What is a Cleansing Fast?

M.R. Anglin

Over time, various toxins from food and the environment can build up in the body's systems. A cleansing fast is the elimination of some or all solid food from the diet for a period of time to help the body cleanse itself of these toxins. There are several types of cleansing fasts designed to help cleanse various parts of the body. One of the most common is a fast that is used to cleanse the colon.

Wheatgrass and other green juices are sometimes consumed during a cleansing fast.
Wheatgrass and other green juices are sometimes consumed during a cleansing fast.

Over time, toxins and other wastes can build up in the lining of the colon — the large intestine, the rectum, and the anus. These toxins can include chemical residues, pesticides, or other substances that should be eliminated from the body. When a person takes part in a cleansing fast to cleanse the colon, he eats no solid food for several days. Instead he may ingest different teas, supplements, or laxatives. These liquids help to purge toxins from the body.

Epsom salts might be used in a colon cleanse.
Epsom salts might be used in a colon cleanse.

One of the functions of the colon is to eliminate wastes from the body. It is a muscular tube that is 5 to 5.5 feet (about 1.5 to 1.68 m) long and approximately 2.5 inches (6.35 cm) wide. It is also covered in mucus. Over time, toxins can build up in that mucus. Participating in a cleansing fast can help the body to dispose of those toxins.

A colon fast can be very taxing, and a person participating in one should not plan to do any strenuous activity. The fast consists of abstaining from solid foods throughout the duration of the fast. Some cleansing fasts call for the consumption of vegetables juices and broths, while others require the use of herbal teas or various juices. The use of enemas, laxatives, Epsom salt, or other such products may also be suggested to purge the colon of toxins.

Often, while participating in this fast, a person will see the elimination of a long line of rubbery matter. This substance is a combination of all the toxins and some mucus that has hardened over time. After a few days, often up to seven, a person on the cleansing fast should start reintroducing solid foods to his diet. This may include the gradual addition of fruits and vegetables into the diet before the person slowly starts returning to his normal diet.

Another type of cleansing fast works to flush the kidneys of toxins. In addition, some of these fasts claim to be able to dissolve or prevent kidney stones. The exact process can vary, but often a person participating in such a fast may drink mostly juice or water for several days. Some types of kidney cleansing fasts will advocate drinking apple juice mixed with water, while others require lime or lemon diluted in water. Some also allow for the eating of raw vegetables for part of the fast, and others advocate the use of only juice for the entire fast.

Whatever type of fast a person is participating in, it is important to make sure he is doing so in a healthy way. Pregnant women or people with certain health problems should not participate in such a taxing fast. It is also wise for a person not to do strenuous exercise when on a cleansing fast because the calorie intake is so low. Before starting any type of fast, it is wise to consult with a doctor. This may be especially true for those who are not certain they are healthy enough for such a fast.

Vegetable juice may be consumed during a juice cleanse.
Vegetable juice may be consumed during a juice cleanse.

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