Detox diary: how to do a juice fast 

In a K&G first, we are handing over the keys to a guest blogger. 

Juicing blog
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.

Juice fast preparation

Juicy couture


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.  

The verdict 

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.

Juicing FAQs

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.

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Fast love: a 5:2 victory

In the days of yore (though not quite apothecary tables) we gave a good few fad diets a go, usually coming back to WeightWatchers, the rocky relationship that permeated most of our twenties. Every Monday was the start of new regime that inevitably failed by Thursday.

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But the only “diet” we can say worked for us, in that it kickstarted a healthier lifestyle rather than causing that oh so familiar quick loss followed by twice the gain, was the 5:2.

The principal is simple, limit your calorie intake to 500 (for women, 600 for men) for two days a week and eat “normally” for the other five (the eating habits of A Normal always being something of a mystery to me). I like to join a bandwagon, so when it was all over the MailOnline around December 2013 I decided it must be worth a try.

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Christmas 2013. Bit of a blur

I’d been hovering between 11.5st and 12st for the best part of a year and I didn’t expect it to last beyond week one in the grand tradition of fad diets.

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Two things surprised me that week.

First, fast days brought more boredom than anything, a natural side effect for someone whose entire day is spent looking forward to the next meal and the five following ones I’ve already mapped out.

Secondly, come weigh in day I waddled onto the scales adamant it wasn’t working, happy to throw in the towel having given it a shot. When I discovered I had lost 5lbs I skipped off them declaring life in the fast lane was the life for me.

Chaz jumped on-board a couple of months later – that’s the fomo for you.

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February 2014. Sadly not a fast day feast

I’m reluctant to wholeheartedly endorse any kind of “diet” because Kings and Greens is all about healthy lifestyles, everything in moderation, blah blah blah. The reason we decided to post about this is simply down to the fact more and more friends asked and we wanted to share our experience.

Here comes the science bit – concentrate!

Intermittent fasting isn’t actually as faddy as you might think, there’s a lot of evidence out there about the benefits to your health so many of the claims are medically backed up – and not just in terms of weight loss (though it really does work), it’s reported to aid blood pressure, cholesterol and insulin sensitivity too. But as with everything, there are downsides and it pays to be conscious of the potential pitfalls so you can navigate them – this may come in handy (if it’s too small to read you can find it on our Pinterest).

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Compared to other weight loss regimes, the appeal for me was the fact I was never more than a day away from eating whatever I fancied (within reason). I fasted on Mondays and Thursdays as a general rule, so Tuesday and Friday breakfasts became something to really look forward to and plan with insane anticipation as I twiddled my thumbs on a fast day evening wondering whether 7pm was an acceptable bedtime for a grown woman.

My fast day menu looked something like this:

B: Porridge – 30g cooked oats with water and Stevia/bit of honey OR a small banana – about 100 cals

L: Homemade soup – about 150 cals

T: Two egg omelette cooked in coconut oil with a handful of spinach, a few mushrooms and chilli flakes (seasoning becomes your best friend on fast days) – 200 cals

That leaves you at around 450 cals so you can leave room to snack on a bit of fruit or carrot sticks and dream of a brighter tomorrow.

My mum’s friend Jacqui is doing really well on the 5:2, she’s lost over 3 stones and swears by sticking to the exact same food every day to take the decision making out of the equation completely (she has porridge for breakfast and two scrambled eggs with one slice of wholemeal toast in the evening).

Other people prefer to save their cals up for an evening meal, I tried this once and found it easier than expected. As always, it’s crucial to drink plenty of water and green/herbal teas and they can help stave off the tedium as long as you seriously lower your expectations of a good time.

The biggest aid for me in doing the fast diet, and still remains a constant now, is our faithful friend and super-app MyFitnessPal.

When I wasn’t fasting I generally stuck to 1200 calories on the other weekdays and relaxed this at weekends – 2,500 was and still is an average Saturday or Sunday and we always make sure we keep tracking as this helps us to stay healthy.

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Living for the fast day weekend

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I’ve never been one of those irritating normals who chirps “I just finish eating when I’m full!” – this notion just doesn’t exist for me, I finish when it’s all gone and probably always will. Without MFP I would find portion control a big issue so I do weigh and measure most things and log everything there (the good, the bad and the ugly with a wide open diary so you can share these highs and lows with me) to avoid overeating. Feel free to have a gander by adding us on there – alibongo81 and charliequeso.

Nowadays, though, the calories themselves aren’t as big a thing for me as long as I know everything I’m eating is “proper” healthy food plus odd treats. Nutrition is much more of a factor now, so along with portion control MFP serves an an excellent way to monitor the old macros (I am obsessed with the pie chart) – especially important if you’re avoiding meat as protein intake is one you need to keep an eye on.

Overall, I lost about 1.5st in 4 months on the 5:2, stopping when I reached around 10st because I had started training for an ultra marathon and needed to eat a bit more.

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10st 4 in April 2014 – ditching the 5:2 in favour of ultra marathon training, starting with a half marathon in Blackpool

A few tips for 5:2 success

  1. Download MyFitnessPal and use it
  2. Decide which days work for you and get into the same routine…..
  3. … but be flexible. You can juggle fast days to fit in with other plans and even switch things on the day if you slip up
  4. Stick to the same food on fast days IF you think that will help you by avoiding decisions
  5. If you’re likely to get bored easily, however, be creative and change things to suit your mood (follow @ellypear on instagram for inspiration)
  6. Don’t exercise on fast days as a rule
  7. Don’t do consecutive days
  8. Drink up! Lots of water and herbal teas (a post coming soon on tips to get more H20)
  9. Only weigh in once a week – same time and situ every week (7am on a Friday is my weekly date with the scales)
  10. Plan plan plan – you really can’t wing it so get yourself organised for your fast day meals and beyond.

Have you done it? Or are you planning to do it? We’d love to know your experiences.. comment below or tweet us @kingsandgreens – and if you’re starting today good luck!

All images taken by us or from Pinterest