Why and How to Fast
Fasting, Faith and Science
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 effecting out 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, mind and wash away all sins. More vigorous fasting quick is the healing or washing sins, whatever we have fasted for. It can be said it is a link of ourself with god, appealing god to grant our request and when we feel incomplete or our prayers not heard we take the next step of appeal that is fasting. Sometimes the magic of fasting work 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 they are the fasting that comes to the rescue. They can be called transformer of our thoughts. Fasting restores and amplifies prayer power. In india it is usually the months of July, August, September and October are popular for festivals and fasting. The period of fasting is not only exclusive to India. In the Islamic religion, during Ramadan, in the ninth month of the Arabian year, food and drink are prohibited during daylight hours. One has to adapt the rules to the conditions of the climate in which he lives. India, of course, being divided into many sects and religious groups, supports, systems of fasting depends on every religion differently. Jains, for example, will fast for one day, one week, one month, or even until the final samadhi occurs. By fasting the aim is to rise above the influence of the five senses. Therefore, these fasts are very strict. Other groups fast on a single food, depending on climate and availability, some eat only wheat at certain times, others only rice. 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 cause more we eat, we yearn for more.
How and Why People Fast:
There are people who fast without food and water for days or day 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 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 spiritual uplift and 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 47-year-old follower of Jainism Hansratna ji, a thin figure, who fasted for 150 days without food has achieved the impossible. Fasting in jain is not just about not eating. It is about not feeling hungry at all. It is reaching that state," said Padmamodi Maharaj. "The idea behind fasting was to purify the soul and attain internal peace. It was to ensure that good things prevail in life," said Hansratna Maharaj. Fasts may be done as a penance in many religions; one of the reason behind fasting. Dr. Tanner was a physician as well as a Christian. His first fast was so glorious his grey were replaced with black hair he took additional fasts for over forty days. When people faced famines, food shortages, lack of rain, etc., the Great Spirit was sought through with prayer and fasting, and their prayers were answered. In certain tribes nearly all Indian children who came to the age of puberty were set aside in prayer and fast of 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 spiritual 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 and pray more. A natural, healthy complexion would be the result.
God 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 restriction 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 wh o 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 over-nourishment.
Important Facts of Fasting
it is a way to humble yourself in the sight of God . Fasting enables the Holy Spirit to reveal our true spiritual condition, resulting Fasting can transform your prayer life into a richer and more personal experience. Fasting can result in a dynamic personal revival in your own life-and make you a channel of revival to others. Fasting and prayer are the only disciplines that fulfill 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 not only prove to be a spiritual blessing, but physical blessing as well.
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 tumors, 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 surprise 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 of 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 odor, changes in elimination (constipation or diarrhea), light-headedness, 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 stomachaches 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. It is exchanging the needs of the physical body for those of the spiritual. Long times of prayer and reading God's Word will be very essential if you are to enter into a more intimate communion with God to maintain your fast to its completion. While fasting, if you dissipate your energy on numerous errands or busy-work to the neglect of spending special time with God, you will starve both physically and spiritually. You will find yourself becoming discouraged and frustrated with your fast instead of being benefited and uplifted and blessed. I don't want that to happen to you.The more time you spend with God in fellowship, worship, and adoration of Him, and the more you read and meditate upon His Word, the greater your effectiveness will be in prayer and the more meaningful your fast will be.