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Lent is good for the body and soul, and the Earth as well!

Once,I visited one of our employees who was not able to report for work as he had been stricken by flu. He was in their barracks, asleep. And when I asked him if he had taken any medicine or if he had eaten anything, his polite answer was: “Ok lang ako boss, itutulog ko lang po ito.” To my amazement, he was indeed up and about the next day, as if nothing had happened!

 

It’s quite interesting to know that fasting has a long history as a healing tradition. Hippocrates (460-470 B.C.), considered by many as the father of modern medicine, prescribed fasting as a treatment for many ailments. Plato and Aristotle were also stalwart promoters of fasting. 

 

Dr. Jason Fung, in his recent book, The Obesity Code, says that fasting holds many advantages over traditional diets, not just for weight loss or maintenance, but also for total well-being. These advantages include its simplicity, its cost, its convenience, and most of all its power. He claims that fasting is the most efficient and consistent strategy to decrease insulin levels. 

 

“All foods raise insulin; therefore the most effective method of reducing insulin is to avoid all foods.” (Fung, p. 242). 

 

Regular fasting, by routinely lowering insulin levels, has been shown to significantly improve insulin sensitivity. “This finding is the missing piece in the weightloss puzzle.” (Fung, p. 240).

 

There are other reasons to fast for well-being, beyond weight loss. Some of the benefits of intermittent fasting include increased adrenalin and growth hormone (which helps to maintain muscle and bone tissue), reduced inflammation and triglyceride levels, and improved memory (Fung, p. 241). It may even slow down the aging process!

 

Abstinence or removing meat from one’s diet is beneficial as well. Dozens of medical studies have linked consumption of animal products with elevated risks of heart failure, stroke, cancer, and other killer diseases. Likewise, a United Nations report named meat production as the largest source of greenhouse gases and water pollution. Undercover investigations have documented farm animals routinely caged, crowded, mutilated, and beaten.

 

The good news is that we are all encouraged to fast, especially during Lent (Ash Wednesday and Good Friday), while abstinence is encouraged on all Fridays of the season. Let us rekindle these Roman Catholic Church traditions which are associated with prayer and sacrifice as spiritual disciplines to take away a person’s attachment to the world and focus his attention on God and Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. These are fitting self-preparations before the celebration of Christ’s triumph over sin and death on Easter Sunday, which is the greatest holy day of the Christian year (even above Christmas). 


As Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, “First comes the fast, then comes the feast.”

 

Pero teka muna! Pope Francis says that the purpose of fasting is not just for self-satisfaction. So let us make sure that when we fast and abstain, we fill ourselves with God’s presence, we feed our souls with God’s words and we affix to our palates acts of charity. Happy fasting and abstinence! (Mike Bukuhan, MM Director's Message)

Added on Friday, March 2, 2018


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