What may be defined as maturing or getting old are actually some of the first signs of toxicity. Lethargy, having a dull or spotted complexion, feeling bloated most of the time or carrying a few extra kilos that you can’t seem to get rid of, developing wrinkles and fine lines, graying hairs, sagging skin, and digestion problems are all some of the signs that your body isn’t able to detoxify and repair itself properly. But through the ancient remedy of fasting, you can reverse this damage, cure yourself of many illnesses that modern medicine has not been able to cure, and revitalise yourself inside and out.
Fasting isn’t foreign to us, since we do fast for Ramadan. But unfortunately, the large majority of Muslims don’t start and break their fasts properly. Starting your fast with a plate of scrambled eggs, toast, and chai and then breaking your fast with meat samosas, and other heavy dishes defeats the purpose of fasting. Food should be treated as a small part of the way towards a spiritual path as has been demonstrated by our beloved Prophets and other historic scholarly leaders and not the main objective as it is commercialised today. In the book Ash-Shifa by Qadi ‘Iyad ibn Musa al Yahsubi, The Prophet (SAW) was quoted as saying: “The son of Adam does not fill any container worse than his belly. Sufficient for the son of Adam are some morsels to keep his back straight. If there must be [more], then it is a third for his food, a third for his drink and a third for his breath, because the result of a lot of food and drink is a lot of sleep.”
We have an amaanah with Allah (SWT) regarding our bodies; therefore, it is important for us to care for them and not to abuse them, nor be careless in our treatment of them.
Why do a raw juice fast?
Fasting on raw juice to take a short break from solid foods is a safe and effective way for your body to detoxify while at the same time providing you with easy-to-digest electrolytes, minerals, vitamins, phytonutrients and enzymes. The best way to make juice fasting a habit and to embark on a longer juice fast is to start out with one-day juice fasts. Even a one-day juice fast can have remarkable results, significantly improving your vitality and energy. Steve Meyerowitz says in his book, Juice Fasting and Detoxification, that “…one day of fasting per week represents 50 days of rejuvenation per year.”
An important note: If you are pregnant or nursing, elderly, suffering from a serious illness or are under 15 years of age, you should not try a juice fast unless you are supervised by or have the permission of your doctor, nautropath/homeopath, or other qualified professional.
When to schedule your detox:
Since you have to drink your juice within 5 minutes before it loses all of its nutritional properties, starting a juice fast during the working week may not be ideal for you. Most people do not have access to a juicer and blender at work nor do most people work near a juice bar. So fitting in a fast on the weekends or during holidays might be best. If you can, try to get out into nature and be in the most natural, stress-free environment as possible. Also when you are planning to start any juice fast, especially if you want to start a long term fast, it is recommended to follow the lunar calendar for the best results. We all know that the moon’s gravational pull affects the tides of the oceans, our menstrual cycles, and the best time to plant and harvest so it’s natural to think that the moon will also have the same effect on other fluids that flow throughout our body. Starting a fast at the beginning of each lunar month and when the moon is waning will give you the most benefits during your detox. It is said that when the moon is waning, it is “releasing” and this will also produce a “releasing and detoxifying effect” in our bodies if we fast during that time. On the other hand, when the moon is waxing, it is “absorbing” and this also causes our bodies to take things in as well and thus would not be a recommended time to detox. Sounds interesting – is there some kind of reference for this, scientific or otherwise?
How to prepare yourself to do a juice fast
What you’ll need:
If you have never really been one to eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, then you’ll need to stock up, especially since you’ll be drinking up to eight 8-ounce glasses of juice per day or a little bit more. Choose organic, local, and seasonal produce, whenever possible and choose a variety of produce with a high water content that can be juiced such as:
• green leafy vegetables such as celery, cabbage, parsely, cilantro, and other fresh herbs.
• tomatoes, cucumbers, green and red peppers, carrots, radishes, and beets.
• oranges, lemons, grapefruits, grapes, apples, pears, melons, pineapple, etc.
You’ll also need the following equipment if you don’t already own them:
• a juicer
• a blender (to make smoothies for after your fast)
What can I eat?
