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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Fasting For Health, Well-being, and Mental Clarity

Fasting

"When you fast, you are on Nature's operating table." - Unknown

It's an ancient practice, and not just religious - although some mainstream and not so mainstream religions, still embrace it as such.

While certainly controversial in some circles, it is highly beneficial for your body. Those that object to it, do so mostly because they know almost nothing about it ... other than the fact that you don't eat for a set aside period of time.

It terrifies them, because most people falsely believe that we need to eat three big meals a day, with snacks in between, in order to be healthy and sustained. That's what the various industries and food pyramids tell us - now while it is certainly important to get enough to eat for your body to function at an optimum level, it is also good for you to give your body a break once in a while; this is where fasting comes in.

Your body is a pro at healing and rejuvenating itself. That's how its designed. However, when it is constantly working to digest what we consume, being bombarded by - meals, snacks, candy, cakes, soda and all things processed, it's hard for it to keep up. There is no way it can  repair itself properly when it is so busy working to digest everything we are always putting into it. When you fast, you are giving your body a break, so that it may begin to reset and streamline itself back to the way it was meant to function. This means better elimination, better digestion, optimum energy levels, clearer thinking.

I have always had this theory - that we as humans become "clogged" not just physically, but mentally, too. And I attribute a lot of that to the western diet and the way that society dictates what and how we should eat. I believe the ancients were more in tune and could speak clearly with their gods and the universe, the trees and the animals, because they were not clogged. They didn't eat like we do. I think when we're eating and drinking "clean", our bodies can be used as vessels for this kind of communication. This is why I find fasting to be not just a physical experience, but a mentally and spiritually stimulating one as well.

Fasting does an amazing job of completely resetting your cravings. Don't you find that when you eat unhealthily for any amount of time, you begin to crave eating that way? Sweets are especially terrible. I find that if I overindulge in candy, I will keep craving it. That almost never happens with fruits and vegetables, does it? That's because much of what's available today have chemicals that keep you addicted. Now, whether those chemicals are added for those exact reasons and with that intent, I am not sure, but that's what they seem to do. Fasting helps with that. It will completely take away those cravings and make it easier for you to start eating more healthily. And to get you back on track to achieving your healthy goals - including any weight-loss goals.

Now, fasting is by no way, easy. It can be very difficult at first and it never gets entirely easy to do, although you will get used to it and find better ways that work for you that will make it a lot more tolerable.

I personally like to meditate and eat a little bit lighter while leading up to my fasting period. I need to be geared up for it mentally. I will refresh my memory of all the health benefits associated with fasting by reading books on the topic. I have several books on fasting and trust me, it helps to keep you motivated, especially if you are even the least-bit health conscious. It reinforces why you want to undertake it in the first place and fuels your desire to stick with it.

How I generally prepare for a fast

  • I always make sure to go to the market and stock up on everything I need in order to make it as painless and fulfilling as possible. I purchase purified water (you can also make it yourself by boiling it first). I buy a lot of fruit and vegetables (if that's the fast I'm undertaking). I get good things like cucumbers and lemons and oranges, to steep in my water to infuse it with added natural flavor to make it more pleasing to drink. By the way, you will want to drink LOTS of water while fasting.
  • I make sure that I have my iPod fully charged and loaded up with my favorite music at the moment or with a couple of audio books.
  • I visit the local library or a favorite bookstore to stock up on a few good books that I have been wanting to read but haven't made the time. A good book can last the entire time of your fast and it really doesn't prompt me to eat, like TV does. I try not to watch much TV or many movies during fasting (unless I am undertaking the fruit and vegetable fast) , because I associate it with eating. I think many others associate the two as well.
Entertainment is definitely key in making your fast go by quickly and taking your mind off the fact that you aren't going to be eating for a few days. Another thing worth mentioning is that fasting is wonderful to do with a friend or family member. The buddy approach really helps to keep you on task and accountable.

