The practice of fasting, both as a tool of physical and mental rebalancing and as a means of purification and penance in the mystical-religious sphere, still remains a certain distrust, remaining a subject discussed and little known.

In the Tao is considered a practice of health and spirituality finalized, in fact, to the purification of the body and the attainment of a mental and emotional balance that allows you to connect with the spirit. Combined with meditative practices, it was practiced since antiquity to speed up and deepen the personal growth process of the individual.

It is a practice that unites different religions and cultures, to which various benefits and some contraindications are associated. What better way to ascertain them than to experience it in person?

Here, below, my experience documented day to day.

 

21/06/2018

There are only a few hours to start my experimentation and, among the various existing typologies, I decided to try the absolute fast: 3 days with water alone.

As a last meal I chose an ice cream with cream; I think I already taste it. Who knows why everything seems even more desirable when you’re about to give it up.

My sister’s feedback, as soon as I told her the subject of the report, was a not very encouraging: “But what is this nonsense?!”. I dare not imagine what my grandmother’s reaction will be when she finds out. (I fear a fulminant heart attack or an instant curse.)

Small clarification: Absolute fasting provides for abstaining from any food, solid or liquid, for a period of time from 24 hours to a few days (ideal would be 1 or 3 days per month depending on the build); While intermittent fasting alternates regular meals and fasting moments. This is part of man’s natural survival routine, as food is not always available in nature. Of course, even alcohol and smoke are banned during the whole process.

 

22/06/2018

I start the commentary of the first day stressing that if you wanted to try a similar experience, it would be good to consult first a doctor or someone with experience on the subject, so as to “starve consciously” (I’m doing irony) and not take unnecessary risks. In fact, despite this practice can help to prevent heart disease, fight allergies, inflammatory diseases and rheumatoid arthritis, is absolutely to avoid in conjunction with the intake of drugs, the copresence of liver problems or of a non-optimal health state (I’m not doing irony).

Coming back to us…

I wake up hungry as it does not happen for some time, for some sneaky psychological mechanism or maybe because yesterday I walked all evening, and it’s just the beginning.

I open the door of my room and I am flooded with the scent of freshly baked muffins. I follow the scent to the kitchen and I find a baking sheet with chocolate drops, freshly made, next to my cup and my placette. All set.

Of course, it’s been years since my mother prepared my breakfast…

I resist the first attempt at sabotage. My grandmother tries to bribe me with a little fruit-second attempt-but I can sneak away and reach the sea, where they await me.

I drink water all the time to keep myself hydrated, which means that I must continually go “powder my nose”.

I realize, for the first time, how much our lives are spinning around food. I don’t know almost as much as occupy the time and everywhere I turn I see advertising signs of food and restaurants.

The third and most treacherous attempt at sabotage welcomes me to return from the sea, when my mother tries to throw it there with an indifferent “tonight I make fried panzerotti.”

I can not maintain the Zen attitude that I had imposed and grind my teeth grumbling, while remaining impassive in my asceticism.

I begin to find irresistible even the scent of coconut soap.

I close in the room preferring to ignore what delicacies they will savor for dinner without me. I think I’m going to tie myself to a chair like Ulysses Tempted by Profu. From the siren song.

 

23/06/2018

Paradoxically the second day seems easier to deal with than the first.

A thought to the food escapes again, but more detached.

I feel charged with energy; In the early days it is not unusual to feel this way: it happens that the energies usually used by our organism for digestion are utilized for the disposal of toxins and to repair damaged tissues and cells.

A process of “autophagy” is carried out through which the organism feeds on its damaged tissues, reinvigorating the aged or unviable cells.

I admit that for a few moments it seemed to me that the letters of the book I’m reading flowed horizontally on the sheet, but it was only a moment, I swear!

My family seems to have desisted from the intent to sabotage me, seems to have calised finding me still alive this morning.

The second evening goes luxury, even if I’m surprised to savor the mouthwash with orange.

After a session of yoga and meditation, which I am practicing every day to better deal with this “test”, I prepare to go out.

 

24/06/2018

I wake up for lunch, in the kitchen welcomes me calzone with ham and mozzarella stringy mama, I can not eat, of course.

In contrast to the first day I remain calm and serene, will I have no more energy to get angry? Perhaps, but we must also say that nutrition conveys stimuli and sensations of various kinds, awakening memories and emotions; Fasting makes it possible to reach a state of relaxation and detoxification at an emotional level, and to liberate blocked emotional charges that affect us. This makes fasting a powerful instrument of emotional catharsi and a means for greater self-awareness, leading to a sensation of inner calm and tranquility.

After this reception of bad taste the day runs smoothly between meditation, yoga and sea. I’ve never had my belly so flat and I probably won’t have it anymore.

I do not care too much since my body is experiencing these days of “asceticism” as a period of drought, and that when I reintroduce fuel, will try to stock and all the above fuel will flesh out the hips.

There is to say that despite my energies exist and I feel in a good mood, I find myself slightly spoiled and also the appearance of my skin, contrary to what is said to happen, is not the best.

The positive side, however, is the state of absolute well-being experienced, I do not remember ever felt so.

Moreover, the satisfaction of seeing the stroke of midnight, knowing that it has exceeded its limits, is very much.

After a fast-as well as before starting it-it is advisable to take liquid foods to readjust the organism.

Here, after midnight I empty the fridge of all the leftovers that I find: four nigiri of sushi and two slices of bread and tomato. And if I said not to have appreciated them immensely… Lie.

 

Documenting myself in this regard, I discovered that even in Buddhism we resort to fasting to free the mind and to elevate one’s spirituality through inner discipline; For Hinduism It is a kind of ritual of purification; In Christianity and in Islam, as well as in the Jewish religion, it becomes an act of penance and atonement to be performed in predetermined days (in the period of Lent and Ramadan); But it is just some of the many religions and spiritual currents that make use of it.

Fasting can, therefore, be understood as a means of purification to approach the divine or as an instrument to purify the body from the state of toxemia caused by overfeeding. In short, there are many facets related to this practice.

In my small, after having tried it firsthand, I can say that it is an experience that I would repeat, both because it involves physical benefits, a state of widespread well-being and mental clarity, both because you can learn a lot: it is a window on ourselves, a space Silent in which it is possible to wonder about fundamental questions and dialogue with different aspects of oneself, a mirror to be crossed to know us better, open the mind and confront our limits, helping us to move them a little further.

 

Valerie De Lauretis