I've been juice fasting for well over a decade, and let me tell you, I made a lot of mistakes when I first started. I hope that today I can share some of the things I've learned along the way so that you can make the most of your fast.
If I could stress one thing before you begin, it's to make sure your bowels are moving properly One thing you can be certain of while doing a juice fast is that your body will begin to detoxify from all the juices. If your bowels are not moving, all that toxic waste will accumulate in your colon, reabsorb into your system and make you sick! Sometime the juice itself will work to empty the bowels, but it's good to have an intestinal cleanser or enema bag on hand just in case.
What are some of the benefits of juice fasting?
Knowing what's happening in my body really helps me to look forward to a juice fast with anticipation rather than dread.
It's an enzyme holiday
When you're eating regular food, your body has to work to produce enzymes and digest everything you eat. Fresh, live juices contain a huge amount of readily available enzymes. So it's like you're giving your body a vacation. You're loading your system with the enzymes it needs so it doesn't have to work to manufacture them. This gives the body a chance to heal and repair rather than digest food.
Juice fasting is an all natural blood thinner
When we're dehydrated or eat too much unhealthy fat and junk food, our blood can become like sludge. Imagine how hard our body has to work to pump thick sludge through our veins! Juice fasting thins the blood and allows the now nutrient-rich blood to make its way through the capillaries with ease and go deep into vital areas of the body.
Juice fasting also balances the hormones, clears the mind, brightens and tones the skin….the list goes on and on...
How long do I juice fast?
If you've never done a fast, here are a few suggestions:
The one day juice fast
Do you want to make it a 24 hour fast or a 36 hour one? If you choose a 24 hour fast and want to begin on Monday, for example, you could start Monday evening by missing supper and resume eating on Tuesday at supper time. This allows for a fast between around 5 pm to 5 pm, depending on what time you choose to eat. A great way to begin if this is your first time fasting.
If you choose a 36 hour fast, skip dinner on Monday and fast all day on Tuesday. Resume eating on Wednesday morning. This allows two evenings for your body to break down and eliminate waste material while you sleep.
The five day juice fast
Another great way to begin fasting is with a five day cleanse. Start day one by doing just fruits, vegetables, salads, and fresh juice. Then on days two, three, and four, do a juice fast, consuming nothing but fresh juice, herbal teas and vegetable broth if you so choose. On day 5, go back to fruits and vegetables along with fresh juice. Day one is a great way to prepare yourself to stop eating, while day five is a nice transition before you resume eating regular food once again.
How much juice do I drink?
This is a very difficult question to answer because everyone is so different. People have different needs and varying weights. When I do a juice fast, I typically try and consume about two and a half quarts or 80 ounces. I would suggest that you listen to your body and make your decision from there.
Preparing for a juice fast
Over the years, I have found that the better I plan for a juice fast, the better my chances for achieving success.
- Make a list of what you are trying to accomplish.
- Determine how long you intend to fast.
- Purchase the herbs, fruits and vegetables you will need for any juice, flushes or vegetables broths you intend to make.
If you're ready to raid the refrigerator...
Sometimes I find that part of what makes fasting a challenge is missing something hot at the end of the day when it's supposed to be supper time. This takes some time to prepare, but vegetable broth can be very comforting when you just want some hot food.
- Thick potato peelings
- Thick carrot peelings
- Celery and onion
- Spinach and other greens
- Himalayan salt or bragg liquid amino for flavor
- Jalapenos or cayenne pepper to taste
I very lightly saute celery, onion and garlic in a little olive oil. It really enhances the flavor and makes it more like broth than vegetable water. Simmer on lowest heat for one to four hours. Strain the vegetables from the broth and enjoy!
Fresh watermelon juice is another way to ward off extreme feelings of hunger. I have found that if I'm not juicing the rind, my juicer makes absolutely no pulp when I try and juice it. So I just throw it in my vita mix with some ice. It's so refreshing and really helps when I'm tempted to end the sat before I really intended.
One of my last resorts when I'm tempted to quit is to take about 2 - 3 tablespoons of flax seed and put them in a coffee grinder. I add hot water until it is kind of like a very thin hot cereal and add some honey for taste. The ground flax seed expands and makes you feel somewhat full. I have found this to be better than caving, ending the fast, and ordering carry out.
Another thing you may want to consider is a visit to the massage therapist. Getting a full body massage will stimulate the body to release toxins. Physical manipulation of the liver and intestines will aid in the process as well. If done properly, a massage can help you double the positive effects of your juice fast.
Juice fasting has become a practice and a habit that has enriched my life. Although there have been times I find it very difficult or challenging to do, the list of rewards and overall health benefits make fasting worth the sacrifice and effort.