Kathy Freston on Her 'Quantum Wellness Cleanse'

I started doing cleanses more than twenty-five years ago because I wanted to lose weight, plain and simple. I hoped that taking a little break from my (over)eating routine might snap me out of unhealthy patterns. I started off by fasting every Monday, forgoing all food except a mixture of apple cider vinegar, honey, and water. After a while, I moved on to juice fasts, where for a few days or even a week at a time I would consume only juices made from fruits, carrots, spinach, celery, ginger, and other vegetables. At other times over the years I tried the various programs that were in vogue and that promised some sort of miracle. What I found was that fasting didn't work for me. I never experienced the promised weight loss or, if I did, it didn't last. In fact, whenever I would fast, my metabolism would slow way down and put my body on starvation alert. In other words, whatever calories I did ingest, my body would hang on to tightly because it wasn't so sure that more would be coming in.

For many people, these practices have their merits, and many are quite detoxifying and healing, but they didn't work for me. Plus, not eating made me anxious and I couldn't concentrate; all I could think about was what I would eat for that first "break-fast" meal.

The Quantum Wellness 21-Day Cleanse is nothing like those punishing fasts I tried. It is extremely simple and nutritionally sound. In fact, it is more a healthy way of living than it is a harsh or difficult discipline. It's about choosing foods that don't tax the body and make it work so hard; it's about taking a break but not about starving.

The more I studied and looked into the ancient practice of giving up certain foods for a designated period of time, the more I realized that fasting and cleansing are not only good for making physical improvements, but they can also be a pathway to greater clarity and even enlightenment. Many masters throughout the ages have forgone food for periods of time so that they might feel closer to Spirit and less attached to the pedestrian rites of this world. They would give up a number of things—perhaps just taking in the bare essentials— and go into a deep meditation or discourse with a teacher. Or, like Gandhi, they would give up eating as a way of making a strong and committed statement that would bring about changes in social conditions and a shift toward higher societal consciousness.

The more I learned about fasting and cleansing traditions, the more I saw the wisdom in giving my body an occasional retreat so that I could break free from some of my lesser habits and cravings and the impulse for immediate gratification. From the early founders of Western medicine— Hippocrates, Galen, and Paracelsus—I learned that occasionally refraining from food was also a proven way to prevent and even cure disease. Even the great philosophers Plato, Socrates, and Pythagoras regularly gave up food (or certain foods) so that they could enhance and enliven their sense of physical well-being.

This cleanse is so simple and so powerful. For three weeks, you will refrain from eating what I call the "Big Five":
animal products

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