Benefits of fasting
Food provides us with the building blocks for a healthy and vital body. On a day-to-day basis, we ingest various kinds of foods, some are nutritious and healthy, some not so much.
One of the ways a human body eliminates waste and toxins is through developing acute disease (i.e. flu & colds) through which it pushes the wasteful matter out of the body in a short period of time.
Other important paths of elimination are regular bowel movements, exercising, spiritual activity (i.e. yoga and meditation) and quality sleep.
Most of the time our body can’t keep up with what goes in, either due to physical overwhelm, stressful lifestyle, too little sleep (or poor quality of sleep), usage of medication which interferes with positive immune function and many other reasons.
Therefore, if you are fasting during Yom Kippur, use this great opportunity to cleanse and detox your body. I know some people who fast weekly, which is the best way to maintain a healthy body and slow down the aging process, however even if you do it only once a year you must prepare your body to it.
Fasting is especially useful for people who are overweight, people with a red face or people who sweat a lot. Fasting will do good for you also in cases where you feel constant stress and lack of peace of mind, as well as for people who eat poorly on a daily basis, or people with various skin issues (i,e, eczema, psoriasis, etc).
On the other hand, if you have a thin or weak complexion, fasting might actually make you feel worse, therefore properly preparing your body is extremely important. If you are one of these people you might feel weakness towards the end of the fast, cold feet / hands, low blood pressure, dizziness, etc.
Preparing our bodies for a fast the right way will help to reap the benefits of proper cleansing and detoxing.
How to get through the fast successfully
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, each food has its own energy level which affects our bodies in various ways. Some foods are warming, drying, cooling or hydrating; each food contributes its own particular property to the overall health of our body. In order to stay healthy we have to make sure we eat a balanced meal, which supports the health of the body.
Before starting the fast avoid the following
Lower consumption of food that is very hard to digest, such as red meat. Lower the consumption of dehydrating foods such as crackers, and simple carbohydrates, such as white sugar, salt and coffee.
Avoid sweet desserts which make you thirsty and lower your blood sugar after a few hours (which will make you crave more sweets).
What is allowed to eat before the fast?
Best food to eat before fasting is food that went through long cooking period and absorbed the heat from the cooking activity – they are considered to be strengthening foods that preserve energy for longer periods of time.
Good examples are – cholent, beans and legumes, soups rich in orange vegetables (carrots, sweet potato, squash, pumpkin).
DO NOT OVEREAT during the last meal before starting the fast, which will make you hungry faster! Instead, eat smaller meals throughout the day before fasting.
Also, make sure you are drinking enough water prior to the fast, this will keep you hydrated on the day of the fast.
I recommend starting the day with a nutrient dense breakfast such as:
Oatmeal porridge topped with raw sesame paste (tahini)
Apple and nuts (the combination of apple and nuts is very satiating)
My favourite is slicing the apple into wedges and spreading almond butter on it, you will be surprised how satisfying this is and will keep you full for at least a couple of hours.
Soup loaded with vegetables
This will not only ensure you are getting all the essential minerals prior to the fast, but also will make you hungry for 5 pm since vegetable digest very quick.
During the day I recommend munching on fruit and nuts if you feel like snacking.
Last meal before Yom Kippur Fast
If you follow me long enough, you know that I am very much into meals that take less than 30 minutes to make so here is a great solution if you are a busy mom:
Chicken Wings and Brown basmati rice with lentils – a source of good quality protein, vitamins, minerals and complex carbohydrates that break down very slow in our bodies (which will keep you full longer).
Baked Sweet Potato fries – a source of good quality carbohydrate and essential vitamins
What to eat after the fast?
The digestive system is very weak after a fast and therefore it needs a cooked warming meal which is easy to break down, and will compensate for the loss of energy.
Don’t surprise your bodies with a heavy meal, instead start with a cup of tea (chamomile or green tea are great choices).
After the tea continue with a hot soup, and only after that eat the heavier meal.
I wish all of you an easy fast and Gmar Hatima Tova!
Tell me if you made this meal and how it go. Did you feel full longer? See you at the comments below!