While on the one hand I would consider the juice feast officially “broken”, on the other I still feel like I’m navigating dietary life cautiously as I continue to be surprised at how different this feast breaking process is. The first time I did this I went back to food with gratitude…and fear. I was afraid of gaining weight before my wedding and I was afraid of what I might eat if given the chance and I spent too much time restricting and feeling the rebound effect of that. This go-round I feel so much more at peace, what and when to eat feels fairly simple. I still love food, I still think about it maybe a little more than is healthy (but wow has that part improved!) and I still have a hearty appetite, even if it’s just for gorgeous salads. Something I love about this particular feast breaking is how much I’m just enjoying the process. The months following the first juice feast saw a lot of dietary experimentation. Everything from a super restrictive diet of green juice and salads to a free-for-all, “I’m going to eat whatever I want” phase, to a super high fruit, high starch, high volume of food in general plan. I tried things I hadn’t eaten in years since getting into cleansing and I’m so grateful for all of it! Even though I put on some weight, even though I went through periods of my skin looking worse than it had ever looked (my body was so clean after the juice feast that it just didn’t tolerate much), and even though I felt like I was floundering and all I wanted to do was juice feast again, I am grateful. So here’s what feels so different this time: I’m still experimenting a little but I’m doing it without fear and with my eyes wide open. I’m present to all the little quirks of what’s working and what’s not and I find that I’m letting go of things that don’t work a lot more quickly. If I spend a night feeling physically miserable because I ate something that my body doesn’t like anymore (mass quantities of anything dry: dates and seaweed specifically), it doesn’t really get me down. I’m just like “oh hey! there’s a new thing that doesn’t work!”. And I move on. So what does my diet look like at the moment? I’m currently loving just having juice during the day (carrot, orange, and jicama based juices with greens are my favorites) with a fairly giant (though not as giant as they once were) salad in the evening. I spent several years juicing, or trying to juice until dinner and I’ve never found it as effortless or enjoyable as I do now. Including fruits is heavenly and great for my state of mind and energy. I’m much more balanced than I was on just green juices and I’m also drinking more (2-3 quarts). The other thing I’m paying attention to is keeping the fats in my diet pretty low- I know there is plenty of controversy around this but I’ve experimented in just about every direction and this really feels best to me. At the moment that’s looking like a half an avocado on my salad at night though I imagine I’ll play with nuts, seeds and coconut as time goes on. I also really thought I’d stay 100% raw for awhile but I was craving cooked veggies and find I do really well as long as they are the smaller part of a giant, juicy salad. I’ve taken a lot from my experimentation with the 80/10/10 diet, I love my simple fruit and veggie based meals, no salt, no oil, really clean. That being said, I just don’t feel as much of a need for that volume of food, I love juicing, I can’t get enough sprouting, and I’ve even got a batch of cultured vegetables happening atop the fridge.
I got a comment once asking why I’m always changing my diet. Can’t I ever just eat and be happy with it? Well here’s the thing…looking back over all my years of experimenting, I wouldn’t change it! I rather love it, it’s kind of a hobby! Since I was a kid I’ve been fascinated by the connection between food and how we look and feel and I’m still going with it. I love reading diet books, getting other perspectives, trying them on for myself and usually moving on while keeping some things and tossing the rest. I don’t pretend that my diet now will be my diet for the rest of my life but it feels really great for right now.
Here’s a recipe from my juice feasting days (all of about 10 days ago), you can juice the mango but I found I got a lot more out of it by blending it with the juice and straining it through a nut milk bag.
Spicy Mango Green Juice
6 oranges, peeled
1 jalapeño (with or without seeds)
1 bunch parsley
1 mango, peeled
Juice oranges, jalapeño, and parsley and blend with the mango. Strain in a cheesecloth or nut milk bag.
The days currently seem to be just creeping by. The other day I posted something on Instagram with the hashtag “day 56″…It was day 52. Oops. I’m not trying to rush it by, really! Although I often think about how 60 days would be a lovely stopping point. But then I get curious…what might I miss if I stopped that soon? I think about days 60-90 on my last juice feast and some of the biggest breakthroughs (and toughest days…) happened then. So I’ll probably get to 90 but there’s a part of me that’s not going without a fight 😉
There was a yoga class on Youtube recently where the teacher said something that has really stuck with me. We were moving through some tough poses and she reminded her “at home viewers” that the heat and discomfort and (potentially) resistance building in our bodies were just the “fires of transformation”. That shift in perspective made the discomfort more bearable and I’ve found myself using that thought a lot. Moments where I want to tense up and resist where I’m at or eat a bottle of spirulina or guzzle juice until my stomach aches because I’m frustrated or stressed…these uncomfortable feelings are the fires of transformation. I find myself breathing more and tuning out (a little) less. I think it might be a life-long practice but it’s an idea that’s helping me enjoy the current journey more.
