Everyone agrees that it's useful to have some nutritional relief from time to time. Here we'll discuss how to do it better.
The reason behind a fasting day may be a desire to improve your well-being, to get rid of the symptoms of an incipient illness (flu, cold, blood pressure giving a jump, headache, etc.), to put yourself into better shape (dispose of swelling or bulging stomach), or just to start losing weight. A fasting day will help you to abandon "harmful" food or habits and to start a reasonable diet.
Finally, a fasting day is the first step towards mastering intermittent fasting.
If you decide to spend one day without food, you need to prepare for it. If you just drop your breakfast, lunch, and dinner, that doesn't mean you've had a fasting day. Your well-being and the day's overall effect depend on your preparation.
If you decide to start in the morning, that's a wrong choice, because gastric juice is already in your stomach and you are hungry. There's food from yesterday in your small intestines, waste in your large intestines, and bile in your gallbladder, waiting for a new portion of food. First you need to deal with this, otherwise abstinence will turn into a painful self-deception.
Thus, on the day before fasting live and eat as usual, but in the evening, 2-3 hours after your dinner, start preparing for the fasting day.
Preparation takes 3-4 hours and comes down to two procedures:
The choice of pharmacy drugs is important. It's difficult to say in advance which one will suit you better.
If you have no experience, we recommend using magnesia (MgSO4, powdered magnesium sulphate) both for the flush and as laxative. In total, you'll need 50 grams of it (2 bags or 2 jars of 25 grams each). You can try other means (see below), but it's better to start with magnesia. You can use either an electric heating pad or a rubber hot-water bottle.
The gallbladder is an organ the size of a chicken egg (50 ml), which receives 1.5 litres of bile per day. The purpose of the gallbladder is to thicken the bile and to deliver it timely into the intestine. The efficiency of its work affects the functions of body purification and digestion.
The bile is needed for the absorption of fat, also the liver gets rid of toxins and metabolic products with the bile. If a problem occurs with bile discharge, not only digestion, but the whole body suffers.
One of the most frequent problems of a fasting day is gallbladder overflow. With regular meals, the gallbladder works “on the bell”. If food doesn't arrive on time, it's overflown and creates problems, therefore a gallbladder flush, also called blind intubation, must always precede a fasting day.
When the gallbladder isn't emptied, a person experiences headache, dry mouth, nausea, pain in the right hypochondrium, weakness, palpitation, also blood pressure might rise and some skin yellowness appear. These signs of intoxication show that the products excreted by the liver haven't left the gallbladder and are back in the bloodstream.
Sometimes, if bile discharge doesn't occur on time, it may get not into the intestines, but into the stomach and esophagus. In this case, there are abdominal bloating and pain, air belching, heartburn, bitter taste, and a brown tongue plaque. Constipation is another consequence of the delayed gallbladder emptying.
Untimely or incomplete gallbladder emptying is called biliary dyskinesia. Stagnation of bile in the gallbladder leads to its chronic thickening and formation of gallstones, that is, the gallstone disease.
Stagnation of bile causes unpleasant changes in the gallbladder walls: inflammation, induration, thickening, edema, polypous lumps, etc. Infections stick to the unhealthy organ, which is called cholecystitis. The bile outflow is hampered even more, and if the harmful factors are not eliminated, everything ends with the gallbladder removal, the world's most popular “treatment” method.
You can perform gallbladder flush in the morning on an empty stomach or anytime during the day, but not earlier than 2-3 hours after a meal.
It usually takes 1-2 hours to empty the gallbladder.
The sequence of procedures. Drink 1 cup of rosehip infusion or 1 dessert spoon of “Cholosas” diluted in a glass of hot water.
In 10-20 minutes, proceed to the flush. Put a heating pad over the liver area. Remember that the liver is located not in the abdomen, but behind the ribs (under the breasts if you're female). The temperature shouldn't be too high (42-43°C), so that it warms you up without scalding. Dilute 10 grams (2 teaspoons) of powdered magnesium sulfate in a glass of hot water, drink the solution in 4 divided doses of 50 ml, with intervals of 15 minutes. You can drink through a straw to avoid the taste. You can add half a teaspoon of citric acid or juice of half a lemon to the glass.
Magnesium sulfate is also sold in capsules and granules. If you are lucky to get one, the procedure will require the same 10 grams, 40 capsules of 0.25 grams each. In Europe, Canada, and USA magnesium sulfate is produced under the name Epsom Salt.
Warming up lasts 1-2 hours. If during this time there's no "rumbling” in the intestines and no urge to use the toilet, it's recommended to do several exercises (see below) and extend the warming up for another half an hour.
In case of some diseases, doctors don't recommend warming up the internal organs. You can replace the warming up with vigorous exercises or jogging. There is, however, one inconvenience: a successful flush may end in a sharp urge, so be prepared to quickly get to the toilet.