When fasting, you will feel different. You will feel lighter, not just physically, but mentally as well. Have you ever felt as though you were walking around in a "fog"? Fasting will help with that. You will also feel more energetic afterward and more disciplined while working to attain your physical goals. I also find that the time during your fast, is a wonderful time to pray. To petition the angels and spirits and gods or God, to guide you. I find many more questions to be answered while fasting, and prayers answered, too. Dreaming is also incredibly vivid and it seems to be easier and more fruitful to practice lucid dreaming.

If you decide to embark on a fast, here are some of my own personal experiences once starting out. This may or may not be your experience. You can also read others' experiences online as well. This will help you to conclude whether or not this is something right for you.

  • Day One - I find that I am constantly and compulsively wanting to eat. I have to be very focused on the task at hand. It is easy to forget and just mindlessly eat. I become very aware of just how compulsive it is as well as all of the different things throughout the day that trigger it. I write those triggers down. I am also pretty irritable, especially as it gets later in the day. I try to keep to myself and read, or watch a favorite movie or two. I will also feel sluggish and lethargic. This is when I will make myself go for a light walk outside. The fresh air and physical activity helps to break up the sluggish feeling. Be careful not to OVER-exercise. It is not advisable to be running and overly exerting yourself while you are not fueling your body. (The tired and irritable feelings have been said by some to be the start of your body detoxing itself. I think it's a bit of that, but also due to the fact that your body is addicted to eating at specific times.) After exercising and reading, I will nap a lot too. This for me, is normal.
  • Day Two - it gets a little bit easier. The symptoms for me are still pretty much the same, although I don't find that I am as compulsive about wanting to eat. I have more control and will-power. I just repeat what I did on Day One, and keep myself occupied. I also call and talk to friends and family as I am not feeling quite as irritable. Instead, there is a feeling of lightness and a nice energy about myself.
  • Day Three - it starts to  get much easier. I can feel my body begin to reset itself. The mental clarity is REALLY noticeable. And I find myself looking forward to whatever I am partaking in on my fast - whether it's fruit or vegetables, or just tea. I have really good eliminations and an incredible feeling of lightness and more energy. I still have hunger pangs, but they are not as maddening, The benefits of the fast begin to be realized. On this third and final day, I also start setting my intentions for what I want to happen in my life and I call and petition those things into existence. I ask questions to my respective deities, ancestors and spirits. I practice my favorite forms of divination and I am outside with Nature for a good part of the day.
After three days of fasting, I usually stop fasting. There have been times when I will go as long as seven days, when I have the energy and will to do so. The benefits for me, are even more pronounced. However, I find three days to be sufficient enough to help reset your body and to boost your well-being, while kick-starting a good healthy diet and exercise regimen.

Breaking the fast

 I will usually break the fast on day four with something light, like a banana or some other fruits and vegetables I didn't consume on my fast. It is never a good idea to eat big right afterward. You don't want to overwhelm your body. I will follow that with a light salad and maybe another salad later in the day for dinner. You want to ease yourself back into eating regularly and into completely new and healthy eating habits. However, you will find that any cravings of your old eating patterns will be gone and you will be more apt to want to eat what you have on hand, which should be all healthy choices. 

Now, there are SEVERAL types of fasts out there - fruit and vegetable juice fasts, dry fasts, water fasts, etc. These are the three I personally like to alternate.

  • Water fasts. This is where you consume only purified water with organic lemon for three days. This is by far the most difficult kind of fast, but it's also the most beneficial, I believe. The only thing to touch your lips for three days is purified water with lemon. It is best to keep yourself very occupied and avoid all TV.
  • Fasting with one fruit and one vegetable (a restricted version of the "Daniel Fast") both with very high water contents. This is by far, the easiest fast. My choice of vegetable is most usually cucumbers, as they are about 96% water. I also will cut it up and infuse my water with it (as well as with lemon). For fruit, I like watermelon. It is a very abundant fruit, so there's lots of it, and it's refreshing, has a lot of vitamin C and other great nutrients, not to mention it's good for your skin. I love it. Other suggestions would be pineapple, honeydew melon, or cantaloupe. For other vegetables - try romaine lettuce (plain), tomatoes, sweet peppers (or green, yellow, red, bell peppers) and celery.
  • Fasting with teas. Sometimes I will fast with only tea. I like green tea as a base and then I will add things to it such as lemon, lime, ginger, cayenne pepper, mint, basil, honeysuckle, raw honey or coconut oil. There are many different herbs and such that you can experiment with.

