By Luke Jones. Connect with him on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.
Beetroot juice yo!
A few weekends ago I watched the documentary “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”, after weeks of my lovely girlfriend trying to convince me. Actually, who am I kidding… I was pretty excited to watch it.
The documentary follows Australian Joe Cross as he embarks across the USA on a 60 day juice fast, in order to try and lose weight and rid himself of his autoimmune condition. Yeah you heard right, 60 days! I won’t spoil the rest of the story for you, but the results are pretty astounding, and the documentary is well worth a watch.
I had always thought that juicing made no sense. Yeah, it extracts and concentrates all the nutrients from the food, but why get rid of all that great fibre? Why not just drink smoothies instead? But my mindset changed a little lately, and the documentary definitely got me thinking.
Without the fibre to break down, juicing gives your digestive system a rest. It gives your body a chance to focus it’s energy on other things, like growth and repair.
Perhaps a juice fast could be beneficial to my health? I’m always up for trying new things, and I’ve heard nothing but positive things about juicing. I’m by no means looking for any weight loss, but perhaps giving my digestive system a rest would help clear up some of my health issues?
I needed to give it a try.
MY JUICE FAST
Fast forward to this weekend just gone. I was due for a colon examination in hospital on the monday, so was instructed to take a low fibre diet 2 days before, and a fluid only diet for the day before.
What better time to start my juice fast?!
I planned to do it for 3 days, rather than the 60 Joe Cross went for. I’ve done a couple of water fasts before, but the longest being just 36 hours. So I thought 3 days would be a good start. Any more and I’d be looking at quite a bit of weight loss, and I don’t have that much to spare at the moment.
So, about my fast…
WHAT DID I JUICE?
Mainly vegetables: kale, spinach, romaine, salad leaves, broccoli, cucumber, beetroot and celery. Smaller amounts of carrots and tomatoes too. And then fruits such as apples, pears, grapes and mango.
I mixed it up quite a bit, but made sure the leafy and crucificious greens made up the biggest part of each juice.
HOW DID I DO IT?
Old school juice straining
One barrier to the juice fast – I have no juicer. But I do have a blender, some muslin cloth that my mam usually uses to make jam, and some improvisation skills. And a little patience.
So yup, you guessed it; I blended my fruit and veg into a smoothie, then strained it through the cloth. It took a fair amount of time to do, and got a bit messy, but the pulp leftover was really dry compared to most electric juicers I’ve seen.
HOW MUCH JUICE?
I made up about three lots of juice a day, about a litre each time. So yeah, roughly three litres spread throughout the day. I think the amount you need to drink will vary though from person to person. The people behind ‘Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead’ suggest around 1200 calories a day.
I also made sure to drink a lot of water too, about another two litres.
I felt great. If anything I had more energy than normal. There were a few times throughout the day when I maybe felt a little light headed, but that passed quite quickly.
In the afternoon I did a normal strength training session; front squats, deadlifting, and a little bit of core work. I actually felt stronger than usual.
On the eve of day one, and the morning of day two I had to drink 3.5 litres of this nasty ass laxative, to make sure my colon was cleared out for the examination. I think this sped up the whole detox process, clearing all the old stuff out a lot quicker.
Tastes pretty bad though. Actually, really bad… I felt like Dumbledore in the half Blood Prince drinking that potion of despair to get to the horcrux. Nasty.
I felt good in the evening though when I resumed my juicing. No brain fog – it was actually really easy to concentrate on writing. Even more so than when I’m eating food.
Food did smell nice though, especially as my parents were cooking up a load of sweet potatoes and stir fried veg. But I wasn’t craving it terribly. Drinking another juice got rid of any temptations.
Still no detox symptoms of headaches or stomach cramps, but bear in mind that I came into this fast from a pretty ‘clean’ whole food plant based diet anyway, so I wasn’t expecting massive changes.
Again, food smelled nice, but I wasn’t really that tempted.
The process of actually making the juice started to get a bit annoying though. It takes so damn long, and the juice gets everywhere. It’s almost felt like I was milking a cow, except it produced kale juice, instead of that unhealthy milk stuff…
I would definitely invest in a decent juicer long term.
5 INTERESTING LESSONS
I noticed a few cool things over the course of the 3 day juice fast:
1. Detoxing feels good.
It felt good giving my colon a rest from digesting food, and I’d definitely do it again. I think it’s something we should probably do at least a few times a year. A couple of days on as I write this post, I’m still feeling great.
2. I could concentrate more.
As I said, writing was great during the fast. There was definitely less brain fog, more room to think, less distractions.
I found meditation was much easier too. I had less mindless thoughts flying around, and I found it easy to be present.
3. I had no drop in energy levels.
In fact I probably had a slight increase. Perhaps because my body didn’t have to waste any energy on digesting food. I felt light and nimble.
4. I lost a couple of pounds.
This definitely wasn’t the goal, but it happened. Mainly water weight, as it came straight back on as soon as I ate a big salad and beans. I can definitely see how easy it is for people to lose quite a bit of weight over a longer juicing period though.
5. Fasting can give you a better relationship with food.
There were occasions when I wanted to eat over the three days, but I was never truly hungry. That’s something we rarely experience in the western world, and we often take it for granted.
What we usually think of as hunger (belly rumbling, ravings…) is merely an addiction to food. These are just withdrawal symptoms. True hunger comes from the throat. That being said, I did really appreciate my first meal afterwards.
Amazing juice pulp
6. Juice pulp can be used as play-dough.
That’s a new market for you to get into – green, healthy, recycled play dough. Make it into any shape you want, then chuck it into the compost recycling once you’re done. Life changing.
Overall it was a great experience. Every time I fast, I come out the other side with a sense of renewal, and the same goes for juice fasting. I’ll definitely look at going for a longer period sometime in the future. Perhaps once I’ve actually invested in a juicer…
If you’re interested in finding out more about juice fasting, I highly recommend checking out the documentary ‘Fate Sick and Nearly Dead. You can buy the DVD on Amazon here, but you can also find it on Netflix.
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