A few days ago I started a juice fast (though strictly speaking the term is “feast”, if you are drinking something other than water). The idea is that tons of energy is usually commandeered by processing food in the body, and by not eating you give your digestion a rest. Thus repair and renewal can be the focus. I am imagining my body shouting: “Wow, look at all this yumminess I get to play with!”, and then jumping around, kind of like a kid in a candy store, only it is the rainbow-colored fruit and vegetable candy store of nature’s table.
Fasting has always been used to cure disease. Other mammals stop eating when sick or injured, knowing instinctively that the healing process will be much faster and more effective when they abstain from solid food for a while…though I guess they don’t get to drink yummy juice like we do. During a fast the body burns up spent cells, abnormal growth tissues, and other accumulations such as pharmaceutical residues, sending them into the bloodstream for elimination.
I mostly haven’t had dramatic symptoms during the detox process, but the first time I did a juice fast I had a prickly, irritating sensation – as opposed to an actual red rash – all over my body on days eight and nine. It was suggested that this could be a release of childhood medication, which seems feasible because, as was the fashion in the 70s, I was routinely given antibiotics for my frequent upper respiratory tract infections. In fact, even then I used to suffer occasionally from this tickly non-rash, so it now seems likely I was reacting to the pills; thankfully I have managed to avoid antibiotics for many years.
The basic juice cocktail I use is super yummy if you like some sweetness with an earthy note and a citrus tang. According to Texan “wholefood medicine cowboy”, Don Tolman, this recipe was used by the ancients, and is a highly effective detox combination, which apparently targets each of the body’s seven physiological systems. The red-skinned apples target the circulatory system ie. the blood and heart (as do beets), the yellow-skinned ones target the liver and skin (as do lemons), and green apples target the lymphatics. For more information, scroll down to the “Free stuff from Don” link near the bottom of the home page in the “Popular links” section of his site: www.thedontolman.com
(C) = 5 lbs. carrots
(A) = 2 red apples
(B) = 1 beet ⅓ fist size
(A) = 2 yellow apples
(L) = 1 whole lemon (including rind if organic)
(A) = 2 green apples
Drink at least ½ gallon per day (there is no maximum amount). Cease supplements and medications if possible.
I sometimes add extras, for example orange, celery, ginger and/ or greens to avoid flavour fatigue. On my current fast I have been putting stuff like cabbage and cauliflower into the mix because some friends gave me a sack of organic greens from their garden. Or you could add specific things in order to target a particular ailment more heavily. For a mega treat I occasionally also add some kiwi fruit, pineapple, cantaloupe, strawberry or mango, depending on what’s in season – yummmmm…..
You can use any juicer. The masticating models produce more liquid and preserve more of its enzymes, and if you buy a model which has a decent-sized chute to load the produce into, you will avoid spending extra time chopping. Centrifugal juicers are way cheaper, and on the plus side you usually don’t have to cut things into tiny bits, but you don’t get as many nutrients in the juice, and it doesn’t keep as long either.
There are a number of things you can do to assist with elimination, like home enemas. Adding a little sea salt to your drinking water is another way to flush out your bowel, though too much salt induces nausea. For a deeper clean, you can have a professional colonic irrigation; the first time I had one I was in la la land afterwards, and had to cancel my appointments for the rest of the day so I could go home and spend several hours in the bath contemplating the ceiling…which, admittedly, is one of my favourite things to do even when I’m not in la la land.
When I say I am on a juice fast, a lot of people look at me as though I am crazy, and tell me they couldn’t possibly give up eating, even for one day. But it is possible, even if you are a bit of a gourmet like me. Because as much I love food, I have actually found that once the decision not to partake of solids for a certain period has been made, it is quite easy to stick to, precisely because it removes a lot of that complicated decision-making we humans have about meals.
At first you do have to repeatedly remind yourself that you are just not eating solid food right now, but your brain soon gets the message. The great thing is that you get to drink as much juice as you want, or as much as you can be bothered extracting, so you never feel over-indulgent. And if you down enough of this fruit and vegie cocktail, your blood sugar stays on an even keel.
If you are anything like me, you will be thinking about food quite a lot during the fast. Because the juice contains so much carrot and apple, I don’t pine much for sweet foods, but I do start to yearn for savoury dishes. I sometimes experience an intense craving for a very specific food, as though it is the visitation from a spirit, or a gustatory hallucination. And the weird thing is that I will suddenly taste something I have not eaten since I was a teenager living on grilled cheese toast with tinned spaghetti (eww!), and it feels like the energetic imprint of that meal is somehow being released from my cells (yay!).
Sucking on a small pink Himalayan rock salt crystal helps me reduce the savoury cravings, and its added benefit is that it is the original antibiotic, hence the saying about rubbing salt into the wound. And speaking of wounds, it is great to do some emotional release work in conjunction with the physical detoxing, because not eating can help you get in touch with buried feelings, especially those to do with deprivation.
This is often the most difficult part, because once you allow yourself to eat again, the part of you that felt deprived may be tempted to go a little rampant. The idea, especially initially, is to replace at least one meal a day with juice, thereby recalibrating your body to need less food. You are supposed to first eat some stewed apple and prunes, then raw fruit and salads, as well as smoothies and soup. It is amazing during fasting how sensitized my palate becomes to the full spectrum of flavours – or rather to the anticipation of them. Admittedly, I usually contemplate my first solid meal a tad obsessively – after all, it is a kind of reverse of the last supper...
So after about a week without solids, this vegie speed usually has me bouncing off the walls. 14 days is a common stint for people to go on juice; the body apparently responds to multiples of seven. I once did a 10 mile hike after nearly 21 days – my maximum on the sauce – and people were amazed at my energy. While juice fasting I also need less sleep – I didn’t think anything could turn me into a morning person. I have clarity and decisiveness – not to mention motivation for action – in spades, and my concentration and stamina are also off the chart.
But more than this, I reckon that steeping our cells in the juices of living foods, with their rainbow hues of liquid light, intensifies the radiance that we humans simply are beyond the physical body. During my current fast, I have been in awe of my psyche’s attunement to a supremely inspired spectrum of possibilities which seemed beyond reach before; I am indeed a kid a candy store – Mother Nature’s cosmic one…
Have you ever done a juice fast? What effects have you noticed?
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