Christ fasted, Buddha fasted, Pythagoras fast … These fasts, however, had a completely different purpose than that of many of us. Is starvation really a good way to lose weight quickly and detox?
Today, when food is available almost anywhere and anytime, we commit the sin of gluttony more often. To eat dinner, you don’t have to go to the fields and dig potatoes, or run through the woods to hunt some game. It is enough to order a meal by phone or visit the nearest shop or bar. As a result, we eat too much and therefore not only gain weight, but also feel guilty. It lowers our self-esteem and spoils our mood. A hunger strike comes to the rescue. And not only as a way to get rid of unnecessary kilograms, but also remorse. It is like a penance that allows you to be cleansed of sin. But is it healthy?
Purification by starvation
Since the dawn of time, man has purified himself in various ways to get rid of his guilt. In almost all cultures, there are rites of spiritual renewal – washing, burning, incensing. They are the best remedy for remorse due to mistakes or omissions, and therefore allow you to feel more comfortable. Fasting is also such a ritual. Christ fasted in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. The Buddha did it too. Starvation was used by Chinese, Tibetan, Arab, Greek and Roman sages. Pythagoras fasted once a year for 10 days. Hippocrates did not allow the sick to eat until the first signs of recovery appeared. Fasting occurs in all religions with varying degrees of restrictiveness. In our European Christian tradition, fasting begins after the winter, during which we celebrate carnival lavishly, and lasts until Easter. Then we limit our food, we eliminate meat or sweets. Muslims do not eat all day during Ramadan, they do it only after sunset. Even aside from religion, today, wishing to get rid of the effects of collective sin, which is environmental pollution, we stop eating for a while to cleanse the body of harmful pigs that have been brought about by the development of agriculture and animal husbandry. This is to protect us from the cancer epidemic, the causes of which are also believed to be in the development of civilization.
Proponents of natural medicine claim that starvation frees the body from toxins, harmful deposits and excess cholesterol. Those who used it assure that hunger heals, rejuvenates and prolongs life. Its operation affects both every single cell and the psyche. One of the most famous promoters of starvation treatment, GP Malakhov, a TV presenter, promoter of a healthy lifestyle, author of many publications on natural methods of healing the body and self-healing, explains the stages of fasting in his book “Healing Fasting”. First, the body gets rid of stagnant water, table salt and calcium salts. Then the diseased tissue, abdominal fat and muscles are used up.
According to Małachow, this is the autolysis process that frees the body from toxins and deposits. Then intracellular cleansing takes place. The kidneys, intestines and lungs work very intensively during fasting, removing from the body poisonous products of fat decomposition – acetone, fatty acid, proteins – tyrosine and tryptophan, as well as phenylalanine, phenol, cresol, and indium. All these toxic substances have an unpleasant odor. The body also gets rid of pesticides, heavy metals, and radionucleotides. Małachow claims that the lungs then excrete about 150 various toxins in a gaseous state. The “starving marathon runners” claim that the maximum time without food is 40 days.
Supporters of moderate fasting recommend to do it once a month for one day and in a delicate version, i.e. with fruit and vegetable juices instead of just water. A more extreme cleansing takes a week.
What do nutritionists and doctors say?
Nutritionists and doctors are not supporters of starvation. – Our brain and muscles need glucose to work – says Anna Nejno, family doctor and nutritionist. It should also be remembered that the lack of protein causes the burning of our own muscles, and these, after all, eat up a lot of calories, not allowing them to feed fat tissue.
– A hunger strike does not make sense from a medical point of view. It can, however, make you feel unwell. By burning fats, the body will produce ketone bodies, which will make us feel euphoric after the initial period of headaches and bad mood. However, such treatment may result in many side effects, such as gout attacks in people with elevated levels of uric acid or avitaminosis and decreased immunity – adds the doctor.
Avitaminosis can manifest as disfiguring lesions, affects the appearance of hair and nails, and increases the susceptibility to infection. Dietitian Zofia Urbańczyk says that the imposition of such large restrictions is always associated with the yo-yo effect. Starvation will cause weight loss, but we’ll get back to it just as quickly. In addition, the starved body slows down the metabolism. Specialist in the field of toxicology, Dr. Piotr Burda warns that the starved organism reacts differently to drugs, for example, the painkiller paracetamol is more toxic for a starved person.
Does starvation cleanse?
A healthy body cleans itself. Elimination diets do not, because cleansing is a process that must be done all the time. Our body is equipped with the appropriate mechanisms for this. The lungs, kidneys, liver, intestines and skin remove harmful substances. – You cannot cleanse the blood with herbs, intestinal lavage, or starvation. If a patient has kidney problems, his body becomes poisoned and he must undergo dialysis. If the liver does not work, it must be transplanted – explains the hematologist Prof. Wiesław Wiktor Jędrzejczak.
“Suppose someone has an excess of mercury derivatives, which we consume with some sea fish from contaminated waters, then drinking huge amounts of water will not wash them out of body fat. Due to the very slow exchange between biological fluids, even within a few days, a significant amount of them will not be removed from deposits in the body – says the internist prof. Zbigniew Gaciong. Detox, or detoxification in medicine, is primarily about stopping the supply of poisonous toxins to the body.
– If someone has alcohol poisoning, we wait for the liver to metabolize it. Of course, in some cases, e.g. in acute lead or cyanide poisoning, we introduce into the patient’s bloodstream substances that bind heavy metals and are excreted with them within a few hours – explains the toxicologist Dr. Piotr Burda.
One-day fast for body and soul
Dr. Burda believes that a one-day fast is healthier than slimming products available on the Internet. Dr. Nejno adds that it can be good for our health. However, she points out that there are no miraculous shortcuts. So how to effectively cleanse your body? – A rational detox is a healthy diet, physical activity and avoidance of harmful factors – doctors reply.
It doesn’t make sense to do this occasionally. Sports practiced once a month do not have a major impact on health, it can at most be the cause of an injury. Eating fruit and vegetables once a month will not improve your health either. A healthy lifestyle is the best way to support the body’s natural cleansing processes. Especially that – as Prof. Gaciong – about our health in 40 percent inherited genes decide, in 20 percent. restorative medicine, and the remaining 40 percent. it’s a lifestyle. – We have no influence on the first factor, and the second factor to a very small extent. The third, however, depends entirely on us – says prof. Gaciong.
Psychologists also have nothing against one-day fasts. They believe that activities that do not harm health and improve well-being allow you to get the so-called health welfare. And because we live under constant stress, such redemption of faults can make us feel better.