A sick body, experiencing inflammation, allergies and immune dysfunction responds so well to fasting.
This topic is kind of difficult to lay out in a simplified systematic way. I feel there's so many tangents one could take. Essentially, I want to chat about the benefits of temporarily reducing your calories, the amount you're eating and drinking. Not always, and not everyone needs to reduce their food and drink. There's a time and a place for everything.
Over the years, I've turned to consuming a liquid diet only, water fasting, juice fasting and eating 100% raw plant-based. All of these tools have been super powerful for me when faced with sickness, insomnia, allergies, spiritual dryness and mental breakdown. Let's focus on sickness. When our body gets sick, here's what happens. A virus breaches the body's first line of defence (skin, lungs, gut). Manifesting in a cold or flu. When we're sick we feel weak, sore, tired, achy... we only have enough energy to sleep, eat, go to the toilet, watch a movie and maybe read a book!
Why do I feel so sick AND tired?
When the immune system is under attack and inflammation is present; the little powerhouses of every cell (called mitochondria) switch from energy producing mode to fighting/protective mode!!
Our immune system is highly important. Whether you realise it or not your immune system is fighting on a second-by-second basis. We encounter a ridiculous amount of nasty bugs and viruses every minute of every day! When something nasty breaches the system, immunity takes precedence. Energy ain't going to be available for you to concentrate on your studies, work, exercise.. let alone go to that social outing on the weekend!! :( :( Energy is reserved for immunity. White blood cells increase in number, they put their red hats on, jump in their big red truck, alarm lights flashing, bells ringing! Racing towards a raging fire that needs to be extinguished quick!! Hope you like my analogy.
Support the sick body
Sickness is more than the common cold. Inflammation = sickness. Other inflammatory conditions include; depression, anxiety, insomnia, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue, allergies, eczema, IBS, IBD, hypertension, atherosclerosis, food intolerances, obesity, heart disease, behavioural disorders, diabetes, cancer etc.! You get the picture, this list is huge! Did you know, digestion is a huge consumer of energy? It not only requires a ton of energy but it also generates inflammation. A healthy body isn't phased by this at all. It happily negates the negative affects of digestion. Digestion is normal, natural, and absolutely essential for life!
Though when our health is suffering, and our body is crying out (in pain), fasting is golden! It aids recovery, rejuvenation, increases energy and vitality! Fasting takes the load off our digestive system, delivering a ton of nutrients in an easily accessible way! More energy = stronger immunity = healing faster and feeling better sooner! I've experienced this over and over again. That's why a smoothie is sometimes better than a fruit salad. Why soup is sometimes more beneficial than roasted vegetables or a salad.
What is fasting?
Now to the more practical side. When I talk about fasting, what I'm not referring to is water fasting. Not necessarily vegetable and fruit juice fasting either. Fasting for me, may not be fasting for you. It's about listening to our bodies. Reducing the digestive burden. Giving our bodies the space and the nutritional tools to fight, heal and rejuvenate.
- Increase your natural fasting window - eat between 7 am and 8 pm (allowing your body to replace damaged, old cells with new ones)
- Start your day with 500 mL - 1 litre of water (lemon or lime may be added)
- For breakfast have a fresh green juice or green, berry or chai smoothie
- Avoid snacking
- Have another fresh juice or smoothie, smoothie bowl or soup for lunch and dinner
- Add big doses of powerful anti-inflammatory herbs and spices to juices, smoothies and soups (ginger, turmeric, basil, parsley, fennel, cardamon, clove, peppermint)
- Drink herbal teas (avoid caffeine)
- Avoid sugar (natural in fruit is fine)
- Focus on nutrient dense drinks and foods
- Avoid dairy and other animal products
- Avoid gluten
I challenge you to go on a fast whenever you next encounter a cold or flu!!! Consuming only nutrient-dense foods! ...stay tuned for my next article on calorie restriction - getting the benefits of a water fast without water fasting!!