Upcoming Group Fast schedule
Fasting is a health practice which allows the body to
go through spiritual and physical metamorphoses. Christ, Buddha, Mohamed, Plato,
Socrates, Mark Twain, Gandhi, and Martin Luther King Jr. all used fasting as a
way to reach optimum physical and spiritual health. The process of fasting has a
myriad of health benefits from detoxification to allergy detection.
If done correctly fasting is a pleasurable experience
which allows the body time to relax from the rigors of normal digestion and to
Dr. Bailey’s knowledge of fasting has led to nationwide
recognition, including being used as an expert source on fasting in the
“Definitive Guide to Alternative Medicine” in addition to Dr. Bailey’s own book
on the subject, “The Fasting Diet”.
Here is an article about juice fasting written by Dr.
Steven Bailey published in Alternatives
magazine (Spring 2004 Issue 29):
Flowers Under the Snow, Some Thoughts on Fasting
By Steven A. Bailey, ND
winter, as snowflakes fell, I pictured daphne and daffodils, and the countless
hidden beginnings of spring. Similarly my thoughts were drawn to the awakening
of mind and body that happens during my annual spring ritual of fasting.
Having fasted every year for the past 35 years, I have the highest regard for this
practice. While experiences vary from person to person, and from one fasting
experience to the next, safety and proven benefits are consistent rewards reaped
from a properly conducted fast.
ancestral environment, all food was organic. Fish and animals were wild or
free-range; foods were in their whole form; few people ate significant amounts
of sugar, fat or processed foods; there were no artificial preservatives or
additives; hybridization of plants was minimal and genetic modification
non-existent. In this ancestral environment, which remained essentially
unchanged until just a few decades ago, human digestive systems were no doubt up
to the task of nutrient digestion and elimination of toxins. But times have
typical American diet is high in processed foods, simple sugars, meat and fat,
and is chronically low in the fiber of fresh whole grains and vegetables, water
and variation. With this “western diet” has come the “western diseases”: cancer,
heart disease, diabetes and an array of digestive problems. Add the insults of
pesticides and antibiotics in our foods and you begin to appreciate the abnormal
state of our current digestive environment.
I marvel at
the perfection of nature. Most whole foods contain enzymes that assist in their
breakdown within our own digestive systems. Now consider the imperfection of
human tampering. Not only do many of today’s processed foods lack such enzymes,
but they have been denatured with unnatural additives that defend the foods from
breaking down during long periods of storage. Meanwhile, the long-term effects
of antibiotics and chemicals in food, medicine and the environment cause
significant imbalances in the intestinal flora of many people. Stress,
experienced through our adrenal response, reduces blood supply to the digestive
system and can also maintain a chronic negative influence on digestion. All of
these factors tend to assault the digestive system. Poor dietary choices, food
allergies and sensitivities, infections and parasites are still other factors
negatively affecting digestive function.
detoxification (cleansing programs) can play an important role in responding to
these common concerns. Beyond fasting, long-term improvement in the normal diet
is critical to sustaining good health.
religious practice is the most common reason for fasting, medical fasting—once
quite a common practice before the advent of the age of pharmaceuticals—is
becoming more common in the American consciousness and experience. Medical fasts
include therapeutic, preventive, weight loss and detoxification programs.
Speaking holistically, I would say that medical fasts include spiritual benefits
in the healing processes that derive from them. It is this intangible spiritual
element that holds the mystery and the wonder of fasting.
