It is a curious title for a post that is meant to introduce a period of lack of; gluttony. But it is relevant, bear with me.
Lion-ess & I will be fasting for a week, beginning June 22nd. Our diet will consist of bread & water. During this period, I will forfeit TV, Internet , Shopping & I will consecrate my time (when not at work) to meditation, writing & reading inspiring books (i.e Gandhi's biography, Deepak Chopra & Jonathan Meade's e-book, which his wife, Apricot was so sweet to send me). As well, I will wake up early mornings, enjoy life with family, friends & lover.
I've been wanting to fast for quite some time now, but I never had the discipline nor' the conviction. A couple weeks ago, whilst reading an article in GQ, I was captivated by a a short blurb entitled 'In defense of hunger'. Mark Adams wrote briefly about his experience when writing Bernarr McFadden's biography. McFadden was America's top health Guru during the Great Depression, he believed that when one allowed hunger in their life, the mind became clearer. To support this claim, Adams mentions a study that indicates when people slash their calorie intake by 30%, there is an increase in memory boost. Adams fasted on water for 5 days, the result; his chest infection disappeared & he had a surge in creativity, 'buried ideas' came back to him 'faster than he could write.'
I wasn't sold...yet.
In the same magazine, same issue, was an article with the infamous actor, Christan Bale, who starved himself for his role in 'the Machinist'. His diet consisted of a cup of coffee & an apple (or a can of tuna) for 4 months. He lost 62 pounds. Oddly, the experience wasn't one that he would want to forget, Bale said that :' the absence of energy was replaced with an ability to focus in a very slow and steady way for hours and hours. Physically, I was incredibly relaxed, but mentally very acute.' That period of his life was very calm & serene. He wanted to lose an extra 20lbs but the movie's director intervened, fearing for Bale's health.
I was intrigued.
Before these articles, I've mostly heard of fasting in a religious or activist mind set. Gandhi drank only water for 3 weeks when attempting to bridge differences between Hindus & Muslims, he also used fasting as self-purification. Muslims fast during the Ramadan, many Christians use fasting in their faith, as well.
I decided to do a google on this subject & found that every religion has periods of fasting; Judaism, Sikhs, Buddhists, Christians...
As well, 'fasting' or starvation has been used in political protests, for decades if not centuries.
I took the following quote from an article on Freedomyou.com:
''While fasting, thinking does slow down. Surprisingly, this serves to enhance deeper thought; as if taking the foot off the accelerator allows the little details to come into focus, like neglected inner issues deserving important attention.''
A curious fact, that startled me; there's been countless studies that indicate fasting slows down the aging process, increases health & clarity of the mind. Animals 'fast' when they are ill. This makes sense as the digestive system is an incremental factor in our overall health. If we overeat everyday, the food that we ingest doesn't get 'evacuated' fast enough and gets stuck in the intestinal walls, left to putrify. Especially, if one doesn't have a daily bowel movement, the food just accumulates & accumulates. The intestine expands & what do we see? A stomach bulge that just won't go away. Some foods are easier to digest, whilst other foods take longer; a steak dinner can take 2-3 days to be digested. Giving your digestive system a break, so it can 'catch up' seems like a good idea (to me, at least).
I remembered the times I've been most productive & wholesome, have been on an empty stomach. Usually in the morning, when having a cup of coffee & a small portion of oatmeal & hot milk.
Next step was to give myself the motivation to follow through; I meditated on the goal for my fast. I believe that I am fasting to experiment with that 'clarity of mind', to challenge myself, & to reconnect my mind-body connection. As well, I believe it will do wonders for my health, & perhaps, my allergies will disappear for some time. As well, I will break away from my infamous relationship with food & experience something that millions of people around the world feel EVERY day; Hunger. Mark Adams writes that hunger isn't the growling in our bellies, that is only the body used to being fed a certain amount of times a day, REAL, undiluted Hunger is felt at the back of our throats.
To wrap up this post, I invite everyone to ponder on the importance of food; its nutritional value VS pleasure & addiction. Do you feel control over your appetite? Is it your choice to reach for the cookies & the chips, or has your body/mind developed an addiction? Do you feel guilty after meals, or satisfied? Are you the Master or the Slave?