Juice Fasting

Have you seen the documentary, Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead? (http://www.fatsickandnearlydead.com/). I watched it last year and was amazed that a man who came from eating a Standard American Diet (SAD), or in the case of the main figure in the film, a Standard Australian Diet, could leap so successfully  into the world of juicing. As a budding nutritionist, I often come across people and clients who balk at making too many changes too quickly to their diet. I fully realize that for most people, making small incremental changes over time is more likely to result in permanent changes. A juice fast of 60 days as featured in the film has the potential to backfire if major dietary changes do not follow when the juice fast is over. It is necessary of course to retrain your taste buds and learn to prepare meals that you can eat long term. I was familiar with juice feasting as outlined at http://www.juicefeasting.com/ which I assumed would not have mainstream followers, but those who were already “out there” in respect to their diets (you know, those wacky vegans and raw foodists!) Anyway, even though I am one of those who may be considered more extreme when it comes to my diet, I never thought I would have the will power to do something so extreme as a juice fast. My dilemma was that it could be very healing for many and I may want to suggest it to some, either to jumpstart them to better health or as a adjunct to a healthy, whole foods diet. What would it be like to drink only juice for a period of time? The best motivator for me is company, so, in comes my sister Patti, who is always game for dietary challenges and is just as interested as I am in doing everything she can to better her health. We decided on a 7 day juice fast/feast and started with our first meal/drink as dinner. It took us almost 2 hours to get everything washed, sorted, cut and juiced the first night, but we also made enough for 2 days. Although the produce varied somewhat from day to day, we juiced the following: kale, collards, chard, bok choy, parsley, carrots, beets, cabbage, sunflower sprouts, cucumber, celery, ginger, apples, lemons, limes. We each drank 2 litres of juice a day. I didn’t drink much water on top of that, or I would have spent too much time in the bathroom!

The first 2 days, I had strong hunger pains that I may have soothed with solid food, if I wasn’t staying with my sister. That is the beauty of doing this with a partner! My sister continued to work and I continued to go to school (and study for a final Herbal exam!) during our week long juice fast. The strong hunger pains subsided to a somewhat milder hunger and we did cheat a little by tasting a few crackers that we made every day with the left over pulp.

There is a lot of pulp left when you juice the amount of vegetables and fruits that we did, so we combined it with an assortment of other foods – ground and whole flax seeds, ground sunflower seeds, onions, apples, almonds, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs to make crackers in the dehydrator. The combination of ingredients varied every day. Nothing was thrown into the compost bin, other than some apple cores, celery butts and ginger skins.

I was glad when it was over, but would do it again for the jolt of nutrients received. Seems like my brother in law (who watched us make and drink our juice every day) is now interested in joining us for another round of juicing! I promised we would do it again soon.

By the third day, I was in need of a different kind of jolt – fibre! I decided to use 1/3 cup each day of NutraCleanse – http://nutracleanse.biz/ which is a combination of ground flax, psyllium, dandelion, burdock and fenugreek powders in a large glass of water.

On day 6, I had the smallest tinge of a headache, when I was out and drank my lunch late. The strong hunger pains had returned! I haven’t had a headache in years and it left almost as abruptly as it started. As soon as I was able to drink some juice, the hunger pains subsided. My diet is pretty clean as it is, so I didn’t really experience anything drastic on this cleansing week, but others may have major detoxing symptoms.

Here are some photos of the produce juiced and what our juice and pulp looked like.

One days produce to juice

Dry pulp as it comes out of juicer

4 litres of juice

Patti and Cathy

Cracker batter ready for dehydrator