So, I tried to do a juice fast last September, and aborted after one day. I hadn’t prepared myself properly. It didn’t work. Yesterday, my wife and I decided to juice again, but we’re approaching it much differently this time. In the hope that it might work for other people, this is the plan, which started yesterday.
Monday - Wednesday. Juice for breakfast, sensible lunch and dinner.
Thursday - Sunday. Juice breakfast, mid-morning (if possible), lunch and afternoon. Sensible dinner (salads mostly).
Monday - Wednesday. Full on juice fast.
We’ve bought pre-mades from Whole Foods yesterday and today, but it’s time to fire up the home juicer again. Wish us luck.
Day 5 was a whole different day. The hunger pangs were gone. The headaches were gone. Fatigue was gone. My body had detoxed and I was feeling great. I was beginning to feel “normal” again; the way I feel when the body is clean, healthy, and running well.
For my juices, I went back to my old standbys - Five Alive, Mean Green, and I still had some of the tomato, carrot, and grapefruit left over. All of which helped me get through a rather hectic and stressful day at work and still feel good with a lot of energy.
I’ve gone through the detox phase and my body feels 100% better. I’ve also lost my post-marathon and holiday weight. I feel like this juice fast has accomplished what I intended it to. Because of all of this as well as all of the physical activity I’m doing now, I decided I would break the fast at day 5. I intend to keep juicing and gradually introducing solid food back in to the routine. Though I had originally set out for 10 days, I have no regrets about breaking now. I’m happy with the results and feel like I’ve reset my body as I intended. The salad and hummus I had for dinner was a welcome site.
Today was a much better day than yesterday, albeit a much less productive one. I didn’t do much of anything, which was precisely what I needed. The rest did me good. I’m feeling better than I did yesterday. I am still getting a little light headed and I’m still hungry. But, I’m staying strong and I’m still making it.
I started off with another recipe from The Juice Masters. It’s called the Lemon/Ginger Zinger. It’s a simple juice of carrot, apple, lemon, and ginger. It was really good. Very refreshing and tangy.
Later I tried an interesting concoction of tomato, carrot, and grapefruit. It had a subtle flavor. I think they kid of cancelled each other out. It wasn’t bad, just not as flavorful as I had hoped. I’ll keep experimenting with it.
Overall things are going well. I’m sleeping very well and, aside from the fatigue and headaches, I feel pretty good. I’m having some interesting dreams. Just like the last fast I did, I’m having a lot of dreams about breaking the fast. Multiple times where I “accidentally” have something to eat and then realize too late that I’ve broken my fast. I am hungry and many things that don’t normally look good seem really appetizing to me. Even the Dairy Queen chicken fingers basket looks good, which is not something I would have eaten before the fast. Not really sure what, if anything, all of that means.
Day 3 was a really hard day, as I knew it would be. It was my first weekend day (which has been hard in the past), I had a long, early morning training run planned, and I had to cheer my team watching the NFL playoffs. Turns out, it was harder than I imagined. But I made it through. And the Texans won!
I started the day up at 4:30 to get ready for my long training run. I had stumbled on The Juice Master’s Running On Juice, which had a number of recipes and advice for juices and smoothies specific to distance running. I decided I’d give that a try. I made a modified version of his Juice Master’s Marathon Smoothie. It calls for pineapple, lime, apple, celery, cucumber, beet, avocado, and banana Since I’m only juicing now and not doing any solids or smoothies. I left out the avocado and banana. It turned out great. It was very tasty, easy to drink, and seemed to provide good energy and fuel.
As for how my run went, it depends on how you look at it. I didn’t go as far as I had planned or hoped. But what I was able to do was good. I’m still being plagued by an injury (IT Band Syndrome) that I’ve been experiencing since before my marathon. This was the main reason I had to abandon my run a little more than half way through. When I did stop, I noticed that I was feeling a little weak and light-headed. Likely due to the fact that, while juice is enough to sustain you through your day, it’s not really enough to sustain intense physical activity. I experienced this on a bike ride at the end of my first juice fast. I was hoping that since I was early enough in this one that I wouldn’t have that same experience, but that wasn’t the case.
I got home and recovered. All I wanted to do was go back to sleep. After resting some, I made myself another juice from the Juice RX app. This one was called Pineapple Citrus, which calls for pineapple, orange, and lime.
