Friday, July 13, 2012

Juice Fast: 5 days, 10lbs, and a Shitload of Produce

Why a Juice Fast?
I first watched the film "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead" about a year ago and was intrigued by the concept of a juice fast. I highly recommend you watch the film. The Australian filmmaker decided to go 60 days drinking only fresh fruit and vegetable juice in an effort to hopefully rid himself of several ailments including obesity, an auto-immune disorder, etc. And he did the 60 days of juice while on a trip across the states resisting the temptation of our notoriously unhealthy American food.

Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead

His results were remarkable.  Massive weight loss and his auto-immune condition all but disappeared.  He was eventually able to go off all medications and had limitless energy, clearer thinking, healthier skin, and a majorly improved life.  All from drinking only juice for 60 days.  It really got me thinking.  I knew a detox would be good for my body and if I lost some weight in the process then hooray.

So, I bought a juicer after much research.  I settled on the Breville Multi-Speed Juice Fountain and I can vouch for its awesomeness.  The multi-speed feature is what it makes it so good at handling fruits and veggies of such widely varying hardness.  Once I got the juicer, I juiced occasionally but never as consistently as I'd need to see some real changes.  Recently I'd been toying with doing a real fast and the motivation to actually do it came in the form of a BzzAgent campaign.

BzzAgent is a site you can sign up for and, based on your demographic information and interests, they'll invite you to join campaigns for various products, services, and events.  As part of these campaigns you often get to try new things for free or at a deeply discounted price.  In this case, they provided me with the "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead Bundle" which included the DVD of the film, a produce shopping guide, and a companion booklet.  The campaign directed me to and it had a wealth of information including a variety of different plans that you can use for your "reboot".  

Based on the film, I had initially decided to do a 10 day fast based on the 3 day plan in the guide.  I figured that since 10 days is what he recommended to people in the film that I should do it, too! I did a good amount of planning.  I created a spreadsheet that combined the ingredients from all of the recipes for the 3 day plan and provided me with a shopping list.  I bought Ball jars to store the juice for easy transportation to work. And I cleaned out the fridge to make room for the massive amounts of produce I was about to buy.  

Then, to my amazement, after watching the film Tony decided he wanted to do the juice fast with me.  This is the guy that picks basil out of pasta sauce he's that "allergic" to vegetables or anything other than pizza.  I got him drinking Green Machine Naked juice to prep his body for what was to come. And he LOVES it!  Amazing.  We thought we might have to double the recipes to make enough for two, but we were wrong about that.  We probably would have been fine had we bought 1.5x the ingredients instead of 2x.  

The Fast
Then we went shopping. Good lord.  I've never had that much produce in my possession at one time. My kitchen looked like a produce department!  We bought three days worth of ingredients based on the plan recipes and I got to juicing.

This is where my plan fell apart.  I wasn't not prepared for how much time this would take!  Washing, prepping, juicing, cleaning the juicer between most juices, the kitchen disaster. I thought the hardest part of the fast would be cravings, but no.  I tried to do two days of juices at a time and it seemed to take me most of the evening.  

But as for the juice fast itself, it was easier than expected.  The recipes are designed in a way to make sure you get the right combination of vegetables and fruits to get all of the nutrients you need.  You don't want to have drinks that are mostly fruits or you'll be overdoing the sugar and not getting the nutritional value that you need.  I'm not going to lie, some juices were down right nasty.  Like this Gazpacho one, for example. I didn't like it at all and Tony was pretty sure he was going to die drinking it.  We both survived. :)

Every day's plan consisted of breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack and dinner.  The morning drinks tended to be the most juice heavy to give you a little sugar boost first thing in the morning.  This Carrot, Apple, Ginger juice was delicious! Another morning had a Purple Power drink that had concord grapes and blackberries in it and it was amazing.  I'd drink that any day!

Most of the midday drinks were very vegetable heavy, as expected.  Some were definitely better than others.  The Mean Green drink is the drink that is featured most in the film and is usually pretty palatable to most people.  It definitely wasn't bad and was loaded with good stuff from the Kale and other ingredients.

The final drinks of the day usually had a little bit more sweet to them as well.  Dessert, if you will.  From the moment I read the plan I was excited to try this Sunset Blend recipe.  It had sweet potato, red pepper, apples, carrots, oranges and beets.  It was pretty tasty!

