Whilst individual experiences may differ, there are a number of common experiences and metabolic changes that occur during, and as a result of fasting.
The following summary by Dr Elson, M Haas, ‘Staying Healthy With Nutrition’ is a very accurate and detailed description of some of these:
‘First, fasting is a catalyst for change and an essential part of transformational medicine. It promotes relaxation and energization of the body, mind and emotions, and supports greater spiritual awareness. Many fasters feel a letting go of past actions and experiences and develop a positive attitude toward the present. Having energy to get things done and clean up old areas, both personal and environmental, without the usual procrastination is also a common experience. Fasting clearly improves motivation and creative energy; it also enhances health and vitality and lets many of body systems rest.’
Fasting is a process that allows us to see from direct experience the incredible innate healing and restorative powers that our bodies possess as well as the incredible inherent capacity for health that we all possess as our birthright – a capacity for which most people only ever experience a fraction of its ultimate potential.
From a physiological perspective, fasting minimises the work done by the digestive organs, including the stomach, intestines, pancreas, gallbladder and liver – the latter of which is the body’s large production and metabolic factory which, when rested during fasting, can attribute more energy to detoxifying and metabolising stored and unwanted chemicals, wastes and microbes (bacteria, viruses, parasites, fungi); and creating many new essential substances for our use.
The blood and lymph also have the opportunity to be cleaned of toxins as all the eliminative functions are enhanced with fasting. Increased release of toxins from the colon, kidneys and bladder, lungs and sinuses, and skin is allowed to occur. Discharge, such as mucous, from many of these eliminative organs during fasting is often a correction of the discord created by our imbalanced (with nature) lifestyle.
Each cell of the body has the opportunity to catch up on its work; with fewer demands it can repair itself and dump its waste for elimination.
Most fasters also experience a new vibrancy of their skin and clarity of mind and body. It is literally like a huge ‘spring cleaning’ for the entire body-mind system.
Some Benefits of Fasting
|Rest for digestive organs||Clearer skin||Anti-ageing effects|
|Improved senses – vision, hearing, taste||More clarity mentally and emotionally||Better resistance to disease|
|Reduction of allergies||Weight loss||Drug detoxification|
|More energy||Better, quieter sleep||More relaxation|
|More positive attitude||Inspiration||Creativity & new ideas|
|Enhanced spiritual awareness||Clearer planning||Change of habits|
|Better discipline||Right use of will||Diet changes|
Nutritionally, fasting helps us appreciate a good wholesome, natural diet more as less food and simple flavours become far more satisfying. For example, the taste buds experience an explosion of tastes that leave one with the desire to eat more natural foods. The experience of eating an apple in the re-introduction to food becomes a tantalising pleasure.
Mentally, fasting improves clarity and attentiveness; emotionally, it may make us more sensitive and aware of feelings. Decisions based on enhanced clarities are often made during fasts. Fasting clearly supports transformation and life-changing processes. Whilst fasting, we can feel empowered to do things we only thought about before.
Fasting can also precipitate emotional cleansing, and mental attitude and general motivation are often uplifted.
Spiritually, fasting offers a lesson in self-restraint and control of desires, which help us in many evenues of life. Many fasters also experience an increased connection with their internal selves and God; and many relate that their meditation quality, clarity and quietness increases dramatically during a fast.
I will finish this section on the benefits of fasting with another quote from Dr Elson Haas:
I look at fasting as ‘taking a week off work’ to handle other aspects of life for which there is often little time. With fasting we can take time to nurture ourselves and rest. Fasting is also like turning off and cleaning a complex and valuable machine so that it will function better and longer. Resting the gastrointestinal tract, letting the cells and tissues repair themselves, and allowing the lymph, blood and organs to clear out old, defective, or diseased cells and unneeded chemicals all leas to less degeneration and sickness. As healthy cell growth is stimulated, so is our level of vitality, immune function and disease resistance, and our potential for greater longevity.