I watched the documentary “Fat Sick and Nearly Dead” on Netflix and decided the fast was something I could do. I have a juicer. At times I have willpower. I like juicing veggies and fruits and have been a regular juicer for about a year now, I’d guess. I had been juicing the same recipe weekly: kale, celery, cucumbers, apple, lemon, spinach, and ginger. I’d drink the green juice for a few days, and then I’d make another batch the following week. I didn’t need to slap a sign on the jar that said, “This is Mom’s.” Nobody else in the house would touch it with a ten-foot pole.
I saw my scale creeping a bit higher and was motivated by the documentary. It’s the inspiring story of Joe Cross, an Aussie suffering from an autoimmune disease, who comes to the United States and juices his way back to health. Along the way he interviews several people, including two Iowans who appear in the film. (A woman from Waterloo is featured as well as a man from Sheldon. Waterloo is right next door, and Sheldon is my maiden name. If those aren't signs for me to try the juice fast, what is?) The main idea is that we can heal our bodies with a plant-based diet if we avoid processed foods. Raw vegetables and fruits provide optimum nutrition for our bodies. Because they are raw and haven't been cooked in any way, they are healthier. Juicing removes the fiber, which allows bodies to more quickly absorb and digest the nutrients. Makes sense to me.
I looked at the calendar and decided I’d start June 18, the day Isaac went to summer school. I’d have the day to juice to my heart’s content, and he couldn't stop me. I didn't have any plans during the next 10 days that would interfere with my goal. I went to Hy-Vee and bought two days’ worth of produce.
I found a blog that did a nice job of listing some juicing schedules & menus: http://beckysreboot.blogspot.com/
A sample day:
Hot water with lemon (upon awakening)
2 green apples
6 handfuls of greens (spinach, chard, romaine, collards, etc)
Mid-morning snack: 16 oz. of coconut water
6 celery stalks
2 handfuls basil leaves
Dinner juice: (the leftover lunch juice)
1 sweet potato
2 ripe peaches
1 red apple
1 handful of blueberries
Dash of cinnamon
Lots of water all day long
No caffeine, no meat, no dairy, no gluten, no corn, no soy, no sugar (except what’s found in the fruit) -- just good old fashioned fruits and vegetables. Does that equate to no joy? Hardly.
The first three days were the most difficult, but I truly never felt hungry or deprived, which surprised me. I liked most of the juices, although some were an acquired taste. I wanted to eat solid food because eating is one of my all-time favorite things to do. One day I had a slight headache. It was difficult to sit at the dinner table drinking my beet juice (juiced beets made my kitchen look like a crime scene) while I had prepared homemade mashed potatoes, baked chicken, and green beans for my family. I didn't miss coffee, either, even though Isaac made a cup for me each day before he left for school. After he got on the bus, I tossed it.
By day four, I felt better than I’ve felt in a long time. My energy returned, I didn't feel sluggish in the morning, and my cravings were obsolete. I felt lighter, happier, and younger.
Did I continue to have bowel movements? Yes, I did. (Maybe that’s TMI, but I bet you all are curious.)
Did I floss? Because I wasn't technically eating anything, I skipped a few nights. (Anyone who knows me well might have just fainted after reading these words.)
Henry and Noah have been supportive.
“Hey Mom, it’s day 8!”
“This ice cream tastes terrible.”
“Just think, you only have 29 hours and 53 minutes before this is all over.”
“Okay, I’ll take a bite of baked beans instead of drinking your green juice!”
Even Isaac has allowed me to finish my juice before he loads my glass into the dishwasher. Chris says he’s proud of me for doing it. He hasn't seen the grocery bills, though. It’s a bit pricey, but can we put a price on our health?
Yesterday I felt a bit weak. I’m not sure if it’s the humid weather, my lack of sleep, being with the kids every waking moment, or the fact that I had been drinking juice (and eating nothing else) for 10 days. I had enough energy for my daily activities, but my energy level had plunged a bit.
I’m thinking I need to ease into food by mostly eating veggies and fruits so my digestive system is grateful. I ate a tiny piece of sprouted grain toast for breakfast with a side of raspberries and drank my hot lemon water. I enjoyed a spinach salad and hummus for lunch. I snacked on a banana. I’m eating that piece of pie, although I’m wondering if it might taste too sweet. I’ll find out.
I don’t have any regrets about juicing. In fact, I am conflicted about stopping the juice fast because it felt like the right thing to do. Sure, there were a few days I didn’t feel that great, but at least I didn’t drown my sorrows in chocolate and a Diet Coke. I've been known to do that before . . .
If you’d like to learn more or you just think I’m crazy, watch the documentary.
I’m giving my juicer a rest for a few days, but it will be back on the counter again soon. I've learned I need to make juicing part of my daily routine. I feel good – and I’m still alive!