Today was the 10th and final day of my juice fast. When I embarked on my journey, my goal was to try a 3-day juice fast. But after three days I wanted to keep going to experience the full cleansing and detoxifying benefits of a fast. Three days is a good place to start but in my research I discovered a true fast should be a minimum of a week. So I set my goal at 10 days. For the past 10 days I have consumed nothing but fresh fruit and veggie juice (about 70% veggie and 30% fruit), decaf green tea, lots of lemon water, and some cayenne pepper and cinnamon to flavor the juices and add cleansing power to the fast.
How I feel now:
Fantastic. I feel like I really accomplished something and I’m quite proud. I feel refreshed and renewed. My allergies and sleep insomnia have significantly improved, my skin cleared up flawlessly and I lost anywhere from… 6-8 pounds. I’m not sure exactly because I don’t own a scale, but I’ll weigh myself sometime this weekend when I go to my mom’s house. But yowzas! Juice fasting is one of the fastest ways to lose weight, yet you are still receiving adequate nutrients on a daily basis. Also these pounds were needed because I put them on during finals and the whole month of being practically bed-ridden due to my knee condition. (Which is doing much better thanks to a hefty dose of cortisone that I got from the Dr. earlier this week). ;)
What happened during my fast:
I really got in tune with my body and my digestive system. I know that sounds bizarre but it’s true. So many health ailments actually begin in our digestive systems and fasting provides relief and cleansing in that area. Fasting has been used for centuries for healing and religious reasons. It also provides spiritual and mental clarity.
I also grew more appreciative of the health benefits of pure raw fruits and vegetables (albeit in liquid form). Even though I try to eat raw goodies, I always seem to migrate towards cooking most of my meals. After this fast I’m hoping to have a better balance with raw foods vs. cooked foods. I think this is one of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies.
I did get my menstrual cycle two weeks early. (TMI?) Just thought I would share in case somebody else has this experience. Don’t freak out! I did some research and called my doctor. It’s not uncommon for the menstrual cycle to go off balance during extreme dietary change due to hormonal change. It’s completely safe and okay, and my Doc told me to continue on my BC as scheduled without disrupting anything. I’ll admit, I freaked out at first. It didn’t help that when I texted my good high school buddy who is now an MD about my situation and he calmly replied “all that hippie stuff will mess up your period.” Thanks buddy. I appreciate your bluntness. =P
The main challenge I had during my juice fast was missing being in the kitchen because of my love for cooking. I think I had more of a withdrawal from my kitchen than actual food. No joke! Cooking and eating are also very social elements for me. I usually enjoy meals with my friends and family several times a week. I missed that bonding time. I emailed my girlfriend Sarah and said, wanna come over for juicing instead of dinner? She laughed ;)
Surprisingly, hunger was not really a challenge. The only day I felt hungry was day 2. Most fasters will attest to the fact that the first 2-3 days are the most difficult. After that, it’s pretty much smooth sailing. You may have some bumps along the way, but most people grow stronger in their fast the longer they go.
Explaining myself was a bit of a challenge. The only people that knew about it were my parents, my brother, 2 or 3 select friends and my blog readers. (Oh yeah, and my neighborhood Farmer’s Market who I visited quite frequently! After asking for old lettuce on 3 different occasions I finally had to explain myself.) To be honest, sharing this experience with YOU GUYS proved to be the most difficult. Fasting sounds crazy and extreme. There are many people that scoff at the idea.
In addition, one of the things I talk about on my blog is my recovery from an eating disorder when I was a teenager. I’ve realized there are a LOT of other healthy living bloggers out there who have dabbled in disordered eating. But I don’t want to confuse my juice fast with eating disorder behavior. I will say that I don’t recommend a juice fast for anyone who is in active recovery from an ED or still struggles with ED triggers. But I have moved past that part of my life, and I no longer have mental or obsessive thoughts with food as I used to. Therefore, juice fasting was not ED behavior for me. It was a cleansing period.
Another challenge I had was drinking enough juice every day! Ideally, you still want to consume an adequate number of calories per day, which requires lots and lots of juice. Incorporating fruits is ideal because the natural sugar content gives you a bit of a calorie boost. When I first began researching juice fasting I found some conflicting information about how much juice to consume each day. The majority of juice fasting sites said to aim for about 2 liters of juice a day, which is about 8 8-oz. servings. Another program, called juice feasting (which is designed for long-term fasting, approximately 30-90 day fasts) instructs you to consume 4 liters of juice a day, which is about 8 16-oz servings. That’s a lot of juice! I think the amount of juice you consume daily depends on the individual. I ended up following the first plan and consumed anywhere from 8-10 8-oz servings of juice per day.
What I’m going to do next:
Go back to eating! Duh! But incorporating solid foods back into the diet after a juice fast has to be done very carefully. It’s recommended to begin with raw fruits and veggies in smoothies and salads. After a few days of raw I will gradually add rice and beans, and then after a week I’ll be back to normal. Which for me is a whole foods plant-based diet. My goal after the fast is to enjoy more raw fruits and veggies and to continue to enjoy juicing for its nutritional benefits on a daily basis. If you are juice fasting as a jumpstart to a lifestyle change, hopefully you will transform your diet to include only whole and natural foods and rid yourself of processed foods and junk.
For more info on my juice fast:
Juice fasting check-in (day 6)
Juice fasting 101 (day 3)
All juice, all day! (day 1)
This weekend I’ll be finishing up the last of summer school! Hopefully I’ve have everything wrapped up by Sunday night because Monday morning I’m heading to the beautiful midwest to visit friends and family in the north woods of Minnesota! So excited for some vacation time. Would ya’ll think I’m crazy if I said I pondered bringing my juicer? teeheee ;)
**Check out Marla at Family Fresh Cooking, who is hosting a Blendtec blender giveaway! Score! It’s easy to enter and you could win a fabulous new blender. =)