I had a client ask whether fasting is the same thing as doing a detox and if it’s not, what is the benefit of one over the other? What a great question! Here’s what I hope is a simple explanation of what each is and when you should choose one over the other.
So here’s a quick explanation and comparison of the two:
Fasting is abstaining from something – whether all food for a time and consuming just liquids, or a particular food or habit. For instance Catholic people fast from meat on Fridays during Lent. You can do a 3 day juice fast where you don’t eat any solid food and just have fresh veggie and fruit juices or green juices. Fasting will result in detoxification just by its very nature.
You can fast from worrying or a particular recurring thought, like “I’m not good enough.” You can fast from shopping, worrying or even watching the news for a period of time.
Fasting will result in detoxification, but you can detox without fasting.
Detoxing can be as simple as eliminating or avoiding certain foods, drinks or habits that introduce toxins into your being. So you can detox your body by choosing organic produce, grass fed or wild caught animal products and avoiding any over-the-counter drugs and processed foods so that you reduce the amount of toxins you introduce into your body. You can simply eat all organic produce – go on a vegetarian or vegan diet for a week or two to detox, drinking lots of clean water. Because you can eat while you detox, you can sustain it longer which will make the cleansing that much more effective.
You can also intentionally include specific detoxifying foods like chlorella, cilantro, lemon, garlic and dark, leafy greens like kale, which are known detoxifiers and even include detoxifying supplements to boost your results.
You can detox your spirit and soul, which is something I address in all my coaching and in the Today’s the Day plan. You can detox your spirit of bitterness or resentment; you can detox your mind of fearful thoughts or worry, you can detox your will by cutting out a destructive habit like gossiping or detox your emotions of anger by paying attention to those things that trigger that emotion and intentionally choosing a different response.
Often I use the term “cleansing” as a sort of catch-all that encompasses both fasting and detox. So when should you choose a fast? I find doing a 3 day fast periodically helps me reset my taste buds and appetite, as well as getting my physical appetite under the control of my spirit. It’s also a great way to jump start a new food plan if you are trying to lose weight or a way to get back to normal after a vacation or holiday. You will also be detoxing so you are killing two birds with one stone.
A detox tends to be more of a long term thing, lasting weeks or more, so if you have a problem like candida for instance, a detox diet that eliminates certain foods like sugar and grains and intentionally includes certain specific supplements would be the way to go. It is also an effective way to transition into cleaner eating. If you find yourself struggling with recurring or chronic symptoms, a detox is in order. In that way if you can eliminate certain foods, you will be better able to identify what might be triggering your distress.
Have you ever done a fast or detox? How did you do it?
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