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GRReporter readers say "Yes" to fasting

20 March 2014 / 18:03:30  GRReporter
2481 reads

The most important Christian holiday, Easter, is coming and on this occasion, we asked you if you observe the fast related to it. The final results of the poll in our three language versions are very interesting.

In the Bulgarian version of our website, the replies are divided into four groups and the results are very similar. 28% of our readers observe the fast because it is healthy, 27% observe the fast during the Holy Week alone, 26% do not observe the fast because they are not religious, and 19% believe that the economic crisis has already reduced the number of meat dishes on our table.

39% of our English speaking readers appreciate the benefits of fasting only in terms of health. 33% believe that fasting is only for religious people and therefore do not observe the fast. 19% of respondents observe the short fast during the Holy Week. It is clear that Europe and America are emerging from the crisis because only 9% define it as a cause for permanent "fasting".

In the Greek version of the website, the results are quite expressive. 52% of readers observe the fast during the Holy Week, which shows how strong Christian traditions are in Bulgaria’s southern neighbour. About 21% of respondents state that the crisis has had a very strong and clear impact on them and has inevitably affected the quality and quantity of the food on their table. Let us recall that unemployment in Greece has recently exceeded 20%, giving rise to protests among the citizens. 17% respond that taking care of their health is a leading factor in their decision to fast and 10% do not observe this religious diet because they do not consider themselves believers.

Envy (the Devil to the right) and overcoming it by fasting and prayer (the angel in the middle), fresco in the church of Chukovets

Except for religious reasons, fasting has its healthy reasons, which are many. From the religious point of view, it is considered that fasting shows the determination of the believer to get closer to God, overcome the temptations of the body and raise his or her spirit. It is believed that fasting is cleansing for the body and the soul. Orthodox Christians fast for 200 days of all the 365 days in a year. Often the fast is not strict, allowing the consumption of fish, dairy products and protein intake of snails and seafood, which are not considered meat.

From a scientific point of view, fasting, particularly in the case of cuisines that use a lot of meat and animal products, has a very positive effect on health too.

The large amount of animal proteins and acids in the food we eat, such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, cheese, yellow cheese, etc. leads to the formation of acids in the body; the stomach, in turn, responds by releasing gastric acid, which also happens when one consumes coffee, alcohol, nicotine, carbonated drinks, coca-cola, refined sugar, sweets, chocolate, stewed fruits, cooked food, etc. In addition, mental factors such as stress, anger, fear, etc. also may lead to overproduction of acids in the stomach. In this case, the body reacts with an unpleasant burning feeling in the stomach, nausea, belching, vomiting, sweat with bad odour, irritability, fatigue, mental malaise. The continuous formation of acids can cause chronic diseases, metabolic disorders, gout, rheumatism, sclerosis, fungal diseases, various inflammations, ulcers, cancer, osteoporosis, bone fragility, headache, migraine, rheumatism, acne and the like. Therefore, it is necessary to restrict the use of foods and carbonated drinks, which lead to the formation of hyperacidity in the stomach.

Human blood is slightly alkaline, its pH values are between 7.35 and 7.45, and it can easily go out of this range. A balanced diet should give priority to alkaline foods in the following ratio: 60%-70% of food must cause an alkaline reaction in the body and 40%-30% have or cause an acidic reaction. I.e. vegetables and fruits prevail in a well balanced diet and therefore, 2/3 of the food on your plate should consist in these and only 1/3 in cereals and meat.

It appears that devotion to fasting and prayer that lead to cleansing the body and reducing stress levels has its basis in the Christian way of life. Whether motivated by religious or health concerns, fasting proves to be very beneficial.

Now, we are awaiting your answers in our new poll: What should the European response to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine be in your opinion?

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