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For a few years now you have heard and read a word over and over again - especially at the beginning of the year, when many people decide to live healthier or lose weight: Detox. We clarify what the buzzword really stands for and why it is unfortunately sometimes associated with questionable methods. And have the fasting schedule for you at home!
Detox is an abbreviation for "detoxification" and means "detoxification". Unwanted toxins should be removed from our body so that we feel completely healthy and pure again. However, it must be said in advance that our body takes care of exactly that all the time. The liver and kidneys work around the clock to filter out metabolic products, drugs and toxins.
So-called "slags" (which, by the way, have not been scientifically proven) or heavy metals can definitely not be "removed" with green smoothies. Detoxification cures are more about supporting our organs, which are responsible for "detoxing" anyway. But how do you do that?
So that we can feel comfortable in our body, we also have to take care of it. That is why we eat healthy, exercise, do relaxation exercises and go on vacation. But our internal organs can never go on vacation. Day after day they toil like in a mine to keep our machinery running. They don't always keep up with everything. From time to time, however, you can also send your organs on vacation: with detox or fasting. Because when we put the intestines and liver on the gentle cycle, the body gets new energy. You notice and see that too. The skin becomes more radiant, the bloated stomach disappears, and digestion is reduced. And there is also good news: It is not that difficult to do. With a little time and perseverance, a fasting cure is easy to implement in everyday life.
The astonishing effects that fasting can also have is described by the biochemist and geriatric researcher Dr. Slaven Stekovic in his book "The Young Cell Effect": He fasts regularly one or two days a week. Because that is life extension in a completely natural way. Fasting starts what is known as autophagy. This is the cell's own garbage disposal. Old, used material is disposed of, and new energy is generated from defective and unneeded molecules. This cell recycling stops premature aging and therefore keeps you young. Eating all the time, on the other hand, is so stressful for the body that it hardly or not at all comes to regeneration.
Fasting not only relieves the body, it is also supposed to counteract lifestyle diseases such as arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure. And it helps to reduce stress and mentally clear it out at once. We spoke to the qualified fasting and health advisor Barbara Ebner ("Lust auf Fast"):
Detoxing or fasting is now also a huge business: How can I as a consumer differentiate: What is just a rip-off and what is scientifically substantiated?
Barbara Ebner: I cannot give an answer in principle, but what I can advise: You shouldn't believe an absolute promise of salvation and it is best to deal with the various methods in advance: which fasting method best suits me and my needs, if I want one Do you have an outpatient fasting cure, in a hotel or at home with online support? Correct fasting is always associated with colon cleansing (such as therapeutic fasting, juice fasting, soup fasting or alkaline fasting) and a holistic approach.
What effects can I expect from a good detox regimen?
Barbara Ebner: Fasting can work like a reset and a kind of restart for your body. It is the perfect old-age and health care, regulates the acid and base balance, strengthens the immune system and increases the body's defenses. However, fasting should not be seen as a diet - although many pounds can be lost. Instead, it is rather a holistic approach for body, mind and soul and helps to leave the old behind in the head and soul.
Can I detox too much?
Barbara Ebner: It makes sense to have a proper fast once or twice a year, ideally every single day of fasting in between or intermittent fasting (you can read more about intermittent fasting here).
Can fasting also weaken the gut microbiome?
Barbara Ebner: After fasting, the intestines are cleansed. Therefore, the following build-up days and how I strengthen my intestines afterwards are particularly important. The best way to do this is through pre- and probiatics or a conscious diet during the build-up days. Then my intestinal bacteria and my army of little helpers, which form the microbiome and are largely responsible for the immune system, are strengthened again.
What are many doing that is completely wrong?
Barbara Ebner: Fasting is a revolution in small steps. One should not undertake too much, many small steps of change lead better to the goal. And there can be changes at all levels: diet, exercise, simply drinking more in everyday life or allowing yourself more time for yourself.
How can I trick any feelings of hunger?
Barbara Ebner: When you fast properly with colon cleansing, you rarely get hungry. Usually it is more of a "head hunger" and the best way to counter this is to drink water, fresh air, exercise or simply to distract.