fasting commonly raise the specter of starvation, maintaining that the human
digestive system is made for 24-7 function and needs no rest or special
attention. Such critics extol the virtues of modern “safe foods” and jeer at the
absurdity of needing detoxification support. These critics misrepresent fasting
and ignore much of what science has found out about digestion and
To say that
our digestive systems are made to work tirelessly, and that toxins are readily
eliminated, ignores much of the truth. Are we not a nation of people who suffer
from heartburn, acid reflux, ulcers, colitis, stomach cancer and an array of
environmental and chemical illnesses? Rates and levels of obesity continue to
rise while toxic man-made chemicals are found in all of our bodies regardless of
diet. There is no doubt that we need to find ways to enhance digestion and
diet that I recommend begins with a three-day pre-fast diet consisting
predominately of raw fruits and vegetables. This is followed by the fasting, or
non-food days, consisting of five or more days of organic vegetable and fruit
juices followed by a gradual return to a healthy diet. Some choose to extend
their fast for many weeks, often including water-only fasting or a master
witnessed remarkable changes in people as a result of this simple fasting
program. Chronic and acute problems of all kinds respond favorably to fasts of 5
to 10 days showing benefits in digestive, skin and respiratory problems as well
as infections and inflammatory conditions like arthritis. Longer, or sequential
programs may be needed for chronic conditions such as heart disease, hepatitis,
toxic and hypersensitive conditions, chronic viral illnesses, and a wide array
of other complaints. Such dependable and naturally derived benefits do not come
with a long list of risky and unpleasant side effects, and the expense is
extended fast that I did was in the spring of 2003 at the time the US began
military action in Iraq. This particular fast was not directed toward any health
concern; rather it involved considerable meditation, study and mindfulness of
what was happening to this planet and her people. In an effort to come to grips
with the anguish and fear felt by myself and expressed by my patients, I found
that fasting offered comfort and quiet in an otherwise sorrowful world. My
spring fast included a preliminary juice fast, a 34-day water fast, and juices
again before returning to normal eating. I experienced a profound change in my
state of being which endured for months after and has continued to sustain me in
the face of our ongoing human drama.
spiritual aspects of fasting derive not only from the discipline and austerity
required to do it, but also from the focus and clarity that it provides. This is
a self-evident state. From a body, mind and spirit paradigm, fasting can
integrate the healing process beyond our ability to quantify or intellectually
report to me about their fasting experiences. I hear about physical changes,
emotional crises, relationship breakthroughs and heightened spiritual
experiences. Many people come to realize that their current careers or life
situations are not satisfying their needs. Sometimes it is an unhealthy level of
stress in the workplace, other times it is a realization that their heart is not
in what they are doing. These people have been thankful for the clarification
that fasting brings. A few have given immediate notice, while most have added
“major changes” to their list of requirements to continue into their healthy
area of change experienced during a fast is the frequently reported “clearer
mind” that eases emotional responses and supports the undisturbed quiet of
meditation and prayer. Insight, intention and focus gained during a fast are
powerful allies of spiritual practice.
lengthening days of spring, we emerge from winter’s sleep into the wide-awake
days of summer. It’s the time to stretch and breathe in deeply while planning a
summer of playing again in this beautiful world. Vegetables and fruits will soon
return in abundance, and our diets will improve. Welcome spring, what a great
time for cleaning, inside and out!
read about these programs in Dr. Bailey’s book,
The Fasting Diet,
published in 2001 by Contemporary Press/McGraw-Hill.
Bailey is a naturopathic physician who practices in Portland, Oregon. Dr.
Bailey’s 22nd Annual Spring Cleanse is scheduled to begin on April
22, 2004. Join Dr. Bailey, Dr. Josie Schmidt and the staff of the Northwest
Naturopathic Clinic for the occasion. Information and registration is available
at the office in Portland, Oregon by calling 503-224-8083 or by visiting the
clinic website at www.nwnclinic.com .
There is no argument that starvation is harmful. It is a condition in which
humans or animals digest the proteins of their own muscles and organs for use as
fuel or sugar. This process is called gluconeogenesis. Proper fasting has
nothing in common with starvation because it involves fuel sources exclusive of
Calories are derived from juices and broths, stored fats and a process of
cellular recycling called autolysis. When fat reserves reach a critically
low point, starvation occurs any time there is an inadequate intake of calories.
Most of the world’s starvation occurs in people who are eating, but never have
enough total calories. The less fat reserve we have the shorter we can fast
before starvation occurs. Few Americans are in such jeopardy during medical
always have a follow-up visit with my fasters. I hear about their experiences
and discuss diet and future concerns. During the past two years, the “clearer
mind” state of fasting has shown an interesting outcome.
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