Sikhism does not promote fasting except for medical reasons. The Sikh Gurus discourage the devotee from engaging in this ritual as it "brings no spiritual benefit to the person". The Sikh holy Scripture, Sri Guru Granth Sahib tell us: "Fasting, daily rituals, and austere self-discipline – those who keep the practice of these, are rewarded with less than a shell." (Guru Granth Sahib Ang 216).
Fasting, by definition, is going without food and/or drink for a period of time. Typically it is done for religious reasons and involves a person refraining from both food and drink (Esther 4:16), although there are variations that may be done for health reasons (a juice fast, for example, where one would refrain from eating and only drink juice for a period of time).
From a Christian perspective, there are many options. One may go on only fruits and vegetables for a day or more. One may do a complete fast, involving only water and no food for a specific period of time. One may skip breakfast intentionally to pray and focus on God, and then eat lunch. Caloric restriction, especially when one is not doing complete food fast, offers the opportunity to live what some have described as a “fasted life.” The key is to choose a plan that works for you at that time and to start small. In all cases, the important thing is to intentionally focus on God in prayer.
Catherine Gates is Senior Director of Content & Partnerships for Workmatters. She oversees the development, distribution and support of Workmatters content to equip marketplace leaders to live out their faith at work. She also builds partnerships with clients and other marketplace ministries. Catherine has a broad range of experience in technology, sales, training, public speaking and curriculum development. She’s passionate about her faith and helping people tap into more of God’s best for their lives while bringing God glory.
The second major day of fasting is Tisha B'Av, the day approximately 2500 years ago on which the Babylonians destroyed the first Holy Temple in Jerusalem, as well as on which the Romans destroyed the second Holy Temple in Jerusalem about 2000 years ago, and later after the Bar Kokhba revolt when the Jews were banished from Jerusalem, the day of Tisha B'Av was the one allowed exception. Tisha B'Av ends a three-week mourning period beginning with the fast of the 17th of Tammuz. This is also the day when observant Jews remember the many tragedies which have befallen the Jewish people, including the Holocaust.
When you don’t eat any food for a set period of time each day, you do your body and your brain a whole lot of good. It makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. For most of history, people weren’t eating three square meals a day, plus grazing on snacks. Instead, humans evolved in situations where there wasn’t much food, and they learned to thrive when fasting. Nowadays, we don’t have to hunt for food (although hunting for your own meat isn’t a bad idea!). Rather, we spend most of our days in front of computers, and we eat whenever we want — even though our bodies aren’t adapted to this behavior.
Eating all your meals in an 8-hour window (say, eating between noon and 8PM, and fasting the other 16 hours a day) causes significant weight loss without counting calories. While this type of intermittent fasting causes weight loss no matter what people eat, research shows that people who do it in a healthy manner lose twice as much weight (7% vs. 3% of their body weight) as those who fast while still eating junk. So it’s still important to follow a high-performance diet like the Bulletproof Diet while you fast.
Pros: According to the founders, while everyone is technically fasting every day — during the hours when we’re not eating — most of us do so haphazardly, which makes it harder to reap the rewards. Fat Loss Forever offers a seven-day schedule for fasting so that the body can get used to this structured timetable and reap the most benefit from the fasting periods. (Plus, you get a full cheat day. And who doesn’t love that?)
On weekdays of the first week of Great Lent, fasting is particularly severe, and many observe it by abstaining from all food for some period of time. According to strict observance, on the first five days (Monday through Friday) there are only two meals eaten, one on Wednesday and the other on Friday, both after the Presanctified Liturgy. Those who are unable to follow the strict observance may eat on Tuesday and Thursday (but not, if possible, on Monday) in the evening after Vespers, when they may take bread and water, or perhaps tea or fruit juice, but not a cooked meal. The same strict abstention is observed during Holy Week, except that a vegan meal with wine and oil is allowed on Great Thursday.
The Armenian Apostolic Church (with the exception of the Armenian Patriarchate of Jerusalem) has followed the Gregorian Calendar since 1923, making it and the Finnish Orthodox church the only Orthodox churches to primarily celebrate Easter on the same date as Western Christianity. As a result, the Armenian church's observation of Lent generally begins and ends before that of other Orthodox churches.
When Jesus returns, fasting will be done. It’s a temporary measure, for this life and age, to enrich our joy in Jesus and prepare our hearts for the next — for seeing him face to face. When he returns, he will not call a fast, but throw a feast; then all holy abstinence will have served its glorious purpose and be seen by all for the stunning gift it was.
Fasting during religious festivals is also very common. Common examples are Maha Shivaratri (Most people conduct a strict fast on Maha Shivratri, not even consuming a drop of water ), or the nine days of Navratri (which occurs twice a year in the months of April and October/November during Vijayadashami just before Diwali, as per the Hindu calendar). Karwa Chauth is a form of fasting practised in some parts of India where married women undertake a fast for the well-being, prosperity, and longevity of their husbands. The fast is broken after the wife views the moon through a sieve. In the fifth month (Shravan Maas) of the Hindu calendar, many celebrate Shraavana. During this time some will fast on the day of the week that is reserved for worship of their chosen god(s), while others will fast during the entire month.
Fasting or intermittent calorie restriction may affect cancer and tumor development, but are not currently used as a form of treating cancer. In 2011, the American Cancer Society recommended that people undergoing chemotherapy increase their intake of protein and calories, but provided evidence that a short-term period of fasting may have benefits during chemotherapy. Chronic fasting is not recommended for people with cancer at risk for weight loss or a suppressed immune system.