Live Fast, Day Three – Emotions

When we think about ‘fasting’ we think about food – mainly, going without.   Yet fasting is far more than abstinence from food, for it also involves the mind; and the mind has two aspects – emotions and intellect.

When fasting – either on water alone, or juice alone, or even if one only eats fruits and veggies (abstaining from grains, dairy and the like) – one may experience an emotional flux, a roller coaster of highs and lows, from tears to laughter.  This is the mind cleansing its self.  Just as the body rids its self of toxins, the mind rids its self of dross.

Initially the body’s white blood cells (the lymphocytes) do their job by seeking out and eliminating toxic residues, allowing the body to be rid of carcinogenic pollutants.   This is why, the longer one fasts, the better one feels.

What this means is .. when the toxic residues enter the blood stream they create a body and mind situation that often manifests as dizziness and weakness, headaches and nausea, vague discomfort and isolated pain.  This is akin to when a runner hits the wall (glycogen depletion).

The faster’s wall must be broke through – even when the hunger pangs feel unbearable, or when one’s initial enthusiasm turns to reluctance to continue.  In this difficult moment (and truly, it is but momentary), consider that your body is dumping all the toxins it encounters on a daily basis.   From:

-Mold and Fungus, found in every home, as well as peanuts, wheat, corn and alcoholic drinks; putting one at risk for asthma, diabetes, heart disease and multiple sclerosis.

-Phthalates, found in anything that contains ‘fragrance’, from soap to shampoo to deodorant, and the plastic containers they come in.  They are also found in plastic sandwich bags, plastic wrap, and plastic storage containers, so that it will leach into food.  These chemicals attack the endocrine system because they mimic hormones.

-PCBs, an industrial chemical found in farm-raised salmon, putting one at risk of cancer and impaired brain function.

-Pesticides are carcinogenic, and their residue is found on 50-95% of the produce one eats.  Pesticides put one at risk of miscarriage and birth defects, Parkinson’s disease and cancer, and even if one tries to eat healthy, pesticides block the body from absorbing nutrients.

-Heavy Metals like aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury are found in drinking water and fish, antiperspirants and pesticides, dental fillings and building materials, and vaccines.   Heavy Metals accumulate in the body’s soft tissues put one at risk of arthritis and neurological disorders, Alzheimer’s and decreased memory capacity, abnormal heart rhythm and damaged blood vessels, nausea and vomiting.

-Dioxins are found in animal fat.  In fact, 95% of the average persons exposure comes from eating meat.  Dioxins affect reproduction and developmental disorders, prompt skin rashes and acne-like lesions, and cause liver damage.

-Chlorine is found in most household cleaners, in tap water, in paper (books and the like), and in industrial environments (in the office).  Chlorine is highly toxic and will cause skin and eye irritation, sore throat and coughing, narrowed bronchi and wheezing, fluid retention in the lungs and asthma.

-VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) are found in drinking water and air fresheners, household cleansing products and cosmetics, deodorants and dry cleaning chemicals, moth repellants and varnishes.  VOCs put one at risk of cancer, headaches and memory impairment, eye and lung irritation, and dizziness.

And the list goes one .. sulphates and parabens, PCBs and formaldehyde, to Big Macs and fries, to chocolate bars and sodas .. in virtually everything you eat, drink or have in your home .. these environmental toxins can be flushed out during fasting.  But one must endure past the faster’s wall, equally as one fasts on a regular basis (twice a month, for one day, for example), and actively seek to clean the home, and over all exposure to toxins.

Endurance is the key .. and as any endurance runner will tell you, ‘easier said than done’.  Yet, this endurance is what will see you through the fasting crisis to the healing process.

So what are the emotional effects of a fast?  Well, just as toxins rise to the surface and are expelled through the bodies natural elimination process, so too may one experience the rise of anger, disgust, fear or sadness.  However, emotions are not so easily expelled, for they must be recognized, analyzed, and cast off in an actively conscious manner.  And in doing so, one’s Will Power is discovered, and/or bolstered.

Two of the most common emotions that occur during fasting are sadness and anger.  Regarding the latter, anger is unfulfilled expectation, so first, one must recognize the anger, then analyze the unfulfilled expectation.  For example, when one truly knows that anger turns every mole hill into a mountain, then one is better able to not turn someone else’s anger into their own.  In no way does this mean to ‘turn the other cheek’, or to otherwise render one defenseless, for one is still able to communicate their position, and defend themselves where need be, but in a non-angry, non-violent manner (this is the true meaning of ahimsa).  Finally, the best way to cast off anger is through laughter, love and wonder.

In all, mastering the body is simple .. mastering the emotions – one’s words and deeds – is difficult.  So never suppress the emotions, for they must be allowed sufficient expression for their root to be discovered, then analyzed, and finally cast off.

Fasting is a time of inner discovery, so slow down and appreciate the moment.  We are more than the body, so allow yourself to not just consider that, but to honor that.  Fasting is not about going without, but about opening within.


Shanti and Metta!

Yogini Valarie Devi


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