The Science of Fasting

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Hi everyone! Thank you for checking out my blog. Today’s entry is inspired by a documentary I saw called the ‘Science of Fasting’. The majority of times I hear the word ‘fasting’ is when someone is referring to losing weight.  But after watching this documentary, it’s so much more than that. According to the documentary fasting can actually promote self healing in areas such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity. Luckily, I don’t have any of these specific ailments but I was interested to see if fasting was something I could benefit from and if so, what would it be.

There are different types of fasting but the most popular types are dry fast, water fast, juice or broth fast, the master cleanse and intermittent fasting. A dry fast consists of no food or water, water fast of water only, juice and/or broth is self explanatory, the master cleanse consists of water combined with lemon, syrup or honey and cayenne pepper, and intermittent fasting is either withholding a meal during the day or alternating days of fasting. There’s also religious fasting when you fast for religious reasons.

The type of fast I opted for was a combination of water and broth. Since it was my first time I didn’t want to jump straight into just water. And I decided to do 6 days, the amount of days is up to you but I suggest setting your goal first so you have something to strive for. The documentary had fasts going as long as 21 days (what?!) so I figured my goal was definitely attainable. My first 2 days were torture; food withdrawals, headache and fatigue. I was convincing myself all day that I had the willpower to do this. Just 4 more days! I didn’t feel hungry just had an urge to eat. I even had the shakes on day 2 but nothing that was so severe, like being light headed or dizzy, that made me want to stop. Day 3 through Day 6 wasn’t as bad and I gained more willpower during those days. Even going out to eat at a restaurant with pizza and pasta everywhere. But at that point my stomach felt like it shrunk so nothing even sounded appetizing. Strange, I know. I was even able to workout during those days doing the elliptical for 30 minutes or yoga for an hour. 

What I learned during my 6 day fast was my relationship to food. I eat when I bored or when food is directly in sight instead of eating when I’m actually hungry or on a schedule (breakfast, lunch, dinner). So extra calories or carbohydrates easily go unnoticed. I’m not the type to calorie count, that closely, but I do like to know what I’m eating on a daily basis. I feel like fasting was a reset button for my brain to eat food only essential to my body instead of overeating. The lack of food, I think, made me realize I don’t need those additional carbs and that I CAN, willfully, eat strictly for nutrition. Prior to fasting that was my goal, eating only nutritious food, but chips and tortillas always crept back in my life. I just need to remind myself, food is medicine not a treat or reward.

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At the end of the fast, you would think the first food item on the menu would be some type of carbohydrate, bread, cake or cookies. But actually if you do some research you’ll know that eating carbs should be the last thing to incorporate. The recommendation to eat raw/cooked vegetables, broth and soups to help your body recover the enzymes needed to break other solid food down. For me, I opted to drink kombucha and prebiotics during my fast as well so my stomach enzymes wouldn’t deplete that much. After intensely learning about my microbiome last year in Microbiology, it’s very important to me to keep the balance in my gut.

Today is day 3 off my fast and I’m still keeping my meals in a small portion size because literally that’s all I can eat. Mostly raw or cooked vegetables and soups. I feel great and lost 5 pounds during the process but more importantly I reset my relationship to food which I didn’t know I could do through fasting.

If you get a chance to watch the ‘Science of Fasting’ please do. It’s very interesting to see how people are taking fasting seriously for their health and want to incorporate it as a health standard instead of relying on medicine. You can even watch it on YouTube in the link below:

Science of Fasting

Thank you for reading my blog today! Hope you enjoy!

Namaste,

Melissa

Last Day of my Fast, January 2018

P.S. Please consult with your doctor or healthcare professional when dealing with diseases and fasting. And before any type of fast, DO YOUR RESEARCH.

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