The Power of Fasting

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Starting in the fall of 2012, my dad’s health began a rapid descent. It started when he fell in the garage of his building, and doctors later discovered that he had a heart attack which caused him to briefly lose consciousness. The fall, heart attack, and resulting week-long hospital stay significantly weakened him.

He fell again at the start of the New Year and broke his hip. He wound up back in the hospital and had hip replacement surgery. When he woke up in the recovery room, he was completely deaf. He was already deaf in one ear and had substantial hearing loss in the other before surgery. Now he had no hearing at all. And to make matters worse, something about his broken hip and the surgery exacerbated his emerging memory loss.

Over the next nine weeks, he would bounce between rehab centers, hospital rooms, and various levels of intensive care. Among other things, he contracted a MRSA infection, developed a stage four bedsore near his tailbone, had a pulmonary embolism, had extremely poor vision, and was in a highly weakened state. He was in bad shape.

Parallel to these events, my daughter was accepted to three fashion design schools in New York City, and it appeared she would be moving to either Manhattan or Brooklyn. I had never imagined her living somewhere like that, and I was repulsed at the thought of her living in one of the funky dorm rooms we had seen during tours of each college.

For some reason, my dad’s illness and my daughter’s looming departure got me thinking more seriously about fasting. I already had experience with the “spiritual discipline” of fasting. I attended an overly Old Testament-focused church during my late twenties and early thirties, and we observed the Day of Atonement, which requires 24 hours of fasting. They also encouraged people to fast more frequently as a spiritual exercise, so I did it two or three times every year.

Something gave me a sense that I would draw closer to God and gain spiritual and physical strength if I fasted more often, but I couldn’t really articulate it. So, I prayed about it. I asked God to show me if He wanted me to fast more frequently and, if so, how He wanted me to do it.

Not long after I began praying, I stumbled across a PBS special called Eat, Fast, and Live Longer in my cable programming guide.[1] I thought, That sounds interesting, and I programmed my DVR to record it when it came on. A couple of weeks later, coincidentally at the end of a day-long fast, I plunked myself down in front of the TV and scrolled through the programs I had recorded. I saw the show on fasting, which, frankly, I had forgotten I had recorded. I hit the play button, and what I saw was pretty striking.

The host of the program, Michael Moseley, is a former medical doctor (M.D.) who now produces documentaries. His wife is a practicing M.D. Michael began the program by interviewing a 101-year-old Punjabi man running the London Marathon. The man has never had surgery, doesn’t take medication, and is incredibly fit for his age. Michael asked him through an interpreter what he did that made him so healthy and vigorous for his age. The man responded that all he does is limit his food intake. He said that in poor countries people starve to death, and in rich countries people die of overeating.

The program then shifted to the United States. Michael noted that from 1929 to 1933, the life expectancy of Americans increased by six years, a significant statistical change. This was during the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl period when food was in short supply. Michael wondered if some form of voluntary caloric restriction could have benefits for people in Western cultures. The answer, he would discover, is yes.

The remainder of the documentary featured interviews with leading researchers who have discovered a number of amazing benefits to periodic fasting. One of the more profound discoveries is that fasting lowers the level of a growth hormone called insulin-like growth factor one (IFG-1) in our blood, which in turn significantly lowers the likelihood of developing illnesses like heart disease and cancer. Other research indicates that fasting causes brain cells to regenerate, and studies done at Cornell University found that severely restricting the food intake of mice leads them to live significantly longer.

After considering a number of fasting regimens, Michael began an informal experiment where he fasted two days per week for five weeks. On each fast day, he restricted his eating to one meal consisting of 600 or fewer calories. He also wasn’t terribly rigid about which days he fasted, allowing himself to vary those days each week.

At the end of his five-week trial, Michael had lost over twelve pounds, which seemed to make him a touch giddy. He also mailed a blood sample to one of the researchers (a professor from the Washington University School of Medicine) who had examined him at the beginning of his research, and the professor reported back that Michael’s bloodwork had dramatically improved. He said the fasting had made a great impact on his cardio/metabolic health. Michael’s IGF-1, glucose level, and cholesterol all made significant improvements. The Professor said his glucose improvement was “fantastic.” He concluded that Michael had lowered his risk of developing illnesses like heart disease and cancer in just five weeks.

