Ekadashi Healing Fasting: Basic Principles and Benefits for the Body

Recently, Yulia Vysotskaya admitted that she periodically sits down for therapeutic fasting – Ekadashi. She refuses food on the eleventh day after the full moon and thereby maintains slimness. Fasting is usually observed by Hindus, but among the followers of Ekadashi there are people who are far from religion, who want to improve health and raise immunity. Let’s talk about the basics of this interesting food system.

The eleventh day after the full moon and new moon in the Hindu calendar is called Ekadashi, which means “eleven” in Sanskrit. It is believed that fasting these days is especially beneficial for achieving ideal health.

Ekadashi falls on the 11th and 26th days of the lunar calendar, when the moon is closest to the earth. Lunar energy purifies all water on the planet, and since we are 80% water, the process of purification also affects the human body. On the days of the lunar Ekadashi, the cells of the body are renewed, toxins are eliminated and the level of energy increases, but this is only if we abstain from heavy foods – meat, fish, eggs and legumes. – explains the astrologer Igor Latyshko.

Some people fast completely on water or dry, and this fast is considered particularly effective.

For ordinary people, Ekadashi can become a fasting day, during which the body rests from digesting heavy food and gains strength.

Forbidden foods (Ekadashi without extreme)

The “light” version does not imply a total rejection of food, but the observance of certain rules. Among the prohibited foods are meat, fish, eggs and all legumes, except for buckwheat, which is not considered grain from the point of view of Ayurveda. For strict ascetics, spices in powders are also unacceptable. Banned sesame, honey, eggplant, onion, garlic, sea salt and mustard. Many fear that soy lecithin is added to dairy products, butter and vegetable oil and do not report it on the label, therefore, a ban on milk and butter is being extended among Hare Krishnas. In addition, it is recommended to take food no more than twice a day, ideally once.

Who shouldn’t go hungry?

The benefits of fasting (most often – interval fasting) are written a lot and beautifully, with links to various sources. However, doctors warn of the possible side effects of fasting.

Who is absolutely not allowed to starve:

suffering from chronic diseases of the cardiovascular system;

people with diabetes mellitus (both types);

people with chronic diseases of the gastrointestinal tract;

during an exacerbation of any chronic disease;

during the period of acute infectious diseases;

in the presence of oncological diseases;

people with a tendency to hypotension (low blood pressure);

people taking certain medications on an ongoing basis;

with a lack of weight;

people with Eating Disorders (Eating Disorders) in the past;

children, adolescents and the elderly;

planning pregnancy, pregnant and lactating;


women with a history of amenorrhea (absence of menstruation).

Side effects

Elena Volodkina, gastroenterologist, nutritionist at the Aging Control clinic of aesthetic medicine, notes that such fasting can be justified if a person has pancreatic diseases, and even then without giving up water.

If the patient has diseases of the stomach, gallbladder, liver, kidneys, articular apparatus, blood coagulation system, then this type of food can be dangerous, – the expert notes.

Refusal to eat and water can provoke an exacerbation of hyperacid gastritis, congestion in the gallbladder. The complete exclusion of water is fraught with thickening of the blood and an increased risk of thrombus formation; for the cartilaginous tissue, it is also important to have a sufficient supply of fluid into the body. Fasting for weight loss also has its own nuances: due to refusal of food and water, muscle mass is lost, and when returning to the previous diet, fat mass is gained (if there is a muscle deficiency).

If a person is absolutely healthy, then he may not notice the obvious negative consequences with a short fast, but with regular practice, adverse consequences are possible, – the doctor concluded.

What are the possible side effects of fasting, even short-term (up to 24 hours), even the now popular interval option?

Calorie deficit

The most obvious is a deficiency in calories, macronutrients (proteins, fats and carbohydrates) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals).

The human body is designed as dependent on the intake of almost all nutrients from the outside – this is our given, our necessity, something that can be denied, but it is quite difficult to ignore without harm to health. If you do not get protein and a number of vitamins and minerals for at least a day, you are already setting the stage for the development of deficiencies of these substances. Of course, in conditions of a lack of energy, the process of losing weight, longed for by many, is launched, but at what cost! – notes Maria Gerasimova, nutritionist of the #ZOZH healthy fast food delivery team.

Development of various eating disorders

Even intermittent fasting and fasting days can trigger a variety of eating disorders.

If, after “unloading” or fasting, the appetite has become uncontrollable or you are trying to eat “for future use” in advance, this is the first alarm bell against this approach, – the nutritionist warns.

“Weight swing”

Fasting to get slim is not a good idea. Remember the increase in appetite after fasting or fasting days? Most likely, this increased appetite will sooner or later provoke a food breakdown (one-time or a series of breakdowns), and against the background of overeating, the dropped kilograms will return with interest.

Deterioration in body quality

If you try to lose weight with fasting for a long enough time and each time fall into the trap of a breakdown and weight swing, this will inevitably affect the quality of your skin. At the time of fasting, in a calorie deficit, we lose muscle mass. To compensate, after a breakdown and overeating, we gain weight due to adipose tissue. Thus, the percentage of adipose tissue increases from cycle to cycle. According to the expert, because of this, cellulite (if it was before) becomes more noticeable. Also, a decrease in muscle tissue contributes to an overall decrease in tone and decreased performance.

Delay or stop of the menstrual cycle

Alas, this is not a sign of total cleansing (as orthodox supporters of enlightenment through fasting sometimes think). This is a sign of malnutrition and extreme stress. Fasting is an unfavorable signal for the body, and therefore functions that are not directly related to survival are temporarily reduced,– notes Maria Gerasimova.

Worsening stress

An attempt to “cleanse and unload” by starvation after heavy meals will not give the desired result – on the contrary, it will aggravate an already unfavorable state. If the body is already under stress, coping with the consequences of an abundant (or poor-quality) meal, then you should not finish it off by starvation.

Fasting does not “cleanse” non-existent toxins – this is a big myth and delusion of the supporters of alternative medicine. Our kidneys and liver cope with the function of detoxification with a bang. The main thing is to start eating in moderation and in a balanced way.

5 expert tips to help you get started:

1. Be attentive to your body, eat strictly according to hunger, distinguish hunger from appetite – this is the best prevention of overeating.

2. Eat at least 5 servings of vegetables and fruits a day (or ½ of your standard plate at each meal) – this will help reduce calories without counting calories and weighing, providing the necessary amount of vitamins and dietary fiber.

3. Limit the amount of added sugar (all sugars, all sugary syrups and honey are included) to 30 grams per day (or 6 teaspoons). Avoid store-bought baked goods and industrial sweets, sugary drinks, and other foods with added sugars. Reading labels can also help you reduce your sugar intake.

4. Opt for homemade food – you can choose what quality foods go to your plate, as well as significantly reduce the amount of saturated fat and salt in your diet. Remember that for the average person there are no unambiguously good or bad foods: balance and moderate consumption are important.

5. Do not forget about sufficient physical activity and sleep – these are also the most important points in our health. But here it is important to note that moderate physical activity is needed, reduce the usual load by at least 50%. But you can and should rest longer than usual.

If you really want to try fasting, do it carefully and carefully. Do not fast for more than 24 hours in a row. Remember to drink plenty of fluids during the fast. In case of unbearable hunger, eat – have food always ready (but not sweet). If the physical condition worsens, you need to return to your usual diet.

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