Fasting 101 – Dos and Don’ts – The Day of the Fast and After!

Yom Kippur Seal

The Day of the Fast:

  • Avoid wearing clothing that will make you perspire, as this will cause your body to lose water.
  • Try (and it is difficult!) not to talk or think about the food you’ll eat after the fast, as this will cause your body to begin preparing itself for a meal.
  • Take an afternoon nap between prayer services. This will pass some time, and some people also experience a feeling of fullness after a short nap. Admittedly, this is not for everyone as some have the custom not to nap on Yom Kippur.
  • Some people find that sniffing spices such as cinnamon or cloves helps ease the hunger. Again, this is not for everyone as some have the custom not to benefit at all from items such as these on Yom Kippur.

Post-fast . . .

Now comes the easy part, which most of us will have little trouble with! However, there are a few pointers to keep in mind so as not to shock your body back into eating mode.

  • Be sure not to eat food too quickly at the post-fast meal. Begin the break-fast meal with a drink of milk or juice; this puts sugar into the bloodstream and occupies space in the stomach, discouraging you from eating too rapidly.
  • Begin with eating a simple food, such as a piece of honey cake or crackers. It is advisable to wait some time before sitting down for a full meal, in order to give your body a chance to begin digesting foods again. I imagine most people are willing to run the risk of a stomach-ache by eating without delay, but it is still a good idea to keep in mind, even if you postpone your meal by only a few minutes.
  • Drink lots of water, and avoid salty foods, since you will still be a little dehydrated and need to replace your fluids.
  • Many people vote for a dairy meal (i.e.: cream cheese and bagels), as it is lighter on the system.
  • Avoid gorging yourself. The body protects itself from starvation when you are fasting by slowing down the rate at which it burns food. Therefore, the calories you consume right after a fast will stay with you a lot longer than those acquired on a normal basis (sorry!).

Most of all, “!גמר‏ חתימה טובה” or “May You Be Sealed for a Good Year (in the Book of Life)!”

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