This past summer I gave myself a personal challenge. I decided to go on a 15-day juice fast detox. Now I had previously never attempted one and quite honestly did not really know much about them. But after doing some careful research and investigating, I went through with it and decided to share my experience with you.
Disclaimer: (Please take the information presented here with a grain of salt … pun intended. Consult with your physician and do your due diligence before attempting a juice fast of any sort. , so those with the intentions of simply dropping a couple of pounds should think twice).
What happened was, I saw a video on Netflix, Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead, which is about a man who did one of these in order to lose weight and potentially get off a medication he was on. He first aimed for a ten-day juice fast detox but kept prolonging the experience before reaching an impressive 60-day mark. Through the film, I saw his progress and got a great perspective on what one of them was like. It truly was awesome.
Once he got into a good rhythm, all the benefits just kept coming and you could really see how his life was changing. I'm sure the magic of movie production had a helping hand with that but regardless it seemed very feasible. Well the movie ended, and I was jacked. I hit the Internet in search of any other information I could find on the subject. I finally came to the decision to shoot for 15 days. It seemed doable and long enough to see at least some of the possible benefits.
The first thing I did was check to see if there was a juicer in the house. The answer to that was a big fat no. However we did own a blender. Me being the cheap man that I am, tried to see if the blender would suffice. It turned out that it would, considering all I had to do was strain the pulp before consuming the juice. The reason for this is that the pulp contains fiber, which would increase the caloric intake and require my digestive system to spend extra energy for its breakdown. The whole point of doing a juice fast detox is to give your digestive system a rest from its normal everyday duty. This then allows your body to use that energy elsewhere in the body, like get rid of various toxins.
The next step in the prep process was finding out how much this would all cost me. I researched others who had already done this and saw what places they recommended to purchase all the necessary produce. From what I had read, the figures were anywhere between 150 and 200 dollars. That proved to be about right.
I found recipes online and even went to local bookstores to find similar information. I basically just bought my produce according to the recipes that I thought would not only be the most beneficial but also the best tasting.
In order to slowly introduce my body to the idea of no longer wolfing down double bacon cheeseburgers, I decided to start with smoothies as opposed to juices. This was a way for me to ease my body into the fast process. After about a day and a half, I went with the juices. I was pretty surprised as to how good some of the juices came out. It was like drinking a refreshing glass of nature. Well that was up until I had a juice that was heavy in kale. Then it tasted like drinking a refreshing glass of swamp. That stuff is pretty bitter.
I started the fast on a Tuesday and had all the energy and determination I needed. I felt great about this new challenge that I had put in front of myself. That was up until I remembered that I had both an engagement and housewarming party to go to that upcoming weekend. By the time Friday came around, I could already start to feel my mood fluctuating. I found out that this was due to my body cleaning out toxins.
Friday came and although a couple of my friends knew I was doing the juice fast detox, there were many who did not. I found myself repeating the reasons why I was not partaking in the free food and drinks that the party had to offer that night. Most people thought I was weird for even trying such a thing. I guess I was not the only one who did not get what one of these fasts were all about. The night ended and I did not break. I was pretty proud of myself but still had a good 11 days to go.
The next day came along and it was off to a housewarming party for me. There was no shortage of food and drinks there either. In fact, there was a platter of cheeseburgers stacked in the kitchen that I could swear had mouths and asked me to eat them. I once again did not break but did sneak in a few sniffs of the food. That was pretty much all I could do; smell other people's delicious food before they consumed it. I'm pretty sure it was amusing for the first day or so but ever got old when I asked asking for “free smells” for 15 days. Ah the things my friends put up with.
I had gotten through my first few major temptations and obstacles and was feeling pretty proud so far. Maybe it was just easy because I had all those people there that would have seen me fail my personal challenge had I not stayed strong. I certainly did not want that to happen. I did find that the hardest part of the process was when I was alone and could easily easily cheated without anyone knowing. Those were the times where I really had to pull myself away from the thought of breaking.
About midway through my 15 day fast, I started to feel pretty awesome. I had more energy and although I could not really do any strenuous exercise or activities, I just felt more awake. I am the king of power naps and can pretty much fall sleep anywhere. However, I just did not find the need during that time. In fact, I had a hard time falling asleep at night. Some other testimonies educated me on the fact that insomnia is one of the struggles fasting will present.
I felt like my brain was just sharper and more on point. Instead of feeling sluggish or drowsy during the middle of the day like I usually did, I felt more alive. I could feel my spirit being uplifted as the process went on. Do not get me wrong, I had cravings for food and would still get cranky if I did not have one of my 4-6 glasses of juice of the day. But looking back on it, I really did feel pretty good. Some other benefits I could see surfacing were:
A shining of the skin
Sense of accomplishment
A better understanding of my own eating habits
As the fast began to near its end, I toyed with the idea of going another five to ten days. But solid food was really calling my name. I decided to just stick it through to my initial deadline and then enjoy a great feast. I have to admit that I did not ease my body out of the fast like I did in the beginning. Monday at midnight was going to be a great late night dinner that some friends and family would enjoy with me. I was in the kitchen with my mom for about 4 hours cooking. That was the first time I had even cooked through the entire time of my fast. Seeing food was hard enough but having it in the palm of your hands and not eating it was even worse.
It was about 11:30 when my friends showed up and the food was actually already done. So instead of making everyone wait to eat, I just decided to eat a half hour earlier than I intended. That's just the kind of friend I am (wink). OK, I caved and just wanted to eat darn it. I slammed a couple plates of food and even had a beer. Needless to say, my body was confused. For the past fifteen days, it had been on vacation. It had its feet kicked up and was just lounging, then came an avalanche of food and was forced to kick it into overdrive.
I experienced a bit of a food high and then the inevitable crash. I do not suggest coming out of a juice fast to a giant meal like I did. Instead, wean off with some small meals or even even just solid fruits and veggies.
So what did I learn?
I really started to see just how much I eat out of habit. There were times when I technically was not hungry but still wanted to munch on something. This makes complete sense considering how often we are subjected to numerous food advertisements. I do not think people really understand what constantly seeing and hearing things does to the brain.
I also saw the benefits of eating healthily and just how amazing you can feel when you fill your body with the best fuel possible. Our bodies are truly incredible machines that deserve to be taken care of. Putting good into the body will only result in good coming out.
Lastly, I noticed the surprised look on people's faces when I told them that I was only consuming fruits and vegetables. Today's food is processed, enriched, and can be just plain poisonous. It is interesting to see how eating poorly has become the norm and those who are strictly eating “real” food are seen as abnormal. This shows how society as a whole is moving away from a natural diet to a more modified and pleasure centered one. This coupled with endless amounts of advertisements for instant gratification through fast food or other pre-prepared meals, really does make it difficult for someone to see the benefits of a simple 15 day juice fast detox.