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- How and When to Be Your Own Doctor - 20/55 -
The liver is constantly at work refining the blood. It is synthesizing, purifying, renovating, washing, filtering, separating, and detoxifying. It works day and night without stopping. Many toxins are broken down by enzymes and their component parts are efficiently reused in various parts of the body. Some impurities are filtered out and held back from the general circulation. These debris are collected and stored in the gall bladder, which is a little sack appended to the liver. After a meal, the contents of the gall bladder (bile) are discharged into the duodenum, the upper part of the small intestine just beyond the stomach. This bile also contains digestive enzymes produced by the liver that permit the breakdown of fatty foods in the small intestine.
Sometimes a large flow of bile finds its way into the stomach by pressure or is sucked into the stomach by vomiting. Excessive biliary secretion and excretion can also result from overeating, which overcrowds the area. Sometimes colonics or massage can also stimulate a massive flow of bile. Extremely bitter and irritating, when bile gets into the stomach the person either vomits or wishes they could. And after vomiting and experiencing the taste of bile, wishes they hadn't.
When no food at all enters the system, the blood keeps right on passing through the liver/filter just as it does when we are eating. When the liver does not have to take care of toxins generated by the current food intake, each passage through the liver results in a cleaner blood stream, with the debris decreasing in quantity, viscosity, and toxicity, until the blood becomes normalized. During fasting, debris from the gall bladder still pass through the small intestine and into the large intestine. However, if the bowels do not move the toxins in the bile are readsorbed into the blood stream and get recirculated in an endless loop. This toxic recycling makes a faster feel just terrible, like they had a flu or worse!
The bowels rarely move while fasting. During fasting only enemas or colonics permit elimination from the large intestine. If done effectively and frequently, enemas will greatly add to the well being and comfort of the faster. Many times when a faster seems to be retracing or experiencing a sudden onset of acute discomfort or symptoms, these can be almost immediately relieved by an enema or colonic.
A person with major liver degeneration inevitably dies, with or without fasting, with or without traditional medicine. Significantly impaired kidney function can also bring about this same result. Mercifully, death while fasting is usually accomplished relatively free of pain, clear of mind and with dignity. That often can not be said of death in a hospital. There are much worse experiences than death.
Fasting is not a cure-all. There are some conditions that are beyond the ability of the body to heal. Ultimately, old age gets us all.
Dr. Linda Hazzard, one of the greats of natural hygiene, who practiced Osteopathic medicine in the 1920s, had a useful way of categorizing conditions that respond well to fasting. These she labeled "acute conditions," and "chronic degenerative conditions." A third classification, "chronic conditions with organic damage," does not respond to fasting. Acute conditions, are usually inflammations or infections with irritated tissue, with swelling, redness, and often copious secretions of mucous and pus, such as colds, flu, a first time case of pneumonia, inflamed joints as in the early stages of arthritis, etc. These acute conditions usually remedy in one to three weeks of fasting. Acute conditions are excellent candidates for self-doctoring. Chronic degenerative conditions are more serious and the patient usually requires supervision. These include conditions such as cancer, aids, chronic arthritis, chronic pneumonia, emphysema and asthma. Chronic degenerative conditions usually respond within a month to three months of fasting. The fasting should be broken up into two or three sessions if the condition has not been relieved in one stint of supervised fasting. Each successive fast will produce some improvement and if a light, largely raw-food diet is adhered to between fasts the patient should not worsen and should be fairly comfortable between fastings.
If there has been major functional damage to an organ as a result of any of these degenerative conditions, healing will not be complete, or may be impossible. By organic damage, I mean that a vital part of the body has ceased to function due to some degenerative process, injury, or surgery--so badly damaged that the cells that make up the organ can not be replaced.
I once had a twenty five year old man come to my spa to die in peace because he had been through enough diagnostic procedures in three hospitals to know that his liver was beyond repair. He had been working on an apple farm in between terms at university when he was poisoned several times with insecticide from an aerial spray on the whole orchard. He absorbed so much insecticide that his liver incurred massive organic damage.
When he came to me his body had reached the point where it was incapable of digesting, and because of lack of liver function, it was incapable of healing while fasting, a condition in which death is a certainty. He was a Buddhist, did not fear death and did not want to be kept alive in agony or in prolonged unconsciousness by any extraordinary means, nor did he want to die with tubes in every orifice. I was honored to be a supportive participant in his passing. He died fasting, in peace, and without pain, with a clear mind that allowed him to consciously prepare for the experience. He was not in a state of denial or fear, and made no frantic attempts to escape the inevitable. He went quietly into that still dark night with a tranquil demeanor and a slight smile.
