Monthly Archives: January 2016

open door

Fasting to Life Pt. 4

See previous parts for important information.


What are some Fasting Misuses?

While it is wrong to think that fasting is a panacea or totally harmful?  There are some definite misuses of fasting.  We will consider a few here.


There are some groups of people that use fasting as a control device.  That is the dissident members of the group are starved into submission.  There is one famous group that I heard about that takes those who disagree with policy and locks they up without food to think about it for awhile.  The object is to cause torcher by hunger.  


Trying to put the best face on this, there is spiritual fast,


which has to do with fasting while you think about an answer to an issue in life.  We may talk about that later.  But here the fast is used to impose an answer on the one being starved.  It is a perverted form of aversion therapy.  


You do not fast to cause yourself or impose a fast to cause another to accept a conclusion predetermined.  The fast is to open the door

open door

to see what the best answer would be.  


The same in a related sense to true about fasting as a punishment.  I guess most of us can remember misbehaving and being sent to bed without supper. [Of course, I never misbehaved.] That in effect is the imposition of an extended night fast.  


While I am not being judgemental in such cases, I see that as an ill advised choice in corrective punishment.  No, it will not harm the child.  But it might cause the child to associate hunger with punishment.  It is not.  


Hunger is the prelude to health in fasting.  [By the way hunger does not last throughout the fast, only about two days and later when the fast is starting to go too long. Later we will talk about this.]  


If the child associates hunger with punishment, that may cause him to pass up the benefits of fasting for health.  Or if the child becomes masochistic or feels the need to punish himself for something he does in later life, he may abuse fasting and have malnutrition or starvation issues.  It could create an eating disorder.  

eating disorder

Another thing that fasting is not for is for political ends.  Gandhi


was a great man.


Notwithstanding, his use of fasting for political ends was a misuse of fasting.  He was well intended, and he did often attain his goal, but that presented a false picture of fasting.


Many have gotten the ideas that fasting is a tool to make things happen that they want to happen.   For them it is a tool of magical manifestation.  Some Christians view fasting as a way to supercharge their prayers.  That is not what fasting is about and a misuse of fasting to apply it in such a purpose.


The next misuse of fasting is for weight loss.  


We will discuss fasting as part of a weight loss program as being beneficial.  However the wrong use is to use it as the magic bullet for weight loss.  


Yes, you will drop weight during a fast of sufficient time.  That is not at issue.  But done incorrectly you will be creating the yo-yo effect, even maybe accent it.  During the fast your body thinks, I am starving.  Then when you break the fast, you body says, “FOOD!”, and immediately starts to store it, a physiological preparation for anticipated starving to return.  And as you know, that is fat creation.  You may end up with more weight than before the fast.  [But correctly done it may be helpful.]


Fasting to Life Pt. 3

See previous parts for important information.


What is the History of Fasting?


There is an interesting inscription in one of the pyramids in Egypt it dates around 3800 B.C.


“Humans live on one quarter of what they eat; on the other three quarters lives their doctor.”


Early on doctors were noting the importance of food intake into the body.  More does not make you better.  


It can be a contributing factor to or assistant to malady.  


There has been modern studies in undernutrition.  Scientists fed some rats all the food they wanted.  

fat rat

They had a control group of rats that they fed a very limited diet, that was limited to the point of undernutrition.  The control group rats were healthier and lived much longer.  

To modern thought this is counterintuitive.  We have been taught to think that eating is important to the body rebuilding itself when one is ill, while in effect we may be feeding the illness more than the body.  


One of the fathers of Western medicine, Hippocrates, said the same thing,


“Everyone has a doctor in him; we just have to help him in his work. The natural healing force within each one of us is the greatest force in getting well. … to eat when you are sick, is to feed your sickness.”


The ancient Greek writer Plutarch wrote, “Instead of using medicine, better fast today.”


Philippus Paracelsus, who many call the father of modern medicine said,  “Fasting is the greatest remedy, the physician within.”


Benjamin Franklin

ben franklin

said, “The best of all medicines is resting and fasting.”


There is a long list of famous wise men who promoted fasting for healing.  They include men like Hippocrates, Plato, Socrates, Aristotle and Galen.  Early healing arts recognized fasting and promoted it.  These healers utilised the amazing revitalizing and rejuvenating power of the fast.


Fasting is maybe the most ancient healing tradition throughout the world. Hippocrates (460 – 370 BC) is the first to have opened the door to modern medicine.  He often prescribed and championed fasting, and the consumption of apple cider vinegar.


As I wrote before in examples of the bear and dog, the ancient Greeks preached that medical treatment could be discovered from watching nature. Humans maybe should, like most animals, not eat when they become sick. For this reason, the ancients called fasting the “physician within”. This instinctive fasting makes dogs, cats, and humans averse to eating when sick. This sensation is certainly familiar to everybody.


Remember the last time you were really sick.  Maybe the last time you were sick, the last thing, I imagine, you wanted to do was eat. Maybe at such times we would be better served listening to our bodies, rather than the pharmaceutical salesman.  Fasting seems to exist as a universal human instinct for various forms of illnesses. Thus fasting is ingrained into human heritage, dare I say in our very DNA memory.  The instinct is as old of humanity itself.


Jews, Christians, Buddhists, and Muslims all shared a common belief in the healing power of fasting.  At least the founding fathers of these religions did believe even though some of the modern disciples have forgotten the practice.  Spiritually, fasting is often called on for cleansing or purification, but on a practical level it amounts to the same thing.


Why did the practice of fasting developed independently among different religions and cultures?  Because it is part of nature.  


It is not viewed as something that was harmful, but something that was intrinsically beneficial to the humans in both body and spirit.


