The two longer experiences were profoundly healing. Many people are curious about juice feasting so I put together this FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) list. There were differences between the two longer feasts, as outlined below.
I’m writing only about my own experience here. For the science behind the power of juice feasting, here are a few websites you can start with:
Juice Feasting (David Rainoshek)
The Healing Power of Juicing (Dr. Foster’s Essentials)
Juicing for Health (Healing Daily)
Juice Fasting (FalconBlanco)
Juicing and Juice Fasting by Dr. Ben Kim (a $4.95 downloadable e-book)
I also very highly recommend Dr. Tim O’Shea’s website, The Doctor Within, especially these three chapters: Journey to the Center of Your Colon, Enzymes: The Key to Longevity, and Allergies: The Threshold of Reactivity.
What did you expect a juice feast to accomplish?
Digestion requires more of your body’s energy—about thirty percent—than any other bodily process. By minimizing digestion, your body can use that energy to detoxify, heal, and repair what needs to be repaired. Although juice feasting is perhaps the most healing thing you can do for your body, it’s not necessarily a miracle cure-all. I started the 32-day juice feast because digestive-tract issues had caused me to feel fatigued virtually every morning for six months. While I didn’t expect juice feasting to completely heal me, it was indisputably invaluable—especially when combined with the digestive-tract supplements I was taking.
How do I continue to heal my body after I end a juice feast?
Many people fall victim to the Santa Claus Syndrome—believing they can atone for years of “naughty” nutrition with a week or so of “nice” nutritious juicing. Juicing is a phenomenal way to start your healing journey, but unless you continue to eat cleanly (no animal products, refined carbs, refined sugar, or caffeine) and exercise regularly, all you’re doing by juice feasting is opening a window of opportunity for better health, which will slam shut with the first bite of your next bacon-double-cheeseburger.
Is there an optimal time of year for juice feasting?
You’ll likely have better luck doing juice feasting in the spring and summer, when your body naturally is more conducive to a “spring cleaning.” I did my 32-day feast in December only because I had a pressing health concern and felt I couldn’t wait. Feasting is tougher to do in the winter, especially for novices.
How long should a feast last?
If you’ve never juice feasted before, don’t start with a specific number of days in mind. That’s a recipe for failure. It may take you three or four tries just to make it past the first day. I’ve found that the big difference-maker was my motive for doing the juice feast. If it was just to see if I could do it, my chances for success were pretty low. That wasn’t a strong enough incentive to keep me focused and motivated. If, however, I had a specific health goal in mind, and was convinced that juice feasting was the best and quickest way for me to reach that goal, my chances for success skyrocketed. I had heard for quite awhile that a thirty-day juice feast was optimal so that was my target this time. Keep in mind that I had already completed a very successful 16-day juice feast so I knew what I was doing and I knew what to expect. So start slowly and work your way up over time. Even one day of juice feasting is healing.
Do I need to prepare before beginning a feast?
The cleaner you eat, and the longer you eat that way before starting a feast, the better off you’ll be. That way, you’ll be further down the detox path, and juice feasting won’t be as much of a shock to your body. Ideally, you should eat strictly vegan for at least a few weeks—and only raw fruit and vegetables for at least one week—before beginning a feast.
Did you feel weak and tired during the juice feast?
Nope. Overall, I had more energy and vitality.
16-day: There were two three-day periods (starting near the end of week one and again a week later) where I felt very sluggish the first day, half as sluggish the next, and a bit sluggish the third day. Each time, during the first very sluggish day, I felt like my body had hung out a sign: DO NOT FEED ME, HEALING IN PROGRESS. On those days, I went twenty-eight hours and thirty-four hours with no juice and barely any water. My body had, in a sense, “shut down” and was in detoxification mode. Except for those three-day periods, I enjoyed “paradise health”—waking up feeling nothing short of euphoric with razor-sharp mental clarity. I had A+ energy all day long and well into the night. No matter how late I stayed up—even once until 2 AM, which is unheard of for me—I woke up the next morning feeling vibrant and spectacular again.
32-day: This feast was surprisingly consistent. Every day was the same. My hunger pattern was identical to normal, food-eating days. On Day Sixteen—and for all but one of the next ten days—I woke up feeling spectacular. The best part is, I felt my life force surging back. It was wonderful. However, the last week of the feast, I once again woke up a bit tired, although the tiredness was greatly reduced and it was easier for me to recover from it. After I ended the feast, I began waking up feeling terrific again most mornings.
Is juice feasting hard to do?
It depends. The first few days are the toughest. I’ve ended a handful of juice feasts after one to five days because I just couldn’t make it. Once I make it six or seven days, however, it’s smooth sailing. After that point, discipline is a non-issue—“have to” is replaced by “want to.” Juicing becomes a joy.
Can I exercise during a juice feast?
It’s best to avoid weightlifting and other demanding types of exercise. Daily walks and yoga, however, are perfectly fine.
How can I do a juice feast when I have to be at work all day?
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Although juice ideally should be drunk right after it’s made to maximize its nutritional content, it’s certainly fine to bring a pitcher with you to work. One strategy to keep the feast going when you don’t think you can make it is to keep some Metagenics UltraMeal or UltraClear (powdered medical food) or green superfood powder (like blue-green algae) on hand. While these are foods and will activate your digestion, it’s a reasonable concession to make if that’s what it takes to continue the feast.
