International Vegetarian Union (IVU)
IVU logo

Congress Logo 33rd World Vegetarian Congress
Chiang Mai, Thailand, January 4 - 10, 1999
'Vegetarianism is the Way'
an unforgettable visual, cultural and gastronomic experience

Fasting According to te Principles of the Natural Hygeine System

Talk given by Arne Wingqvist (Sweden) on Jan 6, 1999. Recorded and reproduced by David Román

Introduction: I'm honoured to introducing the speaker for this session to all of you. The speaker this morning has been a vegetarian for many many years, and has been a fruitarian for the past 12 to 15 years. During his period of being a frutarian he doesn't take any cooked food, he just eats fruits. Four years ago he came here for a walkathon in Thailand, he is about 80 years old now, he is active and strong as ever. So this morning he will speak to you about being a healthy fruitarian. I'd like to introduce you to Arne Winqvist.

Arne Wingqvist: Thank you friends. I welcome you all to this little lecture on fasting. The title is "Fasting according to the principles of the Natural Hygiene system" on the late Dr. Herbert M. Shelton, San Antonio, Texas, USA. I will give you a little introduction of Dr. Shelton, from the book "FIT FOR LIFE", many of you have read it, and there it says: "One of the most world respected and noticeable natural hygienists of our time is Dr. Herbert M. Shelton, now retired, who from 1928 till 1981 led a "health school", including a clinic, laboratories and teaching programs, in San Antonio, Texas. Dr. Shelton is generally considered to be the greatest authority on natural hygiene philosophy, principles and practice. He produced a wealth of literature with new findings, and had the more to the science and art of natural hygiene than any other person. In Dr. Shelton's own words: "The laws of nature, the truths of the universe, the principles of science, are just as certain, as fix and immutable, in relation to health as they are in relation to all things else. Natural Hygiene is a branch of biology which investigate and apply the conditions upon which life and health depend, and the means by which health is sustained in all its virtue and purity, and restored when it has been lost o impaired".

I had the pleasure - I would say the fortune - to be a student of Dr. Shelton Health School in 1951 and 1952. And I consider those as one of the most valuable in all my life.

Fasting... in english you have breakfast , that is you break the fast. You eat your last meal at night and then you sleep all night and in the morning you take breakfast: you break the fast you've had during the night. It's the same wording in French - jeűne et déjeuner - and in Italian, etc. Fasting means to abstain from food, except water. Water is also food, but you abstain from everything else, you abstain from teas, from fruit juice. In fruit diets (on peaches, oranges and things like that) there's a big difference even if you're taking only fruits. When I speak about fasting that is only taking water, no teas, no fruits, nothing else. And there's a big difference. You can get resettled by going on a two-week "cure" as they say eating grapes or oranges or whatever. It's not a fast and it does not give the same results, under the same principles, than fasting taking only water.

I myself joined the Vegetarian Society in 1931 - all from the start I joined the sports team for young boys and girls in Sweden. The leaders were vegetarians and they spoke about it, and they had newspapers which talked about vegetarians, I took them home to my mother and said "I want to be a vegetarian". And she said: "Well, fine, let me know what to give you". Because I never liked meat or fish at all, and I remember when I was told to have milk, I asked my mother to put in 50% water in the milk. So becoming vegetarian for me was not difficult, and I must stress the importance of fresh raw food. All from the start I've been eating minimum 50% of raw fresh vegetables or fruits.

Arne Wingqvist (left) with spanish webmaster David Román and wife Estrella

Vegetarianism in Europe includes mostly who take milk products, some take eggs, they are call ovo-vegetarians and ovo-lacto-vegetarians, there are people who call themselves "fish-vegetarians" - I don't know what that means - and I'm upon to hear the word "meat-vegetarians"... That means that they are vegetarians but eat some meat. The word vegetarian comes from the latin "vegetus" that is to grow and be strong, so actually to start it doesn't have much with vegetables to do.

