Ramblings > Fasting


 

In our overindulgent world of plenty, going without food, whether intended or not is a reminder that life is tough and that many third world citizens do not have enough food to meet their daily needs. Even many of our nation’s health professionals consider the practice of fasting dangerous, often without knowing all the facts or recent research.
 
Fasting is the act of depriving oneself of food. It needs to be voluntary, since the involuntary act is starvation. These voluntary acts have been practiced since the dawn of time. Most major world religions practice some form of fasting and many associate it with an extreme form of asceticism. Involuntary fasting (or starving) is associated by most with; lack of food, crop failure, political upheaval and corruption, environmental disaster, or survival circumstance. Whichever term is applied, we are referring to the concept of not eating for a length of time greater than 24 hours.
 
Basics
 
It is a priority for humans, like all mammals, to preserve their core body temperature of 98.6° F. In the animal kingdom, starvation is not an uncommon event, but a recurring normal pattern of the “circle of life”. The human body, like all animals is designed to survive extended periods of scarcity, where little or no food is available. Fasting should be carried out in moderated environmental conditions. For example: Due to daily calorific burn needed for preserving the bodies’ core temperature, fasting in 0°F weather is not as easily performed as fasting at 70°F.
 
Although some are skeptical and argue its beneficial aspects, fasting can be performed with little or no physiological problems. It is currently believed that an average American can endure a minimum of 21 days, or three weeks of fasting without any physiological effects, without requiring medical attention.
 
The Three Phases of a Fast
 
The physiology of fasting is divided into three phases:
  1. The first is the G.I. (gastro intestinal) phase, which lasts roughly six hours following your last meal. During this phase the body uses glucose, amino acids and fats that are absorbed from the intestinal tract.
  2. Phase two, lasts for about two days, during this time the body will use its glycogen (sugar) reserves that are stored in muscle tissue and liver cells. These glycogen reserves are mobilized to provide the central nervous system, including the brain, its normal fuel glucose. Within a few hours the body begins to convert adipose (fat) tissue into fatty acids.
  3. In phase three, the body switches from using glucose to fat metabolism and the body’s protein reserves are quickly depleted. Fortunately, this is not a problem as within ten hours of your last meal, about 50 percent of muscle fuel comes from fat. These reserves can differ from person to person.
Three weeks are needed for completion of these phases, is the maximum allotted time accepted for safety and continued health of the body. Longer fasts; are still possible to be healthy and safe under medical supervision.
 
**Replacing salts lost through body waste is recommended. If there is no food, salts should be a priority to avoid physiological damage.
 
Health Benefits of Fasting
 
  • Fasting introduces rapid weight loss with little or no hunger. Once “ketosis*’ of fasting sets in, it becomes easy to go without food. *Ketosis is the state when our bodies are burning stored fat for energy.
  • Fasting promotes detoxification. As the body breaks down its fat reserves, it mobilizes and expels stored toxins.
  • Fasting gives the digestive system a much needed rest. After fasting, both digestion and elimination process are rejuvenated.
  • Fasting promotes the resolving of inflammatory processes such as rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Fasting helps in controlling allergic reactions, including asthma and hay fever.
  • Fasting corrects high blood pressure without medication. Fasting will reduce blood pressure to a safe range within two weeks or less in most cases. And the blood pressure will remain low after the fast if the person eats correctly and lives healthily.
  • Fasting helps build mental toughness, making it easier to confront negative habits and addictions. Many people have overcome addictions by fasting. Fasting rapidly relieves the craving for nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and other drugs
  • Fasting restores taste appreciation for wholesome natural foods. People say that their taste buds come alive after fasting and that food “never tasted so good”.
  • Fasting is the perfect gateway to a healthy diet and lifestyle. A fast gives you the motivation and enthusiasm to make the needed lifestyle changes to a new and better way of life.
  • Fasting shrinks the stomach – not in a harmful way, but restoring it to its normal size. People tend to be satisfied with less food after fasting.
The bottom line on Fasting
 
The “bottom line” on fasting is; in a short term survival situation, while water and salts are a priority, food is not. (See the Rule of 3’s survival priorities). A second point to be considered; each person’s physiology is different; if you have an interest in fasting, explore the experience under controlled circumstance. This can aid in building an understanding of what “going without food” in a real survival situation can mean.
 
While fasting is a voluntary abstinence from food, starving can happen in the presence of food if the nutrient quality is inadequate, or if needed calories are not available in sufficient quantities. A fast like state can be reached when a shortage is created. i.e.: when food being consumed does not match the output of expended energy. For example; in a cold environment, the bodies’ caloric needs are much greater than normal, and the time spent without refueling is much shorter.
 
The human body is perhaps, one of the most resilient species to occupy our Earth. We simultaneously live in multiple spheres of existence; 1) as the human body, 2) as intelligence and 3) as spirit being. Few exercises in life have the ability to be both beneficial and strengthening to each of these aspects of our being, fasting IS such an exercise. I challenge you, reader, to try the practice of fasting. Start by skipping just one meal, move to a day, and then challenge yourself further from there, and with it you are on your way to a greater understanding and appreciation for Fasting.
 
*None of the foregoing is a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or medications. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on BeFoundAlive.com. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.


 
 
 

 

 
 
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