Fortunately, in my many years of practice I had the pleasure of seeing the majority of the people totally regain their health or at least greatly improve it by means of the fasting and healing diets. Many cancer patients watched with amazement as their tumors disappeared before their eyes, many arthritics regained their function, serious skin conditions such as psoriasis disappeared, mental conditions improved, addictions vanished, fatigue was replaced by energy, and fat dissolved revealing the hidden sculpture beneath. I will talk more about procedures and the particular reasons bodies develop specific conditions in later chapters.
Social/Cultural/Psychological Obstacles To Fasting
Numerous attitudes make it difficult to fast or to provide moral support to friends or loved ones that are fasting. Many people harbor fears of losing weight because they think that if times were really tough, if there was a famine or they became ill and lost a lot of weight they would have no reserves and would certainly perish. These people have no idea how much fat can be concealed on an even skinny body, nor of how slowly a skinny body loses weight while fasting. Substantial fat reserves are helpful as heat-retaining insulation in those rare accidents when someone is dropped into a cold ocean and must survive until the rescue boat arrives. Being fat might keep a person alive longer who is lost in the wilderness awaiting rescue with no supplies, no means of procuring food, and no means of keeping warm. On the other hand, fat people would have a far harder time walking out of the wilderness. And extensive fat deposits are merely fuel and do not contain extensive nutritional reserves. An obese person fasting without significant nutritional supplementation would begin starving long before they became really skinny. On the balance, carrying excess weight is a far greater liability than any potential prosurvival aspects it might have.
There are other attitudes associated with weight loss that make it difficult for people to fast. People hold rather stereotypical notions about what constitutes an attractive person; usually it involves having some meat on ones bones. Hollywood and Hugh Hefner have both influenced the masses to think that women should have hourglass figures with large, upthrust, firm breasts. Since breasts are almost all useless fatty tissue supporting some milk-producing glands that do not give a breast much volume except when engorged, most women fasters loose a good percentage of their breast mass. If the fast is extensive, there should also develop an impressive showing of ribs and hip bones; these are not soft and cuddly. Husbands, lovers, parents, and friends frequently point out that you don't look good this way and exhort you to put on weight. Most people think pleasantly plump is healthy.
Skinny men, especially those who had lost a lot of weight during an illness, are pressured by associates to put on weight to prove that they are healthy. I had a client who was formerly a college varsity football player. Before his illness he had lifted weights and looked like a hunk. His family and friends liked to see him that way and justifiably so. Then he got seriously ill. On a long extended healing diet he lost a significant amount of weight and seemed down right skinny, causing all who knew him well and cared about him to tempt him with all kinds of scrumptious delicacies from the best of kitchens. But this case was like Luigi Cornaro, a man who never again could look like a hunk. His "friends" made an absolutely necessary change in life style and appearance far more difficult than it was already. My client was torn between a desire to please others, and a desire to regain and retain his health. This problem a sick person doesn't need.
If you have the independence to consider following an alternative medical program in a culture that highly values conformity and agreement, you are also going to have to defend your own course of self-determined action based on the best available data that you have. But fasters are usually in fragile emotional condition, so I advise my clients who are subjected to this kind of pressure to beg their friends and associates to refrain from saying anything if they can't support the course of action you have chosen. After this, if friends or relatives are still incapable of saying nothing (even non-verbally), it is important to exclude them from your life until you have accomplished your health goals, have regained some weight and have returned to eating a maintenance diet, rather than getting skinnier on a healing one.
The very worst aspect of our culture's eating programming is that people have been wrongfully taught that when ill they must eat to keep up their strength. Inherent in this recommendation is an unstated belief that when the body is weakened by a disease state, the weakness can somehow be overcome with food, and that the body needs this food to kill the virus, bacteria, or invading yeast, and uses the protein to heal or rebuild tissue. Sadly, the exact opposite is the case. Disease organisms feed and multiply on the toxic waste products of misdigestion, and the body is unable to digest well when it is weak or ill.
There's an old saying about this: "feed a cold, starve a fever." Most people think this saying means you should eat when you have a cold. What the saying really means is if you feed a cold then you will soon have to starve a fever. Protein foods especially are not digested by a diseased body, and as mentioned before, the waste products of protein indigestion are especially poisonous. That is
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