Juicy

2 Comments

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.

 

Advertisements

My Dogs Are Barking

1 Comment

So, I am mid way through my August journey, my month-long juice fast, and, oh, my dogs are barking.

Which is to say:  Juice fasts, no easy thing.  Not that you are hungry.  If you do it right, you are never hungry.  Or, at least, that is not the word for what you are.  If you do it right, you literally flood your system with so many nutrients, juiced and ready for the simplest act of digestion (which is to the usual act of digesting a large fried clam dinner as flicking away a housefly is to tossing aside an elephant) that you can never get hungry.  Getting hungry is death to the juice fast.  Those who want to go the distance know to keep yourself sloshy-full at all times, so that your stomach feels next to bursting with “food” and you therefore never yield to cravings.

So it is not eating exactly that you miss.  It is, instead, the sensual aspects of food, the smell of it, the taste of it, the chewing of it.  Think about it:  chewing is something that almost exclusively linked to one thing–eating.  Other than chewing gum, there is no other reason to work that particular set of muscles than eating. So when you are not eating, you are not chewing.  And something inside your brain notices this and fixates on it.  That something is a little voice that tries to get you to gnaw on the corner of books, on magazines, on doorjambs, on anything that will let you.

Last time I did the full 30, as we juicers call it, I could not have anyone in the house eating, including the dog.  As there was active rebellion on this particular point this time around, I have had to learn to live with a refrigerator filled with food and with the full knowledge that, just outside my bedroom door (where I retreat after each juice to let others have their meals in peace), they are all chewing chewing chewing, including that little dog Django, who loves me, but who has his limits.

I wonder if they were to all stop chewing a once and if they listened very, very carefully, if they could hear me quietly gnawing on my bathrobe on the other side of the door?