staying healthy in an increasingly complex world

By: Japanese Acupuncture  05-Apr-2012

A happy new year to all of you!

I'm back from the summer break, and new blog entries should now appear here pretty much every Friday. Do send me your questions! I like answering real questions, as they make sure that at least one person is interested in what I write..

But to this week's wisdom:

Less is more, or Sometimes nothing is better than less:

Fasting - voluntarily abstaining from all solid foods - is a great way to "reset" one's system.

No, I don't recommend it as a diet, although yes, you do lose some weight in the process.

What happens when you don't eat solid food for a couple of days is this: The body turns to its reserves (AKA "love-handles") and switches from "intake" (of food and nutrients) to "output" (of toxins and stuff it doesn't need).

Digestion requires about 1/3 of our total energy household, and as soon as that's out of the picture, the body starts to repair itself. Clever as it is, first the old and damaged cells are burnt up for "food", which results in the healing of damaged tissues and a feeling of rejuvenation.

Common "side" effects are - especially during the first two to three days: Low blood pressure and tiredness, and during the whole fasting time and 2-3 days afterwards an increased body odour and bad breath, signs of the increased detoxing.

The two most important things for fasting are regular emptying of the bowels (the least invasive help being an enema every second day) and breaking fast slowly and sensibly. After several days of fasting, the digestive juices have been absorbed by the body, and it has to start producing them again. As a good rule of thumb, after fasting you should eat very light and vegetarian fare for about 1/3 of the number of days you fasted.

Many people report feeling very fit and light after the third day of fasting. Some (me included) don't feel so dapper during their first fast - but from all I've heard from friends, fasting gets easier and better with each subsequent time you do it.

The "don't use it as a diet" disclaimer:

Fasting and then going back to bad eating habits is simply a bad idea and doesn't do much for your health or well-being.

The nice thing about fasting is that it refines your senses, and that it resets the sensations of "now I've had enough food to be satisfied", "now I'm full" and "man, I've overdone it". Thus, it's a lot easier to introduce new, healthier eating habits into your life afterwards.

And why would nothing be better than less?

Because - if you've purged or emptied your bowels on the first day of your fast - you're usually not hungry during fasting.

Amazing as it may seem to anyone who hasn't experienced it for themselves, it's true.

This is where it's different to diets (which I don't recommend either), where you deprive yourself of either a substantial amount of your food or of a substantial variety.

Or in a nutshell: Fasting doesn't hurt, and it gives you a wonderful sense of accomplishment. The experience of sustaining oneself without solid foods and independence is pretty cool already, but the knowledge that all that is possible simply because one has decided to do it, that's truly amazing.

If this has made you curious, I recommend getting a good book on fasting. It will give you more of an idea what to expect, what to do and what to avoid.

Other news and updates from Japanese Acupuncture


Do you want more energy? | Health Acupuncture

If you feel you don't have enough energy to do all the things you want to do, have a close look at your spending habits: Nowadays "deficit spending" - spending money which one doesn't actually own but loan - is a widespread phenomenon, and the media suggest that it's a good idea. So take a moment to think about how you're spending your energy: Are you saving some for when things get rough, or are you constantly spending all you have.


If you're under treatment and it doesn't seem to help | Health

Unless you're with a certified miracle worker -- please forward me his or her details, I still need one in my network -- your body needs time and energy to heal. I expect a good healthcare provider to have enough documentation of your diagnosis, your symptoms and their severity that they can evaluate your progress.


How to avoid catching a cold | Health Acupuncture

The first signs of a typical cold are: Aversion to drafts, feeling chilly, sneezing or a runny nose and tightness around the upper back and shoulders. Be careful not to burn yourself with the hot air, and don't let the hairdryer's air inlet be obstructed by your shirt. Take your electric hair dryer, turn it on and use the hot air to warm that area of your shoulders and upper back.


The paradoxical commandments | Mind Acupuncture

The Paradoxical Commandments by Dr. Kent M. Keith People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered. Here's something for the idealists among us, and for those who might want to join our ranks. Give the world the best you have and you'll get kicked in the teeth. People really need help but may attack you if you do help them. People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs. Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable.