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Fasting - A Powerful Natural Tool For Health Rejuvenation
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Fasting - A Powerful Natural Tool For Health Rejuvenation

Dr. Andrew Saul (V6-I3A)

This week's issue features a terrific resource for practical wisdom in natural healing - Dr. Andrew Saul, Phd and his web site,

Found on his web site are hundreds of pages of data on natural health and healing. Some of his materials even recommend "raw vegetarianism" when nutritional therapy is needed; and his site also provides a number of articles from Natural Hygiene sources. There is a search function on his site so you can focus in on whatever specific subject you are interested researching. Check it out and spend a bunch of time learning.

1) The following is taken from an article by Dr. Saul, "How I got into Natural Healing"

"As an undergraduate, I spent a year studying at the Australian National University. While there, a friend and I calculated that a person would have to eat something in the neighborhood of 7,000 oranges a day to get the amount of vitamin C recommended by Dr. Linus Pauling. Seemed like a lot to me, but I soon began to take a daily vitamin C supplement. While doing graduate work as a bachelor, I began vegetarianism. To tell you the truth, I did this mostly to have fewer dishes to wash. It also seemed to me that vegetarian meals were cheaper and took less time to prepare. I avoided a lot of greasy pots and pans and, as a side benefit, began to feel better as well.

"Around this time I tried fasting. Not on myself, of course, but on my dog. It happened that the dog developed quite a fever and curled up in a corner of the dining room all day and night. I checked with the vet, and he said that it was not dangerous to leave the dog to itself, so I did. That dog stayed curled up in that corner for three days. It moved only for water and to go utside for bathroom purposes. The dog ate nothing at all during those three days. It slept, and I watched. On the fourth day, the dog got up and was its own doggy self again. The fever was gone, and it was generally as if nothing was ever wrong. This got me thinking.

"Not long afterwards I got sick. Real sick. Sick enough that neighbors stopped by to check on me. I began to fast, basically duplicating what my dog had done with the exception that I did not sleep in the corner. (I also did not use the outdoors for excretory purposes). To my dull-headed surprise, I was comfortable eating nothing. All I wanted were liquids and sleep. The illness was over quickly, without any medicines. The result was good, but it was the PROCESS by which I'd gotten better that really intrigued me. This sounds odd, but while fasting I'd felt the best I had ever felt while feeling bad. Certainly I had been very ill, yet this simple cure was completely satisfactory. Hmm.

"I continued with my informal postgraduate study in naturopathy. This kept me reading more and more books on natural healing written by experienced doctors. These physicians treated extremely serious diseases with fasting, diet, herbs, homeopathy, minerals and vitamins. I finally began taking a natural multiple vitamin every day, and continued to live alone, work and further my education.

"From reading we can soak up many facts but it is having children that really tests our knowledge. Exams and theses on one hand, babies on the other. Raising a family provides plenty of opportunity to see whether an idea is any good or not. Marriage and kids showed me that nature-cure works. It is simple, safe, economical, and effective. Of course, we've all been told that anything easy, cheap and harmless cannot possibly be any good. That's what I had thought, too. Ever since those first injections in the rump. It turns out that the natural therapeutics are as good or better than allopathic (drug-based) medicine. During my bouts with pneumonia, experience showed me that Erythromycin will not cure it as fast as high-dose vitamin C therapy will. My father once had angina and an irregular heartbeat. He now has none of those symptoms, because he takes quite a lot of vitamin E each day. He found that the vitamin works better than the prescriptions he'd been taking, and doesn't have the side effects, either.

"Outside my family, I have seen "hopeless" cases turn around with natural therapy: impending blindness reversed, multiple sclerosis improved, mental illness ended, hips rebuilt without surgery, malignancies shrunken, immune systems restored, severe arthritis eliminated, all these and many more; all cured without drugs. After you see this happen again and again it begins to reach you: these truly ARE simple, safe, economical, and effective natural treatments. And, they work on the REAL diseases. Does health have to hurt and cost a fortune? Are blood and drugs prerequisites for healing? Is a hospital really the best place for getting better? Have medical doctors cornered the market on healing knowledge? Is nature-cure a lot of hooey? Don't you believe it. Instead, see for yourself. Read a few of those books at the health food store. Change your diet. Next time you are sick, try a natural alternative instead. Find out for yourself. That's what I did, and it has worked. And that is how I got into natural healing.

Copyright C 1999 and prior years Andrew W. Saul. From the books QUACK DOCTOR and PAPERBACK CLINIC, available from Dr. Andrew Saul, Number 8 Van Buren Street, Holley, New York 14470. Dr. Andrew Saul;

Subscriptions to Dr. Saul's-monthly DOCTOR YOURSELF NEWSLETTER are free for the asking at

2) The following is taken from an article by Dr. Saul titled, "Three Quick Steps to Better Health".


