For the last six years I have fasted for a week, twice a year. This means no food. Just water and tea, if my sugar drops, a little diluted fruit juice. And it is the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. Fighting our most basic instinct takes a whole lot of willpower and a little bit of insanity. The world doesn’t stop or refrain from eating and your sense of smell increases a billion fold. Seriously, I once smelled someone opening a vanilla yogurt from miles away. It is a tough journey, but the [personal] benefits far outweigh any of the down sides.
The second hardest thing in the world is dealing with how quickly everyone around you becomes an expert on it. Everywhere I go, when fasting, I am met with people that are somehow personally offended with the fact that I am not eating, and choose to lecture me about it. It aggravates me to no end. I have done my research, I am aware of what I am doing. I am also aware that there is a huge medical debate, that has not been resolved yet. There are tons of papers on how great it is for you and tons of papers saying the opposite. My point is that I really don’t really care for how bad or good it is for you, I am focusing on what it does for me.
For me it is first and foremost a mental challenge. A test of willpower. There is no way that I can describe how difficult not eating anything for 5-7 days is. I am a great lover of food, and to keep my head up takes an endless amount of focus. Secondly, it is a chance for my digestive system to have a break. Yes there are no calories going into my body, but the rest of it doesn’t shut down. The digestive system takes up approximately 60% of the bodies energy. So, even with no calories coming in, there is a surplus of energy (fat stores being burnt) that goes into balancing hormones, healing the body, removing toxins etc. I am no expert, this is just my experience.
The first day is always the hardest. Headaches and hunger cramps plague me. I am grumpy as all hell and I would shout at my own mother for no reason, embarrassingly. Day two is always a little better in some ways and a little harder in others, I am not as grumpy but twice as hungry. The headaches are no longer there and I start “feeling” cleaner. The third day I call the apex. There comes a point where you have a poo that rivals no other. After that, it is easy peezy. I feel like I have woken up, like my whole world brightens up. Colours are bright, I feel closer to the earth and the air that I breathe feels nourishing. I feel the best I have ever felt. The hunger pangs are completely gone and I have often wished I never had to eat again.
I have never really acknowledged modern medicine for small ailments. I think that we use medication way too frivolously. I think the modern medical world has lost sight of what medicating entails, as well as what a healthy body is. I have no problems with doctors, I just won’t go and see them unless I am really really ill, or for a note. I also have no problem with some medication. I think that advances have really helped out our race. But greed has corrupted the medical world and I have made a choice to listen to my body as a first point of reference.
I originally got the idea from ancient Toltec wisdom. They fast as a means of transformation; mentally, physically and spiritually. It is a time to give life a break and take note of inner conflict. The Toltecs refer to it as a “Warriors feat”. They believe that it resets the body, gives it a chance to start anew. And from personal experience, I am inclined to agree.
For me, fasting is something I will continue to do until I am old and full of shit. I have hardly gotten sick in these last six years. I heal faster than anyone I know. After fasts I feel clean, my body feels detoxed, I have a more focused mental attitude, a stronger sense of spirituality and sense of achievement. I do not think it is for everyone, and I do tend to lose a lot of weight which would be a problem for some people (whether they agree or not). Its a week off for my body and I to reunite.