Some Key Reasons Why People Fast
Fasting is an approach to internal cleansing and healing that has its origins in antiquity. Ancient healers such as Hippocrates and Paracelsus believed that denying the body food for periods of time encouraged it to heal itself. Many fasts have been undergone for religious reasons as well – typically as a method of spiritual atonement or as a demonstration of devotion. Here we’re going to explore the reasons why people fast for fitness and nutritional reasons.
In the modern day, fasts are often associated with bodily cleanses. Allowing your body to go without food for a few days actually flushes out your system because it has a chance to either burn or otherwise rid itself of unprocessed food. This oftentimes includes pollutants and other toxins. When your body doesn’t have to work on digesting meals it can turn its energies towards other healing tasks.
Burning up lingering calories also accomplishes the elimination of toxins that may have been holing up within your system. This lends itself to internal balance and rejuvenation. During this process you may find your mental habits shifting towards more health-conscious motifs as well. Fasting makes your system particularly sensitive to anything that goes into it. You may discover an aversion to substances like caffeine and alcohol. Because fasting alters your cravings it can also make transitioning into a new diet much easier.
Much has been written about fasting. Some of this literature applauds the potential benefits while some of it warns of the possible dangers. Most people begin with a simple two-day fast to get themselves acclimated to the process. They may even allow themselves some nutrients by way of sipping juice or other liquids occasionally. This approach can achieve the same desired health benefits without putting as much stress on the body. Typically, though, your body will not be as taxed as you feel like it must be. It has storehouses of sugars and fats that it can draw upon for basic sustenance. Just be sure to stay well hydrated throughout the duration of any fast.
If you feel unsure about the safety of fasting but still long to try it, there are ways of doing it under supervision. Although conventional medicine does not support fasting as an approach to health, there are many homeopaths and naturopathic and ayurvedic doctors who make a practice of monitoring people who do this.
Sometimes people embark upon fasts for reasons that are neither medical nor strictly religious. They view it as a spiritual endeavor similar to Native American vision quests. The idea here is that turning one’s attention away from the physical world (symbolized, in this case, by food) turns one’s mind towards spiritual values and the larger entities of life. Our daily habits of filling ourselves at set mealtimes can lull our minds into a more mundane frame of reference. Fasting brings us into a more direct encounter with the bare facts of life. The experience can remind us of what is really important to us and what is merely peripheral.