Since my teens, I've been a believer in the benefits of fasting. As medical research about the physical benefits of fasting abounds, those who have practiced for a long time know that the upsides go far beyond just physical.
Here are 3 reasons why fasting needs to be a part of your wellness routine.
1. LONGEVITY -- If you're interested in THRIVING in your later years, fasting is an important tool to integrate. In his book Lifespan, David Sinclair, the head of longevity research at Harvard, claims that in order to live longer and thrive, we must fast. He goes in deep about the process of AUTOPHAGY.
Autophagy is the body's way of cleaning out damages cells thereby making way for new, healthier ones. When the body's energy is constantly focused on digestion, it rarely gets to the important work of cleaning up what's damaged. Fasting allows for this process to take place and allows for healthier cells throughout your life.
2. CRAVINGS vs. HUNGER -- Most of our eating is driven by cravings. Even if we have a healthy relationship with food, eating 3 meals a day was not practiced by ancient cultures and is driven today by "Big Food" (like Big Pharma). If you're hungry a few hours after you've eaten, it's a craving that's speaking to you.
Learning the difference between cravings and true hunger can have massive implications for how and when we eat. We eat when we're stressed, tired, anxious, mad, lonely, out of habit, or to make others feel comfortable. Rarely because we really need it.
Fasting allows us to reset this relationship with food and really understand when our body is actually hungry. This allows us to manage cravings not just with food, but other carnal impulses that the reptilian brain has us seek for survival. By fasting, we are reminded that we are not run by our habits, rather, we are in charge of them.
3. FIND YOUR STYLE -- There are so many ways to fast today, it's awesome. From intermittent fasting, juice fasting, water fasting, skipping a meal, to multi-day fasts, you can experiment with what works best for you.
I try to plan at least 4 multi-day juice cleanses per year (seasonally). If I eat lots of heavy meals, like over the holidays, or I eat late at night, I'll do a water fast the next day. And I regularly skip breakfast to add on to the benefits of not having eaten over night.
Interchange different styles, and see what works for you.
I know fasting can seem daunting at first. But it is a perfectly safe, widely practiced, and radically beneficial tool to keep our habitual patterns in check, and build strength in mind, body, and spirit. Give it a go!
If you're interested in fasting in a guided environment with others and with my support, check out our PURIFY Retreat coming this spring in Steamboat Springs, CO.