Why oh why won't this board send me an email when there's a new message????
Anyway, I haven't read much of this thread so this has probably already been brought up, but I'll just give a quick view of it.
I think we talked about fasting a long time ago, but I'll just say that throughout the Bible we see **apparent** conflicts in many areas, such as work/don't work, endure to be saved/saved by faith alone, etc. Fasting is in the list because we see both "you're defiled by what you eat" and "what you eat isn't what defiles you". A glance at Jesus' words about "you have heard it said... but I say" shows this problem. So what's the solution?
Context, which includes more than just the surrounding verses. There's the OT, the transitional period of Acts, and the NT church age, of which Paul is the authority. It is to Paul we look for doctrine affecting us here and now. And Paul says in Romans 14:14, "As one who is in the Lord Jesus, I am fully convinced that no food is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for him it is unclean.", and in 1 Cor. 10:31 "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God".
Paul, being a former Pharisee, certainly had a good grasp of OT laws and formerly defended them passionately. But now, free in Christ, he who was personally taught by Him is telling Christians that we are under no obligation to the old laws, but that "everything is permissible for me, but not everthing is beneficial".
So I think the bottom line is, follow your conscience, and let others follow theirs.