I began intermittent fasting after reading Elijah Muhammad’s “How to Eat to Live”, in which he details the importance of ‘eating to live instead of living to eat’. It wasn’t my first time encountering the phrase ‘eating to live instead of living to eat’, meaning that we should seek to eat to sustain ourselves nutritionally instead of having our lives revolve around eating for the sake of eating. However, “How to Eat to Live”, makes a compelling argument as to the spiritual importance of being conscious of the foods that we consume.
Elijah Muhammad explains that Americans typically eat 3+ meals a day, out of habit instead of necessity. He further explains that the marketing industry has a vested interest in keeping the American consumer eating highly addictive over-processed foods.
The latest social media craze over the Popeyes chicken sandwich is proof of the advertising industries ability to whip the American public into a frenzy. The typical American lifestyle is rather sedentary and should incorporate fasting in order to maintain optimal health. Engaging in any type of fasting helps to cut the addiction to food and constant eating. Beyond intermittent fasting, Elijah Muhammad also stresses the importance of cooking our own natural un-processed foods — while also being careful to avoid any fried, sugary foods.
When I first began fasting, I noticed that I wasn’t typically hungry in the morning but I had been forcing myself to eat breakfast because I’ve always heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. After a few months of fasting, I also noticed a significant increase in my overall energy levels and decreased appetite. I would typically consume my first meal of the day, anywhere between 2:00pm to 6:00pm, my body quickly adjusted to this type of intermittent fasting and I rarely experienced hunger prior to 5pm.
I eventually went back to a less rigid dietary schedule but the mental and physical effects of my time intermittent fasting have been long-lasting. Eating during a 4–6 hour time frame while abstaining from certain foods, required a deeper level of physical discipline and discernment.
I believe that fasting can create a bridge to higher levels of spiritual discipline and discernment. Of course, a bridge is just a means of getting from one place to another, the destination is entirely up to the traveler.