The Bible describes our body as “the temple of the Holy Spirit.” If a temple is to last the duration, it needs regular maintenance. I like to think of my time of fasting as a spring cleaning and often visualize a broom sweeping through my body and getting rid of all the debris that should not be there. I like to fast for between 5 and 7 days along with each of the four seasons. This is common practice in places like Scandinavia. After the excess of Christmas I am always eager for my winter fast. The other fasts take a little more motivation, but the results never disappoint. Not only do I lose weight, but I also experience rejuvenation of body, soul and spirit. I know when my detox is complete because my skin becomes very smooth and soft to the touch, an outer indication of the cleansing that has occurred internally.
In preparation for my fast, I try to block out a week when there are no social events, stress levels are low and I can stay fairly close to home. Ideally I would prefer to go to a retreat to fast, but reality is that life has to go on as normal. I work from home so understand that this may be a little more challenging in the work environment, particularly where physical work is involved. Fasting Friday through Sunday is an option. However it is important to note that if fasting for healing, detox mostly occurs during the first 3 days, and healing kicks in thereafter. My dilemma when on medication was how to fast. I would drink vegetable juice, take pills and then drink juice again. I found that I was able to cut down my medication after each fast. Ideally, a physician, who understands the practice of fasting, should be available to guide those on medication, and if necessary monitor progress. I have found over time that I understand my body very well and am able to listen and know when to begin and end my fast. When a fast is complete, it is very important to slowly reintroduce foods, and I find this often takes the most discipline.
Types of fasts
There are many different types of fasts. The Daniel fast involves eating raw foods while the absolute fast restricts all food. The normal fast is the most common, and this involves the use of liquids only. I try to vary my four fasts throughout the year. When coconuts are growing outside my window, I fast for 5-7 days on coconut juice, sometimes making it into a fermented drink. Alternatively I use smoothies and liquid only organic soups or home made broths. When my body is relatively clean, I fast on just water. Most commonly I use a combination of mostly organic green vegetable juices, water with lemon and herbal detox teas. In preparation for my fast I cut out caffeine, and the week prior add more raw foods to my diet. Last year I foolishly jumped into a fast without adequate preparation, developed an awful detox migraine, and promptly had to rush to throw up at the end of a ladies’ Bible study – not a good way to endear others to the benefits of fasting.
On my most recent liquids only summer fast, I woke on day six with an incredible buzz of energy, my mind felt totally refreshed, and I experienced a powerful time with the Lord. I find that each fast varies considerably. Traditionally, day three is the toughest, but that is not always the case. Sometimes I feel so close to the Lord that I don’t want to end the fast. I try to always journal my fasting experience and spend time in intercessory prayer standing on Mark 9:29 which says “This kind can only come out by prayer and fasting.”
Some of my favorite books on fasting are The Miracle of Fasting by Dr Paul Bragg, God’s Chosen Fast by Arthur Wallis and Fasting and Eating for Health by Joel Fuhrman, MD
Andrea Goff hosts Choosing Joy, a support group for people dealing with ongoing medical conditions, pain, anxiety or depression. For information, contact [email protected].