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A note on the 5:2 diet

In later years there has been some focus on the so-called 5:2 diet, inter alias that one fasts for two days, then eat away for the next five, and then the cycle repeats. The effectiveness of this 5:2 method may be questionable, and here is why:

The first two to three days of a fast is the hardest part in a fasting scheme, possibly with recurring hunger pangs. By the way, those pangs are people’s greatest fear when considering a fast, but it only last about ten minutes and is nothing to worry about. Rest assured that after the two first days, fasting is easy as the hunger will be all gone. A “longing” for food takes over, yes, but the hunger is gone. 

Returning to the 5:2 diet, there is the fact that in the first phase of a fast, the body will collect excess (stored) energy from your muscles, while after two-three days it will switch to body fat as fuel for survival. This is the key point of fast-guru Arnold Ehret’s theories; that removing the body fat will also remove much of the poison in the body, simply because this poison is stored in the fat reservoirs. By removing this poison, all health problems will be gone! Arnold Ehret’s theories are convincing, and his books are recommended, see links this blog. In any case, the 5:2 diet is not in compliance with his theories.

Further to this, if the number of fasting days are prolonged beyond approximately five or six days, it is normal to experience euphoric-like conditions with happiness, joy, alertness, a quick brain, lack of need to sleep, eagerness of all kinds, etc. By stopping after two days, as in the 5:2 diet, all this is never experienced.

And why do this self-torture of a two-day fast every week, with the same hunger pangs recurring?  I suggest it is a far better way to fast for more days, but not that often, respecting the fact that fasting isn’t something you do just to get thinner, but to “refurbish” that great trinity of Mind, Body & Spirit.

Please note the word “Body” in order to understand that you will also get thinner, which could be nice. The optimal outcome of a fast can be achieved by seeking a balance in this trinity fundamental to your very constitution. In other words, there is a level of sophistication involved in fasting that goes beyond the context of the 5:2 diet.

Diet and fasting are two different things, and I suggest the 5:2 should be categorized as a diet.

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  • Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit. Ezra Taft Benson
  • Fasting is the strongest appeal to the human being’s natural powers of healing and self-rejuvenation, on both a spiritual and corporeal level. Heinz Fahrner
  • The most natural exercises and by far the best are walking, dancing, and singing. Arnold Ehret
  • Instead of using medicine, better fast today. Plutarch
  • I must say in all seriousness that fasting when combined with a properly selected diet is the nearest approach to a ‘cure-all’ that is possible to conceive– profoundly simple and simply profound! John Tilden
  • The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step. Lao Tzu
  • Fasting is a natural method of healing. When animals or savages are sick, they fast. Paramahansa Yogananda
  • The philosophy of fasting calls upon us to know ourselves, to master ourselves, and to discipline ourselves the better to free ourselves. To fast is to identify our dependencies, and free ourselves from them. Tariq Ramadan
  • Only thru a mucus-free diet can we expect to eliminate the accumulation of waste and obstructions deposited in the body tissues during a lifetime of wrong eating. Arnold Ehret
  • Every sick person has a more or less mucus clogged system Arnold Ehret
  • Fasting is the greatest remedy– the physician within. Philippus Paracelsus
  • A little starvation can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors. Mark Twain
  • Instead of looking outside of ourselves and counting potential enemies, fasting summons us to turn our glance inward, and to take the measure of our greatest challenge: the self, the ego, in our own eyes and as others see us. Tariq Ramadan
  • The purpose of fasting is to loosen to some degree the ties which bind us to the world of material things and our surroundings as a whole, in order that we may concentrate all our spiritual powers upon the unseen and eternal things. Ole Christian Hallesby
  • Fast, and thereby give Nature an opportunity to eliminate these “toxic waste matters,” which Ehret calls “mucus. Fred Hirsch in Rational Fasting
  • Every fool can fast, but only the wise man knows how to break a fast. G. B. Shaw
  • You have now learned how wrong medicine is, trying to stop nature’s healing, eliminating process, called disease, and thereby increasing the inside waste through drugs and serums. Arnold Ehret
  • In a fast, the body tears down its defective parts and then builds anew when eating is resumed Herbert M. Shelton
  • Fasting is the single greatest natural healing therapy. It is nature’s ancient, universal ‘remedy’ for many problems. Elson Haas
  • In the body their is 120 000 km capillaries and arteries. The wall area of them and the area of connective tissue is about 3000-5000m2 total. It is easy to imagine what it means for the metabolism when it increases 10-20% after the fast. Jouko Pursiainen
  • Due to [the] effects of fasting, a fast can help you heal with greater speed; cleanse your liver, kidneys, and colon; purify your blood; help you lose excess weight and water; flush out toxins; clear the eyes and tongue; and cleanse the breath. James F. Balch
  • I often observe in the fasting participants that by four days of fasting, concentration seems to improve, creative thinking expands, depression lifts, insomnia stops, anxieties fade, the mind becomes more tranquil and a natural joy begins to appear. Gabriel Cousins
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