A lot is discussed about fasting through my previous updates. I also mentioned how crucial is the role played by Dr. Mantena Satyanarayana Raju in reviving this age old medical science of fasting. There are still many doubts, misconceptions and misinterpretations on the science of fasting. This particular update is an attempt to wipe out all such doubts and misconceptions about fasting.
As discussed in the previous blogs, Fasting means resting the entire digestive system for a whole day and saving the energy that is used for digesting the meals, converting the digested food into energy and transporting that energy to each and every cell of the body. At the same time saving the energy by resting ourselves without working. The body thus, utilizes the energy saved by fasting to clean and repair itself from junk and infections formed within.
Fasting is getting blamed for the mistakes committed by certain people as they are performing the fast without knowing the true meaning, purpose and procedure. Fasting performed in improper manner will not help the cause in any way. The True meaning, purpose and method of fasting have changed with the time. Earlier people used to fast exactly the same way they were taught by the elders with sincere dedication and commitment. Today’s generation is about fusion. They change everything and anything in the name of fusion. Today, fasting has become a subject of fun due to some of these practices by certain people. There are certain people who skip meals for the entire day burning their intestines with hunger and eat the full quota of skipped meals at night and claim fasting. While some other people drink all sorts of fluids like juices, coffee and tea etc. and claim of fasting. There are also some other people who eat fruits, coconuts, tiffins and snacks in the name of fasting. While some others, eat their normal breakfast and lunch skipping the dinner in the name of fasting. In this way, some people eat once, some eat twice, while some consume fluids during the fast and say that fasting is doing no good to them. Any food that is taken during the fast has to be digested and the body needs energy to digest. When the energy required for cleaning and repairing the body remains in the stomach for digestion, how can it be a fasting? Fasting-means giving complete rest to the entire digestive system. You might ask, if nothing is taken don’t you get dizzy? You don’t! Our body is a treasure house of nutritive substances. These nutritive substances are stored in various parts of the body. According to Dr. Hiren Parekh, a healthy body can easily survive for about 3 months, without any outside food, on the strength of its stored fat, bone marrow, sugar, tissue fluids, lactic liquids, minerals and vitamins. When we abstain from food, the body uses these substances only. When this store of substances is depleted, the weight of the body goes down. All the nutritive substances like proteins, fats, sugar, minerals and vitamins are enough in our blood, bile, bone marrow, liver and muscles. As long as these substances are present in the body, we will have no difficulty whatsoever in fasting. This process is called Autolysis. The stored nutrients in the blood and bile reach the living cells which use them. Glycogen and Live Starch remain in the Liver and are later transformed into sugar and supplied to the cells. These substances are completely balanced. Its proof lies in the absence of beriberi, any skin disease, rickets, scurvy etc. Even during a long term fasting, a remarkable improvement is observed in rickets and metabolism of calcium during fasting. Red blood capsules are found to increase in case of anemia.
It has been proved with many experiments on animals and humans, that the living cells of the body become more active during fasting. The fat cells go on declining at first. The stored food elements in the body are used up before the nutritive elements of brain, muscles, hearts and lungs are used. Then proteins, sugar, fats, minerals and vitamins are needed. It is the function of the living cells to preserve them, reach them at proper places and do utilize them. It is a great surprise to observe the changes going on in the body during fasting. There is great co-operation in the work of depletion and replenishment of the wear and tear of the vital organs of the body is done by less important organs. Our own body is the deciding force for the duration of the fasting period, without causing any harm.
Role of Honey in Fasting:
A complete rest has to be observed during fasting. Unlike the animals, the man cannot sit unmoved for long. Therefore he needs some energy to keep him going. What would that be? It should be a drink that gives you the energy and at the time do not need to get digested. It has to reach the blood cells directly without disturbing the digestive system of your body. The only energy food that reaches the blood cells without digesting is “Honey”. Honey is easily absorbed into the bloodstream within 10-15 minutes of time and provides you instant energy. You can use honey as the only source of energy during fasting as it requires no digestion. You can take 200-250gms of honey during the fast.