At the end of the documentary, Michael was shown introspectively looking out at his back yard. It seemed as if his experiences had filled him with a sense of hope and wonder. He concluded by saying, “The results have been absolutely fantastic for me… I plan to go on [fasting]… Fasting is the first thing I have come across that I genuinely believe that if people were to take it up it could radically transform the nation’s health. I hope we continue to see massive research going into this territory. Doing this fasting has been one of the most interesting, no, I say the most interesting sort of journey/film that I have been on, and I have never said that before.”[2] (Emphasis mine.)

Fasting in the Bible

I have counted 55 passages in the Bible that mention fasting or describe stories of fasting. Thirty-nine of these can be found in the Old Testament where fasting was commanded on the Day of Atonement;[3] used to petition God for something;[4] sometimes done while mourning;[5] done as an expression of humility, confession, and repentance before God;[6] and was something two of the greatest Old Testament prophets did for 40 days.[7] God even rewarded a very wicked person for fasting when he delayed destroying King Ahab’s family until after the King was dead.[8] It almost always involved no food or drink whatsoever.

Sixteen fast-related passages are in the New Testament. The very first thing that Jesus did after He was baptized was fast. This is recorded in three of the Gospels.[9] Out of all the things He could have done at the start of His earthly ministry, and as He prepared for His encounter with Satan, He was led by God’s Spirit to fast. This is remarkable.

Jesus also talked of fasting as if it would be a given in a Christian’s life. He said His followers would fast after He was gone,[10] and gave instructions for what to do when they fasted.[11] Fasting was the thing that the Apostle Paul and other early church leaders were doing when they were directed by God’s Spirit to send Paul on his first major mission trip.[12] This trip played a major role in the initial spread of Christianity. A few years prior to this, Paul also fasted when he was blinded for three days while traveling to Damascus, and his sight was restored at the end of the fast.[13]

In one Gospel story, the disciples urged Jesus to eat while He was waiting for people as they streamed out of the village of Sychar to meet him. He responded by saying, “I have food you don’t know about… My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work.”[14] I believe this is a story about fasting and about getting our priorities straight when we are confronted with an opportunity to share or display the Gospel. Jesus knew there was a group of people coming to hear His words of life. It was not a time for grabbing a bite to eat.

Fasting was something that was done under serious circumstances and carried supernatural power. It only makes sense that God would build supernatural health benefits into it. In his book, A Hunger for God, John Piper notes that it’s apple pie rather than poison that keeps us from developing a desire for God.[15] He uses one of Jesus’ parables to make his point:

Jesus replied with this story: “A man prepared a great feast and sent out many invitations. When the banquet was ready, he sent his servant to tell the guests, ‘Come, the banquet is ready.’ But they all began making excuses. One said, ‘I have just bought a field and must inspect it. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I have just bought five pairs of oxen, and I want to try them out. Please excuse me.’ Another said, ‘I just got married, so I can’t come.’”[16]

This story is just as relevant now as it was when Jesus told it. All you have to do is substitute a Lexus for newly bought oxen, or a finished basement for a field. The point is, it was good things that kept people from the banquet. Piper writes, “The greatest adversary of love [for] God is not his enemies but his gifts.”[17] One of those gifts is food, and we have become absolutely obsessed with it in wealthy countries. We seem to live to eat rather than eat to live.

In the parable cited above, Jesus later says, “none of those I first invited will get even the smallest taste of my banquet.” These are sobering words. We need to take a hard look at our lives and ask what good things have come to interfere with our relationship with God.

My Experience

After praying about fasting, watching Michael Moseley’s documentary, and reading John Piper’s book, I felt led to fast every three days. I ate nothing and drank only water up until dinner on the fast days. I ate dinner between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.

The purpose of each fast was to declare that I desired a relationship with God, and the return of his Son, so much that I was willing to periodically deny myself a good thing like food. As a result, I focused more on prayer and Bible study on fast days than I did on non-fast days.

I first decided to fast like this for a year, but soon felt led to do it for three years. At the time of this blog post (May 2022), I have been doing it for nine years and have no plans to stop.

Besides the primary benefit of my increased focus on God, I also experienced some amazing health benefits. Prior to my divorce, I typically weighed between 188 and 190 pounds, and I reached 200 pounds on one occasion. I also swam a mile-and-a-half two or three times a week, and often went skating for two hours at a time with my daughter. I thought I was in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, though, I seemed to always be sick. I would get four or five colds per year, every year.

