Fasting: How to have a healthier, happier, longer life

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The history of fasting stretches back thousands of years, with all the main spiritual and religious traditions using fasting as a means to cleanse, purify, or reach closer proximity to the divine. Fasting has seen a renaissance in recent years and is supported by an ever growing body of scientific research pointing to a variety of health benefits.

At Sen Wellness we have facilitated hundreds of guests from many different countries and cultures through fasting and detox programmes on retreat with incredible results. Over the years we have observed that overeating and the consumption of certain food types are habitual behaviours. In order to create sustained change, we therefore have to take the time out to stop and become conscious of our eating habits, asking ourselves why we eat the way we do. A dedicated wellness retreat is an ideal space to do this in, but later in the blog we will also share some simple fasting practices for you to experiment with at home.

All of us have experienced feeling lethargic after a heavy meal, or after eating highly processed foods or refined carbohydrates. This is because the body is using a lot of energy to break down our food. In our culture of continuous grazing, we therefore hijack our body’s innate intelligence system which is diverted to the immediate task of digesting food. Witholding food helps the body’s intelligence to kick in, allowing the body to reset and regenerate.

So what exactly happens in the body when we fast? About 12 hours after your last meal, growth hormones start to be released, stimulating fat burning and helping to build muscle. Continuing to fast into 13-15 hours will generate ketones, switching you from burning energy from sugar to burning energy from fat, and stimulating healing in your brain and cells. After 17-18 autophagy kicks in, breaking down toxins and inflammation within your cells.

Three of your major organs – liver, pancreas and intestines – all start repairing at the 24-hour mark, making this a great solution for digestive issues like leaky gut and candida. Serotonin production also increases, and inflammation and blood pressure start to go down. 36-48 hours is the sweet spot for those who want to lose excess weight, as ketone production continues to rise.

Ancient yogis knew these secrets, which is why when they practiced meditation to attain Samadhi, a highly advanced state of consciousness, they restrained from eating for days, weeks, and months at a time.

 

Three fasts you can do at home:

There are different types and levels of fasting. If you are generally healthy, have no diagnosed medical conditions and are not on any medication, then it is safe for you to fast. However, it is not recommended if you have diabetes, are pregnant, breast feeding, or have problems with your blood sugar levels.

Intermittent Fasting

The most common and popular method of fasting is intermittent fasting (IF) and this is also the easiest to maintain as it won’t require you to make drastic changes to your current lifestyle. With IF it is recommended that you eat all of your meals within a six to 10 hour window. The key is giving your body more than 12 hours without food, and as recent research published by Harvard Medical School suggests, to abstain from snacking and not to eat past early evening.

Juice Fasting

Again, this is a popular and effective way of fasting without breaking too much sweat. We recommend consuming three to four vegetable juices throughout the day, and having your last juice at around 3-4pm. If you’ve never done a juice fast before, we recommend trying this once or twice a week for a period of six weeks and then assessing how you feel. For those looking for hard evidence of results, we can arrange ‘before’ and ‘after’ blood tests via our London Clinic. We are also happy to chat to you about incorporating fasting into your lifestyle longer term.

Water Fasting

In our personal experience, a 36-hour water fast is the most effective form of fasting, giving a complete break to the digestive organs, especially your pancreas and liver. If your lifestyle allows, we suggest aiming to do this once a week. This will help your body break down toxins at the celluar level and reduce inflammation in the tissues, which a 24-hour juice fast will not. With time, we recommended continuing to fast for up to 72 hours for even more mental and spiritual clarity. Go gently with reintroducing food after the fast, for example by eating a broth or warm soup before solid food.

 

Fasting and Detox Programmes at the Sanctuary:

At Sen Wellness Sanctuary, we offer a variety of detoxing and fasting programmes under the expert guidance of Dr Waruni, our much loved Resident Ayurvedic Doctor. As well as walking you step-by-step through the technical process,Dr Waruni will also attentively support you with the mental and emotional aspect of your fasting journey.

Both our juice fasting programme and our one-day Ayurvedic cleansing programme are very popular for their impressive results within a short time period. If you are looking to lose weight, reduce cholesterol, or balance your blood sugar levels then we offer highly personalised detox programmes which are tailored for your individual health profile.