I ended up adding another orange to cut the overpowering flavor of the lime. next time I’ll follow the recipe and only use the half of a lime it calls for. Overall though it turned out really good. I can only imagine it would be even better with right proportions.
I was then off to watch football. The Houston Texans are my team. For every game I’ve gone to a bar to watch with a big group of other Texans’ fans. I knew this was going to be hard. Though I don’t eat a lot of bar food or drink an unhealthy amount of beer, I do enjoy a bit of that as part of game watching experience. Especially since this bar has recently added a decent veggie burger to it’s menu. So here I was, going into this environment for the biggest game of the season so far, and not going to be partaking in any of it. I also knew that since I wasn’t going to be purchasing anything, it wouldn’t be right to take up a table and I was going to stand. This worked out because when I arrived 45 minutes before kickoff there weren’t any tables to be had.
The game was exciting and I was glad to be in that environment with the group. While the action of the game was going on, it didn’t feel any different. I was engaged and into the game just like I always am. When there were breaks in the actions like commercials, I was reminded of how hard this was. I was absolutely exhausted. After everything that had happened earlier in the day, standing for 3 and half hours didn’t help. I was also very, very hungry. Seeing the plates of nachos, pizza slices, cheese sticks, etc. passing in front of my the whole time really made me want to eat something. These are things that I don’t normally crave, and I wasn’t necessarily craving those things specifically. They were just reminding me of how hungry I was. As were the commercials. There are an inordinate number of food commercials during football games.
The Texans won 19-13 and I couldn’t wait to get home. I was tired, light headed, and had a headache, all of which I’d been experiencing all day. I collapsed on the couch and by 8:00 I was dead to the world. It was a long, hard day but I made it!
Today was day 2 and good day overall. It seemed like a long day though. A little tired and kind of dragging a bit. But other than that I felt good. Again, no real hunger pangs, headaches, or irritability. I was a little “mentally hungry”, meaning I didn’t physically feel like I need to eat. Rather my conditioning had my braining thinking it was hungry. Of course this manifested itself as an inner monologue along the lines of “Man, I’d really like to have something to eat. Maybe some hummus and pita…” You get the idea. This was compounded when I picked up take-out for my wife who’s been dealing with a touch of bronchitis.
I made my juices today, relying on some old standbys. As tangerines are coming back in season, I made some of my Five Alive. Since my wife was sick, I decided I’d double the amount to make some for her. I ended up with enough for at least three people. Which gave me a good late afternoon snack. It was great to have that again. I haven’t been able to make this juice since late last spring, which was the last time I could get tangerines.
I also made some Mean Green, which I hadn’t had since the morning of the marathon. Juice on! I wanted to finish my day with something light. I’ve been using this great app called Juice RX which has a lot of great recipes. You can search for recipes by ingredient, match ingredients, search by health benefit, and it can even put a grocery list together for you. I tried this great recipe called a “Double Apple Mojito”, which was apples, pineapple, and mint. It was very flavorful. I think next time I’ll take my wife’s suggestion and add a hint of lime.
Tomorrow will be an interesting day for sure. I’ve got a big run in the morning. It will be my longest run since the marathon and I’m a little concerned about how I’ll do while on a juice fast. In addition to that, it’s the start of the NFL playoffs and my team is playing. I’m going to watch with the same fan group I’ve watched almost all of the other games with. I’m going to watch a football game in a bar without eating or drinking beer. It will be a long day of a lot of willpower. Here’s wishing me and the Houston Texans good luck!
Here we are starting a new year. 2013, a time to start over in a sense. To start anew and refresh. After my marathon training, the marathon, the marathon recovery, Thanksgiving, my birthday, Christmas and New Year’s, I’m starting another juice fast. I feel like my body could use the reboot and it’ll be a great way to start out the new year.
Fitting that my last juice fast was at the beginning of my marathon training 6 months ago, this one would come after the completing my first marathon. It also comes at the beginning (actually continuation) of training for my next marathon in February. This is what should make it interesting. I felt like this was something I really needed and wanted to do. From that perspective, the timing feels perfect. However, with all of that physical activity and training that I’m doing now it could prove to be challenging to say the least. But the timing is going to get more inconvenient and my need/desire to do this is just going to keep increasing. So, if not now when?
