- Ilinca Stroe
Fasting – a Romanian tradition explained
When we say "fasting", we immediately think of food restrictions, that is, what we eliminate from our rich, daily diet - meat, dairy, eggs, and fish. But the benefits of this practice are part of a much deeper body cleaning and detoxification cycle.
Fasting, at a more profound level, has other benefits as well - increasing cardiovascular health, reducing the risk of cancer, repairing genes and increasing longevity. The body has the great ability to repair and fix itself, as long as it is not concerned with digesting large amounts of animal food. The role of fasting in balancing insulin is very important, too. Sugar develops insulin resistance, and this effect is a cause of chronic diseases – which, we could easily agree, are a bad thing.
What happens basically is that, after two or three days of fasting, the body goes into autolysis. Autolysis is the process by which the body digests its own cells. In its unique wisdom, the body decomposes, selectively and in a certain order, cells that are excess, diseased, damaged, aged or dead. It's a "waste-burning process". The right time to stop the fasting is when autolysis ends and true hunger reappears.
Fasting has been known since ancient times as a spiritual practice. By fasting, body cleansing and detoxification are accelerated at all levels of energy, especially spiritual energy. Spirituality goes beyond eating and refers to anything that is toxic to mind, body, and spirit. It allows the vital force in us to recover, to recharge. It's actually the cumulative force of body and spirit that helps us get rid of accumulated toxins, cleans dead cells, and balances and rejuvenates the body.
In the Romanian tradition, the Great Lent denotes the period of repentance preceding Easter. The fast lasts for forty days, plus the week of Christ's Passions. During this time, Christians manifest greater spiritual care by giving up foods of animal origin and praying more than usual. As you would expect, the Great Lent ends with a huge, rich, and opulent feast.
Matt Russell on <http://www.annagarforth.co.uk/work/feast.html>
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