Recently I have been re-reading a book on fasting by Paul and Patricia Bragg. It is very inspiring and informational about the benefits of fasting. Paul Bragg recommends a weekly 24-36 hour fast, as well as fasting 4 times a year for 7-10 days. I have tried the 24 hour fast, and in the church of which I am member, we have a 24 hour fast once a monthly.
I have fasted once a month since I was 8 years old, although not always for 24 hours. Most of the time as I was growing up, we only fasted for 2 meals. I was taught this was for spiritual reasons, to help me grow closer to my Heavenly Father and to augment my prayers when I had a special need. Later, I heard rumors that fasting is very good for me physically, too, because it gives the digestive tract a rest from it’s constant work of breaking down food and absorbing nutrients.
As I became more interested in good health and eating practices, I learned more and more about these physical benefits of fasting. Here are several benefits that Paul Bragg talks about in his book entitled, “The Miracle of Fasting”:
– gives your body a break and helps you build up “vital force”
– Lets your body eliminate toxins that build up from environmental sources and
the foods we eat.
– Saves money
– Helps to “melt away the pounds”
– Helps overcome addictions to alcohol, smoking, and drugs
– Gives you more energy and helps you feel more alive
With all these benefits, why isn’t fasting more commonly done? To be honest, it’s not easy. It is a simple way to improve your health, but it is not always easy to ignore the hunger pains in your stomach. It takes dedication and self-control, and one must focus on the end goal – greater health. Praying while fasting is also of great worth and will help improve your spiritual health also.
I don’t recommend fasting beyond 24 hours without some guidance, whether it be from books or from someone experienced in fasting. Therefore, I recommend beginning with the Bragg’s book The Miracle of Fasting, which can be purchased in many health food stores or from the Bragg website http://www.bragg.com/.