Fasting is normally associated with religious or spiritual practices and is not often considered as a technique for the average person to add to their repertoire when it comes to maintaining good health and ideal weight. I disagree with this, and think that everyone should use fasting in some way. Here’s why…
Fasting has many uses: the main ones traditionally being purification and detox, but along with this comes an innovative way to control calories if short fasts are used. It is also a very useful way to reduce systemic inflammation in the body. If you have an autoimmune disease such as arthritis and you do a five-day water-only fast you will know for sure that when the doctors say diet has no bearing on inflammation, they are talking utter rubbish. On about the third day, the symptoms will vanish.
As a method of purification, fasting has been used since the dawn of time by many civilisations, both to detox the body and to elevate the mind. Taking regular breaks from eating solid food, maybe at the change of each season (popular in Ayurvedic teachings, among others), can work wonders for alleviating the symptoms of food allergies and sensitivities, purely by clearing out all the toxins stored in the deep tissues of the body.
Anyone who has undertaken a fast of several days or more, taking in water, fruit and vegetable juices, and maybe some helpful herbs, etc, will know that it can have a great effect on the consciousness. When the body is not so concerned with the mammoth task of digesting the heavy diets we so often lumber it with, it can spare far more resources to fuel the mind, often causing very blissful and expansive experiences.
However, there is a whole new load of expert knowledge coming out recently about taking smaller fasts, perhaps one day a week, or a 24-hour period once a week at least, or maybe increasing that to twice or three times a week, or even one school of thought that champions eating only every other day!
At this point I must say that fasting should only be undertaken for short periods if you aren’t experienced and have no expert guidance. Having said that, a day here and there can be a very welcome rest for the digestion, and as long as you don’t binge the next day, it can also be a wonderful way to limit your total calorie intake for the week, allowing you to fairly effortlessly drop a few extra pounds if that’s what you need!
Of course, Ayurvedic principles have championed this idea of purification periods for thousands of years, and on our site we will take you though those principles in detail, but one of the best I have seen of the ‘new guys’ promoting short fasts is Brad Pilon with his ‘Eat Stop Eat’ e-book.
So, if you’re sick of restrictive diets and watching what you eat at every meal, and/or you have some niggling health problems here and there that you suspect might have something to do with diet and digestion, then have a look into fasting. It might be just what you need!
For more info see my book, Pure Activity.
Originally posted 2014-02-09 13:57:46.