History of Fasting

Theory of Fasting

The Technic Of Fasting

The Hygiene Of The Fast

Natural Therapy



If as sometimes happens the omission of the midday meal occasions distress, ripe fruit in small quantity may be eaten at the usual hour. Soups made of vegetables gradually becoming lighter in food value should constitute the morning and evening meals until they are dispensed with, and then it is well to use the lemon and honey as described or the juices of fruit alone for the last few days preceding the fast itself.

In the ordinary patient the omission of the noon meal may cause slight disturbances, such as dizziness, headache, or stomach craving. These are mostly the results of habit change, and usually they disappear within three or four days, when there are commonly no further unpleasant symptoms as the remaining meals are omitted. In the two-meal period elimination of digestive toxins begins to gain over their formation, and, as the patient gradually lowers ingestion, it becomes most evident, from the discharges in the enemata and from the odor that emanates from skin and breath, that the body is undergoing strenuous house-cleaning. These phenomena make it apparent that previous continuously overburdened digestive function, with consequent defective nutrition, has filled the entire system with toxic products, and that complete purification, coupled with rest for the organs of digestion and those allied with them is necessary for regaining physical balance. A new foundation is to be constructed as the old is removed, and a change in physiological condition is to be effected by casting from the body the active cause of disease, and by renewing, through cell reconstruction and rest, the functioning ability of those organs that long have been hampered in operation.

At the portal of the circulation of the blood, like a faithful sentry, stands the liver. The function of this organ is to receive digested food after its absorption through the villi, which are short hair-like processes residing on the walls of the intestines, and designed for this purpose. Receiving digested food in this manner, the liver then proceeds to separate it into that which may be used for rebuilding of tissue and that which is waste. Its products are, on the one hand, tissue-nutriment, and, on the other, the peculiar secretion known as bile. Bile, even when normal in character, is essentially a waste product, and, after separation by the liver, it is stored in the gall sac, whence it is discharged into the intestines and utilized in the digestive processes. Nature is loath to cast out any material as useless, and one of the most striking instances in her economy is this utilization of an essentially waste product in the digestive function.

When overworked by overfeeding or other abuse, the liver cannot successfully perform its task of inspection, and the bile retained is carried into the blood current. Surplus of this fluid is also apparent intestinally in these circumstances, and with it the headache, the cold, or a bilious crisis occurs.

The minute cells of the liver have individual work to perform in separating nutritive matter from waste; and, unless care be taken to furnish a food supply correct in proportion and quality, bile is secreted and excreted in quantity greater than the system requires, and is itself absorbed and reabsorbed, with additions from other sources, until congestion results, the circulation is vitiated, and the bowels are filled with bilious toxins poison and repoison indefinitely. All habits having a tendency to cause digestive disturbance, such as the use of tobacco or alcohol, careless eating and overeating, hinder the functioning of the liver. Any interference with its duties prevents the blood from receiving the benefit of its inspection, and an impure product is the consequence. All parts of the body show distressing symptoms of fatigue and exhaustion when the cells of the liver become diseased through intemperate living and ignorance of the specific duty of the organ as a member of the human machine. And this, of course, is true with reference to the functions of any other of the vital parts of the body; but so closely is the work of the liver connected with that of the processes of digestion that detailed description of it and its labors is deemed essential to full understanding of the method discussed herein.

As has been indicated, there are two plans to be followed when the fast is employed as a means for the relief and cure of disease. One of these requires the patient to continue the period of abstinence from food to its logical conclusion, the return of natural hunger. The length of this period depends upon individual physiological peculiarity and organic condition. The other plan makes use of shorter intervals of abstinence, alternating with periods of lowered but corrective diet. What has been written may then be qualified to the degree that, when short fasts of one or two days, or of a week, are undertaken for the relief of slight indisposition or for the prevention of acute disease, no such extended preparation as is described is needful. For the longer fasts, the fasts that cleanse the system to purity, preparation as outlined must be precedent. The short fast and the compulsory fast of acute disease alone may be abruptly begun. However, extended preparation for a fast is to be preferred in all cases where it may be employed. It serves to lessen physiological shock, it curtails the length of the total abstinence period, and in all senses is to be considered as a beneficial process of gradual purification.

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