On January 6th, I announced via an Instagram photo that I was on day one of a juice fast. I honestly didn’t even think anyone would care about my juice fast. But turns out you guys are SUPER interested in juice fasts. I’ve completely lost track of the number of texts, Facebook messages, Instagram comments, etc. that I’ve gotten in the past few days wanting to know what program I’m following, is it working, do I like it, how long am I doing this? So I figured the best way to answer everyone’s questions was through a blog post since we’ve sort of fired up the blog again anyway. I’ve done sort of an “interview” with myself using all the questions I’ve gotten over the past week…and then at the bottom posted a link to another page with more info in case you are hungry for more juicy details. (See what I did there? Juicy….)
“What made you want to do this?” Keith and I enjoy watching documentaries on rare nights when we’re both home and have nothing to do. We’ve watched lots of them on a plethora of topics over the years, but last Monday, January 5th, as we perused the documentary options, we decided to watch one we’d scrolled past a few times before, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.” The movie chronicles the story of Joe Cross, and Australian battling an autoimmune disorder and obesity who goes on a 60 day juice fast, loses a large amount of weight, cures his disease and is able to get off all prescriptions, and in the process travels around inspiring others and ultimately forming his own juicing-plan empire. Neither Keith nor I are obese and neither of us battle any chronic diseases, but we both were feeling sluggish and like we each wanted to just “lose 5 pounds.” As I mentioned in last Monday’s recipe post, we were determined to get back on our Paleo/healthy eating plans and maybe even start working out again. It seems like a million years ago when I went all exercise crazy and did two half marathons and a triathalon in the space of three months. (check out our running adventures here). I’m kind of a sucker for an inspirational story, so after the show was over I turned to Keith and said, “I’m doing that. A juice fast. I don’t know for how long, or what it looks like, but I’m doing that.” And because he’s the best husband on the face of the planet, he VOLUNTARILY decided to join me.
“Are you following a certain plan? Where do you get your recipes?” The answer to this is No, I’m not following any specific plan. Since Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead was where I got the idea, Keith and I both did a good bit of reading on Joe’s website and have taken lots of cues from the info that he provides…tips on how to prepare certain fruits and veggies for juicing, a few recipes, some basic advice. This wasn’t my first experience with juicing. We’d had a brief fling with it after we ended up scoring a free juicer with purchase of some large appliances at Sears a few years ago (gotta love random incentives on items you’re already planning on buying). Back then I’d also bought The Juicing Bible (2nd edition) and so I pulled that out and grabbed a few recipes from that as well. But then most of the time, I just throw in what I’m feeling like and go for it.
“How long are you going to do this? Have you cheated yet?” When I first started, I said my minimum was 3 days. I’d read that that’s about how long it takes for your body to “cleanse.” Because I knew it would be a very difficult to sustain this fast while on the road like I am, I decided the longest I would do it would be 10 days, because that was how many days I had in town before hitting the road again. I decided I’d see how things went after day 3 and figure it out from there. Days 1, 2 and 3 I juiced like a champ drinking about 16 ounces of juice for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and any time in-between that I was hungry. Day 2, around dinner time, I missed chewing. I know that sounds weird. But I was making a juice and had all these veggies on the counter-top and I just wanted to EAT, not drink. So I ate an entire pomegranate-worth of seeds, and a bowl of plain, raw spinach leaves. I refuse to count this as a cheat because it was stuff that would have gone in my juice…I just ate it instead of drinking it.
But then Day 4 was a little tough and so I’m going to say that this was the day I ended my official “juice fast” and entered a healthy eating phase. I was feeling weak and a little headachy, and after Keith spent some time on Google searching for info, we decided I was feeling a little sodium deficient. A text conversation with Mary-Hall ensued and she suggested salting the rim of my juice glass like you would a margarita, which was positively genius, but Keith and I decided we both probably needed some salt and some protein. So we went to one of our favorite restaurants right down the street that we know uses all local and organic fixin’s and doesn’t cook everything in 6 pounds of butter and we each got a meal: a grilled chicken breast on top of their “local salad” of mixed greens, butternut squash and pecans. And for “dessert” we split an order of sweet potato fries…(they make their own, fry them in peanut oil and salt them.) So I guess technically my “fast” is broken and now I’m just on a juicing-heavy diet, but I don’t feel a bit bad about myself if a grilled chicken breast on a salad of mixed greens is a “cheat.”
Since then, I’ve been doing juice most of the day, and then incorporating one healthy meal. Day 5 I had an appetizer-size portion seared ahi tuna with avocado along with a small portion of chicken and mushrooms. Day 6 was a plate of okra sauteed in olive oil and seasoned only with salt and pepper as well as a small bowl of homemade turkey, kale and cannelloni bean soup. I’m still feeling great, loving the vitamins and minerals I’m getting through the juice, and loving that my meals are small portions of very healthy foods so when I do eat, I don’t feel too full…or guilty.
“Are you seeing any results?” Yes! Since starting the juice fast I’ve lost an average of a pound a day and I feel like my mood, productivity at work and energy levels have all improved. (Except once or twice apparently I’ve teetered on the edge of grumpy because Keith has said, “I think you need to make a juice.”) I think my stomach has shrunk as I could barely finish my chicken breast and greens on Friday night. Also….and this has been the biggest thing….my cravings have changed. I no longer want cupcakes and fast food. If I crave something to eat its more like I really want to eat the fruits and veggies I’m putting in my juice instead of drinking them. Or for instance, on day 4, for whatever reason I was DYING for a grilled chicken breast.
“I want to try. Can you tell me what to do?” I love getting to inspire and encourage others to be healthy, so my answer is yes and no. Disclaimer time: First of all, for full disclosure, while I do have a Masters degree in Health Education, I’m not a doctor or a certified nutritionist or anything like that. So while I would never knowingly make a risky health decision for myself or others, I’m also not in any place, particularly not knowing your specific health status and circumstances, to advise you on what you should or shouldn’t do from a diet standpoint. However, I do know enough that I can safely advise you that particularly if you have any health issues, it would be best for you to talk to your doctor before beginning any drastic diet or exercise regimen. Also that barring particular allergies or diseases that might be directly linked to sugar intake or intake of specific vitamins, adding in a few servings of fruits or veggies generally serves to promote overall good health. So with that being said, I’ve actually put together a whole page of recipes, tips, suggestions, etc. for you to peruse if you’re thinking of doing your own juice-fast. You can click the link below to read more!