I recently completed a 14-day water fast that taught me so much about willpower, my unhealthy eating habits and addiction to sugar. By the end of my fast, I had a fresh perspective and clear connection to my body. There is a deep sense of clarity that comes when you can eliminate everything to make room for a mental, physical and spiritual reset.
After deciding to do a 14-day fast, I had to mentally prepare myself to endure two weeks of drinking just water. I had to intermittent fast the weeks leading up to the fast, which meant I had one meal a day in addition to juices and smoothies. That's when I learned sugar would be the hardest thing to give up. I had to exercise my willpower and practice some serious delayed gratification, but I'd say it paid off by the end of the two weeks.
I was the most motivated in the first week. I had developed a morning routine: I woke up, drank a glass of lukewarm water with pink Himalayan salt and did my daily meditation. By week two, hunger really started to kick in. I was craving anything with icing or fried. But the improvements I was noticing in a lot of the physical changes reaffirmed I was making a right decision by sticking to it. My skin was clearer from detoxing and the required sunbathing for my daily dose of vitamin D. I had increased energy and focus since my body was no longer working to break down food. And I was able to become more present and aware in my spiritual practices.
It was very challenging and the responses I got from those around me were often to voice concern or worry. Nonetheless, it was deeply transformative. Now, I get a lot of people asking me how they too can fast and get the best results.
Here are some things to consider if you're thinking of intensive fasting.
Disclaimer: This is the writer's personal experience. Please consult your healthcare physician before making any major diet changes.
1. Do Your Research
When I first told my friends and family that I was going to do a water fast, they were worried about how dangerous it would be. They were concerned that I'd at some point need a doctor's attention or, worse, die. Because I had done my research, watching countless YouTube videos and reading various medical articles on the subject, I wasn't fearful about not eating. I was very much aware of the risks like light-headedness, not getting enough nutrients, and a faint pulse. All of which, I experienced over the course of my fast. Along with my body's natural, and oftentimes involuntary, colon-cleansing episodes.
2. Have a Plan of Action
That said, you're going to need a clear plan of action. Have you stocked up on enough water? Do you have pink Himalayan salt to replenish the body with electrolytes first thing in the morning, and to protect the stomach for when you introduce food into your diet? Do you have a doctor or health practitioner on speed-dial should you feel like something is wrong? Have you figured out "the why" that's going to be the determining factor in whether or not you successfully accomplish your goal?
3. Set Intentions
This is the most crucial part of water fasting. Water fasting is not something you should do to quickly lose weight. However, I lost upward on 20 pounds by the end of the two weeks, one pound on some days and three pounds on another. But when I set out to do this fast, it was to challenge myself but it has always had deep ties in my spiritual growth. I'd started by doing the Daniel's fast for 21 days in January with my church in high school, and by college I'd made a habit of abstaining from eating certain things and enjoying certain luxuries for weeks at a time for my spiritual development. In this way, water fasting was somewhat of a natural evolution. My intentions were to exercise my willpower, to reaffirm that I could do anything I put my mind to and allow my body the time it needed to naturally detox and cleanse itself. Our bodies are mostly water, and so intentional water fasting was like a spiritual baptism for me.
4. Consult with a Holistic Health Practitioner
This isn't something I felt I needed to schedule a doctor's visit so I took a more holistic route. It's very, very important that energy circulates during this time. I learned that some people went to see chiropractors or massage therapists throughout their fasts; I went to see my acupuncturist. She alerted me of my faint pulse and suggested I add vitamin and nutrients to my fasting regimen. She definitely helped me in the second week to sort through the emotional detox I was experiencing along with the mental and physical shifts.
5. Listen to Your Body
The greatest thing that came from this experience was learning to listen to my body. The clarity to know when and what to eat when coming out of your fast is different individual and different for everyone. Over the course of two weeks, I'd learned how to listen for when my body was thirsty, when it needed rest, when it needed movement, and so, I was able to transition back into eating much more quickly than anticipated. I hadn't known just how much salt and sugar there was in the foods I was eating until I took a break from them.
It's amazing how your appetite can change in 14 days and you can learn how to create more intention and consciousness around what you eat. Gaining a little bit of clarity is a good place to start.
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Originally published March 14, 2019
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DeJanae Evins is a certified cannabis educator, consultant and the creator of GreenGoddessGlow, a digital resource at the intersection of cannabis and wellness encouraging mindful cannabis self-care practices. Evins is also a freelance health and wellness writer often discussing topics around sexual health and women's empowerment. Since learning about the Plant Queendom and the many ways we can use plant medicine to heal ourselves both individually and on a global scale, Evins has been vocal in both the cannabis and wellness communities about integrating cannabis in her approach to holistic health. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @dejanaetanye.
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
If there’s one part of the face that seems to be the most vexing to correct, it’s the under eyes.
This delicate area has a way of being tipped off by our irregular sleep patterns, stress, and the straining that comes from our computers and phone screens. From puffiness to dark circles, it can be irksome to find the right products to soothe our under-eye concerns. Thankfully, there’s one solution that delivers a brighter and more awakened look over time, and that’s under-eye masks and eye patches.
Eye patches are giving our under-eye bags an eviction notice because they can’t hang our glowing faces rent-free. The beauty of these patches is that they are designed to bring your eyes targeted results through concentrated doses of active ingredients directly to the skin under the eyes. Typically made of thin, gel-like material and infused with ingredients like niacinamide, hyaluronic acid, caffeine, and even green teas, these small but mighty patches depuff your puffiness, brighten your dark circles, or tighten fine lines.
While every under-eye differs in its needs, every eye can benefit from an under-eye mask or patch that suits its concerns. And to help, we’ve put together the best under-eye patches to hydrate, soothe, and brighten your eyes.
The KNC Beauty All Natural Retinol Infused Eye Mask, 5-Pack, is a retinol-infused, all-natural product designed to rejuvenate your eyes. It promises to provide hydration, smoothness, reduced puffiness, and brightness without the use of chemicals. With ingredients like retinol to refine skin texture and stimulate blood flow and aloe to soothe and reduce redness, it's like getting 8 hours of beauty sleep for your eyes.
These cooling hydrogel under-eye masks from Topicals promise to fade the appearance of dark circles and discoloration in just 15 minutes. The set includes six masks and offers benefits that brighten, hydrate, depuff, and cool your under-eye area.
Peter Thomas Roth Potent-C Power Brightening Hydra-Gel Eye Patches
Grab these eye contour gel patches to brighten the eye area and combat signs of aging using a powerful form of vitamin C called THD Ascorbate, which is 50 times more potent than traditional vitamin C.
BeautyBio's Bright Eyes consists of 15 colloidal silver-infused eye gel patches designed to provide instant depuffing, brightening, and revitalization to the delicate eye area within 10 minutes. They also contain natural collagen to help diminish the appearance of fine lines, which we love.
These viral hydrogel masks offer moisture and nourishment to rejuvenate tired-looking skin. Their Snail Secretion Filtrate contains "Mucin," an effective moisturizing ingredient that soothes damaged skin and delivers deep hydration, making it suitable for dehydrated and damaged skin types. Your under-eyes will thank you.
Try these caffeine-infused patches to reduce puffiness in the under-eye area. The product features clean, vegan ingredients such as caffeine, niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid for deep hydration and moisture delivery.
The Forever Eye Mask is designed to be the “last eye mask you'll ever need.” This thin, lightweight, and reusable eye patch can hold gels, serums, and creams close to the skin for better absorption, helping your skincare products work more effectively.
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