After I made all of the juices for day one and two in the same day, I was already burned out.  Like I mentioned before, the time involved in making the juices was much more than I expected.  It would have helped had I had a kitchen buddy, but Tony's useless in there so I was on my own.  Also, my kitchen was a disaster.  I'm a pretty neat person, and having lots of clutter drives me nuts.  I literally had a 2x1' space in my kitchen to do the actual juicing.  The rest was covered in jars, produce, cutting board, etc.  And the apple seeds I kept finding on the floor with my bare feet were super annoying.  I think if I had a larger kitchen and a spare fridge it would have been better.  But the time combined with the mess made me decide that 10 days was too long.  So, I decided we'd use the 3 days worth of produce and call it good.  After all, the plan on the website was only three days and I had opted to increase it.

People assumed that I switch my plan from 10 days to 3 days because it was unbearable when in fact it was the work involved.  I was never hungry or bitchy or riddled with cravings.  It was kind of remarkable.  Tony had one bad day where he wanted to eat a mashup of every carb loaded food item on the planet, but he was never hungry.  He was shocked.  He'd tried counting calories before but that amounted to eating half of a pizza instead of a whole one in one sitting.  His aversion to anything healthy made it hard for him to lose weight.  This made it easy. He decided it's the texture of veggies that bother him, not the taste.  The juice removed texture from the equation.  I still think it's just a stubbornness thing, but whatever. :)  Tony wasn't happy when I asked to stop at three days because he'd lost 3lbs in 2 days and was feeling great.  But he understood after I explained my situation.  But we did have a bunch of produce left.  We had doubled the ingredients assuming we'd need twice as much for two people.  We were wrong.  So, we decided to go for 5 days to use up what we had left.  

I was feeling great at the end of the third day and I weighed myself on the morning of the fourth day.  I'd lost 7.5lbs but felt like I'd lost more. I think I was chronically bloated or puffy and not only did I lose weight but any of that inflammation seems to have gone away.  I'm able to fit into a pair of skinny jeans that have been on the shelf for several months and I don't even have a muffin top! 

Also, my energy levels have been pretty damn good.  On the fifth day I was pretty much bouncing off the walls at work.  Even my coworkers noticed.  Imagine that, no sugary snacks or caffeine to try and wake me up.  Just pure, nutritious energy to power me along.  

Tony started to notice some changes that I didn't because I already had a pretty "clean" diet.  The morning drink on the 4th day was too sweet for him!  He eats sweetened condensed milk straight from the can, so he's no stranger to sweets.  I'm interested to see how things taste to him now that he's done some detoxing.

As for the, um, bodily function impacts.  Don't worry about being super gassy or in the bathroom all day.  By juicing, you're removing the bulk of the fiber that usually causes the gas and stool issues.  I guess you do still spend all day in the bathroom because you're having to pee all the damn time, but I'm okay with that.

In the end, I lost 10lbs.  I'm good with that!  I think had I stayed on it another 5 days I would have seen some pretty remarkable changes.  I would definitely do the fast again.  I think I'd rather shoot for winter when my schedule isn't as busy and the juicing task won't be getting in the way of having a life, but not sure how the produce would be during that time of year.  

Tony is really impressed as well with the 8lbs he lost.  He'll likely buy a juicer of his own when he moves to Columbus, OH and will hopefully stick with the Naked juices and juice bar juices as a vessel for getting fruits and veggies in his diet.  He discovered that his trusty Starbucks sells Naked juices so he can still hang out there and have a non Frappuccino option!  I suggested he try half the packet of brown sugar in his oatmeal from there this morning and he agreed that he didn't need the whole packet anymore.  Getting all of the processed sugars out for 5 days has changed the way things taste for him in a big way.  Even if he ends up going back to the same diet he had, at least he'll be adding healthy stuff in a way he enjoys.  It's a really easy way to "eat your colors" and mostly enjoy it!

I had a poached egg for breakfast and I didn't even need to put salt and pepper on it! I'm looking forward to my lunch at Proof, but I'm not dying for anything in particular.  I never once had crazy cravings and I'm not going to dive face first into a pizza.  I'm looking forward to trying to eat better and incorporate more juice into my life.  

I'd definitely recommend this for anyone that needs a quick reset of their body.  Hell, at the very least I've found a way to drop a quick few pounds before vacations or special occasions. :)

Feel free to hit me up with questions!  Lots of people have asked me about it and I promised a lot of info. I know this post got long, but I could ramble on forever so I'll stop here and if you want to know more just send me a note!


Micah said...

Sounds like you had a good experience with this. I've been toying with the idea of doing a short juice cleanse/fast/detox (maybe 3-5 days like you did) just to kind of reset and retrain my body. I'll have to give it stronger consideration.

yogagirl said...

Awesome! I had been toying for a while, too. It's worth it!

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