Japanese diets, traditionally consisting of a high percentage of seafood, have started including more meat and dairy produce in recent times, and thus becoming more ‘westernised’. A major problem with this is that meat, especially red meat, and the trans-fats used in junk food, are very difficult for our bodies to properly digest. The build-up of toxins, chemicals, ‘bad fats’ and undigested meat in the body can result in many health issues, such as heart disease, stroke, cancers and obesity. It is possible, though, to mitigate (reduce) their impact.
Fasting is one option. This is the process of limiting your diet to a certain drink or food – or abstaining from (stopping) eating – for a set time, to give your body the chance to cleanse itself. Some people use a juice fast, blending several raw foods, or just one type of fruit or vegetable. Apples, pineapples, berries, or tomatoes may be the easiest to stomach (swallow), but broccoli, spinach, cabbage, carrots, celery and wheatgrass are also very beneficial. At least 50% green is a good ‘rule of thumb.’
The juices sold in stores, laden with (processed) refined sugars, are quite unhealthy – especially during a fast – so it’s better to buy a juicing extractor and make your own fresh juices.
Another option is to completely abstain from in-taking everything except water (and oxygen!) for your chosen time period, though some prefer to have a light tea – green or black. A common strategy is to build up the lengths of your fasts gradually, starting by only eating breakfast and an early brunch, then eating nothing until breaking the nightly fast, by eating breakfast the next day- as practiced by monks the world over. In fact some Buddhist monks and other religious devotees can abstain from eating for several months at a time but some people build up their fasting time to even more incredible lengths: In 1973 a 27 yearold was observed fasting for 382 days, starting at 207kg, and ending up at 82kg!
Reducing body fat is one advantage of fasting, along with increasing energy and cleansing the digestive system and detoxifying the body – which clears the skin and eyes, gives glossier hair, stronger immunity against diseases, less fatigue and greater mental clarity etc. There are, though, some side effects to not eating, particularly for firsttime fasters. Hunger pangs are only fleeting and will quickly go, but headaches are common as the toxins leave the body, and occasional dizziness may occur if you exert yourself too hard, or fast too long, too quickly. However, the benefits far outweigh any slight discomforts, and if you do a fast every month, and maintain a clean diet in between, you won’t suffer much at all, but rather enjoy the cleansing experience!
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