In January (2012), I embarked on another 5-day juice fast with my friend and partner in crime, Arvind Devalia. In this blog post, I recount the highlights of my fast, and how it was so different from my first 5-day juice fast recounted here.
Then I will tell you about my decision to bring a juicing intensive program to my beloved green juicing community and how you can participate.
FYI: This is a long, epic and massive blog post with pictures, video, and a LOT of information around juice fasting and green juicing. Let’s get to it!
Before we get started, I want to remind you that you MUST HAVE a juicer if you want to make green juices. My recommendation is the Green Star Elite juicer by Tribest. It is a phenomenal machine and gives you 25% more juice than other machines because it has a system that extracts all the juice from the fruits and vegetables. You will be happy to make an investment in a high quality juicer and you will also be getting your money back a thousand times over in what you save yourself in terms of health costs down the road!
Why Do a juice fast?
Why take it to such extremes as to fast and withhold from food? That’s the question that raises the most eyebrows and rolls the most eyes, mainly inside my own family and close friends circle but perhaps for you too, so let’s talk about it. First, I generally like the discipline, the intensity and the extremity of the experience you have when you really immerse yourself in it. Whether it’s yoga, indoor cycling, raw foods and vegan diets, or even writing and working, immersion is the way to get the true taste of experience.
Immersion usually comes in the form of a challenge and leaves you better than it found you. I like to take a minute here to praise my dear friend, Chris Harris, who has taken the ultimate challenge by fasting on few liquids and mainly water for over a week so far and still going strong. Chris is doing this to reset the button on his body, and re-start the healthy cycles again. Way to go, Chris!
It is only during the intense period of immersion that you can learn a lot about the process and can decide whether this is right for you or not – and in the end, it always comes down to your smart decisions and choices about your unique body and what is right for it. Never forget that. Whatever you read or learn or hear, you alone know best what is right for your body so be listening all the time.
What were the benefits of this 5-day juice fast?
Now aside from the fun of immersion, juice fasts have been known to shower us with countless benefits, from detoxing the body to cleansing your intestines and giving your digestive system a rest and from helping you lose some stubborn weight to clearing the skin and bringing inner peace and quiet to the mind. But here’s the thing about the benefits of anything – you experience a different version than the next person.
As you can see, Arvind had a completely different experience. And in fact, if you do a juice fast twice, you will very likely have two different experiences.
So it’s more apt for me to talk about the benefits of this juice fast and how it was different from my first one in 2009. Here were the best benefits, most of which have been beckoning me to return to fasting since then:
Best benefits of fasting:
– Lots of energy – Mind clear as a bell – Highly productive – Intensely focused on work – Peaceful and relaxed – Quiet meditations
Interesting side-effects of the Juice Fast
– Very cold and shivering during the mornings and evenings – Sleeping in 2-4 hour chunks – Sleeping less on average than when eating – Slightly emotional, especially when I heard about my old dog, Brandy, dying of cancer.
The very best part of the juice fast:
I thought a lot about this one because I loved this juice fast, I had very little hunger pangs compared to last juice fast where I really struggled with hunger for the first 2 days. This time, I just eased into it like you ease into a nice spring day, and I got a lot out more of it too. Still, I have to say that the number one benefit was not having to think or worry about what I am going to eat next!!! Even though I was preparing my juices, I was doing so according to a recipe. I still did not have to THINK about my next meal or snack and this alone gave me such freedom and space to think, and so much more time back. Good heavens, should I outsource all my food preparations now or what?
How did I prepare for the fast?
As you may guess, juice fasting takes preparation, time and an investment. You gotta be committed or it won’t work and there is no such thing as cheating on a fast, as there is on diets. You either do it all the way or you don’t. :)!
Two benefits to my first first juice fast: One was that I used 2 of my juicers, a Breville juicer and an Omega juicer. This way, I was not constantly washing and cleaning the same juicer over and over. I bought some nice tight-lid glass containers in which to store my juicers, and the freshness lasted for up to 2 days for some juices. This surpassed my plastic containers by leaps and bounds.