Apart from making fruit and veggie juices and drinking as much water as you’d like, here are two savory recipes to help get you through your fast or whenever you want to eat light on non-fasting days. Feel free to make up your own recipes according to your tastes while keeping in mind the rules for what you can eat while fasting and what you can eat when you break your fast.
Use whatever vegetables you have on hand or follow the following recipe:
– chopped leek (one handful)
– chopped red and white cabbage (one handful each)
– chopped white or red onion (one handful)
– 1 small jar of organic tomatoes peeled or puréed or 2-3 tomatoes, peeled and puréed
-1 small nob of fresh ginger chopped
-1 small clove of garlic, minced
-1 handful of cilantro or parsley,chopped
-1 lg. tsp. of miso paste per person, optional (you can also use raw chickpea miso paste if its available near you.)
– squeeze of lemon as a salt replacement
– a pinch of cayenne. Making your soup spicy by adding a bit of cayenne pepper actually strengthens your stomach and stimulates circulation.
– 1 pot of filtered water
Just before the water starts to boil add all of your ingredients except for the lemon, cayenne pepper, and miso paste. Cook vegetables and stock on a low fire until vegetables are tender. You can add a couple of handfuls of organic brown rice to the soup for your family. Once the soup is done, pass your portion of soup through a strainer to remove the veggies and rice. Add a squeeze of lemon, a pinch of cayene pepper, and stir in a teaspoon of miso paste. When you break your fast and are in the last transitional phase back to eating solid foods, you can leave 6-8 grains of rice in your soup with the veggies.
The Real V8
This recipe comes from Meyerowitz’s book, Juice Fasting and Detoxification.
Juice the following ingredients and drink for lunch, dinner, or whenever you like:
– 1-3 stalks of celery
– 1 small bunch of spinach, kale, or lettuce
– 1-2 tomatoes, peeled
– a few leaves of cabbage
– ½ of a lemon, peeled (or one lemon whole depending upon your tastes)
– 1 small nob of ginger
Pour this juice into a blender and then add:
– 1 clove of garlic
– a pinch of dill
– a pinch of cayenne
– ½ tsp. of tamarind paste, optional
Strain out any sediments and enjoy.
The night before
The night before your detox you’ll want to eat light, perhaps even making yourself the soup recipe that is mentioned here or a smoothie and a herbal tea. Get to bed early.
The first couple of days may not be as hard as you think. You won’t be experiencing any hunger pangs until about the third day. It is also said that around that time you should experience more energy and deep cleansing on a cellular level. It is best to keep your activities light. You should rest to allow your body to carry out the deep cleaning. Go to have a lympatic massage done or have your spouse, sister, or close friend give you a massage. If you feel energetic, get some fresh air and engage in exercises such as Tai Chi, a short session of Pilates, or Yoga. This is also a good time to do more Dhikr and read Qu’ran since you will have a much clearer mind to enter in a much deeper level of meditation and concentration and your body will tend to favor more tranquil activities.
After the 3-day mark, you may start to feel really sick. This happened to me on my first juice fast. I felt great and alive with energy until around the third or fourth day when I literally crashed. I had never felt that bad in my life. I felt extremely nauseous and dizzy. Then I felt cold and began to have flu-like symptoms. Then as I edged my way towards the bedroom, I almost collapsed with a trembling that surged through my body. I began to panic as I asked my husband what I should do since he had done water and juice fasts before and he was fasting with me too. My first thought was to stop fasting. But he reminded me that this was just a detox crisis. All the medication that I had ever taken, the years of built-up toxins from food and other junk, environmental toxins, mucus, and the toxic products that I had put on my skin and hair everyday all wanted to come out NOW.
What helped make my first juice fast a success was doing regular coffee enemas to keep my liver, intestines, and colon clean and free of any blockages. The worst thing you can do is to start a juice fast with any of those organs blocked with stones and other unprocessed junk. Whatever your body is trying to dump, it won’t be able to and you will only have all of those toxins circulating throughout your body, unable to leave and causing you to feel very sick.
It wasn’t until I had slept for the rest of the day and woken up the next morning that the detox crisis passed. After that crisis, I felt amazingly better, better than I had ever felt. At the end of my fast, I not only felt more disciplined, lighter, and more energetic, but I also lost some weight and noticed a new level of clarity inside and out.
