Hi, it’s Natalie here and I will be journaling my adventure into the land of juice fasting. Not exactly my cup of tea, to be frank. I have never been the ‘juice fast’ type of girl. I blindly trust in my body’s capacity to naturally cleanse itself, call me crazy. I love practicing yoga and will have a run from time to time just to feel my legs pumping and my lungs heaving. But apart from that, life is pretty calm aside from chasing down two little boys every day.
I do enjoy my vino. Wine is a big part of my life, and I guess sometimes the heavy bleh feeling after one glass too many would definitely have me a feeling as though I needed to give my body a break. But in terms of gluten (only non-GMO), dairy (hormone-free, organic), and sugar (naturally producing or organic cane), I am only somewhat discriminative of what goes into my mouth, except that it be done in moderation. And predominantly local. And as organic as we can manage. And caffeine-reduced. Okay, so maybe I am more discriminative than I think.
Lately, though, I have been wondering about the correlation between dark bags under my eyes and my diet. And about tummy bloat and the milk in my coffee. I did cut back on the milk on those occasions, and sometimes I would notice my eyes looked different and my belly didn’t pooch by mid morning, but that would also be on the nights that I got a couple of extra hours of sleep and ate a lighter supper. Go figure.
Gluten has always been a big question mark for me. My parents have been on an interesting kick of keeping as much gluten as possible out of their diets and raved about feeling so much better as a result. I tried it once for about a week and was about as constipated as if I’d just flown transatlantically, to be frank. And one of my most beloved teachers is celiac and therefore keeps all gluten out of her diet, and always looks and feels pretty amazing. But I lived in Europe for 8 years where going without gluten would be as bizarre as going without pants. No tartines? No pasta? No sandwiches? Pas possible.
So I guess what I am realising is how all or nothing I can be. Rather than cut out one at a time and figure it out from there, I decided (actually, my husband suggested it and I hastily jumped on the bandwagon) to go on a juice fast for 3 days. Three days. It sounds like nothing, but let me assure you when your horizon is comprised of only liquid- and sweet at that- for more than one meal, it feels like a decade.
My first complaint of Day 1: I have never thought so much about food. Not so much mindfully but as a fixation.
And, actually, not so much even about food, but about the fact that I don’t get to eat it. I love food. I love looking forward to what my next delicious meal is going to be. I am actually writing food guides for Gather in the midst of this fast, and it is creating a whole extra challenge to the occasion. Preparing three meals a day for kids does as well.
My thing was, I wanted to see if I could actually do it. How much self control can I muster? In the last month, I have slowly but surely grown a meditation practice. And it takes some discipline to sit every single day (and I have apart from one night after a scuffle with husband), but I have been steadfast. I have been committed. And it has been a challenge, but I have persevered perched upon my zafu, iPhone timer ticking until the soft drum-beat of my alarm signals its end.
And the juice fast seemed a bit like that. Sitting through the discomfort of desiring something else. YES! I am up for that! My yoga practice is bringing me to places where you bask in those moments because YES, they will pass, and YES, often the resistance is something that really, really needs visiting. I am not talking about bending oneself into a pretzel twist of a pose with ‘knees screaming as the cartilage feels as though it is slowly tearing itself from the bone’ discomfort. More the sensation. The, ‘I’m okay, but I want to change it up because this is outside of my normal comfort level’ discomfort.
So far, Day 1 has mostly been anxiety over, WHAT is this going to be like? When I said I am a not a juice fasting kind of girl, I should have also mentioned that I am also not a ‘skip a meal’ kind of girl. EVER. I repeat: Lover of food. Passionate, you could even venture to say.
Each day I get four 24 ounce mason jars full of beautiful emerald and ruby coloured juices. Also a shot of wheatgrass. They are gorgeous. But be the end of the day, I am OVER it. It all started well, and then lunchtime rolled around and even though my consumption of juice should have kept me full, I had the same old 11am thoughts of… mmmmm….. What’s for lunch? It seems to always be around mealtime that I start to get a little grumpy. Not really breakfast, I was fine for a juice then. But lunch and dinner, it was really like, ‘Man, this is IT?’ Supper was the worst. I cooked venison for my boys. Preparing a meal without tasting a thing is, well, it’s messed up. It is torture. The smells and the sights and the imaginings of what it could potentially taste like, it is enough to send me over the edge.
End of day 1, I am wiped out. Exhausted from fighting the urge to want to eat and resisting that same desire. Cannot believe there are still 2 days to go like this.
With doubts about this liquid diet decision,