Lawdy. I don’t know if it’s all of the toxins fleeing my brain or the free coffee I chugged at Whole Foods an hour ago, but my mind is reeeeeling. I don’t know whether to sit and relax (while the kiddos are down for naps) or head down the road for a quick and jittery 10k. You see, I’m coming off a 7 day juice fast that brought me to my knees in the humility department and brought my family to their knees as they begged for mercy from my grumpy mood swings throughout the cleanse.
It all started long, long ago… no, not really. It actually began 7 days ago. I’ve been dealing with some pretty hefty medical issues (under control and being taken care of – no worries!) and my body has been in decline over the past few months. I was feeling really crummy and nursing a Stage 1 calf strain when I tackled the Peachtree City 15k last Saturday against my better judgement. I guess part of me didn’t realize how sick I really was as I pushed myself through the cold and rainy 9.3 miles of rolling golf cart trails. While I kept an easy, but steady 10 mile pace ( I was warned to take it slow so as not to re-strain my calf), 7 of the 9.3 miles were agony. Right before mile 6 I yelled ahead to Eric and proclaimed, “Wishing this was a 10k right about now!”. My body was done before I even started and completely shot at the finish. There was no rush of excitement from just having completed the race. Just pain. Lots and lots of pain.
Don’t be fooled by the smile.
Thus began the juice fast. I never, ever thought I’d be juicing in place of food for a day much less 7, but desperate times call for desperate measures. A couple friends of mine were in the midst of a juice fast, as well as a neighbor, and they all were singing the praises of having nothing but liquid fruits and vegetables coursing through their digestive tracts. I declared my plans for the fast to Eric who promptly obtained a juicer off of Craig’s List, hunted and gathered as much produce as the cart at Publix could hold and watched this gem right here – TWICE.
I will say that being sick made this fast easier. I think, no, I know if I had been feeling really healthy to begin with, I would have struggled a lot more. The first 2 days (usually the hardest), were the easiest for me because I didn’t feel like eating anyway. I had a rather backward experience (from what I’ve researched) as the fast, for me, got harder as I went on. Days 3 and 4 were REALLY hard. As a mom of 4, having to prepare 3 meals a day while not indulging in them was torture. I spent all of day 5 trying to decide if I would end it then or keep going to day 7 – even texting my friend from Oregon (Hi Karen!) to see what she thought I should do. I decided to plug through to day 7 (today – hooray!) and while planning on just juice until dinner tonight, I caved and enjoyed some complimentary coffee and I don’t regret it. It was beautiful. That coffee and I stood still together, holding hands as the rest of the world worked their way through the bakery section of Whole Foods. We had a moment that transcended time and space.
Many people looking to juice turn to the internet for information and while there is a wealth of positive info streaming from Google on the matter, I feel there could be a bit more raw (haha – raw, get it?), honest, hard, cold truth out there about the process. In no particular order, here’s some of the good, bad, and ugly of a 7 day juice fast:
- A few blemishes on my skin cleared up almost immediately, Skin looks and feels great.
- My system was truly “cleansed” and man did it feel good! Get that stuff outta me!
- I lost weight. Maybe mostly water weight and definitely some muscle, but 5.5 lbs is nothing to sneeze at.
- I lost the swelling and bloating I’d been suffering from the past couple of months. My rings went from tight to loose. My pants aren’t nearly as snug.
- By day 5 of the fast, I lost the afternoon case of the sleepies that I usually get. I wasn’t nearly as tired.
- Physically, I began feeling a lot better.
- I learned a lot about the benefit of ingesting more micro-nutrient rich food as opposed to macro-nutrient rich food.
- I tried new things. Swiss Chard Leaf? I’d never heard of it. I moved out of my comfort zone.
- I ended with the desire to eat healthy. Had I not done this, I’m sure I would have been eating Halloween candy next week. Now, I’m positive I won’t put it anywhere near my mouth. I want food, not toxins.
- I learned to distinguish between necessary hunger and the kind that just comes around because it smells pizza cooking next door.
- I was grouchy the first 6 of the 7 days. I yelled at my family a lot (hard to admit, but I want to be as truthful as possible). There were many times where I wondered if I was doing more harm than good because while the fast was cleansing my body, it was wreaking havoc on my mind.
- I craved coffee constantly. Every minute of every day. Not so much for the caffeine, but because I genuinely enjoy drinking the hot mug of deliciousness.
- I had a serious case of brain fog the entire time. I’ve been told it is supposed to clear, and it could be because I was on heavy medication and thus couldn’t experience this particular good side – effect, I don’t know, but I kept losing my phone, keys, children… you get the idea.
- I felt excluded. Moms at the playground were drinking coffee. My family was enjoying pumpkin spice oatmeal. I was sucking down green juice. Bleh.
- I got tired of drinking juice. No, really. So tired of it that I stopped. You are supposed to maintain 4-6 juices a day and the last 2 days I was lucky to get down 2. Juice now makes me feel nauseated.
- I felt like every minute of the day revolved around thinking about food/juice/etc.
- The juicing itself. I didn’t realize how busy I am until I was trying to find the time to juice (think preparation, the actual juicing, and then clean – up). I’m on the go so much that it’s hard to take that kind of time for preparing every single meal/snack.
- Green juice is disgusting. I could eat green smoothies until I’m indistinguishable from the Hulk himself, but green juice? Barf!
- I lost weight too fast. While I am always happy to lose weight, I know from experience that losing 5 pounds in 7 days means that I “could”, if I’m not careful, gain back that and then some. Weight Watchers taught me that unless you are severely overweight, the best way to maintain weight loss is by letting go of 1-2.5 (3 at the most) pounds a week,
Breakfast, second breakfast, lunch and dinner. You know you wanna…
As I mentioned earlier, I am on heavy medication for my illness. It’s not necessary to go into what or why, but I will say as a disclaimer that I’m positive it jaded my experience. The juice fast is meant to rid the body of toxins and while I know I’m down quite a few of those nasty things, I was still ingesting them by way of medication. Had I been medication free I bet I would have enjoyed more of the “clear thinking” that people claim to get around day 4.
All in all it was a good experience. It gave my body a chance to heal/reboot and provided me with a powerhouse of nutrients. Would I do a juice fast again? Absolutely! For 7 days? Probably not. Next time I think I’ll stick to a 3 day juice fast. I will probably do it during the warmer months as I found it hard to drink juice when it’s cold out. Either way, once I lose my current aversion to juice, I’d like to continue juicing for one meal a day, 5 days a week. We’ll see. At any rate, I hope this helps anyone out there who may be on the fence about juicing. Know that it won’t be easy, but it will absolutely be worth it! Cheers!