For one week, every day at 3PM, I studied.
Studied every food menu I could find online. Food trucks, restaurants…I drooled over all the foods I planned to eat during the following week. I Google-mapped my eating plan by the hour. Dan dan mien, pork belly takos, chana masala…
…all the while, I was on a detox. A juice detox. No solid food. For 7 days. Monday. Tuesday. Wednesday. Thursday. Friday. Saturday. Sunday. 7 days.
That’s how many days not a single piece of food passed my mouth. Now those who have been reading Zomppa for a while knows I love food. And I love eating. A lot. And not a lot of fresh vegetables. Bad me. Pretty sure I’m full of toxins from years of overdoing it. I had even tried to detox a couple months back and nothing happened, remember?
So Zomppa Patty urged me – URGED me – to watch this documentary, Fat Sick and Nearly Dead. This guy Joe Cross was overweight and had this auto-immune deficiency condition which forced him to take a billion pills a day. He juiced for 60 days (NO solid food) and boom – no more pills. Healthy as can be. Same thing happened to truck driver Phil Staples. Incredible and inspiring. The movie has won all these awards and has motivated many people to change their lives. Watch the trailer:
These two men did NOT eat for 60 days, but they were supervised by their doctors and they were right as rain. How did they do it? They juiced everything – fresh, organic vegetables and fruits. Several times a day.
So after I watched the documentary, I said to Patty, let’s do this. For seven days. She was on like Donkey Kong.
What is juicing and what is it supposed to do?
Plant-based foods are high in micronutrients, and the idea is to eat more of these plant-based foods (macronutrients are found in carbohydrates, proteins, and fats – also critical for a healthy, balanced diet, in moderation). We all know we should be eating more plant-based foods, but many of us (I’m the first to admit my guilt) don’t get enough. Moreover, cooking often destroys many of the micronutrients (vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients) and enzymes essential for healthy digestion of food. Many nutrients also get trapped in indigestible fiber so you actually don’t get the full benefit. According to Living and Raw Foods,when you eat a raw carrot, you only get about 1% of the beta carotene because the rest is ‘trapped.’
Juicing separates the indigestible fiber and leaves only the micronutrients and enzymes. Juicing is done with a…juicer. Unlike blenders, a juicer has a super powerful motor that extracts the goodies. Because your body doesn’t have to spend the energy digesting the fiber and other stuff, the micronutrients get absorbed into your body – quickly and efficiently. It also gives your insides a chance to just rest and detox.
I thought, not a bad concept. I had wanted to detox, and I didn’t like the idea of pills. Fresh food detox? I could dig it. First thing was buy a juicer. I didn’t want to spend too much money, and read some reviews, and found the Breville to be a popular, powerful machine. So I bought the Breville Compact Juice Fountain for well under $100, figuring this was an investment for my health.
I LOVE this machine. It is not too bulky, super powerful, and SO easy to clean. Big fan.*
*When looking for a juicer, you want one with a motor powerful enough to leave fairly dry pulp – it should feel almost like sawdust.
What gets juiced?
For this detox, the idea is only fresh, ideally organic produce. Leafy greens, veggies, fruit. Reboot Your Life has this great list with recipes and benefits of certain produce. The combinations are almost limitless. I’m not sure I did this totally right…for you hard-core raw foodies and juicers, please don’t lecture me that I juiced wrong. I did add quite a bit of fruit – I LOVE fruit, plus fruit makes everything taste better – and know I probably should have done more greens. Now juicing is not for everyone, and if you have any pre-existing conditions, you definitely should consult with your doctor first. Too much fruit is not great for diabetics, for example, because fruit is high in sugars. Produce such as carrots, beets, and pears can spike insulin levels. You also can’t juice forever without eating because then you’d be lacking fiber. And you need fiber to live.
So be careful.
