Due to a million years of stark uncertainty regarding our next meal as "Hunter-Gatherers" on the Serengeti, our physiology evolved over the eons to take advantage of the occasional lack of food to do some biological house-cleaning & repairs. Of course, those early Fasts were not voluntary. Presently, ours must be. Why?
Could it mean that we then need these occasional fasts evolved over many millions of years for proper health? It should come as no surprise that Mother-Nature would contrive to make use of this forced culinary down-time and utilize it to positively affect individual physiology. Consequently, this "fast-time" would be used as an opportunity to detoxify the body, something Mother-Nature is already geared to do anyway, right? Consider the little mini-fasts everyone experiences between evening and morning resulting in a corresponding mini-detox as evidenced by the ejected "morning mouth" toxins coating your tongue in the AM. These mini-detox sessions cease upon "breaking the fast" by having "Break-fast"... BUT, if you don't break the fast, and just keep going without food, this detox "effect" will intensify.
This will make you feel bad, of course, initially. Though, given that your circulatory system is flooded with all the toxic, if tiny, dead bodies of bacteria & other microbes killed in a fasting activity, that's understandable, especially the first few times you try it. Over the months as you repeat a fasting detox periodically, the ill effects diminish.
The efficacious effects of this intelligent fasting vary:
If you fast 1 or 2 days you get the detox effect plus you give your digestive organs a needed rest, especially your poor abused liver. This is forgetting that, while resting digestively, you are avoiding one of the greater sources of free-radicals out there! No... not the one trillion (that's trillion, with a "t") free-radicals in one puff of cigarette smoke...
Again, no. I'm referring instead to the gut stress & free-radical damage caused by the necessary act of digesting the garbage most people eat! Though, don't get me wrong; even if you eat the "perfect" diet, digestion still produces free-radicals, abundantly.
Free-radicals, in case you're not clear, are destructively reactive little particles we either consume or make ourselves as a result of natural metabolism. They figuratively "peck away" at every cell in your body throughout your life causing easy disease & needless aging. Free-radicals, consequently, need to be held in check with anti-oxidants in foods like red wine and raw veggies & fruit and "Essential" supplements like Vit.A, Vit.E, Selenium & Zinc found in a good Multi-Vitamin and Mineral supplement.
Also, there is a staggering array of "Non-Essential", yet powerful, anti-oxidant Herbs & Supp's like NAC, Astragula, Resveratrol, Grapeseed Extract, R-Fraction form of Alpha Lipoic Acid... just to name a few I like.
Back to fasting, if you fast for 3 to 5 days your body transitions into "organ repair mode" where accelerated tissue repair is enjoyed. This makes perfect physiological sense, considering your system is always trying to repair tissue anyway but is forever having to "swim against the tide" of incoming toxins & free-radicals; however, both of these are reduced in one fell swoop with..."The Fast." I suspect this evolved "healing" process is why "The Fast" is integral to so many divergent religions, eh?
The aforementioned "tissue repair" phenomenon has just recently been verified by a study observing fasting Mormons. Mormons in general were a good test group because they followed similar rules against smoking, drinking, stimulants & slothfulness. The fasting significantly decreased heart disease! This is as opposed to Mormons who did not fast. See, fastingdemonstrably equates to good health.
This repair of tissue has to be weighed, of course, against the loss of muscle as a result of not providing enough of the nutrients to build muscle. To have this muscle-loss effect be small to insignificant, never go on a "Water-Only" fast for more than one day & I wouldn't do a "regular" fast (with a small intake of mostly liquid nutrients) for over 5 days... even though many recommend an occasional 30 day fast... 30 days you will lose muscle.
Also, take your supplements as usual, but, because you are not eating, the ones you would normally take with food should be taken with some weak diluted juice and/or take your supp's at the same time that you pop a few tablets of Spirulina. Spirulina is an easily digestible, blue-green algae super-food that is a concentrated form of highly digestible protein & other nutrients, in particular chlorophyll, which also helps detox the gut, so Spirulina is highly recommended during fasting... especially if it's a 3 to 5 day fast. You see? You are "trickle-charging" a little bit of some easily digestible & concentrated nutrients... like weak, non-sweet lemon or lime juice, your supplements, and the aforementioned Spirulina. Your body thanks you, but seriously, it responds to this new respect paid to it.
#1 warning while fasting - strange as it may seem, it is easy to not drink enough clean water or weak juice & become dehydrated, so sip on liquids all day.
Also, you can drink herbal tea & as previously mentioned... you should drink some very weak diluted juice, not high in sugar or fructose! Lemon, lime, or a very weak mix of highly concentrated, unsweetened cranberry juice like you get online or at a health food store... not the crass and "sugary" abomination called "Ocean Spray" or any other grocery-store Cran-juices. This healthful cranberry concentrate does have a little natural sugar listed on the label but it is very sour, indicating no added sugar, so it can be sweetened with Stevia...but absolutely NO table sugar or chemical artificial sweeteners.
If you get really hungry, eat a small piece of watermelon; however, don't be surprised if you don't get "mad-eatties." It may be a mental "thing" but once you make up your mind and start a fast, you really don't get all that hungry... UNLESS, of course, your too considerate family decides to have a mondo-bionic, BBQ blowout while you're fasting. That might be something less than supportive...
So get the whole family to fast together! Jeez, kids likely need detoxing more than adults considering the garbage they eat when you're not looking, eh? Hey, fasting's better than Ritalin!
MSM (Methylsulfonymethane) - One option available is to do some Pre-Fast-Detoxing to lessen the "Full Tilt Boogie" Detox that comes at the height of the Fast to start later. MSM is a natural form of Sulfur that is a powerful detoxifying agent... this is not the #%*@&* toxic, man-made crap, SULFA (spelled w. an "A") that MD's pass out like candy & is the "stuff" that causes so many allergic reactions (sulfide, sulfite & sulfate). I know, I took that poison for 8 years while a team of military doctors conspired to slowly kill me.
NO, Sulfur (the S in MSM) is one of the most abundant elements in your body & 80% of that Sulfur is in the form of MSM. And if that wasn't good enough, the 1st M stands for Methyl...making MSM a Methyl-Donor, meaning it "donates" a Methyl-group for accelerated cell & tissue-repair.
DO the MSM run-up to your fast as long as you like... maybe a week or two... or just forget the Pre-Fast-Detox & jump right in to the fast. Either way, but if you do the MSM, start with 0.5 grams (500mg) twice daily & then over the next week slowly increase up to about 2grams (2000mg) twice daily for a total of 4 grams. You cannot OD on MSM so if you want to take even more, have at it (it's cheap). Fasting or not, everyone should take 1 or 2 grams of MSM everyday... especially if they have arthritis pain. Before his death, James Coburn swore by it as his only pain reliever that really worked for his deformed "bird-claw" hands!
Do light exercise during your fast, especially stretching, bending & twisting - like the military daily-dozen. This has 2 "Fasting-Synergy" effects! First, drinking & sweating is just that much more detoxifying by flushing-the-system. Secondly, there is as much fluid in your Lymph System as there is blood in your Circulatory System, but the Lymph System does not have a "Pump" (uh...like the heart?), so it gets its pumping action (and cleansing) by judicious stretching & walking... more Detoxing activity.
Consider the "Fast," reader. A little short-term discomfort translates to a win, win... win situation! You provide the entire body with undistracted time to affect quality repairs. You drop a few pounds. You don't consume anything, saving money, fuel, and resources. Too, when fasting you're not contributing to the trash heap, eh? All these definable positives self-actualize to provide an enhanced quality of life! Less, reader, has never been more!