Thanks for the kind words, Starbright!
Do you suppose, MamaMary, that we’ll both lose ‘merit points’ for cheating on the Friday fast?
There are many people who seem to experience acute somatic and emotional symptoms while ‘fasting’ (e.g., headaches, gastrointestinal problems, lethargy, concentration problems, irritability, nervousness, various aches and pains, insomnia, etc.). Understandably, these individuals often give up ‘fasting’ because the experience is simply too agonizing.
Although I’m NOT a physician, based on personal reading that I’ve done over the years, it’s my belief that the vast majority of these symptoms can probably be attributed to a form of ‘drug’ withdrawal syndrome (Opponent-Process Theory
). Now that I’ve got your attention - let me explain.
Most of us have large amounts of highly-processed foods and refined sugars in our diets. If you start reading food labels, you’ll quickly discover that these are commonplace
. As a recent scientific study (2002) has shown, in many respects, these sugars (and simple carbohydrates) have drug-like effects when withheld during periods of fasting: http://www.princeton.edu/pr/news/02/q2/0620-hoebel.htm
For the more academically-inclined readers, here is the complete published article: http://www.saber.ula.ve/db/ssaber/Edocs ... ittent.pdf
Typically, those individuals who significantly reduce
their overall consumption of refined sugars (and processed/simple carbohydrates) will have the fewest symptomatic problems while ‘fasting.’ Simply stated, reducing the regular intake of any ‘drug’ (e.g., sugar) will also reduce the withdrawal symptoms when it is withheld (as on fast days). Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule... as there may be other causes for the discomfort.
To learn more about the very important differences between simple (processed) and complex (unrefined) carbohydrates, please read this article: http://men.webmd.com/features/sugar-what-kinds-eat-when *
The above is a five-page article. Don't forget to ‘click’ on the page numbers located at the bottom of the article.)
The production and marketing of sugar is a multibillion dollar industry. Increasingly, however, science is beginning to reveal the potential dangers of refined sugars. If you’re not convinced, check this out: http://www.rheumatic.org/sugar.htm
To make ‘fasting’ less agonizing (so that you can also concentrate and pray), try to acquire healthier eating habits during the other six (or five) days of the week. This decisive shift towards a healthier lifestyle can also become a form of sacrifice which is united with the Paschal Mystery of Christ. As well, it represents a commendable effort to be better stewards of our bodies… which are so “fearfully and wonderfully made
” (Psalm 139:14).
Peace & Blessings!
"True holiness does not mean a flight from the world; rather, it lies in the effort to incarnate the Gospel in everyday life, in the family, at school and at work, and in social and political involvement." - Pope John Paul II