How to Have a Healthy Fast
Many religions incorporate fasting into their traditions. For Catholics around the globe, the season of Lent is the start of a 40 day fasting period. Many Catholics also choose to give up something that they enjoy, such as watching television, going on trips or eating some of their favorite treats in order to remember the suffering that Jesus endured.
Another tradition that is associated with this religious period is refraining from eating meat on Fridays. Some devout Catholics even choose to spend this 40 day period fasting, eating only the bare necessities. Because fasting is such a big focus of Lent, many people who celebrate the season end up eating poorly. Having a poor diet for a 40 day period can end up having a dramatic effect on your overall health. However, there are ways that you can fast and remain healthy.
If you are planning on fasting during Lent, here are some tips to help you make your fast as healthy as possible.
Up Your Protein
If you are eliminating meat from your diet, whether it is just on Ash Wednesday and Fridays throughout the season, or for the entire 40 day period, you should look into upping your protein intake in other ways. Meat is high in protein, which your body needs, and most people get their protein by consuming meat. So, if you reduce your meat intake, you are reducing your protein intake too. So keep yourself healthy by upping your consumption of other protein-rich foods. Non-meat foods that are high in protein include:
- Greek yogurt
If you are going to reduce the amount of meat you eat, replace it with fish. Fish is another great source of protein, in addition to the above-mentioned items, and it also provides a number of other healthy benefits. It’s rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins and nutrients. This is a great time of the year to enjoy the health benefits that fish provides.
You should eat more fruits and veggies when you fast. Instead of eating those unhealthy snacks that you may normally munch on, or eating a meal that is centered on meat, choose veggies. Carrots, broccoli and other raw veggies make a great healthy snack. Vegetables can also be the main ingredient in many of your main dishes. For example, you could try a veggie lasagna, a salad filled with tons of veggies and even fruits and beans, or veggie burgers. Looking for an easy way to make your meals more veggie focused? Try joining a organic produce delivery service like Full Circle.
Another popular food item during the season of Lent is pasta. A meatless dish that is easy to prepare. Pump up the health power by choosing whole grain varieties and by adding some veggies into the mix. A veggie based sauce or veggies sautéed into your pasta dish will make it healthier, and tastier. Try not to go overboard on the pasta intake though as it is high in carbohydrates and may not be the healthiest choice for some metabolisms.
Take more vitamin supplements when you are fasting. A multi-vitamin will replace any vitamins and nutrients that you may be missing from your diet when you eliminate certain types of food.
Just because you are fasting doesn’t mean that you need to be unhealthy. With these suggestions in mind, you can have a healthy and successful fast.
Tara Heath is a freelance writer from California. She has a passion for helping people and currently writes for Presidio Home Care’s Blog as well as other health and wellness sites. In her free time she loves to stay active and hike with friends. Add her as a friend on Facebook or Google+ for tips and such on health.