In Buddhism, many often eat food only in the morning, and then they fast from noon until the next morning daily. In addition to this, there may be various water-only fasts for days or weeks on end. This is a long standing historical tradition.


Greek Orthodox Christians may follow various types fasts over 180-200 days of the year.  Most of the population of Crete followed the Greek Orthodox tradition of fasting.


Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset


while observing the holy month of Ramadan. Muhammad also encouraged fasting on Mondays and Thursdays of every week.


Ramadan may be the best studied of all the fasting periods.  This is a complete fast in which they do not even consume water for a mild dehydration.   In that situation eating and drinking is permitted before sunrise and after sunset.  It has been found in recent studies that daily caloric intake actually rises significantly during this period because the muslims stuff themselves when they can eat. This gorging of themselves before sunrise and after sunset seems to negate some of the beneficial effect that we would expect from a fast.


It historically appears that fasting is an idea that has proved itself by the test of time.  As some have called them, the four most influential people to have ever lived agreed that fasting is beneficial, Moses, Jesus, Buddha, and Mohammed.  It is hard to think of this was a harmful practice.  Surely after over 2,000 years someone would have figured out if it was harmful.



hunter gatherer

Fasting to Life Pt. 2

What is the Prehistory of Fasting?


Of course we can not know the prehistory of fasting, but it no doubt was a practice before it was written about.  It can not imagined that early man did not fast just in the course of hunting and gathering.  

hunter gatherer

He was hunting and gathering in times when the hunt had failed or the pickings were beyond slim.  Fasting was part of the cycle of survival.  You would just drink a some water and press on with the hunt.  


If we look at the animal kingdom, we find that animals have an instinct to fast in times of sickness.  Some animals like bears

bear hibernating

even spend long periods of time on a regular basis fasting.  It is called hibernation.  But that is a fast.  Fasting in the natural world is a natural tendency.


Have you ever noticed a sick dog?  What does he do?  Many of them are seen stopping being meat eaters and just eat grass [grazing],

dog eating grass

drink water, and rest.  It is all quite natural and part of healthful healing for them.


Have you ever been sick and did not feel like eating.  But someone told you need to eat something.  Maybe that was your mom, a doctor or a dietician.  But you had it implanted that eating was the important thing in healing.  But your natural instinct was telling you different.  


There was something in our ancient past that remembered the practice of fasting.  Remember the saying, “Feed a cold and starve a fever.”  Most of us have heard that.  Our prehistoric past reminds us that sometimes fasting is the best thing for healing.


Maybe we should be listening to our body and how it feels in such matters.  Could it just be that the primal man is telling us to fast and rest to heal?  That might be the time for a water fast combined with rest when you do not feel like eating.  


[I am not giving medical advise in any particular case, just saying there is a natural tendency to fast and rest for healing in certain times.]



Herbert Shelton (1895-1985), who was a doctor who supervised over 40,000 fasts, wrote that,


“Fasting must be recognized as a fundamental and radical process that is older than any other mode of caring for the sick organism, for it is employed on the plane of instinct…”



Fasting to Life Pt. 1

What is Fasting?


Fasting in its literal sense involves abstaining from something.  Fasting, in its true sense, means the total abstinence from food.  Sometimes called a water fast, a true fast means the taking of only water into our body.


What some people call juice fasting and fruit fasting is only figurative fasting.  I am not implying that remaining only on fruits and juices for a short period of time is bad.   Such a practice does have some benefits and is sometimes more practical than complete fast which involves complete bed rest and water fast.  I am just saying that fruit fasting is not truly fasting.


There are two types of fasting I have found referred to in literature.


The first type of fast as we have already noted is the Full Fast where you drink only water.  


Time is another subject.  It may be one day, sun up to sundown, three days, seven days, etc.  Do not think that you have to do it forty days to have been fasting.  


Our very language says otherwise.  In the morning you have a breakfast, a break-fast.  When you eat the morning meal, you are breaking a fast of the night.  


Next some refer to the Daniel Fast.  A better term for this might be the Daniel Diet.  When you do this you usually eat no bread,


no meats,


and no sweets.


You will only water and juice.


[I do not know why I have to say this, but often when I say this,  some people think they can eat fish.  


Fish is a meat.  No fish.]


You will eat only fruits and vegetables.  


This is a form of vegan diet.  In this you consume nothing that comes from an animal.  


They use the term fast for this because they consider a fast in some limited sense to be a fast if you are taking an individual thing or some things out of your diet.  There can be great benefits to this.  But technically it is not a fast.  


The other fasts referred to in the literature are merely giving a time for the fast or Daniel diet.  However as we noted time is irrelevant to a fast.  But it should be said that the length of time for a fast may be important to consider, when you are ending the fast.  And time may be important in obtaining the beneficial results of a fast, for which you may be looking.


Fasts may be done for spiritual purposes,

spiritual purpose

self-discipline purposes,

self discipline

or health purposes.  While we may touch upon the other purposes, we will be looking at health fasting.   



tea service

Green Tea as a Supplement Pt. 4

Check previous parts for important info


tea service


G. Green Tea & Mortality risk


Drinking green tea daily is surprisingly and significantly linked to a lower risk of death from any cause.   There has been research that showed that an increase of one cup of green tea per day is linked with a 4% lower risk of death from any cause.  A separate study discovered also that an increase of three cups of green tea per day links with a lower risk of death from any cause.


H. Green Tea & Weight Loss

There is no conclusive evidence that green tea aids in weight loss for obese people.



I. Green Tea & Toxicity


For most people if they regularly use green tea in moderation consumption of green tea is safe.  That being said, there have been research reports that you can suffer from liver toxicity after consuming high doses of green tea extract as a dietary supplements.

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