FASTING - rescue for body and spirit
Agnieszka Raczynska-Lorek talks to Dr. Helena Skarbek, director of the Rehabilitation-Holiday Centre ‘Sofra’ in Mielno-Uniesc.
Lord Jesus himself recommended fasting and sanctified it, having fasted for 40 days not because of some illness but because he wanted to prepare himself - through cleansing and strengthening his organism - to the Passion. In her apparitions the Mother of God also recommended short, one day, but often repeated, fasts, which have both penitential meaning and health benefits. Hippocrates used to say, ‘Let food be your medicine.’ And until today nobody has given a better recipe to regain healthy body and spirit. Medically supervised fasting has been known and used since time immemorial. But it was only in the 19th century that rapid development of chemotherapy made doctors give up fasting and at the same time pharmacological means spread very quickly. They stop the symptoms but do not touch the essence of diseases. Moreover, they poison the organism. Fasting removes the causes of diseases and restores the balance on the level of the body and spirit. Like as food is the nourishment for the body, so refraining from food (fasting) is the ‘nourishment’ for the spirit. The Gospel and the experiences of many generations teach about the meaning of fasting. The qualified personnel of the Rehabilitation-Holiday Centre “Sofra’ in Mielno-Uniesc, situated on a sandbar, in the vicinity of the Baltic Sea and the Lake of Jamno, has helped many people to regain healthy body and spirit for almost nine years.
AGNIESZKA RACZYNSKA-LOREK: Our air, water and food are polluted with poisonous chemicals and man is created in such a way that his organism can remove his pollution. When does actually the problem appear?
DR. HELENA SKARBEK: - It starts when the inner organs of cleansing, especially the liver and intestine, are overloaded. Then the whole process of cleansing oneself is disturbed and the toxins deposited in the cells and tissues cause heart and liver diseases, cancer, diabetes, allergy, arthritis, atherosclerosis, fatigue, overweight, early aging of the body…, etc. However, there is hope; there is rescue - cleansing oneself of toxins that cause all diseases and complaints. The method is medically supervised water-only, juice or vegetable-fruit fasts. Vegetables and fruits have become the basis of medically supervised fasting worked out by Dr. Ewa Dabrowska.
- What were the circumstances of the project of medically supervised fasting, the effects of which have made the centre function for almost nine years?
- In 1999 we began collaborating with Ewa Dabrowska, MD, an internist, who worked in hospital clinics for many years. Her idea, connected with continuous health prevention, cleansing your organism and consequently, losing weight, seemed to be ‘the golden mean’ for suffering, problems and complaints of contemporary people. It turned out to be a great success! The introduction of vegetable-fruit diet has helped cure many patients, many of whom return to us to recuperate their bodies and spirits since these are the aims of Dr. Dabrowska’s diet. Thanks to the diet we recover, lose weight and we also automatically heal our souls.
- Can you enumerate some health benefits of fasting?
- Medically supervised fasting prevents and stops diseases, removes symptoms (of infections and allergies), removes deposits and toxins and improves the senses: sight, smell, hearing and taste; it makes people younger, cures degenerative elements; increases fertility and extends the time of good health. The benefits for the spirit include first of all better consciousness, clarity of the mind, better memory, creativity, efficiency, deepened spirituality, love for God and neighbours, harmony with your environment, ability to forgive, lasting relationships, getting rid of bad habits.
- How can we rid the body of toxins then?
- One method of cleansing your organism of toxins is fasting, which is one of the most effective ways of excreting the products of metabolism and supporting the process of healing. When we fast (refrain from eating), the whole vital strength that is used to transform food into energy and tissues is used to ‘rinse out’ toxins from our organism. Some medical practitioners think that fasting is the only way to rid our body of many toxins that are in the industrial foods. Many specialists in fasting regard temporary abstinence from eating and drinking only water or juice or eating vegetables and fruits as the safest, easiest and very effective method of cleansing oneself. And what can happen if we do not eat products and other protein food as well as processed foods with high glycemic index? Only good can result from that.
- Inner cleansing of the organism is closely connected with losing weight…
- Undoubtedly, using medically supervised fasting, for example the vegetable-fruit diet recommended by Dr. Dabrowska, results in losing weight. The more you weigh at the beginning of the diet the more weight you lose. Patients lose their excessive kilos in our centre. They return lighter, more joyful and what is most important, they are healthier in body and spirit in accordance with the saying, ‘healthy spirit in healthy body.’ Most of our patients have medical check-ups and the results show evident improvement of their conditions.
- What kinds of holiday does the ‘Sofra’ centre organise?
