Fasting For Your Body Type

Monday, April 10, 2017


Eating is a central part of our daily lives. It's important to take care. In this busy world we eat when we are stressed or sad, we eat too much, we eat at odd & inconsistent hours, we eat foods that are processed and indigestible, and we put food into our bodies before our last meal has even had time to digest. Once in a while, it is necessary to hit refresh and allow our systems to realign.

In Ayurveda, fasting is an important process for ridding your body of waste by having time to exclusively digest toxins without the interruption of added food. In popular culture, fasting and detoxing are usually seen as cranky & miserable last resorts to quickly shedding a few pounds. But really it is so much more than that. 

Fasting is a practice that is sacred to many cultures & religions, and has been a natural truth throughout human history (hunter gatherers didn't eat every day, thrice/day). It is and has been widely used not for aesthetic reasons, but for mental gains such as clarity, awareness, gratitude, and physical ones like boosting your metabolism, anti-oxidant production (your body goes into "healing mode"), and replacement of malfunctioning brain cells. And yes, weight loss. Because it kickstarts your body into a state of autophagy (clearing out old cells for new healthy ones), research has shown that intermittent fasting has been wildly successful in preventing Alzheimers and fending off various cancers.

Each Ayurvedic body constitution ("dosha") has a different recommended fasting method, duration, and frequency. There are three primary doshas - pitta, kapha, and vata, and some may be any combination of two of the doshas. I, for example, am vata-kapha, meaning primarily vata, and somewhat kapha, so very short fasts of one day or even one part of the day are best, with consumption of water and herbs throughout. Warm weather fasting is best. Juice or mono food days are also recommended. Pitta and Kapha dominant body types can withstand and benefit from longer & or more frequent fasting. If you don't know your dosha, there is a helpful test *here* that will also provide general dietary recommendations.

Since I've not taken birth control, my body has also been very in tune with the cycle of the moon. I tend to base my day of fasting around this schedule. Similarly, Ekadashi is a traditional time in the Hindu calendar for devotees of Lord Vishnu to fast. It is the 11th day between the New Moon and the Full Moon. Although I have not personally tried this yet, I do find it reassuring that widely followed traditions base fasting days around the Moon too :) I like to fast when I feel physically strong enough. For me, this has been the day of or before the Full Moon, and on the first day of the New Moon. I believe this is all about how you feel and when you are mentally prepared. This is how you will reap the most benefits psychologically and physically.

If you do participate in a half day, full day, or few days of fasting, I recommend doing your homework first. Make sure not to fast beyond the recommended amount of time for your dosha. Also, don't choose a day that you know will be incredibly stressful. This can defeat the purpose and you may find yourself becoming very irritable and unappreciative of the experience. Get lots of sleep, do only restorative exercise like mild yoga, and remember to drink lots of water. 

Once you've read up on everything, I encourage you to use this take this time to look inward. How do you feel? 
-Are you more grateful that you live in a place where, when you need it, food is usually available?
-Can you take a few minutes on this day to meditate? 
-Does this lack of food make you feel more aware of your physical existence? Do you like or dislike this feeling?
-Perhaps now, if you have not endured true emptiness of food in a long time, you can empathize more with those who do not have access to food every day. How does this make you feel?
Keep a journal of all your observations if you can.

Good luck! Lots of love.

-Dayna

13 comments :

  1. Love this post! I would love to learn more about Ayurveda, but I really don't know where to start. Do you recommend any books, articles, or similar?

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  2. This is the first blog post of yours I've read (after seeing many of your posts on Instagram) and it's so lovely and wonderfully written! Excited to see more from you.

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  3. Wow this is amazing and very informative. Really love posts like this. I'm going to take that test and do some more research. Good reset for spring and the end of my school year. I don't fully understand all of this but I'm hoping to learn.
    What do you mean by your body is in tune with the moon cycle?

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  4. Hey Dayna, just wanted to say thanks for writing this article. A really thorough and thought-out piece! Also thanks for sharing something very personal with us.

    I am a Muslim, and we are required to fast for a month during Ramadhan, which is essentially not eating or drinking from dawn to dusk for 30 days, and it’s a great way to reconnect with our eating habits and the food we put on the table for the rest of the year when we’re not fasting. Also it makes us empathize with the less fortunate and appeal to our charitable side. The joy that comes with breaking fast is priceless, especially during the countdown of the last hour.

    Fasting changes your mental state first, and in turn your physical body follows suit. If you aim to lose weight, you shouldn’t binge on an insane amount of calories during the allocated time when you can eat, it’ll render the fast useless for that purpose.

    May fasting increase our mindfulness in the food that we put in our bodies, and may we remember and give back to the less fortunate whom fasting is their only reality.

    Keep up the good work Dayna! Please let us know how your journey progresses and how your experience impacts your relationship with your body. <3

    Lots of love,
    Sabrina

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  5. I would love to do this but am just worried about the effects it may have on me as i am very young and it could be detrimental in some ways? xx

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  6. I've been thinking about fasting a lot lately so this piece was incredibly informative and helpful, thank you so much!! I'm Vata-Kapha too, and I'd love it if you'd go more in depth in how you fast, what herbs and supplements you take and how you deal with the, I'm sure, moodswings that follow! Lots of love to you, I love the picture you chose, so beautiful surrounded by all the plants and nature and sunlight!

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  7. i love this piece.

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  8. Hi Dayna,
    I don't know how I feel about this post. I mean it is beautifully written and provides interesting information but I don't know how I feel about fasting. I always thought it was a bad thing to do to your body but you are sending out a different opinion and knowledge. I'm the wellness ambassador at my workplace and have surprisingly never heard of "Ayurveda" bit you can be sure that I will research it more profoundly. I underatand it has been arounf for 3000 years and this makes it very interesting. I did the test as you recommended and my score was... really close to each other like 28-34-38. So apparently I'm Kapha-Pitta. I'll have to read more into what that means or says about me. Thank you for introducing me to this and for educating me on another wellness method.

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  9. Very well written piece and quite informative. Never heard of Ayurveda before but as a wellness ambassador, I will definitely look into it and share with my followers. Thanks for the link to the test. My score was really close by 38-34-28 = Kapha-Pitta. I don't know what that says about me but I will soon find out. Thank you

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  10. interesting post---i've done the master cleanse multiple times and felt a lot of clarity (as well as the downsides of irritability, etc) but long term, i've been told that fasting actually makes my metabolism slower because it feels it needs to hoard. so idk, can you speak to how it boosts your metabolism? i'd like to do fasting again but don't want to make my metabolism worse lol

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  11. I am an APP on top of an LMT and can't recommend Polarity Therapy enough as well! It really does balance out your sublet energetic systems based around Ayurvedic medicine.

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By Dayna Frazer

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