Every month, Spiritual Guidance and Plant Based Wellness Coach Jenna Davila answers your questions on physical and emotional health and wellbeing. If you have a question for Jenna’s next advice column, send it here.
Please can you tell me what you know about water fasting? I’d like to try a week or so but my family is worried and I feel overwhelmed by their concern.
– Mary, UK
Hi Mary! Thank you so much for writing in. I personally have not completed a water fast for more than 24 hours and I don’t think I ever will. I sometimes intuitively do intermittent fasting but that is about the extent of it. With that being said, water fasting can absolutely encourage the body to heal. I have many friends who have done them and one of those friends has completely healed her endometriosis when doctors could not even provide any kind of relief. I do believe it can be beneficial to participate in a water fast but I strongly think it should be in a professional setting, under supervision and in a supportive, controlled environment.
I would suggest writing a list as to why you want to do the fast. What are your goals? What are the health issues you are looking to aid with? I’d like you to really be honest with yourself and take the time to process your answers. If one of your reasons is weight loss, I would recommend forming a strong sense of self love before even attempting to do a water fast. I have witnessed countless people thinking that if they lost weight, they would be happy and all their problems would disappear. This is just not the case and it actually causes a very unhealthy pattern in one’s life. Having unconditional love and acceptance of yourself in this present moment must come before even attempting a water fast if you doing it for appearance purposes. Yes, you could lose weight during a week long water fast but weight gain after a fast is to be expected as you will be back eating solid food. If you think your worth comes from how you look and not your soul, you could fall back into negative thought patterns about your body. I’ve seen it happen with people very close to me and it’s hard to watch them continue to struggle as they keep looking for the answers outside of themselves whilst having unhealthy relationships with food.
If you choose to move forward with a water fast, I recommend starting small with a 24 hour fast and seeing how you feel. From there, you can use your own judgement and you can move to a three day water fast and then a seven day water fast. This is your decision so please be be smart about it. Keep in mind that you should be resting and using as little of your energy as possible. Plan your schedule accordingly. Relaxation, self reflection, reading and journalling can all be helpful. Please make sure you are drinking 2-3 litres of pure, clean water like distilled. When breaking your fast, start with hydrating fruits like melons, particularly watermelon and slowly over the next few days integrate more foods back into your diet. You can check information about water fasting here. Wishing you all the best!
I am worried I have health issues related to mould exposure and wonder if you have any advice for dealing with this? I just want to feel well and nothing I try seems to help long term.
– Emily, UK
Thank you so much for writing in and I am sorry to hear you are feeling unwell. First thing first, are you living in an environment with mould? It sounds like you are having short term relief but it keeps coming back which may suggest mould is somewhere in your home. This might seem obvious but make sure you check your window sills, bathroom, door frames, basement, attic, HVAC or air conditioning system. If you have carpets, you may want to hire a professional to clean them with a non toxic solution. A mixture of baking soda, vinegar, tea tree oil with some lemon essential oil would be your best natural sources. To prevent mould from growing back, make sure your living space is well ventilated and cleaned regularly.
Along with those recommendations, I would suggest investing in an air purifier. Several months ago, my husband and I purchased the Molekule, recently named in the top 20 best inventions of 2017. The first night we used it in our bedroom, we both noticed a huge difference in our breathing. The Molekule doesn’t trap air pollutants, it completely breaks them down and destroys them. This includes VOCs, mould, viruses, bacteria and allergens. I’m not going to lie, it is pricey, but totally worth it. Financing is available on their site.
Here are some things you can do to get mould out of your body. The number one recommendation is to use activated charcoal which traps toxins and pulls them out of the body. Try cutting out all forms of yeast and sugar as these feed mould. Eating raw garlic and using chlorophyll can be very beneficial as well since they both contain anti fungal and other properties to help clear out the mould. I would also add in lots of leafy greens, ginger, lemon, cilantro, oregano and some Pau d’Arco tea. Anthony Williams has a talk, Healing from Mold Exposure, if you’d like to check it out. Sending you all my best!
As someone who gets most of my exercise in the outdoors in the spring, summer and fall, what’s the best way to stay active in the winter without paying for a gym membership?
– Kristen, USA
Hello Kristen! Thank you so much for your excellent question! The great news is, exercise comes in many different forms and you have plenty of options to choose – all in the comfort of your own home! Below are some of my recommendations on the top ways to stay active during the winter months.
1. Focus on strength exercises. You can either use your own body weight, invest in resistant bands, TRX and/ or a small weight set of 3-15 lbs (all which can easily be stored under your bed) to cover all the different muscle groups of the body. If you need some inspiration, you can browse the internet to find workouts for your own personal needs – there is so much free content out there! You can simply type in the search bar, “home exercises for glutes (or whatever you desire)” and your options will be endless. Christine Salus has an incredible YouTube channel that includes at home workouts such as HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), core burn, full body, targeted muscle groups and more. I can’t recommend her channel enough, she is amazing!
2. Incorporate more cardio. Some things you can do are burpees, heel kicks, high knees, sumo squats, mountain climbers and more! You can also buy a jump rope if you have room to use one. If you own a bicycle, you can purchase an indoor bike trainer stand. Again, a HIIT workout can be in this category. It is a great way to get your heart rate up, burn fat and move energy. A HIIT workout focuses on intense, quick intervals with 100% effort with some recovery time. If you are new to HIIT, look for “HIIT for beginners” when browsing the web.
3. Work on your core. Your core is the centre of your body and is responsible for keeping your body in balance. It helps you to perform many of your daily activities. Your core is connected to your arms and legs that help to control your simplest movements throughout your day. Building strong abdominals is one of the easiest things to do anywhere. A program that I really love is called, “21 days to phenomenal abdominals” by the DailyOM. What I like about the DailyOM is that you can pick your payment (ranging $10 to $40).
4. Take up a yoga practice. Yoga is a great way to go within, focus on the breath and push past your comfort zone. It is a deep connecting to the mind and body all while getting a nice, well deserved stretch and strengthening your muscles at the same time. Finding a yoga practice right for you is important as there are many different forms. Here are just a few you can research: Vinyāsa, Ashtanga, Gentle, Kundalini, Power Yoga, Hatha, Bikram. I recommend practices from a trusted source and always listen to your body. If you feel any kind of sharp pain or something doesn’t feel right, stop. Your intuition will guide you.
5. Dance in your living room or go out dancing! Dancing is an amazing exercise that brings joy, fun and expression from the soul. You move energy, burn calories and release endorphins. It is also a really powerful way to connect and be fully in the body. Magic happens when you completely surrender to the pulsing vibrations of music floating all around you, it can be real spiritual high.
5. Bundle up and just get outside! When you are dressed appropriately and exercise outdoors, your body will naturally warm up within 10 minutes. I personally still go hiking once to twice a week even after a snowfall (with the correct shoes) and find it to be so refreshing. Remember, even when it’s cold out, it is still so important to get outside, breathe in fresh air and connect to nature. Going for simple walk for 20-30 minute is definitely helpful as well.
Sending you my love and I hope some of these tips will inspire you to keep moving during the months ahead!
Disclaimer: The advice offered in this column is intended for informational purposes only. Use of this column not intended to replace or substitute for any professional, financial, medical, legal, or other professional advice. If you have specific concerns or a situation in which you require professional, psychological or medical help, you should consult with an appropriately trained and qualified specialist. The opinions or views expressed in this column are not intended to treat or diagnose; nor are they meant to replace the treatment and care that you may be receiving from a licensed professional, physician or mental health professional. This column, its author and the website are not responsible for the outcome or results of following any advice in any given situation. You, and only you, are completely responsible for your actions.