Day 88: Juice Fasting, Day 13

Tomorrow is a beautiful day to break my fast.  I am really proud of having gone two weeks, and I’m really excited about the healing my body has done.  I rode out a few healing crises, felt elated and joyful at times, tired and cranky during others, and was forced to confront myself on a fundamental level.  All in all, it’s been a serious (but positive) learning experience.

Extended fasts require careful and artful breaking.  Upon rising tomorrow, I’ll have my usual jug o’ water, and then, about 45 minutes later, I’ll have an apple (I have a sack of pink ladies I can’t wait to eat!).  For lunch, I’m planning on having either a small veggie salad, or a simple green smoothie (baby spinach, maybe banana).  The afternoon-evening will see some more fresh juices, and I’ll be drinking herbal tea and water throughout the day.  I may eat a few more pieces of fruit between meals if my stomach feels up to it. Sunday will be pretty much the same, except I’ll probably add a handful of dates.  I will be slowly adding more solids, for a break-in period of about a week.  Trust me, I have broken fasts in the past with everything from pesto pasta (which sounds delightful right now) to fast food (JACK), and this is a much more peaceful plan.  Why negate the past two weeks with a thoughtless bombardment of heavy foods?  Or, at the very least, put my digestive tract through that?

Yesterday, I felt the return of a deep level of hunger.  I waited to see if it would continue into today, which it did, and so I’m ready to eat again.  My tongue has cleared, and other detox symptoms have been seriously reduced (I don’t smell yuck anymore, yay!).  I did make the mistake of drinking senna tea with raw honey in it this morning, which I’m pretty certain is the reason I became overwhelmed with nausea this afternoon and puked. Puked!  I don’t know if it was the amount of honey (large- I know) or the tea (o hai stomach cramps), but both are a no for me in the future.

Will I be juice fasting again?  Absolutely.  In fact, I am hoping to do a 10-dayer come Springtime.  I also like the idea of performing short fasts (between 1-3 days) regularly (monthly).  For now, however, I’m grateful for all I’ve learned and experienced these past two weeks, and am stoked to be eating tomorrow morning!

Things I’ve learned:

  • If you decide to use senna tea, be careful with your steeping time.  Beware of cramps and serious nausea!  Some people are more sensitive than others!  *raises hand*
  • The first two days are the most difficult.  Ride them out, and it’ll get easier.
  • Expect a few healing crises!  They are uncomfortable and can even be scary, but have faith they indicate a deeper level of healing (and that they will pass)!  Drink more water.
  • Don’t allow others to frighten or otherwise dishearten you.  They will try. 
  • Hand-juicing lemons isn’t really all that bad, if you use one of those plastic citrus juicers.
  • Expect to feel a wide range of emotions.  Keep a journal.
  • Be prepared for old thoughts, worries, and insecurities to pop up as your body releases toxins.
  • Buy extra toilet paper.
  • Get enough sleep!  Go to bed earlier, and don’t be surprised if you find yourself having a nightmare, or even experiencing night sweats, especially in the earlier phases of your fast.
  • Have a plan if you go out with friends.  Locate a nearby Jamba.
  • Clean your house/apartment, room, car, bathroom, closet, attic.  It will support the shedding of the old, inside and out.
  • Try really hard to maintain a positive attitude.  Sit outside, play with a pet, hug a loved one.  Life isn’t so bad.

Day 86: Juice Fasting, Day 11

I have had a lot of energy and motivation the past couple of days!  I have slept better, felt more content, and have been more productive.  Yesterday, I went to Jamba and had my first wheatgrass shot(s).  After all I’ve heard and read about the ickiness factor of said wheatgrass, I was expecting bitter nastiness (especially when I was offered a slice of orange to “chase” the shots).  I was very pleasantly surprised to find the juice to be sweet and refreshing.  I liked it so much that I drank four in all (maybe five?), which gave me a little bit of a stomachache an hour later, but I’m planning on drinking it a few times a week from now on.  Not bad at all, and amazing for you.

