Pat Henry: Nothing new about fasting
There are so many books these days on how to lose weight with fasting, but I really think that many self-help books on the subject are missing the real point. It's not about losing weight or toning up.
Yes, you may lose a few pounds weekly and give the internal organs a chance to recover from the deluge of fast-food and alcohol being consumed (which over our lifetime is equivalent to 80-100 tons of food passing through 30ft of intestines). But remember, fasting is accepted and recognised as the oldest form of therapy and healing for the mind and body. It is mentioned in the Bible 74 times; it's the therapy that animals in the wild use for recovery, and if you look at the ancient healers of the world, fasting heads the list of helping nature to heal the sick and the wounded.
Understand that fasting simply allows the body to rejuvenate all the cells in the body and to self-repair the internal organs. It simply helps the body help itself, and for those who are interested, it can also intensify prayer, which some of our great leaders take on board, especially when decisions of consequence are at stake. Maybe it's something that all ministers could take on. People in the past such as Jesus, Buddha, and Gandhi fasted - and it wasn't for losing weight.
Cleansing has many benefits but I really stress that if you intend to fast over a long period, get medical supervision.
Check out the Mayr programme or our own Cloona health farm in Co Mayo. Also, read books like Paul Bragg and Arnold Ehret's Mucusless Healing System… these are simple and great for giving you inspiration and a great insight into the philosophy of cleansing through fasting. The new range of books on the subject are making some things confusing and complicated. Just read the real pioneers who lived the life. For example, Kelloggs were one of the largest spa and rejuvenation clinics in America where they helped thousands of people each year with a wide range of treatments until commercial influence took over. Yes, we all want to look and feel younger but just take your time and see it as a long-term goal, little by little, improving your food intake, keeping away from junk and too much alcohol and maybe we can reach 100 and beyond.
We were going great until 1974, when the population started to get into fast-food and sugar. Improved hygiene and control of infectious diseases had made a huge difference to our mortality rate. During the lean years of war, many people's aliments disappeared but after the war, when rich food was once again introduced, illness returned, particularly angina, high blood pressure, stroke and many more so-called 'normal' aliments. When foods were restricted, illness decreased and now 65 years later, medics are saying the same thing.
Reduce wasteful calories or foods that have no nutritional value. As you progress on the quest for good health, you'll find many benefits, including a huge improvement of your senses.
1. Sight: Your sight will become sharper, it will also be drawn to all the colourful fruits and vegetables and it will help you make better food choices. Your senses will be much more aware as you get healthier, you'll be attracted to better food groups.
2. Smell: Your send of smell will intensify and, again, draw you to foods that smell good, that make our mouths water with saliva. When the sense of smell is increased, it will automatically detect food that is chemically treated and not fresh. The Mayr programme puts great emphasis on the acute awareness of smell.
3. Touch: Your touch by hands, lips and teeth can tell us more about the right consistency of food and freshness.
4. Taste: Your tongue has hundreds of taste buds which will activate when you try and eat foods your brain rejects. But if you smoke or drink, a lot of your taste buds will register nothing, even when the food is bad for you. The taste sense have been abused. Again, the cleaner your diet, over a long period of time this will re-activate all of your senses, making eating really enjoyable. I know that personally, after a fast, my first meal was fresh ripe tomatoes; it was like an explosion of flavours, which felt fantastic. It was like a total new experience. Even after years have gone by, the senses stay very sharp to an extraordinary level, from sight, hearing, taste, smell and touch - it can be like a level of mindfulness each time you eat food or hear music etc.
Rules to eat right:
1. Don't rush your food, eat slowly, sit down - and don't eat standing up.
2. Make your food appear attractive, with lots of colour.
3. Eat slowly and take small bites, chewing all food at least 50 times before swallowing. It will then be partly digested before it reaches your tummy.
4. Enjoy every mouthful.
5. Pay attention and respect the food you're about to eat.
6. Try and avoid TV and heavy music when eating.
7. Don't overload on any liquid during meals - this includes water. Drink half an hour after meals as this gives your stomach a chance to digest the meal.
Abstinence isn't just about losing weight, says Pat Henry, it's an ancient practice that heals both body and mind
Average lifespan over the ages:
Roman times: 30 years
17th Century: 35 years
19th Century: 45 years
1944: 64 years
1974: 72 years
Now: 85 woman, 80 men
Health & Living