As my fasting stretched out over months and years, a funny thing happened. I stopped getting sick. At the time I began writing this chapter, I had contracted one single cold in four-and-a-half years. Also, my weight dropped to 165 pounds with no changes to my diet. (It had already dropped about ten pounds after my divorce, but before I began fasting). At this weight, I’m right in the middle of the normal BMI range for my height. Furthermore, my weight loss was achieved even though I had to stop swimming due to an arm injury.

At one point during my fasting, I went for a physical exam for the first time in four years. My doctor at first seemed oddly bothered with how I looked. When I pointed out where I was on the BMI scale, he simply shook his head and said, “I guess I just don’t ever see anyone like you these days.” Isn’t that amazing? I thought. We don’t even know what normal weight looks like in America anymore. At the end of the day, my lab results were excellent, and I was given a clean bill of health.

Benefits

According to one physician, “Fasting is unquestionably, without any micro doubt, the most profoundly powerful metabolic intervention you can possibly do.”[18] Another healthcare professional calls fasting a “miracle” and “God’s original medicine.”[19] These are pretty bold words.

What would lead someone to make such statements? Well, it turns out that there is a great deal of research and evidence demonstrating the amazing benefits of fasting. These benefits include the acceleration of the process whereby our bodies move from burning sugar to burning fat for fuel, the stimulation process known as autophagy whereby the body cleans up and recycles unused and damaged cells for nourishment, and the promotion of stem cell growth when we start feeding again following a fast. These things are incredibly important in the fight against disease and obesity.

One prominent expert on fasting is Dr. Valter Longo, the Director of USC’s Longevity Institute and one of the researchers featured in Michael Moseley’s Eat, Fast, and Live Longer documentary. His research over three decades into how people can live longer and healthier lives (i.e., longevity research) led him to discover the many benefits of fasting.

Some time ago it occurred to Dr. Longo that when we cut ourselves our bodies beautifully and naturally repair the damage. This made him wonder if there are internal mechanisms that do the same thing and he soon discovered that fasting provides a signal to our internal bodies to fix what needs to be fixed.

He likens the processes of autophagy and stem cell production during and after a fast to a wood-burning train that runs out of fuel in between stations. The engineers move throughout the train gathering damaged components to burn until the train arrives at the next station where it can get more fuel and be rebuilt.

Longo has studied the effect of fasting on bacteria, yeast, worms, mice, and humans. In numerous studies, he and other researchers have discovered that when you periodically restrict nutrient intake, organisms become highly protected against toxins and live longer, healthier, less disease-prone lives. He has also done research on fasting and the prevention and treatment of cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, and cardiovascular disease.[20]

Longo stresses the combination of proper diet and calorie restriction. To that end, he has developed both a longevity diet that helps people eat properly and a fast-mimicking diet (FMD) that enables people to periodically restrict their caloric intake in a way that tricks their body into thinking it’s completely fasting.

His longevity diet consists of carbs from legumes, whole grains, and vegetables; proteins from plant-based sources (versus animal-based sources); and certain types of fish. Dr. Longo calls it a pescatarian diet and says it’s a mistake to either summarily dismiss or promote all proteins, fats, or carbs. All of them are good and important if consumed in the right type and quantity.

Dr. Longo’s FMD is called ProLon and is intended for people who have not been diagnosed with significant disease, like cancer. He has also developed a version of the FMD called Chemolieve designed specifically for cancer patients. As of late 2018, over 20,000 had used FMDs, mostly in an attempt to improve health and extend life.[21]

The potential of the Chemolieve FMD coupled with chemotherapy is particularly tantalizing. In his book entitled The Longevity Diet, Dr. Longo writes, “If you starve a cancer patient before injecting chemotherapy, normal cells will respond by putting up a defensive shield. But the cancer cells will… remain vulnerable.”[22] Longo cites the “stunning” results of a study on mice with lung cancer where 65% of mice on a combination of chemo and fasting lived while all of the mice on chemotherapy alone died. (Emphasis mine.) While early results on humans are promising they are admittedly limited and anecdotal, and more formal studies are underway.

Dr. Longo marvels that in the United States, where so many people are obese, we continue to hear talk about the necessity of eating five or six meals per day. He believes we are in an eating epidemic — one that prevents our bodies from ever entering the natural healing mode that periodic calorie restriction triggers.

