Juice Fasting: Benefits, Myths & Dangers

If you are considering doing a juice fast because you have heard rave reviews from friends or been recommended this as a solution to get more energy, there are 5 key questions to ask yourself to make sure that doing a juice fast won’t make you feel worse!  It’s all about understanding what actually happens in your brain when you stop eating solid foods for a number of days and only drink green juices, and/or ‘fasters smoothies’ which consists often of a bentonite clay, fibre like psilium and water.  
Most people get told that they feel better after a cleanse because a number of hidden toxins that you can’t see or test for, have been excreted from the body.  While there is no evidence that this is true, what we do know is that fasting can lead to you increased mental alertness and actually enhance your mood but it’s because of what fasting does to your brain! http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11916-010-0104-z
At a recent review of all the fasting studies done so far in humans has found is that fasting does actually change your levels of many neurotransmitters in the brain, including your brain’s happy hormone, serotonin.  It has actually been used successfully to help treat patients with chronic pain syndromes, mood issues and fibromyalagia.  There is also some evidence that doing a juice fast followed by eating a vegetarian diet long term may help rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune inflammatory joint condition.  The mechanism is again thought to be related to anti-inflammatory effects that start in the brain! http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.1080/030097401750065256
We also have compounds that our brain produces naturally called endogenous opioids and endocannabinoids, meaning that they work the same way as drugs like morphine and cannibis.  And cannibis is a really common substance to self medicate with for issues like chronic pain, mood issues and fibromyalagia, and it’s because it affects the brain’s reward and pleasure centres.  So it’s pretty cool to know that your brain is actually capable of making these substances all on it’s own too given the right conditions!
Recent findings suggest that some of the beneficial effects of IF on the brain and the heart.  IF is a typo of fasting where you eat less frequently, and there are 5 different types of IF, one typo is eating one meal only per day, and one type is where you pick one or two days each week where you do not eat, only drinking water or other zero calorie drinks.  
A lot of this research has been done in rats though, and we need more human studies but the information so far is showing that in aminal models, both the cardiovascular system and the brain seem to get more resistant to stress and have less cellular damage after a period of IF and both these effects are mediated by brain-derived neurotrophic factor signaling in the brain, meaning changes is the brain which send different messages to yur cells and your heart.  These  in the brain and heart and blood vessel cells from IF are similar to the benefits from regular physical exercise.  http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S095528630400261X
So, that all sounds pretty awesome right!?   The only issue is that going on a  7 day or even 3 day juice fast when you are alreadychronically stressed and putting your body and adrenals under constant demands can backfire, because your body is not in a state to be able to take advantage of these fasting benefits.  So if you are not able to take time away from work and fast while you are doing notghing but R and R, you may end up feeling more fatigued and brain foggy from fasting, and often adding in a 10 minute meditation to decrease limbic system hyper arousal and cutting our refined carbs and caffeine is a better bet for those situations when you can’t take a break from work.  
If you are underweight……
The other key juice fasting mistake that I see people make and then feel awful is doing hard physical exercise or difficult hard yoga asana during a juice fast to ‘cleanse the toxins’  Not only is this not necessary but it puts your body under unnecessary stress as it is trying to conserve energy due to the reduced calories you are taking in.  This can lead to getting sick during a fast, feeling lighthreaded and even passing out and negate any benefits.
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AND If you want to know how to use mind body medicine to deepen your yoga practice, beat stress and live a happier life, click here to get my free course.

Why Yoga for Digestion Heals Stomach Problems, Constipation and Diarrhea

In this video I’m going to tell you the best yoga poses for digestion, give you a five minute series you can do anytime to help digestion and also tell you why they can help to restore balance to your digestive health.

Yoga For Constipation

The best yoga poses for digestion are practices that help tone and rebalance the autonomic nervous system, since this is the central control switch in the brain for or all of your digestion. It relays messages to the digestive system via the brain gut connection and also to the ‘brain’ in the gut or the Enteric Nervous System (ENS). If you suffer from constipation, yoga poses and breathing to improve the balance between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system are great, such as such seated and lying twists and ground series yoga that flex and extend the spine. Sun salutations are great, depending on your level of fitness, taking 5 slow deep breaths in each of the positions before moving on. Another yoga pose called the flying goose, from the 5 elements series from India taught by Peter Clifford, is perfect for helping to stoke the digestive fire in the morning and get things moving through the intestines to help with constipation.

Yoga For Diarrhea

If you suffer more from diarrhea, poses that tone and balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system are useful, but sometimes it’s a bit tricky because if you have diarrhea some poses are harder to do without triggering a bathroom emergency! For all digestive issues, a breathing exercise called Nadhi Shodhana is beneficial as it helps to tone the autonomic nervous system to create balance between the sympathetic and and parasympathetic nervous system. After you’ve practiced Nadi Shodhana some gentle knees to chest poses done lying down, along with just practicing constructive rest can help calm bowels and prevent them from moving too quickly.

If you want a step by step system to help you heal your digestion for good, then click here to try my Digestion Relief program for free.

3 Common Causes of Stomach Pain

In this video I will tell you about the most common causes of stomach pain resulting from eating when your nervous system is in fight or flight mode, and what you can do to stop it.

  1. Eating before you are fully awake, or after sitting all day with no exercise causes your digestive system to become sluggish and not ready to handle a large amount of food.The solution is to start the day with 5-10 minutes of activity such as invigorating yoga before you eat, and at lunch take a 10 minute brisk walk before eating.
  2. Eating too quickly with not enough chewing. If you eat in the car or on the run and don’t chew each bite, your salivary amylase won’t kick in and your digestive process will not start ‘on time’ so your food ends up sitting undigested in your stomach without sufficient enzymes and acid to start breaking it down before it moves into your small intestine.The solution is to chew every bite of food 30 times before swallowing, appreciate the taste and texture of each bite, and before you even start eating, take 5 deep belly breaths with long exhales to put your body in a receptive mode to eat.
  3. Mixing more than 2 food groups, along with rich foods must be avoided if you have an already sensitized stomach. Avoid huge meals that mix more than 2 food groups and eat fruit on its own. Combining meat with grains and lots of fat can lead to massive indigestion, so it’s best to have more frequent smaller meals that combine only 2 food groups: eg. grains and veggies, meat and veggies, veggie omelet, or fruit salad on it’s own.

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