Also, to help you with your fast, keep around some kind of organic mint with only natural ingredients such as Newman's Own Organic Ginger Mints. I love those. I only pop one in, if I feel that my discipline is seriously waning and I am going to break my fast before its over.

Recap

The following benefits are why I personally undergo fasts and you most likely will experience the same benefits as well.

  • More energy
  • More clarity
  • Better mental well-being
  • Decreased anxiety
  • A strong feeling of control over my diet
  • A good way to rid myself of any unhealthy cravings
  • Better eliminations
  • Better communication with my gods, angels, ancestors, spirit guides

Resources.


- Sin Madison, 2016


DISCLAIMER:

This blog, The Nature Pantry at www.naturepantry.blogspot.com in its entirety, is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment or therapy.

 Always seek the advice of your physician or quality mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on www.naturepantry.blogspot.com







Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Nature Pantry




Hello, friends!

This is Sin Madison writing, and many of you know me from Facebook, Tumblr, and other social media outlets. I am blogging for my online friends - because for one, I care about you, and for two, I have generated quite a bit of interest with regard to what I know about natural remedies and therapies.

I have always had a BIG love and admiration for Nature and her medicine. I strongly believe that all of the remedies to whatever it is that ails us, are found within her bounty. There are a lot of ancient techniques, natural medicines, rituals, and therapies, that I will explore in this blog - many of them I incorporate into my daily life, and some that I am merely curious by and will eventually explore personally.

I think it's important more now than ever, that we educate ourselves about how we can help keep ourselves,  minds and bodies,  healthy, in the midst of all the misinformation there is out there. Many holistic and natural medicines/therapies are exactly what the the masses - the multi-million dollar industries - do not want us to know about. Why would they? They would lose millions of dollars if we could just heal ourselves and boost our minds and well-beings with what is easily accessible, affordable, and found in Nature.

One of my favorite things to do, is to spend hours at Health Food stores, many of which are quickly becoming obsolete. Remember those old "hole in the wall" Health Food stores that had that wonderful unique scent? Something like a blend of granola, vitamins, and patchouli incense, with some classic Sarah Mclachlan often playing in the background? Those are the best - and for me, they're right up there with old libraries (which have their own wonderful unique smell as well) as some of my very favorite places. Fortunately, for me, there are still one or two left around where I live.

The good news is, if you have noticed, many big grocery chains are now expanding their healthy sections and a lot of them include many of the same wonderful items that you were previously only able to find at one of those old-time Health Food stores.

Anyhow, I hope you enjoy the blog and learn something new and find a few things that you might want to explore as well. I'm kind of just rambling at this point, but I have been wanting to do this for some time, but I just wasn't sure about what platform to use - and this seems to be perfect.

One thing is for sure: I will not be blogging about anything that I do not strongly believe in, or am not intensely interested in, based on what I personally know about holistic medicine and natural remedies. I will also include as many credible resources as I can for you to explore as well. There might also be some recipes and recommended products/stores/services, thrown in for good measure.

This blog may not be incredibly entertaining, but I certainly think you will find a lot of it informational.

To sign up and receive new updates as I post them, just enter your email into the top portal above or in the one to the right-hand side.

Here's to your health and wellness!

Thanks for following

Lots of love
Sin

DISCLAIMER:

This blog, The Nature Pantry at www.naturepantry.blogspot.com in its entirety, is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, medical treatment or therapy.

 Always seek the advice of your physician or quality mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding any mental health symptom or medical condition. Never disregard professional psychological or medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice or treatment because of something you have read on www.naturepantry.blogspot.com