A friend of mine is going through some very strange health challenges right now that resemble allergic reactions. Besides a whole slew of symptoms, his eyes puffed up a few weeks ago. They have since gotten better – unfortunately the swelling has moved down to his tongue! Obviously, he now has difficulty eating, which I said may not be such a bad thing.
According to The Prescription for Nutritional Healing, Fourth Edition:
“Fasting is recommended for any illness, as it gives the body the rest it needs to recover. Acute illnesses, colon disorders, allergies, and respiratory diseases are most responsive to fasting, while chronic degenerative diseases are least responsive. By relieving the body of the work of digesting foods, fasting permits the system to rid itself of toxins while facilitating healing.
But fasting is helpful not just in times of poor health or during the body’s low cycles [natural detoxification ]. By fasting regularly, you give all of your organs a rest, and thus help reverse the aging process and live a longer and healthier life.”
Interestingly, this theory coincides with recent studies in calorie restriction . This fascinating research has found that you can slow the rate of aging by almost 50% by consuming about 15% fewer calories! The docs over at realage.com (including Oprah’s fav doc, Oz) have been following these studies, and Tim Ferriss (of The Four Hour Work Week) wrote an excellent piece in two parts, “Real Life Extension: Calorie Restriction of Intermittent Fasting? ”
Personally, I’m sold on regular fasting; mainly for two different reasons. First, haven’t you ever gotten sick and totally lost your appetite? This is your body requesting that you not eat for awhile as it has more important things to do with its energy than to process food (like heal). Second, people from all over the world in every culture have been fasting for centuries. Many of these cultures use fasts for spiritual or religious purposes.
Indeed, if you’ve ever tried fasting, it’s an almost mystical experience. There’s a definite process, but when your body’s digested all the food in your system and adjusted to the lack of new food, fasting seems to provide an acute hyper-awareness. The body becomes extra sensitive, you feel lighter, more agile and in-tuned with every movement. Your mind becomes super sharp with lightening processes, you’re suddenly free from worry and the mental clarity is crazy – watch out for those epiphanies!
This being said, I also believe that there’s a safe way to fast and it’s probably not healthy for people with preexisting health problems. For those who are interested in trying a fast, my next post will cover instructions for a safe, 3 day fast.
What are your thoughts on fasting? Have you ever tried it? If yes, tell us about your experience in the comment section below!