Americans eat way too much fat, way too much sugar, and way too much protein. In fact, Americans simply eat too much of everything. The way out of this dilemma is so easy that we usually miss it: consider occasionally fasting.

We could spend all day talking about the value of fasting, but only you can find out for yourself what it can do for you. Experience is your best teacher, and improved health is always the best proof. A fast will cost very little money, and may well be one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself.

Fasting should be with your doctor’s approval, and is not for growing children, and clearly not for anyone pregnant or nursing. People who are taking certain medications and people who have other compelling medical reasons should not fast. This still leaves the majority of us.

The following is a safe, comfortable fast according to Andrew Saul, author of “Fire Your Doctor, How to be Independently Healthy”

21-DAY CYCLE FOR CLEANSING AND GOOD HEALTH

A “cycle” is made up of an eight day juice fast, three days to come off the fast, and then ten days on a three-quarters raw food diet.  (8 + 3 + 10 = 21 days.)  This really works.

FASTING First, fast.  Eight days may seem like a very long time to go without food. Actually, for the first day or two of a fast, your body uses up the food remaining in your digestive tract from previous meals. For the next couple of days, your body uses stored food reserves from your liver. This means that a fast doesn’t really begin until about the fifth day. Now an eight day fast is closer to a three day fast, and attainable by nearly everyone.  (According to A. Saul: “Diabetics and persons on medication requiring meals should check with their physician, of course. Fasting is not for children, pregnant women or nursing women. If there is a medical reason why you should not fast, then don’t. Check with your doctor first.”)

Since “fasting” conjures up visions of starvation, it is important to realize that we are talking about JUICE fasting here. Freshly made vegetable juices, taken in quantity, are not a beverage. They are a raw, highly digestible food.  It is ideal to have all the juice you want, without forcing yourself to drink it. The rules: “When you are hungry, drink juice.  When you are thirsty, drink juice also.”

JUICING It is generally a good idea to dilute your juice 50/50 with water. If you can afford filtered water, use it. If not, don’t worry… the goodness of the juices will carry you. Some people, including me, do not like the taste of diluted juice.  An alternative is to drink a glass of water, then drink a glass of juice. This gives the same effect, and tastes better. Be sure to drink the water first, for after the juice you may not want the water as much.

When we say “juice”, we generally are referring to vegetable juice, freshly prepared. Fruit juice tends to be too sweet for comfortable fasting.  However, there is nothing to stop you from experimenting and coming up with your own best regimen. As long as you get good results, HOW you get them is secondary.

You cannot buy freshly prepared vegetable juice in any store at any price… unless they literally juice the vegetables right in front of your eyes and you drink it down before they make you pay for it! Any juice in a carton, can or bottle has been heat treated and was certainly packaged at least a few hours ago. Even frozen juice is not fresh, then, is it? This means that you will need one essential and somewhat expensive appliance:  your own juicer.

JUICERS A juicer is not a blender.  A juicer makes juice; a blender makes raw baby food. There is nothing wrong with blending your foods. If you found such food to your liking, it would actually be very digestible. However, to make juice you need to extract the fluid part of the vegetable along with the vitamins, minerals and enzymes it contains. Therefore, you need a juice extractor. We are also not referring to a whirl-top orange juicer, either.

Be sure to get a really good juicer. Good juicers make tastier juices, faster. Good juicers also clean up more quickly than cheap juicers. I personally like the “Breville” brand juicer. It’s super easy to use and, especially important, to clean. And it will last you years.  All parts are dishwasher safe.

WHAT TO JUICE You can juice almost anything you can eat raw. Anything that’s on the Migraine Diet.  Vegetables are best, especially carrots, cucumbers, beets, zucchini squash, romaine lettuce, sprouts, celery. You may juice fruits also, naturally. Freshly made raw apple is great added to any juice. It is not generally a good idea to juice potatoes.

It is wise to peel vegetables that have been sprayed or waxed, such as cucumbers. Sprayed fruits are also good to peel before juicing. Carrots and other underground vegetables often do not need peeling.  Instead, give them a good scrubbing with a nylon-bristle vegetable brush while rinsing under tap water. Beets are the exception. Since beet skins are very bitter, it is wise to peel beets before juicing. A hint to save time: dip the beets for about 20 seconds in boiling water and then peel them… it’s much easier.

Your juice will taste the best if you drink it right after preparing it. I mean within moments! Fresh juice contains a great amount of raw food enzymes and vitamins, many of which are easily lost as the juice sits. So don’t let it sit! Drink it right down, with the thought that this is unbelievably good for you.

HOW MUCH JUICE TO DRINK Drink as much juice as you wish.  Remember that it is a food, not a beverage and that you can have as much as you want. There is little fear of over doing it.  It is, after all, hard to hurt yourself with vegetables!

A good rule of thumb is to drink three or four eight-ounce glasses of fresh juice a day (for an adult). The best time is right before a meal, or between meals.  Absorption of and benefit from the juice is highest then.

You will probably find that you will be urinating more as you drink more juices. That figures, doesn’t it?  You are taking in more liquid. You may also notice that you have more bowel movements now than you were previously accustomed to. This, too, is to be expected. Your body may well respond to all this nourishment by “cleaning house” a bit. More excretory symptoms would be the result. Ever notice how many trash cans you fill when you clean out the attic, basement or garage? Why, you hardly noticed all the rubbish you had stored in there until you went to clean it out.  The same is true, by analogy, with your body.

WHAT JUICES ARE BEST FOR YOU You may drink those juices that appeal to you the most.  To find out your favorites, try each of them!

