For the past several years I’ve focused much of my efforts on promoting the “transition diet” from Arnold Ehret’s Mucusless Diet Healing System. Beforehand, I noticed that very few members of the natural health community really emphasized a long-term, or even short-term, transition diet. As a consequence, many people that were trying to skip over the transition failed to be able to sustain the high-level diets and ended up hitting roadblocks months or years later causing them to fall back to mucus-ridden diets. However, I’m starting to see that the subject of transition is being discussed with greater frequency, and Ehret’s methods in this regard are being taken more seriously.

I notice that there is a similar issues in regard to Ehret’s Rational Fasting, and that a critical look is needed for natural health seekers and practitioners. As a consequence, I’m now going to turn my attention to Ehret’s fasting methods over the next several months. My aim is to clarify the principles of Ehret’s approach to fasting, which is often misunderstood. Below is my introduction to Ehret’s Rational Fasting. Following the video is my reading of the introduction.

Rational Fasting Ehret

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Introduction to Rational Fasting by Prof. Spira 

Fasting is the omnipotent healing modality for animal life. It is a natural and (should be) an instinctual part of life. Yet, nothing is mired in more controversy, misinformation, and miseducation than the subject of fasting. Today, there is little consensus among natural health seekers and practitioners as to what truly constitutes fasting. For some, a diet of mucus-free fruits and vegetables (the mucusless diet) may be considered a level of fasting. For others, a liquid diet of fruit and vegetable juices is a fast. Some assert that consuming only water is true fasting. Yet, others say that dry fasting (no liquids or solid food) is the only real way to fast.

We need not look any further than the works of Prof. Arnold Ehret to find a rational and practical approach to understand what fasting is and how to do it. Ehret does not have a strict or dogmatic definition of what fasting is and is not. In this book, as well its companion text Mucusless Diet Healing System, Ehret discusses a spectrum of fasting experiences, including water, juice, and all-fruit dieting. As a general definition, Ehret asserts that fasting is “simply eating less.”

The word “fast” means to abstain from or restrict the intake of drink and/or food for a period of time. It may also refer to various forms of dietary restriction, which include abstaining from solid foods (juice or liquid fasting), mucus-forming foods (mucusless diet), animal products, and so forth. Fasting is a dynamic concept and may also refer more broadly to abstaining from modern conveniences or unnatural additions, for example, a fast from electricity or the use of electronics for a period of time. In addition to health and healing purposes, various forms of fasting have been a part of many spiritual and religious traditions. Christianity, Judaism, Jainism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, Islam, Ancient Egyptian Mystery Schools, and more all have strong fasting traditions and many propagate various forms or degrees of fruit dieting.

From Ehret’s perspective, fasting for humans in our current pathological conditions is a relative proposition. Ultimately, it is important to understand the various levels of fasting available to you. What fasting is for one person’s body may not be the same for someone else. As Ehret implied, for some, just eating a mucusless or a fruit-only diet could be a level of fasting. And what is and is not fasting to a person’s body may shift over time as a person’s physiology changes. To determine which fasting regimen is right for you, it is essential to understand the content within this book, which remains the quintessential book on the subject. Through dedicated study and practice you will learn to fast safely and effectively in order to overcome and prevent a myriad of physical and mental illnesses.

Fasting as an Art Form

Fasting may be viewed as a grand art form. There is much more to fasting than merely going without food or drink. Learning to begin a fast properly is very important. Transitioning from a poor to an improved diet before initiating a fast can allow the process to be much more effective. Understanding the role of colon irrigation (enemas) in relationship to fasting is vital. As you begin, it is important to consider the following questions: What is the amount of uneliminated waste in your bowels? Do you have a uric-acid/lean body type or a fatty/mucus body type? (See the Mucusless Diet Healing System for more on body types.) What is the nature of the uneliminated fecal matter still encased in your bowels? Is it made up of the residue of pus-forming foods such as meat and dairy products? Or, are your internal impurities the residue of plant-based, mucus-free foods such as fat- and starch-free fruits and vegetables? Answers to these questions will help you intuitively make rational decisions before, during, and after the fasting process.

