When doing a fast, one of the first and most important things is not to jump right in. It's essential to prepare yourself for it, physically and mentally. That way your body won't be shocked by the experience of suddenly not having any food come in. It's also equally important for the mind to become fully aware of that it's for real. Imagine the typical new years resolution being conceived between a glass of champagne and a cigarette, that from the following day on one would become an ascetic saint sitting on a column. Of course it's never going to happen!
The Buchinger Fast I follow, which my dad and my sister are trained experts in, recommends a preparation of roughly half the fasting time for preparation, as well as for preparation for normal eating following the fast. So since I want to fast for a week, I take three days to get ready for it, and after I'm done fasting, I will take another three days to spare my body the shock of suddenly having to digest heavy things.
I want to use my own example of easing into the fast, as I think it illustrates well how you can gradually progress from the usual daily abuse of your body into the cleansing process. My last day before preparation was marked by a sleepless night on a bus, followed by another day of tiring bus ride, only to arrive to a joyful reunion with my friends on the coast. And yes, that night involved some drinking and smoking.
Prep Day One: No More Toxins!
Once the decision to fast has been made, it's time to cut out the most harmful crap we like to poison ourselves with. Alcohol and other hard drugs are the most obvious things here, but ideally this should also cover coffee, candy, and smokable plants, be it tobacco, cannabis, or oregano. Last but certainly not least are the toxins our bodies make due to everyday stress. This may be the hardest part to cut out.
These are all just general guidelines however. To each their own, as they say. In the first fasting group I remember a few participants who followed through the entire fast while taking occasional smoke breaks, or others who claim a morning coffee is perfectly acceptable for the fast. And clearly, I don't see why a strong addiction should keep someone from doing a fast, or turning it into a walk through hell. To offer a counter example, though, when my wife came to visit me and join me for a fast in New Zealand, she completely gave up smoking. Not just for that week, but the subsequent weeks of traveling together. Only when she returned to her accustomed lifestyle did she go back to smoking a pack a day...
Prep Day Two: Cut The Greases
After having foregone my normal toxins for a day, except for one cup of morning coffee, and having assessed the logistical situation, I made the decision to actually go through with the fast. Though no one is going to join me this time (work on the property is already well on the way and the first volunteer is scheduled to arrive on Monday), the other property where I helped with the retaining wall two years ago is perfect for this undertaking. It is very quiet, located right on the ocean, and the forested mountains are great for walks. And since my friend Julia's parents are staying here as well, I won't be completely alone.
**Yesterday was my second preparation day, so I selected foods that are low on the grease. Once again, there are no absolutes, and a bit of oil you'll find even in a carrot. But nothing compared to what's in a walnut or an avocado! So focusing on proteins and carbohydrates, I didn't go hungry:
My breakfast was my only cup of coffee plus two hard boiled eggs, without the yolk, and for lunch I had a nice salad without dressing, consisting of raw cabbage, cucumbers, radishes, and a big load of tuna (in water, not oil, of course). Dinner was a combination of all things mentioned. I really wanted to indulge in proteins, cause this was going to be my last time of having them.**
I also took advantage of the Saturday to go to the nearest town of Pochutla to buy whatever I would need for the fast. It was a wise decision, as merely being in that town is a serious stress factor. Especially combined with the heat, I would not want to go there while fasting.
Prep Day Three: A Diet of Pure Carbs
Finally, this bring me to today, when my food for the day is made up of pure carbohydrates. Once again, there is no such thing as pure, but for our purposes we can ignore the minute amounts.
When I say carbohydrates most people think of bread, pasta, rice, and anything made of grains. All those things, however, are such simple carbs, that they are closer to candy than veggies. Corn tortillas are a bit more complex, so I consider a few tostadas in moderation to be acceptable. Otherwise, it's all about veggies: cabbage, radishes, carrots and beetroot are so full of flavor that you don't feel like missing out on anything if you eat them raw.
Another thing I should mention is fruit. Though normally they are super healthy, most fruits are way too sweet for the fast. Once again, they fall into the realms of candy. Too bad with so many tasty mangoes, bananas, mameys, guanabanas, and all other delicious tropical fruits the Mexican coast is so abundant with. Never mind, after my fast they'll be even more tasty!
The Apple: Signaling the Start of the Fast
The last Prep Day is also a bit shorter, since dinner is essentially reduced to one apple. This symbolic ”last supper” is a highly important sign, telling our body, as well as our mind, that it's for real, and now we're ready: For the next seven days we won't be putting food into our stomachs. So I have selected a beautiful specimen of a Golden Delicious look-alike, which I will savor passionately tonight, squeezing all the joy of eating out of it. After all, there won't be anything else coming over the next week.
Follow my Whole Fast in This Series:
Three Days of Preparation
Day One - Three Square Meals a Day
Day Two - Flushing Out Your Body
Day Three - Keeping Active During the Fast
Day Four - Relaxing the Right Way
Day Five - Lead Yourself Into Temptation
Day Six - What to Expect After the Fast
Day Seven - Time for the Break-Fast
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