What's the best kind of juice fast?
June 24, 2004 10:54 AM   Subscribe

Fasting. I'm healthy and have a normal weight, but I've been overindulging lately and thought of trying a two day fast. Can you juice fast without a juicer? What about just eating nothing but fruits, veggies, and water for a few days? I'm not considering it for spiritual reasons either, I just feel gross. Any experiences or advice?
posted by rainbaby to Health & Fitness (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
A two or three day raw foods (vegetables and fruits) fast would do wonders. I was a raw foodist for about four months, until I got tired of chopping vegetables. Occasionally I'll do a raw week and I always end it feeling much more bright, alert and active.

Drink lots of water.
posted by annathea at 11:05 AM on June 24, 2004

I don't know from fasting, but I do know juicing sans juicer: get one of those cheap "hand blenders" -- they're great for making quick fruit smoothies and the like.
posted by ook at 11:21 AM on June 24, 2004

I did 4.5 days with just water about a year and a half ago. The first two days were brutal but after that it was quite easy. I started eating again because I had sufficiently proven to myself that I didn't have to eat every time I was hungry, which was why I decided to fast in the first place. I felt like a slave to my hunger.
posted by dobbs at 11:25 AM on June 24, 2004

I eat mostly (well, ok - all, but I hate to label myself) raw foods, and also love to fast. I'm on the second day of a fast right now, as a matter of fact. My longest was 15 days. I do this. I have the whole "The Master Cleanser" book saved to my computer, if you want a copy of it let me know. The cleanse/fast is fantabulous. The "lemonade" drink is really rather good.

The thing about fasts that makes them so much better than eating, even eating well, is that they free up all of the energy your body spends digesting, assimilating, and eliminating food, so that you can use the energy for other things, like detoxing, purifying, etc. Water fasts are hard (but wonderful - way to go, dobbs), and this Master Cleanser is a gentle (and yummy) way to introduce yourself to fasting without making it so hard on yourself. It's also easier to transition to water fasting once you have a cleanse or two under your belt. Also to note - the Master Cleanser is very cleansing (hence the name ;) and if you're in serious need of detoxing, you may be slightly uncomfortable (headaches, body aches, etc) when you do it. I've never had a problem, but withdrawing from things like caffeine and sugar cause minor discomforts in some.

I'm a freaking Master Cleanser expert, as a matter of fact. This is my 6th time, and I've done several water fasts as well. If you decide you want to do it and you want some coaching/cheerleading, feel free to email me - my addy is on my userpage. I've helped about half a dozen people through it - 3 of them gave up smoking, one did it for 26 days and resolved all sorts of health problems, and one was someone I only know online, who did it for 22 days. If you can only do it for 2 days, or only want to do it for 2 days, that's great.
posted by iconomy at 11:41 AM on June 24, 2004

they free up all of the energy your body spends digesting, assimilating, and eliminating food, so that you can use the energy for other things, like detoxing, purifying

Imagine how much more energy you'd have for detoxing and purifying if you weren't starving yourself!
posted by kindall at 11:51 AM on June 24, 2004

I occasionally get the gross "too much rich food" feeling you describe -- I've tried fasting, but it's just too hardcore for me; I've settled for just eating something plain in smallish quantities for a few days, like rice.
I'm not a nutritionist and I don't know much about detoxing and the like, but this works for me.
posted by Mark Doner at 12:02 PM on June 24, 2004

iconomy--that's interesting. Do you have to drink the lemonade warm? And do you have to cut back on physical activity during the regimen?
posted by whatnot at 12:04 PM on June 24, 2004

It should be noted that fasting slows down your metabolism, and prolonged or frequent fasting can lead to a permanently slower metabolism, which means faster weight-gain. (or so I've read)
posted by fvw at 12:20 PM on June 24, 2004

I love fasting. The first two days are hard but after the third you just feel euphoric. Just remember to pick a time when you can rest. No work, no exercise, and no supplements or vitamins. I became interested in it about three years ago when I found Linda Page's "Detoxification" book at a local organic grocery. Once you ignore the supplement sales pitch it becomes an excellent overall basic reference touching on different body cleansing methods. The Auyrevedic practices interested me enough to study it more and I've adopted a couple of habits from it like drybrushing the skin and daily self massage with organic sesame oil. It makes your skin feel really amazing.
posted by oh posey at 12:28 PM on June 24, 2004

I drink it ice cold, room temp, and warm, whatnot. It's really good. A few times I've made it with San Pellegrino or Perrier, too, for a treat - that's SO good. I usually do some walking for exercise, but nothing really strenuous, even though you sort of feel that you could conquer the world. After the 4th day, I feel invincible! I'll send you a link to the whole book, if you like. I think I'll put it online as a text file later today.

fvw - the opposite happened with me - my metabolism sped up after fasting.

oh posey - I skinbrush every day too - love it!
posted by iconomy at 12:32 PM on June 24, 2004

You admit you are healthy and normal weight, however you feel guilt and have some negative body image about recent diet choices, so you are going to stop eating for a few days?

