“Aki”, Rodrigo Rodriguez, from the album “Inner thoughts”, (2006)
Matthew 4:2 states: “Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting for forty days and forty nights, he was hungry.”
In the Christian tradition, fasting and prayer are often methods of cleansing and renewing the soul. Symbolically, believers empty their souls so that they may be ready to receive God.
Fasting is about self-denial, mortification, sacrifice, atonement and also about reaching for a focused spiritual state where one can better commune with God and hear his voice.
For millions of people, regular fasting is a commonplace part of life and has been a part of spiritual practice for thousands of years. In ancient times, before we discovered agriculture about 10,000 years ago, fasting was the natural way of life.
For our native people here in Canada it was common up until the early 20th century as witness the near starvation catastrophe of the Netsilik Inuit which prompted the Canadian Government to become more involved in the lives of the Netsilik.
With no way to preserve food and no agricultural products to stockpile our ancestors routinely experienced both feast and famine.
When game was scarce, seasons changed, or the pickings were slim, or the herds changed their traditional routes, the hunter-gatherers did without until the hunters could find the game.
Eating 3 or 4 or 5 or 6 times a day was an unheard of fantasy. So fasting is a time honoured traditional practice dating back thousands of years.
Christians follow various fasts on 180 to 200 days of the year. Buddhists are known to abstain from eating after noon, fasting until the next morning.
Hinduism embraces fasting in the belief that our sins lessen as the body suffers. It is seen as a method of cultivating control over desires and guiding the mind towards peace. Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset during the holy month of Ramadan.
We Catholics fast at various times and for various reasons. A few weeks ago I started what I now know as an “intermittent” fast, that is fasting from supper to supper three times a week. Also called a 24 hour fast, this fast is/was undertaken as part of adopting the recommended practices and norms of the “Flame of Love” movement.
I expected the effort to be fraught with difficulty and discomfort, which I actually thought was the intended path, that is, mortification for reparation. The result was not at all what I expected.
Were I not so firmly rooted in the modern medical paradigm I might have felt I was breaking through to a new spiritual plane of lucid clarity and freedom from physical distress.
I have been type 2 diabetic for almost 8 years now. It has been controlled by a combination of Metformin and diet. I had accepted the modern medical view that Type 2 Diabetes was incurable, and that the best I could hope for was to control blood sugar levels using diet, drugs, and eventually insulin.
The inevitable future included declining health, assorted nasty complications and an early death. The last few months my sugars have been steadily rising, recently as high as 16.5 mmol/l where normal is around 5.0 mmol/l. Obviously the drugs were no longer working and I was discussing with medical folks the possibility of starting to use insulin.
And then, for religious reasons as mentioned above, I started to fast. I was a little surprised to notice that on fasting days my sugars declined back down to the 14.0 mmol/l range. Now, that’s interesting, I thought.
Well, never one to shy away from going counter-culture I considered that if I had this result doing intermittent fasting (supper only) three days a week, maybe doing it every day would have a larger affect on my blood sugar. So that is what I did.
For six days I did daily 24 hour fasts eating only supper. And my blood sugar came down a couple of more numbers to 12.0 mmol/l. And I felt better over all, more energy, less appetite, clearer head, better sleep.
This was all good! And then I stepped on the scale and discovered I had lost eight pounds. Click! Something good is going on here and I like where this is going.
You can figure where this is going right? Yup … if 24 hour fasting gives me this much of a good result let’s see where a continuous fast goes. So the next day I just didn’t eat supper.
My bottle is the 1 litre size and I was drinking three or four of those a day. and I decided I had better start researching what I was trying before I got myself in trouble. Almost immediately I found Dr. Jason Fung.
Wow! I downloaded his books from Amazon onto my iPad. Immediately spent several days speed reading through them. Yea, I’m a speed reader.
I guess I read about 7 or 8 hundred words a minute. I took a speed reading course as a teen but the course never even came close to catching up to the speed I was already reading at when I started the course. Mom was pissed she wasted money on the course.
So as of today I have been on a total fast except for beverages and broth for four days. I have stopped all my Metformin, no diabetic medications at all.
Testing urine with keto sticks and I am in moderate ketosis. I have dropped twelve pounds. I am assuming this is mostly water since this is early innings in this experiment but so far so good.
I experienced mild discomfort on day two of the total fast, feeling — I guess “hollow” best describes the feeling and kind of agitated and restless, and I visited the fridge about twenty times that day but always managed to turn away and stick to it.
Now I am almost done day four and feeling great, no hunger, no discomfort, feeling sharp with lots of energy! I love this.
I will keep y’all posted as things progress. I wonder how long I can go. To get back to my fit combat weight from my twenties I have to lose another 60 pounds. How long can I go?