Long before intermittent fasting was used as a way to lose weight, people fasted all the time.
But not for the reason you may think.
Many different religions used fasting a way to get closer to their respective God, or to strengthen their faith.
They went without food, water, sex, and other things as a way to strengthen their bond with their savior.
As you know, a fast simply means that you abstain from food for a period of time. But you can’t live without some sort of nourishment.
Fasting and Religion
Fasting, as a religious practice, is abstaining from food and other pleasures to focus solely on God and increasing spirituality.
In the book of Matthew, 6:2:5-12, Jesus spoke these words:
“When you give…when you pray…when you fast…”
Jesus spoke these words, not as a reminder to give, pray, and fast…
…but also to understand the importance of finding God, and increasing their spirituality through prayer and the overall sacrifice of worldly pleasures!
Of course, we are living in a different day and time, but these teachings are still a part of many different religions around the world.
Depending on your religious preference, here are some guidelines you should follow when starting your fast:
In order to prepare for your fast, start by eating smaller meals a week before your fast.
This will help prepare your body and signal your mind that you can survive on less food.
You should also wean yourself off caffeine, alcohol, and refined sugar prior to your fast to ease the initial hunger and discomfort during your fast.
The last few days before your fast, consider eating more raw foods (veggies and fruits), in order to fully prepare your body for the fast.
Also, you should have prayer meetings and walks scheduled ahead of time to take your mind off your hunger so you can get closer to God.
During Yom Kippur, fasting is used to “afflict the soul,” and as a means of repenting.
For some, this may be hard and for others it may be easy. But you shouldn’t make it any more difficult that it has to be.
A week before Yom Kippur, where you fast from the night before to the evening of Yom Kippur, you should start getting your body ready for the fast.
Starting on Rosh Hashanah, you should start to reduce your intake of caffeinated beverages, refined sugar, tobacco products, and anything else you compulsively use.
You should consume plenty of water and adjust your meal schedule to make it easier on your mind and body during the fast.
The meal before Yom Kippur should be a small meal that contains easily digested foods.
Eat plenty of proteins and complex carbohydrates to give you lasting energy during your fast.
There are different ways to fast in Hinduism. You may fast half a day, one day, or more.
It’s also a very important time in Hinduism, and one should follow the ancient practices.
During a fast, you are able to eat one meal on the morning for one week, one meal in the afternoon for one week, then no food at all for a week.
During a fast, you are allowed to have certain foods and you are encouraged to have fruit or fruit juices during your fast to prevent fainting or drastic decreases in your blood sugar levels.
Fasting in Islam
Like other religions, you should start to prepare for your fast by eating smaller meals. Don’t splurge on foods or overeat at meals, as this may make it harder on your body during the fast.
You should also start eating breakfast earlier in the day (pre-dawn) as you are unable to eat or drink anything between sunrise and sunset.
Do not snack, just focus on eating three meals a day. You should also try fasting a few days a week on your way to Ramadan.
Fasting For Buddhists
Buddhists monks and nuns follow the Vinaya rules, which forbids food intake after noontime.
This isn’t really a type of fast, but more of a disciplined regimen that improves health and strengthens meditation.
This fasting approach is used during times of intensive meditation or during a retreat.
During this time, most Buddhists monks and nuns follow a mostly vegetarian diet, limiting animal products, except drinking milk is encouraged. Buddhists also avoid the pungent foods such as garlic, welsh onion, garlic chives, and leeks.
What To Drink When Fasting
In a true and complete fast, you should abstain from having any type of food—if possible. Some fasts call for fruit and vegetables juices to help sustain them.
And some religions do allow for certain foods to be eaten. For example, for a fast for a Hindu, you can eat raw bananas, coconut milk, milk and milk products, amaranth grains and flour, and dry fruits and nuts.
But some religions, like Judaism, restricts and food or liquids during Yom Kippur.
If you’re confused by what you can and cannot eat during a fast, here’s a short list you ca refer back to:
These foods may include:
Fresh and dried fruits (berries, apples, melons, and stone fruits)
Fresh vegetables (spinach, kale, corn, carrots, and peppers)
Unprocessed grains (fiber will help stabilize blood sugar levels and eliminate toxins faster)
Nuts and seeds (unsalted almonds and pumpkin seeds)
Cooking oils (high-quality olive and coconut oil, grapeseed oil, peanut, and sesame oils due to the high-quality fat content and the vitamin E)
Fresh fruit and vegetable juices
Water (spring, distilled, and electrolyte-infused waters)
Amla Green Tea
As there are foods that you can eat, there are also foods that you shouldn’t eat. These fasting foods include:
Dried fruits and vegetables that contain added sugar
Meat, Poultry, fish
Caffeine and coffee
Foods that contain preservatives and additives
Refined sugar or sugar substitutes
Margarine or shortening
Dairy (milk, butter, cheese, yogurt, etc.)
Most of the fruits and vegetables that are used have high water content and also supply essential vitamins and minerals that your body may lose during your fast.
Some religions avoid fruits and vegetable juices, and instead, focus on water and tea in order to help them curb hunger while focusing on prayer and getting closer to God.
Most religious fasts allow for tea and medications (especially for those with chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes), so you can safely perform the fast without running the risk for serious health concerns.
One tea, in particular, could satisfy both needs during a fast. Amla, another name for Indian Gooseberries, has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for the past 5,000 years in India.
This medicinal plant has been used to treat a number of different ailments, due to the antioxidant power of the berry. The extremely high level of antioxidants, found in this berry, could quell inflammation and repair cells that have been damaged by free radicals, or oxidative stress.
We have found a way to concentrate the power of Amla) with Oolong Green Tea leaves to make a powerful, medicinal drink to use while fasting and praying.
Amla Green Tea has no bitter or sour aftertaste—but still provides the highest antioxidant activity that you can only find with the “king” of antioxidants.
During a religious fast, you abstain from food and other worldly pleasures. But what can you drink while fasting?
Water and Amla Green Tea should be the drinks you turn to the most.
Not only will both curb your hunger, but Amla Green Tea contains the antioxidants and medicinal power of Indian Gooseberries, which have been use for thousands of years in Ayurveda medicine to lower inflammation and possibly reverse chronic diseases.