Exercise 1. A walk around the room, first regular, then with your thighs lifted high. Do it for 30-40 seconds. Alternate breathing: on steps 2-3 inhale, on steps 3-4-5-6 exhale.
Уexercise 2. Stand with your legs wider than shoulder width apart. Raise your hands up and inhale, do 2-3-4 springy leans forward, trying to reach the floor with your hands, and exhale. Repeat 6-8 times.
Exercise 3. Stand with your legs at foot length. Spread your arms and inhale, 2-3-4, make springy squats with your hands on your knees, exhale. Repeat 6-8 times.
Exercise 4. Stand with your legs at shoulder length. Turn your body to the right, extending your hands to the right too, and inhale, then turn your body to the left while sticking your abdomen out, and exhale, pulling your abdomen in.
Exercise 5. Lying on your back, stretch your arms along your body. Raise your hands up and inhale, pull your left knee to your chest with your hands and exhale. Lower the leg, raise your hands up again, and inhale. Pull your right knee to your abdomen with your hands and exhale. Repeat 4-5 times.
Exercise 6. Lying on your back, bend your legs. Raising your head and chest, reach your knees with your hands and exhale. Repeat 6-8 times.
Exercise 7. Lying on your right side, put your right hand under your head and your left hand on your abdomen, bend your legs. Perform diaphragmatic breathing. When inhaling, stick your abdomen out, bending slightly in your lower back, while exhaling, pull in your abdomen, rounding your back. Repeat 8-10 times, then lie on your other side and repeat the exercise.
Exercise 8. Kneel with your wrists resting on the floor. Sit on your right heel, stretching your left leg back, and inhale (don't take your hands off the floor). With a sliding motion, pull your left knee between your hands and lay with your abdomen on your left thigh, then exhale. Repeat with the other leg. Repeat 3-5 times.
Exercise 9. The starting position is the same as in the previous exercise. Hollow out your back, then bend it like cats do.
Exercise 10. The starting position is the same as in the previous exercise. Raise your right arm up and to the side, inhale. Clasping your chest with your right arm, bend and reach the floor with your right shoulder, slightly turning your body to the right, exhale. Repeat with the other shoulder. Repeat 3-5 times.
Exercise 11. Kneeling, spread your arms and inhale. Sticking out your abdomen, bend your torso forward and pull your arms back, then exhale, pulling your abdomen in. Repeat 6-8 times.
Exercise 12. Lying on your back, bend your legs, put your hands on your abdomen, lower your elbows. Perform abdominal breathing, 8-12 times.
In some cases, with a particularly "lazy" gallbladder, you might feel nothing after spending an hour or more on the flush. If so, you should eat 1 chicken egg or 5 quail eggs. If you trust the manufacturer, drink them raw, but it's better to boil them.
Humans have a special reflex of “emergency bile evacuation", which allows to empty the gallbladder, and that's the gag reflex. All babies have it and they burp after overeating. Any intoxication or poisoning is accompanied by nausea, which is a preparation for vomiting, and this is normal, but due to manners developed over the years we carefully suppress this reflex, so overeating and poisoning remain "unpunished." If it's impossible to empty the gallbladder with the flush, you need to use this backup option.
The mechanism of the reflex is divided into two types. There is vomiting which “turns you inside out”, it's sickening, causes hiccups, and you taste acid and bile in your mouth. You don’t need that. Also, there's regurgitation, like in young children after overeating, when they empty their stomach and fall asleep. That's worth learning.
The vomiting technique. Take a litre jar, fill it with water of room temperature. Put half a teaspoon of baking soda on your tongue and quickly drink as much water as possible (it's usually 700-800 ml). Empty your stomach only when standing, leaning over the toilet or other container.
Put one hand on your lower abdomen, and gently tap the root of your tongue with two fingers of your other hand, as if inviting your stomach to take part in the regurgitation. As soon as the first wave comes, gently push your stomach upwards with your hand. Do it during each wave until your stomach is completely free.
The whole process takes 2-3 minutes. When the stomach is empty, relief comes immediately, and your gallbladder dumps bile into the intestine.
Attention! If you have never tried to vomit at will, don't be too zealous! If the water doesn't go back, it's not an issue, it will come out with urine. If you "scratch your tongue”, it may lead to capillary hemorrhage on your face, the whites of your eyes might turn red, and an attack of hypertension may happen. Nothing pleasant.
Not every laxative can serve the purpose of clearing not only the large intestine from waste, but also the small intestine from the remnants of food. This explains the choice of magnesia. Dilute the remaining 40 grams of powder in a glass of hot water until it's completely dissolved, let the solution cool, then drink it all at once. It's easier to do this in two steps, dividing the solution into two glasses of 100 grams. Finally, rinse your mouth or drink some clean water.
The active part is over then. All that's left to do is wait for the “purgative” effect, visit the toilet several times and go to bed.
