It’s the time of year when I start preparing for my annual vegetable juice fast. Every January I fast for a week – that is, I don’t eat anything. I drink 3 fresh homemade veggie juices a day. For me it’s a really clean and positive start to the year – a gift to myself. I’m generally on holiday or work is quiet plus it’s summer here in Australia which makes it easier to face only liquids for a few days (I wouldn’t advise fasting in winter when the body needs warming, nourishing foods to support it). I use a cold pressed juicer (purchased second hand from eBay) as high speed juicers will heat the produce up and destroy some of the enzymes in the process, but if that is all you have it’s still well worth doing. I was originally inspired by the documentary Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead. I had been making myself a fresh homemade veggie juice first thing in the morning every day for 14 years so I thought if the guy in the doco who was extremely overweight, sick and unhealthy could fast for 60 days, then I could do at least 10. Piece of piss right? That was my first fast, and it was definitely my most challenging. It was certainly not easy, but it was 100% worth it and set me up for a lifetime of better habits and health. It’s certainly not something to go into unprepared. I did my research online, but I’ve learned more as I go along and every year gets easier – this will be my 8th year. Before my maiden fast, I was on holidays and I actually ate junk I wouldn’t normally with the mindset that I was about to do a detox so I could afford to let go a bit more. I wouldn’t advise that – it will definitely make the fast much harder. The reason for fasting is to give the body a break from digesting so that the your organs can repair and rejuvenate. It is easier if you can take time off work because you will go through some detox symptoms and tiredness, especially if you are addicted to any type of stimulant. Before you fast, you must be fully prepared – I scale back my eating a few days prior. Three days before starting, your meals should be 3/4 of what you would usually consume, 2 days before 1/2, a day before 1/4 and all as raw and easily digestible as possible (avocados are good). I stay motivated during the fast by watching Tyler Tolmans YouTube channel. His videos are extremely informative, educational and entertaining. On a fast I miss the textures of food as much as the taste – I never even thought about texture before. It really gives me much more of an appreciation for food. I can remember feeling like a child having a tantrum a few times about wanting to eat, I didn’t realise how much we use food to numb our emotions or as a reward system. Thankfully I have pretty strong willpower and my mind was strong enough to stick with the fast, usually if I feel that way I find it’s best to have a herbal tea or an organic coconut water for a bit of flavour. As someone who loves to cook, I follow a lot of food based social media accounts so if temptation is hard for you, step away from your smartphone! It can make things harder, but I bookmark things and dream about making/tasting/eating them when I’m finished. Fasting helps me feel more connected to my body, my mind gets clearer and my intuition seems stronger. I definitely become more sensitive so I try not to go to crowded, busy places and just take gentle walks or swims. You are not really supposed to exercise when fasting but I can’t live without at least a gentle walk – I just don’t push myself. If you do, you not only negate the benefits of the fast but you risk dehydration, exhaustion and fainting. Your body is focusing all of its energy on repairing its major organs and you don’t have the fuel you need for exercise or recovery anyway. You become hyper aware of how much food is advertised on TV and radio when you aren’t eating it – it’s pretty scary as I wouldn’t usually even notice that (subliminal advertising still exists in a different form). I always schedule a colonic (you will need more than 1 if you eat meat) because you need whatever toxins are being dumped from your liver to get out of you as quickly as possible or you’ll either feel rubbish or it will come out on your skin in various forms. During and after a fast I feel lighter, not just physically but emotionally and spiritually – I feel clear, like as if I have been to Vipassana retreat. I feel good about my body from the inside out which is big for me, as I don’t always feel as positive about my body as I would like to… Breaking a fast is not as simple as just starting to eat again. Your body hasn’t digested in days, so you need to introduce food again slowly. I usually start back with a smoothie as they are easy to digest. You fill up really quickly anyway because your stomach shrinks. Small raw meals are best, a half raw avocado is always good – I promise you it will be the best avo you have ever eaten! 🥑
My juice recipe:
Sprouted lentils or mung beans
Try to use organic produce (where possible)
Do at least 1 or 2 colonics or coffee enemas or both
Drink plenty of filtered water
Rest a lot
Gentle exercise only
For more information about juice fasting and the many benefits, this website is excellent.
This video covers helpful tips for your first fast.