FOOD OR FAST

Three meals a day, plus snacks, has always been the normal way to eat and stay healthy. Starving yourself is for people with problems right? Wrong. Welcome to the world of fasting.

My relationship with food is one of trust, loyalty, commitment, and nothing but good times. Food to me is like the ideal boyfriend; delicious, abundant, and always there for me no matter what. Food is my friend. Actually, one of my best friends. Fasting on the other hand hurts. It is not my best friend. In fact, we were never friends. We don’t hang out; at all. In my experience, fasting is a two-faced weirdo who promises you a happy ending. Basically a one-night stand gone wrong.        
My little pros and cons of food, glorious food, against my foe, fasting, will give you a better understanding...

FOOD PROS: 

* Does not hurt your soul
* Tastes amazing
* Quietens hunger pains (embarrassing gurgling)
* At times, better than sex                    

FOOD CONS: 

* Can be expensive
* If taken advantage of, can cause one to put on weight
* Can stain expensive white dresses
* Can be addictive    

FASTING PROS:

* ...             

FASTING CONS: 

* Hurts your soul
* Has no taste
* Encourages hunger pains
* Hurts your stomach
* Hurts your head
* Hurts your way of thinking
* Hurts your heart

But once again, science is telling me to shush and pay attention to their latest discovery: fasting can actually be good for you* in so many ways.

According to Mark Mutton, Chief of the Laboratory of Neuroscience at the National Institute on Aging, and a professor of Neuroscience at The Johns Hopkins University, (Mark has quite a few more impressive titles, but I’m running out of words), fasting twice a week could lower the risk of developing both Aalzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s. What is also interesting is that Mutton, and many others, believe that ‘Big Pharmas’ basically “own” the medical profession. Dr. Marcia Angell, former Editor-in-Chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, says that the ‘pharmaceutical industry likes to depict itself as a research-based industry, a source of innovative drugs.’ She says that this is not true at all.

Furthermore, Mutton has said during a TED talk that perhaps one of the reasons we have all been led to believe that the “normal” diet is three meals a day, plus snacks, is because there is money involved. He claims there is a lot of pressure to uphold that kind of healthy eating pattern. Mutton believes fasting does not make money for the food industry – and they know it. Fasting makes you healthy, maybe even healthier than those who do not fast (it is a BIG debate), but Mutton declares that Big Pharmas are not going to make any money off people who ‘do some intermittent fasting, exercise periodically and are very healthy.’ Makes you wonder hey?

And, get this, epileptic children who suffer from seizures have fewer episodes when their diet has less calories, or they actually fast. Mutton and another researcher reported in the January issue of Nature Reviews Neuroscience that, ‘Fasting kick-starts protective measures that help counteract the overexcited signals that epileptic brains often exhibit.’ They also say, ‘calorie restriction extends life span.’

It seems that I have been missing out on something for all these years. EVERYone appears to be telling me how great and life-changing fasting is. A random person I stumbled across in the world of the Internet says that they once knew a woman who fasted once a week and lived to the age of 102. Hmm. A health blogger named Jonathan J. Ohana claims that abstaining from eating food is ‘miraculous,’ and has even narrowed down his hundreds of fabulous reasons of why everyone should fast to just 5… here they are:

1) Fasting awakens the mind and soul
2) Stay youthful by eating healthfully
3) Train yourself to eat only when you have genuine hunger
4) Cleanse your joints of acid crystals (sounds painful)
5) Relieve the body from solid obstructions
You can read these in more detail at BLOGS.NaturalNews.com.

If you feel like you just sat in on a science lecture, then you are not alone. Science is a pretty nifty character that seems to continuously force us to rethink our initial beliefs and views of the world around us. There is definitely a substantial amount of evidence to support Mutton and everyone else who believes fasting is a superb way to be healthy, and even live longer. The argument about certain industries losing money and telling us misinformation so they stay financially stable definitely appears to be valid; which is a tad scary.

But then there are personal opinions, and lived experiences. Some people screw up their faces at the word fasting, others shrug their shoulders as they reach for their second jam donut, and then there are people like me. I need, I repeat, need at least 3 meals a day plus in-between meals, and snacks in between the in-between meals. I once attempted to do the 40-hour famine. I had never known agony and despair quite like I did during that horrible experience – which is absolutely NOTHING in comparison to the starving people in Third World countries whom I was raising money and awareness for. So, at the end of the day, I believe doing what works for you is best. As long as you remain healthy and happy, fasting or not fasting should just be a personal choice that enhances your lifestyle. If you do choose to fast, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons – many people suffering from eating disorders use this form of not eating as a way to further skip meals. And then if you enjoy food and love to eat, make sure you are doing it all with a bit of exercise on the side. Either way, do what your gut tells you.
 

*I need food in my daily diet. I need food as a reliable source of energy. I need food, period. So, if you are like me and food helps you live and function and be the best you that you can be, keep fasting to a bare minimum… like once every 35 years. Then you will be fine. Just fine.

Mia Beverley Francisco