The FAST way to good health

We've turned a new page on the calendar, and spring is less than three weeks off -- which means it's time to get ready for the big spring cleaning.

I'm not talking about your home... although, let's face it, that's probably overdue for one too.

I'm referring, of course, to your body.

It's time to cleanse yourself on the inside and sweep out toxins like they're dust bunnies -- and you can do it with just a couple of days of fasting.

It's not just good for the soul.

The latest research confirms that regular fasting is an effective way to boost your health and slash your risk of nearly every major disease of aging.

The study used a special program that involves normal eating most of the time, but a five-day fast each month (which is a little too much -- but more on that in a moment).

After three months of following this pattern, folks with some of the risk factors for chronic disease saw incredible improvements in blood pressure, inflammation, hormone levels, and fasting glucose levels.

They even lost an average of six pounds, almost all of it in unsightly fat... and NONE of it in the all-important muscle mass you need for strength.

The only downside? Folks who were already healthy and didn't have any risk factors for chronic disease didn't see many changes.

Of course they didn't. They were ALREADY healthy!

But let's face it: How many people are REALLY "already healthy"? I see the test results every day, and I can tell you that there aren't many.

It's nothing to be ashamed of. It's just something that happens as we get older -- but you can stop it and even reverse it with a few simple lifestyle changes and an occasional fast.

Just don't follow too closely the one in the study, which was longer than necessary and required specially-prepared meal replacements.

It's needlessly complex.

You can get all the benefits of fasting -- and more -- without the meal replacements and without having to drag it out for nearly a week, like the poor souls in this study.

I find the traditional regimen of two or three days, three or four times a year, is enough to do the trick.

Like rotating your mattress, consider the start of each new season a reminder it's time to get it done.

If you've never fasted before, don't just stop eating for a couple of days. Speak to a holistic medical doctor first to make sure you're healthy enough to do it and also get some tips on how to fast properly.