One of my favorite things about Dr. Longo is that he’s working to develop alternative prevention and treatment techniques in harmony with conventional research institutions and hospitals (instead of hurling insults at them). Even cooler, he is plowing profits from his book and ProLon/Chemolieve sales into a nonprofit he created (www.createcures.org) to pay for critical yet underfunded research.

Another expert on fasting who came to his understanding via a somewhat circuitous route is Dr. Jason Fung. Jason is a practicing physician specializing in nephrology (i.e., kidney care and treatment). Years ago, Dr. Fung grew disheartened watching his late-stage diabetes patients become increasingly obese, take more and more meds, suffer heart attacks and strokes, and eventually die. He also realized that he had been practicing medicine as symptom management rather than understanding and correcting the root causes of disease. He began to question popular beliefs and treatments while searching for the actual cause of diabetes. He began to think seriously about fasting after hearing a friend share the benefits of a digestive system cleanse she had done. (He admits that he initially rolled his eyes and thought it was a stupid idea when he first heard her story.)

Jason’s research and work with his patients have led him to conclude that type-2 diabetes is a disease of insulin resistance (which results in too much blood sugar), not a disease of abnormal blood glucose levels as popularly believed. Overeating and a slowing metabolism are not caused by obesity but actually the cause of obesity. He also concluded that low-fat, calorie-restricted diets are fairly useless and that low-carbohydrate diets are quite effective in the treatment of insulin resistance and obesity.

In response to these discoveries, he developed the Intensive Dietary Management (IDM) treatment program that controls insulin through a combination of proper diet and fasting. As of late-2016, Jason had placed well over 1,000 diabetic patients on various fasting regimens and has seen more than fifty percent of them stop taking their insulin within three months.[23] These are remarkable results. These patients also lost considerable amounts of weight.

In his book entitled The Obesity Code, Jason describes what fasting is, discusses its benefits, and addresses some of the myths surrounding it. Here are some abridged highlights.

  • Fasting is extremely healthy for you.
  • A fast is simply when a person stops consuming all calorie-containing foods and beverages.
  • Hunger is not persistent during fasting but instead comes in waves that typically subside after the first two or three days of a prolonged fast.
  • Fasting is not starvation. Starvation is not knowing when you’ll eat again. Fasting is voluntarily choosing not to eat and when to do so.
  • Your body does not go into starvation mode and hang onto fat while fasting. Instead, your body switches from burning sugar to burning fat which leads to weight loss.
  • It can take as long as 200 days before you burn all your fat stores. Only when these stores are exhausted will your body burn muscle, so concerns about muscle loss are unjustified.
  • Basal metabolism actually rises while fasting and many people report having more energy during a fast.
  • People save lots of time while fasting because they don’t have to get, prepare, eat, and clean up after meals. Some people go as far as to say that fasting greatly simplifies their lives.
  • Exercise is encouraged during fasting. The body does not need food for energy to work out. Rather, the liver provides energy through gluconeogenesis.
  • People typically perform at a higher mental level while fasting. Great thinkers like Plato, Socrates, and Pythagoras were said to have fasted for prolonged periods to improve their mental performance, and Pythagoras had his students fast before entering his classes.
  • Fasting lowers insulin and blood sugars more powerfully than anything else. Given insulin’s central role in regulating body weight, this is hugely beneficial. When you don’t eat, your blood sugar goes down and you lose weight. Period.
  • Fasting is the simplest way to improve your health. It costs nothing, takes no time, requires little planning, and you can combine it with any diet.
  • When you eat, you tell your body to store fat. You need periods to let your body digest food.
  • Successful fasting is intermittent because our lives are intermittent.

A few words about the most common types of fasting are in order. The first is known as time-restricted eating or time-restricted feeding. This involves restricting the window of time during which you eat every day. Most authorities on fasting agree that we should have at least a 12-hour period of fasting every day that includes our time sleeping.

A number of healthcare providers are helping their patients realize the benefits of such a simple action. One example comes from Dr. Julie Wei-Shatzel, an osteopathic family medicine practitioner in California. In an interview for the 2016 documentary entitled Fasting, Dr. Wei-Shatzel talks about seeing many of her pre-diabetic patients completely reverse hyperglycemia, lose weight, and get off their meds simply by restricting when they eat each day. She discovered that when they eat the same number of calories they normally eat while restricting the timeframe when they eat them, they become leaner. The documentary includes interviews with some of her delighted patients sharing their experiences with time-restricted eating.

