I keep trying to simplify my diet and body care practices. Sometimes, they get simplified for me.
Every January, my church participates in a fast (with many options to accommodate lifestyles and health needs). The idea of a fast, is not about going without something so much as making as much room as possible for something that is important. It is also the practice of discipline. I am aware there are a lot of opinions and experiences about fasting (disclaimer: educate yourself and include a healthcare professional in the conversation about your body). When I choose to eliminate a meal, a favorite TV show, etc. it is to use the time and energy I would have spent on that activity in prayer and meditation on the next season of my life.
My experience with fasting is limited since my blood sugar is not always very cooperative. Around the beginning of the fast, my blood sugar became the topic of focus during a visit to my doctor. Concerned about my blood sugar, thyroid, and kidney health, he had me eliminate gluten, caffeine, most dairy, alcohol, and processed sugar for two weeks. Pretty much everything except protein, veggies, and fruit. Caffeine and gluten (okay, and alcohol) were the doozies for me to give up, or “fast”.
That was really hard for me to hear. I already feel like the “health” freak everywhere I go. It was humbling to accept that I needed someone else’s input on my nutrition when I have worked so hard already.
The first two days without caffeine were really rough. Except that I slept really well. And still am! Also, without caffeine, my trips to the restroom decreased significantly. The late afternoon jitters and/or emotional meltdown (i.e. blood sugar crash) significantly decreased. I’ve started recognizing my mind-body cues differently; when the feeling of impending doom starts coming my way around 3:30pm I don’t give into it. I exercise my options to eat something, move around the office, hydrate, etc. If the “dark feeling” still persists, I consider what conflict I may be avoiding…more on that later. I’ve kept the caffeine, gluten, and processed sugar out since they seemed to be the biggest problem for me.
In another area of minimizing, a friend introduced me to the Diva Cup. Bye bye expensive, wasteful tampons! Getting comfortable using it took a few tries, and I’ve kept a few emergency tampons on hand but it certainly streamlined the process of menstruation. I’m not totally comfortable yet using it during rigorous exercise but I’m getting there. Check out this multi-brand review, here.
My church offers a lot of financial planning seminars, so another part of the fast for me included not using credit cards. Turns out I spend a lot less when I have to give up my pretty little cash instead of swiping plastic.
For me, fasting is the difference between thinking about making a change and actually doing it. The de-cluttering of things and practices, creates more room in my life for the things that are important to me. Imagine if politicians “fasted” from name-calling and adhering to party lines; what room could be created in our society for education, healthcare, and the environment, to name a few?