Dragging out the old juicer has been rad.  Some combos I’ve been loving:

  • 2 pears, 1 lemon, 2 thumb size pieces of ginger
  • 1/2 of a small WATERMELON, 4 stalks of celery
  • 1 apple, 3 carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 4 carrots, 1 lemon, 1 thumb size piece of ginger
  • 1/2 pint grapes, 1 lemon, 2 thumb size pieces ginger, 1 tbsp raw agave nectar
YUM.  On a juice fast, I think it’s a great plan to include different fruit and veggie varieties, as different juices offer different healing mechanisms.  For instance, pear benefits the gallbladder, watermelon helps the kidneys, apple assists the liver, lemon draws out and dissolves mucous.  Factor in the powerful detoxifying effects of the chlorophyll in the juice of leafy greens, and you are good to go.
If you are looking for a reason not to fast, take your pick; they are all around you  Mention that you’re going on a juice fast and you will be met with all sorts of horrified reactions. Maybe it’s because we live in a culture of excess, where food is cheap and abundant, where it’s much easier to take a pill for each and every ill, where it’s far more socially acceptable to drink and smoke than refrain from solid foods temporarily.  It’s really a trip.

Day 84: Juice Fasting, Day 9

For two nights in a row now, I’ve had that recurring dream, the one where I’m onstage and about to give a performance, and realize I’ve never seen the music before.  It usually ends before I can react, beyond the initial recognition that I’m screwed and will have to sight-read.  These dreams, however, continued and resolved.  Hmmm.  In the first, I wasn’t sure which instrument I was supposed to be playing, having only my flute and a partial saxophone (haha).  At first bewildered and trying to figure out wtf was going on, I simply sat down and didn’t even attempt to fake it.  And it was okay.  Last night, I was rehearsing a solo performance with an orchestra, again not knowing what we were practicing, when a mountain lion tore down the hill. Everyone scattered, fleeing, and it killed and ate one of my friends (Brent from high school who played saxophone… sorry dude).  Not me, though; I went over to my old friend Alicia’s house and we had a good time.

Yesterday was a little rough.  Upon drinking my morning jug of water, I felt gnarly nauseous.  The feeling faded, leaving me riding waves of fatigue and energy the rest of the day.  After coming across this blog detailing the various detox stages, however, I regained my composure and rode it out. I also spent a great deal of time reading Gabriel Cousens’ Conscious Eating (before closing the night with yoga and a light read).  People are all over the board with their opinions of Cousens.  I find some of his beliefs intriguing and nearly all the research he cites, compelling.  I absolutely recommend another of his publications, Rainbow Green Live Food Cuisine, to anyone interested in learning more about health, nutrition, live foods, and GMOs.

Because I found this information so helpful, I’d like to pass it along:

The 5 Stages of Detox (Fasting)

Detoxification Program, Stage 1 (Day 1 To Day 2 of a fast)

On the first day of fasting, the blood sugar level drops below 70 mg/dl. To restore the blood to the normal glucose level, liver glycogen is converted to glucose and released into the blood. This reserve is enough for half a day. The body then reduces the basal metabolic rate (BMR). The rate of internal chemical activity in resting tissue is lowered to conserve energy. The heart slows and blood pressure is reduced. Glycogen is pulled from the muscle causing some weakness. The first wave of cleansing is usually the worst. Headaches, dizziness, nausea, bad breath, glazed eyes and a heavily coated tongue are signs of the first stage of cleansing. Hunger can be the most intense in this period unless the enema is used which quickly assists the body into the fasting state by ending digestion in the colon.

Detoxification Program, Stage 2 (Day 3 To Day 7 of a fast)

Fats, composed of transformed fatty acids, are broken down to release glycerol from the glyceride molecules and are converted to glucose. The skin may become oily as rancid oils are purged from the body. People with problem-free skin may have a few days of pimples or even a boil. A pallid complexion is also a sign of waste in the blood. Ketones are formed by the incomplete oxidation of fats. It is suspected that the ketones in the blood suppress the appetite by affecting the food-satiety center in the hypothalamus. You may feel hungry for the first few days of the fast. This effect is temporary. The desire to eat will disappear. Lack of hunger may last 40 to 60 days, depending on whether you are on water or juice. The body embraces the fast and the digestive system is able to take a much-needed rest, focusing all of its energies on cleansing and healing. White blood cell and immune system activity increases. You may feel pain in your lungs. The cleansing organs and the lungs are in the process of being repaired. Periodically, the lymphatic system expels mucoid matter through the nose or throat. The volume excreted of this yellow-colored mucus can be shocking. The sinuses go through periods of being clogged, then will totally clear. The breath is still foul and the tongue coated. Within the intestine, the colon is being repaired and impacted feces on the intestinal wall start to loosen.

