Fasting and detox products are easy to find. There are whole sections of grocery stores dedicated to cleansing and detoxification. Finding the right regimen for a spiritual fast is less common. Yet these concepts have been prevalent since the Middle Ages. Even in Hildegard of Bingen’s time, she believed diet was a primary issue in maintaining balance and thus health.
“Some people are greedy and do not abstain from abundant food. Thus forms in them toxic, tough, dry mucus […]. ” – Hildegard of Bingen
Hildegard’s Spiritual Fast
Hildegard believed that when people “are quick-tempered and peevish,” it leads to the formation of toxins in their bodies. We are confronted with a food supply that has been deliberately altered. One that we believe leads to quick tempers and peevish qualities.
Impact of Modern Living
Today it seems we have more than just toxic food stressing our system. Modern living means nail polish, lotions, shampoos, soap and countless other personal care products applied directly to our largest organ: our skin.
Through our respiratory system, we inhale a multitude of toxins, whether we live in an urban or rural environment. And how does our body react to the plethora of wireless signals abound in the atmosphere from wi-fi signals, cordless phones, radio, satellite and who knows what else?
Abstain from Modern Diet
Time may tell, but for now we can still do a lot to relieve the burdens of modern living from our bodies. Even temporarily abstaining from the modern diet can be helpful as long-term benefits of the occasional spiritual fast and cleanse are well established.
A spiritual fast means people make conscious decisions to rid their body of toxins. It is not just the avoidance of toxins that is beneficial, though. There’s grace found in the practice of building awareness of relationships between our environment, our bodies, and our souls.
As with every other fast or cleanse, in a spiritual fast you should allow yourself plenty of rest and relaxation. This includes reading, meditating, increased sleep, and exploring spirituality. During a spiritual fast, finding moments of peace and solitude is a great way to temper the psychological stress that manifests in our bodies.
Impact of a Spiritual Fast
After a spiritual fast, internal cleansing, motivation and general well-being are significantly increased.
The spiritual fast recommended by Hildegard of Bingen is considered a “mild” fasting regimen as it allows for limited foods, primarily soup and some fruits and vegetables that can be tapered-off as you progress through the program. Please see our related post, Hildegard’s Guide to Fasting and Health for more information on the Hildegard’s spiritual fast.
Hildegard’s Fasting Guidelines
Hildegard’s fasting guidelines build on the two columns of liquid (water and fennel) and soup. Fruit and vegetables are also consumed in the first phase, eventually tapering to only liquids in the second phase. Once the body is allowed to revitalize, solid food is introduced, hopefully with renewed sense of vitality and energy.