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Quotations about Fasting

He who eats until he is sick must fast until he is well. ~English proverb

If thou wouldst preserve a sound body, use fasting and walking; if a healthful soul, fasting and praying; walking exercises the body, praying exercises the soul, fasting cleanses both. ~Francis Quarles

Periodic fasting can help clear up the mind and strengthen the body and the spirit. ~Ezra Taft Benson

When a young man, who has surfeited, in season and out of season, until exhausted nature gives way, and a fever is coming on, the good busy mother is in trouble. She anxiously inquires, "Now, John, what can you eat? You must eat something! People can't live without food!" Then come toast, tea, etc. The stomach is exhausted, and no more needs stimulus or food, than a jaded horse needs the whip! What is needed is rest,—complete rest. Nine tenths of the acute diseases might be prevented, by a few days' starvation, when the first indications appear. I don't mean complete abstinence in every case, but perhaps a piece of coarse bread, with cold water for drink. If such a policy were generally adopted, what ruin would overtake the medical profession! ~Dio Lewis, M.D., Weak Lungs, And How To Make Them Strong, or Diseases of the Organs of the Chest, With Their Home Treatment By the Movement Cure, 1863

There's a hidden sweetness in the stomach's emptiness. We are lutes, no more, no less. If the soundbox is stuffed full of anything, no music. If the brain and the belly are burning clean with fasting, every moment a new song comes out of the fire. The fog clears, and a new energy makes you run up the steps in front of you. ~Rumi, as interpreted by Coleman Barks

Fasting today makes the food good tomorrow. ~German proverb

[T]he importance of fasting treatment has stayed uppermost in my mind... that supreme law of natural medical treatment.... Today, except for some Eastern sects and the small minority who adhere to natural medicine, only the animals obey the paramount rule of Nature in the cure of disease: the domestic animals are generally prevented by man's ignorance, but the wild ones obey. A sick animal retires into a secluded place and fasts until its body is restored to normal. During the fast it partakes only of water and the medicinal herbs which inherited intelligence teaches it instinctively to seek. ~Juliette de Baïracli Levy, The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable

A fast is better than a bad meal. ~Irish proverb

There are some who would be benefited more by abstinence from food for a day or two every week than by any amount of treatment or medical advice. To fast one day a week would be of incalculable benefit to them. ~Ellen Gould White, "Educate the People," 1902

Released from the old daily grind of disposing of three meals, the digestive system learns to use that day of freedom for cleaning out the corners — just as you take occasion to clean out things... What fulness of joy there is in a clean, uncrowded place to live in! How much happier you are when things are clean!... And you will find by careful and persistent experience that a weekly body-cleaning gives far greater returns than an outward house-cleaning... ~Elizabeth Jones Towne, Practical Methods for Self Development, 1904

I was a devil of a scapegrace in my time.... Father racked his head for days together to find a punishment that I should remember; but it was all no good... bread and water was a welcome change to me from the everyday monotony of potatoes and bread-and-butter. After a sound drubbing followed by half a day's fasting, I felt more like laughing than like crying; and, in half a while, all was forgotten and my wickedness began afresh and worse than ever. ~Stijn Streuvels, The Path of Life, translated from West-Flemish by Alexander Teixeira de Mattos

Fasting is an amazing thing.
It gives people heart and soul.
~Rumi, translated by Nevit O. Ergin

      "You must fast!" said Confucius. "Do you know what I mean by fasting? It is not easy. But easy ways do not come from God."
      "Oh," said Yen Hui, "I am used to fasting! At home we were poor. We went for months without wine or meat. That is fasting, is it not?"
      "Well, you can call it 'observing a fast' if you like," said Confucius, "but it is not the fasting of the heart."
      "Tell me, said Yen Hui, "what is fasting of the heart?"
      Confucius replied: "The goal of fasting is inner unity. This means hearing, but not with the ear; hearing, but not with the understanding; hearing with the spirit, with your whole being. The hearing that is only in the ears is one thing. The hearing of the understanding is another. But the hearing of the spirit is not limited to any one faculty, to the ear, or to the mind. Hence it demands the emptiness of all the faculties. And when the faculties are empty, then the whole being listens... Fasting of the heart begets unity and freedom." ~Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu, 1965

To lengthen thy Life, lessen thy Meals. ~Benjamin Franklin, 1733

...happy is he who has fasted in sincerity and truth! Happy he whose humbled heart has expanded in love! ~Alexandre Vinet (1797–1847), "The Fasting God Regards Not," Evangelical Meditation, translated from the French by Edward Masson

Fasting can be used for cleansing the body... It can also be used for separating oneself from the physical aspects of life to concentrate on the spiritual... It entails more than simply not eating. ~Tom Brown, Jr.

