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How Long Should You Fast?

If you’ve been following my work for a while, you know that one of my early mentors has been Albert Mosséri, an amazing man who wrote some of the most captivating and interesting books on Natural Hygiene I ever came across.

In spite of having written over 25 books (which I have all read several times), Mosséri is largely unknown outside of French-speaking countries.

He’s originally from Egypt, but moved to France when he was still in his twenties, and has been promoting Natural Hygiene ever since. Born in 1925, Mosséri is still publishing a printed newsletter today.

What I always liked about Mosséri’s books is that they are easy to read. Natural Hygiene experts always tell you to read Herbert Shelton’s books to learn more about Hygiene, but Shelton is rather hard to read. On the other hand, Mosséri’s books read like novels!

The following article is an excerpt of my Raw Vegan Mentor Club paid newsletter and online magazine. Exclusively for my Raw Vegan Mentor Club members, I will be featuring some exclusive translations of Mosséri’s work in some of our newsletters. To get the full newsletter along with over $1200 in bonus gifts, click here.

How Long and When Should You Fast?

Fasting seems to be more valuable as a means of resorting energy than simple physical rest.

I recommend fasting for one or two weeks each year for the maintenance and recuperation of your health, in order to eliminate the toxins accumulated through stress and cheating on your diet.

In effect, even the most dedicated followers of Natural Hygiene commit mistakes which are hard to avoid from time to time.

Overworking, eating the wrong foods, not paying attention to hunger, etc. Civilized life imposes too many tensions upon us for our health to remain perfect throughout the year.

Why wait before you’re ill in order to prevent illness?

Certainly, holidays are necessary but not those that tire and agitate us, or even those that leave us more tired than before we went away.

Some arrange their holidays in two parts: the first part for fasting and the second part for heading to the beach.

HOW LONG AND WHEN SHOULD YOU FAST?

Behind its bright façade, society entertains its vices carefully, which causes illness – DOCTEUR PATHAULT

After having consulted all the specialists, after having tried all of the medical and natural treatments, after having spent years and years wanting to try every cure, the patients come, as a last resort, to see me in order to set me an imperative ultimatum, to cure them within 15 days of fasting.

Why did they not consult me in the first place? Why did they try all of the natural and drug remedies first? Because people aren’t stupid: they know that they have to give up coffee, wine, bread, cheese, meat and tobacco and as for giving these things up, they don’t want that.

Why do they set me a deadline of just 15 days, while they took 15 years to develop illnesses? Because they consider giving up all of their bad habits as being the ultimate sacrifice and that 15 days of fasting suffices in order to punish them.

I cannot tell them that 15 days isn’t enough to eliminate 15 years of unhealthy living, otherwise they would leave without coming back.

I am forced to make compromises in their diet, and even their fasting program, in the hope that they will change, in time, their mentality. The spectacular improvement will induce them to make new sacrifices.

Sometimes also, people write to me asking how long the cure should last. I invariably respond that this depends upon the toxemia and that I wouldn’t recommend 7 or 21 days to everybody.

The more you are intoxicated, the more you need to detox.

How can you arbitrarily fix the length of a fast in advance? One organism is different to another, its state of health or illness are so variable from one person to another, their reactions are often opposed.

The length of the cure depends invariably upon on detoxification, i.e. the taste in the mouth, breath, urine color and that of the tongue especially. As long as the tongue remains well colored, as long as the mouth has a bad taste in the morning, the cure must be continued — as long of course as you have enough time available.

You cannot get rid in just two weeks a toxemia that took 20 years to accumulate.

If you have a lot of time, it would be stupid to cut short the cure before complete detoxification, which is signaled by a pink tongue, a pleasant taste in the mouth upon waking up, etc.

Inexperienced naturopaths recommend a short fast and are opposed to longer periods of fasting. It’s certain that nobody will attain good health or cure their illnesses with a short fast, whether it’s repeated or not.

A long fast, supervised by somebody with experience, will give the desired results.

A young man of 25 years suffers from chronic cervical osteoarthritis, with permanent pain in the neck and other locations. He has done many short fasts in a year, totaling 56 days, yet to no avail. He came to me to carry out a 60 day fast, – 30 days of only water and 30 days of semi fasting. His arthritis was completely eliminated along with all of his pains.

“Organisms need time in order to complete their job. When you limit this time arbitrarily, you prevent recovery. Regardless of who wants to fast, in order to gain the most benefit from this rest period, you must avoid going back to the practician who refuses, by either ignorance or inexperience, to follow such a long period of fasting, in order to obtain the desired results.” – Shelton.

