Time marches on—it’s day 12 of my 30 day juice fast. It is weird to think sometimes that I haven’t chewed any food in 12 days. Hmmm. Ok, I did chew an ice cube last night that was in my juice and I thought for a second, spit it out I am eating something!!….and then I remembered it was only ice. I will have to say when I am cutting up fruits or vegetables I often get the urge to pop a piece in my mouth—not so much because I am hungry but just because it is a natural reaction for me to taste what I am cutting. I think that urge comes from the smell of whatever I am slicing like a ripe strawberry or farm fresh tomato, and the juicy look of it. Accordingly, I have not yet had the urge to throw down a piece of celery!
There is so much sensory awareness involved in eating if we pay attention. Seeing how the food looks as we are preparing it and then when it is placed on the plate—the vibrant colors, and of course the aroma of food cooking on the stove or in the oven. If you are really aware you may be able to notice if a dish was lovingly prepared or made by someone who was angry or sad about something. Have you ever gotten your favorite dish at your favorite restaurant and it didn’t taste quite right, even though all the same ingredients are in there? Could just be the mood of the person preparing it!
What does all this have to do with juice fasting? I was just wondering myself….but I do have a point! Doing a juice fast, or a three day mostly juice cleanse, is a great way to get back in touch with the basics of eating—to relearn how to slow down and enjoy a meal. A lot of us are on the go all the time. Between work, children, pets, keeping up our homes, trying to stay in shape, social obligations, and the list could go on and on, taking time for meals sometimes takes a back seat. Breakfast is often wedged into the commute to work. Lunch may be spent at our desks working between bites. Dinner is often wolfed down before having to go back out for a meeting or social function. In all of these cases we are losing our sensory experience of eating. It becomes just a mindless thing that we do. And if this is the case a meal often leaves us feeling unfulfilled, no matter what the quality of the food or how lovingly it may have been prepared.
When we don’t take the time to enjoy the food we are consuming it leaves us looking for more. Much as the case of when we eat processed foods with little or no nutritional value our bodies crave the nutrients they need which causes us to look for something else to eat. When we choke down a meal, often feeling stressed, our bodies cannot digest properly. The nutrients we need are not able to be fully absorbed when we are in a stressed state, often called fight or flight. When we are in this state blood flow goes away from our digestive system and concentrates in our limbs, which are much more essential for fighting off a predator, or fleeing from one. Even when the nutrition is there, if we are not absorbing it properly we will not feel satisfied after eating.
By taking this break from food, at least in its solid form, although I am satisfied from the huge nutritional boost I am getting, I am starting to look forward to the sensuous pleasure of eating a meal. I am not starving, so I am not feeling obsessed with shoving whatever I can get my hands on down my throat as soon as the fast is complete. But I am missing the pleasure of food—the aroma, the texture, the taste. And mostly I am missing the pleasure of sharing this with friends and loved ones. For me, there is something almost sacred in sitting down to share a meal—the conversation, the laughter, the joy. And of course enjoying together delicious lovingly prepared food.
So there are my musings. Now to the technicalities of how the fast is working out. As I have said, I really am not hungry. I only get into trouble if I don’t think ahead and drink more juice before too much time has gone by—much like when you miss a meal. As long as I keep to a schedule of about every three hours all is well.
I think I am starting to come out of the toxin release time period. During a juice fast your body has the opportunity to release stored toxins, as it does not have to expend the usual amount of energy on digestion. The amount of time this takes seems to vary from person to person. About mid week last week I had quite a jag of being tired and found myself napping in the afternoons. This seemed to start right after my last blog post stating that I was having no problems training for the race. I have continued on my schedule but did have some difficulty getting out there on a couple of occasions. I am not entirely happy with my running progress to date, and I would like to blame that on “detoxification”, so I will! But it very well (most likely) may be just me and the pace that I can train at, so we will see how it unfolds. I will continue to do my best!!
I am trying out some new concoctions so I will keep you posted on those. For a mid afternoon pick-me-up, carrot, broccoli, red pepper, zucchini, romaine and jalapeno—sweet and spicy—YUM! A nice fall treat—sweet potato, carrot, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Make sure to throw it in a blender to mix in the spices!! They will still float to the bottom somewhat but will not be all clumpy. An FYI from my last post—butternut squash yields very little juice!! And personally I did not care for the addition of thyme. Also—for the watermelon treat you should be juicing the rind as well as the flesh—lots of nutrition there and makes it less sweet.
Technically and philosophically speaking, adding fresh pressed juice to my life and doing this juice fast has opened my eyes to many new perspectives and a healthier way of living. It goes without saying of course that juicing is not the only way to get a handle on your health or eating habits if you would like to. But it is a pretty damn good way—why not give it a whirl?!?