Like Winter for Summer:
Regeneration Through Fasting
by Sayward Ayre, T.N.
At this time of year, the sun is still residing in the lowest reaches of its daily track across the sky. As our calendar flips from the old year to the new, the Northern hemisphere undergoes a time of regeneration while the Southern hemisphere revels in summer. In the North, underneath blankets of snow, plants and animals are nestled down, sleeping and resting in a season devoid of food and the activities normally associated with warmer weather. The landscape below the surface is quiet and in the process of regeneration. Even humans feel the urge to cuddle in, stay warm and rest as Nature crosses through the longest nights and the shortest days. Later, as days lengthen and the sun warms and climbs, cleansed waters will trickle and the ground will soften. The hard work of winter—regeneration—will become apparent.
We, too, can participate in our own spring rebirth. Most of us don’t allow seasonal changes to alter the amount of energy we expend or the activities we engage in. By not doing so, we rarely give the body a special time to rest. Rest is extremely important for regeneration. Without it, it is almost impossible for the body to regenerate itself. A period of rest allows the body to use its energy for cleansing, repairing and new growth. The digestive tract, organs, blood, cells—everything down to the smallest particle—needs occasional rest.
The most effective method for allowing a break for the entire body and to achieve the best regeneration possible is to allow yourself to fast for a week or longer on fresh organic juices, herbal teas and vegetable broths. If you’re experienced in fasting, you may enjoy using the simple yet sufficient Master Cleanse in conjunction with or included in the juice fast. The Master Cleanse is basically a freshly-made lemonade with maple syrup instead of sugar and a pinch of cayenne.
Fasting during the winter season may sound extreme. After all, the holidays were here and more are still ahead. The cold seasons are a natural time for eating rich and delicious foods for energy and comfort, especially during occasions of celebration and merriment. Who would miss out on that? Many of us know, however, that we did our bodies no health favors this last holiday season by what we consumed, and that we should clean up the internal mess we have made. Though it may seem strange to fast during the cold weather months, much of the natural world has been asleep and fasting for a while already. Fortunately, humans don’t need to fast and sleep for months in order to facilitate regeneration. Fasting for as little as a week can provide huge rewards in refreshing the entire body at every level. During a fast, the massive amounts of energy our bodies would normally use for digestion and physical activities is diverted and used instead for clean-up, restoration of damaged tissues in organs and muscles, and regeneration of new cells throughout our entire body.
Regeneration through fasting often results in younger-looking facial skin, brighter eyes, clearer vision, increased energy, sharper mental capacity, improved digestion, and quicker muscle response. Some people begin to recover from health ailments they may have been experiencing. Skin can begin to clear up, joints and muscles can lose their aches and pains, the bowel can become more self-regulating, chronic headaches can disappear, and many other benefits are often achieved. It is an amazing experience to realize that by taking in less, the body can accomplish more.
Ultimately, one of the most sublime benefits of fasting is the feeling of spiritual rebirth often attained. Feelings of exhilaration, joy and love are all available to us through the amazingly simple and natural process of regeneration. With the prospects of summer activities ahead, winter is the perfect season for our complete renewal.