Fasting & Abstinence - Secret of Healthy Life

December 26, 2020

Fasting is the most familiar and simple word both in religious and scientific aspects. We can describe the meaning of fasting as ‘refrain from taking the food for a particular period’. Fasting is a personal choice and can be taken for any reasons or without reasons like as a hobby now and then.

Fasting has its own significant importance. It is commenced not just from a few decades rather it has been adopted from ancient times even before BCs. Ancient sages used to fast for several days in the forests while worshipping God.

Fasting is a part of spirituality and is practised in every religion. Muslims during the holy month of Ramadan refrain from food in the morning hours. Christians in the month of Lent fast for 40 days. In Hinduism fast during the Navaratri season, during the holy month of Shravana. Thus fasting has been given an essential role in every religion.

Fasting can be divided into three categories and all three have benefits. In any type of fasting, water should be taken as we must know that fasting without water is dangerous to health.

1. Simple Fasting
2. Medium fasting
3. Deep Fasting

Simple Fasting: It is a type of fasting where one refrains from having food and in this category we have the subgroups:
1. Only having fruits and water/juices and a light meal at night.
2. Only black tea in the morning and light meal at night and lunch is skipped.
3. Only black tea in the morning, light lunch and light dinner consumed.

Simple fasting can be done as it is very easy, but it has fewer benefits.

Medium Fasting: It is another type of fasting which supersedes simple fasting. Here are the subtypes:
1. Fasting for 24 hours without any food except water.
2. Fasting for 24 hours only with water and a light dinner

This looks pretty difficult and can be practised at least once a month. It gives more benefits to our body and protects us from diseases.

Deep Fasting: It is rarely practised and not very common. However, it has potential benefits. This has to be done step by step. As we all know that the day-to-day food we are taking these days leads towards the fat (Cholesterol) and the fat accumulates in our blood nerves which block the blood circulation. This might lead to cardiac arrest. Let us see the procedure of this fasting.

Here a person has to give up his food and can take only liquid items like water/ juices/ milk etc….. In the initial stage, we can do it for 2 days without any solid food except water. In the first few hours, we feel it is very difficult and slowly we feel as if we cannot continue with it because we are habituated to our regular food timings. This is the time for temptation and many quit. It should not be the case. Please note that every human has storage of fat in him which can be considered as his food for three days. So even if you do not take food, the body slowly absorbs the fat within you and the body starts burning fat for fuel. Hence no need to worry even if you do not eat for three days. This is pretty difficult on the first day and more difficult on the second day, on the third day your body adjusts to this and we feel more relaxed and wish to continue to fast even for one week without any hindrance. This can be continued for 40 days as science has proven that humans can survive for 40 days only with water. Even in scriptures, we read that few religious founders fasted for 40 days being a normal human like us. However, I do not insist on prolonging it for 40 days rather one week is enough. After it is an individual wish.

Benefits of Deep Fasting

1. After undergoing all three types of fasting, deep fasting has excellent benefits for us. Even dangerous diseases can be chased like BP, sugar, cholesterol, cancer, asthma, gastric, skin diseases, arthritis pain, they will never ever come back if we practise the deep fasting at least once a month. Twice in a month is more appreciated. This is really true and I am a live example.
2. Fasting helps to overcome addictions like tobacco, alcohol etc...
3. It helps in body detox and eliminates toxin from the body
4. It gives rest to the digestive system.
5. It improves kidney and liver function
6. Blood circulation gets smoother as no fat in blood veins.
7. Those who wish to become thin, this is the best way and for those who are very thin, they too can get a general physical fitness as per their age.
8. Fasting is a key/baseline for meditation and Yoga.
9. Fasting is a free of cost gift provided by nature with huge benefits to you.

Precautions: Fasting is not suitable during pregnancy, old age and children below 10 years. Deep Fasting is not recognized for hard (labour) workers as they can opt for medium fasting.

During the recent crisis, we undergo a situation where many are struggling for food and it is called starvation. There is a difference between fasting and starvation. Fasting is encouraged where starvation can be removed from society. Regretful to say that 15% of the Indian population every night sleeps hungry. 20 crore Indians are undernourished. Recently out of 117 countries, India ranked at 104 at the Global Hunger Index.

The fasting which we do benefits our health fulfils our religious obligation and either the food we save or the tallying amount we should give to society who are starving or in charity. Thus we shall have the blessings from human and divine. “We need not do big things rather small things with a big heart”. I think the saying of Mother Teresa exactly suits here.

Finally before winding up let us adopt these hidden tips of healthy life and practise it. Let us control our body before it controls us, and surely these tips assist us. Let us build a healthy home, society and country. Whatever is given to others is ours and whatever is ours never belongs to us because we are all in a short journey of earthly life.

Thus complying to the above, be a role model and build a good family, society and good nation. God Bless you all.





By Roshan D’Souza
Roshan D'Souza from Mangaluru, works in UAE as a clerk. His interests are reading and writing.
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Comment on this article

  • mansoor, bolar, mangalore

    Mon, Dec 28 2020

    Our fast is from dawn to dusk in Ramadan without food and water.

  • Roshan Dsouza, Dubai

    Sun, Dec 27 2020

    Dear Prinson Bhai,
    Thanks for the comment and support. Its reality and hidden from us. Thus i did a tiny part of revealing it. I learnt it in my orientation.

  • Mohan Prabhu,, Mangalore (Kankanady)/Ottawa, Canada

    Sun, Dec 27 2020

    Very well written and informative article which I truly appreciate.
    I may add #10.
    Fasting is recommended for politicians in particular, especially those who want to agitate - like the farmers' leaders in these days.
    There have been cases where some fast unto death unless their demands are met and in the Hindu religion an old Brahmin who does not want to live longer lest he be a burden on others, is recommended by the Upanishads to fast unto death.
    I have personally known at least two men, one a very senior Mangalorean in London *his son told me that he stopped taking medicines as well as food) and another a neighbour Canadian of Dutch origin who thought at 95 he had no desire to live especially when his wife passed away just a year earlier, and decided to go without food for days - and died. I was told this by his son-in-law who also lives nearby.
    So, fasting has become an instrument for political agitation and for suicide as well which, of course, I DO NOT advocate.

  • Prinson D'lima, Santhekatte- Kallianpur/Doha- Qatar

    Sat, Dec 26 2020

    well written article. It seems you have done a great research and a good study on this subject.

  • Roshan Dsouza, Dubai

    Sat, Dec 26 2020

    Thanks John Bhai. You too are a good writer and really appreciated your effort.

  • John B. Monteiro, Bondel Mangalore

    Sat, Dec 26 2020

    Very topical and well-written article - very relevant for this season including for making New Year resolutions.

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