Doing a juice fast at home is completely doable, but if you have the money to invest on a health retreat, the benefits are well-worth the expense! (Check out my raw juice fast weekend at Grail Springs, part 1 & 2).
Having someone else source unusual, healthy ingredients, prepare the juices and take care of the dishes alone is awesome. But more importantly, following a juice fast designed by a knowledgeable health practitioner and being under their watchful eye during it is always worth the investment.
Recently a friend (and Live Lighter reader) contacted me:
I am going on a retreat next weekend and we will be doing a raw juice fast while we are there. Do you have any suggestions on what I might do to prepare myself? They have suggested all of the obvious things….no sugar, no coffee, tea, cheese, alcohol, deep fried foods, processed foods, red meat, white flour, deserts, potato chips and any other junk food for at least a week prior. Most of those things are no problem (I think the coffee is what is going be the most challenging), but I feel like I should maybe be a little more proactive. Is there anything else that you would suggest?
Here’s my advice:
- Try a coffee substitute. I’ve tried a couple now (one’s Polish) made with figs, roasted chicory root, rye, and a few other interesting and natural ingredients. It tastes good and tricks my brain into thinking it’s real coffee. You can usually find a version of it at your local health food store, some grocery stores and online (e.g. TheFind.com).
- Three days before your fast, blend your raw food meals. I had smoothies (with rice milk, no yogurt either) for breakfast and cleansing detox meals made of veggies for lunch and dinner.
- Eat blended meals three days after your juice fast. Same as above.
- Slowly reintroduce foods. This one’s completely optional (like they are but this one more so). It’s a great time to check for any food sensitivities if you’re at all curious. The trick is to take one day at a time. So continue eating blended meals on the 4th day, and add only dairy, for example. You could eat cottage cheese in the morning and note any digestive or mood disturbances. At lunch, a serving of hard brick cheese and note any differences in how you’re feeling. Dinner… etc. The next day add rye, etc. This was the final part of my elimination diet adventure and in the hormone diet. Between the two I discovered several food sensitivities I was completely clueless about (besides confirming the two I had guessed at because of symptom severity).
- Journalling. When toxins are released, they are usually accompanied by unpleasant physical side-effects, such as headaches, anxiety, grumpiness, difficulty concentrating, etc. Be aware you may experience also some uncomfortable emotions as you process them along with the toxins. I found journalling and getting all those feelings down on paper helpful in speeding up emotional cleansing.
- Regular, daily exercise. Leading up to your fast, continue your usual physical activity routine. During your fast, avoid strenuous activity (it will kick your body into fight or flight and stop the heal & renew process) but make sure you perform light and moderate exercise to help the toxins move through your system.
- Deep breathing. Chances are your fast will allow you the opportunity to free your body of some substance, whether it’s caffeine, sugar, chocolate, cigarettes, etc. As with any substance addiction, you may feel withdrawal symptoms. One of the best ways to combat cravings and associated feelings of anxiety is through deep breathing. Try breathing in with your nose to the count of 8 (filling both upper and lower parts of your lungs), pausing on the top of the inhale for a count of 3, and exhaling through your mouth to the count of 8.
- Meditation. There are many of ways to meditate but basically it’s clearing your mind (which you can achieve through regular deep breathing). It’s benefits are many and among them, specific to a fast, it helps process emotions and relax your body, activating your natural healing abilities.
Does list give you some ideas in how to prepare for a fast, and cope with cravings and uncomfortable detox symptoms? By the way, you won’t necessarily experience negative side-effects (it depends on your toxicity levels); and you may experience enlightenment as your energy is diverted from digestion to your mind or spirit!
Have you tried a raw juice fast? What helped you through the tough times? Were you enlightened? Please share your experience with us!