Many people think about fasting in January for a variety of reasons. Perhaps you need to renew your body and soul. Did you gain weight during the holiday season? Maybe you’re feeling sluggish or toxic and need to cleanse your body in short order. Or maybe you want to fast for spiritual reasons, such as a breakthrough in your personal life or for revival in this land.
Whatever your reasons for fasting, here are 10 tips to ensure you fast smart.
1) Prepare Your Mind
Before you begin, think about why you want to fast. What do you want to achieve? It’s important to have the right mindset before you start or you may lose heart early on. Pray for discipline and a strong will to complete the fast.
2) Stock Up
Shop for everything you’ll need before the day you begin. Not having everything you need on your ﬁrst day is a sure way to fail. If you’re doing a juice fast, for example, look at the recipes you’ll be using, and make sure your shopping list has all the ingredients.
3) Drink Water
Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of puriﬁed water while you are fasting so you can ﬂush away toxins and waste. This will also help you stay energized. Dehydration can cause you to feel tired and hungry.
4) Go Easy
Gentle exercise, such as walking, is good, but don’t overexert yourself. Your body is working hard to eliminate toxins, remove damaged cells and restore vitality. This important work is often not completed when we eat regular meals. That’s because the body focuses its attention on digestion throughout the day. Fasting frees your body from this daily chore so it can work on cleansing, repairing and healing. It’s like taking a week’s vacation to thoroughly clean your home.
While all this important work is going on inside, you want to give your body the rest it needs. Take more breaks. Avoid exhausting work. Go for walks. Get fresh air and sun. Go to bed early, as powerful healing hormones are released while you sleep. Relax before bed by taking a bath, reading a good book or listening to beautiful music.
5) Choose a Plan
Many people think fasting means a strict water fast. Some people even try to follow the model of some biblical heroes—no food or water, which can be dangerous. But there is more than one type of fast. Choose the one that is best for you.
Water fast. A strict water fast for more than two or three days is not recommended unless you can completely rest and are medically supervised.
Juice fast. Freshly made juice is rich in antioxidants that bind toxins so they don’t damage cells—and those antioxidants are critical, especially during a fast.
Unlike in biblical times, where the air, soil and water were virtually pure, we have thousands of different chemicals pouring into our atmosphere every year. Most of our food is sprayed with pesticides and packaged with preservatives, additives, dyes and ﬁllers. (Therefore, you ought to choose organic produce.) Our water is treated with chemicals, and our air is assaulted with industrial pollution.
Toxins are stored mainly in our fat cells. When we fast, those toxins are released in greater amounts. Without antioxidants to bind up free radicals, our cells can be damaged.
On the juice fast, you can drink vegetable juices, puriﬁed water, coconut water, veggie broth and herbal teas throughout the day. I emphasize vegetable juice because fruit juice has too much sugar, which can cause spikes and dips in blood sugar, leaving you tired. However, you can use a little fruit to ﬂavor and sweeten veggie juice recipes.
All this will keep you healthy, energized and hydrated. To keep from boredom, try new juice and green smoothie recipes, such as those in my book The Juice Lady’s Big Book of Juices and Green Smoothies.
Daniel fast. As described in Daniel 10:3, the prophet abstained for three weeks from delicacies, meat and wine, which would include all animal products and alcohol. This is a vegan diet, in other words, and includes abstaining from rich foods and desserts.
One meal a day. Everyone can fast for one meal or from certain foods. You can deny yourself coffee, sweets, soda pop, fast food, snack foods and junk food. None of these things are good for your body anyway. And if you can’t do a strict fast because of your age or health, choose instead to give up some of your favorite foods. You could also fast one meal a day and drink a veggie juice instead.