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Fast and fasting

Andrea Zentai, Nutritionist

There is a wide range of interpretations when it comes to fasting – depending on whether it is some religious obligation, the compulsion of a disease or just the need for the spring detoxification that calls for it. This also means that fasting can vary in time and in the types of foods that should be omitted from our diet for a while.

Vegetable and fruits

From a medical point of view, the necessity of water and liquid fasting is quite debatable but all experts agree that a medical check-up and expert help is highly recommendable before one starts it. I believe that fasting can be beneficial only if it is accompanied with spiritual retreat, meditation and regular, dynamic movement as well as the consumption of raw ingredients and foods that can be incorporated in our daily diet later on as well. In brief, fasting makes sense only if it helps us to conduct a life that is more conscious than before of one’s physical, mental and spiritual health.

So what are some of the things related to fasting that can actually help preserve our health?

Abandon all foods that contain added amounts of salt, sugar, white flour or additives as well as foods smoked or marinated or made with/ in a lot of fat.

Grain, bread, bakery products and cereals

These products can have a high salt, sugar and fat content. It is best to choose the ones with a high fiber content and in their natural, whole form such as oat flakes, brown rice, millet, buckwheat, in the form of porridges, soups and the like. The body does not need flour or pasta during fasting.

Fruits and vegetables

These food sources are the most beneficial in their raw, unprocessed form. Consume them plain or prepared as salads or used in soups but they are equally good when steamed. Since our body reactions are more sensitive on these days, it is increasingly important to use good quality, local, untreated products. Potatoes, bananas, grapes and dried fruits are not recommended.

Meats and meat products

During fasting, cold cuts and processed meat such as frankfurters, sausages, tinned fish, tinned meat and the like are to be avoided (due to their high salt and saturated fat content or their preservation methods). We do not recommend the consumption of pure meat, either, but if you are unable to resist, choose the meats of domesticated animals and consume less than usual.

Milk and dairy products

During fasting, abandon all dairy products that contain added sugar, caffeine, colorings, etc. such as fruit yoghurts, milk drinks or too much cheese. Cheeses usually have a high salt content anyway, so even good quality cheeses are to be avoided. If you wish to consume dairy products, it is plain cottage cheese that is recommended as well as ricotta or milk whey.

Eggs

Eggs can be freely consumed even while fasting as a source of animal proteins.

Oily seeds

If we have consumed larger quantities of energy (foods) before fasting or work out regularly, it is the plain varieties that are recommended – but even then, be careful about the quantity.

Biscuits, chips and crunchies

Snacks sold in shops can have a high salt or sugar content or be made from white flour. Indeed, during fasting there is no need for home made snacks, either (as these can often have a high fat content or can be over-spiced).

Sweets and desserts (candies, cakes, chocolates, wafers, etc.)

During the fasting period, have some fruit or a good quality carrot as dessert.

Fats

Good quality, cold pressed oils in moderate quantity can be of assistance in our fasting efforts.

Spices

Food seasonings, stock cubes preserved with or containing salt as well as salt itself are to be avoided. Use instead green or dried spices, and if you try out more varieties, you will soon discover that it is not only salty and sweet foods that can be delicious but also foods seasoned with mint, ginger, cinnamon or chili. Added to that is the fact that piquant spices can do a lot of good to our metabolism (parsley, in fact, has a marked diuretic effect).

Ready-to-eat prepared or semi-prepared food products

Avoid them.

Recommended

  • for breakfast and dinner: porridge with water or a vegetable smoothie instead of bread and cold cuts
  • for snacks between main meals: raw vegetables or fruits, smoothies.
  • for lunch: porridge with water, oat or brown rice soup with vegetables, cereals with vegetables
to conduct a life that is more conscious than before of one’s physical, mental and spiritual health


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