In July I came back from a delightful 7 days at Amchara fasting retreat located of the serene island of Gozo in Malta. I arrived late in the evening and was shown to my sweet apartment to be my home for the next 7 days, delicious hot soup was waiting for me in my room and after a lovely hot shower I dived in to the huge bed and slept soundly until 6 am when I woke to head off on a silent walk with a few guests and Yana, the yoga teacher. We strolled contemplatively towards the sea as the sun rose and warmed our skin, I adopted a calming breath patterns to consciously slow my London speed brain and body down to Maltese retreat pace. After a leisurely 45minutes we were back feeling calmed and refreshed ready for an awakening yoga class, much needed after a 4 hours Ryanair plane journey.
The first juice, a green supreme one, was served at 9am and tasted delicious! Fuelled by my delicious juice I went through the Health Check that Amchara provide for each client testing my Heart Variability, Vitality and Thyroid with a ThyroidFlex machine as well as a thorough case taking where the resident Naturopath went through my medical history and advised me on how to approach my stay. Once that was complete is was time for a delicious carrot juice with ginger at midday. A snooze and a swim brought me to the 3pm juice of powerful beetroot and fennel before yoga and a sunset walk. The evening was a potassium vegetable broth to soothe me to bed. Each day was much the same in many respects, however days two and three laid me flat and I struggled to stay awake and make it to twice daily yoga.
This was my body starting to shift gears in terms of metabolism as well as releasing the toxins stored in my adipose tissue, or fat. I slept and slept and slept, dreamt of food and then slept some more.
Day four I woke feeling refreshed and energised, like I had had my body returned to me after a good MOT. I no longer felt hungry and jumped up for a morning run along the cliffs just before 6am. The next few days were bliss and I was no longer hungry and weak but filled with energy and an elated feeling. For some people this switch may happen faster and for some slower depending on the individuals metabolism and toxic load.
Fasting has a number of benefits mainly associated with the flush of toxins as well as something called Autophagy, or self eating. When the body realises that it is no longer getting nutrients through normal diet it turns inwards and starts looking around for spare scraps, these are in the form of sub optimally functioning cells and organelles. The body breaks down these microstructures and utilises the nutrients that come from digesting them for its essential needs allowing the stronger more efficient cells to continue working properly. This spring clean means that we reduce the reactive oxygen species that are emitted by unhealthy cells.
Allowing the body a rest from digestion frees up energy for healing and repair, essential to our health. It is estimated that up 65% of our energy is used for digestion of a heavy meal by the digestive organs, something you might have noticed yourself. Fasting itself certainly does not “cure” anything, however it does free up energy and allow for essential maintenance to be carried out across the body systems and tissues, including clearance of metabolic wastes as I mentioned above, elimination and excretion of toxins we consume and are exposed to on a daily basis.
Linking into this juice or liquid fasting can be excellent for weight-loss, as long as a healthy mental approach accompanies if not, we can start to see yo-yoing on the scales and body composition. When we free up more energy we can move more easily, feel more energised and so leads to an improved energy expenditure balance. There are different ways to approach a liquid fast but no matter the format you chose it is always a good idea to do a pre-fast preparation. You can Click here for the link to my pre-fast preparation post that outlines how to get ready for a fast.
Intermittent fasting has shown many health benefits and is now being adopted by many for health as well as weight loss. Next week you can find out more about intermittent fasting in my blog.
So for these reasons, I am a strong advocator of fasting and think that unless health reasons prohibit it, most humans on earth should include an annual fast to ensure a yearly cellular spring clean occurs. If you would like help and advice on fasting and how to go about it please don’t hesitate to contact me.
You can find juice, soup and smoothie recipes here to create your own fast, however, I strongly advise you to book in a free 20minute chat with me or contact your local naturopath before embarking on a fast as it may be detrimental to some people’s health and a different route may be better advised.