Fasting: Nev Bentley Reports On The Health Benefits Of Fasting.
Wisdom Through The Ages Teaches Us The Many Benefits Of Fasting
Please note: This article is advice and intended as information only. Please cosider if general advice is right for you. I do not recommend fasting for anyone who has a preexisting mental illness or anyone with a disease or physical ailment. Always consult your doctor or licenced medical physician before starting a fasting program.
Fasting is an opportunity to rest the digestive system from its continued work. Fasting has many benefits in the treatment of numerous chronic diseases. It can reduce the risk of obesity, psychological pressure, high blood sugar, high cholesterol and triglyceride levels, blood pressure, kidney problems and heart disease.
A short time after I first met my girlfriend Lenka, she got home from an 8-hour day at work and said... "I haven't eaten anything all day." I was shocked, and to be honest I was a little bit worried! I had it in my head for so many years, "breakfast is the most important meal of the day," "you have to eat 5-8 smaller meals per day to be healthy!"... and so all these limiting beliefs go on...
The night before, my girlfriend had eaten a big sushi meal. Her belief was that it gave her enough fuel for the next day. She skipped dinner and went right through to breakfast the next morning. It was a fast that went for longer than 30 hours, and it was no big deal to her. I was worried she might die or something!
I'd actually always been amazed at her ability to maintain a great physique, while being able to eat bread, cakes, buns... and the list goes on. She also told me, before she moved to Australia, she did a 10-day fast in the Czech Republic. What!
Me being me... this got the cogs turning inside my head.
I then spoke to my business partner GG. When he was involved in the church, they used to do 10-day fasts too. Now the idea of going without food was really brushing up against my old beliefs which I was holding onto for decades.
Your entire body is an energy storage device
A short time after, a great PT friend of mine Shaun Ahearn posted a wonderful video which acted as a metaphor of how the body is an energy conserving device. It was enough to make the penny drop in my mind, that people in this day and age are feeding themselves far too much energy. Even the 'good' healthy food - if you overeat on healthy food, your body will store it as body fat if you don't work it off. You store energy in your internal organs (especially the liver), in your muscles, as body fat, and in your intestines. You must get rid of the idea that your stomach is the only source of fuel for your day.
How long can a human last without food?
An adult human body can survive, on average, for 30-40 days without food. This knowledge serves as some comfort to the beginner in fasting, knowing that everything will be ok if you're struggling.
Why should I consider fasting? What are the benefits?
For physical AND psychological reasons. My belief now is that every human should practise fasting at regular intervals in their life. When you go without food... the feeling of hunger eventually hits. This is obvious; as sure as the sun is coming up tomorrow... you will get hungry. The psychological benefit to breaking through this is knowing that you're the one in control. When you can control yourself through hunger... you have proved that you have an enormous amount of strength. This strength will flow through to other areas of your life.
When your stomach empties of food, your body is forced to delve into other areas to derive its energy. It gives your small and large intestines a chance to clean out. It allows your stomach lining to regenerate.
Extinguishing your body of food is probably the healthiest thing you can do for your liver. The liver has two large sections, called the right and the left lobes. The gallbladder sits under the liver, along with parts of the pancreas and intestines. The liver and these organs work together to digest, absorb, and process food.
The liver's main job is to filter the blood coming from the digestive tract, before passing it to the rest of the body. The liver also detoxifies chemicals and metabolizes drugs. As it does so, the liver secretes bile that ends up back in the intestines. The liver also makes proteins important for blood clotting and other functions.
The liver also acts as the body’s glucose (or fuel) reservoir, and helps to keep your circulating blood sugar levels and other body fuels steady and constant. The liver both stores and manufactures glucose depending upon the body’s need. The need to store or release glucose is primarily signalled by the hormones insulin and glucagon.
During a meal, your liver will store sugar, or glucose, as glycogen for a later time when your body needs it. The high levels of insulin and suppressed levels of glucagon during a meal promote the storage of glucose as glycogen.
The liver makes sugar when you need it…. (THIS IS KEY!) When you’re not eating – especially overnight or between meals, the body has to make its own sugar. The liver supplies sugar or glucose by turning glycogen into glucose in a process called glycogenolysis. The liver also can manufacture necessary sugar or glucose by harvesting amino acids, waste products and fat byproducts. This process is called gluconeogenesis.
Start Slowly & Gently
I do not recommend going for an all-out 24-48 hour fast if you've never tried it before. That would be like a newbie going to the gym and doing Arnold's weight workout. You can start by skipping breakfast one day. Do this once per week. Then advance that to breakfast and lunch. Keep this up for a while. Then you will be eventually able to skip food all day, and perhaps go right through to the next day.
Oh dear! What happens when the hunger really hits?
Remember: it's not a matter of life or death! Nothing screams "I'm in control of my life" more than when you can control your urge for food. My personal technique for getting past the hunger (when it hits) is to remind myself that I could go a full 30 days without food. I remind myself that my body has the resources it needs to survive easily. I remind myself that this is for the health and regulation of my body.
Ageless Wisdom Traces It's Roots Back To Fasting
Napoleon Hill, the author of 'Think and Grow Rich,' mentions in his book the benefits of fasting. People of the Muslim faith practise fasting through Ramadan. People of the Christian faith practise fasting. There is the famous biblical parable of Jesus going for 40 days and 40 nights without food, and he was tempted when he was at his weakest. People of different religious faiths who practise regular fasting are among the healthiest in the world.
Can I ingest ANYTHING while I'm fasting?
Water is great! There are different types of fasts... people do 'periodical fasting,' which is just a fancy way of saying "I skip breakfast and morning tea"... There are juice fasts... There's the Hollywood fast, where they drink a special syrup. Many people believe you can have a fresh squeezed juice if you feel light headed or faint. I have a friend who did a 30-day juice fast; at the end she said, "this makes me wonder, how much food do we actually need?"
I suggest to stick to water... or water with fresh lemon squeeze. If you're planning a longer fast, the hunger disappears after day 3, according to trustworthy sources!
Good luck, and happy fasting!