Support for Hunger Strikers

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Gandhi fasting at Rajkot

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As a medical  doctor, Ayurvedic practitioner and someone who has done fasts before, I'm offering this blog entry especially for the dear daughters and sons, sisters and brothers in Bahrain, as well as for everyone who is non-violently protesting injustice through hunger strike. Don't hesitate to tweet, DM or email if you need specific guidance for your situation. It's the least I can do!

During your hunger strike
Conserve your energy! Talking can be exhausting, so limit your conversations to gain the endurance to fast longer. Fasting plus silence is a powerful statement.  

Also limit your EMF exposure by staying away from the computer as much as possible. if you have a support person, it's better if they tweet or blog on your behalf.

Stay away from the sight and smell of food. Exposure to food smells can cause you to secrete digestive juices which could lead to ulcers.

Drink according to thirst. Drinking too much water may lead to hyponatraemia (low sodium) causing dizziness and feeble pulse.

Do not smoke. Smoking while fasting could cause severe ulcers and other digestive disturbances.

It is not recommended for nursing mothers to fast, therefore, if nursing please be extremely cautious!

After four days of fasting you may start to gain energy from subtle sources. To support this, prayers, quiet wasifas, mantras, arrow prayers etc.  according to your faith tradition is good. Strolling very gently and exposure to fresh air, running water and nature also support energy if your situation permits this.

Breaking your Fast
There are two systems for fast-breaking, the Nature Cure system and the Ayurvedic system. I have had good success with both.  If you typically have difficulty with grains (common mostly in Northern and Eastern Europeans), use the Nature Cure system. Otherwise you can use either method according to availability and your needs.

Ayurvedic System:
1. For each four days that you fasted, take one day of only vegetable broth.
2. Next day: Cook rice or barley in eight parts water to one part grain for several hours and then drink only the broth and discard the grain.
3. The following day, cook rice or barley in four parts of water until very soft and eat all of it, broth and grain.
4. The next day, use the same recipe but either substitute chicken or meat broth for some of the water or add lentils or mung beans to the mix (half as much lentils as grain). DO NOT use large beans or chickpeas which are hard to digest.
Do this for a day and a half before step 5.
5. Cook rice or barley with two parts water.
6. Repeat step 5 adding either chicken or meat broth or lentils or mung beans and some ground cumin.
7. Start adding cooked vegetables and slowly add one more food a day until your normal diet is resumed.

To support digestive fire
Eat half-stomach i.e. stop when you feel you could eat as much again. This will build up digestion.
Make tea from cumin, coriander and fennel seeds, one third teaspoon of each per cup. Boil until seeds sink, strain and drink.
Grate fresh ginger, add a little salt, squeeze on some lemon or lime juice. Take half a teaspoon of this mixture five minutes before eating.

Nature Cure Method
1. Break fast with vegetable broth. Gandhi used orange juice but veg broth is safer.
2 .For each four days of fasting, take one day of vegetable juices. This requires a juicer. If you don't have a juicer, keep doing veg broth.
3. Start well steamed veggies, one veggie at a time. Do this for two days.
4. Add fruits, one fruit at a time.
 Then start the grains in similar fashion to Ayurvedic method.

Troubleshooting
1. Hyponatraemia: If you have developed symptoms of low sodium includiong dizziness and feeble pulse, then when breaking your fast, when thirsty drink oral rehydrationfluid instead of water.

one level teaspoon of salt
eight level teaspoons of sugar
one litre of clean drinking water

2. Hypocalcaemia: If you have developed symptoms of low calcium such as muscle aches, jitteryness, confusion, tremors,  hand spasms, tingling sensations ,slow or irregular pulse, you should take a liquid cal-mag supplement if available. 

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Alakananda Ma published on April 21, 2011 7:24 PM.

Violence has many faces was the previous entry in this blog.

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