Fasting for Toning and Healing the Body
[Dear Ramu bhai: Thanks for your letter. You say you are thinking of doing a 3day fast at Navadarshanam or Valley. Here are some of my suggestions.]
It is a good idea, so you should do a 3-day fast as soon as you can spare the time. Most people are scared at the thought of 3 days without food. But there is nothing to it. You can do it. You will have to rest in bed; of course you can get up and walk within the house occasionally. But you should not do any strenuous work. Do not read, especially the newspaper! You should not eat anything solid and drink only plain water. If you are comfortable with the idea, do not bathe. Take a sponge bath if you must.
If you are sure that you are going to do nothing at all and rest, your body will adapt. But because this will be your first fast, your body may not believe you. But keep lying in bed, you will begin to feel groggy and go intermittently to sleep. Second day is usually the hardest. You may get a fever, a headache, negative thoughts and the temptation to break the ‘silly’ fast and start eating. The third day will be okay; your hunger will weaken, your mood will turn positive and, you will look forward to the wonderful taste of the food you will get to eat.
I normally break my fast with a piece of steamed or boiled ‘turai’ i.e. ridge gourd. But you can take any other creeper vegetable you like. Avoid potatoes, carrots, and peppers. A tomato steamed together with a vegetable is okay. Do not sprinkle any salt or pepper. Even without them the food will taste like nectar. Sometimes I pick a vegetable that I normally do not care for and discover its true taste. In this manner I have changed my impression of many foods and made them my favorites.
If you feel like it, you may drink coconut water after eating the vegetable. But remember that you should not eat too much; a small ‘turai’ and water of one coconut is enough. You should still be hungry after breaking your fast. You may take a short walk in or outside the house. You will get good sleep the following night.
Next day have a light breakfast mostly of fruit and vegetables. You may eat a chapatti or a toast it you like, but avoid eating too much cereal. Lunch can be normal but on the lighter side and supper as usual.
After the fast you will feel slightly weak for a day or two but that is because you expect it. In fact your body is as strong as it was before the fast. After some practice you will feel quite normal the very first day after the long fast.
It is best to modify your food habits after the fast. Eat more fruits and vegetables and cut down on grains. Start trying to give up meat and eggs. We can talk about more things to do for good health later. Best of luck to you.
November 24, 2007