Umm... isn't this the definition of an eating disorder right here? Or am I missing where it is not?
posted by falconred at 12:36 PM on June 24, 2004

How is this healthy? And +1 for what fvw said.
posted by trillion at 12:56 PM on June 24, 2004

Response by poster: Thanks for all the input, it's interesting, and has brought up some things I hadn't considered, like the exercise question. I don't have an eating disorder, and I'm not one for fad diets. I didn't mention my body image, though you may have assumed that's what the "gross" referred to - but that describes a physical feeling. I've just been overindulging, like I said, in food, alcohol and cigarrettes. It's been great fun, actually, I don't feel guilty, just run down. No, I'm not physically dependant on the smokes or the booze, but they have contributed to the yuck factor. It summer, there's lots of fresh food available, so I'm considering giving the whole food thing a small whirl, or, if I can establish for myself that it won't hurt me, maybe something a little more extreme. Just for the experience. I'm still undecided.
posted by rainbaby at 12:59 PM on June 24, 2004

If you do fast remember not to break it with a cheeseburger or something. Eat lightly to start with-fruit, veggie, salad, whatever. I've done the juice fast thing more than once and it isn't that hard. Kinda like a tuneup.
posted by konolia at 1:19 PM on June 24, 2004

Dr. Andrew Weil suggests that a weekend juice fast, while not necessary, may be a good way to kick off a healthier lifestyle. On a related note, Dr. Weil also mentions that colonic irrigation is not only unnecessary, but that a fruit or juice fast is much more effective.

I'm not a nutrition professional so I won't give any advice one way or the other, but if you're going to embark on something like iconomy describes, I would talk to your doctor first.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 2:55 PM on June 24, 2004

Yes, thanks, monju_bosatsu - that should go without saying, but I should have mentioned that as well. I'm just sharing my experiences, not giving medical advice ;)

Just a general comment - something I've found in the past: those that are most in need of a fast are also those that are most opposed to the idea of one.
posted by iconomy at 3:12 PM on June 24, 2004

Check out this thread, especially wdpeck's comments.

iconomy, are you saying that fasting cures skepticism? Come on, assuming there are any benefits from fasting at all, how could you tell who would benefit most?

The feelings of lightheadedness, spiritual uplift etc are well attested, but I think it's much more likely that they result from low blood sugar followed by your liver deciding to give up some glycogen for you, rather than any beneficial body changes. As a spiritual practise, there's just as strong tradition of punishment and mortification as there is of purification and benefit. (Purified of food, eh?)

I also think the whole notion of toxins and cleansing is crap. Your liver and kidneys are filtering for you irrespective of your food intake, and they have a great deal of spare capacity.

In any case, I would think that regular exercise, decent sleep, fewer recreational drugs of any kind, and a balanced diet will cure that gross feeling just as well as fasting, and be easier to arrange at that.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:25 PM on June 24, 2004

My confidence is not increased by these statements from links above:

The maple syrup contains all the minerals that the body needs and the lemon or lime all the vitamin[sic].

Uh huh. Maple syrup contains a reasonable amount of zinc, iron and potassium, that's it. Lemon juice has fuck-all vitamins apart from C, including absolutely no B12, no D and no E, and minimal levels of the rest. The carbohydrates in the lemonade will stave off starvation but in no way is it all that the body needs.

Then there's this:

When we feel hungry, our body is hungry, which means our cells are hungry. We must eat to replenish ourselves. Yet when our skin is hungry, there is no way for it to let us know without drastic signals like aging, sagging, dryness, or wrinkles.

Hungry skin? Give me a break. Bodies lack nutrients, you eat, nutrients are distributed through blood and lymph circulation. That's it. "Hungry skin" is as meaningful as thirsty teeth.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 5:38 PM on June 24, 2004

they free up all of the energy your body spends digesting, assimilating, and eliminating food

Yes. Instead, your body gets to use energy eating itself. C'mon, do you really think you body is better off reclaiming its muscle for energy than it is digesting food? Talk about crazy thinking.