We are now offering special discounted rates on all Bespoke and Signature Retreats at Sen Wellness Sanctuary, valid from our reopening in October 2020 until April 2021. There has never been a better time to reap the benefits from fasting! To enquire please email [email protected].

Sam Kankanamge

Sam Kankanamge BSc (Hons) Osteo, DPO, Dip.Acu is an exceptional, world renowned healthcare professional, with over 25 years-experience transforming patients’ health, and has been called ‘the best back specialist in the country’ by The Times (2014).

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Asrar Mousli
Asrar Mousli
10:24 16 Oct 21
My time at Sen was nothing short of transformational. Every day in that sanctuary brought me a new gift, a new truth, or a new opportunity to heal from my pain. It wasn’t always smooth, or necessarily happy, but it was deeply fulfilling to my body, my soul, and my soma. It almost felt like a pilgrimage to nature, to purity. The people I met there, the conversations and rituals we had together, the meals, laughs, and stories we shared, they were life-altering for me. Some of those moments left an impact that is still with me today, two months later. Thank you Sen team for all you have given and done. 🤍
Karin Richter
Karin Richter
04:51 03 Sep 21
I was a part of the Golden Summer Retreat at Senwellnesssanctuary. This has been a very intense experience. The Sanctuary is built within the middle of nature on the lagoon near Tangalle with an outstanding architecture. The whole stuff is perfect working together within their different tasks and does everything for the wellbeeing of the guests. Very soon you don't feel as a guest but more as a member of a loving and caring family. Excellent ayurvedic food, doctor and treatments as a basic for a deep going transformation process with special tools and combination of ongoing steps. A real magic experience within the travel bubble in islandwide lockdown and global pandemic. My deepest gratitude for all the people there which makes this possible
Karin Richter
Karin Richter
12:55 02 Sep 21
I just was part of the Golden Summer Retreat at Sen Wellness. This was a very special and magic experience on an outstanding place in nature with awasome people on a wonderful island. Started with super friendly and caring hotel managing team, best ayurvedic kitchen, doctor and treatments, lovely yoga work and special and carefully developed transformation tools and process. Highly recommend Sen Wellness for a mindful and deep going stay. My deepest thanks for all who created and worked for this space and give their best whatever their task is
Paul Kelly
Paul Kelly
05:34 06 Jul 21
This was my first wellness trip .. and I loved it!Every other holiday I have been on involved drinking and returning to normality feeling worse than I did before I left.After visiting Sen for 2 weeks, I felt brand new.Before leaving I was concerned that I would get bored, but I never did. Just pure peace, relaxation, and contentment, for 2 full weeks.You get so well looked after every day, from the early morning tea wake up call, to your serving of herbal medicine before bed. With plenty of yoga, meditation, and treatments in between.The food is delicious! Clean and fresh. The daily ayurvedic treatments are bliss and the beach is isolated and beautiful, perfect for an afternoon stroll.Thank you to all the staff at Sen for making my stay so worth it. From the management, chefs, cleaners, treatment therapists, yogis, the monk and especially the resident doctor, who put a smile on my face every day!I recommend Sen to anyone that just needs a good break from life. To switch off, refresh and reconnect with yourself. The results are long lasting.Paul.
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Pruz0001 Pruz0001
18:32 24 May 21
Perfect place to truly reset yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. Pricing is very cheap for what they offer - all inclusive food (each meal a symphony!), treatment plan, massages, shirodara, cleansing options, beautiful accommodations, gorgeous secluded beach with turtles, daily herbs per your plan as prescribed, daily yogic practices etc etc. Current is strong so might need to arrange for lifeguard for swimming. I highly recommend this place for tired Europeans and US residents. Yes, even from US, totally worth the loooong flight. If you want to explore the country after quarantine at SenWellness, recommend hiring a private driver guide as public transport is not welcoming tourists per covid.
Trajce Dimkov
Trajce Dimkov
04:33 20 May 21