Did you miss eating?
Not at all. Once I established a rhythm, I looked forward to juicing every single day. Juice is so delicious, I couldn’t wait until my next glass. I didn’t even think about eating solid food until the morning of Day Thirty-Two. Intuitively, I knew then that it was time to end the feast.
Weren’t you depriving your body of nutrients?
Just the opposite. Juice feasting floods your body with far more nutrients than you normally take in. Just think how many fruits and vegetables go into making your daily gallon of juice. What’s more, those nutrients are far more easily assimilated.
How was your sleep affected?
While many people report that they need to sleep far less while juicing, that wasn’t my experience. Yes, I occasionally woke up feeling terrific during both feasts with an hour or two less sleep than I normally get, but that was the exception, not the rule.
What kind of juice did you drink?
It’s crucial to only drink fresh, organic fruit and vegetable juice. That means either juicing it yourself or buying it from a restaurant or juice bar. Juice fruit in the morning because fruit is cleansing. Juice veggies after that because veggies are building. Drink a lot of different juices to ensure a variety of nutrients and to avoid boredom. You can find juice recipes all over the Internet and in a number of books. Here were my favorites.
Fruit juices: Watermelon, cantaloupe, pineapple (juice the rind for all three—if and only if they’re organic), grapefruit, orange (don’t juice citrus rinds), and apple (remove the seeds, add lemon and ginger to make lemonade).
Vegetable juices: Carrot (add beet and apple for a surprisingly tasty treat), and green juice (typically cucumber, celery, and lime, with plenty of leafy greens such as spinach, kale, chard, and parsley, and occasionally broccoli and asparagus). For a real challenge, try drinking nothing but wheatgrass (two ounces a day) and green juice for three days. (Click here for info on wheatgrass.)
How much juice did you drink?
I typically drank thirty-two ounces at a time, three to four times a day. That’s roughly a gallon of juice a day. However, there were days during my 16-day feast when I drank very little because my body just didn’t require it. Drink whenever you’re hungry, and drink until you’re full. There’s no reason to ever go hungry on a juice feast.
IMPORTANT: Fresh juice is a food, not a drink. Don’t guzzle it. For optimal results, “chew” your juice. That means taking one mouthful at a time and actually using a chewing motion to swish it around in your mouth. The juice will then blend with your saliva and be digested much more easily. You’ll find that you will also consume significantly less quantities of juice.
What supplements should I take during a juice feast?
It’s best to avoid supplements that will activate your digestion. Unless your health will be compromised by doing so, skipping your supplement regimen for the duration of the feast should be a non-issue. One more important note: If you’re taking capsules, pull the capsule apart and mix the powder with juice or water. That way, you’ll assimilate it faster and your digestion won’t be activated by the capsule housing. I recommend taking probiotics daily. Look for a product that contains these three ingredients: L. bulgaricus, L. acidophilus, and Bifidus (B. bifidum). The best probiotic I know about is UltraFlora IB by Metagenics.
How do I maximize detoxification during a feast?
During a juice feast, your body releases a great deal of toxins. It’s paramount that you move these toxins out of your body as quickly and efficiently as you can. The problem is, the peristaltic motion of your colon—which activates elimination—is itself activated by eating. And since you’re not eating, elimination is stalled. Therefore, it’s essential to perform an enema at least every other day (you can buy an enema kit—be sure to get one that includes a hot-water bottle—for $12 at Walgreen’s). For even greater cleansing, do a weekly colonic. Trust me, you will be amazed at the results. If you’re inexperienced with these methods, check out Optimal Health Network.
Isn’t juicing a hassle?
Nope. Once you establish a routine, it takes maybe fifteen to twenty-five minutes to juice AND clean up afterward. After just a few times, you can do it in your sleep. I actually enjoyed cleaning up. I only had to wash the juicer’s screen—all other parts can simply be rinsed off.
What kind of juicing machine should I use?
For my 16-day feast, I used the Juiceman II. It did the job just fine. Then I discovered the Jack LaLanne Power Juicer. The chute was far wider so I could put in larger amounts of produce. Plus, it produced a lot more juice, and therefore a lot less pulp. Although I did feed in lots of greens, neither of those juicers are built for greens. The Green Star is a great greens juicer. Other popular green juicer brands are Champion and Omega.
So, bottom line, how did the juice feast help you?
Both my 16-day and 32-day feasts made a tremendous difference. I felt far less toxic and far more euphoric, especially after my 16-day feast. My digestive challenges, which first alerted me to the need to change my diet two and a half years ago, had advanced considerably by the time I began my 32-day feast. While I believe that the 32-day feast initiated great healing—in conjunction with the supplements I was taking—I have more work to do. Still, my morning fatigue has been dramatically reduced, and I feel more in tune with my life force, if that makes sense.
Will you do another juice feast?
Definitely, and on a regular basis. Ideally, for the sake of maintenance and additional healing, I’d like to do a three-to-seven-day juice feast every few months and a two-week juice feast once a year. My belief in juice feasting—based on research, and especially my own experience—is unshakable.
UPDATE: After writing this post, I discovered the Blessed Herbs Colon Cleanse. It’s awesome. I will never do another juice feast without starting it with this cleanse. Below is a video testimonial I entered in a Blessed Herbs contest explaining why I’m such a big fan. I was awarded second place and $250 in credit for future orders. Works for me!
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