Posts Tagged ‘fasting’

From the Editor’s Perch

December 14, 2012
You may drink water.

  You may drink water.



Save Twenty Dollars a Day by Fasting

Fasting is inexpensive.  In fact, I figure it’s saving me around $20/day.  And it’s a savings you could have, right now!  You don’t need a personal trainer or a gym membership.  And it’s relatively safe, totally organic and additive free.  Lots of people fast, and have fasted throughout history.  It’s a well recorded tradition and practice.  And, it’s nice to develop a gauge of how much food we really need.  (Not much!)


Fasting is easier than dieting.  You only need to say “No” once.  You needn’t hold a long, rationalizing, hypocritical conversation with each potato chip in the bag.  And fasting people lose weight without exertion.  Plus, fasting frees up a lot of time, which you can spend on a lot of other things, because you can fast anywhere, anytime, and during any activity.  You can even fast during exercise.  In fact, what’s hard is to eat during exercise.  Previously, in a piece I wrote for this column, (“Living Longer, ), I noted that scientists were speculating that fasting could possibly extend people’s lives by 65 percent.   So fasting is a powerful, organic, time saving, money-saving, fully committed, double-barreled, life enhancing, health tool!  …available to all.


The toughest thing about fasting is ironically that it is ‘slow’.  You can’t do fasting ‘crunches’ for 20 minutes, four times a day, and feel great.  It’s all about time.  Living with loooong stretches of time, which ultimately forces you to examine what you are doing with your life when not eating.  Cultures are built and organized around eating, and so are people!  When you stop eating, you are tossed out of much of what makes us (literally).  So fasting is good spiritual exercise.  When you fast, you realize how much of your life’s enjoyment is spiritual – and how much is earthly.  Mystics, hermits, and all the contemplative religions seem to value the seated, contemplative figure who appears as if through an astigmatism like El Greco’s.   Sitting here fasting, I realize on what a drab, slender, tentative, and theoretical head of a pin my spirituality actually is perched.  The mentality of fasting is like all of a sudden finding oneself in a world that is an empty room.   Where is all the fun stuff?  (Like donuts!)


Fasting is not making me a saint.  On the contrary, I can get a little grumpy.  But when you fast for several days, several remarkable things do occur.  The first is that hunger does not grow ferocious.  Instead it ebbs; it glides into the background of your activities, always there, but tamed somehow; domesticated.  Everything eats!  Even a paramecium eats.  So that when you decide not to eat, it’s as if you are standing tall and speaking back to Nature.  Fasting really takes you out of this world.


And fasting also seems to make a person more contemplative.  My body also feels lighter, and complains less.  Moving is easier.  My thinking is calmer.  If I were to judge from the way my body feels when fasting, I would almost conclude that food is bad for me!


It is hard to imagine that something we absolutely need could be bad for us.  And also it’s not hard to imagine, especially while fasting, that a cow or a plant is living in a totally ecstatic state.  A plant is continually eating nutrients and growing!  (Oh, I wish.)  Perhaps we have no idea how happy plants are?  Perhaps that’s why they’ve not further developed any urge to move?  Add another circle to Dante’s hell!  Perhaps motion is another indicator of a spiritual misstep.


These are just some of the thoughts I’m having 2.5 days into my fast:   ‘I ‘m a rock; I’m a stone.’

Photo of model by Carl Nelson


From the Editor’s Perch

June 8, 2012

Living Longer

Honey, we need to talk about our son.

It surprises me that some news does not get more of a ‘rise’ than it does.  For example, many years ago I read a small squib in the newspaper which noted that sociologists had found that children of practicing nudists had negligible rates of juvenile delinquency.  (Why?)  I’ve never heard anything more about this.   And currently our teenage son is behaving well, so we’ve had no reason to test it.

And now, just the other day, in an NPR interview I heard that scientists doing an experiment found that rats fed every other day lived 65% longer than rats fed every day.  They also noted that after correcting for other variables, Mormons are suspected of living longer because of the monthly fasting required by their faith. 

Well now, if I were to live 65%  longer, that would pencil me out at about 150 years, and I would be able to see what is going on around 2100 AD.  Moreover, I reasoned, if fasting would enable a person to live 65% longer – wouldn’t he/she also necessarily be 65% healthier.  And if I live well into the advent of The Great Singularity, isn’t it possible that I could go on to live forever?

So, I’ve decided to fast one day/week.  Yesterday went fairly well.  The first few hours following breakfast, I was more ravenous than at any other time.  All I could think about was food.  And I became appalled at how eating seemed to mark all the most pleasurable landmarks of my day.  But I reassured myself that this was pretty much all my dog and cat and the cows in the field I drove by every morning thought about, so it was a reasonable experience for an animal to have.  And it didn’t mean I lived a shallow life.  Which calmed me.

Then, as the day past, my hunger took a back seat to other activities.  And by the next morning, I honestly felt no hungrier than on any other morning.  Physically I felt better, except for a little listlessness.  It reminded me of an observation a friend of mine who served food in a homeless shelter made.  He said the men initially were quite docile and happy to find a warm place to eat.  But as soon as the food got in them, they often became quite bellicose.  All of the anger and resentment they felt about their situation began to express itself. 

I just became a bit more animated.  I’m not homeless.  And a day begun with a good breakfast is just a finer experience.  Anyone would guess that.

Anyway, if this works, you should be hearing quite a bit more from me.  Time will be on my side.

Photo by Carl Nelson

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