"Along with cutting out meat and eating whole foods, the third quick step to health is to help your body clean itself of the toxins it has accumulated from years of neglect. I certainly don't mean that you never took a bath, never brushed your teeth, or that you went about coughing on everyone. Neglect simply means inattention to your body's real needs. Your body, like an automobile engine, consumes its fuel (food and air) and also produces exhaust wastes (carbon dioxide, urine, sweat). Quite a few organs in the body are involved in filtering, reclaiming and excreting waste materials. These organs include the kidneys, lungs, liver, colon, spleen, bladder and skin. Your skin is your body's largest organ. If these organs of excretion are "clogged up" by years of "foodless" foods, meat eating, chemicals, additives, cosmetics, liquor, smoking, over-weight, vitamin deficiencies, and stress, you can imagine that they will not be functioning properly. You know what a "backed-up" septic tank or sewer system can do to a home. A backed-up bowel does the same to a body; so does a toxin-filled liver; so does an overworked kidney; so does a cosmetic-covered, anti-perspirant coated, deodorant soap and moisturizer treated skin. If the body wastes don't get out, they stay in. Naturopaths believe that this is the basic cause of all mankind's various illnesses: the polluted body, or systemic toxemia. In another section, we will discuss how a polluted lake provides the perfect medium for bacteria to thrive. So does a polluted body. The naturopathic method calls for cleansing: cleansing fasts, cleansing foods and beverages, and internal and external cleanliness. Naturopathy holds that the organism will heal itself, regardless of ailment, if giver a chance to purge itself of the wastes that are the basis of the ailment. A good cleaning out gives the body that chance. Here's how it is done.


"A cleansing fast is just not eating for a meal, a day, or a week. The longer the fast, the more the body can accomplish in that time. Naturopathic theory holds that considerable body energy goes into digestion, and if you rest the digestive process for awhile, energy can go into internal healing. Fasting a sick body is just as sensible as not putting any more gasoline into a burning automobile. First put the fire out, then repair the car. Then fuel it up. The same with the human body. The fast puts out the fire; fasting is known to eliminate fever, inflammation, infection and other symptoms from the inside out. "From the inside out" means that fasting breaks down and eliminates the diseased tissues that are the root cause of the symptoms. The repair work is done, naturally and thoroughly, by the body. When the repair is done, then it's time to eat again... and eat whole, natural foods this time.


"The therapeutic value of fasting is based on the following physiological facts: 1) Autolysis is a known metabolic phenomenon of self-digestion or disintegration of the body's own tissues. 2) Therapeutic fasting induces the development of autolysis and directs its physiological effect for constructive healing purposes. To clarify: when disease takes hold of the body it is usually because of the weakened defensive mechanism and impaired normal functions of the vital organs. Due to continuous neglect in feeding the body properly and failure to observe the other rules of health, the glandular activity and metabolic rate slows down and the eliminative organs lose their efficiency. Many of the toxins and metabolic wastes remain in the body and are deposited in the tissues, causing autointoxication. During a prolonged fast (after the first three days) the body will burn and digest its own tissues by the process of autolysis, or self-digestion. In its wisdom (and here lies the secret of the extraordinary effectiveness of fasting as curative therapy) the body will decompose and burn only those substances and tissues which are diseased, damaged, or of lesser importance to the body economy, such as all morbid accumulations, tumors, abscesses, damaged tissues, fat deposits, etc. (p. 32-33)

"Dr. Airola goes on to give excellent, specific advice on how to fast, and discusses many different types of fasting. I highly recommended his work, as he's too good to miss. Most cleansing fasts need to go for four to seven days. Some persons fast weeks at a time, although generally in nature-cure spas or resorts. Such spas are found all over Europe, but are hard to find in America. For this reason, many people undertake a fast at home, with the aid of careful reading and naturopathic advice.

