4 ways to prepare for the Yom Kippur fast

November 3, 2015

Fasting is difficult, and as atonement you may think it should be, but there are ways to minimize the tolls on your body to better prepare you for your fast. You'll be able to concentrate on the holidays and not your hungry stomach.

4 ways to prepare for the Yom Kippur fast

Tricks for a safe and easy fast

  • Fasting is one of the most important traditions for Yom Kippur, the Jewish day of atonement.
  • While it's important to fast to atone for your sins for the year, it can be a difficult experience.

If you're planning to fast for the high holidays this year, use these helpful tips to make it easier.

1. Taper off

One of the hardest parts of the Yom Kippur fast is feeling withdrawal symptoms from things you consume daily like caffeine, alcohol, or refined sugar.

  • To avoid discomfort, start tapering off these substances a week before the fast. This will allow your body to gradually adjust to the change, making for a comfortable fasting experience.
  • Some people who should take the taper off seriously to avoid an uncomfortable holiday are heavy cigarette smokers, regular coffee drinkers, and serious soda drinkers.

2. Drink lots of water

In order to stay hydrated and make it through Yom Kippur healthy, it's important to drink water before the fast starts.

  • A few days before the fast, make sure you start drinking around 64 oz. (eight glasses) each day.
  • On the night before the fast, be sure to choose water and no other beverages at your pre-holiday meal.
  • Tapering off caffeine will also help reduce the amount of dehydrating substances in your body.

3. Don't be around or talk about food

You may have kids who need to eat, but if you can avoid it, stay away from food during the fast day, and try not to talk about it.

  • While it's difficult not to complain about hunger when you feel it, avoiding talking about food will keep your mind off the cravings.
  • Try having a babysitter or non-Jewish neighbour watch your kids during the holiday and prepare food for them so you don't have to be in the kitchen, or prepare breakfasts and lunches a day or two before so they can simply grab their meals that day without needing your help.

4. Take long-lasting medicine

If you're worried about getting a headache from withdrawal or hunger, ask your doctor for a long-lasting pain medication and take it with your pre-fast meal.

  • This ensures it won't upset your stomach and will help ward off unmanageable headache pains when you are fasting and can't take any non-essential medication.
  • While extended release medication can't cover the entire holiday, it's a great way to minimize the discomfort you feel until the holiday's end.
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