The ultimate cure?
By Atty. Antonio P. Pekas
Way back when, there was a painful joke among our male staff, “Sya biyudo kasi namatay misis nya dahil sa gutom.” What can be more painful than the inability to provide food for one’s family?
We were conditioned to always eat. Now I write about not eating, or fasting. I earlier wrote on our clan’s (my mother side’s) FB page about fasting. Later, I realized that more should know about the health benefits of fasting.
If you are reading enough, you might know about the Japanese doctor, Yoshinori Ohsumi, who won the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 2016 due to his research on how fasting promotes health and longevity.
Fasting actually was being done for thousands of years already. Some for religious reasons, others for health, and still others, to lose weight or to become sexier.
When I joined the Ananda Marga Yoga Society in 1976, I was shocked to find out that one of the things I had to practice was periodic fasting. The reasons were for health and for spirituality.
The health side is it is a cleansing process. After not eating or drinking for 24 to 36 hours, you break the fast with lemon or clamansi juice with tempered by a small pinch of salt. Drink several glasses of that while eating two pieces of bananas— not more that two medium sized pieces. Then wait for it—the glorious time when you feel like going to the comfort room, where your tummy would flash itself like a toilet bowl. You would be relieved of a lot of dirt accumulated since God knows when. Depending on the number of glasses of lemon water you have drunk, you will go back there several times.
After sometime, you would start feeling great. You would feel like a newly tuned up car. There is that fresh energy and a positive fresh outlook regarding life and the world. Don’t pig out though on your first meal after the fast. Wait for the next one. In any case, pigging out or eating a lot is never advisable.
When I was in the undergrad in Baguio, I used to fast four times a month, at a stretch of 36 hours each time. That is two nights and one day. When I went down to Metro Manila, however, my fasting discipline became spotty as it was difficult to fast due to the heat there, but most of all, because of the pollution. But still I fasted every now and then, especially when I was not feeling well.
On the spiritual side, fasting gives you more control of yourself. When your meditation starts to falter, fasting will drive out the devil. Your meditation will become deeper. Concentrating on God will becomes a lot easier and longer.
As we were also taught, celibates should fast four times a month. That way, they will have more control over themselves and there will be no excess energy that might trigger malicious sexual thoughts.
For married people, twice a month should be enough.
I could also say that fasting results in stronger mental power. It might also be a way of atonement for mistakes committed in life, for we are not saints….. yet.
On the whole, the health benefits of fasting are innumerable from better blood sugar levels to positive effects on cancer. Google it and you will be surprised, and if you have health issues, you might curse me for not telling you earlier about its benefits—which can be summed up in a few words—for health and longevity.**
(More next week.)