Monday, August 1, 2011

Not so FAST

It may be contoversial to mention religion, but I do it all the time on my blog and I haven't scared you away yet :) So....

Today's subject is Spiritual Fasting

Empty Stomach, but full Spirit.

Today marks the first day of the holy month for many religions. For Hindus, Shravan starts today; and for Muslims Ramadan starts today. For both religions, today marks the beginning of a 30 day period of modified food habits to honor God. 

Note that there is a distinct difference between the two fasts.

For Hindus -  Only the first day is a fast; and it is of all prepared foods and any meat; so you can eat fresh fruit or vegetables with no sauces or dressings. Then you also can have one actual meal that day, and as much water as you want. The rest of the 30 days you eat normal meals, not fasting - but you still don't eat meat.This information is all from my roommate, Kinjal, who is Hindu and starts the fast today. You can also read more about Shravan online.

Yesterday was the day before the holy month began, which is when you could eat meat for the last time if you want before the vegetarian month begins.
You eat one big meal, and after you drink your water and get up from the table the meal is over and the fast has begun.

My portion from last night's meal of traditional Indian cuisine,
Kinjal will not be eating meat for the next 30 days and begin the
holy month with a fast today.
For Muslims -  The entire 30 day period is devoted to fasting. But they fast during daylight hours only, so they can eat in the morning before the sun comes up, and at night after the sun goes down. However, during the day they refrain from eating and drinking as well. Read more about Ramadan online. The reason for the fast is to deepen their spirituality, increasing patience, submissiveness, and a connection with God.

On Facebook, Jamie Eason started a discussion on fasting for spiritual reasons and how people change or don't change their workouts to accommodate their lack of fuel and energy. I strongly encourage you to read the ongoing discussion, but here's some highlight comments:

"I started fasting today. First time in my life that I am experiencing them during the peak daylight hours. My exercise is down to 45 mins before we can break the fast. That way as soon as I am done, I can eat. I only do cardio, no weights. The hardest part is trying to stay awake with such little energy, but then again its supposed to be difficult, teaches you the importance of the many blessings we take for granted everyday."
 "I normally don't work-out when I fast. I figure if I can give up food for a few days I can devote the other time (working out) to God too! It's harder when I'm training for a run though. Since i have a 1/2 marathon a few weeks away it would be a bigger challange to give up my runs."
"Fasting makes things happen faster, a dietry sense can help body rebalance..helps cleanse..drives hunger on..and in the discipline of focus thinking of the spirit rather than bodily needs to blend in with the oneness of everything else..and to train for one day not need ing a body...same as old people preparing themselves for death,,.some self medicate for death as thinking the leaving of the physical body is painful into next by starving body i also saw a programme where temporary starving shocks the body into survival mode which makes the body live showed the brain sending chemicals in to the body which aided the heart youthening somehow."
"Fasting for a month not only cleans our spiritually but also our physically..i teach us so be moderate in eating.some times we ate too much than our body into body building well ive been doing this for years we only lose 1 to 3 kg of muscle in a month.on workouts we only do 50% effort and still manage to go heavy.the reason why is that we need to be careful of body water.ive been fasting 1 month every year it did not effect my performance.trying for a few days does make a different because u are not used to it the condition."
I personally do believe in fasting. By voluntarily giving up something we have come to expect as a given, you are honoring God by acknowledging that it is only by His generosity and gift that we can eat in abundance. We are a people who easily forget how blessed we are, and active reminders such as fasting are necessary to re-teach ourselves to not give in to our gluttonous tendencies and over-indulge in food just because it is so easily accessible.

We need to lean on GOD as our comfort, not Food; and depend on GOD as our Strength; not Food.

I hit the "reset" button on my Determination, Perseverance, and Expectations today. This means I am renewing my Determination to reach my end goals; getting rid of all the junk that was degrading my Perseverance; and re-evaluating my Expectations of myself and others. I'm trusting in GOD. No more beating myself up/worrying/self sabotage! ... I just gotta follow the plan. The weight is off my shoulders and onto HIS capable shoulders! ...

The truth is:

WITHOUT God our week would be: Sinday, Mournday, Tearsday, Wasteday, Thirstday, Fightday, and Shatterday ....Seven days without God makes one Weak.
I think we can give Him one extra day - once a year, am I right?
Be blessed,
~ Ruthie

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