I've always been intrigued by juice fasts as a way to detox but had never tried one. Western medical advice generally says fasting is unnecessary since the liver is created specifically to detoxify the body. As a fairly mindful person, that seemed like an excellent point. I was pretty healthy and tried to maintain a mindful lifestyle - I exercised, hydrated, ate mindfully and tried to get enough sleep.
However, in the last couple years, I became unhealthy for a variety of reasons. I wasn't exercising, and I started eating in restaurants too many times a week, which makes you fat and unhealthy. I started eating a lot of convenience foods, which were fast but highly processed and loaded with sugar. I felt like walking toxic waste. I needed something drastic to jumpstart a healthy regimen. So after finding a deal on Gilt City, I decided to do a Juice Fast with Liquiteria.
I have to admit, I'm skeptical about the claims that juicing detoxifies your body, but advocates will tell you that taking a break from eating solid food and digesting will allow your body to focus on healing itself. Though I'm not sure I believe in the health benefits, I had a feeling that taking a break from making food choices and eating sugar would help break a sugar addiction and let me reset how I was viewing food.
As a first time juice faster, I had more decisions to make than I expected.
Which Juice Company?
I could make my own juice, but my juicer had collected so much dust during the long period of lazy eating, that I wanted the luxury of having someone else do it. Fortunately, juicing has become so trendy there are now a myriad of companies to choose from. They all have beautiful branding that promise health. It's easy to get confused, but I knew I wanted fresh, cold-pressed organic vegetable juices that were sugar free (without added fruit such as apples, grapes, etc.) The fruit makes the juice taste better, but I wanted pure vegetable juices. Since juices are expensive, I wanted to make sure they included top quality ingredients and were cold pressed to maximize retained nutritition. That narrowed down the field, then I ended up checking out companies for reviews, reputation and price.
Which Juice Fast?
After deciding on a company, the juice company had a few different levels. There were one day fasts, three days fasts, and levels from beginner to advanced. Even though it was my first cleanse, I wanted a three day fast to break my bad habits. I had never fasted, but since I used to make my own juices I figured I could go straight to the intermediate level since I didn't want a higher calorie, sugary beginner level. Truth be told, I wanted to lose a few of the pounds I had gained, but I also didn't want to starve. I checked the total number of daily calories of each fast looking for a lower calorie fast that wasn't insanely restrictive.
A lot of juice cleanses fit the bill, so when I found a flash sale on one of them, that's the one I went with.
If you are going to cleanse, you should prepare for it by eating as mindfully as possible during the days/weeks before hand so you don't shock your body. Cut out processed foods, sugars and eat as cleanly as possible. I also started a regular exercise routine during the precleanse.
The Actual Juice Cleanse
Theoretically a cleanse shouldn't be too hard -- you're still taking in calories on a regular basis and you're not exercising, right? However, I found it to be very difficult. Liquiteria recommends no exercise while cleansing since presumably the cleanse is giving your body the time and energy to heal itself and Exercise takes energy away from healing.
I start the day with green juice, then every 2-3 hours I have another juice until I drink a total of six. 16 oz of water in between the juices. Lots of liquids. After the first few hours I am obsessed with food - I can't stop thinking about it. Specifically brown rice with vegetables. My mind is rebelling. Lunch brings a sweeter juice, which I am ecstatic about. After that I feel weak and I really want to chew food. By the time dinner rolls around I have two more juices left. I can't stop staring as my husband eats his salmon burger for dinner. It's not that I want to eat it, but I just like watching. My last juice of the day includes beets - thick and sweet. It's like dessert -- completely heavenly. The water is tough to finsh. I definitely do not feel full and go to bed unsated.
I'm glad to start the day with green juice, and I love the idea of not having to figure out what to eat for the day. A couple hours later I am miserable. I have a slight headache and I think about food all day. Chewing food, tasting food, eating food. A bizarre amount of enery goes into wanting food. I think of all the things I can eat when I'm done juicing. The juices are unsatisfying. I am tired and cranky all day. My highlight of the day is again the sweeter juice - "Skin Deep". I am more careful about drinking water between each juice and find it goes down more easily. When it's time for dinner, I watch my husband chew his food with so much intensity he feels uncomfortable. The end of day beet juice is delicious and goes down far faster than the other juices. Again, I am hungry all day.
I wake up not excited about juice. Oh well, that's what I am having. No headache today, but I still think about food...a lot. Not as obssessively, but a lot. I can't wait to have brown rice with vegetables. This day is the easiest. Maybe my body has resigned itself to a reality of no food, or my mind has capitulated or both. I'm still tired but I know it's the last day, and it really is easier. For a second I think about doing a fourth day... nah. Like the other days I continue to eliminate stuff, which I find weird because I haven't had anything solid and I have a pretty fast digestive system. I'm less hungry than I was during the past couple days, but I'm definitely not sated. Once again the highlights of my day are the sweeter drinks. The end is near and I'm lamely proud to have made it three days since it's not that impressive a feat (I'm ingesting nutritious calories all day after all). I'm excited to be done.
I wake up feeling like it's Christmas morning since I know I can eat. Oddly, I don't rush to the kitchen. I'm a little loath to start eating. Crazy. I was told to break my cleanse with a green juice so as not to shock my system, then to eat primarily raw food. However, I do NOT have any juice. I break my fast with a salad and have a bite of chicken. I can't wait for the next meal, which will be brown rice with vegetables, just as I'd been fantasizing. We get to the restaurant, and they are out of the brown rice bowl. So, I order... pancakes. I'm not happy about it, but oh well. I am plunged back into the world of cooked sugary foods without a grace period. And my body was ok with it - no adverse reactions whatsoever. But let's get real people, it was only three days of juicing - not weeks.
Post Post Cleanse
It's been about three months after I did the juice cleanse, and I still have the results I wanted. It helped break the sugar addiction and processed food habit that I had started. I'm back to starting most days with a homemade green juice, and I've also gotten into the habit of being much more mindful of my food choices.
So that was my experience. Here's my friend Walter's testimonial.
Bottom Line - doing a three day juice cleanse was a good shortcut to jumpstart my mindful eating. It helped reset my eating habits. I could have reset without it, but the break from thinking about what food to eat was helpful. II would do it again only IF I fell off the bandwagon again. Otherwise, I don't think I would gain any health benefits from it if I were living a mindfully.
What I ate: green juice, handful of blueberries, 3 cups of cherries, broccoli + adzuki beans + pumpkin seads + quinoa, brussels and squash Brooklyn Taco, plum, 3 dried apricots, dried mangos, walnuts, spinach + beet salad with balsamic and extra virgin olive oil, 3 colossal shrimp, quinoa, steamed broccoli, dark chocolate sorbet