Cleansing, Fasting or Cutting Back?

Eating and drinking are two of the great joys of life. In Australia we are lucky to have access to a good quality food and because of our multicultural heritage, a wide variety of food.

In ancient times there were periods of low food supply and religious festivals gave us a calendar of when to feast and when to eat mindfully and fast.  As with many Western nations obesity is a growing health problem here in Australia. Most of us eat and drink too much and exercise not enough.


Starting a detox or cleanse are typical January behaviours for many. The juice cleanse and the grapefruit blitz are 2 examples. By mid – January all but the iron- willed have eased the cleanse rigour and life returns to normal.  My experience with fasting and cleansing is that I simply get grumpy and unbearable to be around. Friends leave town or don’t return my calls if I announce I’m cleansing. The sudden food drought also bombards my brain with messages like, “Feed her cake immediately” or “Lasagne ASAP- double serve!” I’m a cutter backer or eliminate briefly rather than a devotee of fasting and cleansing. I have watched every Michael Moseley program on the 5 day good food, 2 days 600 calorie diet favoured by many of my friends. It’s impressive as is interval training. I eat apples rather than popcorn as I sit on the sofa and watch these programs. Cutting back you see!

Health organisations, mindful of the overeating trend have given us FEBFAST to rebalance the overconsumption that Christmas and the holiday season brings. FEBFAST is about raising money for charity while cutting out certain foods or alcohol. Typically, sugar, sometimes carbs and alcohol feature on the self -imposed bans for FEBFAST. Friends and family support your goal achievement with donations to the nominated charity.

It’s clever. Firstly, February, as a rule is only 28 days! For Australians it’s also the height of summer when salads and fresh fruit abound (watch that fructose!)  And when temperatures reach 40 degrees all you want to do is drink water. Schools are back after the summer break and life becomes a bit more settled. A good time to be mindful about cutting back food.

We also have DRY JULY.

I’ve done Dry July before- an elimination of alcohol for the month of July. Here in Central Victoria we have winter in July and often celebrate with “pretend Christmas” feasts. It’s a very foodie culture and eating in season is popular. Very few Australians still eat Christmas pudding and turkey in December when its 40 degrees! But in July when its 10 degrees………delicious! I was invited to 5 Christmas in July dinners last year! So it may not rhyme, but Dry June is when an alcohol fast takes place in this woman’s calendar.


A focus on cutting back or eliminating certain foods 2 months a year (or more) seems like such a good idea. Do you have similar programs where you live? What works for you in living well? Any tips for how to maintain an exercise regime? How do you maintain will power? We’d love to hear from you in the comments section below.

Want to know more…..

Disclaimer: Nothing on this website should be considered medical or dietary advice. Always consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, medical plan or exercise routine.
Feature image with thanks Joanna Kosinska. Other images Sara Dubler

5 February 2019 | Living Well

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