When was the last time that an old, tired concept that you had put in a “box”, labelled, and stored away in the closet of your mind was taken out, shaken out, and reenergized with new life, relevance and meaning?
This happened to me recently, with the concept of “fasting”. What does “fasting” bring to your mind? What feelings and thoughts do you associate with it?
For many of us, the concept of fasting — if we think of it at all — is something we associate with getting our blood drawn for lab tests (not a pleasant association!). Or perhaps we associate fasting with what our spiritual ancestors did and were exhorted to do, long long ago, as an act of repentance, as numerous passages from scripture attest. We might recall Jesus fasting in the wilderness for 40 days and nights. We may think of our Jewish brothers and sisters fasting on high holy days; our Muslim brothers and sisters fasting during Ramadan. Those of us who grew up Roman Catholic may even carry memories of fasting on certain “days of holy obligation.”
“Fasting” is something faithful people did long, long ago; something faithful people of other religions still do today; or something you might have to do, before you get your blood drawn.
At least, that is how I thought about “fasting” until just a few weeks ago, when I embarked on a 21-day functional medicine detox, on the strong recommendation of a dear friend who also happens to be a certified integrative nutrition health coach. She, herself, had completed such a program several months ago, and felt it was the single best thing she had ever done, to change her life and improve her overall health and well-being.
The program is based, really, on a simple concept: that it is good for our bodies, periodically, to “rest” from the “business” of digesting — to rest from using energy to process food — in order to have the energy, time and space to “take out the trash” and to get rid of toxins and other materials that have accumulated in our bodies and cells, that are harmful to us or that we do not need. Similar to taking time to clean out and purge our closets, cabinets and refrigerators, fasting affords our bodies the necessary time and energy to intentionally and efficiently “clean house,” if you will — the necessary time and energy to take care, of itself.
With that kind of recommendation and testimony from a dear, trusted friend, and professional in her field, how could I refuse? So I committed to doing the program and completed it at the end of January. During this period of 21-days, which included 6 days of fasting, interspersed with/spread out evenly between days of eating specified foods (mostly proteins, healthy fats, vegetables and fruits) — and now two weeks “post-detox” — I felt and continue to feel healthier in body-mind-spirit than I have in years. David, Grace and Ben will attest to the transformation and healing that has occurred. I am able to better care for others, because I am taking better care of myself. Thanks BE!
And so, I am now committed to incorporating fasting for 24-hours as a regular, weekly practice. Just as I did during the 21-day detox program, my “fasting day” will involve drinking plenty of water, herbal tea and a liquid shake that provides all the essential vitamins and nutrients my body needs, so I am not depriving my body of what it needs, but simply allowing it to rest from digesting, so it can use energy to clean house.
If this sounds like a practice you would like to try alongside me and others at Redeemer, during the upcoming season of Lent, please email me! I would love to share what I have learned, and am continuing to learn and experience, with you.
Take Good Care,