Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The long post in which I explain to you why I am subsisting on juice

For the past three days I've been on a juice fast.  That's right -- nothing but juice.  Mostly vegetables and some fruit.  I was inspired by Joe Cross and his film Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.  Joe went on a sixty day fast and lost a significant amount of weight (nearly 80 pounds) But not only did he lose weight, he also weaned himself from his medication (he was taking prednisone for a rare auto-immune disease).

This struck a chord with me.   I have a poorly understood disease that may very well have an auto-immune component.   Medication is hit and miss at best.  And, honestly, I'm looking for a cure rather than something to mask my symptoms.

Then I came across another documentary -- Forks over Knives.  The creators of Forks over Knives have compelling evidence that a whole foods plant based diet can halt (and possibly reverse) a multitude of diseases from coronary artery disease and diabetes to breast and prostate cancer.

Would I?  Could I heal myself with food?

I've always known that food plays a role in health -- after all you are what you eat.  But I've been reluctant to change my diet (which was, in my mind, not particularly bad).  However I've also come to realize I like feeling good.  And if this is what it takes to feel good then so be it.

I bought my juicer from Bed, Bath and Beyond (don't forget your coupon).  There are two different kinds of juicers: centrifugal and masticating.  Masticating juices do a better job overall.  Masticating juicers are also more expensive.  I went with the less expensive centrifugal juicer (if it's good enough for Joe it's good enough for me).  I find that I can get more juice by running the pulp through once or twice after the initial juicing.  This is especially true for vegetables.

Honestly I've been enjoying the juicing thus far.  I started slow -- juicing for two meals and then eating a meal at night.  Then Monday -- full bore.  Well, not quite.  The hubby and I agreed that we'd allow ourselves coffee (cappuccino made at home with local goat's milk). For the first two days I had a small cappuccino in the morning and mid-afternoon.  Today I skipped the afternoon caffeine.  Baby steps.

Things we've noticed so far.  First and foremost my ear feels great.  I have very slight tinnitus, minimal hearing loss and no dizziness or balance issues (now this disease waxes and wanes so I can't claim any benefit here yet).  As for my husband -- today, day 3, he had no pain in his knees. He always has pain in his knees.  Yet today, while at work and going up and down stairs, no pain. Psychosomatic?  Maybe.  But he's a doubter and therefore I doubt it's psychological.

We've also both lost some weight -- him 5 pounds in three days.  Me -- 9 pounds in three weeks.  Not too shabby.  Am I hungry?  A bit.  Late afternoons/evenings are the hardest. Food smells SO GOOD!  Nonetheless the benefits are out-weighing the hunger.

I plan to juice for as long as I can (30 days?).  I'd still like to lose another 15 to 20 pounds.  When we are done juicing we plan to switch to a whole foods plant based diet -- lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes.  We'll continue to eat meat but in smaller portions.  I'm already careful to make sure our meat is from local grass fed sources (read Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food to find out why grass fed beef is better). 

I'm also going to reduce our gluten intake though not go completely gluten free (unless it becomes readily obvious we need to do so).  I'm pinning tons and tons of recipes in anticipation.

This fast will reset my weight and, I think, my taste buds.  I'm very much looking forward to seeing the end result.

Tomorrow I'll post recipes of a few of my favorite juices (thus far).



sue maasch said...

but how can this be balanced nutitionally?

Shalet said...

Well first off we are getting tons and tons of vitamins that, sadly, we were missing. I was getting lazy with my cooking and wasn't introducing many veggies.

Today we had pineapple, spinach, kale, carrots, celery, ginger, oranges, apples, sweet potatoes, coconuts and beets.

Second we are cheating a bit -- we are still having our coffee and this includes goat milk. So there is an extra protein boost there, as well as, some fat.

In addition we are having nightly nut smoothies -- cashews or almonds, dates, yogurt, goat milk, cinnamon and nutmeg. Oh and tonight I also added a touch of coconut oil -- yum!

With the protein in the veggies, as well as, the protein in our extras we are getting a complete daily allowance.

We drink whole milk with our coffee and use either whole or low fat yogurt in our smoothies so we are getting some fats (though not a lot). These products also supplement our calcium.

Of course there are carbohydrates in the juice.

Calorie wise we are drinking somewhere between 1500 to 1800 calories a day. This allows for weight loss but without the ketosis component. We are having anywhere from four to six juices a day.

All in all I feel it's pretty healthy. Much better than the typical American diet -- that's for sure!

Shalet said...

Oh and what we are *not* having -- processed foods, eggs, meats, gluten. All potential irritants and/or allergens. I am trying to continue this fast for a minimum of 21 days because I am using it as an elimination diet. I plan to slowly add back foods and evaluate myself for a potential reaction.

We are eating mostly but not completely organic and while on this fast are avoiding most GMOs (unless there are some from the goat milk).

Once off the fast (some call it a feast) we'll merge to whole foods plant based diet. There would be little point in doing this if we were to go back to our old habits.