Given that I have always tried to practice what I preach and make educated decisions and informed opinions, I decided to embark on a juice fast. I have heard many of my patients mention juicing, ask my opinion on it and if I recommended juicing. Until today I really couldn't make a personal testimonial for or against it. This post is by no means advocating juice fasting to the world. I believe, as anything, that what works for some, does not work for all. This is my experience.
I was hesitant to buy into the whole juicing craze initially for several reasons. My first reason was the waste. When I saw how much fruit and vegetable you had to use to get 1 glass of juice and the waste produced by just one cup I had a really difficult time seeing past that. My way around it this time...horses LOVE the leftover fiber (especially the carrots!). I didn't have a garden to use it as compost however my mom was over one day and she said why not try feeding it to the horses and see if they will eat it. They jumped on it like I jump on @Fiascogelato dark chocolate and sea salt gelato and so my conscience was cleared on the waste front.
ON CONTRADICTING MY BASIC TCM PRINCIPALS
My second reason for being skeptical about juicing was that thorugh a TCM perspective we advocate whole foods. Extracting such a concentrated substance to consume as a meal takes away good things like fiber and also bypasses your digestive system function in not having to produce the salivary enzymes etc. that you would produce by chewing your food. On top of this, too much raw food can be very taxing on your digestive system creating isssues and deficiencies in relation to the Spleen function. This one I didn't really have a way around, I just had to try it out knowing this and see how it affected my system. I also made a good effort to chew my liquids which I read somewhere you should do anyways. Another trick I used was to make a concentrated vegetable broth and drank warm usually for dinner so that I was not consuming only cold liquids which in TCM can be harmful to your digestion as well. To make the broth, I filled a pot with chopped celery, spinach, kale, garlic, and sea salt and pepper. Filled with water just until the vegetables were covered and boiled on low for a good 3 hours.
ON BEING "HANGRY"
My last and biggest hesitation was that I didn't actually think I would last the 10 days without becoming seriously hangry and throwing in the towel. To my surprise, this didn't happen once. In fact, in the entire 10 days I don't know if I have ever felt more nourished and sufficiently satisfied hungerwise. I didn't experience the uncomfortable sensations of overeating and over-indulgence and to the other side, I didn't experience any moments of knawing hunger. Another genius tip I learned from my friend doing the Master Cleanse was to make popsicles out of this juice. I prepared popsicles with my first batch of juice in preparation for experiencing intense hunger. I thought if I had something to chew on, it would psychologically feel as though I was eating food, something of substance. I didn't however end up needing the popsicles but it is a good trick if you feel the need to chew on something.
MY PERSONAL TESTIMONIAL
For me, personally, (and everyone is different), the 10-day juice cleanse did wonders. My skin has never felt healthier, I have amazing energy levels, sleep has been deep and restful and all my senses heightened to a new level. I did not choose to do this for weight loss purposes, however I was able to shed that last 10 sticky pounds I couldn't seem to kick previously. On top of all this, I think the biggest benefit to me was an awareness of my relationship to food (and alcohol). It was pretty interesting to observe just how many social events are centered around food and alcohol. I had some friends support me and show me new and amazing juice places around Calgary and others who scoffed at me, saying how ridiculous it was and shun me from social events because I wasn't partaking in the food and alcohol part. Prior to this, when I planned dates with friends it was always to go out for a meal or share a bottle of wine. This was a great learning and expanding experience for me to find other very fulfilling activities to do with my loved ones. I went for many walks along the river, juice picnics, adventures to the many different juice places in Calgary and just connecting with others I feel at a deeper level especially when alcohol was removed. I have to give props to @crujuice for making such an amazing variety of fresh juices, I now have a new addiction. Before this I did not own a juicer. I didn't believe that I would be an advocate and fall head over heels for this juicing and so I couldn't justify making the investment. I was fortunate that for the time, a great friend of mine lent me hers. I can now say after the 10 days that I have gone out to buy a juicer and I intend to keep going with a fresh juice each day.
My favorite homemade juice recipe I will call OJ Can't BEET this Juice ;)
If you have any questions about this, please I welcome you to comment or contact me personally! Also please note that this is by no means my way of saying the juice cleanse is a universal fix-all for everyone out there. The biggest gain I received from this was a deeper and genuine connection with the people in my life. By removing food and alcohol as focal points for socializing, I found my ability to connect with others was much stronger and without distraction.