Since the days of Kemet our Ancestors knew that the human body and the soul were both connected. They knew that the body was both a reflection of – and a gateway to – the higher self.
Thus, an Initiate that seeks to transcend their physical limitations must possess a body free of toxins and blockages.
We live in a different world than our Ancestors did. We eat western diets that are high in sugar and processed foods – both of which have been linked to depression and other mental illnesses. We breathe in industrial chemicals, and put cancer causing soaps and lotions on our skin. Even the water that comes out of our faucets can be dangerous.
In a world filled with GMOs, industrial pollution, sugar packed beverages, and lead laced water, how do you free your body of all these toxins and blockages? By giving your body the chance to detoxify itself and rebuild its defense systems through fasting.
Detoxification is your body’s process of eliminating toxins that you eat, drink, and breathe through your colon, liver, kidneys, lungs, lymph nodes, and skin.
Fasting gives your organs the time and energy they need to repair themselves and clear existing toxins that may be backed up in your system.
What Happens When You Fast
A fast officially starts after 8 hours of no food or carbohydrate intake. After about 8 hours of fasting, the liver will use the last of its glucose reserves.
At this point, insulin levels in the body decrease and the body enters into a state called gluconeogenesis – marking the body’s transition into fasting mode. (Source)
Here are a few positive things that happen when you fast.
Your Body Flushes Harmful Cells
Autophagy is a natural process that your body uses to rid itself of unneeded, damaged, or harmful cells when you fast. Typically, autophagy begins anywhere from 36 to 72 hours into a fast.
The good thing about this process is that it allows your body to regenerate newer, healthier cells by flushing out or eating the old ones. In fact, the word ‘autophagy’ translates as ‘self-eating’ (“Auto” means self and “phagy” means to eat).
Autophagy has been shown to decrease the risks of dementia, cancer, as well as other age-related diseases. Thats because “Autophagy declines as we age, so this means cells that no longer work or may do harm are allowed to multiply, which is the MO of cancer cells,” explains Scott Keatley, RD, CDN and founder of Keatley Medical Nutrition Therapy.
You Feel Better And Think More Clearly
If you can get past the first 48 hours of a fast, your body will start to adapt by releasing feel-good chemicals like adrenaline, norepinephrine and dopamine.
These chemicals make you feel more alert and give you an overall feeling of euphoria and well being.
If thats not good enough, fasting helps your brain function more effectively.
“Intermittent metabolic switching… may optimize brain function and resilience throughout the lifespan, with a focus on the neuronal circuits involved in cognition and mood. “
Personally, fasting has improved my focus and productivity. When my body uses energy to digest food, that leaves less energy for my brain. But when I fast I notice that I am able to think more clearly. I also find that I am able to truly observe the world around me with a focus that I dont have during my non-fasted states.
Your Metabolism Changes
Metabolism is a process that all living things go through to convert food into energy.
When your body isnt breaking down food to use as energy, it breaks down fat. That process – called ketosis – increases your metabolism by 3.6-14% (Source). And with no carbohydrates coming in, the body creates its own glucose using mainly fat.
If you are concerned about losing muscle mass while fasting, dont be. Peter Attia is the Founder of Attia Medical, PC, a medical practice with offices in San Diego and New York City, focusing on the applied science of longevity. Here is what he had to say:
Fasting increases the production of ketones…and this may spare the body’s protein from oxidation… But how can you synthesize muscle protein if you’re fasting?
During fasting, insulin and glucose plummet while counter-regulatory hormones increase (e.g., growth hormone, adrenaline), setting up a milieu that favors fat-oxidation and enhanced autophagy.
The bottom line is that when you fast your body burns fat, preserves and even creates new muscle, flushes itself of dead cells, and gives you the mental clarity and focus that you need on your spiritual path.
Why We Fast During The Full Moon
There are two reasons why we fast during full moons: to mark the end of an old cycle, and to achieve maat with Yah and Ra.
