Author: Tallis Shivantar

Diets, fasts and healing injuries for runners

When most people think of diets or fasting, they usually have weight loss in mind.  Even at the best of times this is a dubious practice. Changing the way you eat by reducing calories usually results in the body conserving energy and using calories more efficiently thereafter. Although a more efficient body is generally a healthier body (good!), the problem is that, as a result, many people actually gain weight once they finish their diet or fast (bad!). If you need to lose weight, the healthiest and most sustainable way to achieve this is to move. Get out there and go for a run! If you’re already a runner, this doesn’t mean there isn’t a place for diets or fasting in your life. Far from it! (And this applies both to recreational runners who use movement simply in order to lose weight, as well as to professional athletes.) Besides the fact that a little extra cleansing never hurts :-), diets and fasting provide one of the most effective tools in order to prevent and treat …

Summer smoothie to break a fast

A week ago I used this smoothie to break my 5 day dry fast with 2 day water fast introduction. Normally I prefer to break my fasts with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, but unfortunately orange season has long since past by this point in late summer. With a little inspiration, though, I improvised this recipe instead, based on the following ingredients: Ingredients: 1 summer apple (tart) 1 lemon 1 slice of watermelon 1 slice of fresh ginger 1 sprig of peppermint Apples are a good choice at the end of any fast given how easy they are to digest. They also contain high quantities of malic acid, which both detoxifies the liver as well as softens and dissolves gallstones. While on one of my daily walks, I found an apple tree growing wild in a field, and picked the juiciest looking fruit I could find! I also knew I wanted to involve citrus in the smoothie because the acids help to detox and reawaken the liver after the fast. This time, instead …

Pure and perfect tomato soup to break a fast

This recipe is always a favourite at the end of a fast: warming, comforting and nutritionally perfect, packed with a wide variety of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (such as lycopene, beta-carotene, potassium, Vitamins C and K). It’s so well loved that I found myself with a revolt on my hands at the end of this year’s 7-day fasting retreat, when I couldn’t find enough ripe tomatoes at the market to make this dish! Ripe tomatoes are key in bringing out maximum flavour and texture, so I suggest buying the tomatoes a few days in advance and then either keeping them in the fridge (if already ripe) or setting them in the sun until they reach an ideal condition. I’d also suggest preparing more than one serving at a time, as the soup can be warmed up again later in the day. Ingredients (serves 3): — 12-15 tomatoes (4-5 per serving) — 3 cloves of garlic (1 clove per serving) — olive oil, balsamic vinegar (optional) — NO SALT Preparation: Dice the ripened tomatoes, slice the …

Dry fasting and the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei

One of the most extreme forms of dry fasting concerns the practice of the so-called Marathon Monks (gyoja) of Mt. Hiei, Japan. According to tradition, aspiring Zen Buddhist monks can volunteer to undertake a seven-year challenge which involves completing 1000 marathon and double-marathon runs alone on the sacred mountains surrounding the city of Kyoto. As if this weren’t hard enough in itself, they also survive on a minimum of both sleep and calories. Through the rigours of their training and the thousands of hours spent running in solitude along forest paths, the Marathon Monks hope to find enlightenment. In typical Japanese fashion, failure is not an option. Each monk carries a symbolic rope and dagger with him at all times. If, for any reason, he is unable to complete one of his runs, suicide by either hanging or disembowelment is the only honourable option. Each year, training takes place in a 100- or 200-day season in which the monk must complete a rugged course varying between 30km and 84km. There are no rest days and …

Dry fasting

When you tell most people you’re thinking of doing a dry fast – that is, a fast in which you eat or drink nothing at all – they think you’re crazy.  That either you’re a crazy religious fanatic.  Or that you’re just crazy-crazy, with a tendency towards suicide.  Here in the modern world, we’re conditioned to believe that fasting without water is plain and simple stupid, if not dangerous, with little or no possible health benefits. I week ago I might have said the same thing. Like everyone else, I had formed a judgement not based on knowledge and experience but upon ignorance and fear.  This fear is ingrained at the very heart of our modern consumer society.  Consume, consume, consume: this includes the ‘need’ to eat and drink almost constantly, as much as the ‘need’ to go shopping and travel on expensive holidays.  We are like the “hungry ghosts” described in Tibetan Buddhism: insatiable beings with huge mouths, constantly trying to fulfil our inner needs through devouring the outside world…  Modern consumer society conditions …

