Food is life. The Taittariya Upanishad states that everything is a trans¬formation of food. Matter transforms based on who mingles with it. The same dirt turns into various plants and fruits, depending on which species they get connected to. Interestingly all variety of plants and animals have multiple types of immunity and defense mechanisms, which they develop with an instinct to protect themselves against diseases. For, e.g., when sick, a cat will fast and eat some medicinal grass, which it can find and heal itself. Similarly, other animals find a means to treat themselves or have mechanisms of defense and survival.
However, humans are gifted with knowledge of the ancient scienc¬es like Yoga, Ayurveda, traditional herbs, and medicines from the old folklore in various parts of the world. One such miracle medicine mentioned in all yogic and all religious scriptures that helps us heal is “fasting.” There is nothing more significant than “fasting” in terms of rejuvenating our body and mind.
The Vedic texts explain fasting methods like “Chandrayana Vrata” or fasting based on the moon cycle. By fasting, according to the sequence of the moon, freedom from karma and disease is obtained. There is also fast¬ing mentioned on Ekadasi, the 11th day of the moon cycle, which is very beneficial for the mind and body. These and many more fasting methods give us immense benefits. There have been scientific studies conducted on the benefits of short term and long-term water fasting. They have produced incredible results, and people have been able to cure and reverse many chron¬ic health conditions. The only challenge is to maintain the benefits after the fasting period is done.
There is a need to keep proper nutrition for the rest of our lives. Only by a proper diet and exercise will we be able to be consistently healthy.
How Fasting Works
When you want to clean a machine, you turn it off, clean it, and service it. Similarly, the body is a machine that needs to be serviced and to do that. It needs some well-deserved “rest.” Fasting achieves that purpose.
Let me give you another, e.g., When we suffer from a fracture, we protect the fractured part of the body with some plaster and hold the element in place with a sling or so. We are resting the body part, which activates the self-healing mechanism and heals the body part. Similarly, if we provide our entire body with proper rest, then the whole system has an opportunity to heal itself. If we keep eating three meals a day and not give the body enough rest, our bodies are in a constant “digestive” mode, and the body does not get enough rest to rejuvenate itself. By fasting and at the same time by drinking detoxifying lemonades, we provide the body with rest and an outlet to the toxins in the body. According to Ayurveda, fasting is very beneficial and helps the body in higher digestion levels and eliminates toxins.
The Fire Of Digestion According To Ayurveda
There are seven digestive fires in the body, according to Ayurveda. Food that we eat is broken down and becomes rasa or plasma tissue. Then it is converted to rakta or blood. Blood is further digested and convert¬ed to mamsa or muscles. Muscles are further digested and converted to medas or fat, fat is absorbed and turned to asti or bones, and bones are also digested and converted to majja or bone marrow. Finally, bone marrow is converted to either semen or Ojas (higher mental energy). This digestion is aided by the seven agnis or fires that cook the food from one form to another. This digestion in the body is continuously going on. There needs to be sufficient time and catalysts for all these levels of metabolism to take place.
When we are continuously eating, we are in the lower rungs of digestion, and the body does not have enough time or energy for the higher levels of metabolism, i.e., muscles, bones, and so on. It requires many exercises, a proper diet, and an excellent mood to activate higher digestion levels.
Fasting combined with yoga or exercise is the best way to enable a higher level of digestion. When we fast, the excess fats accumulated over time break down and get digested into muscles and bones. Hence fasting is the best method to reduce fat and increase muscle, and, when adequately directed, we get more mental energy. For attaining deeper states of yogic meditation, fasting followed by eating appropriate food prescribed in the yogic and ayurvedic texts is recommended.
Fasting is beneficial to all except those who have some serious physical injury. Fasting is essential to convert these stored fats into energy and get the best out of our body.
Food For The Soul attempts to provide recipes during fasts for detoxifica¬tion. Smoothies, sprouts soups, and much more to gradually build up your diet after fast and unique healthy wonder recipes for healthy eating regularly. Our recipes are designed to help you detox and maintain all the good results you obtain through fasting, exercise, yoga, and meditation.