and sorry for the delay in replying.
I thought I would try the water fast out, so the Sunday before last I didn't eat anything, but at midnight I ate some food. I think that shocked my system or something and left me susceptible to illness because I got a head cold (although possibly it didn't help trying to meditate on the roof, covered in blankets, with the cold winds whipping round me!) Lots of nose blowing and catarrh. It's wore off in a coupla days.
In the last week I have spent two (non-consecutive) days juice fasting with spinach and fruit smoothies. That made me feel very awake and alive and healthy, so the idea of a short, as in 3 day, green juice fast is something that quite appeals to me. I would not like to do longer because it's expensive and apparently side-effects can include "fainting, dizziness, low blood pressure, heart arrhythmias, weight loss, hunger, vomiting, diarrhea, and kidney problems." (from http://altmedicine.about.com
It's a confusing issue for me whether I would consider water fasts as part of the middle way. If I understand right, what Ven. Maha Bua was saying, to paraphrase, was, if you can take it then it might be a useful practice but if it just turns into another distraction, then it's not for you.
So I reckon it must be something to be handled with caution.
In any case, I think the most important thing is for me is to just eat healthily (I have been vegan for a while, but lately have slipped up on that and haven't been eating particularly well) and exercise, as simple as that! And also getting into a better sleeping pattern... which is difficult because I'm stuck in this staying up to 5am thing
Thanks for the quote daverupa, as an overfed Westerner I am in very much in the kind of position only a king (or high-caste) would have in the Buddha's time, having the problem of having too much food available to eat rather than not enough, which is sadly of course still a huge problem in the world! I have put the verse (gatha, is that the right Pali word?) on the fridge, it is a good reminder for me and my family
Jhana4, it's funny you mentioned 'Fasting & Eating for Health' by Joel Fuhrman. I read Fasting & Eating a few years back, and read 'Eat to Live' the other week. On pg. 185 of Fasting and Eating he says about not having overweight people fast, but first adopting healthy eating and lifestyle and then maybe fasting a little if they want to, to shed the last few stubborn pounds. He also says "a weekend fast every once in a while would give the body a brief internal rest and cleaning." (pg. 217) But his main message, as detailed in Eat to Live is a high-fruit & and high-greenery filled, nutrient packed diet. I will concentrate on good diet.
I am confused by the language of "detox." Detoxification is mentioned a lot in Fuhrman's book and in a lot of more alt. medicine literature. I have heard before that the whole detox thing is just a myth. As lovemygreys said, the body has many mechanisms for removing toxins. I've never heard a proper scientific explanation of detoxification, and why fasting might be necessary to make that happen, would be interesting to hear one.