes a drip is necessary. A small amount of glucose, given intravenously, keeps physiological symptoms at bay.
A couple of days later, like a miracle, things change again. The body calms down and all the symptoms of the original disease vanish. The skin looks better, the eyes look clearer and moods return to normal, Light exercise is resumed
After the healing crisis one has to wait for at least a week before fasting is discontinued. All the remnant symptoms of disease go away and the patient feels absolutely healthy. At this stage patients become very creative. Since no energy is lost in digestion, it is sublimated into creativity: typically, people compose poems, write about experiences, paint, sketch and even try their hands at chiseling or sculpting. This happens as if the mind and body is completely healed.
When obese people undertake a long fast like this, the weight loss gives them a great sense of motivation to continue the diet or fasting recommended by their physician. They feel light and elated, reveling in every word of praise and support from family and friends,
Breaking the Fast
Breaking the fast is a very important process. You do not want to undo the effort and sacrifice by eating rubbish or overloading your stomach, just as you would not feed a newborn baby something other than milk.
The first three days of introduction of food after prolonged fasting are important. Patients start with runny rice soup or porridge only, two or three times a day. Normally, we numb our taste buds by giving them too many complicated tastes at once. After fasting, the ability to taste becomes so accentuated that every morsel of food is blissful, and tastes heavenly. We should eat foods to stimulate one or two of the tastes at a time.
After a day or two, vegetable soups are introduced, then steamed vegetables and only after four days salads or fruits (as they contain powerful enzymes). Next, some easily digested protein: soft-boiled eggs, the finest source of protein, and then low-fat chicken soup. The longer patients stay on a simple diet of fruit, vegetables, boiled rice, eggs, lentils and porridge, the better the system.
After long fasts, it is recommended that patients keep up a once-weekly fast for the rest of their life and about every three months take a two- or three-day fast.