A guide to fasting and health: “Moderate fasting renews health in those who are sick or less than healthy. In addition, those who are healthy benefit from periodic fasting, by preventing sickness that has not yet arrived.”
If you’re looking for a guide to fasting and health, your search will take you back to ancient times. Four centuries before Christ, the Greek physician Hippocrates recommended the omission of food “to let the inner physician work”. Much later, Hildegard of Bingen expanded on Hipporcates’ notion of self-healing by recommending fasting as the conscious renunciation of foods she believed to be damaging.
Hildegard’s Guide to Fasting and Health
According to Hildegard, a proper guide to fasting and health involves detoxifying and revitalizing the body with energy and self-healing. All of this results in positive effects to the mind, body, and spirit. For more information on these fasting regimens, please take a look at Hildegard’s Fasting Guidelines and Hildegard’s Three Healthy Fasts.
She saw the nature of energy as an essential unifying force in health, wellness, and overall vitality. Accordingly, Hildegard was an instrumental historical figure in the study and notation of nutritional impacts on the body and mind. Today, she serves as a primary spiritual guide to fasting and health.
Hildegard’s objective was to increase energy and its renewing properties. On average, a person uses between 10% and 35% of their daily energy expenditure digesting and absorbing food. An effective fast redirects this energy to other useful concerns, such as the elimination of toxins and healing.
In the course of a fast, metabolic processes gain momentum. As the body has more energy available, motivation increases and chronic ailments are alleviated. While periodic fasting is recommended for almost everyone, if there’s any doubt, speak with a doctor about your specific health conditions prior to fasting.
The process of eliminating toxins and metabolic waste helps to strengthen the immune system and mobilize our innate powers of self-healing. The Hildegard fast helps create space for mental clarity, focused soul searching, peace, and meditation.
For those of us combating daily stress, an effective fast provides valuable perspective, allowing us to increase the distance from the sources of our stress. Above all, we gain new energy to unlock more joy and fulfillment in life. To fully realize the numerous health benefits it is important to fast properly.
Duration of a Fast
The basic Hildegard fast usually takes six to twelve days to realize the most beneficial results. For more advanced health issues, including chronic ailments, the Hildegard fast can be extended to up to four weeks.
Preparation for the Fasting Cure
Loosely following a light fasting regimen for a couple of days per week prior to starting your formal fast is a great way to prepare for a fast. As the start date of your fast approaches, it’s worthwhile to begin preparing mentally for the relief you expect from your fast. Set an intention, and meditate regularly. Two days before the start of your fast, continue meditating, and drink two to three liters of a fennel-based tea, or a Hildegard fasting tea throughout the day.
The Moderate Hildegard Fast
According to Hildegard’s guide to fasting and health, a basic and effective daily diet might consist of the following. You can find more information on Hildegard’s Fasting Guidelines and her Three Healthy Fasts on this site. You can also find information on Hildegard’s idea of a medieval diet.
In the morning, take one serving of fruit Musli or Habermus. Ideally, Habermus is served as a warm meal of cooked spelt with dried fruit and high-energy spices like Galangal (a ginger-like root), Psyllium (a dietary fiber), and Bertram (a cleansing root).
At lunch, have two or three bowls of Hildegard fasting soup. Ideally, fasting soup contains high-quality herbs and ingredients, like spelt semolina (a coarse grind of high-protein durum wheat with a nutty, sweet flavor), Hildegard spices and healthy vegetables.
In the afternoon some Quince seed tablets (to enhance the secretion of acids), and a fresh Apple or some Hildegard spice cookies.
In the evening, one or two small bowls of Hildegard fasting soup; two to four Quince seed tablets or spice cookies.
As a day drink, serve 2-3 liters of unsweetened fennel tea or Hildegard fasting tea.
Daily physical activity is important. Hildegard herself would recommend activities, such as hikes in nature or anything that gets you moving outside, without undue exertion. Find your peace with meditation, prayer and soul exploration, which should contribute to a balanced experience for body and mind. Be mindful of your needs, and take good care of yourself.
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