Fast­ing Health

Here is how you can do it prop­erly.

Woman's Era - - C & A - By Kal­pana B Shah

It is rightly said if our stom­ach is full, in­tel­li­gence goes to sleep. Eat­ing brings heav­i­ness in our body and the food we eat have nu­tri­ents af­fect­ing our body dif­fer­ently, re­sult­ing and re­flect­ing on our health in good or bad ways. It is a be­lief about fast­ing that it heals ev­ery pain and wounds of the body and mind wash away all sins. More vig­or­ous fast­ing quick is heal­ing, for what­ever we have fasted for. Some­times the magic of fast­ing works sci­en­tif­i­cally pos­i­tive on the men­tal and phys­i­cal well- be­ing of our health. They can in other way be called ‘ heal­ing touch’ phys­i­cally and men­tally. When noth­ing works, fast­ing comes to the res­cue. For some, grains are for­bid­den, and only fruit and/or dairy prod­ucts are al­lowed. The whole of man's ex­ter­nal and in­ter­nal con­di­tions are taken into con­sid­er­a­tion. When­ever we eat, we should never overeat be­cause the more we eat, the more we yearn.

How and why peo­ple fast

There are peo­ple who fast without food and wa­ter for days or con­sec­u­tively. Doc­tors pre­scribe fast­ing with wa­ter, healthy be­cause first few days of fast­ing our stom­ach, tongue, and body is heav­ily laden with the cor­rup­tion. This cor­rup­tion as­sim­i­lated has to soften and bro­ken down with suf­fi­cient amount of wa­ter to wash out cor­rupted par­ti­cles in the form of the fe­cal mat­ter. In the ini­tial pe­riod body un­der­goes many changes. Dur­ing these changes, cramps, dis­plea­sure, dis­com­forts are ex­pe­ri­enced, with the aid of wa­ter they are all washed for

out. Why is it that peo­ple fast for long pe­ri­ods? One full or par­tial days of fast­ing are enough, but to fast for days and months is a con­cept un­ex­plain­able as it is re­lated sub­jec­tively. Still sci­en­tists have re­searched the rea­son be­hind fast­ing for long. Do­ing fast that is without food gives power or au­thor­ity of your mind on your body. Our body is vul­ner­a­ble in re­sponse to temp­ta­tions eas­ily, it is our de­ter­mi­na­tion that can hold our body to give in eas­ily. Once we have made our de­ter­mi­na­tion strong we can ob­tain power to do many things. For in­stance, we have a 47year-old fol­lower of Jain­ism Han­sratna ji, a thin fig­ure, who fasted for 150 days without food achiev­ing the im­pos­si­ble. Fast­ing in jain­ism is not just about not eat­ing. It is about not feel­ing hun­gry at all. It was to en­sure that good things pre­vail in life," he said Dr Tan­ner was a physi­cian as well as a Chris­tian. His first fast was so glo­ri­ous that his grey hair were re­placed with black hair. Then he took ad­di­tional fasts for over forty days. In cer­tain tribes nearly all In­dian chil­dren who come to the age of pu­berty are set aside to fast for seven to ten days, to burn out, so to speak, the evil sex de­sires, so that they would have high moral thoughts, and live a higher life. Fast­ing is ben­e­fi­cial to chil­dren. When a child be­comes ill, very of­ten sev­eral meals, or sev­eral days fast­ing, will fix up ev­ery­thing. Many chil­dren as they grow and eat rich foods de­velop a pim­pled com­plex­ion. The source of the con­di­tion is in the stom­ach. The stom­ach tries to un­load it poi­sonous ma­te­rial in the blood, and to some ex­tent through the skin. Only a few days of fast­ing will erad­i­cate all traces of the symp­toms. If proper eat­ing is un­der­taken, it should not re­turn. Scores of mi­nor and ma­jor ail­ments of young peo­ple could be whipped by a short fast. Girls would not find it nec­es­sary to wear “make-up,” if they would fast. A nat­u­ral, healthy com­plex­ion would be the re­sult.

