In the article 10 Day Juice Fast: Is Juicing Good For You? we talked about the potential health benefits of juicing but as a lifetime athlete, I’m always far more interested with people’s hands on experiences than I am with expert opinion. My own experience doing this fast was as eye-opening as it was unpleasant. Enjoy:
At around 9:17am on day one, I was hungry. This did not bode well. Let me clarify that actually, at around 9:17am on on day one, I was really really freakin hungry. I had been forewarned by my fellow acupuncturist/nutrition guru/fiancé that trying to survive on juice and juice alone with my current lifestyle, workout schedule and general output level was not a smart idea in any capacity. Staying to form, I ignored this advice and forged on.
Quite honestly, days one through three were pure hell. Hell, yes, but an eye-opening hell none the less. Eye opening in that as the days went on, I became less and less “hungry” but more and more ensconced in this idea that I needed to eat every 10 minutes or so. My desire to eat as I said, was less about become satiated, I was pounding juice and water to take care of that, but more so to satisfy the habit of eating. I didn’t have a desire for a 16 ounce steak, I simply wanted to put something in my mouth, chew it, swallow it and derive the familiar pleasure from doing so. I am addicted to eating!
Not only did I find I was addicted to the act of eating, I was far more addicted to the break that it afforded me. If I had a phone call that I didn’t want to make – maybe I should snack first. If I have to write an email – probably shouldn’t do it without a bite first. There’s a commercial on during the game – perfect time to grab some chips and salsa. It was very enlightening to see just how much time and energy food preparation, ingestion, satisfaction and enjoyment actually filled up of my day.
The morning of day four was fantastic. I’d had a very rough night the night before but woke up feeling energetic and with no desire to eat anything. I believe by this point I had broken my mental fascination with consuming whole foods. I happily headed down to the gym for another workout and even felt great lifting weights.
Then something weird happened. No longer was there a desire to snack or fill time, but after a hard workout I would find myself for all intents and purposes feeling mildly drunk. I couldn’t remember where I was going, if I had everything that I thought I had packed, who had called me that morning that I needed to get back to, nor did I really feel that I should be driving a car. This forgetfulness would slowly go away with a few more glasses of juice and a couple of passing hours, but it was rather disconcerting.
Unfortunately the forgetfulness was replaced with more intense forgetfulness and further alcohol consumption symptoms. I would stand up to go to the bathroom and have to sit back down to get the room to stop spinning, I would demonstrate a movement for my class and have to take a knee due to the exertion. I had lost three pounds at this point and Eric had lost six. This was not good as we really didn’t have weight that we could afford to lose.
On the morning of day six, the executive decision was made that perhaps (although I can never tell her) my better half’s advice to NOT try to train twice a day, give speeches, write amazingly informative yet humorous articles, coach classes, wrestle, kickbox, do yoga and um…take care of my relationship needs – all fueled by only drinking juice was actually quite sound.
So on that morning I decided to add in two eggs and a half of an avocado in the morning, drink juice all day, and additionally add two chicken drumsticks with some more avocado at night. The extra calories and fat would hopefully make the difference in being able to sustain my current level of output while keeping true to a juice centered diet for the remaining days.
It is two days later and I feel significantly better and my workouts are great. My daily energy is still down slightly, but that’s manageable for the specific duration of this experiment. If I were to recommend a juice fast to a client and/or patient, I now have personal insight into the matter and would advise against doing a pure juice fast for any longer than four or five days if you’re an active athlete.
Please do watch Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead, even if you are none of the three. There are gems in there for people of all sizes, and levels of health. If you’ve got a juicer taking up space on your shelf, bust it out and give a whirl. Vegetables are great in all of their forms, but are only a benefit to us if we’re willing to consume them.
Read Part 1 of Traver’s 2-part series on Juicing – 10 Day Juice Fast: Is Juicing Good for You?