Some what know me well know that once a year or so I give over my bad habits and try and give my corpus a chance to clean itself out and set itself straight. Last year was the intestinal flora rebalancing diet. The year before was the allergy elimination diet. Both were hard, and took several weeks, but did wonders for my body, which I appreciated, since I've only got the one and it's lost a touch of its native resilience what with the punishment and the aging and such.
This year I'm going back to my roots, and working my way up to a fast.
I've done several over the years. It's a nice way to give my body a break from digestion and let it process out some buildup. There's a fair bit of controversy over the practice, with the western medical establishment pretty decidedly anti- on the one hand, and many individual anecdotes on the other side quite fervently pro-.
As for myself, well, I suppose I come down on the pro side, though I'm cognizant of the arguments on the other side, most of which seem to revolve around the lack of studies showing that fasting and the like produce the results proponents promise and concern that the lack of nutrients, protein in particular, can, if taken to extremes, result in serious harm to the body. The second thing makes sense, certainly, and I'm certainly mindful of those risks (though having the amount of stored extra calories I carry around in my belly gives me a bit of wiggle room, I suspect). I have also, for what it's worth, not found any studies in my internetical peregrinations that purport to demonstrate the harm in fasting, so there's that, too.
This time around, I've decided to try a little something different. Previously, I've been a pretty staunch juice faster, which is just what it sounds like, pretty much. You stop eating food, but keep the nutrients coming in by juicing fruits and vegetables. You can also drink vegetable broth and herbal tea. It's good, because it keeps your blood sugar from doing crazy things while giving your digestive tract and your liver a chance to move some things along.
This year, I'm trying the Master Cleanse, also known as the Lemonade Diet. The notion is similar. You mix up a concoction of lemon juice, grade b maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water and drink it when you get hungry. The notion is that the lemon juice and cayenne help to unstick the gunk that gums up the works in your digestive tract and the water helps flush it out (with the help of senna-based teas, which stimulate intestinal peristalsis in a downward direction). The maple syrup, presumably, provides the calories.
Back in the day I used to just start right in, but over the years I've learned it's a bit kinder on your body to ease into things a bit. So for the last two weeks I've been what amounts to a teetotaling vegan. No booze, no coffee, no animal products. Minimal processed food, though I haven't been too strict on that (there have been chips and salsa; I'm not ashamed). Now, for the last couple of days, I've cut my diet down to just cooked vegetables and fruit and nuts. If it feels right, I will start fasting tomorrow.
I have also, in preparation for the coming process, started drinking the spicy lemonade, and I think it's working, though I don't know that I have yet really begun to work out the really deeply-embedded gunk.
As for how long I'm going to do it, my goal is to make it three days and see how it feels. As far as I can recollect, I've only ever made it five before. Most of the master cleanse sites I've visited and read say ten days at a minimum, but that seems long to me. Mostly I plan to just listen to my body and play it by ear.
So far it seems to be going okay, though I'm a little sluggish upstairs and undermotivated. There have been some headaches, and the intestinal flush process is still not quite underway in the way I'd like it to be, but overall I'm optimistic.
I'll let you know how it goes. Wish me luck.