April is known as the month of fasting, and it is not a coincidence – spring is the best time to fast, because this way we allow the body and mind to cleanse.
Fasting is one of the ways to cleanse the body that has been used for thousands of years. Old Estonians were fasting starting from Shrove Tuesday until Easter. However, signs of fasting date back to ancient cultures.
Fasting is not starvation
During fasting, substances that were either not fully absorbed by the body or that were stored in the cells and disturbed the metabolism are burned. During fasting, the body primarily consumes low-value material, while sparing vital tissues.
Fasting also gives a break to the digestive tract, after fasting food digestion is improved and the body absorbs the necessary nutrients more easily.
You can independently fast for a day or 36 hours, a longer fast, whether it is three to eight days. However, fasting for two weeks or even longer, is determined by the doctor.
A few days before fasting, don’t eat meat, eat more vegetables and drink a lot of water. Eat less frequently and reduce portions. In the pre-fasting period, eat every 5-6 hours and 2-3 times a day.
Doing sports and going to the sauna is beneficial before and during fasting. Whenever possible, get some fresh air outdoors.
The first morning begins like any other – with breakfast, but eating also ends with it. During the following hours, you can ward off hunger and drink water with lemon or herbal tea (peppermint, chamomile, rose hip).
The feeling of hunger is the strongest during the first ten hours of fasting, but it can be overcome by strong willpower. You can also drink more water. When the body has managed the initial restoration work, it starts to energetically remove the decaying substances, and then the state of being will be much better.
However, each body reacts differently to fasting and getting rid of waste products: headache, nausea, fainting may occur. The more residues there are, the stronger the bodily reactions. They can be alleviated by drinking herbal tea, being in the fresh air, taking a warm bath or shower.
Fasting for 24 hours every week is enough to improve your health. However, if you feel that the body needs a longer cleansing, the fast lasts 36 hours and in this case it is recommended to start in the evening.
Ending the fast
From preparing for fasting and staying in it, see that the most important thing is getting out of fasting.
If the fast has lasted for 24 or 36 hours, the first meal could be a vegetable salad, light porridge or vegetable soup.
On the first day after fasting, you must refrain from animal proteins and foods containing fats (milk, cheese, eggs, butter, cream, meat, fish). On the second day, it is already allowed to eat foods containing milk proteins (cottage cheese, yogurt, etc.) and on the third day you can start eating normally again. To increase the effectiveness of fasting, you should start each meal with a vegetable salad.
Fasting in different contexts
Fasting is not only related to the emergence of spring and people’s desire to organize and recreate their bodies. In Islamic culture, fasting has been an important part of their culture for thousand of years – namely, Ramadan is one of the five important pillars of Islamic religion. It is a time of introspection and worship of God and lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on the year.
Examples of fasting can also be found in sports: for example, in bodybuilding, food is given up before competitions in order to bring out the best physical form.