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Many people have the desire to do a short fast (three to five days) at home, but are afraid to embark on it for various reasons. It is a wise precaution. To help those I have written this information.

Those who have any chronic kidney or heart condition, sugar diabetes, low blood-sugar or hypoglycaemia, or any other serious ill health, please fast under supervision. Do not attempt to do even short fasts without asking your practitioner. Long fasts must never be attempted except under proper supervision.

Recently a doctor from a hospital in Santa Dominica (Caribbean Island) West Indies, rang me up at 11 p.m. saying he had a woman in hospital who had fasted herself for 50 days and was dying. He had tried to feed her but she was vomiting and could not keep her food down. He was told about me and rang me up for my advice on how to break her fast successfully. With my advice and a bit of luck, we managed to pull this woman around and she is now well. One can be over-enthusiastic and go off the deep end, if one has inadequate knowledge.

For those who are wanting to do a short fast for cosmetic reasons, merely to give a much needed rest to the digestive system as well as to the whole body, it is better to eat nothing but fresh fruit for a couple of days before actually commencing a fast. This is to accustom the body to do without the many stimulants (e.g. tea, coffee, sugar, heavy flesh food diet, smoking, etc.) that people do take as a rule unless they are already living hygienically. To go on a fast straight away, ordinary people would have various withdrawal symptoms like headaches, nausea, prostration and a feeling of lethargy and tiredness, etc. Also two days on nothing but fresh fruit will help to evacuate the bowels of various toxic debris and start with a comparatively cleaner bowel.

As soon as you commence the fast, cut down on all your heavy physical and mental activities. Learn to relax, catch up with your correspondence, listen to good music, or draw or paint or just laze about. If you feel like it, go to bed and rest. Resting physically is very important when doing a fast. Many people rush about doing too much whilst fasting and it is not conducive to successful fasting.

Drink nothing but purified or distilled water as and when the body dictates that you are thirsty. Do not make the mistake that many do, to drink pints and pints of water, because they are told it will flush out the toxins. That is a fallacy. Do not make the mistake of not drinking at all, because there can be a danger in dehydrating tissues. A rough guide is a pint of water a day. Sip your water a little at a time during the course of the whole day. Don’t just gulp it down in a mighty deluge.

Go to bed early, don’t watch late night movies on the TV. Rest your eyes and the brain.

If the sun is out an hour of sunbathing per day will enhance the fast.

If the fast is during cold weather, try to keep warm. A warm room or hot water bottle or electric blanket in bed will prevent you from chilling. A chilly atmosphere is hard on the body, especially when fasting.

Curtail all social meeting or, better still, cut them out to prevent you from telling people that you are fasting. It avoids unnecessary explanations, a lot of hot air and arguments, and conserves energy, which is of paramount importance when fasting.

A brisk rubdown or a quick warm shower is permissible. It helps you to feel clean, when the body is eliminating and all the junk is coming out.

You may have a coated tongue, slightly raised temperature, a sore throat, a few skin eruptions, bad breath and a felling of weakness or dizziness or being light-headed. Do not fret, these are all symptoms, these are the results of the fast as the body tries to purify itself. Do not be alarmed if the bowels do not move for a few days. Do not rush to take your favourite laxatives, enemas, colonic irrigation or what have you. The bowels will move and with greater alacrity after the fast is broken.

Do not use toothpaste, dentifrice, mouthwash, gargles, chewing-gum to cleanse away the foul taste and bad breath that you may encounter.

Some people may find slight palpitation of the heart, or bouts of depression. Do not worry. Deep slow rhythmic breathing and doing things slowly will ease the heart thumping. As for depression, you can look at it this way. Life is not always a high, a little bit of self-examination does you no harm.

With lethargy will come sometimes a complete disinclination to sexual activity. Both are temporary and once the fast is broken, energy and sexual activity asserts itself with geat vigour.

The breaking of the fast and living after the fast are ten times m ore important than the fast itself. However much good the fast has accomplished, it will be nullified with wrong behaviour on your part,whilst breaking the fast and after the fast.

Repeat short fasts are not recommended, especially if the diet after the fast is conventional and full of “junk foods”.

To enhance the value of the fast it is advisable to adhere to a healthier eating pattern than before.

Short fasts can be broken by consuming either freshly extracted fruit and vegetable juices or by eating nothing but fresh fruits for a day or two after the fast. Then normal eating can be resumed.

Too quick a transition from fasting to full dietary can cause bouts of indigestion and other functional trouble.

Do not, repeat DO NOT, break your fast by consuming tea, coffee, hot chocolate, herb teas, alcohol, etc. Avoid concentrated solid food like nuts, cheese, bread, meat, etc., to break the fast. Skimmed milk, or live natural yoghurt watered down, can be used for breaking the fast, if juices or fresh fruit are unavailable.

Avoid eating heartily for at least twenty-four to forty-eight hours after breaking the fast.

Eat small quantities at a time. Chew well and don not gulp your food down. After the fast the body is in no shape for high jinks of that kind. If you do, you can suffer from a severe stomach cramp, gas and indigestion. Coax the digestive juices and enzymes to be secreted naturally and slowly rather than demand instant gratification.

Re activity also, take it easy. Do not rush into vigourous activity soon after the fast however more energetic you feel. Build up to your activities - be they athletic or sexual.The vigour after the fast is your recompense for allowing the body a temporary respite from its hard work and daily grind.

May you enjoy you fast and may it add life to your years!

Printed with kind permission from Dr Keki Sidhwa.

This chapter was taken from The Quintessence of Natural Living with permission from the author. (page 422)

Copyright 1994