So I’ve started on what I plan to be a 10 day fast. I’m going into it very excited and energized. Just doing my shopping, preparing for the fast got me excited and, interestingly, gave me a sense of calm and peace. I guess it was the familiarity and comfort of knowing that this was going to be a good thing. I’ve entered into this fast with a very positive and hopeful energy, despite my concerns about being able to keep up with my training during the fast.
Day 1, yesterday, was a good day overall. I’ve been eating a good amount since the marathon so my first day without eating wasn’t as tough as I thought it would be. I have to admit that the day was a total juice bar day. I didn’t make a single juice. Everything I had was outstanding. I started the day off with straight blood orange juice. I had never had this before. I think that I had previously juiced some blood oranges mixed with other fruits, I had never had just straight juice of blood oranges. I would definitely recommend it. It was very simple, very different, and very flavorful. Next was a concoction of kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, apple, and cayenne. This particular juice bar had removed a lot of their juice recipes from their menu in favor of a more “build your own” style. I went at a time when there wasn’t anyone else waiting and was able to solicit the advice of the person working the counter to come up with this. It’s definitely one I’ll have again. Finally, I was excited to try a new juice bar that’s opened near my house. While I was less than impressed overall with the juice bar, I was very impressed with the juice they made me. A simple “limeade” of just apples and lime.
Overall I felt pretty good throughout the day. No real hunger pangs, headaches, irritability etc. Yet. I know that’s coming. I was a little tired but not overly so. I could feel that my body was already starting to detox. I think I’m in a bit better mindset for this juice fast than I was for the last one. The last one felt a little forced and rushed. I didn’t really take it all in and enjoy it like I should have. Something I’m not going to repeat this time.
It’s been nine months since the first juice fast. It’s been a very wonderful and interesting journey. I’ve come along way since my first post when I committed myself to this healthful endeavor. Since that first juice fast that started it all, I’ve done two other juice fasts, did a bike two-day bike ride from Houston to Austin, competed in my first triathlon, completed the Tough Mudder, and have truly transformed my life. I just had a birthday and I feel like I have a lot of my life ahead of me now.
When I first committed to doing a juice fast, I also committed to lead a healthier, more active lifestyle. The goals I had set for myself were to complete a 10 day juice fast and, by the end of the year, run my first marathon. They were lofty goals. At the time, I was very unhealthy and very out of shape. Of course I completed the juice fast. This weekend, I will line up at the starting line of the Dallas Marathon.
I’m very thankful to be here. It’s been a long, hard training. I’ve dealt with numerous injuries. I’ve had a number of set backs. It has definitely not been easy. Yet, here I am about to accomplish another big goal. It’s an amazing feeling.
I’ve been training with a group and it has been a wonderful experience. I feel very fortunate having been introduced to the running culture and meeting like minded people. I’ve learned a lot from them. I was intimidated at first. I was relatively new to running. I had completed a half marathon about 5 years ago, but hadn’t really run much since. I was far from anything that could be considered “fast”. And I didn’t have a whole lot of confidence in my ability to run long distances.
In the beginning, I was frustrated. I was one of the slower people in the group. I struggled on my training runs. I wasn’t able to keep up with many of those in the group. Embarrassed and discouraged, I would push myself to go faster and farther. I ran harder. I did not run smarter. It seemed as if the harder I tried the worse it got and the harder I was on myself. Then I learned a key concept in running and training for these types of events.
In running, there is always someone faster, someone who can run farther, someone fitter than you. This doesn’t matter. What I learned from my team members was that it was all about me; how I ran my race. They didn’t care if I was slower or faster than anyone else anymore than they cared if they were faster or slower than anyone else. It’s all about the PR, the “Personal Record”. This is your personal best. I learned that the running culture was not competitive as I thought it would be. At least, not in the way I thought. Everyone is competing with themselves. The bar by which we are measured is, in fact, how we measure ourselves. Was I able to set a new PR? My team wasn’t encouraging me to run faster than anyone else nor did they care how long I could go. Was I improving myself? Was I “better” as defined by what that meant to me? Every step of the way, the other members of the group were encouraging to me and to everyone else. From the people who I only saw headed the other way because they had already turned around, to the people who came up behind me everyone encouraged each other. We each wanted the other achieve their goals, whatever they may be. For this reason, I encourage everyone to train for some sort of running event and train with a group. In addition to being ready to run my first marathon, the experience has been more beneficial to me than I could have imagined.
