5 Ideas for a Healthy Baha’i Fast
We all know that the Baha’i Fast is a very spiritual time. If you didn’t know that, stay calm; there’s time to read up. Abstaining from physical food serves as a reminder for us to abstain from selfish appetites, and ultimately a prayerful fast is what we all strive to achieve.
But the Fast can also pose some practical questions. Are my health concerns a reason to abstain from fasting? What about if I work the night shift? How can I physically prepare for fasting?
Some of these questions are a matter of personal conscience. Since everyone’s circumstances are different, it’s probably best to reach out to a Baha’i institution or medical professional to resolve serious questions.
But for general tips to physically prepare for the Fast, we spoke to Dr. David Letzer from Wisconsin, USA. Check out these five things you can do for healthy fasting.
1. Breakfast is important. Opt for one that’s high in protein or complex carbohydrates. “You should avoid foods considered ‘high glycemic’ that quickly raise sugar levels and quickly drop,” says Letzer. Ahem, we’re looking at you, Cocoa Puffs. He adds, “In addition to eating the right kinds of foods, it’s important to hydrate with water prior to the fasting period.”
2. Love a cup of coffee (or two) each morning? Letzer says caffeine could be problematic during the Fast. That’s because “it acts as a diuretic and can promote the loss of essential water.” And remember how we just mentioned the importance of hydration? In addition, some folks go through caffeine withdrawal, which can cause headaches. “Ideally it is best to reduce caffeine consumption about a week before the Fast begins,” he says.
3. If you exercise, Letzer personally thinks it’s best to do so before breaking your fast at the end of the day.
4. Don’t skimp on sleep. Pretty simple, right?
5. Letzer notes that the best way to approach fasting is in an attitude of prayerfulness, but it’s not a bad idea to consider “eating small amounts and chewing slowly to promote digestion.” And of course, drink fluids.
What do you do to prepare for the Fast?