A couple-day fast is one thing. Fasting to the point you've lost most of your fat reserves is insane: you body necessarily begins to literally eat itself to stay alive after that. And it's all for nought, because your fat cells never go away: they just empty their energy reserves and then scream like bloody hell to be refilled at the very first opportunity. Your fat cells never lose that particular game.

Dr. Weil also mentions that colonic irrigation is not only unnecessary

Indeed, colonic irrigation is downright dangerous. Your body definitively did NOT evolve to have its lower intestine washed out. I posted a MeFi set of links a month or so ago about this exact topic.

Of note, if your guts truly did have loads of black goo in them, it would be visible when they stuff a camera up your ass in hospital. The pictures never show that. This indicates extremely clearly that the black goo is the result of the diet during colonics, and is not a regular part of your gut contents.

The dangers of colonics include inadequately sterilized equipment, punctures, and electrolytic imbalance, all of which have killed colonic practitioners.

The bottom line is this: your body is the product of eons of evolution. Moderation is the key to success: your body is designed to handle moderate amounts of any natural food. Long-term fasting is not moderate.

Decrease your intake of processed foods, increase your intake of fresh vegetables, fruit, nuts, restrict yourself to moderate amounts of meat (our ancestors ate a lot more bugs and small mammals than mammoths), and increase your activity level, and you'll be fine.

Feel free to binge once in a while: your healthy body will be able to cope with it. Feel free to fast once in a while: your healthy body will be able to cope with it. But in both cases, be aware that it is not what your body was meant to do to excess.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:45 PM on June 24, 2004

see, I agree with the whole moderation strategy, but then I read stuff like this .
posted by whatnot at 9:56 PM on June 24, 2004

Yo whatnot, that guardian link is discussed in the Mefi thread I linked above. Basically, wdpeck convincingly argued that the goop produced was intestinal lining killed off by the stupid-arse regime practised at the resort before the final enema. FFF is right, and the irrigationists are full of metaphorical shit but no actual waste product.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:56 AM on June 25, 2004

Note: I didn't suggest colonics or enemas or any of those things - yikes. I'm talking about fasting only. When I use the word 'cleanse', I'm talking about internal cleansing using short fasts. Just to be clear. Colonics are very suspect to me, as I don't think that they're natural. I do, however, think that fasting is natural. Many animals do it, and in many cultures it's an accepted practice, dating back hundreds of years. Some people are receptive to the idea of fasting, some aren't. I don't care either way. I personally am not trying to convince anyone of anything.

A lot of people don't want to believe in it, and so they don't. Rainbaby asked for experiences, and I was sharing mine with her. I could write virtually pages and pages on my experiences with cleanses and fasting, and for every person who does it or thinks that it's a positive, necessary, beneficial thing to do, there are twenty who insist that it's not. No biggie. I'm used to all of the negative comments.

iconomy, are you saying that fasting cures skepticism?
Not at all, otherwise I would suggest that you start fasting immediately. (j/k)

No, I am not saying that fasting cures skepticism. I'm saying that people that are the most toxic, and who could benefit the most from a fast, can also have the most toxic thought processes (not just about fasting, but in general), and can be reticent to embrace the idea. Kind of like me, before the first time I tried it.

To be sure, the lemonade drink most definitely does not contain all of the things that a body needs to survive. Of course it doesn't. But it does contain all of the things that a body needs to survive for a short period of time - water! The flavoring/sweetness is just icing on the cake, as it were. I think there's something about that particular combination that staves off hunger - at least, that's always been my experience. I can drink this lemonade until the cows come home and never feel hungry, but when I do a water fast, I'm extremely hungry for the first few days, as dobbs said. All I can tell you is that every cleanse or fast I've ever done has been a really positive, rewarding, and even spiritual experience for me.

I'm not going to get into the reasons why I started to do these cleanses in the first place, because it's too personal, but let me tell you - by fasting, I went from 5 daily medications and the use of an inhaler daily, for various health issues (2 were supposedly incurable and chronic) to no meds, and no health problems. That's good enough for me. If I had taken the advice of people who kept telling me not to do it, if I had listened to people who kept trotting out the same tired arguments against it, I would still be on my 5 daily medications and my daily inhaler. That's the bottom line. As the saying goes, nothing succeeds like success. Fasting is the right thing for me, personally, to do. Nothing that anyone who has no experience with it can say will ever convince me otherwise.
posted by iconomy at 10:10 AM on June 25, 2004

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