It’s worth noting that there is some debate regarding the optimal upper bound on the amount of time a person should fast each day. While some people fast for 16 or 18 hours per day, and others eat only one meal per day, Dr. Longo recommends that we fast between 12 and 13 hours per day. He says studies suggest that people who skip breakfast tend to have higher mortality and more cardiovascular disease.[24] People who regularly fast for 13 or more hours per day have also been shown to experience a much higher incidence of gallstone formation.[25] For whatever reason, breakfast appears to be a good thing.

A second type of fasting is called intermittent fasting. This typically involves consuming only water or a very low number of calories for a period lasting less than 24 hours and following that with one-to-three days of normal eating. This is the type of fasting I started back in the Spring of 2013, with some variations, and have continued doing ever since.

Dr. Fung utilizes this type of fasting quite frequently with his patients. In the Fasting documentary he describes its power saying, “What we’re doing here is reversing all of type 2 diabetes and all its downstream complications with fasting.”[26] He talked about patients returning to him with incredible success stories after they start fasting and how many of his patients are no longer classified as diabetic.

The producers of the documentary also interviewed a woman named Megan Ramos who worked with Jason for 17 years. She spoke about the heartbreak of watching their diabetic patients suffer, decline, and die. She also watched her grandmother die from diabetes and her mother struggle with it.

Megan herself was diagnosed with borderline diabetes several years ago and said it was scarier than a previous cancer diagnosis. She felt, “At least with cancer there’s a shot. With diabetes, it’s a death sentence. And it’s a long, painful, slow, and progressive death sentence.”[27]

Megan herself started intermittent fasting about six years ago. Within six months her hemoglobin a1c dropped dramatically (from 6.4% to 4.6%) and she healed from both fatty liver disease and polycystic ovary syndrome. Her appreciation of the power of fasting was palpable when she spoke.

At one point, Dr. Fung noted that back in the 1970s people ate lots white bread, ice cream, and Oreo cookies, yet there was very little obesity. Today, obesity is a national crisis. He posits that what changed between now and then is that we are now eating far more frequently throughout each day and that this has made us far fatter. This lends support to the importance of giving our bodies a break from eating as we discussed with time-restricted eating.

In his closing comments in the documentary, Dr. Fung marvels at the power of fasting to get rid of all the costs associated with diabetes — the cost of surgeries, hospital stays, medicines, treating heart attacks and strokes, nursing care, nursing home stays, etc. He calls it mind blowing that we could get rid of all these costs for free, saving a staggering amount of money across our economy.

A third type of fasting is called long-term fasting or periodic fasting (water only). This involves two or more days of fasting followed by at least a week of regular eating. I was surprised to find out that there are numerous clinics that treat people using various long-term fasting techniques, including a clinic in central Russia that claims remarkable results. The Goryachinsk sanatorium has been operating in central Russia for the past 17 years and was featured in the 2016 documentary entitled The Science of Fasting.[28] They claim that over ten thousand patients have followed courses of fasting in the treatment of diabetes, asthma, hypertension, rheumatism, allergies, and other ailments. They also claim that nearly two-thirds of participants saw their symptoms disappear after one or more courses of fasting.

The clinic was the result of 40 years of prior Soviet scientific research on the benefits of fasting in the treatment of mental disorders (like schizophrenia, depression, phobias, and obsessive conditions) and physical disorders (like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer). The Russian Academy of Sciences published much of this data with the intent of integrating fasting with public health policy. Unfortunately, these publications have never been translated to English.

Of course, there are clinics in the U.S., some focusing on long-term, water-only fasting, and others focusing on things like juice fasting. Some of the success stories of the people who visit these clinics are amazing, like that of a woman who was able to stop 16 years of extreme, incessant headaches brought about by a car accident through two 40-day fasts separated by six months. If you’d like to learn more about people’s experiences, please check out the documentaries and books referenced in this section.

Potential dangers

There is a great deal of resistance to fasting in Western culture. It seems we’ve become so dependent on the rich and addictive foods that are so readily and abundantly available, that we simply can’t break free. There are elements of gluttony and selfishness at work as well. This leads people to come up with all sorts of excuses for why they don’t fast. My favorite example was when someone told me that he didn’t have the time to do it. What an embarrassing comment. When you fast, you end up with way more time on your hands because you don’t have to find, buy, transport, prepare, eat, and clean up from meals.

