Fasting is an ancient way to restore one’s health, from the Ezekiel’s 40 days’ fasts, to the Muslims 30 days Ramadan. Aristotle used to demand that his potential students embark on a fasting period before commencing his teachings.
If we go back in time several thousands of years (a speck in time for the history of the world), humans naturally fasted in times when there were scarce amounts of food. Hence, when we consider evolution, most of the human existence we were forced to have intermittent fasting. It is only in the modern time that we have a surplus amount of food available at all times. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a negative thing in its self. It is great that we are able to have a more varied and rich diet than our forefathers. The only problem is that in this time and age, where we tend to think more on efficiency and how to get food fast, food also tend to lack a lot of the essential nutrients that we have available, virtually at all times. The diet tend to be too rich in fast sugars and starches, and nutrients lacking in enzymes that will leave a more sluggish digestive system. Studies have shown that in the west we typically carry many kilograms of partially undigested food in the colon. Fasting is therefore a way to restore health in the body by sweeping clean the gastrointestinal system of the excess food particles.
The concept of fasting is also a time where you focus not on what you ingest. This has the potential to relieve addictive behaviors. It is also a good way to clear ones mind, as less energy goes to the digestive system. This is the reason why Aristotle demanded that his students fast before studying, as this increased the efficiency of their learning capacity.
There are many ways to fast. I do not suggest you start with a long fast if you are not used to fasting, as this may be too big of a shock to the body. Therefore, it is better to start with intermittent fasting’s, lasting a day or two. If you look at Anthony Weils recommendations to a healthier lifestyle, fasting one day a week is a good way to go.
Now, how does one fast. There are many ways to do this:
- Water fast. This is the most common way to fast, where one only consume water for the entire fasting period.
- Juice fasting. Drinking solely vegetable juice, alternatively with some fruits such as lemon and apple.
- Absolute fast. This is where you ingest nothing for a period of time. An example of this is the days of Ramadan.
- Fasting could also be just being conscious of eating/drinking more simply. Whole grain rice fast is a good fast, and could be particularly beneficial with parasitic infestations.
Once one gets more in the habbit of fasting one can try the 7 days fast. This commonly is a water fast, done once a year, preferably in the spring or autumn. Here it is advisable to do this in a time of less stress, as it turns out to be a contemplative period. Here it is advisable to consult a physician before the fast to make sure the liver and kidney values are up for the task. It is also advisable to consume lots of leafy green vegetables and herbal teas a few days prior and after the fast, to ease in and out of the fast.
Fasting is a way to reset the body and mind, where one can spend more time on doing other hearty things, such as being more out in nature, and bring the nature in to your home by buying plants or flowers. Fasting could also include fasting from media and news for a day, so as to relieve more of ones collective stress. Remember, fasting is about enjoying more of what life has to offer, while regaining more energy and clarity by doing so.