A few times a year, although I haven’t done it since I moved to LA, I do a 3 day detox fast consuming only fresh juices, water and tea. I first read about this process in a great book that I recommend everyone have a copy of in their home. It’s called Prescription for Nutritional Healing. You can find it at most book stores, all health food stores, and certainly Whole Foods Market.
Anyway, 5 years ago I found the section on fasting and the benefits of it really piqued my interest. There are all different kinds of fasts you can do, but the 3-day detox is just right for me. I’ve never done anything more than that, although I have heard people talk about the great benefits to a 10-day fast. At this point, I’m not looking to do anything more than clear out the ole pipes and start fresh.
I learned some really interesting things this round:
- I WANT to eat more than I NEED to eat. I only felt “hungry” twice in the entire 72 hours, but my desire to eat was really strong and I almost broke down a few times. The late afternoon was hard because I would often get stressed with work, and I am a stress eater, so naturally, I wanted to put food in my mouth. Evening was also hard because I love cooking and missed the ritual of preparing dinner. My brain knew what was up and I forged on, but it was hard. I could feel that my desire to eat was directly linked to the amount of anxiety and stress I was feeling, and that was startling to actually FEEL and resist it. It didn’t take long to push through it. It just required some mindfulness, deep breathing, and a dance party (or two).
- Fresh Juice is not the same as what you buy in the store. Even the stuff that says 100% juice and nothing added, there is something added. I could feel a HUGE difference in my body’s reaction to the two kinds of juices. Luckily in SoCal there are an abundance of places with juicers who will juice anything you want and I felt great after drinking them! Bloom Cafe on Pico is fantastic (not only for their juices) and I discovered Real Raw Live in Hollywood. I had stocked up on juices from Trader Joe’s, but after drinking those, I felt jittery and often had headaches. The ingredients list that the fresh juices are from concentrate and there must be something keeping them from separating because my fresh juices would separate overnight. At any rate, fresh juice is the way to go. It felt like a full meal!
- My energy level was great! When I do these fasts I expect to feel slow and terrible in the beginning and push through to a better side by the end. I didn’t experience that this time. Day 1 is always a challenge to get the routine down, and this one was particularly hard because I went to a workshop that night where I sat at a kitchen table FULL of food (including my favorite- brie!). It was hard, but in the end, I was really glad to have a reason to avoid eating those foods because, for as much as I love them, they make me feel terrible. At that workshop, I got to test my blood sugar and it was 91, which is in the normal range. On day 2 I hiked Runyon Canyon all the way to the top and back, and Day 3 I went to a restorative yoga class. I learned that I can’t stay in forward bend for very long without feeling a little woozy, but otherwise, it was fine. I slept really well, and my pee looked GREAT (nice and clear despite all the beet juice I was consuming).
Some things to note if you decide to give this a try:
- You really need to consult your physician before trying this.
- This isn’t a quick weight loss gimmick, so don’t use it for that.
- If you have a history restrictive eating disorders, this may bring up some things for you, so tread lightly.
- You might break out. Toxins are leaving your body and they tend to come out through our skin, so watch out!
- You have to do it on a week or weekend when you can lay low if you need to. I don’t have a dependence on caffiene, but those that do will get headaches and feel out of it as your body detoxes, so take it easy and slow. You may want to take a nap and you should be able to. I did feel a stronger pull to sugar than I expected, and that was a challenge.
- If you have a partner or roommate at home, asking them to eat when you are not home or outside the house will make this a lot easier. My partner was very accommodating =)
By Saturday I will be back to regular food, although I’ll be avoiding sugar. I have been tuning in to my body’s response to sugar in the last few weeks, and it’s just no good. It’s better with cane sugars, but that white sugar really spins me out. And during this fast, I really felt a draw to sugar in a way that surprised me because in my mind, I don’t eat a lot of it. Maybe the fact that it’s IN EVERYTHING has something to do with it…