Sick? Take a Break from Breakfast (and Lunch and Dinner)

Yes, this is going to be a food-less post (sorry fellow food bloggers and foodies!).

Around midday yesterday, all of a sudden I felt like I got hit by a bus.  While I felt fine when I woke up, by the end of the day I was exhausted, stuffed up, and feeling really sick.  I’m wondering if I got the flu…Eeek!  At my yoga teacher’s training, we learned that whenever the average person gets an onset of symptoms associated with sickness, they should fast.  So that is what I’m doing today:  Fasting.

For those who may be unfamiliar with exactly what fasting is, let’s answer this question:  What is fasting?….Fasting means abstaining from food for a specific period of time.  A pure fast consists of limiting fluid consumption to solely water and/or tea, but there are also juice fasts which include fluid consumption of juice throughout the fasting period.

I wanted to look a little further into the claim that fasting is beneficial while sick and make sure it was the best choice for me.  This is what I’ve found:

-All animals except the modern man fast when sick.

-Fasting is considered to be a cleansing process.

-Fasting allows the body to put the energy it would normally use for digestion into healing itself.  When we are constantly consuming food, our body has to focus much of its energy on digesting that food.  By limiting our intake of food for short periods of time, our body can solely focus on healing and recovery.

-Nature tells us to fast.  Often when we get sick, we lose our appetites.  Fasting is a natural process that helps to speed up recuperation.

-Many people state that they have a clearer mental state and higher energy levels after completing a fast. (I hope this will help to get my energy levels up!)

-Fasting has been used as a healing method for thousands of years.  It is also practiced by a variety of religions.  Hindus are known for regularly fasting.  In the bible, fasting is mention 74 times.  It’s recorded that Jesus and Buddha both frequently fasted.

-Fasting is not for everyone.  Those who are advised against fasting include people with the following conditions:  Extreme weakness or debilitation, severe anemia, nutritional deficiencies, weakened kidney or liver function, AIDS, cancer, and/or pregnancy.

If all fails, fasting will at least build my self discipline.  Fasting while being sick is a lot easier than when I’ve underwent fasts while healthy, such as at yoga teacher’s training.  Since I’m not super hungry, my mind isn’t 24/7 thinking about food, but I could definitely still go for a bowl of soup or a piece of fruit!

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  • Reply
    One Healthy Apple
    November 17, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    I never heard of intentional fasting when sick, but my body naturally does it, so it’s interesting to read about these facts.

  • Reply
    November 17, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I always eat more when I am sick lol… I nap during the day and have one huge meal

  • Reply
    The Candid RD
    November 17, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Oh wow, I have to say, as an RD I don’t agree with this at all. I understand it’s important to eat LESS, clearly, but I’ve never learned about fasting in school, therefore I’m not so sure it’s the best idea. How will you get the energy to fight the infection if you don’t have food? I think you may be doing more harm than good, but please keep us updated as to how the fast works for you!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2009 at 6:24 pm

    Oh, I’m sorry your’re sick, hope you’re feeling better soon. That sounds interesting, I’ve never heard about fasting during sickness though. I’d love to hear how this works for you, thanks for sharing:)

  • Reply
    November 18, 2009 at 12:20 am

    So sorry your sick. Booo.

    For me, I have always wanted to try fasting, but I’m one of those get lightheaded/pass out types if I don’t get food after a long period of time.

    But whatever works for ya! Definitely something that is beneficial every now and then, but probably depends on the person.

  • Reply
    November 19, 2009 at 7:00 am

    I agree with CandidRD about the fasting – especially when your sick! You need to take care of yourself! But…I’m not to get preachy here – please just take care of yourself. We have our own ‘fasting’ system – our kidneys and intestines and lungs , etc…

  • Reply
    Jason Bunting
    November 22, 2009 at 9:37 pm

    I honestly don’t recall how I found your blog today, but I did and noticed this post about fasting. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (aka the “Mormon” church), and once a month, as part of our worship, we have a day when we fast for a period of 24 hours. Typically, we start our fast immediately after dinner Saturday night and refrain from both food and liquid (i.e. we don’t consume anything) until dinner the following day.

    I can attest that I have experienced an increase in energy towards the very end of the fast and immediately afterward. I don’t know that I have paid enough attention to the days following the fast to determine just how much, if any, of that energy is retained.

    Basically, I am simply saying that I think fasting, generally, is a good idea. It does allow the body to cleanse itself of many things, and, if done with an attitude towards such, can help us to master our appetites and other physical needs. Whether or not fasting while sick is beneficial, recommended or appropriate is something I do not personally know about, but I look forward to hearing about your experience with it.

  • Reply
    January 15, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I came home from church on Sunday and realized something was wrong. Intense chills made me cover up and wrap up with several blankets but I was still shivering. I microwaved some towels and wrapped up in warmth (I knew I should’ve bought an electric blanket). It’s Tues. now and I haven’t eaten anything since Sunday morning. The strange thing is that I don’t feel hungry. I drink water every hour or so. I’ve been wanting to fast in order to focus more fully on God and His plan and purpose. I’ve felt that my appetite keeps me enslaved and distracted and spiritually dull after eating. This is probably God’s way of answering my prayers for discipline to fast. I am getting better and planning to make fasting a regular part of life – at least once a week for one day, once a quarter for three days, or something like that.

    I read a great book years ago called “God’s Chosen Fast” and I’ve always wanted to fast. I did one three-day fast and after the first day, I felt better than ever and felt spiritually alive like never before. I’ve heard of people doing a 21-day fast with great results. Jesus, of course, fasted for 40 days and 40 nights and then resisted the temptations of the devil…in spite of His extreme hunger.

    Thanks for posting about your experience.

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