“Everyone has a physician inside him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness.” – Hippocrates
I've long been a supporter of periodic fasting - particularly when the desire to heal is concerned. Anytime I'm starting to feel unwell, bogged down or sluggish, I know a period of fasting is in order. Though the first couple of days are a struggle - especially through winter - the amazing sense of well-being that follows in a body unburdened by digestion makes it an occasional exercise I look forward to. My fasts usually last about one week, but I've juice fasted for several.
The act of digestion utilizes considerable energy and bodily resources. The reality is, the majority of those of western cultures eat too much. Not only do we consume too much food, we traditionally consume foods that are detrimental to an optimal state of health. I'm not going to preach about healthy diets right at this moment, but suffice it to say, few of us consume a nutritionally sound diet. If this is a surprise to you, then this is something you need to start giving serious consideration to, as this concept is the foundation of health, be it poor or excellent.
When we temporarily remove solids from the diet, the energy that is typically used for digestion is donated to healing and cellular repair. With the absence of new substance, it's a great opportunity for the body to dump old toxins and other accumulated wastes. You might be surprised by the sludge your body will purge given the opportunity.
At the beginning of any healing mission, a water fast is a very good idea. I'm not going to go into any great detail about fasting, as there is so much good information out there. Just visit our good friends Google and enter the search terms, water fasting healing. A water fast is a bit like an internal boot camp. It's a fast and aggressive exercise to rid the body and organs of toxins, and clean the blood of accumulated undesirables. Once the water fast is complete, if you're really ambitious and eager, you might decide to jump straight into a juice fast.
Though a water fast is a great way to detox, a juice and supplement fast is also a terrific way to deliver nutrients to the body without the competition for resources that exists in the normal day to day. The metabolism of solids and their many constituents require breaking down for their nutrients to be effectively extracted and utilized. This requires considerable energy.
A recent article in the UK's Daily Mail reports a study published in the journal, Science Translational Medicine. The study identified that periods of fasting slowed the growth and spread of cancer and improved the efficacy of treatment.
"Fasting without chemotherapy was shown to slow the growth of breast cancer, melanoma skin cancer, glioma brain cancer and neuroblastoma - a cancer that forms in the nerve tissue.More of the article can be read here.
In every case, combining fasting with chemotherapy made the cancer treatment more effective.
Multiple cycles of fasting combined with chemotherapy cured 20 per cent of those with a highly aggressive form of cancer while 40 per cent with a limited spread of the same cancer were cured.
None of the mice survived if they were treated with chemotherapy alone.
Researchers are already investigating the effects of fasting on human patients, but only a clinical trial lasting several years will confirm if human cancer patients really can benefit from calorie restriction."
Of course, fasting for healing and its use in various alternative treatment protocols is not a new concept in the realm of complementary "alternative" medicine.
Fasting is one means to initiate a process called, 'Autophagy', which is a mechanism our bodies employ to repair or destroy faulty cells. A study done in Spain demonstrated the efficient suppression of tumor growth in an aggressive brain cancer model through cyanide-induced autophagy. Linamarin was used in this particular study, which is a cyanogenic glycoside very similar to amygdalin in structure. Could this, perhaps, be another possible mechanism for apricot kernels and their apparent efficacy in the control of cancer?
Though solid, consider using apricot kernels through the fast. Chew them very well (until liquid) and use them in sensible quantities, always aware of the effects of these quantities. Don't overdo it thinking that more is necessarily better. You should never use them in quantities that cause you to feel unwell. In the absence of other food in your stomach, you may need to reduce your usual quantities, much like alcohol tends to have a greater influence on an empty stomach.
If you choose to experiment with this, do it safely and responsibly.