I’ve been fasting for the last six days. On the day you read this, I’ll begin eating again. And I’m REALLY looking forward to that first meal!
Why would I want to starve myself?
To begin with, I’m not starving. I’m following a “Lemonade Fast,” which means drinking about 3/4 gallon/daily of a precise mixture made up of organic lemons, maple syrup, cayenne pepper and water. This provides enough nutrition to fast safely for 40 days. Six days is actually less than the recommended ten day minimum, but I decided to do this more or less on the spur of the moment, and because I’m going to a wedding on Saturday (where the temptation to eat could prove to be irresistible) and I need a day to re-acclimate my body to food, I’m keeping the fast to six days this time.
But I’ve fasted comfortably for 13 days in the past. My sister managed 37 days several years ago, and it completely rid her body of some serious problems that were rapidly leading her toward a hysterectomy; the fast was a last-ditch effort to avoid that, and she’s had two children since then.
Am I hungry? Yes and no. I’m not having hunger pangs, or thinking about food too much – unless I see it, smell it or read about it. Everything sounds good – but HEALTHY foods especially attract me.
And that’s why I do this fast from time to time. Well, it’s mostly why. It also helps kick-start weight loss for me when I’m feeling a little too heavy. But the most important factor is that I feel SO good when the fast is over! It’s a “cleansing” fast, designed to rid the body of toxins, and I DO feel very clean by the end. My mind feels more clear, my body lighter, my step springier. I feel as though I’ve just grown a set of wings. And when I begin eating again, I think far more carefully about what I’m putting into my body.
The food images making me salivate right now, for instance, are of broccoli spread with radish sprouts and sliced tomatoes on whole grain bread. Grilled veggies with goat cheese. Corn on the cob. Minestrone soup. Bean salad. Eggplant Papoutzakia from Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
Fasting helps me to rid my body of toxic substances, and then re-establish a healthier, more conscious relationship with what I’m consuming. It reminds me that eating and drinking are primarily about the nourishment I need in order to thrive on multiple levels, and that consumption of unhealthy substances clogs my system and defeats that purpose.
But fasting can be applied to more than just food. Think about the number of “toxins” we regularly introduce into our lives. Toxic relationships. Toxic employment situations. Toxic spending. Toxic addictions to television, the internet… All of these “toxins” can clog our lives in ways that prevent us from creating lifestyles that truly nourish our spirits.
Over many years, I’ve learned to abandon certain toxic relationships in my life because the energy they required and tensions they created were emotional clogs exhausting and impeding me. If we have an addiction to buying, buying, buying, it might block our ability to eventually leave that toxic job, because the job provides enough money to continue those spending sprees. We need to ask ourselves what that spending is all about, what bottomless pit we might be trying to fill up when we shop.
And those addictions to TV and social media: what are they costing us? How much time are we spending on them, and what truly nourishing activities could we be engaged in instead? Would we have the time we need to build that freelance career and/or create the lifestyle we’ve been dreaming of?
I’m thinking that a Facebook fast might be on the horizon for me…
What is blocking your dreams? What kind of fast would cleanse your life and create space for true nourishment? How long will you need to stay away from Facebook, or the mall, to break that habit? How will you end those unhealthy relationships? What’s your plan for the aftermath – for screening out toxic relationships and meeting people who will nurture your spirit? For creating healthier spending or social media habits? For leaving that toxic job behind and creating a career that will give you wings?