Detoxing During Lent

For many people who celebrate Lent, how they celebrate it and what it means to them can differ. Some only want to give up certain things such as sweets, alcohol, cigarettes or meat. Others use the fasting period explicitly for physical detoxification of the body or as an introduction to a change in diet.

The king penguin is a master of fasting. For up to five months a year, it can go without eating a single fish. It lives on its fat deposits and can thus lose almost half its body weight. But it is not only in the animal world that observes prolonged periods of fasting.

In many cultures, fasting has always been and is a suitable method to purify body and mind. In the last 20 years alone, many nutrition experts have repeatedly pointed out the beneficial effects that fasting brings to the metabolism.

Today, many people are convinced that they are eating healthy. They study all the ingredients and check the products for organic, environmentally friendly production. Nevertheless, every day you are exposed to environmental toxins through the air or water. Therefore, regular detoxification of the body through fasting can be quite useful.

Regulatory system of the body

The body itself has a very well functioning regulatory system to excrete the toxins and pollutants it absorbs via the primary detoxification organs – intestine, kidneys and liver. The first problems occur when the primary detoxification organs are impaired in their function, then the body resorts to the secondary detoxification organs – skin, joints, connective tissue and mucous membranes – i.e. the toxins and harmful substances are stored and accumulated there. What at first appears to be a good solution, is an additional burden for the body, since in the long run transport routes are blocked and the function of the cells is severely disturbed. Enzymes and hormones are only minimally produced, as the supply of valuable vital substances comes to a standstill. A vicious circle develops: A lack of minerals such as calcium, phosphate, zinc and selenium favors the absorption of toxins and their unwanted storage. A high zinc and selenium status, on the other hand, activates the enzyme system and even accelerates detoxification.

Reaction of the body to meal breaks

What exactly happens in the body when there are longer times between meals? In simple terms, the body shifts its metabolism to “nutrition from within”. The body quickly switches to fat burning to obtain vital energy. The body reactivates a program stored in the history of evolution that enables it to fall back on its fat reserves during periods of famine. Decisive for this is the decrease in blood sugar levels when hungry, which in turn leads to a decrease in insulin levels. If the insulin level drops, this is a signal for the body to release more glucagon and adrenaline. These two hormones mobilize the fat reserves and fatty acids are released from the fat cells. The free fatty acids are converted into so-called ketone bodies. On the one hand, this ensures that organs such as the heart, kidneys, muscles and – after a phase of adaptation – also the brain have enough fuel for life-sustaining tasks. At the same time, the fat metabolism is also activated.

In addition, during the fasting process, various switchovers occur in the cells, i.e. the cells switch to a “protection mode” – aging processes are deactivated, “clean-up” mechanisms are activated. This process is also called autophagy. Autophagy acts like a kind of the body’s garbage disposal, i.e. damaged cell components are broken down and recycled or disposed of. The breakdown of unneeded or even harmful cell components also reduces inflammation, among other things. 

Fasting in transition

The traditional therapeutic fasting methods according to the well-known fasting doctors Buchinger and Mayr, as well as the modified Schroth therapy and whey fasting, are tried and tested and constantly discussed, especially in spring. The principles of fasting are similar: Abstaining from stimulants, abundant fluid intake, liver packs, intestinal cleansing and a maximum intake of 500 calories per day. In the past, however, these fasting cures have had competition, among other things, due to the emerging popularity of different forms of intermittent fasting.

Intermittent fasting is not a starvation or zero diet, but rather a “light version” with different approaches. While some prefer the 5:2 diet (5 days of conscious eating and 2 days of a maximum of 500 cal), others integrate longer meal breaks of 16 or even 20 hours. The main reason for this is that meal breaks of at least 14 hours have a positive effect on the body, as fewer free radicals are formed and blood sugar and insulin levels also settle at a healthier level during breaks.

Conclusion Therapeutic fasting and detox cures are certainly the preferred variants for creating a basis for eliminating superfluous toxins and harmful substances. If you also want to do something for your health in the long term and minimize the accumulation of harmful substances, it makes sense to change your diet, as is the case with the Metabolic Balance nutrition program. In this way, the body is continuously supplied with vital substances tailored to its needs, which are indispensable for enzyme and hormone synthesis as well as for the functioning of the organs. At the same time, this makes it more difficult for harmful substances to settle in the cells. Fresh ingredients, seasonal fruits and vegetables, coupled with high-quality protein and polyunsaturated fatty acids form the basis for a healthy metabolism.  In addition, Metabolic Balance gently integrates meal breaks – 3 meals with 5 hours breaks in between and a long fasting break at night keep blood sugar and insulin levels in check, enriching the body with the positive effects of short-term fasting.

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