How to approach fasting

What Is Fasting?

Langanam Parama Oushadham – Fasting is the supreme medicine –Ubavaasamae Unnadha Marundhu!!

As Arun Sharma ji puts it, Fasting is feasting on ether, the subtlest and strongest source of energy.

To explain fasting in simple terms, let me put it this way. Consider a busy road which has become broken with lot of bumps owing to wear and tear , heavy rains, etc. Traffic gets slowed down and people find it very difficult to commute via that road. Responding to commuters’ complaints, the road is closed down for say a couple of days and the road is repaired perfectly and is opened again to the public.

  • Positive thing after repair – traffic moves freely now.
  • Negative thing before repair – traffic congestion
  • Negative thing during couple of days of repair (??) –  people may have to take a detour to reach their destination.

This is exactly what happens with fasting. The repair am talking about here is fasting , the road being repaired is our body. Now let me rephrase the above 3 bullets in terms of fasting:

  • Positive thing after fasting – blood circulation inside the body happens freely now – which is better metabolism
  • Negative thing before fasting – restricted blood flow and hence pain and disease dominates continuously or periodically
  • Negative thing during fasting (??) –  People might get into acute symptoms( like fever, cold, pain, vomitting or loose stools) initially as the life force starts cleansing the body which will very soon heal itself if I deal with it correctly.

Fasting rejuvenates our internal organs, improves our immunity, cures all diseases – the list is endless. Here is another way to explain how fasting works:

Fasting means we don’t eat food derived from the earth – we intentionally give rest to our digestive system and it gets more time to get back to unfinished tasks like digesting undigested food. At this juncture I tried to recollect how our intestine looks (from my biology book) – its a very long tube like thing folded and fit inside the stomach – and this tube has lot of bends and curves along its length. Just imagine the complexity. Don’t we need to give enough time for our digestive time to do its job??!!

That said, fasting increases our uyir aattral, that is life force that actually helps all our internal organs function properly and hence we feel rejuvenated after the fast.

Approach To Fasting – Fasting for beginners

Since most of us many not have consciously/periodically fast(ed), lets discuss here how beginners can start fasting easily. The ideal case being water fasting, we will find out how we can approach that.

  1. Fruit Fasting – Instead of skipping a meal altogether, you can replace it with fruits (mono fruit, one type of fruit till you feel full). Fruits are called pre-digested food and hence it doesn’t load the digestive system.
  2. Juice Fasting/ Tender Coconut Fasting – Better than fruit fasting is juice fasting when you drink juice/tender coconut whenever you feel hungry. Drinking juice means you need to sip it, warm it in your mouth with the saliva and then only swallow it.
  3. Water Fasting – The ideal case when you sip on plain drinking water whenever you feel thirsty or hungry.

To become healthier, we can (and should) practice any of the above once a week for a lifetime…!!! That is, Nature Cure recommends weekly one-day fast for a healthy living.

  • Intermittent Fasting – You can be on water fasting (skipping 2 meals in a row) every 4th day.
  • Prolonged Fasting – You need to do this ONLY under the supervision of a natural hygienist/ wellness coach. Because though the body will heal, you might face of lot of healing crisis in the process.

Fasting FAQs:

