Feasting and Fasting

By Eric Bofinger

This may seem ironic with today being Thanksgiving, but have you ever thought about fasting?  Maybe tomorrow would be a great day to give it a try.  For centuries fasting has existed as cure for many diseases and also has been observed by people of every religion.  Research indicates that fasting may prolong life, help with insulin and blood sugar control, and also fight diseases associated with inflammation and aging.

Now that we’ve established the ‘why’, let’s take a look at the ‘what’ and ‘how’. There are many different sorts of fasts, including partial day and 24-hr. fasts, fasts ranging from 2-7 days, and partial 40 day fasts where certain foods are allowed during that time period.  The most common fast is the 24 hr. fast, where food is restricted, and you only consume water during this time period.  The most difficult part about the fasting process is how to break the fast. During a fast, energy is re-directed from the GI system and a partial clean out of digestive bacteria has taken place. Generally, you want to avoid foods that are high on the glycemic index in order reduce the risk of spikes in blood sugar. After a 24 hr fast, vegetables, fats (meats / nuts) should be consumed first in small amounts.  For each consecutive meal, eat when you are hungry, but do not force meals on a timed schedule.  Remember to eat slowly and chew your food.  It is also recommended to break a fast with food at room temperature; avoid foods that are hot or cold.

Happy Thanksgiving!