Quick disclaimer: Check with your doc or RD if you want to try something like this. If you're easily triggered on the Diet/Eating Disorder front, a juice fast is probably not for you in this moment and this post may not even be for you. To clarify on my end: some weight loss was a SIDE EFFECT and NOT A GOAL of my juice cleanse. If I don't have hypoglycemia I'm about as close as it gets.
I've got a 15 year history of disordered eating = a really firecracker combination of restricting/bingeing/restricting.
Throw in my weekly workout and teaching schedule? Forgetabouuuuudit.
But when my (very trusted and absurdly adorable) nutritionist, Dori Friedberg of Healing Thru Food, recommended it to help jumpstart some healing for my skin and gut, I agreed to try it.
The first couple days of pre-cleanse (just smoothies, salads, fruits, veggies) did not bode well. I sent her a frantic email on the day before I started juicing full time. It went something like "AM ALREADY STARVING! PLS SEND TORTILLA CHIPS IN BULK."
The response was very calm: "You've got this. Don't let yourself get hungry. Drink TONS of juice."
I was completely surprised, that she was right. I drank 16 oz of mostly vegetable juice every 3 hours or so and felt *amazing.* I wasn't hungry. I didn't have cravings until toward the end of day 3 when I knew solid food was in sight, and I was mostly craving the experience of chewing fresh fruits and veggies.
The most remarkable results of the cleanse were completely unrelated to the (mostly temporary) weight loss I experienced.
My thoughts and processes felt clear and unhindered.
My blood sugar was pretty consistent because I was drinking juice so often, and there was no sugar/gluten/dairy/bleh anything to gum up the works. I was *insanely* productive!!
The following week proved to be quite trying on a personal and professional front, and as I stuck with a "solid food cleanse" nutrition plan, I found myself able to experience and process my emotions in a really amazing way. When the body is clear and clean, it acts as a beautiful conduit.
I could simply enjoy what I was consuming without worry or planning ahead.
I tend to be a planner when it comes to food. Because my schedule is so wacky and I can't afford to eat at the Co-Op every time I gets snack, I have to pack food, plan for blood sugar lows and ensure that I have enough calories to get me through 8 hours of teaching some days. On the juice fast? I only had to make sure I had a cooler and some juice.
I was never thinking 'Hm. I wonder what I'll have for dessert? When is dinner again? Should I eat more in case I'm hungry later?' I just enjoyed what I was drinking and knew my next juice would be ready when I needed it. What a blessing to live in a present, abundance mindset!
Sugar cravings subsided.
I freakin' love sugar. Plain and simple. And while I've been *drastically* reducing my processed sugar intake (like...none) because it makes me feel sh*$^& about 12.2 min after I eat it, going more than a week without processed sugar was both enlightening and exciting. A date with almond butter was MORE than enough of a treat after drinking kale lemonade for 3 days :)
I learned - once again - that I'm capable of more than I think.
They say we'll keep getting a lesson over and over until we learn it. And whether it's my SFG prep, moving across the country or juice fasting for 3 days, the lesson has recently seemed to be: You are capable, strong and sufficient in this moment.
Even in my recovery, food and dieting have been a crutch. They are means to distract myself from unpleasant and uncomfortable emotions by either eating or thinking about eating or dieting or thinking about dieting. Because this fast was a reset button with the intention of healing, it was a chance to practice caring for myself without those crutches. And it worked :)
Will I do it again?
My plan is to do a 3-5 day juice cleanse 2 times/year or so. My skin was a little dry from lack of fat and we - obviously - can't live on juice especially when training. There's something, though, about a straight shot of vitamins and enzymes to the brain! After going back on solid food, I found myself kind of missing the simplicity and the clarity of the previous week.
What am I doing now?
Definitely juicing. I love the afternoon boost of greens! I typically make two or three 16 oz juices at a time and drink them over the course of two days. (It's not ideal, but I hate cleaning my juicer.)
Eating pretty vegan and pretty "clean." No meat, litte-to-no dairy, sugar or gluten (cards on the table: this weekend was sort of an exception on the dairy/gluten/sugar front and I feel like a$$.) I LIKE eating plant-based and I really LIKE how I feel when my system is free of the stuff that seems to slow me down. This is in NO way a diet and I'm leaving myself plenty of wiggle room, so it doesn't feel restrictive at all! Mostly liberating, really.
Remembering that food is a blessing, that I have an abundance of healthy meals and options and there is no need to 'eat defensively' in case I'm hungry later (#packsnacks.)
Share your juicing experiences, questions, comments, complaints and general existential experiences in the comments!!!