Duan Shi (simplified Chinese: 断食; traditional Chinese: 斷食; pinyin: duàn shí; English: “Fasting”) is a Taoist practice which generally refers to “no intake of food, particularly grain-based diet”. It is a Taoist belief that such a diet provides food source to three kinds of worms commonly found in the human body that give rise to evil desires. To overcome this, Taoists embrace Fasting to curtail these worms’ food chain and cleanse their body as part of Taoist practice to strengthen their body and mind, a realm as observed by ancient Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi in his literature Zhuangzi •Wandering in Absolute Freedom.
Reducing intake of food and liquid helps stimulate potential energy of the human body. Take army as an analogy. In an army, soldiers must keep up stringent military exercise to stay competent; conversely, it will not withstand its enemy’s blow if the soldiers are slack in training and their weapons are not constantly utilized. In today’s society blessed with comfortable living conditions, many people are overly fed and lack exercise. The result is that they tend to grow unfit and clumsy. Fasting promises to be the best opportunity for these people to regain their health. How? The theory is simply to let our body adjust naturally to the disruption of food and liquid intake during Fasting by burning away excess fat and carbohydrate reserves in the body to churn out the energy required. In their place, Fasting will store up new energy reserves ever ready to improve the body’s immunity system for adverse conditions.
Fasting has the desired balancing effect to keep the body weight within the normal range. In the case of obesity, Fasting triggers the body to burn out excess fat and carbohydrate reserves, which in turn will improve the digestive rate after the cleansing. As a result, the body is able to absorb fresh nutrition much more effectively, thus nursing the underweight body back to normal. Fasting is also able to help regulate the conditions of patients with both high and low blood pressure.
Fasting is able to improve the nervous system, enhance memory, instill patience as well as strengthen learning capability, will power and level of confidence. At the advanced stage, Fasting will not only give one the courage and ability to withstand any temptation but also get to self-discover his/her own spirituality, lead to enlightenment about the true meaning of Mother Nature and it might even reveal supernatural power of the inner-self!
Fasting is an effective way to cleanse the intestines. According to clinical trial results, normally people who undergo Fasting will still have passing even on the 4th and 5th day of Fasting. Nevertheless, by the 7th day, the intestines will be cleansed. This is why a seven-day Fasting regime is essential to effectively cleansing the intestines, improving the digestive system and thus reducing the risk of falling sick.
It is believed that Fasting has the effect of extending life expectancy. A scientific discovery made by an American nutritionist indicates that mice without food intake for two weeks live twice as long and are less likely to contract cancer.
In conclusion, Fasting leverages on the natural instinct of the human body to neutralize toxins by getting rid of excess fats in the body and toxic solid waste in the intestines, so that everyone is able to properly manage their own health!