The word fasting creates anxiety in our minds. We often ask ourselves “Why fasting? Why should I starve myself? I wonder how people do it , How can I stop my food cravings?” and such like. Fasting seems impossible for people who never tried it, but people have been fasting all over the world despite of religion and ethnicity. Dr Paracelsus called it the “physician within”. Indeed, fasting is practiced throughout the centuries, people who fasted claimed it brings physical and spiritual renewal. Animals also fast when they are sick. They abdicate themselves from eating till they feel better. Hippocrates father of modern medicine once said “To eat when you are sick is to feed your sickness”
Fasting has many benefits if done with proper strategy. The two popular fasting techniques are Intermittent fasting and Prolonged fasting.
Intermittent fasting is the most popular type of fasting for this generation. Fasting window can be 12 or 14 or 16 hrs. You can also do 2 days a week fasting. For example eating breakfast at 8:00 a.m. lunch at 1:00 p.m. and dinner at 5:00 p.m. From 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. you should not consume anything.
- Intermittent fasting helps in reducing weight by Ketosis. It is a process when your are fasting your body cannot find carbohydrate to convert into energy. It converts body fat reserves for energy which leads to weight loss.
- As you age your neurons shrink and brain volume decreases Intermittent fasting helps sharpen your brain.
- It also helps regulates blood sugar.
- Fasting increases life span and reduces aging process. Mitochondria are the powerhouses in our cells, they also regulates signaling and cell death. According to a Harvard Research fasting promotes homeostasis in mitochondrial networks and keep them in a “youthful” state.
Prolonged Fasting: Long term Fasting can be done while consuming water and supplements . Fasting more than 3 to 5 days can be like oxidizing your cells, it is basically eating of all remaining junk food from your body and revitalizing cells. Fasting for longer periods can also cure cancer, Since you are depriving cancer cells food, they will shrink and ultimately die. Fasting for prolonged time only with water deprives you of necessary vitamins required for body to function. It’s better to work with your primary care provider for this type of fasting. Many great people have fasted in different eras. Jesus is believed to have fasted for 40 days for spiritual growth. Mahatma Gandhi fasted for 21 days for a movement (Satyagraha) to get India’s Independence . He said “The light of the world will illuminate within you when you fast and purify yourself” .
Below are some suggestion after you have tried fasting
- Once you are done fasting do not binge eat.
- Come out of fasting by having a simple soup,
- Gradually eat vegetables,Nuts and Whole Foods
If you want to give fasting a try, start with Intermittent fasting and graduate to Prolonged fasting. There are some smart tips how to fast safely without feeling hungry and angry.
- Hydrate yourself frequently.
- Read interesting books that will keep you occupied . Watch movies or participate in an activity of your choice that keeps you engaged .
- Drink herbal tea or green tea
- Cut orange slices, lemon slices, mint etc to flavor water .
Fasting is the principle medicine from ancient times. It is common for all the living creatures which depend on other living beings for food. So fast to revitalize and reveal the strength of the spirit.
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