This is a fitting lesson and can be extrapolated for my life. What I’ve accomplished, what I’ve been through, isn’t remarkable. There are far more interesting stories than mine. People who have fasted for longer, have lost more weight, overcome greater odds, made more of a transformation. Which is great. That’s their PR. This is my story and it means a great deal to me. I’m happy to be here. Happy to be fit and healthy and juicing! I am beyond excited about finally being able to run my first marathon. I’ve been having a lot of emotions and they are getting stronger as the event nears. I’ve come through so much to get here that nothing could deter me. I am about to run my first marathon. And with it being my first, no matter what my time is I’m going to set a PR!
My Fastest Men Alive running shirt!
Well, I meant to blog before now, as I am coming to the end of Day One on Juice Fast Number 2 of my life. I’ve been prepping for a few days, buying supplies and dusting off the juicer. Also, I’ve been getting my mind right for this second effort. And I feel good.
Woke up today and had a morning juice of kale and apples. My wife, Lisa made it for me, and it was delicious. I had the same thing for lunch. I’m heading home in just a few minutes for a dinner of fruit. I’m actually looking forward to a juice dinner. Who would have thought a few short months ago that I could do this once, let alone twice. Well, I haven’t done it twice yet, but I’m on my way.
I’ll be posting more about this second effort in the next ten days. So far, so good. The toughest part for me last time were the hours between about 3PM and 6PM, but today was WAY better than I remember the first time around during those hours. So, I’m hoping the rest of the fast goes just as well.
Well I’ve fallen a bit behind on my blogging. On June 11, a week ago now, I broke the fast. It was a success overall. I lost 10 pounds. I cleansed and felt like I rebooted my system. The transition back to solid food has been interesting this time. I probably overdid it a bit, eating a little too much too fast. I didn’t include as many vegetables as I should have. All of this, I felt. I felt it physically as well as mentally. I just didn’t feel “right”.
I’ve since corrected. I’m eating a lot more fruits and vegetables. I’m paying attention to when I’m satisfied as opposed to full. I’m getting back into my workout routine. Essentially, I’m still paying attention to my body; how it feels, what it needs, what it doesn’t need, and how it responds to everything. I feel like I’m back on track and feeling good.
All during the fast and the week after has been very, very busy. It’s been hectic, both with the amount of work and commitments I have along with the pressure that’s gone with it. It’s made me disappointed and frustrated that I haven’t been able to blog as much as I have in the past; as much as I wanted. I’ve also felt like I haven’t been able to enjoy the experience as much as I have in the past.
This past weekend I was on a run around the lake when I had a revelation/moment of clarity. I was thinking about how busy things have been and how I haven’t been able to focus or get all of the things done that I wanted. I was thinking about how stressful it’s been. Then I realized something. I realized that in the middle of all of this chaotic, maelstrom type environment…I did a 10 day juice fast. Despite all of these things, I did it. Never once did I think, “you know, I’m just too busy, things are too hectic right now so maybe I’ll give up on the fast”. Nor did I ever feel like the juice fast was adding to my stress. I think that is a bigger testament to the success of my juicing.
More than the all of the weight I’ve lost, or the exercise I’m doing, or the new mental outlook it’s this by which I now truly measure success: Being healthy is now part of my life! I’m not driven by fear or guilt. I’m not depriving myself. I’m not living in an ideal world where my habits won’t stand up to pressure. No. It’s part of my life now. It’s not a big deal. It’s not something I have to force or make time for. It just is.
Sure, there’s a bit of sadness that the novelty is somewhat worn off. It’s not the new discovery and awakening that the first juice fast. But then again what’s harder, getting up and going for exercise or doing it again on day 2? It’s a great felling to embark on a new journey and discover a whole new life. While more subtle and less noticeable, it’s an incredible feeling to have that new life be your new baseline; your new normal. That’s where I am now.
Here’s a picture of me breaking the fast with a small salad, hummus and some rice.