Your detox roadmap
Do you want to try fasting too? Together with nutritionist and yoga teacher Axel Dinse, we have drawn up a timetable for you:
This is how it works - without feeling hungry
The basic structure is simple: food on the back burner for a week. No, not in terms of quantity, detoxing is neither about starvation nor about losing weight. But about the choice of food. Because during this time, animal products such as meat, fish, milk or eggs, alcohol and luxury foods and, above all, sugar are taboo. Because all of these foods have an acidic effect in the body. The menu includes a lot of (green) vegetables, potatoes, grain rich in minerals, algae, sauerkraut and hot plant substances. They are metabolized in an alkaline way, help the body to excrete toxins and stimulate fat burning.
The build-up week after that
This tough week is followed by a build-up week in which you get back to your normal diet. In other words, the forbidden foods come back on the menu every day. First milk and eggs, then cheese, then fish and finally meat. Sugar and alcohol are only available again after the full two weeks have elapsed. During this time, the body can do a lot of detoxification work. Those who are particularly motivated extend this to three weeks. If you really have little time, you can also provide a valuable impetus with a long weekend. But no matter how much time you invest in your body, the basic principle is always the same.
The first thing to do is to remove all of its contents from the intestine. Because residues can settle really well in its tears and loops. To get rid of them, every morning there is a glass of lukewarm water in which a level teaspoon of Epsom salt is dissolved. The not very tasty drink ensures that fluid collects in the intestine and old deposits are loosened and flushed out. Don't worry, you don't have to fear an urgent toilet visit like a raid. This goes slowly and continuously over several days and is very gentle. If you can't bring yourself to the Epsom salt, you can drink a glass of warm water with lemon juice and ginger every day. But that's not that effective.
Your fasting menu
By the way, you can and should eat until you are full. It's not about losing pounds. It is much more important to get the intestines back to work more effectively in daily life. Due to the gentle diet, a few pounds less are a very common side effect. Start the day with a good portion of porridge: bring the oatmeal to the boil, add the raisins, cinnamon or cocoa powder and a little maple syrup, and steam a few apple wedges if necessary. That saturates you for a long time and provides a lot of trace elements and minerals. Important: Add a teaspoon of linseed oil. The unsaturated fatty acids help with fat breakdown and provide valuable omega 3. If you don't have that much time, eat a spelled, rye or kamut roll (no wheat!) With cottage cheese, cream cheese or curd cheese. Chew each bite thoroughly so that pre-digestion begins in the mouth. In this way we learn not to gobble everything down so quickly, also in the rest of life. Tip: These foods will help with detoxification.
At the other meals there are vegetable soups, steamed (green) vegetables, wholegrain rice, millet, amaranth, potatoes with curd cheese, polenta with sheep cheese … All these dishes depend on preparation that is gentle on the intestines. Therefore boil or stew everything, not fry. Save when seasoning with the salt, use herbs and spices generously. Give room to experimentation. Many of these dishes are also suitable for families. If you fry a piece of meat for your partner and children, everyone will have a healthy, balanced meal.
When you eat this, your body quickly switches to detox mode. You notice that too. Make sure that you don't have too much stress for the first few days. You are likely tired and possibly exhausted. You may get a headache or your digestion is going crazy. This is what is known as the fasting crisis. But after three or four days it is over. Then you suddenly have a lot more energy, the body feels lighter, you literally start to shine from within. Abdominal massages, relaxation exercises and gentle movement, such as walks or relaxing yoga, help overcome tiredness.
Of course, you need a bit of self-discipline for all of this. A few tricks will help you get the motivation you need. Look for two weeks in the calendar in which no particular stress is to be feared and enter the fasting cure fixed. Feel free to tell others what you are planning. If you are asked about the success curve, you have more motivation to stick with it. Treat yourself to a massage, lymphatic drainage or facial treatment in between.
Additional care - but from the comfort of your home
The complete package of information and support is available from "Lust auf Fasten". Fasting coach Barbara Ebner, movement trainer Valentina Plach and meditation coach Jakob Horvat accompany you with fasting and nutritional content, exercise units, body applications and relaxation units through your fasting cure. Daily videos tailored to the daily motto make the experience even more exciting and easier and are designed so flexibly that they can also be easily integrated into everyday work. In the evening there is also the opportunity for live sessions, in which you can exchange ideas directly with the coaches on a daily basis.