It is very important to eat the salads - if you're a vegetarian or a meat eater - when you start a meal you should have a fresh raw salad first. You should not have it in the middle of the meal, to have potatoes or rice first but you should take the fresh raw vegetables first. Because when you take the fresh raw vegetables an enzyme is being produced in the saliva, and then the enzyme acts in the digestive process all through the body. If you start with a potato or a sandwich or whatever, and after that take fresh salad, this enzyme will not be produced in the saliva, and it has been shown clinically (by tests of the blood, etc).

When you go on a fast, you don't have to do any preparation if you are vegetarian. You just stop eating, you don't have to do any preparation. But I would advice you if you're not used to fasting to consult someone who knows about fasting and has been fasting for himself. But if you can't find anyone like this try a fast for one-two-three days and then the next time you can take a week or two or a month or two. What is important is that you don't have any worries. You shouldn't worry about anything and the meaning of the fast is to give the body a complete rest, body and soul. You should be comfortable, lying in bed, and should have access to fresh air and fresh water. When you water fast, you'll have thirst and then you'll drink as much water as is necessary to quench the thirst. You don't have to drink roughly 2-3-4 litres a day, it's totally wrong. You'll drink if you need a quarter or a half of a glass to quench your thirst, if you need more you take that. When you're exhausted, the next time you'll take because you need it. And this is because an excess of water irritates the system, and it doesn't help you. You lie in bed, and you take it easy. You can read a book or maybe a paper but it's wrong indeed to do a lot of exercise during the fast. This is if you are fasting because you want to obtain a better health. If you are very healthy then maybe you can walk around, but not if you're sick and want to regain full health. The first days when you skip the meals, when meal time comes, you will feel hungry. That's nothing to worry about. That is no hunger. That is only a nervous feeling that will disappear after a few days. Usually after the third day you don't feel anything, you're in a complete rest.

When you are fasting, if you sleep at daytime the first days, maybe you'll think you cannot sleep at night. But don't worry about that, when night-time comes you will sleep if not the full night after a few days it does regulate itself and you'll be awake during the days and will sleep at night. And even if you are not sleeping at night the body is at rest, and the physiological process which goes on in the body when you sleep also goes on in the body during the night while you're unable to sleep.

You go on like that day after day and then you say: When is it time to break the fast? When can I start eating again? Of course some people cannot fast more than a few days, because they work or something else, but if you have the time you can fast two or three months. The time to break the fast actually is when you feel hunger, real hunger. And you don't feel that in the stomach, you feel it in your mouth and in your throat. That is when you should start eating. If you don't start eating when you feel this, then the fasting turns over into starvation or hunger. Fasting is beneficial for you, hunger and starvation is very bad for you.

During the fasting, you drink water, you should not dring fuit juice. You will not quench your thirst with fruit juice, because fruit juice firstly should be chewed, masticated in the mouth to be mixed with saliva, and secondly fruit juice is a food and it has to be digested and assimilated in the body. But water enters into the body without being digested.

When you feel this real hunger coming, the force to eat is so strong that you cannot resist eating. You can break the fast in many ways, but there is only one or maybe two correct ways to break it. One can put lemon in a glass of water or orange or anything, but if you take a slice of orange or a piece of an apple, chew it very well. And after a couple of hours, you take another slice or another piece of the apple, and chew that very well, after two hours more you take more, bigger and bigger; it depends on how long you have been fasting. If you've been for 2-3 days, you can take bigger pieces, but if you've been fasting for one or two months, then you've got to break the fast very gradually.

A man of 45-50 (or a woman) who has been fasting for 3-4 weeks, his tissues in the body have actually got about 10 to 15 years younger. If you want to keep this, you should stick to a very strict vegetarian diet, or a vegan diet - no eggs, no milk, no animal products -. If you stick to that, the results will stick to you for quite many years. After sticking to this vegan diet, you'll like it. Your health has turned up to a higher level. I will show you some fasts which have been done. Dr. Shelton said he had over 40.000 people fasting under his guidance, that's a lot of experience. But before that, you have any questions?

Question: When it's not for illness, what do you think about healthy people fasting? How long? How often?

