All About Fasting
Fasting and purification can be an uplifting experience that enhances health and one’s own attitude of the body, depending on how and why it is done.
It is recommended that most modern westernized people need to fast from a lifelong daily schedule of three meals a day.
For generations our primitive ancestors have fasted. In the springtime when winter supplies ran low, they typically fasted for several weeks on little more than water and vegetables.
- Fasting is an important self-discipline technique to overcome emotional attachments to food.
- Fasting can help purify the body before a major change in diet to better one’s health.
- To help break up physical and mental stagnancy which manifests as poor appetite, apathy, fatigue, depression and many chronic ailments.
- For spiritual reasons: To strengthen ones spiritual practice, prayer or meditation.
What Is Fasting?
Fasting can best be described as speeding-up the cleansing and renewal process by slowing down the normal digestive routine. “Cleansing”, generally means the purging of toxins and residues we have accumulated by using too many foods rich in fat and proteins which build tissue rapidly.
Certain foods work better for a cleanse than others, depending on the food residues that need to be eliminated. These residues are highly acidic and are most often from high-fat mucus-forming categories. Examples are: Meats, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, grains and legumes, refined sugars, chemicals and drugs. When the body is too acidic from certain food accumulations it is said disease and infections can proliferate more easily.
The Acid-Alkaline Balance
Your body has a natural acid/alkaline balance. Medications, sugars, stress, lack of exercise and poor dietary habits can all make the body more acidic. There are several foods that can be instilled into your diet that can help tip this balance back. The most alkaline-producing foods are fruits, vegetables, sprouts, cereal grasses, and herbs. The exact proper ratio of acidic and alkalizing foods is difficult to determine, since the balance is altered simply by chewing, food preparation practices, exercise and lifestyle, and even our level of positive thinking.
The person who wants to improve mental focus and whose constitution ranges from fairly balanced to slightly deficient and thin, or cold, will normally benefit from a whole-grain fast for at least three days. Chew each bite thirty to fifty times. Rice and other whole grains may be used. Millet is recommended for it’s alkaline, detoxifying nature. Wheat and other grain sprouts are also alkaline, and less cooling when steamed. Warming herb teas such as cinnamon bark and dried ginger root can be used by those with cold signs.
If you have overeaten consistently, consuming excess sweets, nuts, beans, grains, dairy, or eggs, and your condition is a little on the cool and deficient side, then consider a fast of lightly steamed vegetables of your choice. Take at most three different vegetables at a time, although one or two is preferable. Drink water or herbal teas according to thirst.
When Not To Fast
- During serious physical or mental degenerations, unless advised by a knowledgeable doctor or healthcare practitioner.
- In cold weather
- If one is malnourished, starving or deprived of proper nutrition
- During pregnancy or lactation.
Fasting has been used to rid the body of virtually every disorder involving excess as well as to increase vitality. When the fast is over, it is important to not overeat. The success of the fast depends on the after parts- for the desire to binge can be monumental. If one immediately puts all the excesses back into routine, any benefit from the fast is doubtful. It may benefit one to seek the experience and care of a health-care practitioner prior to attempting a fast.
References: Pitchford, Paul (2002). Healing With Whole Foods. Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books.