I recently finished a 7 day juice fast for the first time.
I’m glad I did it, but I see the process much differently now than when I began.
I was amazed to see how little information there actually is on the internet about them. Mostly spammy looking websites that are loaded with AdWords.
Academia and the mainstream media have mostly left the practice under the rug.
I want to use this piece to share my thoughts on the experience and offer some advice on how and how not to do it.
Reasons To Do A Juice Fast
The reasons people typically go on a Juice Fast are as follows:
1). A desire to lose weight
2). A desire for increased energy
3). A desire to detoxify the body
4). A desire to rid the body of some sort of ailment
All in all, I’m not sure these are the best reasons to go on one.
A juice fast can contribute to these endeavors, but it can’t be the entire reason you achieve these goals.
Because the latter desires are long term goals, and juice fasts are best practiced over the short run.
Instead I’d like to offer the biggest reason I think people ought to go on a juice fast:
It’s a gateway to the type of lifestyle you need to live in order to meet the goals above.
I think juice fasts are best used as a way to periodically “reset” your behavioral and dietary clock. Nothing more, nothing less.
Juice Fasts Are A Lot of Work
Successfully completing a juice fast requires overcoming a variety of hurdles.
In no order, these are the biggest ones:
1). They can be expensive
2). They’re very labor intensive
3). It can be hard to get the necessary calories
The best remedies for these dilemmas are as follows:
1). Make apples and carrots the building blocks of your recipes
2). Make the majority of your juice in the morning in one sitting
3). If your finances allow, get the biggest, best juicer possible.
These three combined make juicing at scale feasible. The further you get away from these three practices the harder completing one will be.
And to be clear, I messed up all three of these! I bought a small juicer, bought a wide variety of exotic produce that doesn’t juice well, and juiced 2x-3x per day, and ended up spending close to 2-3 hours a day just making the darn juice.
I can’t wait to go on another fast…..but I’m going to make sure to follow my own advice next time 🙂
How Long Should You Juice Fast?
I think for most people juice fasts should be fairly short. 2-3 days.
If you go much longer than that the mechanics of juice fasting will start to bump heads with your other lifestyle priorities. There’s no need to start something if you’re guaranteed to fail.
For most, this probably means doing a Friday-Saturday-Sunday fast.
I’m open to the idea that juice fasting for longer periods than this is a good idea for people who are looking to make more drastic dietary changes. I’ve met people who have done one for 60 days+, but this isn’t a good idea.
If nothing else you’ll be missing a lot of fiber in your diet.
If that’s the case, I think it’s a good idea to eat one regular meal a day.
Make it healthy, with a good portion of healthy carbs (legumes, whole grains, etc).
Should You Go On A Juice Fast?
I wouldn’t whole-heartedly recommend a juice fast for everyone under all circumstances.
It’s biggest benefit is that it’s a diet that only consists of incredibly nutrient-dense calories in small quantities.
Nutrient dense caloric restriction has a well-established track record of improving your health.
If you’re curious about it I’d say sure, go ahead.
If you really want to do it as an antidote to a particular medical condition I’d be more hesitant. Not because they couldn’t help, but because your expectations might be too high.
5 thoughts on “The Basics of Juice Fasting…And How I Messed Them Up”
“There’s no need to start something if you’re guaranteed to fail” Ouch! I mean that’s one of the reasons why I won’t go with juice fasting. People with weight problems mostly juice fast thinking that it’s the best and easiest way to get rid of carbs/calories/fats and all when in fact it’s not. Well, as what you’ve just said it’s not a good idea for people who are looking to make more drastic dietary changes. Thanks for the sharing your knowledge. You’re really good.
“People with weight problems mostly juice fast thinking that it’s the best and easiest way to get rid of carbs/calories/fats and all when in fact it’s not.” I have to disagree with this statement – for myself, anyway. For me, it’s helped me to “reprogram”. I no longer crave pasta, cake, chocolate and other sugar and carb-laden foods the way I used to. I actually enjoy fruits and vegetables now and look forward to eating or drinking them each day. I’m not constantly hungry because of the vicious cycle that preservatives and chemicals throw our brains into.
For someone who is looking to reset the way they eat, I think that this is a great way to go about it. You learn a ton of things you may not have known about food and your own body before, you give your organs a rest from having to process garbage and what’s wrong with a “drastic dietary change” that’s nothing but GOOD for you? If you do this the right way and you’re smart about it, you will only benefit from it.
Fair enough. I’m an avid juicer myself, but to be honest, I’m a little hesitant to heap too many accolades its way so I don’t lump myself with others who might be labeled as quacks.
I completely agree, Jonathan. I’m always hesitant to share my enthusiasm so people don’t pile me in with those who think it’s a quick fix for everything, or a fad. I take it seriously, and believe it will help to extend my life. I hope it helps to teach my daughter how to do the same for herself and eventually, her family. I recently had to set a family member straight who accused me of doing some “cayenne pepper and water” fast. I reminded him that while I consume POUNDS of fruits and vegetables a week, the only green thing I’ve seen him eat all year is gum. No rebuttal yet and I doubt I’ll be getting one 🙂 Keep juicing!
Totally Agree with you inforgraphicarts