One concern that obviously merits consideration, though, is safety. In defense of fasting’s safety, one researcher recently shared the results of a year-long review of fasting literature that uncovered prolonged fasts ranging from 49 to 392 days, and none of which had ill effects on the subjects.[29] This reminded me of an article I read in New York Magazine about four men from rival gangs in California’s Pelican Bay State Prison. The men organized a hunger strike to protest the inhuman conditions they were experiencing in solitary confinement. They were joined by 33,000 other prisons (a quarter of the entire California prison population!) on the first day of their hunger strike. Over 10,000 inmates were still fasting on the third day, and 69 were fasting after 40 days. In the end, the four men reached a total of 59 days without food.

Only one person died who was fasting, and it’s believed he committed suicide by strangling himself for reasons other than the fast. Even more amazing was how the inmates felt during much of the fast. While they were lethargic at first, they entered a state after several days where they were “suddenly chatty and energized,” often experiencing “pockets of brilliant clarity.”[30] Admittedly, the inmates that went deep into the fast eventually became cold and lost energy, but the main point is that they survived and even thrived much of the time during the hunger strike.

While I have never fasted for extended periods of time like this, I did embark on a three-day fast shortly after an ultrasound confirmed the presence of a mass in my ex-wife’s (Diane) pancreas. I drank only water and ate nothing for 73 hours. I had never done a fast longer than 36 hours prior to this.

There were a few surprises — all good. First, I only felt hungry once during those three days, and that was for a short period of time on the second day. Second, my energy level felt fine during the entire experience except for a short period of time on the third day when I felt a little weak. I laid down briefly and then I was fine. Finally, I’m convinced that God blessed this act of worship and sacrifice in many ways, including a dramatic deepening of my relationship with Diane.

Of course, like anything else related to our health, fasting can be done wrong and pose a threat. Researchers and doctors like Valter Longo and Jason Fung all urge people to embark on long-term fasting programs only under professional supervision.

The Fasting documentary spent time interviewing two people who suffered ill effects from improper fasting. One was a young bulimic woman with a combination of psychological, health, and past addiction issues. She embarked on a 45-day fast at what turned out to be a second-rate clinic in Canada. Three weeks into her fast, several people in her group began to suffer various ill effects from the poor water supply at the center. She herself became sick after ignoring a powerful urge she had to end the fast. Her story involves a toxic blend of extreme, unhealthy, and stubborn behavior on her part with a poorly managed program and clinic. She admitted the role that her poor decisions played in her experience and, surprisingly, has since been able to strike a healthier balance with fasting by honoring common sense boundaries.

Dr. Longo speaks often about issues like these. He notes that a lot of people are improvising with fasting and warns that fasting and feeding cycles are very powerful — even more powerful than potent combinations of drugs. When you eliminate doctors, dieticians, and other professionals, he says, you’re putting yourself in a dangerous position. He also notes that many ill effects from long-term fasting may not manifest themselves for a long time, like the gallbladder, cardiovascular, and mortality issues associated with over-restricting your feeding every day.

Once again, make sure you get some sort of reputable, professional advice and supervision before deciding to embark on an extended fast, especially if you are on medications and/or are already fighting a particular illness.

Conclusions

Arnold Ehret, who lived in the 1800s, completed numerous long-term fasts and wrote extensively on detoxification, fasting, and longevity. Ehret called fasting, “nature’s only, universal and omnipotent remedy of healing.”[31] He noted that humans are the sickest animals on earth and, unlike other animals, consume far more food than we need. He believed we are literally dying from the energy required to digest the excessive food we eat — even eating while sick when every other species fasts.

As we’ve already seen, Jesus kicked off His ministry with a 40-day fast. When tempted by the devil to turn a stone into bread, Jesus refused while quoting the Bible. Jesus, in a sense, passed a food test. Unfortunately, the vast majority of Christians and non-Christians fail this test. Most of the time when I mention fasting, I’m met with either resistance or indifference. People don’t want to give up their food for a moment, and are obsessed with its pleasures, as evidenced by the proliferation of food channels on TV, gourmet food stores, and our growing waistlines. We seem to be gluttons through and through.

