Fasting means abstaining from all food and leaving the stomach empty for a few hours or for a few days. This is not to be confused with starving, for fasting is undertaken intentionally with the aim of cleansing or detoxifying the system. By abstaining from all food and restricting our system to the intake of water or liquids alone, we enable our system to clean itself.
It is an excellent process of self-discipline. It is one of the safest and quickest ways to rid the body of toxins. Fasting is also one of the best ways to clear the brain, enabling it to operate at peak efficiency.
One thing to be noted about fasting is that after 48 hours, in most cases, all sensations of hunger will disappear. People who undertake longer fasts on a regular basis tell us that they themselves come to know when the fast is to be broken, by the re-appearance of hunger, which indicates that the system is cleansed and ready to return to its routine. This is accompanied by other indications. The coated tongue becomes clear; the whites of the eyes become clear; the pulse and the heart rate return to normal; and the senses become sharp and alert.
When the fast is to be terminated, it is important to break it in the right manner. Depending on the length of the fast, the person should take fresh fruit juice or vegetable juice to begin with; this can be followed by soft fruits a little later; in fact, it is recommended that an all-fruit diet for two or three days should follow the fast. Later, salads and nuts can be added, and regular diet resumed on the fifth day. Above all, it is important that we do not lose all the benefits we have gained from the fast by returning to the wrong eating and living habits.
We would do well to keep in mind that fasting is not a miracle cure: its effectiveness is dependent on giving our vital organs a much-needed rest. This also allows the inherent healing influences of the body to accomplish their work without interference.