How to break a 7-10-day fast: the transition back to solid foods
Before diving into a bowl of ice cream, resist the urge; stop and remind yourself that you have been fasting for 7-10 days on liquids alone. Your stomach and many of your glands have been dormant all this time and the last thing you want to do is abruptly wake up that “sleeping lion” with heavy foods. Again, you will not be as prepared as you think you are to control an incredibly large desire to eat if you wake your stomach up in the wrong way and too quickly. Secondly, especially in the case of long-term fasts, you could cause severe damage to your vital organs and stomach if you break your fast with a plate of roasted chicken and rice. It is not even recommended to break this type of fast with dates. I don’t want to you scare you, but it is important to warn you about possible outcomes if you are not careful. If you follow everything mentioned here carefully, insha’Allah, you should not have any problems. The most important thing to remember while making that transition back to eating solid foods, is to feed yourself as if you were feeding a baby: slowly and in very small quantities.
1st day of breaking your fast:
Start drinking your juices with pulp, no need to strain them now.You can add some microalgae to your juice like Spirulina or Chlorella. Adding nutritional yeast into your juices and broths is acceptable. You can also drink some nut milks as well, but absolutely no dairy or soy milks. Add one or two alfalfa sprouts or any other type of sprouts to your juices and/or broths. Any types of vinegars or oils are still prohibited.
2nd day after breaking your fast:
Start adding small quantities of seasonal fruits with a high water content such as watermelons, melons, mangos, pineapples,grapes, apples, oranges, and grapefruits. Eat each fruit one at a time every one or two hours. For example, a few slices of watermelon at 8 a.m., one pear at 9 a.m., etc.
3rd day after breaking your fast:
Blend one banana and apple in your juice and/or make yourself a green smoothie. Follow the same menu from the two previous days.
4th day after breaking your fast:
Follow the same menu from the previous 3 days and now you can eat prunes that have been previously soaked in water until softened.
5th day after breaking your fast:
You can start eating raw vegetables especially lettuce, tomatoes, and avocados. You can even make yourself a light vegetarian soup. It will be just like the broth recipe, but you can leave the vegetables in this time.
6th day after breaking your fast:
Add olive oil to your diet.
7th day after breaking your fast:
Eat as much fruit as you want. Stay with the same menu from the previous days.
8th day after breaking your fast:
You can make some soups that are slightly more heavier adding more vegetables, 6-8 grains of organic brown rice or 1 small potato. You can now add raw spinach and small quantities of dried fruits and nuts to your diet.
*Important note: If you have been fasting up to 10 days, then the 1st phase of transitioning back to solid foods will be 5 days long instead of 3. And the 2nd transitional phase will be 4 or 5 days more. It is basically taking the same amount of time that you spent juice fasting to transition back into eating solid foods. So for example, if you fasted 3 days, then take 3 days to make the transition to eating solid foods again. And the same is true for a 5-,7-,or 10-day fast. If you want to prolong the effects of your fast, you can even extend each step of the transition phase by a day or two.
Making a Fresh Start
If you are able to complete a successful juice fast, then prepare yourself to be a lot more healthier than you are now. You will be giving your body an opportunity to relax, to do some heavy-duty cleaning, and repair itself. Insha’Allah, you will feel lighter, refreshed, full of energy, and glowing inside and out.
After your one week fast is a good time to commit yourself to a consistently clean, healthy diet. For my husband and I, after our first juice fast, we made the transition to a high organic raw foods diet and a more sustainable way of living.
Here are some great ideas to help you maintain optimal health and beauty year- around:
• One-day juice fast once a week.
• Do a juice fast one weekend per month.
• Do a long-term juice fast every Spring and Fall which is roughly March 20th and October 22nd.
Tabassum Siddiqui is the Head Designer of SHUKR. She and her husband have been studying and practicing a primarily organic raw foods diest for almost 3 years and have recently started teaching others about the benefits of raw foods. Right now,Tabassum is finishing up another juice fast. They live in a small town in Andalucía, Spain.