  • Question : Weekly one day fast – U mean we are not going to eat anything for one full day??
    • Answer : Well the answer is YES as well as NO. We are actually on a water fast. Let me explain – We fast on every Friday ; so we stop eating anything after we finish Thursday dinner (if possible try to finish it early around 7 PM or max 8 PM). We skip Friday’s breakfast and lunch and we have BREAK our FAST at around 4 PM on FRiday – that means we have fasted for nearly 20 hours. WE HAVE GIVEN OUR BODY 20 SOLID HOURS of time to repair itself or heal itself.
  • Question : How do we break our weekly fast?
    • Answer : Breaking the fast is more important than fasting itself.
      • We can break it with tender coconut water or preferably a water fruit like water melon; if you cant’t get any of these, you can break it with a well ripe banana.
      • After a couple of hours post this, you can have an early dinner of any light food like a porridge (diluted kanji – mono-grain preferably) , rice pongal. But a porridge would be best suited since it is of the liquid consistency.
      • From the next day on wards, you can start eating your regular foods.
  • Question : Having skipped 2 meals in row, won’t we be really hungry? But you say we should go with just a porridge. Can you explain?
    • Answer : Initially we might be looking at the clock often to see when the clock strikes 4 PM so that we can break our fast; but after we get used to used to fasting regularly, we will get over the temptation/urge to break our fast hurriedly. At this juncture if you actually listen to your body, you will not be really very hungry for food. So your body will actually ask for liquids than solids. That’s why porridge is better than solids.
  • Question : Why is breaking the fast more important than fasting itself?
    • Answer : Because during a fast, the body  gets busy in clearing up the unwanted toxins from the body and hence partially loses its digesting ability; so while breaking the fast its best to feed the body with a very light, easily digestible food like a porridge so it quickly regains its digesting ability – that is eating a easily digestible food ensures a smooth transition.
  • Question : What actually happens during a fast?
    • Answer :  Our body accumulates the unwanted toxins (which for some reason it could not eliminate through the normal elimination channels) in the cells of our body to be released in future when it gets the time to do it. FASTING is that time to release the toxins from our body. During fasting our body breaks down the cells, burns the cell for energy (that explains how and why we lose the unwanted kilos when we fast regularly) and releases the unwanted toxins (if any) and flushes them out through the elimination channels( like feaces). And what more, we start becoming healthier.
  • Question :  SO are we giving rest to our digestive system during a fast?
    • Answer :  Well the answer is YES as well as NO. By not eating, we are not giving the digestive system any new work, but instead we are giving time for the body to clear up pending tasks.
  • Question :  Will I feel tired during a fast?
    • Answer :  Well, not really..!!!
      • Logically speaking, we may not be feeling tired since body burns existing cells of the body to gain energy – that said, as long as we think we are healing our body by fasting, we will not feel tired.
      • In fact, if you observe carefully you will be mentally very alert when you are fasting. All your negative emotions like anger, jealousy, etc will tone down to a very low level when you are fasting.
  • Question :  Won’t I feel hungry on a fasting day?
    • Answer :  Would you be able to believe if I tell you hunger originates from the mind and not from the tummy? Well that’s the truth.  Am sure you can relate this to so many occasions in your day to day life like when you have a deadline to meet in office, you might have forgotten the lunch time has crossed and you may not even have realized it. So on or the day before the fasting day, we just need to tell our mind that we will be fasting and food will be available only after 4 PM.
  • Question : Can I carry on my day to day activities on a fasting day?
    • Answer : Absolutely Yes. Because we are just skipping 2 simple meals and that’s very normal.
  • Question : I thought Fasting is meant only for the orthodox, religious people. Is it so?
    • Answer : My personal opinion is fasting is something that’s required by our body for healthy functioning – may be that’s why our ancestors made the practice of fasting as part of the religion.
  • Question : I am only 20 yrs old – am in the prime of youth – I have heard only people who are 40 years or older fast. What do you say?
    • Answer :  The answer repeats –  fasting is something that’s required by our body for healthy functioning regardless of age. Natural hygienists recommend even toddlers be put on a weekly fast, but they can be on a juice fast unlike adults who need to be on a water fast.
  • Question : I have heard people say “I fast on festive days, I don’t eat anything at all, but just drink a couple of glasses of tea or coffee.” – Is this kind of fasting ok?
    • Answer :  In my opinion, its the WRONG(est) and the most difficult thing to do. Because, tea/coffee are false appetizers and they trigger negative reactions inside the body when you drink only that during a (so-called!!!)fast. Plus it becomes very difficult to fast after drinking a tea/coffee since they create false hunger and you have to forcibly withstand that burning feeling and that’s why some people say its difficult to fast.
  • Question :  Can I do the weekly fast during my periods?
    • Answer :  Absolutely Yes.
      • In case if it’s not comfortable for you, instead of water fasting, you can do a juice/tender coconut fasting that day.
      • My personal experience: During periods, your body is already busy in eliminating menstrual waste; I personally felt being on a light diet during periods made me feel really comfortable. And when my period day happened to coincide with my fasting day, I felt absolutely relieved not having to overload my system with digestion.
  • Question :  I get a headache whenever I get to skip even one meal. How can I skip 2 meals in a row – rather how can I fast for 1 full day?
    • Answer :  My personal experience is this:
      • Undigested food from the previous meals cause headache – simply put free circulation of blood  to the head is hampered by the improper digestion of food.
      • Also we sometimes tend to overeat when we eat after a long break (like conscious or unexpected fasting). But we might have always made the wrong connection. We think skipping the meal caused the headache, where in reality overeating post that has caused the headache.
  • Question :  The simplest but the biggest question ever, WHY SHOULD I FAST?
    • Answer :  Here’s why:
      • People with health problems should definitely fast because their body needs time to heal and fasting does that.
      • Even people who claim they are reasonably healthy need to fast because even for them there could be small repairs needed here and there. Like for example we accept certain things as part of nature (in tamil, we say adu en udambu vaagu) like excess body heat, bad breath, bad sweat odour, excess sweating, etc., (there could be many more like these and you need fast regularly to find out about it). These heal naturally when we start fasting regularly. These are the physical benefits.
      • You will also certainly attain emotional balance and contentment, better thinking capabilities when you start fasting regularly, apart from its numerous physical benefits.

Guess I have tried my best to explain all that I know about fasting here. In case I have missed any, please do post them below in the comments section, ll get back on that.

Another personal experience I would like to share here is, once you start going on a weekly fast regularly, it will become part of your biological clock and you will stop feeling hungry on that day every week, no matter what. I had the experience of having to attend a family function on a Friday (we fast on Fridays every week) and I totally didn’t get the temptation to taste even one item of the feast – such is the power of fasting.