FASTING: | Autophagy and Spiritual Enlightenment
There are many types of fasts. Some people abstain from a certain food (like chocolate or coffee). Some eat fruits and vegetables, others may opt for a juice fast. In some cases, it’s not about food. Some people may simply do a ‘digital detox’, eliminating screen time on all their devices (I love this idea!) But for the purposes of this post we’ll be focusing on water fasting.
Something that happens to the body during the absence of food is a process called autophagy. Autophagy literally means self-eating (not in the way you might by thinking).
According to biomedical scientist Dr. Rhonda Patrick, autophagay prevents the formation of senescent cells. This is a process where a damaged cell starts secreting a pro inflammatory substance which creates a snowball effect of making more damaged cells. In essence, too many senescent cells will alter your gene expression, destroy DNA and lead to diseases like cancer. Autophagy eats those bad boys and clears them out. What this means in terms of longevity is pretty impressive:
Prevents neurodegenerative diseases like dementia and alzheimer's
Increased ability to deal with stress
Creates more antioxidants and anti-inflammatories in the body
Creates new brain cells
Activates good gene expression and deactivates bad ones
Releases high levels of epinephrine and norepinephrine
Spiritually, a fast is just as regenerating. Historical figures that have fasted were Daniel, King David, Queen Esther, and of coarse Jesus Christ. The purpose of any spiritual fast is always to draw closer to God for a specific reason. Daniel fasted to set himself apart for God. King David fasted to plead with God on behalf of his sick child. Queen Esther fasted on behalf of a nation and Jesus fasted for preparation of His ministry.
I believe that going without food forces a person to step outside of themselves and any carnal desires they have in order to become sensitive to matters of soul and spirit. Sometimes we can be so conscious of our physical being that we forget (or neglect) our spiritual selves. By pushing the plate away, we become highly aware that there’s more to us than flesh and bones. Here are some spiritual benefits of fasting:
Draw closer to God
Know the will of God
-”I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”- Jesus