So you are all probably wondering how my 3 day juice fast went? Well, it was great! It wasn’t the easiest thing I’ve ever done but it wasn’t too bad either. Today was my third day and I felt the best out of all three days. More than anything I was full of energy. I pumped my body full of micronutrients for a solid 3-days while giving my digestive system a bit of a break. I think juice fasting can be really beneficial if used properly and under the right conditions.
What happens when you juice fast?
First of all, you are going to lose some weight. It’s guaranteed. If you only do it for a few days most of the weight will be from digested matter in your intestines. (aka fecal stuff. yucko!) But prolonged juice fasting can have quite dramatic and fast weight loss results. Juice fasting is a great tool for weight loss but it should be done carefully. Ideally, you still want your body to receive adequate calories during the day so you have to drink lots and LOTS of juice. (It’s a bit overwhelming.) But fresh vegetable juices supply all of the essential nutrients for your body for up to 2 or 3 months even, believe it or not. Obviously this is not a healthy diet to do for too long because your body needs additional fiber and minerals, but is a fabulous kick-start to weight loss or diet change. If you are trying to adapt to a healthier diet, a juice fast is a great way to start because it alters your taste buds a bit. After a juice fast you will appreciate the taste of good wholesome foods like fruits, veggies and whole grains more than ever, and your taste for saltiness and sweetness will be so escalated that you might turn your nose in the air at foods you once craved!
Why juice fast?
-Give your colon a break! Along with your entire digestive system.
-Cleanses and flushes out your system. Ever used one of those neti pots to flush water or saline through your sinuses? It cleans out a lot of gunk! Well juice fasting is sort of the same thing but with you internal organs.
– Health benefits. A lot of juice fasters will report increased energy levels, improved sleeping habits, and improved digestion. Also your juice fast will likely reflect through your skin. Especially if you incorporate some dry brushing. Our skin is our largest organ and it absorbs and excretes things that come into contact with it. Ever noticed how after a long night of partying or drinking you may sweat out the liquor in the morning? Yeah, gross. I haven’t done that in a long time, thank goodness. Juice fasting helps purge out all the toxins and gets you back on track.
-Problems with IBS, heart burn or constipation? Juice fasting will do wonders for you.
Why wouldn’t you juice fast?
-If you are underweight or prone to easy weight loss and doing so would not be healthy for you.
-If you have any medical conditions or take medications (fasting should be done under the supervision of a physician)
-If you have low blood sugar or are prone to dizziness.
-I would not recommend juice fasting for anyone recovering from an eating disorder or if you still have triggers with an old eating disorder. Fasting should be used as a cleansing tool not a physical and/or mental deprivation.
But more than anything, it’s expensive. Imagine making a trip to the farmer’s market or grocery store every 2 days and spending anywhere from $40-$60 depending on what kind of produce you get and whether or not it’s organic. Yeah it adds up fast. But there are ways to be cost efficient.
Yes that is a case of romaine lettuce in the back! But I got a great deal on it because it was starting to get old and it wasn’t in pretty and prime selling condition. (It’s not like my juicer cares if the lettuce leaves have a few wrinkles!) So I got that whole case for $5. =) Sweet deal! If you are juicing regularly don’t be afraid to ask your produce vendors if they have any produce they would sell you at a discount because it’s bruised, wrinkled and past it’s selling point. I’ve had some great luck in doing this! Produce vendors are like any other merchandiser; they only display the best goodies! But if you will settle for less than best because you are juicing fiend and on a budget–ask for the older stuff and get some superb discounts.
Yeah that’s quite a bit of lettuce. Actually I thought it was all romaine but it turned out to include some red lettuce and endive as well. Lucky me! =)
Because I do not drink any caffeine and already followed a wholesome plant-based diet, I did not have to do anything to prepare for my juice fast. However, the average person, especially someone who drinks coffee daily and adheres to the SAD (Standard American Diet), require some preparation.
Before a juice fast:
-Wean yourself off caffeine. Either entirely or for the most part. (There’s no coffee or soda during your fast, so you might as well give it up beforehand). Otherwise you will likely have severe headaches and caffeine withdrawal.
-Wean yourself off meat and dairy. During a juice fast you will only be eating freshly juiced fruits and veggies. Ideally you should have at least a week of high raw and vegan eats before your fast to get your body used to things.
-Wean yourself off processed foods and sugary foods. Fasting can be really difficult when you are having massive sugar and sodium cravings. In fact, many people may give in and quit the fast because of their food cravings. Ideally you want your body to adjust and adapt during your fast so give yourself a practice run before hand.
During your fast:
-Drink lots and lots of juice. Try to make it fresh because it contains more active and alive nutrients. Once your juice is exposed to oxygen for a time period it loses nutritional content.
-Drink lots of water. Specifically, water with lemon. Citrus helps to eliminate any hunger pains.
-Stick to moderate physical activity. I did some swimming and biking during my fast. I decided not to tackle a hot yoga class during my fast because of the intensity.
After your fast:
-Ease yourself back into solid foods. Start off with a smoothie, then maybe some raw fruits and veggies. Then you can add rice and beans. If you eat meat and/or dairy I would not incorporate those until a few days after the fast.
-To continue to receive the benefits of your juice fast, eat healthier! If you already do, good for you. If you started a juice fast as a beginning to change your lifestyle, then the only way to continue to reap the rewards is to continue the change. Follow a plant-based diet with minimal processed foods and animal products.
Okay so now I’ve been there and done that. I might even go a few more days to be honest. I’m feeling really good on the third day. I set out on my fast to try to improve my sleep patterns. I’ve had some terrible insomnia lately and waking up at all hours during the night. So far, I’m sleeping a little better. I’m thinking I might have to go a few more days to really experience the full benefit. But we’ll see! I’ll keep ya’ll updated ;)
A few tips and hints for your juice fasting:
-Ideally, it’s best to be away from food temptations in general. My situation was perfect because I’m at home alone and not cooking any food with intoxicating food smells floating through the air. But if you live with your family or a roommate then you might not be so lucky.
-Also, I work from home so I didn’t have to tote my juice back and forth to work daily. If this is not your situation, I would say save your fasting for a down time, either the weekend or a holiday when you do not have to surround yourself with curious coworkers and possibly lack a fridge to store your juice. I’m sure juice fasting can get quite complicated with a 9-5 away from home job.
-Ideally you want to be drinking more veggie juice than fruits. I start off my day with a juice that has about 2 or 3 fruits in it but by the end of the day I’m drinking solid veggie juice. This seemed to work best for me.
-Cucumbers are a great base for juicing. They are super hydrating and provide a lot of juice! I have a cuke in everyone of my juices. :)
-Read some literature and educate yourself. Before, during and after the fast. Certainly don’t step into juice fasting blindly, or you could even make yourself ill. After three days the body is actually used to juice and your cravings for solid foods are substantially diminished.
-Prolonged juice fasting has been shown to reverse and even cure severe medical ailments such as diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, arthritis, auto immune diseases, depression and even cancer. There is significant literature to support it. So read up!
Hope you enjoyed my juicing tidbits. Night night to all!