Na­ture has cre­ated our bod­ies to use starch, glyco­gen, and dis­ac­cha­rides (e.g., good old table su­gar) as sources of en­ergy on a day-to-day ba­sis. These are car­bo­hy­drates and make up about half of most di­ets. As im­por­tant as pro­tein and fat (yes, fat-- the av­er­age adult needs 80-100 grams of di­etary fat per day) are in our diet, they are not in­tended to be the pri­mary source of en­ergy (al­though mus­cles do use free fatty acids first dur­ing light ex­er­cise).but glyco­gen lasts for only so long, and be­fore these re­serves run out the body be­gins to use a more com­plex, en­ergy-rich source called lipids (fat). The per­son who fasts, drink­ing only wa­ter, will de­plete his glyco­gen re­serves in a time­frame rang­ing from hours to a day or two (de­pend­ing on en­ergy de­mands) and will then be in fat res­pi­ra­tion (break­down). The very low lev­els of IGF-1 their bod­ies pro­duce means they are short, but this also seems to pro­tect them against can­cer and di­a­betes, two com­mon age-re­lated dis­eases. The IGF-1 hor­mone (in­sulin-like growth fac­tor) is one of the drivers which keep our bod­ies in go-go mode, with cells driven to re­pro­duce. This is fine when you are grow­ing, but not so good later in life. There is now ev­i­dence sug­gest­ing that IGF-1 lev­els can be low­ered by what you eat. Stud­ies on calo­rie re­stric­tors sug­gest that eat­ing less helps, but it is not enough As well as cut­ting calo­ries you have to cut your car­bo­hy­drate in­take. Not en­tirely - that would be a very bad idea. It's about stick­ing to rec­om­mended guide­lines, some­thing most of us fail to do. The rea­son seems to be that when our bod­ies no longer have ac­cess to food they switch from "growth mode" to "re­pair mode".

Sci­en­tific ef­fects of fasts on health

Fast­ing is the most an­cient ther­apy of hu­man­ity. There are some kinds of fasts which must be wholly con­demned: ir­ra­tional fasts, fasts without prepa­ra­tion, fasts of long du­ra­tion without an ex­pe­ri­enced guide, and fasts which are only in­spired by the wish to fol­low a sys­tem mo­men­tar­ily in vogue. In gen­eral, of­fi­cial medicine looks on fast­ing as a bad and even dan­ger­ous thing for the hu­man or­gan­ism and re­gards it as the equiv­a­lent of star­va­tion. There is some truth in the of­fi­cial viewpoint, but we can­not ac­cept it in its to­tal­ity, for as it stands it is ex­treme. At the other end of the pole, cer­tain na­tur­ist sys­tems


con­sider fast­ing to be the high spot of ther­a­peu­tics and as the best method of cure. There are few natur­opaths who make all their pa­tients fast, and who say that by fast­ing ev­ery dis­ease is cur­able. This con­cept has a great deal of truth in it, but we must re­ject it also as ex­treme. It is true that very of­ten fast­ing pro­duces ex­cel­lent re­sults, but there are many cases when a fast, par­tic­u­larly a long fast, may re­sult in ac­ci­dents and even in disas­ter. We must there­fore ex­am­ine care­fully the prob­lem of fast­ing from the point of view of phys­i­ol­ogy.

It is sad, but none the less true, that gen­er­ally we eat very much more than is nec­es­sary for the or­gan­ism as re­gards both quan­tity and qual­ity. As a gen­eral rule more peo­ple die of overeat­ing than from mal­nu­tri­tion. Fast­ing is a rad­i­cal cure which coun­ter­bal­ances the evil ef­fects of overeat­ing and un­wise choice of food. If peo­ple were to feed upon a healthy diet and not to overeat, then I should not ad­vise fast­ing as a ther­a­peu­tic method, as it would be un­nec­es­sary. But since peo­ple do, fast­ing is a very valu­able ther­apy. The value of fast­ing must al­ways de­pend on the con­crete case. The value and sig­nif­i­cance of the fast are rel­a­tive. Those natur­opaths who ad­vo­cate fast­ing are right for the rea­son that peo­ple are over-nour­ished. But if they would eat ex­actly the right diet in qual­ity and quan­tity, then these natur­opaths would no longer be right. The value and sig­nif­i­cance of fast­ing thus de­pends on present habits of eat­ing. In the fu­ture, when man has a healthy diet in both quan­tity and qual­ity, we shall per­haps no longer be able to say the same of the value of the fast. But fast­ing is truly very valu­able in cases of overeat­ing and in the case of dis­ease caused by overnour­ish­ment.