Apart from energizing, honey also plays a crucial role in soothing the nervous system of our body during a fast. According to Dr. Raju, our body needs 2400 calories per day for working normally. Out of these 2400 calories, 800 calories are utilized by our brain cells. When the brain cells do not get these 800 calories, they tend to trouble you and when your brain starts troubling, you might get severe headache and shivering. 250gms of honey contains 800-850 calories of energy. Therefore consuming 250gms of honey during fast pleases the brain cells and avoid the tensions. I have received several comments and emails through my blog saying that many get severe and unbearable headaches during the fast in spite of serving honey. My wife was one of such people who suffered severe headaches during the fast. Initially I was not sure about the reason behind that. I thought maybe she has some problem in her head. One day I personally experienced the intensity of pain she used to receive while fasting. Only then I realized the reason behind this. So here is the answer and solution for all those who feel such headaches during fasting. The reason for such pain during fast is the stress on the brain. My wife is a teacher and you all know how straining a teacher’s job is. So keep yourselves away from thinking, talking and all those work requiring the use of brain cells on a large scale during fast. I bet this will relieve your problem. Another reason could be the chilled weather conditions. Drink lukewarm water during winter and rainy season during fast.
I had already mentioned this in my previous update “Fasting a Super Medicine”. I received many replies on the post asking various questions. Taking all those questions into consideration, this update is an attempt to answer all those queries. Before beginning the procedure it is very essential to know the importance of water in fasting Dr. Mantena’s Way. According to Dr. Raju and as well as Dr. Hiren Parekh, fasting without food is easy but fasting without water is dangerous. Whether you feel thirsty or not, you need to drink water in all situations. As said before, fasting repairs the wear and tear of the body as well as provides rest to all parts of the body. The digestive system, the skeletal system, circulatory systems, respiratory systems and the nervous systems etc. get sufficient rest during fasting. The more we eat, more effort is required to digest it by our organs. When we eat less, the digestive organs get some time to relax. When we fast without taking food, they fully relax. When we fast, the muscles of the face, the stomach, the intestines, liver, pancreas, heart and arteries etc. are free from their routine work and they get rest. This is not difficult to understand. Excepting the fluid secreting organs, the other organs have to work less to excrete the waste matter. The process of breathing slows down, the circulatory system has to work less and thus, all the organs of our body get a good opportunity to rest during fasting.
Fasting removes the waste from our body. Fasting removes many toxic matters from the body. It is concluded by many doctors that a complete fasting for 3 days helps removing so much of toxins from the body, which otherwise could not have happened even after consuming 100 bottles of blood purifying medicines. Water plays a vital role in carrying out all these functions. Therefore, according to Dr. Raju whether you drink honey or not, it is essential to drink water. Here is the exact procedure described by Dr. Raju to follow a fasting routine safely and securely.
(1) Drink 1 to 1.5 liters of water as usual as soon as you wake up and try to complete the bowel movement.
(2) An hour later, drink another 1 liter of water and try to attend the bowel movement again. It is better to have the intestines empty. Those who suffer from free bowel movement can take up enema. Others don’t need enema.
(3) You can take another half or a liter of water after one hour from the second installment of water.
(4) Some people especially the aged ones might feel dizzy drinking this much of water and attending the nature calls frequently. Such people can skip the third installment of water.
(5) Begin your first glass of honey lemon water at 9AM or 10AM. Take a big glass of water and add 4 tbsp of honey with 1 lemon. Stir well and drink. The sour flavor of the Lemon kills the desire for food and the Vitamin C present in it increases the immunity system assisting in better repairs of the body. After drinking the juice gargle your mouth well to safeguard your teeth as there is a risk of forming the germs in the teeth due to sweetness of honey. I also read in an article by famous Yogini Indira Devi that lemon juice weakens the teeth. You might notice some sticky feeling in your teeth after drinking lemon water. I am not sure how far they are going to affect but I believe prevention is better than cure.
(6) After 1 ½ hours say 10-30AM drink 1 or 2 glasses of water.
(7) At 11AM drink Honey Lemon Water
(8) At 12-30PM drink 1 or 2 glasses of Water
(9) At 1PM drink Honey Lemon Water
(10) At 2-30PM drink 1 or 2 glasses of Water
(11) At 3PM drink Honey Lemon Water
(12) At 4-30PM drink 1 or 2 glasses of Water
(13) 5PM drink Honey Lemon Water
(14) 6-30PM drink 1 or 2 glasses of Water
(16) Stop drinking water by 6-30PM or 7PM. If you drink water after seven you might be deprived of sleep at nights due to frequent urination. However, you can lick some honey or drink honey lemon juice with less water even after 7PM if you find yourself dizzy or hungry.