Juicing Herbs. My little Breville juicer does not take to it well. We had a stash of rosemary that was bordering going bad but I’d never had luck throwing it in the juicer so I thought, why I can’t I use the same trick I use for bananas and dates? So I juiced up my produce and threw it in the blender with a sprig of rosemary, strained out the pulp and had an incredibly fragrant mid-morning treat!
Red Rosemary Citrus
1 sprig rosemary
Juice produce and pour into blender with rosemary. Blend thoroughly and strain fiber through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag.
It’s beet quite a week here in juice feasting land! I mentioned on my last post that I was in the middle of an 11 day stretch of work days- thankfully that’s now coming to an end! I did start to go a little crazy this week and my body wasn’t feeling so good. I backed off on the super cleansing/awakening stuff (beet and wheatgrass juice) and had a little spirulina and chlorella. The “treat” unfortunately did not help me feel any better and I was in pretty bad shape the day before yesterday. Soooo yesterday I had a short shift in the morning and took the day to water fast. I was pretty miserable and slept as much as I possibly could. This morning I woke up feeling sparkly and rejuvenated! I broke 36 hours on water with a diluted carrot juice spiced up with some DoTERRA ginger essential oil and a sprinkling of cinnamon.
I’m not sure why I keep trying all these pills and potions- I never really feel anything when I take them. Today I finished a jar of Healthforce Nutritionals SCRAM parasite cleanse. I’ve heard from people who have taken this before that it was intense. You’re supposed to take 10 pills a day so I was braced for something crazy! I felt nothing. Maybe I don’t have parasites or maybe since my system is so calm with no food going in there wasn’t a lot for the SCRAM to run in to. Alas, I can be a sucker for marketing. As the jar says: IT’S YOU OR THEM! Move them out!!- how could I resist?? I’ve heard a million times that we all have undesirable parasites in our bodies so why not take the chance to get them out? Well, I have no idea if I had them or if it did anything but I currently feel no better or worse off.
I’ll leave this little update with the most delectable coconut water concoction I’ve had yet:
Spicy Vanilla Ginger Coconut Water
32 oz coconut water
pinch of vanilla bean
pinch of cayenne
2 drops DoTERRA ginger essential oil
Attempting some pre-work relaxation in the sunshine on day 50.
Today marks the HALF WAY point in this juice feast. Someone asked me the other day what day I was on and when I said 43 they were like “whoah, not even halfway yet!”…and I was sitting there thinking “it’s all going too fast!”. It actually feels a little bittersweet to be halfway through. I’m just enjoying this process so much. High days, low days, and everything in between. Yesterday was a mish mash, I didn’t sleep well the night before (my one major complaint on this juice fast) and had some work stress on top of that. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that the highlight of my day was pure vanity. A dress that I bought last Fall that never really fit slipped on easily. Also a jacket that I’ve owned for years but never been able to shut buttoned up with no problems. I was asked recently if I knew how much weight I’d lost and I had to admit that I have no idea! It doesn’t feel like a ton, just like things have tightened up and my clothes fit differently.
Today was lovely, lovely, lovely. I went for a walk in the park afterwork and it was completely dreamy…I kind of just wanted to hug everyone…and I’m not really much of a hugger! I haven’t talked a lot about colon cleansing on this fast but I’d really be nowhere without all the waste that’s leaving my body. The past couple of days it has truly just smelled awful for the first time that I can recall. Yesterday I also had a really horrible taste in my mouth. Thank goodness for tongue scrapers! Alright. Enough of the gross. Here is a vibrant pink juice in honor of Valentines day (which I have to admit, we don’t actually celebrate) that includes the sweetness of fresh banana! The trick to “juicing” a banana is just to blend it with your juice and strain the pulp through a cheesecloth or nut milk bag. I don’t do it often but it’s a great treat!
CinnaBeet Love Juice
4 oranges, peeled
1 very ripe banana, peeled
Juice oranges and beets and pour juice into a blender with the banana. Blend until completely smooth and strain through a nut milk bag or a cheesecloth. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
I am quite exhausted today. I think I was expecting, after a full day of serious rest, that I’d have tons of energy today! Instead I felt like I was in recovery mode, my muscles weren’t quite up to speed and I just felt tired. I also felt a bit of anxiety after introducing fruit juice back into my system like it might have just been too much sugar all at once. I had some long periods of feeling nauseous and it took my headache awhile to leave this morning. It’s interesting, after so long on juice, to be experiencing some sort of detox-y effects again!
I felt pretty resistant to being at work today. My mood was good and I always enjoy the people I work with but my body felt tense and I just wanted to go home. I kept trying to coax myself into relaxing but my body wasn’t having it. Finally, towards the end of my shift I realized that I wasn’t breathing and that even if I couldn’t force relaxation I could get myself to breathe. It felt pretty forced at first but after a few long, deep breaths, I felt my tension start to release and it felt like a soothing balm on my insides. Note to self: BREATHE.
