Here are my top tips on what to do before, during and after a juice fast. These tips should help make your juice fast run as smoothly (and painlessly!) as possible.
A few days before D Day or should that be J Day?!:
One great benefit of being on a Juice Fast is that you really don’t have to think about what to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner!
If you like to be prepared you can plan out your juices for the week and what you are going to throw in them. Its good to have a rough idea of the types of juices / green smoothies you will be making during the fast, and shop accordingly. This also avoids waste and saves money.
Also stock up on lots of herbal teas. You can have as many herbal teas as you like during the day, and its a great excuse to get out there and shop for some more exotic blends, especially any herbs that are beneficial to and aid detoxing.
Another great one to have during the day is lemon in hot water with some ginger. Blend up a 2 – 4cm piece of ginger with about 4T filtered water and you have a lovely ginger juice to go with your hot lemon drink. Very alkalising and detoxifying.
The great news is you can juice or make green smoothies as often as you like during the day, or when you get hungry.
Here is an example of my shopping list (I will have a few fruits in there but I am aim to keep the sugar content down as much as possible during the fast.):
• Kale • Mint • Basil • Parsley • Ginger • Lemons • Limes • Tomatoes • Beetroot • Carrots • Cabbage • Lettuce • Apple • Orange • Blueberries • Strawberries • Kiwifruit • Watermelon • Baby Spinach • Chia Seeds• Spirulina • Chlorella • Bee Pollen • Young Thai Coconut• Himalayan Sea Salt • Good quality Probiotic capsule • Probiotic Drink • Dry Skin Brush
With the probiotic drink I like to either make a Coconut Kefir at home (its really very easy!), here are some easy instructions from the Body Ecology website on how to do it. They also do great pre-made pro-biotic drinks so if you are short on time you can order Body Ecology products in Sydney from the Your Digestion website, it has an online shop with all the Body Ecology products. They are fizzy and yummy and teeming with live enzymes and good bacteria. You have them like a shot twice a day, and they really help with food cravings and bloat.
I would also strongly recommend booking in a colonic or two along with some infra-red sauna sessions and massages. They are brilliant at helping move the detoxification process along as some of you may find (as I do), things just stop working all together and during a detox its crucial things keep moving – I will explain in more detail shortly). If you are in Sydney and want to book a colonic I highly recommend Boda in Mosman. Fantastic staff with many years of experience and knowledge.
Buy a dry skin brush from your local health food store or sometimes a good chemist will sell them. These help stimulate the lymph system and remove dead skin cells daily.
Let your friends and family know of your planned juice fast, and ask for their support during this time, they may think you are crazy but you are in a great position to set an example and be a walking advertisement for all the benefits of doing a juice fast! It might even inspire them to go and do one themselves!
Try and scale back or clear your diary of any social engagements, it will be way too tempting when out and surrounded by food and possibly alcohol.
Also please check in with your healthcare practitioner before starting a juice fast if you are on medication, have a serious illness or pregnant.
Have some guided meditation CDs on hand as these will come in handy during those moments of wanting to give in! Also get online and chat to others who are also juice fasting at the same time as you. Moral support is so important during this time and really does help.
Buy a journal so you can jot down daily how you are feeling before, during and after the fast. This will be great to get those thoughts, feelings and emotions out as well as to look back on after the fast.
During the Juice Fast:
Most people experience some sort of detox reaction during a juice fast. I remember mine vividly! I had serious detox brain and could not even string a sentence together on a text message.
Other people sail through no problems, going to work, gym, running marathons, you know just their regular routine with no problems whatsoever.
Its important to check in with your body on a daily basis during the fast. If you are feeling tired that day – take it easy and try to schedule in some nap time if possible. If you are bouncing out of bed then feel free to do your usual routine, including exercise.
What other detox reactions can I expect?
Tiredness, moodiness, anger, weakness, light headedness, insomnia, skin breakouts, irritability are amongst the more common ones. If you have a recurrent health issue (ie. eczema, acne, sinus issues) that may get worse before it gets better. Its important to be patient and breathe through these periods, call on a friend or chat to someone who is going through the same thing. You might find alot of emotional stuff comes up as well as the physical. Just take deep breaths and know that these moments shall pass and that by the end of the 5 days you will be feeling incredible. Journalling every day helps too.
Why does this happen?
By doing a juice fast you are telling your body you are ready to heal and detoxify. It starts cleaning house but if you have alot of toxins your body will be dumping more toxins than it can get rid of. Making you feel ick. Your bowels may decide to have you spend most of the time on the toilet or the complete opposite! Its important to remove those toxins through various methods of which I will recommend my top 6 here:
1. Colonics – brilliant at removing blocked up waste matter and toxins from the colon, as well as toning the bowel and creating a clean environment internally to allow good bacteria to flourish and colonise. Good bacteria cannot colonise a toxic environment, an important note to make here if you really want your expensive pro-biotics to work.
