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Volume 6 Issue 4 ISSN# 1708-3265

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Life in the Raw
with Melissa Gilbert

As a Raw Food and Fasting Coach I get lots of emails every day asking a wide range of questions, especially ones regarding fasting. I hope this column clears up a few questions in your mind and perhaps frees those who are sceptical about fasting.

Why Fast?

We fast to free our bodies of dis-ease and or the accumulation of toxins that are stored within the body and cells. When we fast we not only rid our body of toxins but we are able to eliminate addictions, bad habits and even unhealthy thought patterns. Fasting is also a spiritual practice. Fasting takes us to our truth, allows old wounds to heal and strengthens our immune system.

Can any body fast?

As you know when we fast we detoxify our body, so yes its excellent for everybody*. When we go to sleep each night we are fasting up until we break the fast with breakfast. Your body spends the whole night detoxifying, when you wake with a coated tongue or maybe even foul breath, these things are symptoms of detoxification. It is your body naturally repairing itself.

*There are certain circumstances when one must not fast unless closely supervised, or even not fast at all. Some of these things include stages of advanced cancer, certain liver and kidney disorders, cases of malnutrition and pregnancy.

How much weight will I loose while fasting?

Weight loss while fasting depends on how much excess weight you need to release to begin with. It also depends on the type of fast you choose to do. The slower your metabolism, the slower your weight loss will be. If you are juice fasting and are not releasing weight, it is because the juice is supplying all of the calories your body needs. If your fasting goal is weight release you may need to alternate between water fasting for three days, then juice fasting for three days. I find alternating between the two is much more effective for weight release than juice fasting all on it's own.

Initially during your fast you may release as much as three to four pounds per day. As your fast progresses the weight loss may slow to one pound (or less) per day. This is normal for weight release while fasting. Remember, the more weight your body needs to release the faster you will loose during your fast.

Will I gain back all the weight I have released during a fast?

Let's face it any weight release we experience is an exciting thing, a healthy thing for our bodies. The fact of the matter is that this question is simple. It is up to you. Fasting changes your body from the inside out, exactly where change needs to begin! During your fast you have probably gained a real sense of achievement, "I can do anything!" You have become determined and you are fresh and energized with that determination. Hopefully you've felt success with your fast and knowing you are healing your body to extraordinary depths (yes even with a short fast, as every day you fast all aids your health). Fasting is all about new beginnings and not just a quick fix for issues within your body and mind.

When you break your fast, be sure to eat healthy, raw fruits and vegetables every day, your body has begun this journey into healing and discovering true health. If you go back to your "old" ways of eating processed and/or junk foods what do you think will happen with your body? First of all it will rebel (upsetting your tummy and your digestion process), you'll gain back every pound you have worked so hard to release in the first place and possibly a few more. So you see the answer to this question is that it is up to you whether or not you gain back the weight you released after your fast ends.

Is it safe for me to exercise while I am water fasting?

Fasting is a personal thing and each individual person fasts for different reasons. Again it depends on you, this is your fast. Do what you feel is right for you.

Personally when I water fast I do it for spiritual reasons. While I water fast I like my body to rest, heal, and learn. Water fasting for me is a time of rest. During a water fast, weakness is normal and you should get as much rest as possible.

Some may experience a rush of energy, if this is you then use it, exercise as you feel fit. Exercise creates oxygen within your blood stream, when we exercise the pumping action of our muscles, will flush the lymph and the cells within our body, all that metabolic waste will move out of your body much faster when you exercise. On the other hand over doing exercise while on a fast can lead to your body feeling tired and weak for a few days. Not a good thing for the overall healing process you are striving to accomplish during this fast.

If you are someone who experiences energy loss, limit yourself. Doing yoga poses, stretches, or perhaps going for a short walk are more gentle ways of getting some exercise. Practice deep breathing, this will help your core muscles. Try to avoid intense physical activities though because fasting is a time for repair and healing within your body. Self control and rest is vital during a fast.

How much should I drink while I am fasting?

Are you juice feasting or juice fasting? If you choose to feast then you should drink one gallon or more of fresh juices each day and as much water as possible. Most of your juices should be green juices. With juice feasting you are healing your body on a whole new level, you will be flushing out toxins and dis-ease from within your body. You are filling your body full of nutrients and the healing begins from day one.

If you are juice fasting then your body and digestive tract will be shutting down and healing is created in your body. When this happens the body concentrates on healing rather than working overtime digesting what you feed it. When you juice fast you are allowed to drink as much as you feel necessary to feel full. During your first couple of days of fasting you will find yourself automatically drinking more juices and water. As time goes on you will see that your body (actually your mind) will want much less juice. For example the first day you may find yourself drinking 3 quarts of fresh juice and later in your fast you may only be able want one quart a day. Go with the flow and listen to your body.

Will my stomach shrink?

