• FastingPosted 9 years ago under Uncategorized

    Fasting means to abstain from some, or all, food and drink. Fasting is most commonly done as a religious observance, but it has been gaining popularity as a way of detoxifying the body for the purposes of healing, and losing weight.

    By its strictest definition to fast is to take nothing by mouth, no food and no water.
    Human beings can survive roughly five to seven weeks without food; but the average adult can only live five days without water. Fasting in the manner wherein nothing is consumed is very rare, and when done for extended periods of time, fatal. Fasting in the sense that some foods are not eaten, and some liquids are not drunk is the kind of fast most commonly practiced. (1)

    Fasting and Faith

    Judaism, Orthodox Christianity, Catholicism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam all practice fasting as tenets of their faith.

    Islam requires Muslims to fast during Ramadan, during which nothing is taken by mouth (no water, no food) during daylight hours. Most Muslims also try to give up bad habits during this time, and many pray or read the Koran more frequently during Ramadan. (2)

    Judaism observes fasting during Yom Kippur, and The Talmud mentions four other fasting days. (3)

    In both the Old Testament and the New Testament there are numerous times fasting is mentioned. After Jesus’ baptism he underwent a forty day fast, during which times he was besieged by Satan.”Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. {2} And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered…” (Mat 4:1-2)

    Orthodox Christianity observes more days of fasting than any other organized religion. During non-fasting times all foods are considered clean. When no fast is proscribed there are no forbidden foods. Wednesdays and Fridays are fast days year round with few exceptions. Orthodox Christians also fast during Great Lent, Apostles’ Fast, Dormition Fast, Nativity Fast and at other times throughout the year. (4)

    Fasting has fallen from importance in the Roman Catholic faith. Most Catholics still fast during Lent on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday, and abstain from all meat with the exception of fish and seafood on all Fridays during Lent. Some Catholics stick to no meat on Fridays throughout the rest of the year as well. (5) Eastern Catholics follow the same fasting traditions as Orthodox Christians.

    Fasting is practiced in Hinduism wherein they do not eat anything for a half day, a full day or more. Many Hindus also fast on certain days of the month such as Purnima, and Ekadasi. Hindus commonly fast at festivals, and to appease various gods, as Hinduism is a polytheistic religion.

    All of the major branches of Buddhism practice some periods of fasting. These usually take place on days of the full moon and other holidays. Depending on the Buddhist tradition fasting typically requires abstaining from solid foods, with liquids allowed. (6)

    Fasting and Health

    Fasting is also commonly done for health reasons. Many of the same bodily systems that are at work in digesting our food, and removing toxins from our food are also able to detoxify the body. When not burdened with food, or less burdened by more easily digestible, less toxic food our bodies are more able to focus on the elimination of toxins.

    Dr. Don Colbert recommends fasting as a way of improving health, losing unwanted fat and eliminating toxins. In his book he explained the benefits of a vegetable juice fast versus a water only fast. He also specifically recommended against fasting in such a manner that nothing is taken by mouth (no water). (7)

    Fasting and Other Reasons

    Many lifestyles and religions forbid certain foods and drink, so in that respect it can be argued that they are fasting year round. Vegans do not consume animal products, so many foods that are forbidden in fasts are already forbidden by the vegan lifestyle. Islam and Judaism forbid the consumption of pork or pork products at all times, and not just during periods of fasting.

    Religious institutions for a variety of reasons recommend fasting, but all of them mention the health benefits associated with the practice. Medical opinions on the benefits of fasting vary, but there is a medical consensus on overconsumption of food being detrimental to health.


    Don Colbert. Toxic Relief (Lake Mary, Fla.: Siloam Press, 2001).
    Don Colbert. Toxic Relief (Lake Mary, Fla.: Siloam Press, 2001).

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