Letting go of the warm, cozy meals of winter and welcoming the light, nourishing fare of summer is a great way to stay in harmony with the seasons. In this month’s Pleasure Report I’ll describe how to do a low-tech, intelligent Spring Fast. You can choose to skip the fast all together and you’ll still reap benefits.
When I use the word fast, I’m talking about a period of caloric restriction where you shift metabolic gears into lipid metabolism and begin burning body fat. I’m not talking about a water fast, which is a hard way to go. I recommend a gentle supported fast, which you can modify as needed. Fasting leverages the Third Immutable Law of Pleasure: Contrast and Comparison. Cleansing your palate, breaks old habits, resets your nervous system, and refreshes your sense-abilities for a more enjoyable relationship to food and how you nourish yourself in general.
A fast consists of three elements:
- Caloric restriction.
- Biochemical detoxification.
- Spiritual detoxification (a retreat from your usual activities and habitual distractions).
Here’s the fasting routine I do but please feel free to modify it according to your needs:
- I choose a target weekend—a Friday, Saturday, and Sunday—when I’ll have plenty of free time.
- Working backwards, I eat through leftovers and begin simplifying my diet. My goal is to have a clean and light diet several days before my target weekend.
- I gradually simplify my breakfast to fresh fruit with a little kefir or yogurt and a sprinkle of granola.
- I simplify my lunch and dinners as well with less protein and oil and more fruits and vegetables.
- I eliminate simple sugars—juices, jams, honey, candy, and limit dessert to a few nuts and a medjool date or a few raisins.
- I eliminate junk food—chips, ice cream, rice crackers, and other processed (packaged) foods.
- For two to four days before my fast, I’m eating light, nutritious foods like salads, whole grains, and steamed vegetables with minimal spicing and a little oil. This preparatory tapering makes the fasting experience much easier and deeper.
- If you choose to forego the fast, just continue eating a simplified diet.
- Thursday dinner is my last meal and the start of the fast.
- Friday (day 1) I make a point to drink plenty of fresh spring water for the duration of the fast.
- I have a case of 18-once, canned coconut water on hand (I prefer with pulp) and will drink two to four cans a day.
- The coconut water provides a modest number of calories to facilitate liver detoxification as toxins sequestered in the fat are released into the blood stream.
- Saturday (day 2) tends to be the most difficult day as the lipid metabolism takes hold.
- I remind myself that any hunger feelings I have are not true hunger but withdrawal from the habit of eating, which will typically diminish or disappear by the third day.
- The most challenging part of a fast is often the spiritual retreat—the withdrawal from activities and stewing in my own juices. Staying present and allowing myself to fully experience the feelings of deprivation is strong medicine.
- Sunday (day 3) many people feel clear and light in every sense of the word, but at times it can feel like a continuation of day 2.
- I typically fast for 3-4 days but have been known to do shorter fasts depending on my mood and circumstances.
- Breaking the fast intelligently is important to derive the optimal benefit. I begin with a piece of fruit. As I gradually re-introduce foods, I pay attention to their taste and nutritional quality and choose carefully. It is also an excellent time to sort out any suspected food sensitivities.
- The whole experience allows me to study the Sixth Immutable Law of Pleasure: Desire and Surrender (the desire to fast and the surrender to what is). It is a valuable skill to have in your tool box.
I hope you find your spring cleanse a refreshing and revitalizing experience. Whether you choose to do the fast or to simply clean up your diet, please let us know how it was for you on FB or IG.