Yesterday I had the following conversation through our company chat that started like this:
Guest: helloJonathan: hello kimberly how are you today?Guest: im great and youJonathan: fantastic, thanks for askingJonathan: what can i help you with?Guest: im new to juicing and im doing it for weight loss as well as health wise. and im not sure how or were to start
I suffer from high blood pressure and need to lose 100 pounds. I plan to use a juice fast to jump start my weight loss plan and a plant based diet.
- The distinction between juicing and juice fasting is not as important as people think
- Going on a juice fast as soon as you get your juicer is probably not a good idea
- For many people going on a juice fast is probably not necessary or even desirable for achieving their desired health outcomes.
Let’s talk about these points in a little more detail.
Juicing, and not Juice Fasting, Is Awesome
I’ve written before about the health benefits of juice fasting and juicing in general. It dates back to one of the most pertinent discoveries about how all living organisms stay healthy.
Everything in the animal kingdom seems to thrive when it’s maximizing the following ratio:
Fresh juice is a straight shot of condensed nutrients with all of the caloric fluff stripped out. Juice fasting is an extreme application of this insight, but the benefit curve of juicing is proportional and not bimodal.
That is, you’ll experience just as much health benefits with your first glass of fresh juice as you will with your last. So it’s okay to start slowly.
You don’t have to do an all-out fast to help yourself lose weight, lower blood pressure, or just generally feel more energized throughout the day.
Juice Fasting: Great, But Inconvenient
It would be hard to conceive of an eating regimen more impractical than a juice fast. It requires expensive equipment, is labor intensive, expensive, and is all but impossible to do over a long period of time. They can do amazing things, but I don’t think they’re categorically for everyone. Just the opposite.
More than an act of discipline or desire to change your life, juicing is an acquired habit. Before you go on a juice fast you have to learn how to quickly clean your juicer, how to store it, get the hang of what recipes you like, and most importantly your body needs to acclimate itself to living on juice.
The last point is very important since juice fasts have no option other than being very low calorie. Your body is very adept at “learning” what to do from the foods it eats, and with consistent exposure the process takes about two weeks. So if your body isn’t acclimated to drinking its calories from condensed green foods it’s likely to have unintended revulsive reactions that you might not want. Breaking your fast with a night of gorging on PB and J’s is much worse than not going on one at all. Trust me, I’ve made the mistake a few times.
You might say “but isn’t the point of a juice fast to detox your body?”
The latter question sort of misses the point. And even if it didn’t you’d still want to follow my advice. Green foods do help detoxify the body, but people overestimate the “on/off” nature of detoxification.
Your body’s always trying to maintain some sort of equilibrium, so detoxification is always going on to some degree. Always. Your body will detox a little more if you just drink a glass of juice a day. Your body will also begin to readjust its metabolic set points after continual exposure to green juice, making a future fast more likely to be enjoyable and successful.
So please, take my advice: start juicing gradually before you take the plunge and go on an all out fast. For most people I think about a month would be a good idea.
A Marathon, Not A Sprint
Juicing is a behavior, plain and simple. Its benefits will eventually wear off if you stop doing it, and it’s hard for your body to undergo any meaningful physiological change in a short period of time.
And if it undergoes a drastic change without any additional exposure to its new physiological state than it’ll quickly snap back to its previous set point to compensate for the changes.
Here’s an example of someone who gained 45 pounds after a 28 day juice fast.
You don’t want that to happen to you.
Remember that you have to do something when you stop your juice fast. You can’t drink carrots forever.
Take Home Points
If you’re thinking of juicing and wanting to know how this information applies to you here are the relevant points:
1). Don’t begin juicing with the sole goal of going on a fast.
2). Get used to juicing before you go on a fast.
3). Do the minimal amount possible on your fast, not the most. You don’t want your body doing funny things when you get off.
Now start juicing!