The Spirituality of Cleansing and Fasting
Another benefit of cleansing is one of going in greater touch with your feelings or spirit. How often do you, during the week, grab carb-laden snacks, sugary foods, etc., when you are anxious or otherwise upset for a quick fix?
As a career teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School district, I particularly remember an instance when I was working at a continuation school. Continuation schools are centers used to help high school students who have fallen behind in their school work and won’t otherwise graduate in a reasonable amount of time. Often, students who are transferred into these schools have psychological problems, difficult home situations, etc. To say the least, these schools are often very challenging places for teachers. I remember one afternoon when speaking with a teacher after class after a particularly difficult day that she had when she explained to me the very hard time she was having dealing with particular students. To make matters worse, the principal was in sharp disagreement on how these students were to be handled. She was eating a larger bag of corn chips as she spoke. At the more difficult parts of the situation that she was describing, she nervously shoveled the chips in her mouth. The carbs in the corn chips indirectly calmed her down. Carbohydrates increase tryptophan absorption which controls your mood by increasing serotonin. Also, eating carbs triggers insulin to be released in your cells–giving you added energy. The neurotransmitter dopamine also requires carbohydrates to be synthesized. Dopamine is a feel-good chemical. Not wanting to lecture her about the dangers of emotional eating at the moment, I let her finish what she was saying. Of course, by loading up on the carbs in the chips, she was that offsetting her bad feelings. But as you may have experienced, this loading carbohydrates is a temporary feel-good followed by an upcoming energy crash. To make matters worse, you have packed on weight from eating heavy, nutrition-barren junk food.
It’s no wonder that the fasting part of cleansing (in its various forms–with water only, juices, or just avoiding certain foods) has been part of spiritual and religious practices for millennia. Jesus Christ went out in the desert to fast for forty days, and the world’s major religions- Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Jainism, and Hinduism, all have fasting during certain periods of obligation and/or for spiritual clarity and awakening. This is often what I experience on even a 7 day cleanse where I do eat. But by not eating meat, dairy, fried foods, foods with chemicals used in their processing, alcohol, and coffee (although I sometimes have a little of the last two), I’m more alert and peaceful. And unlike the teacher, I mentioned who shoveled corn chips in her mouth to soothe her nerves when I’m on a cleanse do get upset I can’t just reach for the Fritos. I have to deal with my feelings. There’s nowhere to hide, so to speak. And if I’m on the 4th day of my cleanse and already getting good results by my waist and body slimming, I don’t want to “break training” and ruin the work that I have put in so far. Such practice has proven very useful to me. Some religions, such as Hinduism, believe that by eating animals, we an unnecessary kill. A predator in the wild may eat meat as a natural, biological urge, but people don’t have to. I don’t know if I agree with the whole, but there may be a correlation at least to overeating meat and lack of purity in our bodily systems at least. We know that too much animal fat may not only cause digestion problems, sepsis, a fatty liver, and ultimately heart disease, and this can’t help our state of being as well. After cleansings, we remove toxins in our bodies and help the surface of our natural feelings. We think more clearly. After a cleanse, you’ll be calmer. Not only is your body operating more naturally, but you went a week without the ups and downs of sugar rushes and the inevitable crashes that came with it. You will enjoy the results of your cleanses will most likely improve your diet to keep these results. Overall, you will have a more naturally peaceful way and purity of spirit.