This is wonderful. Even though this thread was started awhile back, it's great to see that so many have viewed it! This is a topic near and dear to my heart for many reasons.
I'd like to post a reference to a great book on the general topic that I have found helpful called "Back to Eden". Don't be deceived by the title - it's not about religion so much but it was written by a Christian man who took his spirituality very seriously and was inspired by God to write the book. His name was Jethro Kloss and his book is still in print even though it was written back in the 1930s!
Back to Eden is a homeopathic primer on just about everything and everything else having to do with health and diet. One of the best parts is the one on food combining. Many people don't realize that due to digestive enzyme activity they trigger, some foods are more compatible when eaten together than others. Some are downright toxic when combined.
The text also gets into many of the harmful effects of commonly -eaten processed foods and describes the maladies which result with uncanny accuracy.
I am also a practitioner of yoga and note that a common thread between Back to Eden and the yogic philosophy is that food is best used as source of fuel, not as primarily a source of emotional gratification or coping with stress.
This also dovetails with many weight loss programs which help people to get over habitual eating such as binging and chronic extreme overeating, by applying the identical philosophy of disciplined eating and choosing healthy foods over "trigger" foods which appeal only to appetite but do little to nourish the mind/body or satisfy true hunger.
Fasting is a great idea for many reasons. For one, if done correctly is can break the cycle of habitual eating and make it a more conscious, controlled process. Fasting also allows the palate to clean itself out so that people can actually taste the food they're eating after they end the fast.
I can also recommend another great book about fasting titled Yoga, Youth and Reincarnation by Jesse Stern who was a journalist who approached yoga as a skeptic and became a fan. Again, please don't be misled or put off by the title. Even though it is a little New Agey in the sense that it touches on the Hindu notion of reincarnation, it is not preachy or intrusive at all in that sense. YYAR is almost 1090% about physical (Hatha) yoga which may be practiced by anyone of any faith. It also discusses how to fast properly as opposed to doing it in a way that leaves the person feeling unhappy or hungry all the time.
Another great book considered a classic is Yoga For Health by Richard Hittleman. Fasting is discussed in that book as well.
Each person probably has their ideal diet that is best for them and my view is that any rigid diet should always be considered a guideline for this. It's important to have discipline and to develop the will power to stick to a program, but ultimately the goal is to simply eat a satisfying diet that is enjoyable in which the heart, mind and body can all agree. I have found that too much denial can in some cases be just as unhelpful as too much indulgence.
Thanks again for starting this post! Conservatives should be happy and healthy forever!