Dear Hank: Improved health would be a blessing to millions, especially if it marries physical and spiritual well-being with a deeper and more intimate walk with Christ. Please send me the below with my special gift to continue equipping fellow believers to be healthy, fruitful defenders of life and truth:
Eat, Fast, Feast: Heal Your Body While Feeding Your Soul — A Christian Guide to Fasting
by Jay W. Richards, PhD
“New York Times bestselling author Jay W. Richards helps readers revolutionize their physical and spiritual health with a research-backed guide to intermittent fasting. He invites Christians to recover the fasting lifestyle that our spiritual ancestors maintained for over 1,500 years, combining religious heritage with the latest science on fasting for physical wellness. Drawing insights from ketogenic, primal, and fasting-mimicking diets, and from the latest scientific research on fasting, Richards offers a six-week plan, perfect for Advent or Lent, to help modern believers reclaim their spiritual roots and kick-start a healthy lifestyle. The result is a manifesto for the physical, mental, and spiritual benefits of fasting — and a reclamation of a centuries-old practice.”
Fasting for Discipline, Sacrifice, and Holiness
Our plan is designed to ease you into fasting. Still, I doubt you’ll forget that it’s a sacrifice. When you start to
fast, you’ll feel hunger. Let this serve to remind you that one reason you should fast is to discipline your natural
appetites. To overcome temptations and addictions. To put your body’s appetites under the control of your will,
rather than leaving them to habit and autopilot. To become holy.
Diseases of civilization
Periodic fasting, with a feast every so often, mimics this older, natural pattern of switching between fed and fasted
states. It allows us to use both systems. It harnesses our body’s natural design far better than the common modern
diet. The evidence? When we started eating this way, there was a dramatic spike in what some call “diseases of
civilization” — obesity, high blood pressure, insulin resistance, inflammation, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, various
autoimmune disorders, Alzheimer’s, and even epithelial cancers. These diseases are rare in traditional hunter-gatherer
groups, even among the elderly….
With the exception of tooth decay, most of the damage has happened in the last sixty years. It’s gotten worse
in the last forty years, since government started to push high-carb, low-fat diets. Type 2 diabetes used to be called
“adult onset diabetes,” but more and more kids are getting it. Just from 2000 to 2007, diagnoses increased by over 30
percent! And some one in three adults is pre-diabetic….We’re doing something wrong, and the way we eat certainly
plays a role.
Diabetes and obesity
Obesity isn’t merely an aesthetic problem. It’s harmful to our health, especially because of its association with type 2
diabetes. This disease tends to develop only after years of high blood sugar, so the link between it and diet might not
be obvious at first.
There have been cases of obesity and type 2 diabetes throughout history. But they have reached epidemic
numbers in the last few decades, especially in the U.S. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,”
notes a heartbreaking essay in the Huffington Post, “nearly 80 percent of adults and about one-third of children now
meet the clinical definition of overweight or obese. More Americans live with ‘extreme’ obesity than with breast
cancer, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and HIV put together.
I can make you fat
I can make you fat.
Actually, I can make anybody fat. How? By prescribing insulin. It won’t matter that you have willpower, or that you
exercise. It won’t matter what you choose to eat. You will get fat. It’s simply a matter of enough insulin and enough
time. —The Obesity Code, Jason Fung, MD
Fasting isn’t an attack on your body
We all have a mental picture — fed by Hollywood — of a medieval monk, lashing himself to bits. We can see in our
minds his hollow and ashen face, his ribs protruding from his side, his malnourishment, all to “mortify” and subdue
his sinful fl esh. If he succeeds, he will die of hunger or disease, and will finally be free from the prison of his body.
My own mental image is slightly different, but so specific that I was sure it must have been formed from a
movie. Sure enough, I recently stumbled upon the source. In the classic comedy film Monty Python and the Holy
Grail — which I saw several times in junior high and high school — there’s a scene of seven monks wearing dark
brown habits with hood pulled forward to cover their eyes. They are marching slowly through a stereotypical
medieval village, with smoke in the air, hay at their feet, and the lowing of cattle in the background. They are
singing a Gregorian chant, over and over: “Pies Jesu Domine / Dona eis requiem.” “Blessed Lord Jesus, grant them
rest.” And on the last beat of the second line, in unison, they bang themselves on the head with a board!
“I’d hate for others not to find what I found…”
Soon I was experimenting with time-restricted eating, intermittent fasting, the fasting-mimicking diet, alternate-day
fasting, one-meal-a-day (OMAD) fasting, and longer water-only fasts. It wasn’t long before I wondered why Christians
had abandoned this practice.
At first it felt like I was stumbling upon one thing after another. Looking back, though, it seems providential.
I’d hate for others not to find what I found, just because they have not traversed the same twists and turns that slowly
got me to the top of the mountain. So that’s the purpose of the plan that follows: It will allow you to benefit from what
I’ve learned, but to do it in forty-six days rather than twenty-fi ve years. The result, I hope, will be that you are inspired
and assisted to shift to a healthy, permanent, eat-fast-feast lifestyle.