If we’re Facebook friends then you may have seen me mention on Friday that we started a 3-day juice fast. A couple of people have asked me how it’s going so I thought I’d just go ahead and post here instead of Facebook.
A little bit about me for context. I didn’t go into this fast at a huge disadvantage. I don’t smoke, I eat fairly well, I don’t drink any soda, don’t care much for sweets, and consume very little caffeine.
Despite all the positives, I’ve still been feeling like utter crap for the last several weeks. I don’t sleep well, have frequent nightmares, always feel puffy, and to say I’m lethargic would be an understatement.
I can rule out stress because my personal and professional life are pretty much idyllic, so that leaves diet and exercise. Or, if I’m being honest, a lack of exercise. Long work days and a very busy social life mean our daily walks have fallen by the wayside, but that’s a whole other post (and the next issue we’re tackling).
Even though I love to cook and do so almost every night, a lot of our meals involve creams, sauces, cheeses, and meats. Even though I love fruits, vegetables, salads, whole grains, etc, the reality is I flat out adore Five Guys, ahi, and a good steak. I swoon over meatloaf or stuffed pork chops with mashed potatoes and gravy. I’ve just gotten too used to eating heavy foods because they’re my weakness. I realized if I was ever going to have the energy to get back to walking and the gym, I had to change what I was eating.
As Michael mentioned, we watched a bunch of food documentaries lately and two things really resonated with me. First, the way I eat is going to catch up with me and it’s not going to be pretty. Second, I believe in putting my money where my mouth is (in this case, literally), and I’m having trouble finding any viable reason to support the livestock, cattle, fishing, and poultry industries.
So, juicing. Michael has done a great job of outlining the details of getting started so I’ll just add what the last three days have been like for me.
Day one: Meh. I worked all day (at home) so I kept pretty busy, which kept my mind off eating. One of my friends came over to co-work with us and, surprisingly, when she popped open a can of chicken for lunch I only wanted to bite her face off for the first five minutes. I got a tiny headache toward the end of the day but it went away as soon as I had some juice.
Day two: God. It started out fine and I felt okay when I got up, though not particularly well-rested. I kept things fairly low-key because I just didn’t think I could focus on work, housework, friends, or really much of anything. Mid-afternoon, Michael and I took a two-mile walk and, well, that probably wasn’t the best idea we’ve ever had. I was really lethargic the rest of the day and by the time evening rolled around, I was getting kind of… well, touchy. Michael was fine with me just sort of holing up on the couch next to him and not really talking, but I was glad to not have to be doing anything social or mentally taxing because I doubt I would have been much fun to be around.
Day three: Whoa. I slept better last night. I wanted to stay in bed longer but a cat horking up a hairball two feet from your head is a rather motivating reason to get up. Though I rarely drink more than one cup of coffee in the morning (if that), I typically linger over my iPad in a fog as long as I can get away with. Today I checked my messages while I brushed my teeth and was anxious to head to Home Depot within minutes of getting up.
We started this with the desire to finish all three days and then discuss eating vegan (for at least a while) with the promise that either or both of us could bail if it got to be too much. We both believe that a healthy lifestyle isn’t about deprivation and sadness, it’s about finding ways to incorporate healthy foods and activities we enjoy into our daily life so the changes we make stick. So far, I’m liking this tremendously and probably won’t end my juice fast tomorrow. I don’t want to continue until I’m hating it, but I also don’t want to end it while I’m enjoying it either. As for switching to vegan? I can’t wait!
Here’s some things I’ve learned over the last few days:
1. Juicing takes up no more time than traditional cooking. I saw someone in one of the documentaries carrying on about how it took her two hours just to juice one meal. I have no idea what she’s talking about. I’ve never spent more than 15 minutes washing, prepping, juicing, and cleaning up — and that’s making juice for both of us. It takes even less time if I’ve pre-washed the veg ahead of time. Also, wash your juicer as soon as your done or you’ll need a sandblaster to get the pulp off.
2. I like the process of juicing. I love to cook, so I noticed that when Michael makes the juice I don’t enjoy it as much. I mean, it tasted great, but something was lacking. It took me a while to figure out that I missed all the chopping and prepping.
3. I was getting too hung up on recipes and it was stressing me out. I cook by feel and intuition but I was out of my element with juicing so I followed all the recipes to the letter the first two days. Once I got the hang of how fruits and vegetables come together in juice and just flew by the seat of my pants, I found I like the results a lot better.
4. So many juicing advocates overstate (in my opinion), its benefits. I don’t suddenly have 20/20 vision, I haven’t found the cure for world hunger, and I can’t lift my car. For the record, I didn’t expect results like that but I was interested to see if anything changed. The short answer is yes. As I mentioned, my energy level in the morning (and all day today) has been terrific and way better than it has been in the last several weeks, but I noticed something else today.
I have arthritis and moving around can be a real challenge. It’s particularly bad in my hands and most mornings I wake up with horribly stiff fingers. Some mornings I can’t move them. Literally the very first thing that registered in my brain when I woke up this morning (after the hairball), was that my hands were completely pain-free. That could be due to three things: The lack of crap I’ve put in my body over the last three days, the benefits of the juice, or the extra water I’m getting. I’m going to all but rule out the water because I drink a lot of it anyway, so it’s got to be one (or both) of the other two things. Whatever it is, I’ll take it.
5. I’m not hungry. This was a real surprise to me and, frankly, one of my biggest concerns going into this. I really dislike the sensation of being hungry so I was really concerned that was what would ultimately derail me. It turns out that, except for a couple minutes here and there, I’m not hungry all the time. Score!
Questions? Fire away.