CAUTION AND COUNSEL
GUIDANCE IS REQUIRED FOR PROTRACTED FASTS:
And this brings us to the purpose of this short chapter, which is intended both as caution and as counsel. No one, unless so acutely ill as to be compelled to do so, should attempt protracted abstinence from food unless competent guidance is available. The "fast to a finish" is not an affair for personal conduct. In it organic disease may be uncovered, and from day to day after the first week or so symptoms may and will develop that need to be dealt with by the expert hand. Without the advice and encouragement of one skilled in the therapy of inanition fear may drive out courage, and then hasty and ill advised attempts to relieve mental and physical distress will surely entail calamitous issue.
But for him to whom the tenets of the text appeal a happy mean exists. In incipient illness, in times of slight physical depression when preventive measures are in order, or when functional disturbance of character more or less severe occurs, then shorter periods of abstention from food may safely and with benefit be personally employed. The omission of food for periods ranging from one to ten days need in the ordinary instance occasion no difficulty nor engender fear. But always the eliminative accessories that are dwelt upon in connection with fasting, absolute or partial, and with restricted diet in illness, are faithfully to be used. Daily colon flushing, daily cleansing baths, and every aid to elimination through every natural channel must accompany and assist the basic procedure.
Alternating with these shorter fasts there should occur intervals of corrective dieting, and the broths already mentioned, prepared to suit individual taste and requirement, will here fit the condition presented. The soups may be varied in ingredients, and one pint is in amount sufficient for one meal. Baths and enemas should he taken as during the fasting stage, but their administration is to be timed so as not to interfere with digestive function. Preferably they should precede the meal, allowing at least an interim of about one hour before ingestion. It may be that in certain cases the system will for a time object to the ingestion of the specially prepared broths. Fruits, however, may be and usually are tolerated, and here a change may be made to a dietary of fruit alone, taking care that but a single sort be eaten at a meal and that this be perfectly ripened.
Children in illness readily respond to the fast, yet, with growing bodies and with undeveloped physical resource, the absolute fast, excepting for periods one or several days in duration, is, unless there is acute disease, here to be inhibited. But always recourse may and should be had to the one-food dietary, either interrupted or continuous, at the same time, as for the adult, plying enemata and cleansing tub baths.
In the list of vegetables that may be utilized for the preparation of broths none can quite take the place of the tomato. This plant occupies a position that lies between the classifications of fruit and vegetable; it contains food elements of every sort in varying proportion, including relative parts of virtually all of the mineral matter needful for systemic maintenance, being especially rich in potassium and sodium; and it carries the three essential vitamins, "A", "B", and "C". Its acid content is one that acts in the nature of a solvent, aiding in the digestion of other foods. Used when thoroughly ripe, in its natural or in its canned state, it satisfies both taste and nutrition, and broth made from it is the ideal form of sustenance for breaking a fast and for use during times of corrective eating, when the latter are interspersed with short fasts. There are subjects by whom a diet of tomato alone may be eaten with benefit for several weeks or longer, excluding the while intervals of total abstinence from food, but always employing the eliminative aids. The onion is also valuable in this respect, and a "tomato fast" or an "onion fast", weeks in duration, may ordinarily be personally conducted with great benefit when the eliminative accompaniments are included in the procedure.
It is explained that for the purposes of the text to fast means to abstain from all food material save water. The latter is to be used at all times for drinking, whether the subject be fasting or dieting--this when thirst demands. But during abstinence drinking increased quantities of water, hot or cold, makes for solvency and assists in replenishing body fluids, and in flushing body organs.
In summation, long experience confirms the conclusion that fasting protracted in length of duration should never be undertaken unless the subject be under competent direction. In usual instances, even though essential accessory detail be faithfully observed, personal conduct may and probably will, for reasons given, lead to disaster. But a series of short fasts, interspersed with intervals of corrective eating, may with safety and with benefit be personally conducted, as may periods of partial abstinence on the one-food plan, the latter liquid in form. It remains to be added that many times, in order to secure best results, the competent director will deem it advisable or essential to make use of the interrupted or of the one-food fast when dealing with temperaments who by nature possess or who develop in disease certain mental or physical idiosyncrasies.
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