1. Full moons mark the end of an old cycle and the beginning of a new one.
In Kemetic Science, the beginning of the lunar cycle was considered to be the new moon, and it ended with the moment of the full Moon. The end of each cycle gives us the opportunity to cleanse our bodies and our souls of the toxins and pain accumulated over the previous cycle. We do that by fasting.
And in Yoruba religions the following is said:
‘Emotional cycles, the waters, the tides, the liquids in nature and the body, the Blood, that they all change like the phases of the Moon. That’s why in traditional cultures like the Yoruba or native America the woman says “I am in my Moon”
– TATA “A”, Emissary of Oduduwa.
So although our use of the moon in ifa is symbolic, studies have shown that the cycles of the moon have a measurable impact on our physical worlds. It is well known that ‘around each full moon, the sun, Earth, and moon arrange themselves more or less along a line in space. Then the pull on the tides increases, because the gravity of the sun reinforces the moon’s gravity. In fact, the height of the average solar tide is about 50 percent of the average lunar tide.’ (Source)
And in the world of the living, a woman’s menstrual cycle – her cycle of renewal – takes place with the same frequency as the cycles of the moon (28 days and 29.5 days respectively).
So just as the Earth, Moon, and Sun are in perfect alignment during the full moon, we bring our bodies back into alignment during this phase with fasting. By releasing the toxins of the previous cycle, we then create conditions for new growth as we transition into a new cycle.
2. Full moons bathe us in auspicious energy
Our Shepsu in Kemet referred to the sun as Ra and the moon as Yah. They believed that it was possible to ‘see with the eyes of God’ if one was able to align oneself with the energies of both the sun and the moon. This belief was reflected in the story of the Ausarian Drama.
Today, we are re-learning what our Ancestors knew back then. When the earth, moon, and sun line up—which happens at times of full moon or new moon—the lunar and solar tides reinforce each other, leading to more extreme tides, called spring tides.
This high energy day is said to reset the glandular system and metabolism. Your glandular system secretes your hormones. It is what in the most technical sense, creates our emotions. The adrenal glands are a part of this system which govern our motivations, impulses, metabolism, sleep, sex drive, menstruation, elimination and tissue repair.
But more deeply, it bathes us in the energies of both the sun and the moon in ways that don’t occur on any other day of the month.
How To Fast
To know and not to do is to not yet know – African Proverb
Now that you know why you should practice fasting, here is how to prepare for your fast, what to do during your fast, and how to transition out of your fast.
There are a few mental and physical tools that you will need to fast successfully. Many of our Initiates fail because they do not properly prepare, and they break their fast in the first few hours.
If you mentally brace yourself for the first two days – if you can ride out day one and day two – you will likely make it through a longer fast. And I am not going to lie – the first two days are hell. Your body and brain will beg for carbohydrates, sugar, and the feeling of a stretched belly.
That’s because your stomach releases ghrelin – a hormone that makes you feel hungry. It’s secreted in greater amounts when your stomach is in a non-stretched state. The hormone drops off after about 48 hours and the feel good hormones we talked about above kick in.
While you wait for the hunger to pass, you need to have the following items on hand that you will lean on. Here is your shopping list.
Stock Up On African Teas
Buy enough to make about 5 cups a day.
You will be carrying tea with you everywhere you go, so make sure you have a reliable, spill proof tea tumbler.
Avoid containers made with BPA or other harmful chemicals.
Have Coconut Oil Extract On Hand
You cant just buy any oil – you need medium-chain triglyceride oil that is extracted from coconuts. Here is what MCT oil will do for you during your fast:
- Curb hunger pains
- Boost your energy
- Regulate your blood sugar levels
- Enhance your brain function
I take MCT oil every morning before I start writing long, detailed articles like this. It is a natural way for me to boost my performance, and you will notice the same during your fast. Here are my recommendations.
Use Spices, Acids, and Vinegars
Apple cider vinegar, lemons, turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and other spices for your tea are highly suggested.
