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Wednesday
Oct282009

Give Your Body a Rest: Try a Mini-Fast

A diet rich in fresh, raw fruits and vegetables is the best path to excellent health.  But while it’s important to know what to eat, it’s just as important to know when (and when not) to eat.  Occasionally, there will be times when true hunger just doesn’t seem to present itself.  When this happens, even eating a perfect diet isn’t the right choice.  Taking a short break to allow your body to rest is a much better idea. 

A fresh start

A great habit to get into is a monthly one-day fast. Taking one day off from eating gives your digestive organs a much-deserved chance to relax.  It also has the added benefit of giving you a great opportunity to push the reset button. Believe me, even as dedicated as you are, there will still be occasions where you slip up and eat things you regret.  Don’t beat yourself up about it.  Big changes are always tough at first and you shouldn’t expect yourself to be perfect.  Just do your best, learn from your experiences, and be proud of your progress; then start with a clean new beginning. 

Energy reserves

Don't be concerned that going without food might cause you to "waste away".  Our bodies actually keep a day’s reserve of energy in the form of glycogen ready and available, so even if you go without eating for 24 hours you shouldn’t miss beat.  Remember, those headaches and fatigue symptoms you’re feeling when you haven’t eaten for a few hours aren’t really hunger at all, they’re the signs of your body detoxifying.  Once you've been eating a clean diet for a sustained period, you won't experience those symptoms anymore.  When I take a mini-fast, as long as I keep myself well-hydrated, I feel no ill-effects whatsoever because there's virtually no toxins for my body to flush out.  

Pick a busy day

You can pick any day for your mini-fast that works well for you, but I’d recommend choosing one where you’re busy or out of the house.  It can get really tempting to snack when you’re at home surrounded by food all day, but when you’re occupied with work, school or errands time flies by and you likely won’t have time to even think about food.  Start your mini-fast by eating a light dinner the evening before.  Remember to leave several hours between when you eat and when you go to bed or you won’t sleep very well.  The next morning, start by having a big glass of water and then go about your day.  Make sure you stay hydrated by keeping a water bottle with you.  Like I said, if you have a busy day planned you’ll be surprised how quickly time passes.  Before you know it, it’ll be dinner time again. That’s it, you’re done! 

Let your body rest

You’ll be amazed by how invigorating it feels to free yourself from the burden of a full stomach for a while.  You really can’t realize how much of an energy drain digestion is until you experience a short fast for yourself.  What I want you to understand is that there’s nothing to fear from skipping a few meals on occasion.  From your body’s perspective, there’s no such thing as "skipping a meal" anyway.  Just because we’ve developed social customs for eating at habitual times (whether we’re hungry or not) doesn’t mean it’s always in our best interests.  Instead of following this arbitrary routine, you should simply listen to your body.  If you know you aren’t hungry, don’t feel obligated to eat anyway.  Take the opportunity to let your body rest.

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Mike Dillman has lived a raw-vegan diet since 2004. Because he's experienced the learning curve firsthand, he wants to save you from making the same mistakes yourself. You can visit Mike's blog at Real-World-Raw.com to learn how easy it can be to make a raw-vegan diet fit your busy lifestyle. You can also download his free eBook, "The 7 Biggest Raw Mistakes", where Mike lays out the major missteps beginning raw foodists make that undermine their success and tells you how you can avoid them. To get your free eBook click here.

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