Why do I Fast for 19 days in March? Good question! Read on. By Michelle Walch
The Fast is a time of transcending the material and focusing on the spiritual. Also, health benefits.
March is a busy time for me. As a member of the Baha’i’ Faith, I Fast for most of the Baha’i’ Month of Ala, which is between March 2 and March 20. The month of Ala is between two other Baha’i’ calendar happenings: Ayyam-i-Ha or Days of Joy from February 25 and March 1 and the Baha’i’ New Year, which is the first day of spring or Naw Ruz, the Persian New Year. My birthday and my daughter’s birthday are smack dab in the middle of March to boot. Things can get complicated. In a good way.
Fasting for religious reasons facinates those who aren’t fasting for religious reasons. Why on earth would I deprive myself of food and drink during daylight hours? What are the health benefits? Turns out there are a few according to Healthline: promotes blood sugar control, fights inflammation, may enhance heart health, may boost brain health, aids weight loss, increases growth hormone, could delay aging, and may aid in cancer prevention. Harvard Health Publishing discusses similar benefits of intermittent fasting.
Only those who are in good health should Fast. If you are between the ages of 15 and 70 you are obliged to Fast. Those who are sick, traveling, pregnant or breast feeding are exempt. Talk with your doctor to see if fasting is a wise health choice for you.
The Baha’i’ Writings discuss the health benefits as well as the spiritual benefits of not drinking or eating during daylight hours. Ayyam-i-Ha is the time of merry making and charity, and the Fast is the period of restraint. Then we are ready for the New Year come Spring, renewed and refreshed. Here’s a good article on the Baha’i’ Fast.
Fasting is in just about every religion. I read somewhere that Lent was designed in some ways to accomodate rationing out the last of winter stores, until crops and livestock started growing and producing. There is the notion of giving up the frivolous to focus on getting spiritual. I know some people who give up Facebook during the Fast. That’s fine except my business relies on Facebook. Some give up dancing during the Month of Ala. Curiously I don’t have the energy to dance during the Fast. I have noticed, however, once I’m Fasting, I tend to forget that I have not eaten since before the sun came up because I’m working on other things. The kitchen and bathroom tend to be cleaner during this time.
So what do I eat before the sun comes up and when it goes down? Just about anything. I do like smoothies in the morning. Especially made with peanut butter (or any nut butter). It’s filling and healthy. You can check out my smoothie recipe on my Pinterest page here. I like to break the fast with something warm, preferably soup or broth. Miso broth is fantastic.
Going without food and drink for almost twelve hours sounds scary at first. But once you study the health benefits and understand the spiritual aspect it is not scary. You look forward to it.
Check how fasting affects your health using Cronometer here.
Broken blender from all that smoothie making? Go here to purchase parts: BlenderParts USA.
Do you Fast? For health and/or spiritual reasons? Do you have questions about fasting? Type in the comments!
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