Protect Your Peace From The People Around You
Finally, prepare the people around you. Let them know you will be fasting and to respect your boundaries.
If you dont want to tell them you are fasting then let them know you will be taking some personal development days to recharge yourself.
Anyone who supports you is worth keeping in your life, and you should re-assess your relationship with anyone who tries to distract you.
Remember that fasting is about cleansing. And that includes relationships.
Suggested Daily Routines During Your Fast
Here is your daily routine for your fast. Even if you work long hours, you will still be able to follow this routine.
By day 3 you might even notice an increase in your work performance or your parental duties!
Start each morning by taking two tablespoons of MCT oil. That is all you need to do with the oil during the fast. The oil is tasteless and odorless, so you can also mix it in with your drinks.
Speaking of drinks, prepare your tea for the entire day. Have some in your tumbler ready to go. Drink however much you like during your morning routine.
You can flavor your coffee and tea with spices like turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger, but not sugars, honeys, syrups, or milks of any kind. Vanilla extract is fine.
It is also important to get outside during that first day and expose yourself to the rays of the rising sun.
Even if you plan on going right back to bed, this ritual is important for establishing alignment with nature and your internal rhythms.
During The Day
Go about your day as you normally would. Instead of focusing on the fact that you are fasting, focus on your performance during the day. If your hunger pains become noticeable, sip tea.
You may find that you are more sensitive to the energies of the people around you when you fast, so be firm with your boundaries and avoid people who ‘dont feel right’. Trust your perceptions.
Keep drinking your teas if you like, and add an apple cider vinegar drink to the mix before you go to bed.
Once your day is over, meditate, reflect, read, pray, and wrap up your day with a ‘detox bath’. Bathing in epsom salt and other bath blends will draw toxins out of your body.
You may feel light headed once your bath is done, so go to bed and let the Ancestors work on you in your dream state.
What To Avoid During Your Fast
Solid Food, Sugars, and Milk
No smoothies. No milk. No solid food whatsoever. And no carbohydrates – that includes honey, sugar, syrup of any kind, fruit juice, or vegetable juice.
You might find yourself more sensitive to the energies of other people during your fast. You are also more impressionable when you fast, so avoid negative people, negative situations, and negative discussions.
If serious discussions need to be had, inform the concerned parties that you will spend time thinking about the issue and get back to them after your fast is over.
During your fast avoid television, youtube, advertising, music with lyrics, and social media at all costs. Instead, use your fast as a reason to catch up on your reading.
Toxins include the items that you put on your body as well as in your body. Avoid lotions, soaps, and hygiene products that might contain harmful chemicals.
How To Break Your Fast
By the end of your fast you may feel so good that you want to keep going. But if you are ready to break your fast, then transition with life-affirming foods.
Don’t ruin your high by heading to the buffet or ‘treating yourself’ to a greasy cheeseburger, slice of cake, or soda.
You will vomit. Ask me how I know.
Breaking your fast with foods that are especially high in fat, sugar, or even fiber can be difficult for your body to digest, leading to sugar crashes, bloating, nausea, irritability, and discomfort.
Even high-fiber raw produce, nuts, and seeds may be difficult to digest. Start slow and listen to your body.
Below are a few examples of what to eat to break your fast.
- Smoothies. Now you can have your smoothies
- Soups. Soups that contain protein and easily digestible carbs, such as lentils, tofu, or pasta, can gently break a fast. Avoid soups made with heavy cream or a large amount of high-fiber, raw vegetables.
- Vegetables. Cooked, soft, starchy vegetables like potatoes can be good food options when breaking a fast.
- Healthy fats. Foods like eggs or avocados can be great first foods to eat after a fast.
Keep taking your MCT oil in the morning and apple cider vinegar at night. Make it a habit.
Each member of our organization participates in a 3 day fast once per month and a 5 day fast at the end of each season.
Fasting is not an interruption to your life, and it is not a chore. It is an opportunity to reflect, recharge, and renew.
It is a time of self care that will give your body the chance to heal and perform even better than it did before.