Juice fasting

If you don’t feel ready to try out water fasting, then juice fasting is a great place to start.  Otherwise known as a “juice diet”, it involves the elimination of solid food from your daily consumption.  In other words, instead of eating and drinking, you only drink. Beyond this single restriction, the possibilities of how to juice-fast are virtually endless.  Fundamentally, though, there are two basic categories: juices based on fruits or those based on vegetables. If you’ve never tried a juice fast before, you’ll probably find it easier to begin with fruit juices, given that the high sugar content will provide your body with plenty of calories to get through the day.  In fact, you may well find that you have more energy than usual!  Consequently, it’s no problem to live on a fruit diet while continuing your usual life and work.  The only complaint about fruit-juice fasts tends to be that people sometimes find it too acidic on the stomach.  Often, though, this occurs because the stomach itself is chronically over-stressed through eating …

Intestinal wash as preparation

What on earth does an intestinal wash have to do with water fasting? In one sense, nothing. But… after you get over the shock of it :-), there are certainly good reasons to contemplate such a cleanse before undertaking a water fast, especially in the case of a fast lasting more than a day or two.  The sad fact is that most people’s bowels are covered with a sticky, tarry muck called mucoid plaque, which interferes with the absorption of nutrients through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, as well as providing a perfect breeding ground for harmful bacteria.  (According to an old saying, ‘all illness begins in the gut.’  Mucoid plaque is one reason why.)  Gradually hardening into a black rubbery substance glued to the intestinal wall, it can accumulate over the years in increasingly thick layers, to the point that it can even begin to obstruct the flow of food.  It’s also one reason why so many people develop beer bellies as they grow older.  People often carry around literally kilograms of …

Intermittent fasting

If a one-day water fast feels too frightening, beyond reach, that’s totally okay.  Today in the modern world many people feel the same.  Rather than pushing yourself into something you’re not ready for, intermittent fasting is a less extreme, more easily achievable goal – and it still offers significant health benefits over the long term. Intermittent fasting consists of simply extending the natural fast you undertake each and every day: the one between dinner and break-fast.  By lengthening the time without food from around 12 hours each night to 16 hours, you allow your entire digestive system to rest more fully.  This is time during which it can regenerate, time in which your whole body can begin to heal – especially given that you’ll be asleep and in ‘healing mode’ anyway during much of this time. Intermittent fasting is something which works best when done everyday: something which is built into your daily schedule.  In order to reach a daily fast of 16 hours (that is, restricting your eating within an eight-hour timeframe), most people …

5 day dry fast with 2 day introductory water fast

The following article outlines the experience of my first 5-day dry fast. I do not recommend such a long dry fast to anyone, unless they already have plenty of experience with both 7-day water fasts as well as 3-day dry fasts!   A fast has been in the air for a while now. First, my last multi-day fast took place already half a year ago, and my body’s been asking for some general cleansing over the last month or two. Second, and more specifically, I’ve had nagging and quite severe tendonitis in my wrists since last autumn. (Too much bad typing technique on the laptop, combined with way too much heavy DIY building work last summer!) I wanted to spend some time dealing with this, especially because I feel as though the chronic inflammation in my wrists is slowly seeping out and spreading an underlying inflammation into the rest of my body. Why a 5-day dry fast? And why precede this immediately with 2 days of water fasting? In an ideal world, the best thing …

Physical and spiritual cleansing: from fear to love

Does the thought of water fasting frighten you? It’s completely natural to feel fear before and even during your first few water fasts.  After all, unlike our ancestors, you’ve probably never gone without food for more than a few hours, let alone a few days.  Food is comfort.  Food is pleasure.  And yes, food is addiction.  Taking away food means taking away your emotional foundation.  It means living on your own two feet, without anything to lean on. Is it worth it? Absolutely!  Water fasting causes the deepest cleansing both physically to your body, as well as spiritually to your consciousness.  Nothing else can heal every cell of your being to the same degree. This isn’t always an easy process to begin with.  Just as the emotional tension of everyday life creates tension and pain in the physical body, the opposite also happens – and so the physical detoxification of a water fast can also catalyze an emotional detoxification, especially during your first few water fasts.  What does this mean?  Just as physical detoxification can …