Nutritional Programme for Fasting
Nutritional Programme for Fasting

Fasting is a time-proven remedy. Animals instinctively fast when ill, and for thousands of years humans have used fasting as a healing and spiritual-religious process. In my opinion, fasting is the single greatest natural healing therapy.

When I first discovered fasting, I felt as if it had saved my life and transformed my illnesses into health. My stagnant energies began flowing, and I became more creative and vitally alive.

Many of the problems for which I recommend fasting result from overnutrition. Dietary abuse generates chronic degenerative diseases such as atherosclerosis, hypertension and heart disease, allergies, diabetes and cancer. I believe that fasting is therapeutic and, more importantly, preventive for many of these.

Fasting is very versatile and generally fairly safe, provided that there are no contraindications; however, when it is used in the treatment of medical conditions, proper supervision should be employed, including monitoring of physical changes and biochemistry values.


The use of fasting to treat fever is controversial. Eastern medicine thinks of fasting as increasing body fire; in actuality, when we consume liquids we generate less heat, so fasting helps to cool the body.

Some cases of fatigue will respond well to fasting, particularly those resulting from congested organs and energy. With fatigue that results from chronic infection, nutritional deficiency or serious disease, more nourishment rather than fasting is probably needed.

Back pains caused by muscular tightness and stress can be helped with a lighter diet or juice fasting.

Many patients with mental illness, from anxiety to schizophrenia, may be helped by fasting. Its purpose is not to cure these problems, but to help understand the relationship of foods,

chemicals or drugs to the mental difficulties. Care must be taken, as toxicity or lack of nour- ishment may worsen these problems.


Fasting is a catalyst for change. It relaxes and energises the body, mind and emotions, and supports greater spiritual awareness. It is a multidimensional experience.

Refraining from eating minimises the work that needs to be done by the digestive or- gans, including the stomach, intestines, pan- creas and gallbladder. Most important is the liver, which can spend time cleaning up. Each cell in the body has the opportunity to catch up on its work. During a fast most people feel cleaner, better and more alive. Mentally, fast- ing improves clarity and attentiveness; emo- tionally, it may make us more sensitive and aware of feelings.


Hunger is usually present for two or three days and then departs, leaving many people with a surprising feeling of deep abdominal peace; others may feel really hungry. It is good to ask ourselves, ‘What are we hungry for?’ Fasting is an excellent time to work on our psychological connections to consumption.

Headache is not uncommon during the first day or two, and fatigue or irritability may arise, as may dizziness or lightheadedness.

Nutritional Programme for Fasting

Sensitivity is usually increased, and everyday sounds may irritate us more. The sense of smell is also exaggerated, both positively and negatively. The tongue will probably develop a thick white or yellow coating, which can be scraped or brushed off, and some people have bad breath and displeasing tastes in the mouth, or foul-smelling urine or stools. Skin odour or eruptions such as small spots or painful boils may appear, depending on the state of toxicity. Digestive upsets, mucusy stools, flatulence or even nausea and vomiting may occur. Insomnia or bad dreams can result from the release of poisons by the body during the night. However, most of these symptoms occur early and are transient. The general energy level is usually good during a fast, although there can be ups and downs.

Nutritional Programme for Fasting


The general plan for fasting works progressively, from a moderate approach for new fasters and unhealthy subjects to a stricter programme for the more experienced. Many people do well even if they make extreme changes, but it clearly increases the risks.

In preparation for the first day of fasting, you may want to take a few days to eliminate foods such as alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, sugar, and red meats and other animal foods from your diet. Intake of most nutritional supplements can be curtailed the day before fasting; these are usually not recommended during a fast.

A one-day fast (actually 36 hours, including the nights) gives one a chance to see what a short fast can be like – that it’s not so difficult and does not cause major distress. In fact the first two days are the hardest for most people; feeling great usually begins around day three, so longer juice fasts are really needed for the grand experience.

The goal, then, is to move into a one-day fast and then a few two- and three-day fasts with one or two days between them when light foods and more raw fruits and vegetables are consumed. This way, we can build up to a five- to ten-day fast. When the transition is made this slowly, even a water fast is possible for those who want a powerful personal and spiritual experience. With a water fast, however, I strongly suggest medical monitoring and retreating from one’s usual daily routine.

Nutritional Programme for Fasting

I usually recommend a juice fast, which can be longer and is much easier for most people. The fresh juices of raw fruits and vegetables, rich in nutrients and vital enzymes, are what most fasting clinics and practitioners recommend. The juices of apples, grapes, oranges and carrots are good for cleansing. Some vegetable choices are carrots, celery, beets, and lots of greens. Soup broths can also be used. Mix blue-green algae, such as spirulina or chlorella, into the juice to boost energy, as these are high-protein plants and easily assimilated.

During any cleansing period, plan times to meditate, exercise, get fresh air and sunshine, have massages, take baths, clean your house, brush your skin, and more. With less shopping, food preparation and eating time, you’ll have more hours in the day to take care of yourself in other ways.


Knowing when to stop fasting and to make a transition back into eating takes some inner attunement. Things to watch for include energy level, weight, detox symptoms, tongue coating, and degree of hunger. If your energy is up and then falls for more than a day or if your weight gets too low, it may be time to come off the fast. Generally the tongue is a good indicator of the state of toxicity or cleansing. With fasting, it usually becomes coated with a white, yellow or grey film. This will usually clear when the detox cycle is complete. Hunger is another sign of readiness to move back into eating. Often hunger is minimal, some people are very hungry throughout a fast, but most lose interest in food and then experience real, deep-seated hunger again. This is a sign to eat (carefully!).

Breaking a fast must be done slowly and carefully. A good suggestion is to take half the total cleansing time to move back into a newly planned, more healthful diet.

Chew well, and don’t overeat or mix too many foods at a meal. Simple vegetable meals, salads or soups are a good start. Fruit should be eaten on its own. Soaked prunes or figs are helpful. Well-cooked brown rice or millet is usually handled well by the second day. From there, progress slowly through grains and vegetables. Some nuts, seeds or legumes can be added, and then richer protein foods if you want. You may wish to keep notes, monitoring areas such as energy level, intestinal function, sleep patterns and food desires. If you respond poorly to a food, avoid it for a while and then eat it on its own to see how it feels.


Fresh air supports cleansing and oxygenation of the cells and tissues. Sunshine revitalises the body; avoid excessive exposure. Water. Cleanse the skin at least twice daily. Steams and saunas also support detoxification.

Skin brushing with a dry, soft brush before your bath helps clear toxins from the skin. Exercise supports the cleansing process and helps to relax the body, clear wastes, and prevent toxicity symptoms. Walking, bicycling or swimming are suitable.

No drugs should be used during fasts except for mandatory prescription drugs. In particular, avoid alcohol.

Editor's note: here is another article by Dr Haas, Detox Done Right – the purification process and David Wolfe's article on candida: Kicking out Candida.

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