Editor’s note: Wellness Word is an informational column which is not meant to replace a health care professional’s diagnosis, treatment or medication.
In one of his first published articles, around 1855, Mark Twain wrote: “For a cold or the flu, a three day fast has never failed, though many a physician has”. Spas, sanitariums, fasting programs and juice therapies were a mainstay throughout Europe and the United States in Twain’s time up to the onset of World War Two.
The discovery of penicillin and other medical advances shifted the national health paradigm and tried and true natural health care approaches were mostly abandoned for modern medicine.
Since the 1950’s, fasting has been vilified in mainstream culture as “starvation” or “deprivation” and anything but a sensible practice. Science and logic disregard the fact that the instinct of humans and animals in trauma and illness leads to voluntary fasting.
While most world religions honor fasting as purification and spiritual practice, this has not deterred others to label it as extreme, if not dangerous. (It is a good idea to consult with your doctor or a health care professional before fasting.)
Documentaries such as “Forks over Knives” and “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead” are turning the public toward respect of optimum nutrition. Most published articles about juicing, smoothies, superfoods and plant-based diets cite the health benefits of moving away from our “Standard American Diet” (SAD) which for decades has been a blueprint for poor health as food choices have radically changed.
Today the tide has turned. People are awakened and science is paying respect to the many important micronutrients found in quality whole foods.
The Northwest Chiropractic and Naturopathic Clinic’s program involves a three day raw vegan diet, followed by five days on juices and water and then five days to return to whole chewable foods. Many people rediscover the joys of quality whole foods and hundreds have experienced significant improvements in chronic and acute health problems. These results and more are predictable with a juice “feast” as it is now popularly referred to.
Consuming a diet of two quarts of fresh organic vegetable juice every day has measurable, self evident and beneficial changes to overall health and internal biochemistry. Testing the urine of fasting participant; before they started, at day three of the raw diet and at day three of juices show that they did not need to be monitored for starvation or other clinical concerns as long as the faster follows specific guidelines.
On the pre-fast urine test, almost all participants were acidic with a specific gravity reflecting poor hydration. By the third day of juices nearly all participants were alkaline and reflected optimum hydration.
This is part of the reason that most conditions of inflammation and pain are improved by a juice diet. The innate ability of our body to improve its state of health with a decrease of digestive work and an improvement of nutrition is unquestionable.
The statement, “an improvement of nutrition” when talking about fasting is about juice combinations. It takes five pounds of produce to make 32 ounces of vegetable juice (one quart). Separating the fiber, pulp, some water and nutrients from the vegetable juice gives you a self-digesting drink that has the calories of one meal with the nutrients of nearly two and a half.
Not only are you well-nourished, but the body does not need to expend energy in digesting and processing the foods. Juicing is a nutritional bonus every time you drink. The body tips the scale from reactive response to proactive repair. It does this in an alkaline environment where the states of inflammation and pain are reduced through the wonders of chemistry. For one of the first times a national trend is following true and hard science. The benefits of a plant-based diet, rest from the daily challenges of cooked dense food and rejuvenation through fasting, will stand up to the challenges of diminishing food resources and quality.
If this new plant based trend is joined with education there may soon be a time when we prevent the many illnesses born of the SAD diet. Health will replace hype and wellness will be the new target, not just the management of disease.
Happy Springtime – Bloom!
Dr. Steven Bailey, N.D. 503.224.8083 or visit www.nwnclinic.com for more information.