Mind, body, spirit
Fasting has long been carried out by religious communities as a way to purify the body, mind and soul.
For Muslims, the month of Ramadan is dedicated to fasting from dawn to dusk. This goes hand in hand with a commitment to behave with kindness and generosity, giving to charity and sharing meals with others at night. It is a time for reflection, humility and resolve.
Christians too observe the tradition of Lent, where fasting, almsgiving and prayer are practised for the forty days before Easter. Fasting during this period traditionally involves omitting meat, fish, dairy and eggs from the diet, as well as certain luxuries.
Mormons fast for two meals on the first Sunday of each month and donate the money they would have spent on their food to the needy.
The 5:2 fast
Recently there has been an increased interest in fasting among the wider population, particularly what is known as the 5:2 diet, or intermittent fasting. On two non-consecutive days in any week,
men should consume no more than 600 calories a day, or 500 for women. For the remaining five days, you return to your usual diet.
Regular short periods of careful fasting are believed to have benefits for health including weight loss and lower cholesterol, with less chance of developing diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, and neurological disorders like Alzheimer's, therefore increasing life expectancy.
It is thought that without the usual levels of food intake the body switches its focus from growth to repair.
However, fasting is not suitable for everyone. It is advisable to check with your doctor before making any significant changes to your diet or calorie intake, particularly if you are pregnant or have an existing medical condition.
What to eat and drink
Some say it works better for them if they have a good breakfast on the two calorie-restricted days, while others prefer to save the majority of their calories until the evening.
On fast days, food should be wholesome and nourishing - think wholegrains, pulses, fresh fruit and vegetables. Perhaps try BioSnacky's Sprouting Detox Mix . Many like to cut out meat, dairy, sugar and caffeine too, while increasing raw and superfoods.
For light, healthy meals on fast days, try our Aberfeldy Oatmeal with Rice Dream milk and a handful of mixed berries for breakfast, King Soba organic, vegan and gluten-free Tofu & Ginger Miso Soup for lunch, and Slim Noodle gluten-free Shirataki Angel Hair Noodles served with plenty of shredded mixed vegetables for dinner.
During fasting it's important to stay hydrated, so drink plenty of water and herbal tea throughout the day. Choose our aromatic Pukka Herbal Ayurveda Organic Detox T-Bags with fennel, coriander, cardamom and celery seed to continue detoxifying. Also try cleansing Thorncroft Vineyard Detox Cordial with liquorice extract and herbal infusions of dandelion, yellow dock and red clover blossom.