Arne Wingqvist: Well, healthy people fasting of course do benefit from it, because to attain full health is a lot of difficult, especially if you eat cooked food. If you stick to raw food, fresh fruits, seeds, nuts, almonds and fresh raw vegetables then it's much easier to obtain the very top health. And what is "top health"? A lot of people would say that it's full harmony in body and soul, and with your environment and with your family and friends, and that's very correct. But full harmony, if we take it in the physiologic meaning, that means that every one of your billions of cells in the body are clean out as much as possible, almost at 100%, from the poisonous end products of the digestion and assimilation. Because there are some poisonous end products even if you're on fresh fruits, etc., but not so much; if you eat meat and things then there are much more. And meat has not the property to effectively clean out every single cell in the body.

A healthy person who wants to fast, he can fast when he likes it. Many fast one day a week, some fast on sundays, others fast on wednesdays, etc. Other people say in the springtime or maybe also in the fall. And it's always beneficial to you, always. Because most of us, we do overeat, so we'll give the body a physical rest.

Question: Is there any risk from drinking too much water during the fast?

Arne Wingqvist: You should drink to quench the thirst. If you feel that after drinking half a glass or one glass you're not thirsty, then you stop with it. Maybe after an hour or two or four you get thirsty again, then you drink to quench the thirst. Because the body does not use the overconsumption, it has no use for it. And one very important thing: do not take any enemas, during fasting. It's not necessary. The body knows itself when it's time; it doesn't matter if you fast a day, or a week, or a month or two. Enemas irritate the system, and it's not necessary.

This is a fast I'll tell you about. There on the stage you see 11 men, in 1954 from 1st of august to the 17th of august we were fasting taking only water for 17 days. The 1st day we were walking 50 km from Goteborg. The 2nd day another 50 km only taking water. We kept on like that until the 10th day. We had then made 500 km, a little more, maybe 530, taking only water for ten days. In Sweden we have daylight, it's almost daylight all day long, 24 hours a day in the summer. Here it's different. This shows the reception, we came into Stockholm on a rainy sunny afternoon, and the police said there were over 200,000 people out on the street to welcome us. We had a 6 motorcyclists escort ahead of us and 4 behind us. We were received in a big open-air theatre in Stockholm, and they had never had so many visitors to the park, they had more than 5,000 people. A lot of the city people, and businessman and vegetarians came to greet us welcome. I'm the third one, that waves his hand. The man to the left is a surgery doctor, he took the initiative and was the leader. When we came to Stockholm after 10 days we were examined by doctors. And then the doctors said: "Well, but of course before you start to eat again". The fast lasted another 7 days, but we didn't walk 50 km a day. But we could very well have done it, we could have kept on 12-13-14 days. We lost on the average about 9 kgs.

I have good friends in Bangkok - as all over - and one of my best friends is the charter president of the VegBangkok Society. In 1992 it started and I've given some lectures there. And then he asked me one day: "Could we arrange a fasting walkathon here in Thailand?". So in 1996 on the 20th of january, from the middle of Thailand, about 300 km from Bangkok, joined 9-10 people from Thailand, 1 chinese, 1 american, 1 singapurian and 4 swedish people. They started out they all walked about 40 kms in the day. I didn't participate in that one, but my friend here on the left participated, 79 and a half years old. Taking only water. The three other sweedish participants were my sons, from 23 to 30 years, they were also taking only water. The others used to take fruit juices or vegetable juices.

This lady is Sigrid De Leo, she is the second head of the EVU. She lives in Switzerland. We made a bicycle tour in Sweden for 1,410 kms. That is the same distance as Chiang Mai - Bangkok and return. This was 15th of july to 2nd of august, 19 days. We were eating only fresh fruits, nuts, seeds and fresh uncooked vegetables. I did this at the age of 78, and Mrs. De Leo was 53, and there was another swedish man also 53 years of age. The longest tour we made was 130 kms in a day, the shortest one was 25 kms. Previously Sigrid had been eating greens and cooked food, but she was born a vegetarian, and after this bicycle tour she's totally on raw food.