Fast your way to Health

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Can we really become healthy by fasting? Yes! Our bodies are capable of instigating their own perfect healing if we allow them the opportunity. Fasting is one such opportunity. Research has proved that fasting has benefits at all levels – physical, mental and spiritual. In every tradition, food is considered sacred. In Sanskrit we say Annam Brahman, i.e. food is God. Eating should be like a form of worship. But normally we treat our stomach like a dump yard, throwing anything and everything into it! That is why after eating, instead of feeling energetic, we feel lethargic and sleepy. Jataraagni, the basic digestive fire in our body which cleanses the body of toxins, is entirely used up for digestion without a chance to perform its other important functions. The energy used up in digestion is more than the energy released by the food. So after eating, we actually become low on energy! The science behind fasting is simple. Fasting gives our overworked digestive system an opportunity to overhaul or repair itself. It is especially more relevant in our times because of our deteriorating eating habits. In Sanskrit, there is a saying – ‘Langanam parama aushadam.’ It means fasting is the best medicine. Just as poor eating habits cause accumulation of fat deposits and consequent blockage of arteries resulting in heart disease, our suppressed emotions form 'energy blocks' disturbing the free flow of energy throughout our body. On the days we fast, the jataraagni is available to dissolve these energy blocks, burn away the excess fat from our bodies and cleanse our system. That's why we feel light and energetic when we fast. The actual day of fasting is only a matter of social convention. Fasting on a particular day is followed because it's easier to keep track and be regular (for instance, every Friday or every full moon day). But fasting at least once a fortnight is an excellent way of cleansing the body. If total fasting (drinking only water) can’t be managed, then fruit juice or fruit diet is advised. After the first few hours of intense hunger, the hunger fades on its own. If one is suffering from diabetes or acidity, it is better to consult one’s doctor before fasting. According to scientific research*, a healthy man can survive up to 75 days on just water; our body contains enough energy reserves for 75 days. Fasting is giving our stomach a well-deserved break - even if it is just for 24 hours! (* A. J. Carlson, Professor of Physiology, University of Chicago)