Firstly, I’m so glad you all enjoyed yesterday’s Indian-inspired “curry” cupcakes ! Please comment back and let me know if you make them.
Moving on, to a (possibly) more controversial matter: I’m currently on day 2 of my very first juice fast. I know various people have differing opinions with regards to juice fasting (or “feasting” as its commonly referred to by hardcore raw foodies) – benefits are said to include improved digestion, weight loss, detoxification, clearer skin and even improved clarity of mind. Opponents cite that the body is perfectly capable of cleansing itself (with which I completely agree, by the way) and that while rich in concentrated nutrients, juice alone is not an adequate substitute for food.
So why have I decided to take the plunge and go for a full-on 7 day juice fast?
For one thing – since experimenting with raw foods I’ve always been curious with regards to detoxing and juice fasting. I bought my juicer last summer and was super excited to try a fast out but my weight wasn’t ideal at the time and my mother (along with the slew of doctors she dragged me to) didn’t think it wise, so I laid off.
When I recently told one of my friends that I was thinking of trying a juice fast as a detox – she snorted back laughter. “What do YOU have to detox from? You’re 21 and you eat like the Dalai Lama!” I wouldn’t put it that way per se, but she makes a valid point. I eat a relatively healthy and “clean” diet – I try to stick to plant-based whole foods, avoid processed and refined sugars and hardly ever drink so much as a decaf coffee. What I tried to explain to my friend is that toxins accumulate in the body from a variety of sources that aren’t necessarily diet-related. Pollution, impure water, and medications are some to name a few. The idea is that by completely resting the digestive system, your body is able to rid itself of toxins more efficiently.
While I’m definitely curious as to whether the benefits of detoxing have any merit, my main motivation for trying out this juice fast is to try to combat some stress-induced digestive issues I’ve been having as of late, which my GI doctor and I have yet to get to the bottom of (no pun intended). The reason I’ve chosen to do a 7-day fast is because I’m loosely following the plan laid out in juice master extraordinaire Jason Vale’ s book 7lbs in 7 days .
Now before the flurry of concerned comments come flooding in, I want to be very clear about this: I am NOT doing this to lose weight! Although it is labelled as a weight-loss program, Jason himself states in the book’s introduction that it is not designed solely for people who are overweight and that if you are at a decent weight you will not get “skinny” doing the fast. The reason I wanted to follow the recipes included within this plan is that it’s not just plain old juices. His juices heavily feature the addition of supplements and superfoods like probiotics, spirulina and wheatgrass which provide an extra boost of nutrients and protein. A lot of the juices are also actually smoothies blended with avocado or bananas and probiotic yoghurt which provides a good dose of healthy fats and added sustenance.
Juice Master’s Super Juice – apples, lime, pineapple, cucumber, avocado, wheatgrass, Spirulina, ice and a probiotic capsule. Looks gross, tastes delicious.
All things considered, I really don’t want to risk becoming underweight again so I did the sensible thing and consulted with both my GP and GI doctor to make sure the program was safe enough to go on. They both said that as long as I was reasonable and that the fast didn’t extend beyond 7 days that I would be fine. My GP also noted that if I did lose any weight, it would most likely be water weight which would be put on once I return to normal eating patterns.
Having received the go ahead I figured now would be the perfect time to try it out as I’m pretty much done with classes so my time is a lot more flexible. After scoring a pretty decent brand new juicer on eBay for a bargain £5 I went shopping for all the fruit and veg and got started yesterday. Since I’m only on day 2 there’s not much I can say, but as of so far I honestly feel great. I haven’t experienced any noticeable dip in energy levels – if anything I feel a lot more alert and have been surprisingly productive the last couple of days. I have also yet to feel genuinely hungry, which really surprised me at first. The juices have been quite filling (not to mention delicious – I can’t believe I’ve gone this long without putting avocado in smoothies) but I haven’t skipped any as per my doctor’s advice and am having the suggested 5 a day. Exercise wise I’m not doing anything strenuous so have cut out strength/HIIT training for the week and replaced my regular runs with shorter low-impact jogs for no more than 2-3 miles at a time. I’m also making sure to drink lots of water and herbal tea throughout the day which can be easy to neglect as the juices are so hydrating.
I’m excited to see what the next few days will bring, if anything at all. If not, I figure the worst that can happen is that I’ve given my body a little rest and enjoyed nothing but concentrated nutrients in the form of delicious fresh fruit and vegetable juice for a week. I’ll do a recap post at the end of the fast but until then I’d love to hear your thoughts.
What’s your take on juice fasting and/or detoxing?
Any personal experiences to share?