It is said that leaner people do better than heavy ones in conditions of physical stress. They point out that the people who fast the longest are very lean, and that the body can do very well on a long-term diet of mostly raw foods in surprisingly small amounts. But someone who is overweight is used to consuming a lot of food on a regular basis. The physical effects of a change to a smaller quantity, simpler, mostly raw or natural food will often cause a “healing crisis” to occur.
I don’t know where the truth lies in all this, but it makes sense to me that it would be very difficult emotionally to go abruptly from eating whatever you want, whenever you want, to a situation where you were trying to eat minimally. I have discovered that a glass of water, or a glass of water with a little fruit juice added, will often take care of a feeling of hunger for an hour or more.
A friend of mine who has done a lot of fasting says he gets beyond being really hungry. He is of the opinion that a lot of what we experience as hunger pangs are actually signals that our body is detoxifying. He suggests eating a raw food diet for a week or longer as a way of detoxifying. The herb milk thistle is also often used, particularly to detoxify the liver.
Have you ever tried to lose weight and been frustrated by reaching a plateau? Your metabolism slowed down and you needed less food. That mechanism can be very helpful when food supplies are short, which is how it evolved. “I’m starving!” is a common American expression, meaning something like “I haven’t eaten for hours!” In fact, starvation takes a lot longer than you might think. People can live for a month or more without food.
Mike Oehler, in The Hippie Survival Guide to Y2K, said that he had been fasting since 1970, generally in the spring. “After a couple of weeks of fasting, I feel light and perky, and the arthritic symptoms are pretty much gone. I feel twenty to thirty years younger.”
He says there are two schools of thought on how to fast: one attitude, described by Herbert M. Shelton in Fasting Can Save Your Life, is to fast on water, with bed rest. The other is to do juice fasting, and Oehler recommends There is a Cure for Arthritis, by Paavo Airola, for the best description of this method. Oehler himself uses a combination of both: he starts out with water only for a few days, “till I begin to feel tired and obsess on food.” Then he switches to a fresh juice fast, adding a few spoons of a product called Green Magic, which is spirulina and a lot of other things. He says he can get more done during a juice fast than just on water.
He comments “the knowledge that you will not suffer physically from scarce food for even months at a time, but will actually gain in health, should help keep up your morale and subdue panic.” He was writing this in 1998 or so, thinking about possible Y2K disruptions, but I think a lot that was written then is pertinent now as we turn to simpler lifestyles.
An even more drastic approach to food is breatharianism, or learning to live on prana or the Light of God, from the air around us. There are documented cases of people doing this, though not very many!