“The best of all medicines is resting and fasting”. Benjamin Franklin
The only memories I have of a holy week season was seeing my granny reading the “Pasyon” (Passion Of Christ) alone from beginning to end on a tune that was a lot different from an ordinary song I knew. Nothing to do on a Holy Thursday much more on a Good Friday. God is dead and no one can afford to get hurt, you will never heal that‘s what my old folks told the little ones. The holy week season used to be a dead time as far as I can recall. I can’t remember much about fasting.
The act was introduced to me only after I got married to someone with a more strong religious background. No meat on Fridays and no snacks on a Wednesdays during the 40-day Lenten season; that was my in-laws practice which I found not a big deal. I’m used to the fish and vegetable meal since we rarely eat meat when I was growing up, only on special occasions and holidays and when there’s plenty of sales!
On the early years of our marriage and the going gets tough my husband used to withhold food every Friday. He probably senses that prayers would never be enough with the chaos we got ourselves into during that time. But I suspect he did it all for me knowing how tormented I was. His fasting helps; we are still together after more than two decades of a roller coaster ride. Until these days he fast especially when there were upcoming activities in the community. I see how it made his faith grow stronger than ever.
But it still doesn’t make much sense to me until recently when I am having a lot of struggles that tears and fervent pleading to God seems nothing to work at all. The devastation of being molested when I was a child was taking its toll on my adult life. I knew I needed healing more than anything else. Then I remember God’s people in the bible that every time they encounter difficulties, they pray and they fast. And miracles happen. So I try and something happens.
In my frail attempt to withhold food once in a while I was able to see the monsters and evils I never knew there were, destroying my body and soul. I was able to face the wound I nurtured within and like all wounds; I’ve got to remove the pus. Yap it’s painful but I was given the strength to bear. I must admit it was a lot difficult than I ever thought but the sense of peace I receive after is worth the try. I promise to make it a part of my weekly schedule since then.
Because of that, I told my friends that if their prayers seem going to the deaf ear, try fasting. It provides clarity of thoughts. They may find the answers to what they were praying for in God’s way. Fasting is not only for the soul; it can heal the body as well. It can give rest and clear the physiologic toxins accumulated every day. Long before I realized that heavy meals at night would cause me a lot of body pains upon waking up so what I did was to withhold such or if dinners cannot be avoided I would only take light and I would usually wake up refresh.
But lately, I’ve been struggling to write and to fast again. The topic had been long playing in my mind like a mischievous little child persisting to write something about. I can’t find the time. The malunggay (moringa) thing occupies me on top of becoming a full-time mom that becomes more demanding. By the way, I notice that the malunggay tea helps me fast coz I don’t usually get hungry. So in a way I am actually decreasing the food intake and the result was manifested by the weight I’ve lost over a three month period. Fasting is good for weight loss and diabetes as well, research shows.
I’ve read several studies about the value of fasting and I was surprised to find out that Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine prescribed the practice of fasting. Include Plutarch, Plato and Aristotle on the list; these great thinkers are also supporters of fasting and so Jesus Christ, He did fast 40 days in the desert.
According to the study of neuroscientist Mark Mattson and colleagues, fasting several days a week may help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and can also improve memory and mood. They found out that limiting caloric intake at least twice a week can help improve neural connections in the hippocampus while protecting neurons against the accumulation of amyloid plaques, a protein prevalent in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Furthermore, he says that exercise has been shown to have the same positive effects on brain health as fasting.
That’s all for now. I encourage readers to give fasting a try if you haven’t done it yet. Don’t wait for the Holy Week season. Anyway, you can do it once or twice a week, for there is a day for fasting and there is a day for feasting. And for those who would like to try our malunggay tea, just shot me a message !