2. Infrared Sauna – my favourite sauna, far better than a swedish sauna as the infrared technology penetrates deeper into the skin’s layers and targets organs to detox from the inside out. Plus there is no blasting steam to deal with, a nice dry heat which is far more comfortable and tolerable.
3. Massage – a great way to move toxins out of the body and it feels great too! Will help you sleep better also.
4. Exercise – as mentioned before do this at a pace that suits your body’s energy levels during the juice fast. Gentle walks, or yoga are great for the low energy days. If you feel up to it, do your normal exercise routine if that means a run, or gym, working up a sweat is also a great way to get toxins out of the body.
5. – Sun – sun gives us energy, and that really important vitamin, vitamin D, which boosts our immune system and helps prevent cancer. Direct sunlight on our bodies also triggers our body to produce 200 anti-microbials that kill off bad bacteria, fungus, parasites and viruses. Try to get at least 15 – 30 minutes of sunshine a day, (outside peak UV periods if you are concerned about sunburn) as the best way to get vitamin D into your body is on skin without sunscreen. Roll up your sleeves or expose a leg or two!
6. Dry Skin Brush – A dry skin brush is essential for a daily mini detox, and makes you feel good! It also makes you skin lovely and soft and helps banish cellulite. Do in the morning for a few minutes before you get in the shower. Start by brushing in long sweeps from the base of your toes, work up your legs, up to the middle of your body, working towards your heart. Then start from the tips of your fingers and work in long sweeps down your body towards your heart. Make sure you do your neck, and back as well. Your body should be tingling all over.
Please note: Do not store juices in the fridge to drink later – unless you own a Cold Press Masticating Juicer such as the Oscar Neo, juices oxidise very quickly and will not be beneficial to you unless drink them immediately.
How to Transition off a Juice Fast:
On the last day of your juice fast you may be gagging to eat anything including the furniture or you may be so nonchalant about eating you could continue fasting for another year. (jokes!).
However some people do feel like this and may continue the fast for another few days or weeks. Your body will signal when its really really really ready to eat again.
This does not mean a trip to McDonalds or a three course meal from the in-laws who mean well.
On the first day off the Juice fast I recommend a fruit bowl (and only fruit) for breakfast. If you prefer not to have the fruit, a simple, light salad with a lemon juice dressing would be a lovely way to break the fast. Continue with a salad for lunch, you may want to include some sprouts and fermented foods (cultured vegetables) here. These types of foods are pre-digested which makes them easy to digest and the cultured vegetables are teeming with good bacteria.
Lightly steamed vegetables tossed with lemon juice, dulse flakes and himalayan sea salt would be a nice option for dinner. Or maybe a miso soup or a raw vegetable soup with garlic and some cayenne pepper. Continue eating light foods such as these for 2 days.
The key here is light foods, no meat, refined sugar or dairy or wheat and they must be ORGANIC. You do not want to stress out your organs and tax your digestion by eating heavy foods right away. Keep up your fluids and keep taking your pro-biotics. (This should be part of your daily routine anyway.)
On day 3 continue to eat light meals but you may start to re-introduce nuts and seeds, for example breakfast could be some mixed soaked nuts with soaked chia blended to make a morning breakfast porridge and add some home made raw almond milk. Add back in the good fats such as Coconut Oil, Avocado, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Hemp Seed Oil or Flax Seed Oil. Add in some gluten free grains, such as Quinoa, Amaranth or Millet to your meals.
On day 4 continue to eat as above but you may introduce some light animal protein (if you wish) such as steamed fish, chicken or eggs to your meal. Ensure the fish you eat is high up on the food chain and all eggs and chicken are organic and locally sourced.
On day 5 you may re-introduce dairy and meat if you desire. However if you do, any dairy should be raw (not pasteurised) and any meat should be grass fed, organic and locally sourced. Keep in mind food combining principals also when planning meals.
Now that you have done a fast this is a great opportunity to not slip back into any bad habits consuming processed foods, wheat, dairy, meat or sugar. Heck, why not give up the coffee and alcohol too! These are strongly addictive foods and substances and will have you back on that vicious cycle before you know it. Don’t I know it!
And finally the most important part is to congratulate yourself! What a huge achievement and truly something special to be able to honour yourself enough, to give your body a chance to heal and detoxify – to allow yourself to become a healthier, stronger more vibrant version of yourself!
Juice Fasting is something that we should all do periodically, at least every six months. Pencil it in the diary and see you at the next one!
Note: The Raw Food Kitchen sells Oscar Neo juicers, Dehydrators, and Fermented Drinks to Raw Food Kitchenettes at special discounted price! Contact [email protected] for more details.
This juice fast article by Amanda Brocket of The Raw Food Kitchen was also published in MindBodyGreen