Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fasting for the Easter Triduum

I'm going to fast during part of the Easter Triduum this year.  The Easter Triduum is the three days starting from Maundy Thursday, today, through Easter Sunday.  I'm going to fast from the evening of Good Friday through Easter morning.  I'm fasting at this time to focus my mind and spirit on the events of the passion and the resurrection of our Lord.  I know that we aren't supposed to "brag" when we fast but I have another reason for posting this and that is the health benefits of fasting.

I've fasted periodically over the years and found that it made me feel better afterwards.  I never really thought much about it because mostly the reasons I chose to fast were to set aside a time for prayer and reading God's word.

Lately while reading Mark's Daily Apple, a website about Primal Living, like Paleo only a bit more relaxed, I encountered the concept of Intermittent Fasting.  This is the idea that a short fast, one skipped meal or even a whole day or 36 hours, done occasionally has great health benefits.

The post The Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting has a whole long list of things that are good about fasting!  Here is one small clip from the post:


Autophagy

Fasting turns on autophagy (most studies nowadays treat this as common knowledge), which is the process by which cells recycle waste material, eliminate or downregulate wasteful processes, and repair themselves. Why is autophagy so important? It’s required to maintain muscle mass, and inhibiting it induces atrophy of adult skeletal muscle.  It reduces the negative effects of aging and reduces the incidence and progression of aging-related diseases. In fact, researchers have determined that autophagy is the essential aspect of the anti-aging mechanism of fasting. Without the autophagy that fasting provides, you would get very few of the benefits. Fasting even increases neuronal autophagy, which aids in maintaining mental health and function. Short term fasting, too. No marathon thirty-six hour fast required.
 
So I'm going to begin to fast on a more regular basis, I'm thinking right now that once a week would be good, but we'll see what happens.

A blessed Triduum to you all.

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