Video:How to Prepare for Yom Kippur Fastingwith Abby Feldman
Fasting during Yom Kippur is a tradition of reconciliation, however it can be intimidating and uncomfortable. Watch this video for tips on how to prepare for Yom Kippur fastingSee Transcript
Transcript:How to Prepare for Yom Kippur Fasting
Hi, I’m Abby for About.com. Fasting is a key component of many religious observations, specifically, the Jewish High Holy Day of Yom Kippur. While its purpose is reconciliation with God, self, and the world around us, many find the process intimidating, uncomfortable, or downright painful. This need not be the case.
By respecting the ritual and observing several simple practices, you can minimize your discomfort and maximize the spiritual benefits of your Yom Kippur fast.
Consult a Doctor if Fasting While Taking Medication
First of all, if you take any prescription medication, talk to your doctor about the safety of fasting and possible need to alter your dosage.
Next, start breaking any bad habits you might have at least two weeks prior to Yom Kippur. Lower the risk of withdrawals by cutting back on caffeine, allowing yourself a minimum of four days without before beginning your fast.
Reduce your consumption of addictive foods, such as those with high amounts of fat, sugar, or salt. You may be tempted to binge your cravings away in the last hours before fasting, but indulging will only make them that much stronger once your stomach starts grumbling.
Stay Hydrating During Yom Kippur
Drink! Dehydration is the primary cause of discomfort during a fast, so prepare your body by increasing the amount of water you drink. Aim for half your body weight in ounces per day, and again, avoid dehydrating caffeinated beverages such as soda, coffee, and tea. Stay on this regimen until the critical day before your fast. Then, drink even more water, but don't overstuff yourself with food.
The body needs fluids to digest large meals, which will leave you more uncomfortable than satisfied the day of the fast. In fact, you'll even want to reduce the amount of protein and fat you eat as the day wears on.
Eat a plethora of complex carbohydrates. Whole-grain pasta, bread, rice, fruits, veggies and beans are great pre-fast foods, as they maintain muscle energy, take longer for your body to process, leaving you feeling satisfied longer, and increase your body’s absorption of water.
Prepare the Final Meal before the Yom Kippur Fast
Most importantly, plan your final pre-fast meal well. Give yourself plenty of time to prepare and eat it before sunset, as rushing often leads to overeating. And again, avoid salt. Focus almost entirely on complex carbs, and only eat until you're full. Contrary to what you might think, overeating will just dehydrate you, stimulate your metabolism, and leave you all the hungrier the day of the fast.
For dessert, have a glass of water or fruit juice, then brush your teeth to fight off the potential bad breath and stale taste of fasting.Take your time cleaning up after the meal, as well as with every task during your fast.
Remember, the meaning of Yom Kippur is reconciliation, not self-punishment. The last thing you want on your mind is your own hungry stomach. With the right preparation, fasting can reunite you with your spiritual self, God, and the world around you. So focus, make the right choices, and enjoy the new found closeness this ancient ritual offers. Thanks for watching. To learn more, visit us on the Web at About.com.