At the start of a documentary called Fasting, one person said, “We’re looking for the quick fix, we’re looking for that magic bullet [to address what ails us]. Fasting is probably as close to an easy, simple, free magic bullet that ever existed.”[32]

I couldn’t agree more and urge readers to think and pray about this.

FOOTNOTES:

[1] As of 10/25/19, see https://vimeo.com/259080453.

[2] As of 10/25/19, see https://vimeo.com/259080453, 56:30 to 58:20.

[3] Leviticus 16:29–31, Numbers 29:7.

[4] Judges 20:26, 2 Samuel 12:16–23, 1 Kings 21:25–29, 2 Chronicles 20:3. Esther 4:3,15–16, Ezra 8:21–23, Psalm 35:13, Daniel 9:3, and Jonah 3:5.

[5] 2 Samuel 1:12, Ezra 10:6, Nehemiah 1:3–7.

[6] 1 Samuel 7:6, Nehemiah 9:1–3.

[7] Exodus 24:18, Exodus 34:28, Deuteronomy 9:9–18, 1 Kings 19:8.

[8] 1 Kings 21:25–29.

[9] Matthew 4:2, Mark 1:12–13, Luke 4:1–2.

[10] Mark 2:20, Matthew 9:14–15, Luke 5:33–35.

[11] Matthew 6:16–18.

[12] Acts 13:2.

[13] Acts 9:9.

[14] John 4:31–34.

[15] A Hunger for God, John Piper, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 1997, page 14.

[16] Luke 14:16–20.

[17] A Hunger for God, John Piper, Crossway Books, Wheaton, IL, 1997, page 14.

[18] The Most Important Steps You Need to Take if You Have Cancer, presentation by Dr. Joseph Mercola at the 2017 Truth About Cancer conference in Orlando, FL.

[19] Fasting, the Healing Miracle! presentation by Dr. Edward Group at the 2017 Truth About Cancer conference in Orlando, FL.

[20] Information on the work of Dr. Longo and other researchers/doctors can be found in the following resources: The Longevity Diet, Valter Longo, PhD, 2018, Avery/Penguin Random House, New York, NY.; Impact of intermittent fasting on health and disease processes, Mark P. Mattson, Valter D. Longo, and Michelle Harvie, Elsevier B.V., October 2016; Fasting, circadian rhythms, and time restricted feeding in healthy lifespan, Valter D. Longo and Satchidananda Panda, Cell Metabolism, June 2017.

[21] Why the fasting mimicking diet increases your health and longevity, Ari Whitten interview of Valter Longo, The Energy Blueprint Podcast, February 17, 2018.

[22] The Longevity Diet, Valter Longo, PhD, 2018, Avery/Penguin Random House, New York, NY, page 119.

[23] The Obesity Code, Jason Fung, MD, 2016, Greystone Books Ltd., Vancouver, BC Canada, page viii.

[24] Dr. Valter Longo Explains the Longevity Diet that Mimicks Fasting, CBN News interview, February 2018. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLLIt4mahKY, 3:50 mark.

[25] Dr. Valter Longo Interview On Fasting + Low-Protein Diets, Interview with Whitney E. RD, TBD. See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sqqi0eyq9yc, 12:25 mark.

[26] Fasting documentary, directed by Doug Orchard, Doug Orchard Films, LLC, 2017, 26:05 mark.

[27] Ibid, 34:45 mark.

[28] The Science of Fasting, directed by Sylvie Gilman and Thierry de Lestrade, Arte France studio, 2016.

[29] Fasting, the Healing Miracle presentation by Dr. Edward Group at the 2017 Truth About Cancer conference.

[30] The Plot From Solitary, Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New York Magazine, February 26, 2014.

[31] The Mucusless Diet Healing System, Arnold Ehret, 1994, Ehret Literature Publishing Company, Inc., Ardsley, NY, page 142. See: http://www.truthseekerz.com/Arnold_Mucusless_Diet.pdf for a PDF version of the book. Available as of 10/26/19.

[32] Fasting documentary, directed by Doug Orchard, Doug Orchard Films, LLC, 2017. See www.fastingmovie.com.

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Ed Melick is a grace evangelist, author, radio show/podcast producer and host, and consultant. More information on him can be found at www.edmelick.com.

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Ed Melick

Ed Melick

Ed Melick is a grace evangelist, author, radio show/podcast producer and host, and consultant. More information on him can be found at www.edmelick.com.

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