- The most popular is the adults’ diet aiming at cleansing the organism, losing weight and getting rid of toxins. The vegetable-fruit diet also means education concerning proper nourishment and dietetics as well as anti-diabetes and anti-atherosclerosis prevention concerning about 60 diseases. Moreover, we use an intestinal-gastric diet for people suffering from stomach-intestinal diseases (i.e. a version of the vegetable-fruit diet), natural diet (wholesome) for adults and children based on healthy traditional Polish kitchen adjusted to our climate. This diet is recommended after the medically supervised fasting (cleansing and slimming diet). At the same time it is education concerning preparing meals and combining particular ingredients, gluten-free diet in various variants for people sensitive to gluten (used in all kinds of allergies). Currently, we are preparing to use the diet of Dr. Joanna Budwig, i.e. cancer and anti-atherosclerosis prevention.
- Certainly, many people wonder how they can endure two weeks without bread, potatoes or pork cutlets. How to survive giving your organism such a small amount of calories; how to win hunger?
- I must calm all who are doubtful or horrified since our Centre supervises the diet and consequently, our patients calm themselves down after a recuperative crisis. They will not surely feel any hunger since the glycemic index of products is very low. Besides, the products are little processed and that’s why we want to eat less. The diet has between 500 and 800 calories. We can eat as much as we wish and we should drink a lot. We can eat protein-free products between meals. The plates are full of food and the tureens are hot. Our meals are diversified. And you must have the attitude, ‘Yes, I will survive 14 days. I will do it for my body and spirit.’
- Just after the Centre was opened you designed a chapel…
- Yes, we did, thinking of our spirit so that people will not only go to the dining room to nourish their bodies and also, or perhaps first of all, go to some sacred place where they have the possibility to participate in daily Mass and services, which are the foods for our souls. In most cases there is some priest during each session; sometimes there are several priests who eagerly minister to people. There is time for prayer, conversation or even confession. Good relationships between laymen and priests, numerous patients participating in Mass, individual visits to the chapel prove that our patients do not only want physical renewal and also the spiritual one. The first equipment for the chapel was offered by Fr Slawomir Bartoszuk, the parish priest of St Andrew Swierad’s and Benedict’s Parish in Czestochowa (by the way he is my cousin). Later every priest who came here offered something for the chapel. Recently, Bishop Edmund Piszcz has given us a missal and Rev. Msgr Ireneusz Skubis has offered us a cross and picture of Our Lady of Jasna Gora, which have enriched our chapel very much.
- What testifies that the Centre is reliable?
- The certificate ISO 9001:2000, implemented HACCP and the contract signed with the National Health Fund guarantee reliability, quality and safety of our guests. We keep the EU standards. All food products for our patients must have seals of approval when they are delivered to our Centre. This is the guarantee. By the way, at the beginning of our co-operation Dr. Dabrowska listed certain requirements: good quality of products and tools, i.e. quality connected with preparing meals. And that’s why we have no cooking utensils. We have two big computerised convection ovens and other equipment to prepare meals. Making meals require much effort. Our qualified staff sees to it that the requirements of the author’s diet are fulfilled. Our personnel make all meals themselves and we do not use any half-products. This also guarantees quality and reliability. All medical personnel have suitable qualifications.
- We know that the Centre is developing and enriching the range of its competences. What is new? What about your plans?
- This year we have introduced food intolerance tests (English ones) for 46 food ingredients. Food intolerance is confused with allergy. Intolerance is slow depositing of various substances that have negative effects on human health. The effects of food intolerance are chronic diseases, disorders and various discomforts. Sometimes, we can just stop eating some ingredients and things get back to normal. The tests we have just introduced serve this purpose. They are made on spot. It is just piercing your fingertip and taking a blood drop for analysis. Soon we will begin a new diet which aims at cancer prevention. While preparing the diet we also use natural means and the knowledge of Dr. J. Budwig, a German scientist, combing it with the knowledge of Dr. Dabrowska since most ingredients of both diets coincide with one another.
- How many people come to ‘Sofra’?
- We usually have about 100 patients at a session, which means ca. 1,250 people a year. According to our data based on the surveys 82% of our patients return to us. Guests reserve rooms one and a half years earlier. Currently, 40% of all rooms have been reserved for next year.
- Recently the ‘Sofra’ Centre has been awarded by the Koszalin Chamber of Commerce. What does this distinction mean to you?
- Every year the Koszalin Chamber organises a reception to award ‘Denars’ in economy. This year we have received the Silver Denar in the category of small companies. We have also received the main award for promoting healthly diets and lifestyle changes.
- What are the testimonies of people who have recovered from many illnesses after having used the diet?
- I cannot remember and count all testimonies. Many of them have been written in our guest book. The conditions of some patients were hopeless but they ‘clang’ to this diet like a drowning man clutches at straws. They applied the medically supervised fasting several times and they recovered. Now they are enjoying good health and are the best examples that the diet, which Dr. Dabrowska calls fasting, makes real miracles. One of our frequent visitors wrote down a little poem in our guest book, ‘Noble health, how you taste, he only can know who has lost you. But he can later regain you when he stays longer at ‘Sofra’. So I invite you to come to ‘Sofra’ to regain health, youth, slim figure, renewed body and spirit.