In recent years, fasting has become one of the hottest trends. While intermittent fasting has become very popular for weight loss, there are a lot who say we should eat every couple of hours to “rev up our metabolism.” So is fasting legit or is it just some extreme fad we should stay away from? In this article, we look at the history of fasting to see what people have done for thousands of years.
Contrary to popular belief, fasting is not a new trend. It is actually an ancient practice that can date all the way back to the beginning of mankind. “Fasting is one of the most ancient and widespread healing traditions in the world.”2 “From earliest antiquity, peoples scattered all over the world have, for one reason or another, abstained themselves from food and drink for a shorter or longer time, as individuals or as a community. Instances collected from many books on ethnology and history of religion are abundant.”3
Why have people practiced fasting for thousands of years? Many times it was for religious reasons. Other times, people viewed fasting as a crucial wellness practice. “Fasting and other dietary regimens have been used to treat epilepsy since at least 500 BC.”1 Interestingly enough, fasting has been used for thousands of years to heal the body. The father of modern medicine, Hippocrates wrote, “To eat when you are sick, is to feed your illness.”2 “Modern medicine” seems to have shied far away from what Hippocrates believed and practiced. He believed the body could heal itself, that many illnesses were caused by our lifestyle and diet.
Don’t get me wrong, modern medicine does great good; it has advanced our world and saved many lives. However, if we use pills and medications as a substitute for a healthy lifestyle, we are doing ourselves an injustice. We must do everything in our power to partner with how our bodies were made.
Most of us live in a time of abundance. We have access to food whenever we want to eat, however, this has not been the case for most of human history. In ancient times, humans would have to go out and kill their food. They would eat that kill for one, maybe two days, and then they might not eat for several days until they found another meal. Their bodies would store its excess nutrients so they could survive until their next meal. Today, most people hate that we store excess food as fat, but if our bodies didn’t store fat, humans would be extinct.
The storage of nutrients as fat has kept mankind alive for thousands of years. In a time of abundance, we must keep up this lifestyle of fasting that our ancestors have practiced for thousands of years in order to live in a balance.
Key Takeaway: Fasting is not a new fad. It is a proven concept that has been around for thousands of years.
In next month’s issue will take a deep dive into the current research behind fasting and how that can inform us on the right perspective to have.
Ashton Tat, CEO – www.glorytogloryfitness.com
- Wheless, J.W. (2008), History of the ketogenic diet. Epilepsia, 49: 3-5. doi:1111/j.1528-1167.2008.01821.x
- Fung, J. (2019, July 15). Fasting – A History Part I. Retrieved June 07, 2020, from https://thefastingmethod.com/fasting-a-history-part-i/
- Chapter 1: Fasting In The Old Testament And Ancient Judaism: Mourning, Repentance, And Prayer In Hope For God’s Presence. (n.d.). Retrieved June 09, 2020, from https://bible.org/seriespage/chapter-1-fasting-old-testament-and-ancient-judaism-mourning-repentance-and-prayer-hope-g