Many of us stretch our stomachs when we eat. We overeat causing the muscles that surround our stomachs to stretch. They loose all the elasticity they once had. When you fast you are repairing these muscles and returning them to their natural state. Your stomach will be flat and when you begin to eat you will only want to eat what your stomach can hold. Of course you can choose to go back to overeating again after your fast, once again stretching those muscles.

My sister fasts all of the time. I worry that she has an eating disorder or that she may be damaging her body?
What can I do about this?

First of all you need to educate yourself. I will add some fasting links you can read at the bottom of this page. Read, educate and inform yourself. This will not only help you to better understand what she is doing but also give you a greater knowledge regarding the level of health she is receiving from her fast. Your sister could use your support, so get yourself involved in a positive light, this way you don't have to worry so much. After all this could create a lot of heart ache and negativity within you and possibly within your relationship as well.

It sounds like your sister may be a faster and not an eater. This is okay. I am a faster, I would much rather feed my body with pure, whole fruit and vegetable juices than to eat a "real" meal. Do not forget that drinking a quart of fresh juice is a meal. You get all the calories and nutrients your body needs to survive.

Yes it is true some people who fast have eating disorders. For example if they are doing extended fasts often - breaking their fast to binge on foods, especially binging on processed foods (this means cooked foods)… and then go right back to fasting to try to lose the weight they gained from binging. Fasting, binging and then fasting again should is a concern. We need to be mindful of this when we break our fast. If this is you, you need to seek professional assistance - perhaps attending a fasting centre to have some good one-on-one support before doing another fast alone.

How do I begin to feed my body after fasting?

Its very important to start slowly and simply! If you have been water fasting you will need to begin introducing, fresh raw juices for a few days, then gradually re-introduce raw foods one at a time (mono eating), maintaining mindfulness and being consciousness at all times. Your body will tell you when to move on to other raw foods, so be sure to listen.

If you have been juice fasting then breaking your fast with a soft fruit like soaked prunes or a watered down green smoothie is a good choice. Remember, your body has been resting and the more gently you wake it, the better!

Melissa, what are some personal experiences that you have had during your fasts?

Let me fist say that fasting is much like a Surgeon's knife. Only with fasting there is no pain involved, no time lost from your family, no time off from work. Fasting is a natural way to truly great health.

There are many things I have experienced from fasting, two of them is weight release and reducing the toxins within my body. I released these from a combination of fasting and eating raw foods. As the body breaks down its fat reserves, it also eliminates stored toxins. (Fat cells hold a lot of toxins.) I am so pleased to be rid of all those heavy toxins.

I have rid my body of Fibromaylagia, with fasting and adequate amounts of Vitamin D also known as sunshine. My teeth and gums have returned to a healthy state, my skin is clear and smooth, my eyes are bright and clear. Fasting has made me realize just how important our Mother the Earth is, and what She gifts us with each day.

My mind is free and clear. Before I began fasting my mind wandered. I found myself doing many things at one time and never completing anything. Now I focus on one thing, complete it, celebrate and move on to the next task life brings me. My life and home are organized, my mind is organized. Before fasting - I was a mess!

I have not had any more symptoms of asthma in years, and as you probably already know from my interview with Timeless Spirit - I am cancer free. Fasting is the BEST thing ever!

I respect, honour and love myself. I am confident and love living my life. I appreciate all things around me and I am grateful to be living each and every of the 1440 minutes we are gifted with each day. I realize that tomorrow is an assumption, so I/we live right now today. Fasting has brought me closer to my family. I love how fasting has allowed me to grow spiritually as well.

Melissa's Tips for fasting success:

Informative Fasting Links:

Soil and Health Library has many free ebook downloads here.

Scientific Fasting by Linda Burfield Hassard click here.

Modern Live Juice Therapy by Johnny Lovewisdom click here.

MacFadden's Fasting, Hydrotherapy and Exercise click here.

Natural Hygiene, Man's pristine way of life by Herbert Shelton click here.

Raw Love
Melissa Gilbert

You can read Melissa's interview in March 2008's issue of Timeless Spirit Magazine.

Melissa Gilbert is a Raw food Chef, a Certified Raw Food Nutritional Consultant, and a Raw Food Coach. She is also a Certified Personal Trainer and works with her client's nutritional goals as well as getting them established in an exercise regime.

Currently getting her Bachelor of Science in Holistic Nutrition and taking classes to become a Hygienic Doctor, she is mother to toddler Alex, and wife to David as well as mother to 2 grown children and 3 grandchildren.

In her spare time Melissa enjoys the great outdoors, mountain hiking, biking, snow shoeing, camping in the backwoods and sailing. A Shaman in training and Tarot card enthusiast, Melissa (and her family) practices Buddhism with Pagan influences. If you would like to learn more about Raw Foods you can reach Melissa via email or visit one of her websites: Love Raw Life, www.rawtoddleralex.blogspot.com, and www.rawmom.blogspot.com.

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Any advice given is for informational purposes only.