Considering the situation and circumstances, the record for the next day, May 29, is one which has a surprise in it for those dull people who think that nothing but medicines and doctors can cure the sick. A little starvation, can really do more for the average sick man than can the best medicines and the best doctors. I do not mean a restricted diet; I mean total abstention from food for one or two days. I speak from experience; starvation has been my cold and fever doctor for fifteen years.... When I wrote an article some months ago urging temporary abstention from food as a remedy for an inactive appetite and for disease, I was accused of jesting, but I was in earnest. 'We are all wonderfully well and strong, comparatively speaking!' On this day the starvation regimen drew its belt a couple of buckle holes tighter: the bread ration was reduced form the usual piece of cracker the size of a silver dollar to the half of that and one meal was abolished from the daily three. This will weaken the men physically, but if there are any diseases of an ordinary sort left in them they will disappear. ~Mark Twain, 1866/1899

Fill up the goblet, and reach to me some!
Drinking makes wise, but dry fasting makes glum....
~William Rounseville Alger, "Wine Song of Kaitmas"

Every healthy man can do without food for two days — but without poetry, never! ~Charles Baudelaire (1821–1867), translated from French

Fasting blinds the body
in order to open the eyes of your soul.
~Rumi, translated by Nevit O. Ergin

Fasting from any nourishment, activity, involvement, or pursuit—for any season—sets the stage for God to appear.... Fasting is not a tool to pry wisdom out of God's hands or to force needed insight about a decision. Fasting is not a tool for gaining discipline or developing piety (whatever that might be). Instead, fasting is the bulimic act of ridding ourselves of our fullness to attune our senses to the mysteries that swirl in and around us. Sometimes God shows up. And sometimes he feeds us. And every now and then he throws his wild glory before us like bursting constellations, and it's all we can do to wait for him to leave, lest we be destroyed in his presence.... Ultimately... I would confess that his bread of bitterness is better than the sweetest fare I have ever tasted. I took and ate, and it was good. ~Dan B. Allender, To Be Told: Know Your Story, Shape Your Future

Use gumption and moderation, and you will gain only good from fasting. ~Elizabeth Jones Towne, Practical Methods for Self Development, 1904

Do not neglect fasting the mind,
and, for you, fasting the flesh,
until you are as fast as the Tameless White Tiger,
lean as Xuan Wu's Snake General,
still and strong as the Black Tortoise,
and worthy of Lao Tzu's wisdom.
~Michael P. Garofalo, “Master Chang's Pepper Talk,” Meetings with Master Chang San-Feng: Poetic Reflections, 2011

Many have been greatly benefited by eating the first meal, breakfast, 3–5 hours after rising, according to their work. ~Evora Bucknum Perkins, The Laurel Health Cookery, 1911

If you want to ascend like the Prophet
to the sky of immortality,
know this very well:
Fasting is your Arabian stallion.
~Rumi, translated by Nevit O. Ergin

Whether the condition is diagnosed as a severe cold, as influenza, or as pneumonia, the first thing that should be done is to stop eating. Absolutely no food, but water, should be allowed to pass the patient's lips until the acute symptoms have subsided. No drugs of any kind should be resorted to. Go to bed and rest. Keep warm. Rest, fasting, warmth, — these are the needs. Have plenty of fresh air in your room. Under these conditions you may lie in bed and get well in a short time with no complications and no sequels.... You don't need treatment. The fever, inflammation, coughing, etc., constitute the healing process. Just get out of their way and permit them to complete their work. Don't try to "aid nature." She doesn't need your puny aid — she only asks that you cease interfering. ~Herbert M. Shelton, Getting Well

After the reader has perused the above let him not excite himself with the thought that the medical profession is on the verge of adopting fasting as a part of their practice. If an occasional medical man adopts fasting, as an occasional one does diet, it does not mean that the profession will do so — at least, not for some time. Why should they resort to fasting while they have sulfa-drugs and penicillin? ~Herbert M. Shelton, Getting Well

See how you feel, and always give in gracefully if that particular day is not your day to fast. ~Mimi Spencer, The FastDiet: Lose Weight, Stay Healthy, and Live Longer with the Simple Secret of Intermittent Fasting (Michael Mosley)

Dieters live life in the fasting lane. ~Author unknown

A fasting belly frees the mind. ~Terri Guillemets, "Clear view," 2010

An overstuffed belly can only speak of food. A fasting belly can speak of health and clarity. ~Terri Guillemets, "To the fullest," 2010

The kitchen of the body darkens
the lives of lovers.
Fasting came to enlighten them.
~Rumi, translated by Nevit O. Ergin

This is how it is when Siddhartha has a goal... His goal attracts him, because he doesn't let anything enter his soul which might oppose the goal... This is what fools call magic and of which they think it would be effected by means of the daemons. Nothing is effected by daemons, there are no daemons. Everyone can perform magic, everyone can reach his goals, if he is able to think, if he is able to wait, if he is able to fast. ~Hermann Hesse, Siddhartha

If you are not satisfied with your physical or mental condition it is always safest, easiest, and least expensive, to fast. ~Elizabeth Jones Towne, Practical Methods for Self Development, 1904 inexperienced heart was stormed. I... for a week or so lived on thought and tea. But who has not fasted thus long when first absorbed by the universal passion! ~"Diary of a Surgeon," in The Library of Fiction, or Family Story-Teller; consisting of Original Tales, Essays, and Sketches of Character, Vol. I, 1836

I can live on a good compliment two weeks with nothing else to eat. ~Mark Twain, 1906

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published 2013 Aug 13
revised 2021 Aug 1
last saved 2023 Aug 15