There is no greater task within the fasting arts than the ability to eloquently break one’s fast. Fasting too long for your physiological condition only to uncontrollably break it with mucus-forming foods is futile and defeats the purpose of your fast. This is one reason Ehret emphasized “gradual change” toward cleansing mucus-free foods, combined with a series of short, intermittent fasts, for newcomers to fasting and the mucusless diet. As you gain experience with short-term fasting, you will learn how to maintain total control whenever you begin or break a fast of any length.

Do not feel as if you need to do long dry, water, or juice fasts if you are not physically or mentally ready. Strive to do rational fasts based on the needs of your own body. You need not prove anything to anyone, and fasting is not a competition to see who can be food-free for the longest period of time. A lot of people play basketball, but few people think that they should be able to play like Michael Jordan without serious practice and long-term dedication. Many people play music, but few expect to have the virtuosity of a jazz or concert pianist in a matter of weeks. It takes years of dedicated practice to attain the highest levels of any art form. Yet in dietetics, health seekers often feel as if they should be able to skip over the transitional process and sustain long fasts without dedicated practice. Long-term fasting may be a worthy goal, but it should be achieved through fervent practice over a long time. As Ehret pointed out, most people are far too obstructed with mucus, pus, and toxemias for long-term fasts to be very beneficial.

Concepts and approaches similar to that of a 21-day cleanse are problematic and should be avoided. Many people pursue such “cleanses,” looking for a quick fix for losing weight or overcoming a particular ailment. Yet, as Ehret says, ill health issues will continue to emerge as long as a person continues to eat poorly after a fast. In this book, Ehret offers the most rational approach to fasting that can easily be adopted as a regular part of life. When fasting and mucusless diet are applied properly, you can permanently transform what foods you desire. Instead of relying on willpower to avoid wrong foods, you will begin to crave more of the right foods.

History of Rational Fasting

The earliest English version of this book was entitled Rational Fasting and Regeneration Diet, translated from German in 1913. At that time, it was a small book or pamphlet that made up the first part of this edition. In 1922, Rational Fasting: Regeneration Diet and Natural Cure for All Diseases was published. By 1926, Rational Fasting for Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Rejuvenation was a little over 60 pages and divided into two parts, which are represented under Section I in this edition.

Fred Hirsch, Arnold Ehret’s most loyal student and proprietor of Ehret Publishing Company until the 1970s, released subsequent versions—most notably, Rational Fasting for Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Rejuvenation, which included one of his own essays, entitled “Health and Happiness through Fasting.” Subsequent editions have bundled various articles with Rational Fasting, especially “Your Road to Regeneration” by Prof. Arnold Ehret, as well as “My Road to Health” and “Build your own Road to Health” by Teresa Mitchell, both of which are included in this edition.

The Best Way to Use this Book

Rational Fasting goes hand-in-hand with the Mucusless Diet Healing System. You are strongly encouraged to read both texts, subsequently. Understanding and practicing the mechanics of the “Transition Diet” found in the Mucusless Diet Healing System is of the utmost importance to having the greatest success with Ehret’s approach to fasting. I highly recommend examining both books before experimenting with fasting. With that said, this book can and should be read and reread multiple times. The simple yet potent message found in Rational Fasting has the power to elevate your consciousness. And for serious practitioners of Ehret’s methods, this book will seem to transform every time you read it. Of course, it is you—not the book—that is transforming. As you transform your body and mind through fasting and mucusless diet, you will continually breathe new life into this text. Subtle elements that you may overlook the first time you read the book will come to life as you experience improved levels of health and vitality.

The principles found in Rational Fasting are needed today more than ever. In a world where natural healing methods have been largely forsaken by the masses, Ehret sheds light on the powerful art of fasting and its supreme role in regenerating the human body, mind, and spirit.

-Prof. Spira

Summer 2014

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