Tips and Suggestions:
Please note and follow some of these instructions and suggestions carefully while fasting:
(1) Do not exercise or practice Asanas during fasting, as it does not serve the purpose of saving energy by fasting. You can though practice some easy pranayamas that soothes the nervous system.
(2) Prefer to stay at a silent place away from sound pollution and do not talk much during fast as that might cause headache.
(3) Keep away from artificial coolers, fans and air conditioners during fast.
(4) Do not consume very cold water. Drink normal or lukewarm water. The body has to spend energy to convert the cold water into body temperature that is 30 degree Celsius. You might also get frequent hiccups and headache with cold water.
(5) Gargle your Mouth properly with water after drinking the honey lemon water.
(6) Make the Honey Lemon Water instantly before drinking. Do not make them in advance and store in a bottle. Doing so will spoil the juice and make it useless. For those whom it is not possible to make the honey-lemon water instantly can lick 4 tbsp of honey on their palm and drink water.
(7) Try to massage your skin during fast as that will help in cleaning the skin cells as well.
(8) Men should bath twice in the morning and at night with cold water. Women can take cold water bath in the morning only.
(9) Try to rest more as far as possible during fast.
(10) Avoid watching television particularly at night because that makes you unstable.
(11) Sometimes you might experience nausea or vomiting in the initial days of fasting. It is because the body is used to produce bile juice till now. It keeps on producing the bile even in fasting for a few days till it get used to it. The bile present in the stomach produces nausea and vomiting sensation.
(12) You might feel hungry at the end of the day if you are new to fasting. This is a false hunger. The real hunger is felt after few days of fasting. Most people unable to control their craving for food end up eating something or the other at the end of the day or during night. Do not repeat this mistake because all the effort and pain you have put throughout the day goes in vain if you eat up at the end of the day. There won’t be any use in doing so. One has to have a strong will power to overcome this. Once you are able to control, you will be deriving full benefits of fasting.
(13) Some people eat sweets and prasadams offered at the temples or at home after puja. Don’t even take the prasadams. The God will not punish you. If you do, your body will for sure.
(14) Try to read some good books, involve yourself in spiritual practices and meditation etc.
(15) Avoid smoking during the fast as it will not serve the purpose of fasting.
(16) People suffering from Hypertension and Diabetes should fast in an expert advice or guidance of doctors and nurses.
(17) Obese, Asthmatics and Arthritis patients should consume ginger honey water instead of honey lemon water. Take 3 liters of water; add ½ spoons of dry ginger powder and boil till the water reduces to 1 liter. Take half glass of water; add 3 tbsp of honey along with 100ml. ginger water every alternate hour described above. This ginger water helps in reducing the fats as well as mucus produced in the body.
(18) Women should not fast during Pregnancy and Lactation.
(19) People with any form of severe diseases should practice this in expert guidance at the Ashrams of Naturopathy.
(20) Avoid all sorts of medicines during the fast. Taking pills during fast might make you dizzy and weak.
(21) Try to sleep early after sunset.
(22) Last but not the least, it is very essential to know the methodology of breaking the fast, which if not done properly will be harmful to the body. Due to continuous fasting the body gets acclimatized with no food intake and all of a sudden if you take large amount of food in breakfast, the body might form more phlegm and mucus. It has to be done in a systematic way. Break your fast with liquid, semi liquid and solid food. Take any kind of fruit juice in the morning, fruits and sprouts at lunch and then phulkas at dinner. This is strictly recommended for people fasting for long days say 10 or 20 days.
Many ask me “how long can anybody fast?” It all depends on the person and cause of the fasting. I know a person who had been treated in Nature Cure Hospital at Balkampet, Hyderabad completely on liquids for 18 days for his obesity. Longer fasts are to be strictly undertaken at an expert guidance of doctors. Healthy persons can take up 3 days of fast on honey lemon water safely. Some people might try to fast longer without expert guidance for longer periods especially those who are obese with an intention to get slimmer at the earliest. Such acts are not recommended. Always remember the difference between fasting and starving. Fasting is an art and science of cleansing and repairing the internal organs of the body. Starving on the other hand is the process of malnutrition of the body. Fasting once a week or a month is highly recommended for good health and happiness.
This is it for today. I hope many of your doubts are clarified through this blogpost regarding the fasting in Dr. Mantena’s way. Keep watching the space for more updates