Docs suggest a fast method to lose weight and detoxifyWith Chuseok just around the corner, for most Koreans, it is the time of the year to visit hometowns and reunite with extended families, catching up on each other’s lives. But along with the holiday may also come the slight worry of gaining extra pounds by eating all the high-calorie food that is part of spending the harvest festival with one’s family.
Instead of worrying about any extra weight gained from overeating during the holiday, you could follow the festivities with a short fast to not only lose a few pounds, but also to rid your body of toxins. Be mindful, however, that you should consult your doctor before starting any fast as going without food can be harmful to some people, particularly those with pre-existing medical conditions.
According to proponents of natural, or alternative, medicine, toxins are contaminated components that come into the body through the environment or food, such as agrichemicals, heavy metals, environmental hormones and food additives. Oriental medicine considers abnormal body fluids to be toxins.
According to natural medicine experts, when toxins are expelled from the body, chronic health conditions, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, heart disease and gout, can be relieved, as well as emotional conditions, such as depression, anxiety and stress.
Shin Hyun-dae, a rehabilitation medicine doctor at the Oriental Hospital of Kyung Hee University Medical Center, suggested a short detoxifying diet/fast that requires two days of preparation and two days of fasting.
Two days before your fast, he advises, walk for approximately 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) in the morning. Do some light stretching or meditate after your walk, then shower with tepid water.
Eat breakfast, lunch and dinner as usual but cut your portions to two thirds of your usual amount.
Do not smoke or drink any caffeinated beverages. Avoid spicy and salty food and, if possible, skip evening gatherings. Before going to bed, take another shower and relax.
One day before beginning your fast, again eat three meals, but this time have only half your usual portion. Reduce your work activity as much as possible, and eat a light and easy-to-digest lunch. Again, shower before going to bed.
The first days of a fast are the most difficult. On the first day, you may feel dizzy and tired and be conscious of your empty, rumbling stomach. Drinking lots of water can help fool your stomach into thinking it is full.
On the second day of the fast, you may feel faint at times. If you feel nauseated, try rubbing your palms together, or do some neck exercises.
During the fast, be sure to rest a lot. Keeping hydrated is also very important. Drinking 1.5 to 2 liters of water or vegetable juice a day will help your body rid itself of toxins.
“Vegetable juice doesn’t stimulate the stomach to secrete acid but is effective in removing uric and mineral acids, and has abundant vitamins and minerals,” said Oh Hong-keun, a professor of the Graduate School of Alternative Medicine at Jeonju University. Kim Dong-woong, president of Kwang Dong Oriental Hospital, says, “having nutrients such as vitamins or minerals, or antacids, is good during a fast.”
Excessive aerobic exercise should be avoided completely during a fast, and meditation, hypogastric breathing, yoga, stretching or a therapeutic walk outdoors is recommended.
Natural medicine practitioners recommend an enema on the first day of a fast because it can remove unexpelled waste. Taking a sauna or bathing in alternate cold and warm water are also recommended, to help eliminate toxins through the skin. Massages, clapping and vigorous shaking of the hands and feet also aids the circulation of peripheral blood for detoxification.
Additional things to avoid during a fast are sex, smoking, drinking alcohol and caffeine, or using products such as strong soap, toothpaste or shampoo because you are more prone to skin conditions.
The lasting success of any fast depends on the faster’s diet at its completion.
After a two-day fast, eat lightly for four days, or twice the length of the fast. It is also recommended to avoid salty, fatty or rich foods for eight days, or four times the period of the fast.
“If you overeat immediately after a fast, you may suffer from indigestion and feel pains in his stomach,” said Dr. Kim.
“And if one eats salty food immediately after a fast, side effects may appear, such as swelling of the body,” he added.
Dr. Shin also recommends that on the first day after a fast, easily digested foods, such as fruits, vegetables and yogurt, should be eaten. These foods can also prevent constipation, which is a possible side effect after a fast. On the second day after the fast, add soup, porridge and salads. On the third day, have porridge or watery rice, and light side dishes that are not spicy or salty. During this period, it is best to eat warm rather than hot food.
by Park Tae-kyun