Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Juicing for My Health

Last week, I finished my first juice fast, and the results were fantastic.  So much so, that my mind was changed as well as my tastes.  It's amazing how quickly my body adapted to wholesome, raw, fresh foods.

I have written answers to many of the questions I received regarding my juice fast.  I must add my disclaimer, as usual, in order to avoid any foolishness, and to cover my own (shrinking) rear end.  I chose to fast based on my own research and findings on the subject.  If you are interested in going through a cleansing fast, I recommend thoroughly researching before you begin.  Also, if you are on any medication, or have any health issue, you should consult with your doctor before making any diet change of this degree.

There.  That's done.  Glutes are covered.  Now, moving on...

How long did your fast last?
I intended to fast for 15 days, but ended up shortening it to 7 days.  Not because I couldn't handle it, in fact I LOVED the juice and didn't want to stop, but admittedly, it was somewhat expensive, especially since my husband was doing it at the same time.

What did you juice?
As many greens as I could find.  I typically juiced one bunch of kale, and one bunch of spinach, two cucumbers, a stalk of celery, four carrots, one lemon, a knob of ginger, and two green apples.  Sometimes I change it up and add one or more of the following; an orange, strawberries, radishes, parsley, cherries, peach, or beets.  Be careful with the soft fruits like overripe peaches or strawberries.  They can get too mushy and clog the juicer.

How often did you juice?
I would make a large pitcher of juice each day so I only had to do it once.  I made sure it was enough to last me the whole day.  My drinking schedule went like this:  juice for breakfast, one for snack, juice for lunch, one for snack, juice for dinner, one for snack.  So, six times a day, approximately 16 ounces of juice each glass.  In addition to the juice, I drank plenty of water.  It's hard to remember about adding water since you are drinking all of your meals.  But the water is just as important as the juice!

Were you ever hungry?
YES!!!  Especially the first day!  I actually considered gnawing off an appendage......more than once.  Thankfully, that feeling only lasted the first couple of days.  It did get easier and easier each day, and by the seventh day, I rarely was hungry.  If I ever felt truly hungry, where I just couldn't stand it, I would grab a glass of juice.  If you drink more thank six a day, it's not a big deal!  The six a day was my own schedule, my husband actually drank less than six.  It's what you feel necessary to get you through and aid your body in detox.

Did you feel awful?
Not really.  I did dread what might happen to me, but I really felt quite well.  I had heard a few people tell me that they had a headache the first couple of days, I had a small annoying one the first day, but I was fine after that.  I did feel a little sluggish and crabby the first two days, by the third day, I was doing great.  Feeling great, thinking great, I had noticed some weight loss on the fourth day and I had started exercising by then.  I still can't believe how great I felt on just juice!

What kind of juicer would one need?
A good one, but not an expensive one.  I have a Hamilton Beach juicer, like the one below.  It cost around $50 and works great.  It was just perfect for my juicing needs.  It was large enough that I didn't have to do a lot of cutting, but I still prefer to chunk my apples up, and you have to feed kale slowly, as it will clog up some.  Click on the picture, to find out more details:

How expensive was this fast?
I estimated, the fast cost about $10 - $15 a day.  It just depended on what I could find and where I found it.   The farmers market didn't offer much in the way of discounts, and kale is a bit difficult to find.  However, cucumbers and celery make a lot of juice, plus they are the most inexpensive vegetables, so I always made sure I started out with a good base of those two items.  It made my juice go further.

What about cravings?
I had cravings.  Lots of cravings.  Oddly, I craved salt.  I really thought sugar would be a problem, but it was the salt my body wanted.  I wanted chips and salsa, guacamole salad, pretzels, pickles...
Unfortunately, the cravings didn't stop for a few days.  I think by day 5 or 6, I only wanted the juice.  I could smell something cooking, and would have craved it before, but by the end of my fast, I longer wanted everything my nose picked up on.

How did it help you the most?
The fatigue.  Daily, I would have a meltdown mid-day.  It usually happened just after lunchtime, and continued for 2 to 4 hours.  I would get headaches, I would be grumpy, and was always desiring a nap.  By the third day, I realized I didn't feel that way anymore.  I had energy, clarity of mind, and my mood was all-around more pleasant.  The foggy, drained, poopy feeling was gone, and all I felt was refreshed.  My body could go and go, and not stop.

I also had the most wonderful sleep!  At night, I would go to bed and wake up refreshed.  I didn't feel like I had to drag myself out of bed, but got up bright and cheery and ready to start the day!

The weight loss was an added benefit.  I had put on a few extra pounds from my last pregnancy.  For the first time, I couldn't lose my weight after birth.  Maybe it was the c-section, maybe it was the second set of twins, maybe it was my age, I dunno, I just couldn't get rid of it all.  After a few days, I lost the extra "fluff".  I'm now back into my pre-pregnancy clothes, and working on getting in shape again.  My husband and I gained the energy to walk as many evenings as possible, and work on some toning as well.  The fast was a great jump start to our weight and exercise maintenance.

Will you do it again?
Most definitely!!!  I will probably do a fast once every three or four months, and specifically after the holidays.  I think refreshing my body every so often will help in my overall health.

I ended my fast a week ago, and since then, I have been on an all raw diet.  I eat mostly fruits and vegetables, and added in a small amount of feta cheese.  I haven't eaten any meat yet, but I intend to begin adding a lean meat to my diet.  I don't drink coffee or tea, only water and herbal teas, and until last night, I hadn't had any bread or grains.  I don't even crave anything but raw foods, and if you know me, you know I was a carnivore!  Basically everything I consume now, is organic and unprocessed.

Which means I really need to get my chickens going so I can have some good, lean meat and eggs for my household!

In case you are interested, the movie Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead is an amazing documentary on one man's life-changing journey to total health through a 60-day juice fast.  I don't care for documentaries, but this one is really well done and kept my interest the entire time.  It also was a catalyst for my husband's decision to fast.  If you have Netflix, the movie is free, otherwise, it shouldn't be too hard to find.  In addition, you can join a spin-off website called Reboot Your Life.  There is a lot of information on the site as well as several testimonies, and great juice recipes.

If you have any questions that I didn't cover, please feel free to ask!


Nicole said...

your post inspired me! me and the hubs watched the documentary and are planning a juice fast now. thanks! :)

Homestead Journey said...

That's great, Nicole!!! I have been off my fast for almost two weeks, and I am still losing weight and feel great!

You guys are going to do great and the benefits will be well worth it!

Nicole said...

awesome! i only have about 7 more pounds to lose, but i really trying to get healthy and detox all the crud out of my body. :)

PS - we need to have a park date! it's been too long. ;)

Sary S. said...

I love the write up! I didn't know juicers could be that cheap. Thanks for the info.

Homestead Journey said...

You bet, Sara! :D

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