Should we fast for health?

March 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

You’ve probably heard along the line somewhere the benefits of having a ‘fast’ day every once in a while – some spiritual gurus and health yogis even promote a day a week dedicated to fasting & reflection. There have also been a lot of studies that show a lower calorie diet (as in, below normal recommendations) actually contributes to longevity, not to mention the arguments that support giving your body one or two days every now and then to just detox and take a breather.

There are numerous methods of sustaining a fast – the complete fast that is just water; the juice fast; a fast where you drink only herbal teas or tonics…the list goes on. Naturally these have sparked my own curiosity for a number of reasons – could a fast be a beneficial detoxing process for me? Is it healthy to allocate a regular day to just ‘being’ in a spiritual sense without the distraction of food and consuming? Is it something that could break the emotional connection I seem to have with eating? Could it teach me that I won’t die if I don’t eat for a day?

I’ve been contemplating how i’d go for even a day without food, and I tend to arrive at the same conclusion each time. I’ve always been someone (my mum & grandma are the same) who needs to eat regularly to prevent getting sick, shaky…that ole’ stomach-imploding-in-on-itself sensation. Definitely there has been a dramatic improvement in my ability to sustain activity without food since I improved my diet…my stomach seems much more calm and my body has more reserves to keep me going in general. But yesterday, after concluding that I probably couldn’t hack a food-free-day, I had an inadvertent fasting experience to test the theory.

I stayed at my boyfriends house and because of his work, he has very different sleeping patterns, so doesn’t get up until much later in the day. Also, he pretty much keeps NO food at his house as he just buys everything out. So i’d had a very small dinner the night before, then stayed at Jarad’s only to not eat until 2pm the next day. You may be thinking….that’s nothing, I do that all the time! I know, many people do – my flatmates can just ‘forget’ to eat and they are fine. But seriously, I’m hungry when I go to bed, having naughty porridge dreams until I wake up, and usually eat breakfast at around 7am.

By 2pm, after being out and about, and getting over the I want breakfast stage…then the I want lunch stage…I thought I was doing ok. I didn’t have a stomach ache or anything and I felt very clear-headed and calm, but then later we were walking around this shopping centre and I just really started to feel fragile. I was so frustrated that I hadn’t eaten, I didn’t want to be there, I was being sulky and glum, and actually started to tear up. At this point Jarad recognised my need for sustenance and bought me a big veggie juice with Spirulina…but even so, I didn’t end up eating solid food till around 3 or 4pm. I was an emotional wreck by the afternoon, and realised that unless I was in some kind of shaman trance or had the day just to quietly relax and reflect, I don’t think I could easily give up eating for a full 24 hours.

I do however believe that it has immense benefits just from what i’ve read, and perhaps at a higher level of eating raw, unprocessed foods, my body would be able to see me through a fasting period. Have you tried fasting before? How did it go?

So to honour eating, here are a few recent eats;

Bean + tomato, lettuce, avocado & nooch wrap (was craving that old el paso taco flavour, but just couldn’t achieve it without the mysterious taco seasoning that is probably terrible for you…ah well).

Morning porridge with apple, cinnamon, chia seeds, coconut, sunflower seeds, walnuts & agave.

Post-run electrolyte booster and brain food to get me through my french homework! This is such a treat; water & flesh of one young coconut, bit of rice milk, 1/2 banana, handful berries, Spirulina & Chlorella. Get in mah belleh!

Ok, time to stop procrastinating and get my uni-work ass into gear. Have a great weekend!

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