Fasting has a multitude of health benefits but they’ve been overshadowed by a society that thrives on excessive consumption. I, too, was very limited in understanding until a friend educated me on the topic. Before that time, I would associate this act with a doctor’s visit or religion. Fasting is a practice with so much depth which makes it really worth exploring. I am not qualified or comfortable to get into the nitty-gritty details but will do my best to capture its essence.
Below is a list of just a few of the remarkable gains that are available if we choose to lose food.
- Helps shed extra weight
- Fights certain diseases such as cancer
- Reduces inflammation by removing toxins through detoxification
- Improves insulin sensitivity
- Boosts cognitive performance such as memory
- Speeds up metabolism and encourages optimal digestion
- Promotes longevity and slows down aging
- Rejuvenates the skin, hair, nails and clears/prevents acne
- Develops discipline which results in clarity and focus
- Increases energy
- Simplifies life and saves time as you need to plan for fewer meals
I recently watched a documentary, The Science of Fasting, and found it to be extremely insightful and mind-opening. I’ve included the video at the end of this post in case you’re interested. I can’t take complete credit for sharing it as it was recommended by a friend. Please feel encouraged to perform your own inquiry and research. I also suggest consulting with a medical professional in case you need clearance and/or guidance.
Fasting causes stress to the body which forces it to begin working in different ways. Humans have three stores of fuel which are glucose (carbohydrates), fats and proteins. Glucose is the primary source and once depleted it will move onto the other available reserves. It takes approximately 2-3 days for the sensation of hunger to disappear. After this time, the body begins to adapt and live off its reserves. When fasting to treat disease(s), symptoms will get worse during the crisis period which is the first 24-36 hours.
Fasting has a purifying and healing effect on the body through systems which are not normally stimulated because of our need to feed. Autophagy (“auto” is self / “phagy” is eat) is the body’s way of clearing out damaged cells in order to regenerate newer, healthier ones. This is an evolutionary self-preservation mechanism which simultaneously cleans and recycles. It promotes survival and adaptation as a response to various stressors and accumulated toxins. Autophagy declines as we age, so this means cells that no longer work or may do harm are allowed to multiply.
Over time, the body will adjust to food deprivation but convincing the mind is another challenge. Once the psychological hunger dissipates the senses are sharpened and euphoria sets in. Since we are released from the bondage of our appetites there is a feeling of liberation. Abstinence from food is not to be regarded as punishment but rather as an act of empowerment. Fasting is not dangerous so long as it is practiced within proper limits. This means different things to each person but I believe there is something for the majority.
Fasting can be exercised in so many creative and flexible ways. Intermittent fasting is very popular because it cycles between periods of eating and fasting. It can be implemented overnight, whole-day, alternate-day, time-restricted and so on. Duration is key but there is also an opportunity to determine what you choose to consume during the fast. Some people will only drink water while others permit other liquids as well. Again, there is no strict way to go about fasting which alleviates the pressure to do things “perfectly”.
I’ve never been one to follow the endorsed 3 meals-a-day-plus-snacks routine. I’m a notorious meal skipper and thus far it seems to be working well. What’s encouraging to know is that the promoted path of round-the-clock feeding is not a requirement to be nourished and healthy. In fact, it was a scheme to get people to spend more money on food.
Surprise, surprise another propaganda *ahem* cannabis.
This is enough reason to take a more active interest in your health. Unfortunately, the greed for money is the force behind the demise of this world which is why I advocate for the need to educate oneself. This may come as a shock but humans are better equipped to deal with lack of food rather than with the consumption of it. Despite the evidence, there is strong opposition from the medical world and the pharmaceutical industry in the West. Our healthcare model is centered on disease because it’s a major opportunity for marketing. It would be nice if there was a genuine interest in helping people through minimal and natural means. The same system which perpetuates the need for more food is also selling you the latest diets. Profiting occurs at every turn because they create the problem and the solution.
I hope you found this information helpful.