Fasting has been part of almost all spiritual traditions of the world, be they are from the east or the west. Many sages of yore were known to fast for forty (40) or more days. The main reason for fasting is to give the body time to repair itself. The ancients knew of the enormous intelligence that resided in the body, to recognize problems and fix itself. It also adopts itself as best as it can, given enough time.
As we eat multiple times a day, and stuff our bodies with foods ridden with pesticides, chemicals, highly processed and concentrated sugars and other toxins, our bodies work at more than their capacity to remove and expel those toxins, digest and derive whatever energy they can from those extremely processed foods. Our bodies do not get a chance to repair themselves. Damage is done so fast that they do not get time to adapt. Our bodies start causing pains and minor ailments as messages telling us to slow down, eat healthy foods and eat less. When we don’t listen to those messages, those minor ailments become chronic. Instead of trying to fix the root cause of these ailments, viz., not giving a chance for the body to recuperate, we want magic pills and potions. We cover up those symptoms through pain killers and other over the counter and/or prescription drugs. Though this phenomenon is seen all over the world, it is most prevalent in the developed world. In our body centered culture, food is given the utmost importance, either eat more or don’t eat at all. We are told that if we don’t eat such and such foods in such and such quantities, we’ll get sick, can’t function during the day, or even die. Or, in the other extreme some people don’t eat at all in the name of being slim and trying to meet some Hollywood standard of beauty. In the U.S.A., obesity has now been classified as a disease. In addition to overeating, obesity results from several factors including heredity. So, does it not make sense to handle one of the factors—feeding this body—that may be in our control?
Theory is that fasting helps the body get rid off toxins and also reduces fat deposits in our bodies. If so, then what prevents us from fasting? It is Fear. Until last week, I also did not want to try this. Though I work from home, I am working full-time and I did not want to feel weak or distracted, for fear of not completing my tasks on time.
Being from a Hindu (Brahmin) family, I have been a Lacto-Vegetarian from birth. Even though I hated milk, my mother used to force me to have a couple of glasses of milk everyday, because I was a scrawny kid. I was not a big eater either. However, as I grew up I started to eat more. After I moved to U.S.A., in 1991 as a graduate student, though I still remained vegetarian, the type of foods I ate changed. At that time there were no Indian Restaurants or Indian grocery stores in Spokane, WA where I was a graduate student. I ate a lot of pizzas and frozen burritos, since they were easily affordable with my meager salary as a part-time teaching assistant and part-time cafeteria worker. Since I was only 21 years of age then, my body was able to handle it. After I moved to Seattle area in 1993, things changed a bit, since Indian groceries were available there and I was able to start cooking reasonably healthy meals. Though I had mostly given up pizzas and burritos, I still had not given up sodas! We gave up sodas completely when my wife and I had our son 1999. Since then, I probably drank only a couple of glasses of soda. So, that was a big improvement. However, six or so years of wrong eating started taking its toll on my body. It started sending me signals though pains and aches. In 2002, realization that my cholesterol was high, made me pay attention to my body’s signals. That was when I changed my diet significantly and reduced cholesterol naturally without medications. However, as anybody I had my ups and downs with that. The toxins accumulated in my body until that time were still probably dormant to most extent, though changing my diet and adding yoga helped remove some of those toxins. I tried Colonics to see if it detoxified my body, but it only helped very slightly. Even though I wanted to “fast,” I had the fear that I may get severe headaches, and become weak and so on.
Last month, I found the book, “The Master Cleanser by Stanley Burroughs” (aff.) in a local Organic Food Store. After reading that book, I decided to take the leap over my fear and try the fasting technique suggested in that book. After two birthdays in the family, the Mother’s day and the Father’s day out of the way, I started the fast this morning (Jun 18, 2007). The books suggested that fasting be done for at least 10 days and can be done up to 40 days. I am going to target 10 days first and see how that goes first. I will keep you posted. I will chronicle (save the gory details) my journey as well as possible in this series. I am really excited to test the theory that fasting helps the body heal!
In the next entry, I discuss the recipe I am following from the above book.
DISCLAIMER: Before you embark on any fasting of any kind, first consult your physician and do it under strict supervision. In this article I discuss my experiment and experiences from it. If you fast after reading this article, you do it at your own risk.