Sunday, January 27, 2013

Juice Fast {Take 1}

As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, I'm attempting to live a more intentional life. I've decided that this journey has to begin with a dedication to holistic health--mind, body, and spirit. While I've been devoting a lot of time to my mental and spiritual health lately, I've not been the kindest to my body. In my last post I mentioned that for the last three months I've been grieving the death of my brother, something that has caused me to reevaluate my life and priorities and spend far more time on my mental and spiritual health than I have in a long time. One thing I never realized however, is that in the midst of grief, it can be very hard to take care of yourself physically. I think there is a tendency to put all of one's energy into mental, spiritual, and emotional healing (and for good reason) and forget to make physical health a priority. For me, this has meant eating in a rush, eating too many sweets, too much salt, and too little fresh fruits and veggies.

After watching a few health-related documentaries (Fat Sick and Nearly Dead and Hungry for Change), Matt and I became inspired to try a juice fast. Our hope was that the fast would help us to re-calibrate our systems and get back to a primarily plant-based diet that included many more fruits and vegetables than we had been consuming in place of the processed junk we'd become accustomed to.

The plan was to complete a three day fast, which turned into a one day fast for Matt and a two day fast for me on account of my getting sick--this made it really difficult to decipher between detox symptoms and illness symptoms (I go into more detail below). So erring on the side of safety, I decided to cut the fast short and try a longer one in a month or two. I still consider it a success because I'm extremely motivated to continue juicing, upping my intake of fruits and vegetables, and decreasing processed foods (or at this point, just not reintroducing them into my diet.)

Here are some of the tips and tricks for any of you first time juicers out there

- Seriously consider why you are fasting before you begin. This will help you both to determine if a fast is right for you (if you are doing it as a way to jump start healthy living, awesome; if you're doing it to easily lose 5 lbs., you may want to reconsider--if a fast isn't followed by continued healthy living/lifestyle change if you were not living healthily, you'll most likely regain any of the weight you lose and then some) and it will motivate you continue the fast when you REALLY want to eat that piece of Earl Grey cake you forgot to give away before you started fasting... (Don't worry, I survived the temptation!)

- Only fast when you can dedicate essentially ALL of your time to it, at least for the first few days. Matt and I planned our fast for the weekend, so we were able to dedicate all of our time to the fast. However, if it had been a busier weekend or we chose to do this during the work week, I'm sure we would have cracked. Depending on your diet before you begin, the detox can produce some pretty ugly side effects--headaches, body aches, nausea, fatigue, etc. Even if you are living a healthy lifestyle, you're bound to have a few of these since most of us are accustomed to a much higher caloric intake than we'll have during the fast, not to mention the deprivation from caffeine this causes if you're a coffee drinker like me.

- Plan ahead as much as possible. Before we started the fast I did as much research as I could into what to expect while fasting, what common mistakes people make when fasting (such as drinking too much fruit juice and not enough veggie juice), and I went on Pinterest to pin recipes both for the fast and for after, so that I could exert as little brainpower as possible during the fast. This was all incredibly helpful, had I not done so much research, I think I would have had far more challenges sticking to the fast.

- Believe in yourself, but be kind to yourself! As I mentioned, I'm incredibly stubborn. Although I woke up with a bad cold the morning I was planning to begin the fast, I went ahead with it because I had done so much planning that I didn't want to quit before I'd begun. I think it's fine to fast with something as minor as a cold, but I will say that I was so miserable the first day. I couldn't decipher which of my symptoms were fast-related and which were simply from being sick. This was incredibly frustrating. I also felt a bit out of control because I refused to take any meds for my symptoms and instead laid on the couch all day feeling awful and sorry for myself. When I complained to Matt about my headache and sore throat, he reminded me that I didn't have to impress anyone and that he thought I should take some medicine. I eventually did and felt much better. The thing to remember is that we are not perfect, life throws curve-balls our way and we have to deal with them in one way or another. Had I not taken some meds for my head and throat, I probably wouldn't have lasted through day one. The fast is about taking care of yourself, not depriving yourself. If it starts feeling like deprivation, revisit your reasons for fasting again. This was what ultimately led me to cut the fast short a day this time.

- Be careful how you break your fast. I wish I would have done more research on breaking your fast because I'm pretty sure I did that all wrong (a huge bowl of quinoa + two glasses of wine...) Break your fast with something light and easy to digest. Oh, and you should probably avoid alcohol if you haven't eaten in two days. I don't know why I thought two glasses of wine would be fine, but they weren't. I won't go into any more detail.

Like I mentioned, I plan to fast again in a couple of months, and I will absolutely take more photos and keep you updated about the process, my favorite recipes, and more of the tips and tricks I discover. Let me know if you have any questions or if you have thoughts on fasting for health!


  1. interesting :)

  2. I've been trying to introduce more juices into my diet - but I don't think I could do a full fast!

    1. Yeah, the fast is intense. I'm trying to drink much more juice in addition to eating and healthy, well-balanced diet (for the most part)and it seems to be the way to go!

  3. I've definitely wanted to pick this up and try a juice fast / cleanse. I think they are just so healthy for our bodies to have those little detox periods ;)
    xo TJ

    1. Totally! I'm already trying to figure out when I can do another one.

  4. This is awesome! My boyfriend and I tried juicing a few weeks ago - but I don't think either one of us lasted a whole day! That's awesome you were able to stick with it!!! Yay!

    xxoo LT

  5. Wow! I'd never be able to last more than a few days. It was a good experience though and I think you just have to start small :)