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As a write this, the weather here in Connecticut has changed.  When I went into my juice fast, all was humid, hot and hazy.  Now, as is common for the end of August, the sun is hot but the breeze has cooled.  The nights are cool as well, and so the tops of the trees are beginning to color.  The little weeping cherry in our front garden is always on the forefront of the move from summer to autumn, and many of the leaves that trail down its ropey branches are already tinged with gold.

This leaves me, as it has other years, chilled to the bone.  Nothing in the body of anyone on a juice fast can withstand anything like the cold that is to come.  That is the reason why these fasts are done during high heat.  That and the abundance of fruits and vegetables of all sorts.

And so my fast winds down as does the summer.  The sun has shifted on the horizon, making the shadows already a big longer and the light already a bit deeper, not yet the pure gold of October, but not the July’s hot spotlight in the sky.

And so what has happened to me in this fast?  Well, certainly I have lost weight.  Certainly my skin is clearer, my eyes brighter, my cheekbones a bit more pronounced. The chin, that was more or less disappearing into my neck now protrudes into the world as it should.  And I certainly have detoxed.  My fingernails are perfectly pink, without mark or mar, as are my gums.  Most important, in the days since the exhaustion that is, for me, the second phase of the fast (detox being the first), the usual sense of peace has entered in.  While fasting, I feel that I am more connected with the earth beneath my feet, with the light, the heat (or lack thereof), the seasons.  I feel that I am also more connected with myself and with the body that I all too often take for granted.  And so there is at the end of the experience a sense of purpose, as sense of calm and a sense of accomplishment.

I had intended to give information, to tell what juices I use and how I blend them.  And how juices can become an important part of your diet, even if you don’t fast.  Even if you just add them in with what you are eating already.

But that will wait for another day.  There’s time enough for that when I get to it…

In the meantime, here’s a Wikipedia article that gives some basic information on juice fasts.

Juicy

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Because it has been a habit of mine for a long time now, I no longer think that it is strange.  But when I stop and think about it, or when I put it this particular way, I can’t help but find just how odd my habit is.  You see, I have a habit of not eating for one month out of every year.

Or to put it better, I have a habit of not chewing for one month out of every year.  I eat plenty, in fact I pack my system with nutrients, but I do not chew them.

 

Every August, I go on a juice fast.  I started it some years back when I was feeling what I can only say was “extremely middle-aged.”  I felt fat, tired, rather listless and, worst of all, trapped.  Trapped in my own body and trapped in a cycle of thoughts and actions that I knew were not the healthiest, the best they could be.

So I sought out a reset button.  I went to my naturopath before beginning my juice fast, and she mentored me through it.  Not only did she stand by and add rice protein powder when it was needed, but she encouraged me through it and educated me as to what I could expect from the juice fast.

And, if you are ever to undertake one, you need to know what to expect.

You need to know that the first stage of the fast, the detox stage, is a doozy.  Your tongue is coated white, your breath smells.  You feel achy and tired and irritated.  You may break out in rashes, and some of the stuff that will come out of your body will appall you.  Still you have to go through it.  It is an important part of the fast.

You see, the whole reason to go on a juice fast it to allow your body to heal.  And detoxing the system of all the junk that you regularly carry around inside, packed down in your bowels is an essential part of that healing process.

When you go on a juice fast, you are literally flooding your body with nutrients that are given to it in liquid form.  These nutrients are absorbed directly into your body.  They do not need to be digested.  And because the body does not have to use the amount of energy that it usually dedicates to digestion (especially of things like fried foods and red meats), it is able instead to dedicate that energy to healing, to rebuilding tissue that needs attention.  Kind of like when a community dedicates itself to rebuilding infrastructure.

And more, the juice helps cleans the bowels, sweeping away built up waste.  Therefore, the first few days of the fast can be remarkable in terms of what is lost.  Bloat goes away.  Toxins are flushed.  By the end of the first ten days or so of the fast, your system is beautifully cleansed, your eyes are brighter and your skin looks better.

For one thing, the juice fully hydrates.  For another, is fully nurtures the system.

I learned long ago that, for me, the best time of year for the fast is the high heat of summer.  Others swear by the first days of Spring as the best time.  But whenever the fast takes place, it renews, reinvigorates and it heals.

Most years, I only fast for three days.  To get to those days, I do three days of prep, in which I eliminate foods each day until, on the fourth day, I begin my fast.  While fasting, I take at least four large juices a day—two vegetable and two fruit.  In addition, I drink plenty of water.  At the end of the three days, I take three more to slowly add foods back into my diet, always breaking my fast simply with vegetable broth.  Then I add cooked vegetables.  Then I add brown rice as well.  Then I begin the fourth day with yogurt and begin to build back up to eating as usual.

Sometimes, however, I go for a full four weeks.  These are special fasts, and special times when I can take the time to rest and pay attention to myself and my needs, when I can meditate and be still.  In years when I am working hard in August, I can only do the short fast.

But this year, I will do the full twenty-eight days.  I am eighteen days in already.  My detox has passed and been replaced, as it has been in the past, with a sense of energy and concentration. In the first part of the fast, I was too tired to write about it.  Now, with time on my hands (it would amaze you how much time you have when you don’t have to cook, eat or clean the kitchen every night), I will finish up the fast here, with you, letting you know more about juicing (something I have become passionate about over the years) and the occasional juice fast.