Detoxification Program, Stage 3 (Day 16 To Day 30 of a fast)

The body is completely adapted to the fasting process. There is more energy and clarity of mind. Cleansing periods can be short with many days of feeling good in between. There are days when the tongue is pink and the breath is fresh. The healing work of the organs is being completed. After the detoxification mechanisms have removed the causative agent or render it harmless, the body works at maximum capacity in tissue proliferation to replace damaged tissue. While a short fast will reduce the symptoms, a longer fast can completely heal. Homeostatic balance is at optimum levels. The lymphatic system is clean except for a rare discharge of mucus through the nose or throat. After day 20, the mind is affected. Heightened clarity and emotional balance are felt at this time. Memory and concentration improve.

Detox, Stage 5 (Breaking the Fast)

The sticky, toxic, mucoid coating on the intestinal wall is loose, and the first meal frees it from the intestinal wall. Toxins enter the blood through the colon. The gallbladder dumps its waste in a heavy discharge of bile. This can cause an instant bowel movement upon eating followed by intense diarrhea. If the symptoms are too uncomfortable, an enema will help.

Mr. Tom McGregor, author of Eating in Freedom

In order to keep it short(er), I’ll wait to post some more juice combos and photos until tomorrow.  For now, I’m feeling positive, confident, and patient.

Day 84: Israel’s 10 Day Juice Fasting Journal.

Inspired by the documentary Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, my friend Israel, his fiancee Nicole, and friend Ed decided to embark on their very first juice fast.  Israel successfully completed a 10 day program (Nicole went 7 days, Ed went 8), and I asked him to write a few words about his experience to share with others.  I hope you enjoy reading as much as I did.

Day 1 & 2…
Hunger and getting used to nothing in your system, not sure if they mentioned how many times per day you should juice but I decided to do 3 “meals” a day. Messin around with mixed fruits and vegs, and came out with a couple of good ones.

Day 3 & 4…

A blend of mostly fruits in the mornings and vegetables mid day and evenings. The worse days, a constant hunger feeling. Started to notice the sense of smell improve, but im sure that was just a natural aid for the body to find food. Loss of about 4 lbs.

Day 5…

This was the turning point. The hunger has decreased and energy levels started to become normal again. Failed to mention the lack of energy from the first 4 days.

Day 6-9…

Slowly becoming normal to juice, celery and kale became unbearable, haha.. Spinach and cucumber hellya, and after a strong spinach and greens juice “dinner” I noticed my eyesight improving. AWESOME!

Day 10…

So eager to eat something that I prepared some tater tots that night for next day’s bkfst. Overall, a great experience, now I’ll incorporate juice with my meals. Total 8lbs loss but this was mostly about becoming a healthier person which I like to think was achieved. If any of you try this, please go to the movie’s website and read a bit more about it. After 10 days of this you will learn that we all have it within us to resist cravings and you are a lot stronger than you think.

Part of the reason I think his experience is so valuable to others is because neither Israel nor Nicole are vegetarian (Ed is).  One does not need to be vegetarian, vegan, or any variety of a raw foodist to receive the substantial benefits of juice fasting!  Some of the fruits and veggies they incorporated: kale, celery, beets, nectarines, oranges, romaine lettuce, carrots, kiwi, apples, pears, jicama, cucumber, ginger, spinach, and lemons. Nicole also incorporated Naked Juices and some fresh fruits, which lessened the intensity of her detox experience.  We don’t need to get caught up in “all or nothing” thinking, nor fasting!

Thank you so much to Israel, Nicole, and Ed!  I know you will inspire others!