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John Oakes

Fast, The

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We fast all the time, even when we're not conscious of doing so. A fast manifests the idea of holding back, resisting the primal impulse to charge ahead. Its flip side is similarly everywhere: call it splurging, self-indulgence or a variant of 'self-care'.

Based on extensive historical, scientific and cultural research and reporting, The Fast illuminates the many facets of this act of self-deprivation. John Oakes interviews doctors, spiritual leaders, activists and others who guide him through this practice - and embarks on fasts of his own - to provide readers curious about fasting with profound new understanding, appreciation and inspiration.

Fasting has become increasingly popular for a variety of reasons - from health advocates who see fasting as a method to lose weight or to detox, to the faithful who fast in prayer, to seekers pursuing mindfulness, to activists using hunger strikes as an effective means of peaceful protest. Whether for philosophical, political or health-related reasons, fasting marks a departure from daily routine and offers a chance to look at things anew.

Fasting involves doing less but doing less in a radical way, reminding us that a slower, more intentional contemplative life can be more fulfilling. Ultimately, this book shows us that fasting is about much more than food: it is about reconsidering our place in the world.


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