You should really not store juices very long but for practicality sake, I did make more than I could drink right away. I also had the luxury of being home alone. My husband and chef was gone, and so there was no temptation, there was no smell of food in my kitchen and I cut off all social life for 5 days to go completely quiet with my mind and my stomach. This alone helped tremendously in making my fast a very successful one.
I bought groceries either from Whole Foods or the Fresh Market stores or Trader Joe’s and planned out my recipes just roughly, because I am really used to many different combinations of juices, and I did well in not running to the store frequently – this is a big one and planning helps with this.
How much Green Juice to Drink?
So my rules for this juice fast were similar to the last one: I was not going to limit my green juice intake; if I wanted to drink a gallon or two a day, so be it. Instead, what I tried to limit is the intake of my fruit juices. It’s very important to watch the sugar level so juices such as watermelon juice (yum, my favorite), cantaloupe juice, or citrus fruits, without the greens, and naturally without the pulp, have a lot of sugar and even though fructose is a natural sugar, it is best to limit that.
So I limited the intake of my pure fruit juices while drinking as much of the green juices (which contained some fruit in them). I also did not give up my Oolong tea. And I also added hot water with raw honey, as well as hot water with lemon to my daily intake. Since I did the fast in the winter, I needed some hot liquids to keep me warm.
My husband says I need some fat on me but I still prefer the liquids. That argument continues on! I would highly encourage you to give up coffee though, if that is your hot beverage. Tea and especially Oolong tea are inherently detox-inducing but coffee may have some other adverse effects.
Tips for Breaking the Juice Fast
I had a very difficult time both times in breaking my fast. I know that Arvind also struggled with this one. The problems were on two levels: emotional, physical. Emotionally, I did not even desire to come off the fast. It had been 5 days and 5 hours, and I wanted to keep going but a bout of nausea got the better of me. I should have just slept through it but I gave in and had some fruit. The next 2 days were highly emotional – I was sensitive to food, I was not happy or satisfied, I fussed a lot, and I could not get back into a nice sleeping rhythm for at least a week. Physically, I did not do well in terms of digestion.
My body did not seem to want to wake up from the fast, and even though I was hungry deep beneath the quiet stomach, I did not know what I craved in terms of food. I had already broken the fast so I needed to start eating again. This is what I learned from breaking the fast: You need to have a plan on precisely what you will be eating for the first few hours and then for the first day, second day, all the way up to a week after breaking the fast. Your mental state is not in a place of deciding and going through options, it just wants to know what it needs to do.
So next time, I will plan on having some raw fruit and vegetables for the first day of the fast in several small portions. I will add to that some nuts and dates for the following day and introduce very simple vegetarian hot foods for dinner. I will also include vegetable broth daily after breaking the fast. This is very strange, as I’ve never just had vegetable broth but it was one of the few things that my body enjoyed after the fast.
Join the Green Juicing Intensive Clinic
Over the last few months, I feel blessed to say that my book – Your Comprehensive Guide to Green Juicing – has helped many people get started with green juicing and find answers to their questions and concerns about juicing. It has also enjoyed great exposure, with so many interviews including this one from my dear friend, Zeenat.
The green juicing community here has been asking more and more green juicing programs so I am thrilled to offer you the Green Juicing Intensive Clinic.
This is not a juice fast program per se, although you can choose to fast if you are already an intermediate or advanced juicer. This is a program that helps the new beginners and intermediate juicing enthusiast to build green juicing as a smart habit into their life through 21 lessons (video, audio and text for fun variety), homework, daily commitments, and fabulous recipes of the day and a thriving community that has already built around it.
A Penny for Your Juicy Thoughts
So have you ever done a juice fast? How would you react to giving up food and sustaining yourself with green juices and water? If you could have one thing to make your green juicing easier, what would it be? Share your thoughts in the comments and let’s talk juicing, baby!