The urge, as a rule, start in 1.5-2 hours and last about an hour. You shouldn't lay down at the time or drink plenty of water, because that would delay the bowel release process.
Due to the nature of magnesia, there'll be no feeling of hunger long after its intake; that's why sulphate mineral water is so popular among those who want to lose weight.
When you wake up on the “day without food,” you need to remember what you can and cannot do. Eat no food, but you can have tea or coffee (without milk or sugar). Sugar substitutes will do too (in tablets). Drink no juice or sweetened beverages. There is no restriction on the amount of water. Move a lot, and there's no need to fear weakness, it won't happen. Hot bath, sauna, sports are all allowed.
Having washed your face in the morning, drink tea or coffee and take a shower (preferably an alternating one), washing your arms and legs with cold water. Do some exercises. Then you'll feel hungry for sure.
The first rule of proper fasting is not to stay hungry! A simple exercise that allows you to eliminate the feeling of hunger in 1-2 minutes is called “Jasper Frog Makes Waves” and is performed as follows. You need to rest your palms against a chair or a low table. Take a deep breath while pulling your abdomen in. Hold your breath for 3-4 seconds. Exhale, relaxing your abdomen. Repeat the exercise 10 times. After a minute or two, the feeling of hunger will disappear.
This exercise can also be done differently. Put your palms on your abdomen. Take a deep breath, while pulling your abdomen in. Hold your breath for 3-4 seconds. Exhale while relaxing your abdomen. Repeat the exercise 10 times. The exercise is effective when standing, sitting, or walking; it doesn't help that much when you're lying down. Hands are used simply for control.
Perform it whenever there's a feeling of hunger. In some cases, it makes sense to drink 100-150 grams of alkaline water before the exercise (Essentuki No. 17, Polyana Kvasova, Luzhanska).
Usually, the "day without food” is calm and requires no special effort. You can cook, try food, sit at the table, just don't eat! For this, don't forget about the "Jasper Frog Making Waves."
On this day, it's also good to make a gallbladder flush, anytime and with any means indicated in the table. This flush is special, because it's performed "on an empty stomach", so, unlike the first, "preparatory" flush, the procedure won't end in stomach "rumbling" and an urge to defecate. After the procedure, you should take some fibre (simple bran or pharmacy fibre). Take 2 tablespoons of plant fibre, add a glass of water, stir, and drink. Fibre allows you to "bind" toxins and metabolites in your intestines, preventing those from being absorbed.
In the morning you'll find that your weight has decreased by 1.5-2 kg and you feel good, so don't spoil this feeling by overeating. Your breakfast should be simple and, preferably, without easily digested carbohydrates, including all the cereals, bread, potatoes, sweets, sweet fruits and jam, fruit juices. Those products are not only quickly digested, increasing your blood sugar level, but are also rapidly excreted, causing a feeling of hunger.
We advise to prepare some products of animal origin for your breakfast: meat, fish, poultry, seafood, eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, white cheese. Fresh vegetables, which can be replaced by fermented and pickled ones in winter, are excellent with those. Sprouted seeds, nuts, and berries are also good.
On this day, you can have the regular three meals a day, but you can also try to give up lunch or breakfast. Of course, you shouldn't eat on the side. If you have mastered the "Frog", it's not that difficult.
In the evening, we recommend taking 2 tablespoons of plant fibre, which will help to restore normal bowel movement.
One- or two-day-long fasting is completely harmless. It can be performed regularly, for example, every week. Such fasting doesn't guarantee a significant weight loss or disease treatment, but it allows you to improve your well-being and to organize your diet correctly.
Don't risk independently fasting for a long time without knowing who's responsible. It's better to learn and to do it right.
Various means can be used for a gallbladder flush, each having its own advantages and disadvantages:
Powdered magnesium sulfate (Epsom Salt). The dosage is 5-10 grams (1-2 teaspoons) per 200-300 ml of water. Pro: it's effective for everyone, you just need a larger dose or longer warm-up time sometimes. Con: an unpleasant taste.
Hunyadi János. It's almost the same as magnesium sulphate, but it also contains Na2SO4. The concentration of bottled solution is 30%. For a flush, use 30 ml of H.J., diluting it in 200 ml of water. H.J. can be used as a laxative too. It requires drinking 150 ml of H.J. diluted in an equal amount of water.
Sorbitol. The dosage is 15-30 grams (1-2 tablespoons) per 200-300 ml of water. The effect is average. Pro: sweet taste. Con: fermentation and rumbling in the intestines, which might extend for the next day. Before bedtime, take 4 grams of carbon (20 tablets).
As a laxative, you can use:
Fortrans. Powder sold in bags. Dilute 1 bag of powder in 1 litre of water, drink 1 glass every 10 minutes. Pro: bearable taste. Con: you need to wait around 4 hours for the "purgative" effect.