I spent 2 weeks at Sun Wellness to rest and recharge/detox from the every day life. It was an amazing place.The staff is professional and super helpful. We got delicious food everyday (mostly vegan), and daily support from a doctor that monitored how are we doing.The yoga teacher was also excellent and i enjoyed the 2 sessions we got every day.The massages were the best I got in my life. they really knew the anatomy of the body and focused on the right muscles and pain points. It was a great recovery after the yoga sessions and long beach walks.Finally, the beach is amazing. Its long with kilometers, its sandy, its full with palm trees. And the best part, we saw plenty of giant turtles nesting on the beach and small turtles hatching almost every day.The trip was a great pleasure, and left me refreshed, energized and more mindful. I warmly recommend this place.
Christian Wellinger
Christian Wellinger
07:39 23 Apr 21
I was planning to come there for only one week to start practicing yoga and also to see if ayurvedic treatments were helping me to overcome some of the stress as most people experienced in this Covid period. After only a few days i already felt how the daily practices in Sen Wellness Sanctuary (with daily yoga and meditation classes, ayurvedic treatments and super healthy and natural food) changed my perceptions and helped me to become much more centered and connected with myself again. That is why i extended another week and it was a very good decision to strengthen the skills and way of life which is thaught there. The place is really well made which lots of attention to details and the location at the remote and beautiful Rekawa beach can not be better to get into the vibe and spirit you feel there.Thanks alot to Dr. Sam and the whole staff for this fantastic experience.
Gabrielle Stewart
Gabrielle Stewart
16:58 20 Apr 21
I didn’t think it would be possible to travel somewhere far during this pandemic, let alone feel completely safe, in awe of all the country’s and the sanctuary’s protocols, and their ability to allow you to enter a bubble with a group of fellow retreaters so that for 10 days we completely forgot about the covid world out there. In our little haven between beach and lagoon we healed, relaxed, meditated, swam, did yoga, slept, made life-long friends and found an emotionally safe place to let go, process, feel vulnerable and share much needed laughter. You return home so healthy from the incredible locally sourced foods and the cleansing monitored by an impressive ayurvedic doctor, so at peace... Now the challenge is to use all those new tools we have acquired there and use them in our daily lives to feel happier and more fulfilled in our day to day lives. Thank you to the whole amazing Sen Wellness team. Namaste.
Pawel Marona
Pawel Marona
16:35 18 Apr 21
Amazing place with beautiful people. Delicious food and great, helpful stuff. I've been very satisfied of treatments and whole stay. Really recommend that place!
Mark Ford
Mark Ford
13:21 18 Apr 21
The Sen wellness centre was a refreshing place to find. The current world, post covid climate only served to boost this gem of a (possibly) life changing, experience.Arriving at the centre was a little daunting to start with, people sitting at a large table engaging in lively, upbeat conversations, whilst the newbies sit in partial isolation. A requirement of law to ensure covid safety for all at the centre but a comforting experience none the less.After a day or so of settling in (this being my first experience of such a place), I was blown away by the warmth of the team. All professionalism and smiles, from the doctor to the cleaners, they all made you feel incredibly welcome and special.In turn, this encourages you to be equally open. Not an easy thing for us all to do but once you start, you begin to feel your way and gain in confidence, finding a better you.Then there are the treatments .. I have been a meat eater for 20 years and here I was with no meat, no dairy, no bread and butter and no alcohol, tea or coffee & enjoying it all, looking forward to all meals and often asking for seconds. It’s amazing how one’s pallet can change.Living on a mainly plant based diet took a few days to get used to but my body ended up feeling like it hasn’t done since childhood. Functioning as it should, processing the food easily, no bloating or discomfort and sleeping like a baby in the wonderful surroundings.The diet along with a tailor based health plan of herbal medicine, teas, detoxes, yoga and a general reset have changed the way that I feel and also how I am starting to think.It’s not just the food and the treatments. The energy of the staff and the guests who visit Sen Wellness is heart-warming experience, I cannot recommend it highly enough.I’d also like to thank all those that shared this experience with me .. thank you guys, it was amazing !Take time out of what you consider to be the important things in your life. Take a trip to this centre and find out for yourselves what is really important. Forget the constant consumption that we are fed, as being a necessity to happiness on a daily basis - go and feed your soul, you really will not regret it !
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