At the start of my career, when I had limited experience, a construction worker suffering form arthritis came to fast. He weighed 90 kilos (height 1.7 m) (198 pounds for 5’6″) and at the end of 45 days of fasting, only weighed 70 kilos (154 ponuds). His fast was prematurely interrupted and it was a complete failure. I should have made him follow his fast with a semi-fast.

“I rarely tell fasters that they need a lengthy fast. Instead of which, I tell them that I will be guided by the day to day developments. Who knows how long a stomach ulcer will take to heal in any given case. However, this doesn’t mean cutting short a fast before complete healing.

Who can tell an asthmatic how long they must fast in order to fully recover? I see asthmatics try both short and intermittent fasting programs, but who see no results. Effectively, they eat too much between one fast and another. Even when they happen to limit themselves, longer fasting returns more conclusive results than short and repeated fasts.”

Can you really decide when to break your fast? Not always! If on the pre-determined day, your body is in very bad shape, you shouldn’t break the fast, and anyway, you wouldn’t be able to, even if you wanted.

A teacher had decided to end his fast on the tenth day, since he had limited time available. Alas, he was in the middle of detox and the crisis came in the form of a depression. He insisted on ending his fast, but this did nothing to shorten his crisis. He left unhappy.

At that time, I was following Shelton who gives no special diet before the fast (pre-fast). If this faster had followed a pre-fast diet, he wouldn’t have had such a violent attack.

WHERE SHOULD YOU FAST?

Animals that fast retire to a peaceful corner, far from agitation. Religious retreats often have an identical goal, but in another domain entirely.

For man, (also including women) the best place is a peaceful house, amongst other fasters, far from temptations and under qualified supervision.

“I’ve fasted dozens of times, Dr. B told me, but I don’t want to fast alone, I want to be in the company of other fasters.”

In effect, adequate company is necessary, but not of people that are eating. Man is a gregarious creature. This company brings us the experience of others and enriches us.

At home, there are temptations, the hostility of our family members and the risk of ending up in hospital; just the place you want to avoid.

The qualification to fast doesn’t come from reading a book, especially when you aren’t in good health. It is acquired, with the fasting practitioner, over many years, when they monitor hundreds of fasters of all ages and health levels.

Fasting isn’t a self-service. In order to carry out a fasting course properly, you must contact a specialist.

Let’s note that it often occurs that even a specialist can be wrong. But one can certainly say the same of newbies who have only read about fasting in books.

A French author, A.S., who wrote a short useless book about fasting, even receives fasters. He allows them to smoke and only accepts people that can walk 10 to 15 km every day. At the slightest detox crisis, he sends them to hospital. For him, fasting is a feat such as climbing a mountain or sailing the Atlantic.

FOR HEALTHY PEOPLE

Those in good health can fast alone, at home, without any particular guidance. But who is in good health? One imagines themselves in good health, but forgets all of the antecedents, their vaccinations, accumulated toxins etc.

When you eat like everybody else, bread, meat, cheese, wine, you cannot be in good health, even if appearances could suggest otherwise.

In order to know if you’re in good health, you must fast for a few days:

1) If you notice nothing in particular, no nausea, no palpitations, no covered tongue, no bad taste upon waking, no headaches, no wind, … then you are healthy.

2) However, if you notice any of these symptoms, you’re intoxicated and in bad health.

This is the true mirror of health. Fasting unveils your real state of health. It’s a more valuable test than any laboratory examination or analysis.

In your day to day life, we hide our true state of health by drinking coffee in the morning when we feel sleepy, by smoking cigarettes to calm our nerves, with stimulants to pick us up, depressants to calm us down and sedatives in order to help us sleep.

This article was an excerpt of my Raw Vegan Mentor Club paid newsletter and online magazine. Exclusively for my Raw Vegan Mentor Club members, I will be featuring some exclusive translations of Mosséri’s work in some of our newsletters. To get the full newsletter along with over $1200 in bonus gifts, click here.

Frederic Patenaude
Frederic Patenaude

Frederic Patenaude has been an important influence in the raw food and natural health movement since he started writing and publishing in 1998, first by being the editor of Just Eat an Apple magazine. He is the author of over 20 books, including The Raw Secrets, the Sunfood Cuisine and Raw Food Controversies. Since 2013 he’s been the Editor-in-Chief of Renegade Health.


Frederic loves to relentlessly debunk nutritional myths. He advocates a low-fat, plant-based diet and has had over 10 years of experience with raw vegan diets. He lives in Montreal, Canada.