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Juice Fast: Crazy or Reasonable Diet?

Is juice fasting an extreme diet, or a common-sense health practice?

About five months ago, when my brother first told me he was doing a juice fast, I just thought he was weird.

Why would you throw away all that good fiber? Why not just eat all that beautiful produce? Because he couldn’t possibly eat that much, he told me. This also bothered me. The waste! For one meal, he was using enough vegetables to feed four people!

My brother came to visit and made me a veggie juice. A bunch of kale, some carrots and celery, maybe some parsley. It was bright green and smelled like grass. The kind the kids play on at the park. I had to hold my nose to get it down.

My brother told me about the movie “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead,” in which some guy is, uh, fat, sick, and nearly dead. He goes on a vegetable juice fast and becomes healthy, slim and quite alive. When my husband watched the movie a few weeks later I caught little bits of it and it seemed interesting but still pretty extreme. Does it make any sense for people who are strong and fit?

Then I read “The Fasting Diet” by Steven Bailey, N.D. In the book, Dr. Bailey writes about the physiology of eating and digestion. He explains what a complex and energy-intensive process digestion is; how our organs, glands and tissues need to work together in a finely tuned (although mostly automatic) symphony to keep our bodies running every day. He talks about truisms that we have heard for years, such as “stress can make you sick” and “it’s important to drink lots of water,” and actually explains why these truisms are so.

After reading the book, I was convinced.

I decided to follow the protocol Dr. Bailey describes — pre-fasting, which involved taking a liver tonic, fiber and herbal laxatives, and eating only (preferably raw) fruits and vegetables for three days; followed by five days of vegetable and fruit juices (the “fasting” part of the process); and six days of slowly re-introducing foods, which allows your body to get used to the work of digestion gradually, as well as giving you a chance to test your system for allergies or sensitivities to various foods.

I loved it. I was cheerful and talkative, had lots of energy, and was never hungry. I learned things about my body and how it works, and a few things that don’t work so well for me (like mango, large quantities of beet juice or cheese, and drinking less than 10 cups of water in a day). I did not crave sugar or fatty, salty foods (I’m talking about you, potato chips), and I am hopeful that my first juice fast will be the catalyst for healthier eating habits in the long run.

My brother has done three juice fasts since he first told me about it. My husband did a 10-day fast at the beginning of December. And I am 12 days post-fast and can’t wait to do it again!

Dyan Chan January 24, 2013 at 10:08 PM
Sheila, lots of people do juice fasting to lose weight. It's almost certain that you will, though it could be temporary, depending on what your body needs. My goal was not to lose weight, but I lost about 6 percent of my body weight, which I fully expect to regain. (I'm now just over two weeks post-fast and am still down about 2 percent.) My husband lost 20 pounds, which he wanted to do, and has kept off about 10. The book says that by detoxifying your system and improving your body’s ability to absorb the nutrients from the foods you do eat, juice fasting tends to optimize your body weight, so if you’re overweight you’ll lose weight and if you’re underweight you can actually gain weight.
Squashyo January 24, 2013 at 10:10 PM
I did a 10 day fast recently and inspired many to try it. It is an amazing experience but it is very easy to go at it without prepping the system or easing back into regular food. I highly recommend researching (Dyan's book is excellent for that) and follow a plan. Going head first will probably result in frustrating results. Done right and it's a life changer.
Dyan Chan January 24, 2013 at 10:11 PM
P.S. Sheila, when you did it before was it too hard because you had to make juice every day, or did you get too hungry? My husband and my brother did not do the pre-fasting and were both quite hungry. I did the pre-fasting and was not hungry at all!
Dyan Chan January 25, 2013 at 04:23 AM
Thank you, Squashyo. Were you happy with the results from your fast? Was it hard to go 10 days?
Dyan Chan February 08, 2013 at 06:14 AM
Joni, Try it! It's so interesting what you learn about your body. Let us know how it goes!

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