"Won't I starve to death?" one might want to ask. The answer is, "No, you won't." Naturopaths feel that most of us eat far more than our bodies require to be healthy. Too much food in a body is like too much wood on a fire: it doesn't get used efficiently. Either it burns quickly and wastefully or it smolders and smokes wastefully. Either way there's a lot of ash left over. This build-up of "ash" is grounds for disease. Fasting is the great fireplace clean-out. The right amount of food for most people is far less than they think. Why else would the U.S.A. have so many overweight people? If we missed more meals, or days, of eating we will not starve. The body can go for weeks without food. Marathon walkers trotted all over Europe for ten days covering 300 miles, on nothing but water in 1954 and 1964. Right now there is enough food in your digestive system so that if you ate no more, your alimentary canal (stomach, intestine, colon) won't be empty for a full day. Even then, your reserves of glycogen in the liver will last days more, and you have fat reserves as well. A person doesn't really begin to starve for weeks, and doesn't really begin to "fast" for at least four days. A small amount of beneficial "starvation" or digestion of the body's errant tissue is a planned goal of fasting. Deposits in joints, lumps and growths, even tumors have been reported to be "digested" away in a long fast. This is why terminally ill patients are reliably reported to have recovered after inpatient naturopathic fasting treatment in Europe and other countries. You might think that fasting would weaken a person, but the exact opposite is true. Fasting strengthens. How strong do you feel right after a big roast beef dinner? Pretty stuffed and wanting to just sit are common feelings after a big feed. On such occasions, one of my brothers used to declare that he felt "bloated". Now: how do you feel on a camping trip, before breakfast? Hungry, certainly, but with the strength, drive and energy to gather wood, make a fire, and cook some pancakes. (Whole wheat flapjacks are very good, by the way.) This is only a mild degree of fasting, but it is invigorating. Most naturopaths would agree that a really long fast should always be conducted under supervision of a naturopathically-oriented doctor, and that going to a nature-cure establishment is ideal. However, many people fast over a weekend for four or five days during the flu, severe colds or other common ailments without any special arrangements (except for not eating!).

During a fast, it is important to drink water or vegetable juices regularly. You need to take in quite a lot of fluids because your body excretes fluids in urine and sweat, and balance must be maintained. In fact, you may find that you need extra water or juices during a fast, because your excretory organs are working overtime to clean your system out. Fluids help flush out bodily wastes. They also will give you some feeling of "fullness" in your stomach and curb your appetite during the early part of the fast. It is common to be hungry for the first few meals you don't have, but as the fast continues, the appetite diminishes. Vegetable juices contain minerals, vitamins and other trace substances that are good for you, and aid in cleansing. Also, the complex carbohydrates in vegetable juices may make work or other activity more comfortable if you are unable to take time off to fast. Some naturopathic authorities feel that there is no need for anything but water for a fast, and that energy and blood sugar levels are not seriously affected by fasting. This probably varies from person to person, and I would do what is comfortable for you. Anyone with a medical reason why they should not fast simply should not fast. For example, fasting is not for pregnant or nursing women, nor is it appropriate for growing children. Check with your doctor before fasting, especially if you are on medication. Stay in touch with good books, experienced "fasters," and a naturopathically-minded doctor for your first time at it.

During water-only fasts in particular, some persons choose to employ a daily enema to assist the body in its cleansing efforts. The bowels don't move, or don't move much, during a fast. The reason is that there is no food being taken in to stimulate movement, or peristalsis, in the digestive tract and the bowel stays still. An enema helps clean out whatever happens to be collected in the very lowest regions of a non-moving bowel. The enema, although it doesn't sound all that thrilling, helps dissolve and rinse out residual feces in the bowel from before the fast, and also aids in removing toxins accumulated in the bowel during the fast. It also makes you feel better. I know this because I've done it. I am not enema-happy. Once a day is plenty, and only while water-fasting. One can easily do a vegetable-juice fast instead, and dispense with enemas entirely. In my opinion, this is the more practical and more popular choice.

After fasting, it is important to gradually resume eating. No steak dinners, please! The best foods to start into are fruits. Along with fruits, some steamed vegetables and vegetable soups are fine. Vitamin food supplements are more important now than during the fast, for now your body is keenly interested in all the good nutrients it can get. Easy does it on everything; get plenty of rest; chew your food well (do I sound like your mother?) and enjoy. Remember, your body makes you well. All we can do is help supply it with good things to eat and do. Remember also that the hardest meals to miss are the first two or three, and after that it's easy. And if you're really sick, it will be easy to miss the first meals, too. The first thing a sick animal does is "go off its feed." That is fasting, and we'd all do well to take our example from nature. One thing that we humans can do that animals cannot do, or perhaps do not need to do, is practice some organized form of stress reduction. Stress reduction techniques provide deep physiological rest and development of consciousness. Since many people fast for these same reasons, it all fits together nicely and is really worth doing. You might call stress reduction the Fourth Quick Step to Health. I feel it's very important.

The first Three Quick Steps to Health again are: Stop eating meat; eat whole, natural foods; clean out body wastes. Try these steps and you're off and healing already.

Reprinted from the book DOCTOR YOURSELF: A Guide to Wellness Self-Reliance Copyright C 1980, 1981, 2000 by Andrew W. Saul.
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