Fasting and Food

Have you ever had a health imbalance and questioned fasting as a cure?

In my experience of this body, I have held many different perspectives of fasting and healing through fasting.

As a teenage girl, I fasted in an unhealthy way, driven by the media, societal expectations, and the desire to be liked. Once I transitioned out of this phase, I found a deep love and joy with food. I noticed that so many of my surroundings had a beautiful relation with community and food. I grew up in a large Italian and Lebanese family where all gatherings were primarily food focused. We found great joy in cooking, creating, laughing, sharing, letting the taste buds dance, and smiling all along. Some may say that it was too food focused and could be unhealthy, but it was mostly joyous.

When college came, I chose to eat whatever I wanted. I needed to gain wait after my high school days of swim team, Tao Bow, running, and starving myself with only a small salad at lunch with very little dressing or just a canned juice to keep my sugar up, so I finally ate. In college the eating was mostly stress eating between tests and studying late nights in the library or after nursing clinicals at the hospital. It wasn’t a balanced lifestyle at all during this time. I was health conscious but had a large appetite. Post-college I became healthier, but would occasionally sneak in the unhealthy habits working at night shifts in the hospital and cupcake dates with my boyfriend at the time. I ate mostly vegetables, lean meats, and organic food. After some different turns in my health, I lost an appetite and ate less. All choices were full of nutrients, organic, and very clean. But when I found yoga, this is when the diet shifted for the better; it was plant-based, organic, full of nutrients, and my body felt lighter and much more energized.

But with yoga came this idea of fasting. Everyone was saying it is good for you. You can do the research and see the many added benefits, it’s true! Is it good for every body type? No. Has it become a fad in recent years? Yes. I am not an expert in fasting or even close, but I had my preferences and very much resisted the idea of fasting, thinking that it would recreate my anorexia from high school days. It wasn’t until someone who I trust and honor mentioned fasting as a yogic practice for a specific celebration coming up. I resisted, but finally said, why not? There must be something that needs to be revealed in this. So I went for it, fasting with some juice, tea, and a tiny bit of espresso. It was about 1 day and then I ate fruit on the second day. I felt it was a positive experience. It was much less of a struggle than I expected and the desire to continue was not strong.

Now, I find myself 50 hours into an 80 hour fast, the reason being to starve a parasite, Giardia, which I have been living with for 4 months. After 4 different rounds of Western meds, a hospital stay in the Himalayas, many articles read, consulting detox specialists, recommendations, a large array of herbs for months, and a diet of lettuce, spinach, kale, celery, green apple, and ginger for 1 month, the bug remains inside. I forgot to mention 2 hydrotherapy sessions. You can assume that I have lost weight and my energy is not optimal. But I did not let this get in the way of my joy or love for this mystery of life. Nonetheless, I have one option remaining, starve the Giardia. So here I am mid fasting. I wouldn’t say it is comfortable, but I could experience worse things in this body.

From my experience, fasting brings things to the surface. The blood sugar drops, you feel depleted, hungry, and the mind starts to run fast. Emotions are present and the fire within, strong. For me, it is like witnessing everything in the mirror. Naturally you slow down, less energy is here, and more presence. I have been able to witness everything and have distance from it. It is amazing to see cravings and to figure out where they are coming from. It is like witnessing the tricks of the mind and how it might act if it was constantly being starved of nutrients, like so many humans are. I am grateful for this experience and manifest that it is a success; parasites will be finished if they aren’t already, within a day!! My recipe specific for Giardia is – lemon water, herb supplement regimen, a glass of green juice a day without sugar-so no fruit, herbal tea, and the broth from kale leaves and water with some salt.

My recommendations for eating in general: keep it simple, organic, whole foods, plant-based, if you need a meat, fish, but lots of greens, vegetables, legumes, fruit, grains are ok too. It is all about your own specific requirements and your body Dosha (Ayurvedic Nutrition) balance, ultimately a way of knowing yourself. If you are practicing yoga, meditation, or other mindful practices, your palate will be refined to healthy foods, if not, the cravings might be of more unhealthy choices, be aware. I do recommend intuitive eating; this is to eat what the body asks for in moderation. If you want to enjoy a sweet treat with community, go for it, enjoy every single bite, smile while you eat it, and do it without guilt or shame! If guilt is there, don’t eat it, your body will hold onto that versus transmuting it into joy and bliss. Studies have even proven this. I say find joy in your food, cook it yourself as much as possible let it vibrate in love and infuse it with mantra and an occasional fast is good for you. It is even recently proven through cancer research that fasting for 72 hours can totally reset your immune system as well as rest the gut. Lastly, never eat when emotionally upset or after giving a healing or energy treatment, clear your energy first!

Don’t forget lifestyle matters too! During my fast I continue all of my mindful practices of meditation morning and night, sacred ritual of chanting and offering to an alter daily or twice a day, watching inspiring wisdom infused talks, being in nature, practicing kriya yoga and pranayama, and breathing a lot.

This practice has been challenging, but a positive challenge with lots of growth and realizations of the magnificence of this body and the source intelligence that is consistently backing it. I rest in gratitude.

I return to say that fasting has been a cure for the Giardia!  Starving parasites works quite effectively.