When the plate remains empty

Lenten season is a time of rebirth, says Jana Hösel.

Just one week to go until it's Eastern and that means the end of the 40 days long Christian lenten season. Whether it is religiously motivated or not - more and more people fast in spring. The abstinence can look totally different depending on each person. Some stay abstinent from things they find it hard to stay away from: cigarettes, alcohol, meat, sweets, television or the use of social networks such as Facebook. Others try total abstinence. Seven days or more without food.

May the fasting be very hard at first, it is just as positive for body, mind and soul. "You increase your own performance during the fasting period because the organism doesn't have to deal with digestion during this time," explains Jana Hösel, nutritionist at the Integrated Research and Treatment Center (IFB) AdiposityDiseases Leipzig. She already made the experience herself.
If you want to fast you should, however, stick to some rules. "The body needs to be adjusted to the fasting slowly by already eating less in the days before starting to fast. It is also important that the body gets accustomed to food again after the fasting period." It is important to drink a lot during fasting, especially warm drinks and to take a lot of time for yourself.

The abstinence may seem like an unnecessary ordeal to those who haven't fastened before. But fasting isn't all that abnormal for our bodies. "Strictly speaking we fast on a daily basis at night, when we sleep," says Jana Hösel. "The English expression for the first meal after waking up isn't 'breakfast' by coincidence. "After a few days you will feel full of energy. Fasting cleans the body and the soul. You will feel like you were born again."

A pleasant side effect is the weight loss. Losing weight shouldn't be the sole purpose of fasting, however.  "But it might be the start of it and give impulses for changes and new habits."

If you are healthy you can fast without hesitation. If you suffer from diabetes, high blood pressure or other diseases like for example adiposity, you should consult your physician at first. After all, fasting should benefit your well-being, not endanger it.

Carmen Brückner

Keywords: nutrition & diet, prevention