CARROT juice is tasty and popular, and two glasses of carrot juice per day are highly beneficial. There is no need to peel your carrots if you first scrub them well with a tough brush. I recommend a vegetable brush with nylon bristles for this purpose.  Brush the daylights out of the carrots while rinsing them under water. This is quicker than peeling, and is less wasteful.

Carrot juice is very high in vitamin A. The vitamin A in carrots is actually “provitamin A” or carotene. Carotene is completely non-toxic, no matter how much you consume. The worst thing that can happen if you drink a huge amount of carrot juice is that you will turn orange.

No, really. You see, beta carotene is a natural pigment, a natural coloring. Excess carotene is stored in your skin until your body wants it and then turns it into active vitamin A as needed. An abundance of carotene in your skin makes you look orange. This condition is called “carotenosis” and is harmless. Okay, it looks odd to visit the folks (or the doctor) when you are orange. I know: when my son was little, he LOVED sweet potatoes, carrots and butternut squash to the point of orange skin. The relatives got a bit worried, but the coloration disappeared after we limited his orange veggies for a week or two. So, to get rid of the color, simply back off the carrot juice (and other orange vegetables) for a while and it will go away.  If someone thinks you are not well, tell them what you are doing. A doctor who thinks you have jaundice could then understand right away that you don’t.  Liver function tests would also confirm your good health.

Some folks have tried canned or bottled carrot juice and they didn’t like it. No wonder! Fresh juice tastes SO much better that there isn’t really any comparison.  I have two teenagers who WILL drink freshly-made carrot juice. Could there possibly be any higher recommendation than that?

CELERY juice is very tasty, but a bit high in sodium. Use small amounts of this juice to flavor the others. Juice celery leaves and all for the most benefit.

CUCUMBER juice is remarkably tasty.  It tastes rather different than a cucumber itself. Perhaps you will find that the taste reminds you of watermelon. Peel cucumbers before juicing to avoid the waxes applied to their skins to enhance their shelf life in supermarkets.

ROMAINE LETTUCE or BEAN SPROUTS will make an especially nutritious juice with a taste that is well worth acquiring. This “green drink” is loaded with minerals and chlorophyll.

ZUCCHINI SQUASH juiced up tastes better than you’d ever imagine. Peel first, and enjoy. You may well be the first on your block to be a zucchini-juice fan. It also keeps the juicer from clogging on higher-fiber vegetables.

BEET juice is, traditionally, a blood-builder.  In days past, herbalists looked at the blood-red beet as a tonic more so because it worked, rather than any color similarity. Beets must be peeled before juicing. Beet skins are very bitter. The beets, on the other hand, are quite sweet and make great juice. They will also permanently stain your juicer, so don’t try to remove that color by washing. More important, beet juice will color your bowel movements.

That lovely red color of fresh beets can cause genuine alarm when it is seen in the toilet water. I know someone who had forgotten that he’d had beet juice the day before. He could only figure that he had a terrible case of hemorrhoids when he looked into the toilet and saw that red, red water.  It was the beets, of course. When you have beet juice, remember not to be alarmed. Beet juice is widely used in the food industry as a natural coloring agent.  You can (literally) see why!

A hint: you will save time if you first carefully dip beets in boiling water before peeling them.

CABBAGE juice was used by Garnett Cheney, M.D. to cure bleeding peptic ulcers back in the 1950′s. (Cheney, G. (1952) “Vitamin U therapy of peptic ulcer.” California Medicine, 77:4, 248-252) Dr. Cheney’s patients drank a quart of cabbage juice a day and were cured in less than half the usual time… with no drugs whatsoever. Since then, cabbage juice has successfully been used for a variety of gastrointestinal illnesses. Colitis, spastic colon, indigestion, chronic constipation, certain forms of rectal bleeding and other conditions seem to respond well to the nutrients in cabbage juice.  Dr. Cheney called its healing factor “Vitamin U” (for unknown). More recently, the American Cancer Society has urged people to eat more of the cabbage/broccoli family of vegetables because of their protective effects against cancer. There may be something to this cabbage juice idea.  It certainly couldn’t hurt to try it.

Coming off the juice “fast” is best done by eating lightly for a while. Fruit, fruit salads, vegetable soups, cottage cheese and other light foods are appropriate at this point.  A good rule of thumb here is to eat only half as much as you want to at any one time… but eat twice as often.  This is for about three days.

For the ten day 75% raw food diet, you can eat all you want as long as three-quarters of it is uncooked. For the uncooked part of the diet, eat fresh, raw vegetables and fruits. Begin each meal with a large salad, perhaps a fruit salad for breakfast.  Then, when you’ve finished the salad, have whatever you want within reason. The 25% cooked portion could include brown rice, cooked vegetables including potatoes, sweet potatoes, yams, squash and other foods that you like.  Meat is not recommended, nor is chicken or turkey.

One of the best sources of flesh protein is seafood. Fish is a major source of important oils and other nutrients in addition to protein.  Shrimp and shellfish are good foods. Generally, it is wise to avoid eating a catch from questionably polluted waters, such as the Great Lakes. This is one statement that I look forward to striking from this writing when our fresh waters are cleaner.

If you don’t want to eat seafood, you do not have to. Eggs in moderation, raw cow’s milk, miso, bean sprouts are all good protein sources. The issue is not WHERE you get your protein but ARE YOU getting your protein.  If you are not yet a vegetarian, now is the time to move in that direction. If you currently don’t eat meat, good for you… and remember: get plenty of protein.

When you go out to eat, it’s easy to stay right on this program by eating at salad bars. Remember, try to make the other three-quarters of your diet fresh and raw.

All the strongest and longest-lived animals on earth are vegetarians, or close to it.

Give it a try – I know I am !

Julie

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