Patty made her poor husband drink juices with wheatgrass and spinach. I, on the other hand, may have cheated a bit and made mine really, REALLY tasty. (I forgive myself because I was, after all, drinking only fruits and vegetables AND eating more vegetables per day than I have ever in my life). I realized I don’t like spinach in my juices (ick), but LOVE kale in it. LOVE carrots. Beets. Apples. All kinds of apples. Some lemon to brighten everything up.
You can find recipes of all sorts. But you literally just wash, rinse, and throw stuff in the juicer (for my compact juicer, I had to do a teeny bit of chopping). One thing you need to do is drink the juice straight away because unlike juice you find in a store (which has been made to last longer on the shelf), freshly-made juices start to break down immediately after the extraction.
What does a juicing fast feel like?
I read a bit online of other people’s experiences. Many people (including those in the documentary) said by day 3 or 4, they felt terrible, like they got hit with the flu. That is a sign that your body is releasing some bad toxins. Folks also noted a white tongue and that they poop stuff they didn’t know they had. Then they report glowing skin.
I think I either juiced/fasted wrong or I have a really weird body.
Surprisingly, I did not get hungry at all. You would think I would, but the juices were quite filling (and delicious!). By the time I got hungry, it was time to juice again, and every time I drank a juice, it felt like a bolt of energy WHOOSHED right into my bloodstream. Pretty cool. I didn’t feel tired or weak. I did my yoga, I did a hard core Dragon Boat practice (talk about being sore), normal stuff.
I waited for the flu-like symptoms. I waited for the poop. I waited for the glowing skin.
I got the white tongue, but nothing else came. NOTHING.
I felt totally fine all week. I didn’t have much to poop (sorry if TMI, but you want to know the full experience, right?). Skin was the same. Now I know I probably did more fruit and root veggies than I should have, but come on! (If you are thinking of doing one, check out resources at the end of this article, or just Google for tips at doing it RIGHT).* One thing that I have noticed is that after the week, my normally dry scalp (a condition I have had since I was like 12) is feeling great. A result of the juicing? Who knows. I suspect the influx of vitamins that I was sure to have been lacking has something to do with it.
As I mentioned, I didn’t really feel hungry. What I felt was crazy. I fantasized about food all the time. Seriously, every afternoon, I looked online at all the menus of local restaurants and food trucks and just thought about exactly what I would eat when I broke the fast. Oh, it was torturous, but boy, did reading the menus make me feel happier (and sadder at the same time).
I also went out with friends, watching them eat while I had water or my juice. I even hosted a brunch at my house on Day 7. And believe it or not, I made it through. See stubbornness note below.
*Patty dropped out after day one. Yes, Day ONE. Can you believe it? And trust me, folks, it wasn’t will power that I had to finish. Just sheer stubbornness.
What happens after the fast?
When coming off the fast, folks note that they have to ease into solids carefully, maybe some soup, steamed veggies, and the like because their stomachs have shrunk and gotten accustomed to no food. So I was prepared. I even postponed my duck-fat tator tots and spicy-Szechuan noodles for Days 3 and 4, thinking I needed a couple days to ease my stomach back in. The first morning after my fast, I sat down to breakfast with some water and a small loaf of French bread.
Less than an hour later, I had put away 6-inches of French bread, one and a half ham & cream cheese sandwiches, and some fresh guacamole. And I was STILL hungry.
So much for easing back into solid foods. The funny thing was as soon as I had solid food, all food cravings stopped (though I did go for those duck-fat tator tots and dan dan noodles the next day. I mean, hello, it IS me).
Now that I’m eating again (thank goodness), I still juice, and I think I will continue to juice. I do one or two a day in addition to my normal eating, and to be honest, I CRAVE the juices. There is something lovely about the freshness and the boost of clean energy. If I have a huge, late lunch now, I am actually OK with a big juice as a light supper.
Detoxed or not, I’m realizing I am eating way more veggies and fruit than I ever have. I get to enjoy my cookies AND receive the benefits of juicing. My insides feel restful and happy.
All in moderation.
More information on juicing:
Check us out on Traditional Tuesday!