The Wisdom of Children

I have three daughters, ages 8, 6, and 2. When they’re sick, they don’t want to eat. Of course, we (my wife and I) get worried. We often think that if they don’t eat, they won’t have the “energy” required to fight off their illness. That somehow, them not eating is going to prolong their illness.

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Everything I know about fasting, says that they’re actually taking the right tactic. When we fast, we go through 4 phases. In phase 1, we burn the glucose in our bodies. In phase 2 we go through our glycogen reserves. In phase 3, we start burning fat. And in phase 4, which happens very shortly after phase 4, we go through a process called “autophagy” where our body looks for any foreign cells that it can use for food - including harmful viruses and bacteria. It's this phase that helps us get over illness faster. It's this phase that children are somehow connected to naturally.

Please keep in mind that I’m not advocating fasting for children. And I'm definitely NOT saying that if your kid is sick, but hungry, to not feed them to propel autophagy (that would be ridiculous). What I am saying is that if they're not hungry, may you should listen as long as it's not putting them in harms way. That may they are intuitively connected to the value of autophagy. And that maybe they just might get better faster by listening to what their bodies are telling them. And that maybe, it might make sense for us to listen and not press so hard when they're telling us that they're not hungry and don't want to eat.

Happy and healthy fasting!
Prasanth