In a K&G first, we are handing over the keys to a guest blogger.
My partner in wine and girl gallantry since 2000 and Chaz’s twin Topshop shopper, 35-year-old former Batley brat Claire swapped (West) Yorkshire for (South) Yarra a few years back and now lives it up down under in healthy hipster haven Melbourne.
We love hearing her tales of buzzy Aussie hotspots and she’s always ahead of the latest nutritional trend. Like us, she loves food and so when she announced she was embarking on a juice fast (public statement alert 🔊) we were all ears.
Over to Claire to take you through the peaks and nadirs of her three-day detox.
The background: why do a juice fast?
After a boozy cruisy trip home to good ol’ Blighty for Christmas, followed by a return to an Australian summer in the midst of full festival season swing, it was fair to say I was feeling like I’d blazed the candle at both ends by the middle of Feb.
At around the same time, and on a friend’s recomendo, I went to a talk held by a natural wholefood doctor named Tyler Tolman on the benefits of water and juice fasting. As a kid who’s always loved her food I was entirely sceptical and also somewhat horrified at the idea of fasting.
Two hours later, after hearing compelling empirical evidence and testimonials of the hundreds of lives this man had saved from terminal cancer, heart disease and diabetes, to name but a few conditions, I was a convert.
Here comes the theory
Fasting is an ancient medicinal method of curing all kinds of ailments that modern man has forgotten. When we fast on juice, our bodies get the opportunity to flush out all the toxins that build up inside us due to bad diet, exposure to harsh chemicals and the effects of pharmaceutical pill popping.
At the same time, energy normally consumed by food digestion can instead be focussed on rebuilding and repairing cells, from reversing the effects of ageing to curing the body of cancer.
The length of the fast can range anywhere from a few days to three months, depending on the severity of the illness or disease needing to be cured.
The execution: how to do a juice detox
Buoyed by enough enthusiasm to put my hunger fear to one side, I decided to embark on a three day fast.
It’s fair to say preparation is the key to success, so I borrowed a good quality juicer and juicing recipe book from a generous hipster friend, and spent a couple of days researching juice recipes and how much organic F&V I’d need for the three days.
If organic’s not an option, due to either availability or budget, then you’ll need to buy a biggish bottle of organic apple cider vinegar to add to water and soak your produce in. Otherwise you’re still consuming the pesticides that coat the flesh and not really de-toxifying at all.
Most respectable juice fasts state you can have as much juice as you feel you need to maintain your energy levels. I stocked up on enough fruit and veg to make three 1 litre juices per day and found this to be ample.
The kitchen looked like a harvest festival by the time I’d schlepped it all home, you need A LOT of produce to make a juice (the photo should give you a fair idea). I spent around $100 / £50 on F&V.
The effects of the juice fast were intense from the outset. I’ve captured the key highs and lows from my experience to give you an idea of what you might expect
The pros: benefits of juice fasting
- Most bizarrely of all, I didn’t feel hungry at any point over the three days. The first day was the strangest because you’re still adjusting to not having solids in your stomach. But the juice definitely nourishes you. In hindsight I wish I’d prepared for a seven day fast because I didn’t feel desperate to start eating again, even at the end of the fast.
- I lost over half a stone and four weeks later I’ve maintained the weight loss.
- I feel my appetite has decreased and I’m more inclined to eat only when I’m hungry than at prescribed mealtimes
- I also feel that I’m eating better and craving juice, fruit and veg over animal proteins and salty junk food (an enduring weakness of mine)
- I also feel I’ve had heaps more energy and I’ve bounced back from a couple of big nights that should have resulted in horrible hangovers, with almost no after effects.
The cons: disadvantages of a detox
- The actual juicing process is a massive ball ache. The juicing machine needs to be cleaned between preparation of sweet and savoury juices, otherwise you’ll end up with some funky tasting juice. There are loads of bits and pieces to the juicer so prepare to spend a good few hours taking it to pieces, washing it, drying it and putting it back together. Also, it needs to be emptied regularly to stop it getting backed up with the waste fruit and veg
- Cut me and I’d bleed caffeine. I’m the girl who always gets a large almond flat white on the way to work, regardless of how late I’m running. So having to go cold turkey gave me a headache by high noon of the first fast day. Thankfully it lessened to a dull ache by day two but I can’t say I wasn’t happy to get back on the caffeine
- At the height of the glorious Aussie summer I was reeeeeeallly cold throughout the fast (apparently this is a common side effect of juicing). Get your jumpers at the ready!
- This last one dances the pro / con line. I woke up with staggering night sweats on nights two and three; my sheets were absolutely saturated with sweat and I was shivering from the dampness. This is a common way for your body to expel toxins so although it wasn’t pleasant and led to a few extra laundry loads, it proved the juicing was working.
While the juice fast was not without its challenges, I would 100% recommend it to anyone that’s curious to try it and I’m both happy and proud of myself for taking the plunge.
When we place ourselves outside of our comfort zone with these experiences, we’re able to ask ourselves if we’re making conscious choices over bad habits, and ultimately enabling ourselves to live a more mindful life.
Q: How long can you keep the juice for?
A: Ideally, they should be consumed within 24 hours, otherwise the nutrients start to break down.
Q: Can you make juices ahead and freeze them?
A: Yes, providing you don’t use the microwave to defrost them, as this will also destroy the nutrients.
Q: What were your favourite juices?
A: Sweet: Half a watermelon with half a bunch of organic mint (so simple but so refreshing)
Savoury: 8 tomatoes, 4 radishes, a handful of kale and half a lemon.
Q: What’s the ratio of fruit juices to vegetable juices?
A: The split of savoury to sweet juices is about 50:50 over the course of the three days.
Q: Are you allowed to consume anything other than juice?
A: As much still water as possible is recommended, and organic herbal teas are fine too.