“Intermittent fasting” seems to be all the latest graze.
The basic concept is simple: refrain from eating foods during a prolonged period typically 12 to 24 hours. Some of these intermittent fasts are recommended to do twice a week, some for 5 days a week and some for 30 days straight. The irony, is that people have been intermittent fasting for thousands of years, but science is just now uncovering the incredible benefits of timed eating. It can help prevent health problems such as high cholesterol, heart disease and obesity, as well as improve mental health and wellbeing. However, one incredible bonus benefit that most articles forget to mention is the nourishment of the soul.
I just completed a 29-day fast. For 29 straight days, I fasted from 4:30am until around 8pm. I woke up around 4am to have a light meal, water and coffee. Throughout the day, I didn’t eat or drink anything. I wanted to immerse myself into the fast. I wanted to see if I could stick with it and feel the health benefits and mental wellbeing as a result.
I must admit, it was mentally hard the first few days. I got caught up in counting the hours, let alone how many days have passed by. I remember looking around and, for the first time, really seeing how much people are consumed with eating and drinking. You can’t help but see it. In the beginning, I was so jealous. I wanted to just have my cup of coffee during a meeting and grab a bite to eat for lunch.
But then around the 10-day mark, something truly magical happened—my thoughts went from jealousy to gratitude.
Instead of seeing all the people eating and drinking around me, I saw the people who were not eating and drinking around me. I became so conscience of the less fortunate. The idea of me being able to eat and drink at 8pm and them still wondering where their next meal will come, affected me.
My soul really became connected to others. I started talking about it more to my family, friends, and co-workers. I started giving more to charity and devoting more of my time to helping others. I started to have more patience and simply slow down a bit. I started to feel connected to everyone and everything around me. Instead of counting the days I had left in my fast, I started wondering if I would lose this soulful connection when I ended it. I decided that this fast is really a mind, body and soul boot camp—and I was being prepared for the days and months ahead. I pushed myself so that when I eventually reached the end, I could still hold on to the values that I gained during the fast.
Some of you may want to know the name of this fast. It’s the same fast that billions of people around the world all did with me at the same time. It is called Ramadan.
It is the fast prescribed to all healthy and able Muslims: once a year, for one month, devotees of Islam fast from sunrise to sunset, abstaining from food, drink and sexual relations. It may seem to be relegated to the fringes of Western society, but Christians, Jews and other non-Muslims have participated in many interfaith fasts with Muslims for years. It doesn’t matter if you are Muslim or not, the benefits listed above and many more work on everyone.
I hope you all get the opportunity to experience fasting – of any kind. Do the research and try it out. Don’t be afraid, or if you are, it’s ok. Getting yourself out of your comfort zone is a good thing. May the fast be with you!
Be Sure And Share This Inspiring Concept With Your Friends On Social Media – Photo by Antoine K, CC