Today I concluded a 6 day juice detox. I just had my first meal since Sunday night and no, I don't think it’s that crazy. I'm clearly not qualified to give medical or nutritional advice, but I'm feeling motivated to share my candid thoughts on juice cleanses.
My first liquid fast started at a juice fest in Miami 2 years ago. It was OK (a bit heavy on getting in touch with the goddess in me for my taste) but it kept me busy and gave me a few hundred hungry people with whom I could commiserate. After the 2 days, I kept going, and never looked back.
Over the past few years, I’ve done the juicing thing entirely on my own on maybe 4 occasions, and I get more out of it it more every time. This week, I really needed to cleanse my body (last weekend was Wine and Food Festival), but more so I needed to hit refresh on my mind and spirit (yep, 2012 has been one of those years). That’s the part that people don’t realize…how abstaining from food for several days sharpens your mind and increases your clarity at least 2x. It’s like Aderol, but much cleaner (and oh ya, much better for you).
My reasoning as to why this happens is pretty simple. Since we use 60-80% of the energy from what we eat on actual digestion, when we have nothing to digest we get a 60-80% energy bonus to use. There’s no loss of fuel as you would initially think–our bodies easily turn fat, toxins, and other stuff into energy when they have to, and there is enough junk in each of us to last longer than we would believe. As long as we have nutrients, which I’ve been getting from juices, our bodies and minds function totally fine, and operate at an even higher level. We feel not only amazing, but focused, alert, and well…high. It’s not an accident that guys (prophets, avatars, guru-types) since the beginning of recorded history have been fasting to connect with God, or go into the desert and come back with big big ideas. That’s how it works, and that’s how it happens.
Now, I’m not going to mislead you. The first few days royally suck. Day 1 (and Day 2), I’m dying of hunger. My body addresses me and says “Bro, this isn’t our deal. This is not OK. If you’re not gonna feed me, I’m going to make it hard on you.” On Day 2 (and beginning of Day 3), my body decides to play dead like Ferris Bueller playing hookie from school, cold clammy hands and all. Total rebellion. But having made it through the hard part, now I know these tricks, and I know that if I make it to Day 3, something changes. My body finally accepts my decision to fast, and the hunger/tiredness softly evaporates. What’s left is this alertness. This mental and sensory acuity. It’s fantastic and from Day 3 or 4 I begin to wonder why I even eat food. How is it that when I eat a steak or burrito, I need to take a nap, and when I’m on day 4 of starving myself, I’m flying from one task to another? It’s remarkable.
So here are my unqualified and somewhat unexpected results and takeaways from juicing:
1. Productivity through the roof – You wake up energized, you go to bed energized. You don’t complain about extra work and you don’t daydream. You’re in the flow. (btw, I’m writing this post in one 60 minute sitting. not normal.) Obviously, since you don’t need a lunch or dinner break, and your friends avoid you, you have more useable hours in the day. All this is true.
2. Difficult decisions become less complicated – When your brain works better, you have more resources with which to solve problems. Also, not eating takes you out of the social game, and gives you space to be with yourself to deal with the real issues. Alone time can be painful, but the benefits it yields are undeniable. You sort your shit out.
3. Your body is a well-tuned instrument – You would think that you would be lethargic, sleepy, and weak. No such thing. Maybe it’s life after the toxins leave your system, maybe is the fat being burned off your abdomen, but your body starts feeling “better.” Healthier. And when you start eating again, you get somewhat of a fresh start.
I’ve always stopped at Day 5 or 6, so I can’t speak for going any further on this. At some point, I’m pretty sure it becomes unhealthy to continue starving yourself, no matter how good it feels. I’ve always been at the top of my detox “high” when at the point where I resume eating…and I think it’s fine. It keeps me excited about the next time I decide to do it.
I hope this honest and somewhat acerbic reflection gives you a fresh perspective on juicing. Clearly, I'm a believer but I'm highly interested to hear if anyone has something to add or has a different experience with the process. Looking forward to replies...
Want your passion for wellness to change the world? Become A Functional Nutrition Coach! Enroll today to join our upcoming live office hours.