The Christian Fasting, as a Diet
In Christianism, fasting denies the natural desires of the flesh, to create the opportunity of a fellowship with God. On a physical level, fasting means abstinence from food, while on the spiritual level is an act of humility before God, undertaken in part to seek His divine intervention in the events of our physical world. The Great Lent, or the Great Fast, is the most important fasting season in the in Eastern Christianity, which prepares Christians for the greatest feast of the church year, Easter. The purpose of this fasting is to commemorate the death of Jesus Christ and His resurrection.
When Christians are fasting, following the example of Christ, they do it as a form of prayer; they are trying to find a way to guard against gluttony and impure thoughts, deeds and words, to get closer to God. Fasting promotes a bond with the Lord by prayer, sacrifice, self denial and philanthropic acts.
On spiritual level, the fasting period is a time for prayer. On a physical level, it includes abstention from animal products (there are a few days of exception, when Christians can eat fish), all dairy products, oil, red wine or any other alcoholic beverages and sexual activity.
We shouldn’t fast to lose weight, but rather to gain deeper fellowship with God. But even if it is not a Christian fast the fast which sets as a goal the goal of weight loss, if you will decide to fast, you’ll lose weight, too. Considering the Great Lent, which lasts 40 days, if you will literally follow the Christian Dogma about fasting, inevitably you’ll get thinner, too.
Since the fasting means the abstinence from meat, dairy, oil and alcoholic beverages, you are actually on a low calorie, plant based diet. During the Great Lent, Christians can eat boiled or raw vegetables, fruits and nuts. Usually, the menu of the monks during fasting does not include oil or sugars, either, but for most of the Christians, it was commonly accepted a more permissive way of fasting, which allows you to cook your meals with oil and sugars, too.
Since the main word that describe best the fasting period is abstinence, even if it is permitted to eat specific kind of foods, Christians should refrain themselves from eating until they are full. A full stomach makes the spirit lazier and the communion with God cannot be attained. To facilitate this communion, several days over the fasting period require the Christian to completely abstain from any kind of food and from liquids, too – usually Wednesday and Friday. An empty or an emptier stomach for 40 days means less calories and weight loss.
Even if the aim of the fasting is spiritual, some health benefits are inherent:
- Rapid weight loss with little or no hunger and detoxification;
- A rest for the digestive system;
- A reduction of the inflammatory processes;
- A way to control of the allergic reactions;
- Lower high blood pressure without drugs;
- The dissipation of the craving for nicotine, alcohol, caffeine and other drugs;
- Brighter skin and eyes as a result of detoxification;
- Fasting restores taste appreciation for wholesome natural foods.
If you will try to fast, you will find a perfect gateway to a healthful diet and lifestyle. Going on a fast gives you the motivation and enthusiasm to make a fresh start and commit yourself to a new and better way of life.