Im­por­tant facts of fast­ing Fast­ing can re­sult in a dy­namic per­sonal re­vival in your own life and make you a chan­nel of re­vival to oth­ers. Fast­ing as the only dis­ci­pline that ful­fills the re­quire­ments . As you be­gin your fast, you may hear from con­cerned loved ones and friends who urge you to pro­tect your health. And they are right. You should pro­tect your health. But I as­sure you, if done prop­erly, fast­ing will prove to be a phys­i­cal bless­ing. We have to con­sult our doc­tor be­fore we be­gin our fast. But, we have to be aware that many doc­tors have not been trained in this area and so their un­der­stand­ing is lim­ited. Even so, it would be wise to ask our doc­tor for a phys­i­cal ex­am­i­na­tion to make sure our health is in good con­di­tion. We may have a phys­i­cal prob­lem that would make fast­ing un­wise or dan­ger­ous. Also, if we are un­der any type of med­i­ca­tion,we have to make sure we talk to our doc­tor be­fore chang­ing our regime. Pru­dence and cau­tion are in or­der. Peo­ple who are ex­tremely on thin­ner side or suf­fer­ing from anorexia, bu­limia, suf­fer­ing from weak­ness and am­ne­sia. Peo­ple with tu­mours, ul­cers, can­cers, di­a­betes or on in­sulin, kid­ney prob­lem, liver, lung and heart prob­lems must not take to fast­ing for pro­longed pe­riod. We do not have to be sur­prised if slight dis­com­fort on men­tal and phys­i­cal level is ex­pe­ri­enced.

Pre -fast­ing care

First start with small meal skip­ping. Be­fore fast­ing do not take a big meal, cut down on your cups of caffinne, tea bev­er­ages you ha­bit­u­ally take. Some health pro­fes­sion­als sug­gest eat­ing only raw foods for two days be­fore start­ing a fast. En­sure that your body is get­ting the nu­tri­ents it needs, so you can re­main safe and healthy dur­ing your fast. Do not be sur­prise, if slight dis­com­fort on men­tal and phys­i­cal level is ex­pe­ri­enced. Cold­ness, bad breath and height­ened body odour, changes on elim­i­na­tion (con­sti­pa­tion or di­ar­rhea), light­head­ed­ness, changes in sleep­ing and dream­ing pat­terns, aches and pains. A white-coated tongue at the be­gin­ning of a fast may be a part of the body's pat­tern of throw­ing off tox­ins. Also, ex­pect to go to the bath­room of­ten (you will be drink­ing lots of wa­ter). Af­ter the first two weeks of an ex­tended fast, many of these symp­toms sub­side. Con­tin­u­ing aches in a cer­tain area of the body usu­ally means elim­i­na­tion of fatty tis­sue is go­ing on in that area, which is not harm­ful. How­ever, any ex­ten­sive pain should be ex­am­ined im­me­di­ately. Headaches or stom­ach aches may be a re­sult of salt, su­gar, or caf­feine with­drawal. Elim­i­nat­ing those items from your diet prior to fast­ing is the best way to avoid these pains.

Fast­ing is not just deny­ing your­self food. While fast­ing, if you dis­si­pate your en­ergy on nu­mer­ous er­rands or busy work you will starve phys­i­cally. You will find your­self be­com­ing dis­cour­aged and frus­trated with your fast in­stead of be­ing ben­e­fited and up­lifted and blessed.

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