I did have some pretty major cravings today for comfort food! Things I don’t usually crave at all: cake, bread, pizza, etc. As my shift was over I had the thought that maybe I would buy something as a sort of comforting treat. Then I realized that I’d just be trading one compulsive, temporary pleasure for another! I didn’t need anything, and nothing was going to really make me feel as good as going home, unwinding, reconnecting with myself and hanging out with my wife.
The other thing I noticed today was that my body shrunk a bit after a day on water and it kinda freaked me out a bit. Water fasting is not at all about weight loss for me but I found myself in a mild panic. What if I put weight back on and I’m never this tiny again??- and other such thoughts poured out of my brain. The truth is, I don’t expect to stay at my fasting size and my non-fasting size is just fine! My old patterns still crop up though and I have to remind myself that it’s ok to drink as much juice as I need today and that the juice nourishes me so I can be and experience and LIVE regardless of my jeans size. So here I am tonight, drinking my warm, date sweetened (and strained) tea, with sleepy time herbs and enjoying every bit!
Orange Creamsicle Coconut Water
32 oz coconut water
1/2 tsp vanilla bean
2 drops DoTerra Wild Orange essential oil
Yesterday was such a roller coaster ride of emotions. As you may have noticed, I missed a day of blogging. Interestingly, it didn’t feel like the end of the world and I may not pressure myself to blog every single day from here on out. So the roller coaster ride: I woke up yesterday feeling great, feeling so lucky to be fasting, feeling like I was just so sad to be almost halfway finished. I told Britney that food seemed so weird and I just wasn’t interested. At some point that morning I watched a video on Youtube of a girl on her second day of a water fast. I’d told her I was interested in water fasting myself and that I was looking forward to following along. On this second day, she ate some durian. I wasn’t impressed and let myself off the hook for being judgmental. After all, we all judge each other, right? And maybe I was feeling a tiny bit smug about my own fasting accomplishments. If anyone had heard inside my brain I’m sure it would have been incredibly obnoxious. Fast forward to that afternoon, work was unbelievably insane, I was feeling progressively weepy, strangely nauseous, and I couldn’t think of anything more wonderful than food. I thought about my precious spirulina, the technically “ok on a juice feast” treat that I committed to leaving out because consuming it by the bottle full was probablynot ok. Then I thought about chlorella…I never said I wouldn’t have some chlorella…And if I’m going to have some chlorella I might as well just go to town on the chlorella…because I’ll probably regret it and have to omit the chlorella…Looking back it was totally like the (not so) good old times when I would promise myself that tomorrow I’m committing to a diet, so might as well eat to my heart’s content (and beyond) today! After the chlorella packet was empty I felt defeated. Not like I’d broken my juice feast of failed impossibly. Just like I’d been given a test and I hadn’t passed it. I didn’t feel any better either, just headache-y and more sad. I went to bed that night and woke up around 3 A.M. feeling restless. I plugged in a random guided meditation that I’d never done before and it just so happened to be all about becoming present in life and noticing where I was being judgmental towards other’s decisions or the way they lived their lives. *sigh*. Lesson learned. I do wonder if I can really go through life without those knee-jerk judgements and assumptions about people. It’s definitely something I’ll now be more aware of.
Today was better, I had to really fight my mind to not go back to the chlorella but I’m home now and after a long hot bath I’m doing alright. I’ll leave you with a really tasty recipe from this morning:
Apple Pie Green Juice
1 bunch spinach
4-5 sweet apples
pinch of apple pie spice
pinch of vanilla bean powder
Juice produce and blend with spices.
Today felt like the opposite of yesterday. I decided not to stress about my “to-do” list- I stayed relaxed and present…and still pretty much got my to-do list done (but enjoyed it a lot more). I finished a book on fasting that I wasn’t particularly impressed with. The author gave a list of “signs” that you should break a fast…like wanting to chew...I’ve wanted to chew almost every day since I started and if I took that advice I wouldn’t have made any breakthroughs! It was one of the odd days where food hardly bothered me. I made Britney a pot of chili and while it smelled good, it didn’t really smell like food. The texture and smell just seemed strange. It smelled good, I just didn’t want to eat it. I’m really missing crunchy lettuce still but it’s not an unbearable craving. I made the following juice yesterday when I was really struggling with cravings and it was delightful. Maybe not true comfort food but the best I can do for now!
Carrot Comfort Juice
4 lbs carrots
1 drop organic almond extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Juice carrots and stir in remaining ingredients.
Today’s Juice Feast: herbal tea with raw honey, 32 oz Green Peppermint Crisp, 1 oz E3Live, 3 oz wheatgrass, 32 oz Cherry Pie Coconut Water (recipe to come), 28 oz Herbed Jicama Juice (recipe to come), 34 oz orange/beet/dill with cayenne, 34 oz carrot/beet greens with pumpkin pie spice and stevia.