Ayurvedic Fasting - the why's and how's

· Cleanse,Nourish,Heal,Discover,Practice

Are you looking for a way to improve your physical and mental health? Look no further than Ayurvedic fasting! Ayurvedic fasting involves taking a break from certain foods and drinks for a specific period of time to give your body a chance to cleanse itself of toxins and rejuvenate the digestive system. It is targeted to maximize nutrient absorption and promote a mindful relationship with food.

Ayurvedic fasting promotes a healthy equilibrium between the mind and body and helps restore the bodily systems to their ultimate potential. Personally, I fast regularly and can testify to the beneficial effects of fasting as well as intermittent fasting, which is also promoted in Ayurveda. As someone who had previously suffered with fibromyalgia, fasting, along with other Ayurvedic and yogic methods of self-care, has been invaluable in my recovery and symptom management.

How it's done?

During a fast, you'll focus on eating fruits, vegetables, and herbal teas or you adopt a mono-diet by restricting your food intake to only one type of food. During an Ayurvedic fast, Kitchari, a meal consisting of split mung dal and rice is often used, as well as mung bean soup. The duration of the fast depends on each individual's needs and capabilities, ranging from a fast that lasts only for one day, to a full 6 or 8-week Ayurvedic reset diet. Fasting types may also depend on each person's dominant dosha (body type). In fact, what I love about the Ayurvedic approach to fasting is that it is individualized. It recognizes our unique needs based on our constitution and takes into account seasons as well as locality and other factors.

What are the Benefits?

So what are the actual benefits of an Ayurvedic fast? Intermittent fasting is a powerful tool for improving our overall health and well-being. At its core, it involves alternating periods of eating with periods of not eating, allowing our bodies to switch from using carbohydrate and protein for energy to using fat-based ketogenic energy production. But the benefits of fasting go far beyond just weight loss.

On a cellular level, fasting has been shown to boost the production of antioxidants, improve DNA repair, promote protein quality control, stimulate mitochondrial health, and reduce inflammation. This means that fasting can have a protective effect on our cells, helping to keep us healthy and disease-free. Fasting also benefits our organs, improving communication, integration, and coordination among them.

Additionally, it has been found to improve cognitive function, including spatial memory, associative memory, working memory, and learning capacity. Other benefits of fasting include improved digestion and related illnesses, rejuvenation of both body and mind, improved mood and mental health, better skin and hair, reduced "brain fog," and promotion of mindful eating habits. It also helps strengthen the immune system and prevent chronic ailments.

The Ayurvedic Diet

One way to incorporate fasting into your diet is through the Ayurvedic diet. This ancient Indian dietary approach is tailored to each individual's unique history and needs, taking into account factors such as food sensitivities, chronic inflammation, and obesity. A few general tips for following the Ayurvedic diet include avoiding heavy meals, incorporating spices and herbs that promote detox, drinking a glass of hot water with lemon or ginger, maximizing nutritious food intake, such as leafy greens, and incorporating natural juices and smoothies. Additionally, it is important to practice Ayurvedic cooking methods that promote balance and harmony within the body.

Things to consider before embarking on an Ayurvedic fast

Fasting is not recommended during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or for individuals with nutritional deficiencies, recovering from illnesses, or menstruating women. It is important to consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before starting a fasting program, as they can provide an individualized plan that is tailored to your body type and specific needs to ensure success, practicality, and manageability.

If you are considering embarking on a fasting programme but not sure where to start I will be happy to advise you. You can contact me via an email here or check-out my coaching and consultation packages for more information.

The Bottom Line

In summary, fasting and intermittent fasting are powerful tools for improving our overall health and wellbeing. By switching from carbohydrate and protein to fat-based energy production, we can improve our cells, organs, and cognitive function. Additionally, the Ayurvedic diet offers a tailored approach to incorporating fasting into our diet and promoting overall balance and harmony within the body.