I’ve been through some health issues the past few years. It’s made many aspects of my life difficult, including maintaining a low, healthy weight. When medications you’ve been put on add 6 lbs./month on average for patients taking it, you can’t really fight it even with proper wellness.
But once you’re off the heavy meds, as I am now, you can re-focus yourself back on wellness. I love to do this first with a big juice fast. It cleans out your body after 3 days or so, only to then move on to a different state of being. Your mental clarity improves significantly, you feel far lighter during the day (perhaps 10-15 lbs. lighter than you actually are), and you don’t have nearly as much physical energy. Running is difficult, as is hiking or climbing, of which I did all three this week. I’m on day 6 of my juice fast now and it’s going great- I’m down 13.5 lbs in 6 days. For reference, I’m not huge and therefore dropping significant weight quickly- most people say I don’t need to lose weight, even though I do.
The Basics of Juicing
The first thing I like to distinguish is between a cleanse and a fast. I consider the first 3 days as a cleanse, as it truly cleanses out your digestive tract and your body gets a chance to heal. Anything beyond this period is, for the most part, a weight loss initiative. The pounds come off consistently throughout – about 1.5 lbs/day – but the only real benefit beyond 3 days that you haven’t already full experienced is just continued weight loss.
Juicing is properly done without any sugar. As sugar typically comes attached to fiber, and thus is slower to digest, the absence of that fiber can do some serious damage on your body. It’s a huge “sugar shock” to your system if you just suddenly downed the equivalent of 6 apples or 4 mangoes, etc. And so, for an ideal juice fast, no fruits should be used. I do make the exception with lemons and limes because they contain a good source of alkalizing mineral salts and not too much sugar. Most wellness experts tend to agree they are a net positive.
So no fruits, with the exception of lemons and limes, leaves only a bunch of vegetables. This sounds miserable to most of you at this point I’m sure, but I promise you, it still tastes pretty great. The rule of thumb I live by is at least 1/2 of the pre-juicing vegetables need to be leafy greens. I’m not talking weight, but rather just an eyeball of the amount of greens vs. everything else. Again, this is before juicing and they are laid out on the table, not after. They are the most concentrated sources of just about everything and you’d do well to not ignore them, despite the lack of a significant amount of juice. Also, throwing 2 different healthy greens into each juice helps to get a wide array of the proper nutrients. Greens I consider healthy include kale, mustard greens (spicy), dandelion greens, spinach, and arugula.
Good vegetables for a lot of juice and good wellness are carrots, cucumber, celery, and beets. Other good vegetables for wellness are bell peppers. Besides that, there isn’t much I add, except perhaps ginger. It’s really not supposed to be every single vegetable and every leafy green; seeing as you’re doing this anywhere from 3-14 days (if I had to guess), then it’s more important to be cost and time effective. You won’t get any nutrient deficiencies from limiting yourself to what I’ve just described, especially if you stick to the leafy green rule of thumb.
Living the Juice Cleanse/Fast
Day 1 is a bit tough. You still have energy from the day before and you also have food from last night in your intestines. You make the necessary juice for today- about 3/4 of a gallon- and make sure to drink the required 10+ cups/day. After work at 5, you decide you want to exercise one last time and go for a run. You run out of gas about 2/3 of the way through what used to be an easy loop for you. That’s alright, though, since you’ve consumed less than 500 calories today and you just burned probably somewhere in the vicinity of that off.
Day 2 is harder. Your body isn’t adjusted yet and you’re hungry most of the day. The juice, when made properly and enough is drank, keeps you at bay. But you’re weaker today and you don’t feel like exercising. That’s alright though, as you woke up 4 pounds lighter this morning and know that it’s still continuing.
Day 3 is the hardest. Your body isn’t adjusted yet, your intestines start to really clean themselves out and you’re in the bathroom a lot, and you can’t seem to satisfy your hunger. You keep it at bay with the juice and stay hydrated, but it’s a struggle. But you also know that tomorrow is going to be great.
And Day 4 is great, just as you expected. You wake up and aren’t hungry any more. Your intestines are done cleaning themselves and you’ve never felt so crystal sharp in your mental cognition. It almost feels like a different state of consciousness. You feel far lighter than you thought possible so soon, both because of the weight loss and your body is acting far more efficiently.
Every day after Day 4 gets a small step down in metal cognition, although it is probably not until Day 8 or 9 that you fall below a normal level of mental energy. Some don’t experience that degradation during the duration of their juice fasts, but usually I tend to get fatigued. Each day after Day 3 is great, and although you need to stay disciplined, it’s not as hard as the first 3 days.
Improving the Juicing Experience
So I titled this article “The Better Juice Fast” because there are ways to improve the quality of your fast significantly. The first that I already showed is no sugar- by focusing on veggies and lemons/limes, you get a superior result.
The next thing I highly recommend is getting some healthy fats in your system during this cleanse. Bulletproof coffee is one of the greatest things I’ve ever come across and one of the things recommended to put in their coffee is unsalted grass fed butter. I’ve gotten used to making this either my breakfast or half of my lunch, so with this juice fast currently, I continued drinking it every day. It’s the only direct source of food I have and gets by body used to burning fats. At this point, I think it’s probably helped me maintain muscle mass more as my fat has burned away.
If you don’t drink coffee that’s okay! You can just as easily use tea. What this has gotten me into is using coconut oil as well because it tastes good with the tea. To give a reference of how much healthy fats you’d want in your hot beverage of choice, you should have about an inch at the top of a glass if it were in a beer glass.
You don’t want a lot of healthy fats- just around a slice or two of grass fed butter every day. A similar amount of coconut oil is good to add too.
So yeah, that’s where I’m at currently- back on the way down with weight and doing it highly efficiently. Hopefully these thoughts on improving juicing and your experience go over well. The biggest pitfalls I always see is people not using enough greens or not drinking enough juice throughout the day. That’s called starvation my friends!
Best of luck and have a good weekend.